Placer's Robinson a freshman weapon

Football standout leads Hillmen frosh to stellar season
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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Michael Robinson didn’t waste much time pondering his potential. Placer High football coach Joey Montoya may not either. The freshman is already making the most of his considerable talents after just a few months on the Placer campus. Robinson has rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Placer freshman team. The frosh Hillmen are 8-1 overall and will face Whitney on Thursday with a chance to finish off an undefeated Pioneer Valley League season. Robinson, a do-it-all fullback and linebacker, is the leader of the loaded freshman squad. At 5-foot-8, 170 pounds he’s powerful, fast and has great balance, which also makes him a tough wrestler. But freshman coach Jim Gray said those traits aren’t what set Robinson apart. “It’s his work ethic,” Gray said. “He’s strong as an ox and he’s always doing extra work. Even when he’s tired, he does perfect push-ups. When he’s sick, you have to tell him to take it easy.” Robinson has run for well over 100 yards in all but one game this season, making a smooth transition from youth football to the high school level. “The biggest thing I had to get used to was the schedule,” Robinson said. “It’s a little different, but I’ve known a lot of our players for a long time. I think we knew we were going to be pretty good. We’re all going to get better every year. By the time we’re on varsity I think we’ll be a great team.” The freshman squad was rolling along undefeated until running into a terrific Nevada Union team last month at LeFebvre Stadium. The Hillmen were beaten soundly, but they learned a lot from the Miners. “It was pretty humbling,” Robinson said. “I was kind of glad we had that opportunity. It didn’t count for league. It showed us what a great team was like and what we need to work on.” Robinson said the team has improved a lot in the last few weeks. The Hillmen will square off against the undefeated Wildcats on Thursday with the PVL title on the line. There’s a good chance Robinson may never play junior varsity football. Montoya is considering calling him up for the playoffs next week, though Robinson said he may opt to focus on wrestling, where he’s expected to step right into the varsity lineup and could contend for a league title. “I’m not really sure yet what I’m going to do,” he said. “They’ve been going at varsity speed the full season and I’m used to freshman speed so I don’t want to go up and get hurt. That wouldn’t be good. There’s also wrestling, that’s important.” Robinson may be starting for Placer’s varsity team next fall as tailbacks Asher Gotzmer and Dalton Dyer will be graduating. Gray is confident his star will be ready, if he’s not already. “After practice he doesn’t just go home and that’s it. He goes home and lifts or works on things,” Gray said. “He practices like a senior. He’s the perfect kid to coach.”