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Childersburg basketball player overcomes early struggles, finds new passion in football

Sharod Robertson

Sharod Robertson scored the first three touchdowns of his football career Friday night in a 47-8 win over Goshen.

Childersburg junior Sharod Robertson had never played a single snap of football before this season. His mother, Shakita Marbury, never even recalls him watching a game on TV before this season.

Robertson had always been content with the basketball court. That is until he found the end zone for the first time Friday night in Childersburg's 47-8 win over Goshen.

"That is probably my best moment," Robertson said of his first touchdown. "My best moment right there."

Wait, ever?

"Ever," Robertson replied quickly.

Childersburg coach Johnny Johnson came over and tapped Robertson's helmet after the score to congratulate him while the other Tigers (1-2) huddled around to celebrate the milestone. 

As it turned out, the first-year football player was just getting started. Robertson finished the evening with 11 carries for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He also hauled in one reception for 15 yards. 

"We going to move him around," Johnson said. "That is what he can do. He is smart enough now. We can move him to a wing, we can move him to a wide receiver, then we can put him back at quarterback."

Robertson's favorite play on Friday came during one of his snaps at quarterback.

"I went up the middle kinda then I went out toward the right outside," Robertson said. "Then he (the opposing defender) bit on it, and I just went upfield in the middle."

Robertson said he knew no one else would catch him once he cut back inside. His instincts proved correct as his 70-yard sprint ended in the end zone.

"Just seeing, because I'm a point guard, so I see everything on the court for real," Robertson said, describing how basketball helped prepare him for football. "It just help me see if a gap on offense (opens) and helping me make tackles and stuff."

It's kind of ironic considering Robertson's main motivation for joining the football team was to improve his game on the court. Johnson promised him a season on the football field would help him play a more physical game. 

Johnson also told him he thought Robertson could follow the path of Alabama football commit Antonio Kite. The four-star 2022 prospect is ranked eighth in the state according to the 247sports composite rankings and also draws a crowd for his performances on the basketball court.

"'You built like that and the opportunity,'" Johnson said. "'He’s  going to Alabama, think about what you can do. … He started last year, you start this year. And you will be a senior next year, and he's a senior this year. Things can just blossom for you, (once) you learn how to play.'"

At home, Marbury hears Robertson discuss his new sport with a passion he never expressed for basketball.

"I believe he love football more than basketball because Sharod will be up late at night like outside practicing," Marbury said. "Early, like Saturday and Sunday mornings, he will get up, and he will get his radio, and they will go out to the field."

The coaches don't mandate those weekend practices, but the receiver knows he still has a long way to go. He needs every rep he can get to prepare for the rest of Childersburg's season, starting with Friday night's home game against Dadeville (2-1) at 7.

Because while last week's breakout performance validated his decision to join the team, the sport didn't exactly welcome Robertson with open arms.

With the Tigers' starting quarterback ruled out for medical reasons the week before the season opener, Robertson got the start in the 40-0 loss to B.B. Comer.

His first carry in that game resulted in a 4-yard loss. It took him three more carries just to get back to zero. Robertson also fumbled a kickoff in that game and had to be helped off the field after taking a hard hit. All in less than one half of play.

"Yeah, a lot of it for real," Robertson said when asked if that first game left him frustrated. "And just second thoughts."

He confided his doubts to his mother.

"He wanted to give up, and I told him no," Marbury said. "Do not give up. Just keep trying. You just get out there and do your job. That is the main thing we focused on. Get out there and do your part."

That pep talk helped him stick with football, and in the weeks since both, his mother and Johnson have noticed a shift in Robertson's personality. There's a newfound sense of maturity that wasn't there previously. 

"He's become a leader now,” Johnson said on Monday. “He was soft spoken, but … like today he was like 'guys we've got to focus.'"

Sports Writer Tyler Waldrep: 256-299-2133. On Twitter: @tylerwaldrep