LLOYD A tall, physically gifted freshman caught Scott Grizzle’s attention during Greenup County’s preseason camp in the fall of 2016 and earned a starting slot that year.
So did Eli Sammons.
The Musketeers’ prized senior quarterback isn’t their only tall fourth-year starter. Left tackle Jacob Roe, listed at 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds, has actually started longer than Sammons has, in part because Grizzle had little choice but to send Roe into the fray as a freshman.
“We knew in the preseason, if something happened, if one of our guys got banged up, then this freshman might be the guy,” Grizzle said. “We were a little thin and we were having to play a lot of guys both ways, and he just happened to be definitely the most physically talented kid we had, even as a freshman.
“We felt like he was up to the challenge, and obviously, he stepped in and did a great job as a freshman and learned a lot, and it’s paying off now going into his senior year.”
Roe has played on an offensive line that cleared the way for Greenup County to increase its yardage and point total in each of his three seasons in the lineup.
In 2015, the last year before Roe showed up, the Musketeers averaged 256.5 yards and 18.7 points per game. Last fall, Greenup County notched 421 yards and 36.6 points an outing.
“I really feel like Grizzle’s helped me a lot, and the weight room’s helped me a lot,” Roe said. “Over the last four years, we’ve really grown together, and it’s just been really good.”
The Musketeers’ modified Air Raid offense requires offensive tackles to get out in space to set up screen passes. That leaves smaller — sometimes much smaller — opposing defenders in Roe’s path.
“If I was a little corner, I’d be scared of me,” he said with a grin.
Roe’s mobility is a work in progress, Grizzle said, in working to make that threat even more dangerous.
“They’re going out to the flat area and trying to block those outside linebackers and corners, and that’s something he’s had to work really hard on,” Grizzle said. “I think that’s one of the biggest things college coaches will want to see on his senior film, is his ability to get out there and block on a screen. That’s a big part of our offense and something he takes a lot of pride in, but also something he knows he has to continue to work at.”
Roe will also likely play more defense than he has in years past. Greenup County hopes to use his big body as a run-stuffer after yielding 257.6 rushing yards a game last season.
“I’m just gonna have to ball out this year,” Roe said. “I’m just gonna have to be on my A-game.”
Roe’s teammates have noticed his efforts. He was unanimously elected a team captain, Grizzle said.
“He’s always had my back since Day 1; I got his,” Sammons said. “I know he’s got my backside, and I trust him with everything.”
Roe has offers from West Virginia State and Virginia-Wise entering his senior season, Grizzle said. The coach is hopeful Roe will draw more interest after what he called the big tackle’s best offseason to date.
“It’s a challenge sometimes for a guy that’s that size to get his conditioning in in the summer, because it takes a lot of force to move a body that big,” Grizzle said. “I think he’s starting to understand what it really takes for him to reach that level, and he’s worked really hard this offseason.
“I tell him every day, go out and dominate, and those offers are gonna come. I hope he’s not worried about it and he just goes out and plays hard.”
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