Facing an offense such as Kinnelon’s with a quarterback like Kyle Presti who threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns the week before, or his favorite receiver Kyle Graupe who has great speed and runs routes like a college player or an all around two way player like Liam Nelson who leads his team in rushing and tackles every week, is not an easy task. They have the ability to rack up a three touchdown lead in less than five minutes. Heading into Week 2 against the Colts, North Warren’s senior runningback/linebacker Luke Robertson knew his Patriots’ only hope of victory would be to some how slow them down.
At the half, North Warren was down 9-14 and the Patriots were gasping for air after taking a breather from Presti’s bombing campaign after he threw for two first half touchdowns. In the second half, North Warren coach Matt Parzero decided stick to controlling the ball on the ground and ride Robertson as far as his legs would take them.
The second half wasn’t easy but North Warren fought tooth and nail. Robertson continued to chip away at yardage and the Patriot defense was able to somewhat contain Presti With the players on both side exhausted, the Pats would score on a Robertson TD to take a 23-20 lead late in the game. Kinnelon had one last chance but North Warren dug deep and was able to halt the Colts from staging a scoring drive. North Warren walked in as a huge underdog and walked out as the victor.
At the end of it all, North Warren’s Luke Robertson grinded out 216 yards on 31 carriers and two touchdowns on offense and added 10 tackles from the linebacker position. This passionate performance earned Robertson Morris Sussex Football’s Week 2 Player of the Week!
MSF caught up with Robertson to talk about his amazing win, the make up of the 2014 Patriots and some things that would surprise people about this Patriot team.
Morris Sussex Football: How did Coach Parzero have you prepared for such a deadly passer like Kinnelon’s Kyle Presti?
Luke Robertson: All week coach emphasized how the Kinnelon passing game was very strong and that we needed as much work as possible. We watched lots of film before and after practice of Kinnelon’s offense and our coaches wanted to get more work defensively on their pass game. So our defensive backs and linebackers had seven-on-seven periods before and after practices to really learn their plays and find the best coverage’s to defend that pass game.
MSF: What was the defining factor that allowed you guys to win?
LR: In my opinion the defining factor was turnovers and special teams. We had an interception and a fumble recovery without giving up any turnovers which really helped us out. Our special teams came up big yet again with the field goal in the first half which allowed us to be up by those three points when they scored late in the fourth quarter.
MSF: The second half of your season has the likes of Lenape Valley, Hopatcong and Boonton; all of whom are having great seasons so far. What does this Patriots team need to do to prepare itself for such a tough schedule?
LR: We need to pick up the tempo in practice. Everyone needs to be giving it there all in every aspect of practice and everything needs to be done quickly. Our scout team always gives a great look which really helps us out come game time.
MSF: Coming into this preseason, did you think this team could do something special?
LR: Coming into the preseason, I knew if we wanted to have a special season better than the past two years we were going to have to work so much harder than we had in the past. Everyone that stepped into a new varsity position for the first time has delivered and really has what it takes for us as a team to go further than we did the last two years.
MSF: Some young guys had to fill in some big shoes. Who in particular has stepped up in a big way?
LR: Young players that have stepped up this year are Trevor Baldwin, Logan Dent, Ricky Baird, Sean Thornton, and Nick Heinz. Nick and Ricky have done a good job at the running back positions along with Sean at quarterback. Trevor and Logan have done a great job stepping into those guard and tackle spots on the left side of the line.
MSF: Who is the most passionate player on your team?
LR: The most passionate player on the team is Jack Butrymowicz.
MSF: Who is the strongest?
LR: Nick Heinz is the strongest.
MSF: Who cracks you up the most?
LR: Brandon Mickelson cracks me up the most.
MSF: What was the funniest thing he did or said this season?
LR: I hung out with him after the Kinnelon game and all he said the whole night was, “I can’t believe I’m hanging out with the number 23!” (laughs)
MSF: Who on your team would you vote most likely to succeed ten years from now?
LR: Gino Fluri is most likely to succeed ten years from now.
MSF: What quality trait makes Coach Parzero such a great coach?
LR: Repetition makes Coach Parzero such a great coach. In practice we run plays until every part of the play is perfect which is why our base plays work so well.
MSF: What part of practice do you hate the most?
LR: I don’t hate any part of practice, but individual offense is definitely the toughest part. Our running backs coach, Coach Palmer, works us hard every day with agility drills, strength conditioning, and various other skill drills. Although it is the toughest, it really helps us out.
MSF: Who is your role model?
LR: My brother is my role model. I had the privilege to spend the first two years of my high school career with him and competing in sports with him. He has the greatest work ethic I’ve ever seen and he is a very kind, respectful young man. I don’t know what I would do without him.
MSF: NFL player that resembles your style of play the most?
LR: The NFL player that resembles my style of play the most is Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers.
MSF: Music that amps you up the most?
LR: Heavy metal pumps me up the most.
MSF: What do people not know that would surprise them about this North Warren team?
LR: Something that would surprise people about our team is that we have cupcake eating contests every Thursday at our team dinners.
MSF: Congrats again Luke and best of luck the rest of the way!