TAMPA — Veteran Robinson coach Mike DePue knows better than to try and hypothesize the implausible, to make sense of the surreal, to attach a cause to the preposterous.
Thirty-five years in the business have taught him that some things, such as the Knights’ 11 — eleven — defensive touchdowns in five games, simply have no explanation. Sure, Robinson possesses exceptional team speed. And the way the Knights fluctuate from a 3-4 to 4-3 look may cause some confusion. Heck, karma may be a key.
“But a lot of it,” DePue concedes, “is just plain luck.”
Or better still, outrageous fortune.
Robinson’s 68 defensive points (11 TDs, one safety) are more than the total scoring output of seven Hillsborough County teams. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Knights are 5-0 for the first time since 1967.
In Friday’s 49-0 romp of Blake, they (5-0) scored four defensive TDs in the second quarter alone. Junior linebacker Javaughn “JJ” Johnson had three of those (two fumble returns, one interception).
“It was something like, like a dream in process,” said Johnson, who has five of the 11 TDs. “I don’t know, I guess you practice hard, you play hard.”
Here’s how the far-fetched unfolds: You employ practice drills aimed at teaching players how to strip the ball (which DePue does).
Then you encounter a team (Blake) struggling to take care of it. That team happens to fumble three times in its own territory in the same quarter.
One of your linebackers (Johnson) happens to be in the right position to scoop up two of them and scamper to the end zone. Then, on a blitz deep in opposing territory, the linebacker finds himself in prime position again.
“I saw they lined up with doubles on my side and when I went to blitz, (the quarterback) turned my way and I just jumped,” said
Johnson, whose return covered fewer than 10 yards.
Toss in another fumble return, this one by Martin Ruiz, and you’ve got 24 defensive points in one quarter.
Simple as that. If the pattern weren’t so darned surreal.
What about the two defensive scores against Jefferson? Or the two each against Dunedin and Lennard? Or Brandon Peters’ electrifying 70-yard pick-six at Jesuit?
DePue stops trying to theorize. Better to kick back and be mesmerized.
“Maybe it’s just a little karma, too,” DePue said. “Finally the football gods are looking down on Robinson’s defense and smiling a little bit. There’s just some intangibles that you can’t measure.”
They just scored again
A look at Robinson’s 11 defensive touchdowns
Opponent Date Play
Jefferson Sept. 1 Javaughn Johnson 10 INT return
Jefferson Sept. 1 Dominic Jennings 28 INT return
Dunedin Sept. 7 Terrance Baldwin 38 INT return
Dunedin Sept. 7 Michael Duclos 56 INT return
Jesuit Sept. 14 Brandon Peters 70 INT return
Lennard Sept. 22 Javaughn Johnson fumble return
Lennard Sept. 22 Nahshon Simmons 4 INT return
Blake Sept. 28 Javaughn Johnson 20 fumble return
Blake Sept. 28 Javaughn Johnson 5 INT return
Blake Sept. 28 Martin Ruiz 30 fumble return
Blake Sept. 28 Javaughn Johnson 35 fumble return
Photo: Robinson's Brandon Peters returns an interception for a touchdown against Jesuit.