‘The One-And-Only Tre Roberson’
People around the game often contemplate the heights that Tre Roberson might one day elevate to.
Well Saturday, on a Tourism Alberta-type mid-September late afternoon, everyone watching got an inkling.
Rising to the occasion to parry away Lirim Hajrullahu’s go-ahead 42-yard field goal attempt in the game’s dying embers, Roberson looked as if he had a rocket-pack strapped to his back.
Or might’ve been shimmying up an invisible retractable ladder in order to reach a second-storey window.
“That,”reckoned marauding rush end Cordarro Law, “was a LeBron-type block.
“Did you see how high Tre got?
“Remember those NBA finals when the Cavaliers won the championship? And LeBron was swatting all those shots away?
“That’s what he looked like.
“That was one of them blocks.”
Roberson’s dramatic knock-away with 56 ticks left on the score clock fittingly sealed the deal on a hardscrabble 19-18 Stampeders’ victory over the invading Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Family Day at McMahon Stadium.
Understand, the second-year star cornerback didn’t merely get a paw to it.
His hang-time proved so prodigious that the rising kick actually deflected off Roberson’s left elbow and out of harm’s way.
So, LeBron-like? Indeed.
Air Jordan-esque, too.
Bo Levi Mitchell, perhaps more of a football purist, ventured away from hardwood, sticking to the more familiar gridiron in finding a comparable.
“Man, I remember a picture of Randy Moss in an old Sports Illustrated when he was at Marshall,’’ the MOP quarterback whistled in admiration. “Remember, Moss had a 48-inch vertical or something absolutely stupid like that.
“And in this picture he’s basically dunking on a guy. I mean, his whole upper body’s above this DB.
“Tre today kinda reminded me of that. The same sort of angelic rise to the gods.”
That rise, that hang-time, proved utterly decisive.
Two Ka’Deem Carey rushes for a fresh set of downs following a turnover on downs and the Stampeders had secured win No. 8 on the second and third in succession.
“The D-line,’’ explained Roberson of his pivotal contribution, “got a great push. It all starts with that push up there. We preach that: If they get a good push and I jump for the new line of scrimmage then the play will be able to get made.
“We know he hits a low ball. Killer (special teams coach Mark Kilam) made a great call. Just happy to make the play.”
The Stampeders prevailed despite spending much of the first half swimming upstream against a strong easterly current. In falling behind 17-6 by the interval, they’d uncharacteristically given up 309 yards in offence while compiling only 160. Mitchell was having a devil of a time finding his usual rhythm and the defence was being nickel-and-dimed to death by Tabbies’ QB Dane Evans.
“I mean, the first half we was getting routed,” conceded Roberson. “As a defence, we don’t like that. Especially on our field. We came in here, everyone got together, started making the corrections we needed to and we just went out there and played together.
“I just FaceTimed my wife. And my son is literally sitting on the dresser watching me play. I’m just happy to be able to make my family proud.”
In a complete flip-flop, the Stampeders dominated Quarters 3 and 4, holding the TiCats to a single point, on the opening kickoff, no less.
After that, two forced fumbles – by DB Raheem Wilson and ever-omnipresent Law – and a slew of key plays, allowing the offence to begin heating up.
Calgary’s deciding points arrived at 7:06 of the fourth quarter, Mitchell finding Eric Rogers with a TD pass from 15 yards away to cap an eight-play, 89-yard march.
“They came out hot and I was just off at the beginning of the game,’’ acknowledged No. 19. “Missing things, missing reads. Just wasn’t myself.
“At halftime, I talked to (coach Ryan) Dinwiddie, started making sure I was stepping into my throws and guys started making plays for me.
“The entire receiving corps stepped up and we were finally able to put some drives together and score a touchdown.”
Still, it took Roberson’s heroics to seal it. The strong candidate for Outstanding Defensive Player for 2019 also contributed an interception, No. 7 on the season, to the victory.
“He wants it,’’ summed up coach Dave Dickenson. “He’s a really good person. This was Family Day and I know he really loves that family, his kids and his wife.
“And, honestly, I felt like he’s my guy that does everything right. He shows up first. Does a lot of work in the community. And then to go out and perform the way he did … I’m proud of him.”
That level of pride extends throughout the dressing room.
“Whatever he does doesn’t surprise me,” lauded offensive lineman Derek Dennis. “For him to make a seamless transition from quarterback to defensive back just shows you.
“The things he can do, even in terms of when the ball’s not being thrown his way … listen, as a DB, if they’re not throwing at you it’s meant to be a compliment; it actually means you’re really good at what you do. People seem to forget that.
“He’s a special type athlete.
“So he’s not like this guy or that guy. I don’t compare him to nobody.
“To me, he’s the One-And-Only Tre Roberson.”