VANCOUVER — You could have excused Vancouver College’s Thomas Roberts if perhaps his live, in-game route running was a little rusty when he pulled on his helmet and set himself at the line of scrimmage for last Saturday’s game against South Delta at O’Hagan Field.
After all, he’d barely played a snap over the three previous high school seasons, including his time as a ninth grader across town at Eric Hamber Secondary.
And even this season, as the undefeated, No. 1-ranked defending Subway Bowl champion Fighting Irish have continued their winning ways, the Grade 12 Roberts has spent as much time tasked with the nitty gritty of serving as an in-line blocker, and a guy who might get his number called on shorter pass patterns.
“But the last game, I was put into plays where I was out there running routes and that happened to work out well, and I got quite a few completions” the modest Roberts, 17, said.
As part of his team’s 42-0 win over the Sun Devils, he wrapped up his first day as a true go-to receiver within the irish offence with five catches for 121 yards and three touchdowns.
Roberts snared one in each of the first three quarters, from 15, 37 and later 15 yards, all from quarterback Alex Zychlinski.
And all of that makes him a worthy recipient of one of Varsity Letters’ two B.C. High School Football Players of the Week.
Ask Irish coach Todd Bernett about the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Roberts, and he was most impressed by the myriad ways in which the senior made himself available for his team.
“Thomas had an exceptional game because he not only had five catches, but all five were on different concepts… different play types,” remarked Bernett.
“He also caught them from two different alignments,” the coach added. “His versatility is something we will continue to lean on, because he can be a matchup problem for people.”
Roberts played community football for the Westside Warriors until high school, yet admits it was tough getting a lot of time at Hamber, which during his Grade 9 year had a senior varsity team, but not a junior varsity one.
He saw limited action, then moved over to Vancouver College for his Grade 10 season where he sat out on a transfer. COVID cancelled his Grade 11 season, giving him what has amounted to his one-and-only full season of high school football in 2021.
“This year is super special and important to me,” he said. “I haven’t had the whole high school experience, and so this is a year where I am definitely trying to prove myself, whether to the the university coaches or the guys on my team.”
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