Friday Night Hero: Salisbury's Daquan Robertson
By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY — Lexington’s C.J. Woodberry rolled out, looking to either pass or run. That always makes opposing coaches and players cringe. The Yellow Jacket quarterback is a dangerous athlete.
Woodberry did neither because Salisbury safety Daquan Robertson was there to nail him.
Before the season, that play was expected to be made, but not by Robertson. Tion McCain was the star expected to make the big plays in the secondary.
But McCain, sidelined for the past six games with a knee injury, was not on the field. Robertson, a career backup, was.
In the end, Robertson, a speedy, 6-foot senior, was a star in Salisbury’s 21-13 Central Carolina Conference win that put the Hornets alone in first place.
It left Robertson with a big smile on his face.
“It feels good to be a starter,” he said. “I’m glad I’m in the starting lineup.”
Robertson was wondering if that would ever happen. He couldn’t decide what position he wanted to play. Coach Joe Pinyan shuffled him back and forth from receiver to defensive back to the Hornet position.
“He almost quit,” Pinyan said. “He didn’t know where he wanted to play and we weren’t sure where he would fit in.
“And bang, here he is.”
Robertson remembers, saying, “I came to defense to do what’s best for the team,” he said.
He was one of the best on Friday night. He had to be against one of the Hornets’ biggest challengers. He finished with eight tackles.
“Anything eight or above is a great week,” Pinyan said. “Here’s a kid we counted on as a quality backup all year long and he stepped in and had a pretty solid game.”
Robertson credits McCain.
“It was some pressure replacing him,” Robertson said. “He was one of our top defenders. Tion helped me with stuff that he knows so I could get it down pat.”
Robertson knew the safety is required to make plays in front of him and not let people get behind him. He was confident because of who was with him on defense.
“Our defense is pretty fast and having (linebacker) Kavari Hillie and the rest of the team in front of me, I know there won’t be too much running,” Robertson grinned.
But there were those times when he was out there with Woodberry, who was following some hefty blockers.
“He’d have a sprint-out pass or the option,” Robertson said. “He’d keep it and I’d go get him. “I felt good making those tackles because they were so big.”
Robertson’s game pleased Pinyan, who thinks back to No. 3’s early years with fondness.
“We felt he’d be a physical receiver, but we thought, ‘Well, we’ve got some receivers. Let’s try him at corner.’ ”
Due to injuries, he’s now at safety. And he’s making his coaches proud — especially Pinyan, who gushed over Robertson’s performance:
“He’s one of the best unheard-of athletes in the school.”