By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – For Dennis Robbins, these last three seasons have been the best of his 32-year coaching career.
Robbins, an offensive coordinator on Anthony Hart’s Lafayette High staff, has seen his Commodores win 45 of 47 games, including their last 31, and appear in three state championship games.
His Commodores – the only MHSAA team to conclude a season at 16-0, in 2010 – are on the verge of defending their 2010 Class 4A crown. With a victory this afternoon over Laurel, the ‘Dores will have not lost a game since their 35-16 defeat at the hands of St. Stanislaus in the Dec. 5, 2009, state title game.
So, if that’s the case, make that back-to-back state championships and 16-0 seasons.
“I’ve been coaching 32 years and the last three years have been probably the most enjoyable,” said Robbins, who has coached at Pontotoc and Bruce, among other places. “I’ve been working with great coaches and great kids and great athletes. They love to play the game, and it’s just been fantastic.”
While talent alone will win you a fair share of games, unselfishness among the players is what truly makes a team great.
“That’s the good thing about our football team, really,” Robbins said. “All of those guys are really unselfish. They don’t care who scores as long as somebody scores.
“Shoot, they’re just as excited when they score as when somebody else scores. So, they’re very unselfish, and that’s been a big part of our success, I think.”
No holds barred
And with this afternoon’s game being a state championship one, expect the top-ranked ‘Dores to pull out all the stops – meaning that senior quarterback Jeremy Liggins and senior running back Demarkous Dennis don’t have to touch the ball on every single offensive snap in order for the ‘Dores to win.
“It’s just not Liggins that you will have to stop,” said Laurel head coach Milton Smith. “They got some skill guys that will propose a tremendous threat to us.”
With Amory keying on him, said Dennis, a two-time 2,000-yard back, his brother Jamel got an opportunity to shine. Jamel Dennis rushed eight times for 61 yards and three touchdowns in Lafayette’s 35-7 semifinals win last Friday.