• 55°

SPENCER — Lexington back Ricky Holmes looks for a hole, but there isn’t one, and the jolt he receives from North Rowan’s onrushing linebacker Xavier Robinson can be heard by people dining at Spencer’s Bojangles.
“Tackle by the X-Man!” yells North’s exuberant P.A. announcer, and Lexington is well on its way to another three-and-out.
“I saw the running back just getting started,” Robinson says. “I knew I was going to make that tackle.”
Lexington has talent.
Receiver Shakeem Peterson stands 6-foot-4 and can catch the football, and QB Raekwon Byrd is feisty and elusive. Yet, the Yellow Jackets go three-and-out six straight times to start Friday’s 33-13 loss to the Cavaliers.
“Third down is the money down,” Robinson says. “That’s when, as a defense, you’ve got to get off the field. That’s what Coach (Stevie) Williams always tells us.”
This is a special North defense — the Cavaliers lead Rowan County in passing defense, rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense (yards allowed) — and it’s led by a very special senior linebacker.
“Tackle by the X-Man” roars over the loud speakers at Eagle Stadium 10 times in the Lexington game, and it’s not just when Robinson is playing linebacker. He does all the special-teams stuff too. If you’re coach Joe Nixon, leader of the state’s top-ranked 2A team, it’s hard to ever find a good reason to take Robinson off the field.
“Robinson has got that ‘it’ factor like (Arkansas’) Chris Smith had when I coached at West Rowan,” explains Stevie Williams, the former Catawba star who directs North’s defense. “He’s just got it.”
Robinson is a pretty amazing year-round, all-round athlete — tough and strong enough to be a fine wrestler but with good enough wheels to place in the 100 and 200 in the Rowan County Track Meet.
It’s hard to see anything on Robinson’s 205-pound frame except muscle, and football is the sport in which he can bring all that speed and strength (he bench-presses nearly 300 pounds) and toughness together in one place at one time.
North (7-0) has a lot going for it, but the Cavaliers, who were playing 1A ball a year ago, aren’t deep.
They faced a crisis situation early this season when running back Andra Cowan was hurting, and then QB Alexis Archie went down with a serious injury that sidelined him for six weeks.
Facing the most challenging part of his schedule — 3A Statesville and 4A Davie — Nixon’s solution was to bolster his offense by adding defensive studs Robinson and Kasaun Coney to the backfield mix to help out Jareke Chambers, the standout running back who was shifting to quarterback to replace Archie.
“Robinson was always part of our ‘heavy package’ when we got down near the goal-line,” Nixon said. “He runs with power and he runs with speed.”
Robinson produced offensive touchdowns in road games at Statesville and Forest Hills.
Ironically, on the same Friday that Archie returned to the North huddle, Robinson enjoyed his biggest offensive outburst.
He plowed Lexington for three touchdowns, including an awesome 43-yard, tackle-breaker that had the crowd roaring.
“I was just running as hard as I could, and then I saw things open up and I saw the end zone,” Robinson said.
With Archie healthy and with North now in 2A conference play (the Cavaliers are at West Davidson on Friday night), Robinson’s role on offense may diminish, but that’s just going to make him even tougher to deal with on defense.
“He’s a physical guy and he’s our leader on the defensive side,” Williams said. “He’s a mature, hard-working kid who understands the game, and he’s one of the most talented kids I’ve ever had a chance to coach. He’s a kid who was born to play football.”
North hasn’t had a county offensive player of the year since Daniel Griffith in 2006, but Chambers certainly has a chance to change that. North hasn’t had a county defensive player of the year since Sa’D Thompson shared the 2005 award with West’s Julian Samolu.
Robinson has a chance to change that.
More evidence of just how special Robinson is came at halftime Friday night when he was voted homecoming king.
“The school voted for me, so it’s a nice honor,” he said. “Everything is great now, but we’ll stay humble and we’ll keep working.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges