Preview: Robinson at Middleton

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Photo I. Hanewicz

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor


Rarely can you find moral victories in back-to-back losses, but Robinson (1-2) has come close these last two weeks. In their two losses, the Knights have shown a competitive fight against much bigger programs, Wharton and Plant. Scores of 30-18 and 30-12 clearly indicate that there is room for improvement, starting with winning the turnover battle, something that Robinson has struggled with as of late. This week, they head to Middleton to open up district play against the Tigers (2-1).

REWIND: Friday marks the first meeting between the two schools since 2012, when the Knights came away with a 42-21 victory before reaching the state semifinals weeks later. Then-running back Martin Ruiz (’13), now at Youngstown State, rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown on just six carries.

PLAYERS TO WATCH (Middleton):
Mike Edoga (’16) Edoga is coming off of a big week at Strawberry Crest in which he scored two touchdowns in Middleton’s 14-13 win. Down 7-0 in the second half, he ran for a 65-yard touchdown before throwing the game-winner to Jerome Godbolt (’17) from 15 yards out. The Tigers’ offensive production runs through Edoga, so if the Robinson defense can contain him, it could be a long night for Middleton.

Jerome Godbolt (’17) As Edoga’s primary big-play receiver, Godbolt is finding success early on this season. Prior to his game-winning catch last week, he had a total of 89 yards the previous two weeks on a mere four catches. A Robinson defense that has allowed just 152 yards through the air in three games this season will look to shut down the connection between Edoga and Godbolt.

PLAYERS TO WATCH (Robinson):
Najee Fitzgerald (’17) Fitzgerald found himself in a tough position last week, taking his first varsity snaps at quarterback in one of the toughest gameday atmospheres around. In relief of an injured Malik Tyson (’16), he completed seven of 15 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 43 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Regardless of Tyson’s injury status, a two-quarterback system could be in the works, which means Fitzgerald could see time on the offensive side of the ball for the foreseeable future.

Keldric Preston (’16)– Preston is the undeniable leader of a Robinson defense that is playing better than their numbers would suggest. Opponents have put up an average of 22 points per game against them, but the defense often finds themselves defending a short field because of turnovers or troubles on special teams. Preston has been all over the field this season, racking up 14 tackles (six solo), two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Wisconsin-commit has a knack for pressuring opposing quarterbacks, which is something that should continue this week.

Kickoff for Friday night’s district opener is set for 7:30 at Abraham R. Brown Stadium on the campus of Middleton High School (4801 N 22nd St, Tampa, FL 33610).