High school football: Salisbury’s Robinson eats up blocks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2023


By Mike London

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s lockdown defense, which features 10 senior starters, has allowed only six points the first weeks of the season.

Watch film of the Hornets, and the first thing you notice is that one of the interior linemen is really massive.

That big fellow is 6-foot-1, 340-pound nose guard Saderion Robinson.

“He’s a great young man who has been physical and immovable,” Salisbury defensive coordinator Wesley Jackson said proudly. “He’s an important part of what we try to do on defense. We’re strong in the middle, so most people try to go outside. Teams run away from him because no one wants to get tackled by a 340-pound man.”

Robinson was actually even larger last season, although his coaches agree he wasn’t as impactful in 2022 as he is now.

“He’s trimmed down some from last season, has dropped 20 pounds,” Salisbury head coach Clayton Trivett explained. “He bought in this summer as far as getting in shape for a great senior year, and he’s really made a jump. We knew we’d be good on defense with the experience we had coming back, but we’ve also had some nice surprises on the defensive line. There’s Jaden Warren and there’s Jelani Ziyad, And then there’s Robinson. He’s not just a big guy. He’s a big guy who can move.”

Warren, a defensive end, scored a touchdown on Friday. Ziyad plays the “3 technique” for the Hornets and patrols the middle of the line along with Robinson.

Robinson is soft-spoken, but he’s also confident and intense. He said Friday’s heat that led to an 8 p.m. kickoff didn’t bother him.

“I did a lot of conditioning, a lot of running over the summer,” he said. “The coaches made sure the heat wouldn’t be a problem.”

Robinson got started in football when he was 8. He remembers being a running back in his early days, but he outgrew that position and moved to the offensive line.

“When I got to high school, that’s when they moved me to defense,” Robinson said. “I just try to push the offensive line back all night long. My job is to eat up blocks. If it takes two to block me, then it opens up things for my teammates to make plays.”

There was one eye-popping play in Salisbury’s 62-6 win at Walkertown on Friday. Robinson commanded a double-team, but he beat two guys. He drove the guard and the center into the backfield.

“He drove two guys backwards and then he made the tackle for loss himself,” Trivett said. “I talked with the coaches about who should be our player of the game. They all agreed it was Robinson. The nose has got a tough job — he’s going to get double-teamed almost every play. But Robinson understands his role and he likes his role. He’s an unsung hero.”

It’s likely people will be singing more about Robinson before this season is over.

East Rowan will visit the Hornets on Friday.