CHAPMANVILLE — Jake Robinson can vouch for the validity of the adage.
Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
Robinson found out the hard way last year, when his high school football season ended after only one game.
Robinson ran for 108 yards on 16 carries in Scott's 13-0 season-opening victory at Roane County in 2008, but he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in practice the following week.
“It really hurt,” said Robinson, a
5-foot-11, 215-pound junior tailback and linebacker for the Skyhawks. “I just love this game so much. I just love it. It’s as simple as that.”
Robinson spent the off-season
conditioning his body and strengthening his leg for his return in 2009.
“I came out every day and did everything I had to do to get myself better for this year,” he said.
The results are evident in the
early-season returns for Robinson and the undefeated Skyhawks.
Robinson rushed 22 times for 155 yards and two touchdowns in Scott’s 32-8 victory at Chapmanville on Friday. He also returned a fumble 3 yards for another score on defense, helping the Skyhawks end a two-game losing streak against the Tigers.
“It feels great to get back on the field with my friends and my team,” Robinson said.
His teammates are equally happy to have him out there with them.
“He has made a heck of a comeback,” said Jacob Blosser, a junior who starts at center and linebacker. “He has really impressed a lot of people.”
A shifty runner whom Scott coach Shane Griffith praised for his ability to make initial tacklers miss with his moves and cuts, Robinson has rushed 43 times for 318 yards and five touchdowns this year.
“I think Jake is enjoying himself right now,” said Griffith, whose team is 7-3 against its Corridor G rival from Logan County during his 10-year tenure.
“I think it took him some time to get over the injury mentally.
“That probably didn't happen until after the Nicholas County scrimmage. It got touched and he got touched. Each week, he grows a little more confident that the knee is fixed and he can still play this game.
“To have him back and to have him healthy, that's huge for us because right now the key for us is staying healthy as long as we can.”
That is especially important after one of the Skyhawks' most talented players suffered a high ankle sprain against the Tigers.
Senior tailback Ronnie Reeves, who also starts at safety and punt returner for Scott, had 38 yards and one touchdown on five carries and 18 yards on one catch against Chapmanville before laying on the field and clutching his right ankle after a 6-yard run midway through the second quarter.
It is unknown whether Reeves will play Friday, when Scott
welcomes Westside to Madison for its homecoming matchup. Kickoff between the Skyhawks (3-0) and the Renegades (2-1) is set for 7:30 p.m.
Senior fullback Travis Bender added 46 yards on 10 carries Friday, when Scott racked up 337 total yards (121 passing and 216 rushing) against Chapmanville.
A bad snap that sailed over the head of junior quarterback Nevin Honeycutt for a 27-yard loss hurt the Skyhawks' final numbers in rushing and total yards.
Honeycutt, however, had arguably the best game of his career, completing 11-of-16 passes for 121 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
"He's getting more mature with how he handles the offense, seeing things, taking what's open," Griffith said. "He had a couple of tosses tonight that could have put that (total) around 200 yards, but they were dropped. I think he's developing real nice."
Honeycutt's top target was senior wide receiver Shane Fletcher, who finished with seven catches for 70 yards and one touchdown.
Honeycutt and Fletcher
connected on perhaps the most pivotal play in the Class AA matchup. On first-and-10 from the Tigers' 17-yard line, Honeycutt found Fletcher in the end zone for a back-breaking score that gave the Skyhawks a 20-0 lead with only 1.2 seconds remaining before halftime.
Even Honeycutt's interception, which came after the bad snap on a third-and-40 play from the Skyhawks' 1, turned out to be just as good as a punt.
The Tigers got the ball at the Skyhawks' 38 with 4:06 remaining before halftime. Chapmanville was stopped on a fourth-and-1 play from Scott's 29 when senior fullback Todd Terry was dropped for a 2-yard loss.
Scott scored on its first
possession, a seven-play, 50-yard drive capped by Robinson's
1-yard touchdown run with 7:11 left in the first quarter.
The Skyhawks added another score on their third possession, a six-play, 56-yard drive capped by Reeves' 12-yard touchdown run with 11:52 left in the second quarter. Honeycutt hooked up with senior wide receiver Shannon Sanney on a two-point conversion pass for a 14-0 advantage.
Robinson accounted for both of the Skyhawks' second-half touchdowns -- a 13-yard run with 2:37 remaining in the third
quarter and a 3-yard fumble return with 9:59 remaining in the fourth quarter.
On the former, Bender and Blosser provided key blocks to give Robinson a clear path to the end zone around the left side.
"They're great," Robinson said of Bender, Blosser and the rest of the Skyhawks' offensive line. "They're the best."
Scott limited Chapmanville to 135 total yards (63 passing and 72 rushing). The Skyhawks forced five punts, while the Tigers committed three turnovers (one fumble; two on downs).
Chapmanville's only score came in the fourth quarter, long after the outcome had been decided.
"Coming in this year, I knew we were going to be quick and aggressive to the ball, but we were so green and young," Griffith said. "But I think these guys are maturing really quick.
"They are learning how to play the game and what areas to play. When that happens, you can really start to pressure an offense and we get a lot of hats to the ball. That's the key right now."