Roberts earns top lineman award at camp

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 8, 2013

Competition is Zachery Roberts’ middle name.

The Pleasant Home rising senior competed with football players from the Florida panhandle and Alabama, and came out as the top defensive lineman at the Step It Up camp in Pensacola, Fla., on Sunday.

Roberts ran through traditional position drills, the 40-yard dash and one-on-one drills, such as pass rushing, along with showing his skills on spin and ball rush moves.

His performance at Escambia High School earned him an all-expense paid trip to Miami to compete in the Step It Up Elite camp in July.

“It was great,” Roberts said about his camp experience. “I had a blast.”

There are 15 Step It Up camps nationally, and Roberts will represent his position as a defensive lineman from the Pensacola camp when he travels to South Beach.

Step It Up holds competitions in all positions from quarterbacks to defensive backs, PHS coach Cody McCain said.

“More than 300 kids were there from the Florida panhandle and schools in Alabama,” McCain said.

Roberts said he had fun competing with other defensive linemen at the camp.

“I knew there were going to be a lot of people there,” he said. “There were other people there who looked like they were dominating. I just don’t know what happened. I came out on top.

“I thought I (performed) like somewhere on the bottom,” he said.

McCain agreed with his player’s assessment of how he did at the camp.

“When we got down there, we saw many kids from small football programs, and some of them in came from Florida 6A and 7A schools,” McCain said. “(Alabama’s Class 6A) Daphne sent 25 players to the camp.”

Upon arrival at the camp, McCain said they knew there was going to be good competition.

“(Roberts) Measured (6-foot-3), and 275 pounds,” he said. “He had a good, strong size. I was impressed watching him compete.”

Roberts said his goal at the camp was to do his best.

“I believe they said before the whole thing started that there were going to be medals handed out,” he said. “I was going to try my hardest to win one of them. I did, and I was very proud of myself.”

Pretty soon, Roberts will be in South Beach competing with the camp’s best from around the nation.

A competitive football player by heart, Roberts said he’s “excited” about the forthcoming trip.

“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I’m really excited for it. I always have a fun time in competition.”

In addition to Roberts, Pleasant Home sent five other players to the camp on Sunday.

Austin Chesser finished in the top three as an offensive lineman.

Chesser may earn a wild card invite to compete at the elite camp in Miami, McCain said.

Roberts is the son of Tammy Smith and Ashley Roberts of Andalusia. He is the grandson of proud grandparents, Gary and Charlotte Smith; Johnny and Barbara Roberts; and Charles and Brenda Roberts.