Walker County De­fen­sive Player of the Year

Ter­rance Roberts (Ridge­land)

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - By Scott Herpst [email protected]

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, as the old say­ing goes; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

And few play­ers in north­west Geor­gia epit­o­mize that say­ing more than Ridge­land’s Ter­rance Roberts.

Listed at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, Roberts is far from the big­gest guy on the field ev­ery Fri­day night. But as op­pos­ing teams have come to dis­cover, there’s more to Roberts than meets the eye.

With blaz­ing speed and a nose for find­ing the foot­ball, Roberts hits like a run­away freight train and more than a few op­pos­ing ball car­ri­ers found out the hard way in 2018.

To­day, the Pan­thers’ ju­nior strong safety is be­ing hon­ored as the Walker County De­fen­sive Player of the Year.

“It’s a good feel­ing,” he said. “A real good feel­ing.”

His 87 to­tal tack­les (50 solo) were the most on the Ridge­land de­fense this past sea­son and he led the team with 13 tack­les for loss, in­clud­ing a team-high seven sacks. He also had one fum­ble re­cov­ery and scored a de­fen­sive touch­down.

Roberts said he was a lit­tle sur­prised at the type of year that he had.

“I have to give credit to the other 10 (guys) on the field,” he said. “They put me in po­si­tion to do what I can do on de­fense. We just prac­tice hard, go out there and do what we do. We don’t have size on a lot of peo­ple, but we have speed on a lot of peo­ple and we have heart. We’ve got heart like no one else and that’s a key fac­tor.”

“If Ter­rance was 6-foot2, he’d be known as one of the best de­fen­sive play­ers in the state,” Ridge­land head coach Cort­ney Braswell said. “He has so many in­tan­gi­bles that as a coach you just don’t have to teach. He just does things in­stinc­tu­ally. He’s a tremen­dous leader and he’s a great com­peti­tor, but he’s even a bet­ter per­son to have on your team. He just makes ev­ery­one el­e­vate their level, as play­ers, as com­peti­tors and as peo­ple. I’m cer­tainly glad he plays for us.”

In­cluded in those seven sacks were four against Flowery Branch in the open­ing round of the state play­offs. Roberts also as­sisted on a fifth sack and helped the Pan­thers force seven turnovers in a 34-14 win that saw them hold the high-pow­ered Fal­cons to just 216 yards and their sec­ond-low­est point to­tal of the sea­son.

“That night was all about the prepa­ra­tion we had that en­tire week in prac­tice,” Roberts re­called. “Coach kept preach­ing to us that the tight end was go­ing to keep block­ing down all night. The quar­ter­back was a big dude, but I knew I had speed on him com­ing off the edge.”

Two of those sacks came in the fi­nal minute of the first half on back-to-back on third and fourth downs with Flowery Branch in­side the Ridge­land 20-yard line. The two take­downs pre­served what was then a 10-0 lead.

“Last year we had three se­nior D-line­men, some se­nior lineback­ers and But­ter (Ken­ne­saw State signee Markeith Mont­gomery) in the sec­ondary,” he ex­plained. “So I knew I was go­ing to have to step up my game this year and fo­cus even harder than I did last sea­son.”

A ter­ror on de­fense, Roberts was also trou­ble for op­pos­ing de­fenses with the ball in his hands. He had 21 car­ries for 332 yards (a 15.81yard aver­age) and six touch­downs, while he also added 11 re­cep­tions for 332 yards (a whop­ping 30.18-yard aver­age) and four more scores.

“His year was un­be­liev­able,” Braswell added. “When we needed a sack or turnover, he was al­ways around the ball. Peo­ple see the sacks and the touch­downs and ev­ery­thing else, but peo­ple don’t nec­es­sar­ily see the plays where he runs a guy down on the op­po­site side of the field for an eight-yard gain that might have gone the dis­tance.

“He’s just the epit­ome of re­lent­less. He knows one speed and that’s all out. Even in prac­tice, we have to re­mind him some­times that it’s just a walk-through. He’s ready to hit any­thing that moves and you’re cer­tainly glad to have a kid like that around your pro­gram.”

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