Robertson, Rudd line up as Bruins near finish line
BLACKSBURG – With all the downs as well as some ups in the high school football season, the Bruins still live in the chase for the last Group AA Division 4, Region IV playoff berth.
The short list of reasons that’s so is led by the consistent play of Blacksburg’s offensive line.
When it comes to offensive line consistency, among the steadiest of the steady have been seniors Parker Robertson and Ben Rudd. The key to their success is no mystery to anybody who follows athletics.
“We all come in, work hard, and help each other in practice every day,” said the 5-foot-11, 203-pound Rudd. “We know our assignments and gap responsibilities.”
Offensive line play can get complicated, especially with some of the advanced passing offenses that are becoming ever more commonplace in high school football. Job responsibilities are not learned overnight. The experience of the current linemen has been a major factor.
“This is almost the same line as we had last year,” the 6-3, 225-pound Robertson said. “We’ve been playing together for more than a year.”
Both these guys have been doing a lot of playing and not just on the offensive line. They both double on the defensive line.
“Both the offensive and defensive lines have been our most consistent units,” Blacksburg coach David Crist said. “Fortunately, the players have been together, from Day 1 really.”
Robertson and Rudd both have overcome significant obstacles to reach this stage. Robertson had to convert from tight end, where he played last year, to tackle. Rudd has been battling through shoulder issues that likely will require surgery to correct. The surgeon is going to have to wait.
“After high school,” said Rudd, who intends to wrestle for the Bruins again this winter.
Sounds painful. Leave it to the guy who has a couple of sound shoulders to put things in perspective.
“Can’t hurt it any more,” Robertson said.
Right. So how’s that going for you, Mr. Rudd?
“Just have to tough it out,” he said. “I mean, it hurts, but you just have to keep going.”
At least he’s had a plan to deal with the situation.
“A couple of ibuprofen before I play,” he said.
Then a couple more after …
“And lots of ice,” Robertson said.
Now that we’ve hit November, such postgame ceremonies could start getting chilly. With a playoff berth on the line, such is the price that must be paid. Next up for Blacksburg is archrival Christiansburg, which plays host to the regular season River Ridge District finale 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Elsewhere, the Bruins (2-7, 0-4) needs a loss by Bassett (3-6, 2-1 Piedmont District). There are other possible scenarios, but all Blacksburg can control is what happens on the Blue Demons field.
“We’ll win,” Rudd said.
Christiansburg (5-4, 0-4) is reeling after four-straight losses, but under the circumstances, not much ought to be read into that.
“This is Blacksburg-Christiansburg,” Crist said.
In other words, some crazy stuff has attended this rivalry over the years, Handicapping can be hazardous business when it comes to these two.
Back to Robertson, who has had to be stout-hearted with double duty on offense and defense. He’s started two ways before, but last year, half the job was at tight end – big difference over playing tackle.
“It’s a lot tougher at tackle, a lot more physical, a lot more getting hit,” Robertson said. “Last year at the end of the game, I was tired at the end of the game but not exhausted. Now at the end of the game, I’m just dead.”
The Bruins still live. The play of linemen such as Rudd and Robertson are a couple of the reasons.
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