October 17, 2012 10:17:25 PM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
MACON -- You'll have to excuse Darrell Robinson.
When you put in a second half like the senior running back did last week, you're bound to find a spot -- any spot -- and crash for a few moments to take a break.
That's exactly what Robinson did after scoring his third touchdown of the game -- a 3-yard run -- to help seal the Noxubee County High School football team's 40-13 victory against Houston.
Noxubee County may need another effort like that at 7 tonight when it takes on Louisville in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A, Region 4 game. The winner of the game will win the region with one regular-season game remaining.
Robinson had only 15 yards in the first half against Houston. He responded in the second half with a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown and scoring runs of 8 and 3 yards to help the Tigers improve to 9-0 and 3-0. According to Maxpreps.com, Robinson has 1,408 yards on 150 carries and 26 touchdowns.
Instead of getting frustrated by Houston stacking the box and focusing on the ground game, Robinson got stronger as the game wore on and helped the Tigers control the line of scrimmage in the final 24 minutes.
"I really do (get stronger)," Robinson said. "I know the defense is getting tired, and when I get in the rhythm of the game I feel like,'Give me the ball and I am going to do whatever I can to help my team win the game.' "
As dangerous as Robinson is at the line of scrimmage, he is just as deadly in special teams. He showed that explosive speed against Houston, taking a punt and going 70 yards to extend the Tigers' lead to 26-6.
"I just hit it because that's the way you're supposed to do a punt return, not dance," Robinson said. "I just made a cut and had to beat the kicker."
Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter has referred to Robinson as his team's "workhorse." He said the combination of Robinson and an experienced offensive line have fueled the Tigers' success this season.
"Our strength is running the football, and we're going to pass off the run," Shorter said. "If we don't ned to pass, why pass?"
Robinson has shouldered a heavy weekly workload to ensure Noxubee County doesn't have to force things through the air. His production has been a key reason why many in Macon and in Noxubee County are talking about the 2012 team in the same breath as the 2008 squad that won the school's first state title in football. That team scored its points thanks to a lightning-fast passing game that could strike from anywhere on the field.
This season, Noxubee County doesn't mind lining up and daring you to stop it, or to have Robinson use his speed to get to the outside. Either way, the results have been just as promising.
"He just came to me and said, 'Coach, I believe I can get 2,000 yards this season,' " Shorter said. "I told him if that is one of his personal goals, go for it. We're going to run the football. With the seven offensive linemen we rotate in -- and these guys really love blocking -- I think he can get 2,000 yards.
"This kid, I have never seen him work as hard as he worked in the offseason. He is on a mission. He wants to be one of the best running backs in the state."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.