Countryside's Dawrence Roberts has the ability to make the first tackler miss. Gibbs' Gary Gainer doesn't miss tackles. Both square off at 7:30 tonight in a matchup that could go a long way in deciding one of the biggest games in Week 2.
Dawrence Roberts, RB, Countryside
Roberts, a senior, split carries in the backfield with Maurice Threatts last season. Since Threatts graduated, Roberts is the main man in a Cougars offense that relies heavily on the run.
In the opener against Pinellas Park, Roberts carried the ball 23 times for 185 yards with one touchdown catch. The past two seasons, he has rushed for more than 1,500 yards combined. He could surpass that total this season.
"I'm trying to get at least 1,000 yards," he said. "That's a goal I set for this year."
Less than a week after struggling to a 13-point win against the Patriots, Countryside will get a stern nondistrict test tonight in what could be a first- or second-round playoff preview.
"They're a very fast team, but we're going to be fast, too," Roberts said. "We'll have to outmuscle them."
Gary Gainer, LB, Gibbs
Every week, Gainer flies to the ball as if bound by the physics of some other universe. Last year, the junior had 145 tackles and was named second-team, all-county.
He picked up where he left off in last week's opener with 13 tackles against Lakewood.
"Gary's been very consistent for us," Gibbs coach Yusuf Shakir said earlier this year.
Gainer, the leader of a defense that returns nine players who had significant playing time, uses his speed to cover a lot of ground and can stay on the field in any situation.
The Gladiators also have a bulky, active front four that can shield Gainer from opposing offensive linemen.
Gainer's talents will be on full display against Countryside, which is intent on pounding the ball while its new, no-huddle offense gets on track.
Bob Putnam and Bryan Burns, Times staff writers