Palmer Ridge senior Deuce Roberson kept a reminder of less pleasant times on his pads during Friday’s Battle for Monument at Don Breese Stadium.
As Roberson tallied three touchdowns, leading the Bears to a 55-3 win over crosstown rival Lewis-Palmer, he had a news report from his freshman season — when the Rangers won 51-9 — taped on his backplate. Roberson was just a freshman who caught five passes for 49 yards in 2016, but the lopsided loss stuck with him through two state championship seasons as a sophomore and junior.
“We got blown out that year,” he said. “It hurt, but we came back sophomore year (and) handled business. Junior year, same thing.”
Senior year, same thing.
Lewis-Palmer got on the board on the first drive behind a couple of first-down runs from John Hudson but settled for a field goal.
“I thought that we had a good plan coming in, thought that we got the ball down the field at the start and then it just broke loose,” Rangers coach Dustin Tupper said. “And we helped them out too much.”
Raef Ruel, Palmer Ridge’s senior running back, capped the Bears’ first two drives with short touchdown runs before Roberson, quarterback Luke McAllister and Kaden Dudley got the pass game going.
After Marcellus Reed intercepted a Lewis-Palmer pass — one of a handful of turnovers for the Rangers — McAllister threw a quick screen to Roberson, who put his head down and ran, letting the Rangers read the story taped to his back.
“I was like, I’m going to put my head down, I set my eyes on the horizon, just over the pylon, and I was like that’s my landmark and I’m not going to be stopped getting there,” Roberson said.
A touchdown reception by Dudley and a 52-yard run by Ruel made it 35-3 before Roberson came up with an interception and then scored on a deep post to give the Bears a 39-point lead in the final seconds of the first half.
“Deuce is a high-impact player,” Palmer Ridge coach Tom Pulford said. “He did a great job in all three phases of the game. I’m very proud of him, proud of his effort, proud of the way he’s leading.”
Roberson brought the running clock into play on a punt return early in the third quarter when he made a couple Rangers miss, followed a crucial block from Kieran Fry and scored his third and final touchdown.
“Didn’t need a blowup block — just needed to get in his way, he did and it was a clear shot at the end zone,” Roberson said. “That one was pretty simple for me. I just had to follow my blockers.”
The game was pretty simple for Palmer Ridge, which got two interceptions from Reed, a fumble recovery from Kelenn O’Connor and a late rushing touchdown from Noah Brom.
“Whoever wins, they claim the hill. It’s their town,” Roberson said. “So I went ahead looked up online that article, printed it out, taped it on my backplate, played with it the whole game. I told everybody on the team ‘That’s never going to happen again,' not just for me and my class but for years to come. I know we’ll take care of business. I’m just glad of the way my team played and glad I could be a part of it."