Seasoned Roberson to ‘Ram’ Rivals - TribPapers

Seasoned Roberson to ‘Ram’ Rivals

Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Skyland – TCR Rams are ready for CTM time — “Climbing the Mountain. That is head coach Jason “J.D.” Dinwiddie’s motto. Roberson (2-1) is coming off two routs: 56-6 over East Rutherford and 35-7 in corralling the Smoky Mountain Mustangs.

Roberson’s relentless Flexbone/Double Wing triple option offense averages 45 points. Call it TCR — Triple Crunch Rushing.” The Rams ran the ball on 89 percent of their scrimmage plays in 2022, and averaged seven yards a pop. They return players who gained 83 percent of their rushing yards.

Dinwiddie is in his eighth season as the Ram head coach. TCR was 6-4 overall, including 4-2 (and in third place) in the Mountain Athletic Conference last year. That was with merely four seniors, and two returning starters on each side of the ball. Now, the varsity returns most starters, and has 12 seniors and 17 experienced juniors for continuity.

MAC champ A.C. Reynolds is back in 3A. This means that the Roberson-Asheville game winner very likely ends up as the league’s top 4A seed, and can host multiple playoff games. Yet gritty Coach Dinwiddie said, “We’ll go wherever the hell we have to go” in playoffs. The TCR-AHS loser should fend off McDowell to make the playoffs. Asheville beat TCR 28-21 in 2022. But Roberson is home for their rematch on Oct. 6, and versus ACR two weeks later. Reynolds beat TCR 28-0 in ’22. But now the overall MAC title runs through Skyland.

‘Flex Lex’ is a T-Rex

Quarterback Lex Dinwiddie (6-1, 205 sr.) has superb situational, field awareness and timing in running the Flexbone triple option. He must suddenly decide whether to keep the ball or who to give it to. He is .2 seconds faster in the 40-yard dash, running a crisp 4.5. He is 30 pounds heavier and stronger at passing. “Lex can make a tight throw of 50 yards — right on the dot,” Coach Dinwiddie said.

Lex leads by example with poise and confidence. He leaves the corrective coaching to his father, and is an avid encourager. He said that it catches on “whenever you give off good energy.” He intensifies in key situations. “I get excited and yell, to hype up my teammates.”

Leading receiver Maurice Metz-Sacricson (MMS) likes how Lex is “enthusiastic. He’s passionate about the game. And he trusts us.” Lineman Adler Triplett said, “Lex keeps everyone ‘up.’ Yet he also likes how Lex puts bad plays “in the rearview mirror,” focuses on the next play, and “makes sure we’re all on the same page.”

Lineman Hitachi Duvermay agrees. “Lex is all business” in directing the team in huddles. “We hold each other accountable.” He added that “Lex is ambitious” about team success.

‘Bat-tering’ Rams

The intricate Flexbone deploys a fullback and two slotbacks at once. Ram runners have “speed and athleticism,” Dinwiddie said. TCR has two gifted power runners with speed. Hard-charging, stocky Reno Jeter (5-10, 208 sr.) again starts. “Reno can do it all.”

He is the reigning state champion baseball Rams’ cleanup hitter and lead starting pitcher. Brevard native P.J. Deshauteurs (6-0, 215 sr.) is explosive in breaking off long runs.

“Slot/scat/wing” back Zeb Swangim (5-7, 145 jr.) often zooms around end. He finds defensive holes as well as floodwater seeps through a house foundation’s thin crack.

Swangim is another hitting and pitching star in baseball who injects a proven, winning attitude into football. “It helps your mental state to win at the highest level” in any major sport, Coach Dinwiddie reasons. “We have similar expectations” in football. Duvermay said, “We have a winning culture here.”

The fullback role is deep starting with strong Tyrin Credle (5-11, 184 jr.). Shamar Darity (5-10, 160 jr.) has 4.5 speed. Cohen Bohanon (5-10, 170 jr.); and Kenari Finley (5-8, 150 jr.) also get big yards.

Several main runners averaged two TDs each in the first three games. They averaged huge gains — Deshauteurs (13.4 YPC), Swangim (7.1), Jeter (6.5), and Dinwiddie (5.6); also blazing backup QB Laron Mills (6-0, 160 so.) at 7.6 YPC. In 2022, Dinwiddie, Credle and Jeter each surpassed 625 rushing yards; Swangim topped 400. Jeter ran for 11 scores, Dinwiddie seven, and Credle six TDs.

Deep threat WR Zach Stanley (6-3, 180 jr.) has reach. “When our running softens the defense, we’ll take ‘home run’ shots,” Coach Dinwiddie said. Otherwise, look for quick tosses to MMS (6-0, 175 sr.), Will Brasier (5-11, 170 sr.) and Joemar Darity (5-7, 145 jr.).

Polished Blockers, Defenders

The quick offensive linemen are guards Itachi Duvermay (5-11, 285 sr.) and Cardia Boyd (5-9, 185 jr.), tackles Adler Tripplett (6-3, 230 sr.) and David Pinon (5-10, 215 jr.), and center Grayson Banks (5-10, 230 sr.).

The new placekicker is Hanson Garcia (5-8, 150 fr.).

Roberson’s 3-4 defense starts ILBs Bohannon and Greg Schell (5-10, 180 jr.), OLBs Jeter and Deshauteurs; nose guard Boyd, DEs Duvermay and Noah Lister (6-1, 180 sr.); CBs Mills and Joemar Darity, and safeties Shamar Darity and Gilliland. Lex Dinwiddie said, “Our defense is better” than in ’22, while Reynolds graduated three superstar defenders.

Coach Dinwiddie vows that “our defense is as good as Reynolds’ defense was last year.” He instantly answers, whenever asked who will win the MAC. “We will!”