Hempfield’s Roby, Perkins ready to carry the load in backfield
By: Paul Schofield
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 | 9:11 PM
When Hempfield quarterback Blake Remaley said the offense will have a different look — the Spartans plan to focus on the run game — two players’ eyes lit up.
That change is fully endorsed by senior running back Nathan Roby and junior Mario Perkins. That duo, along with the other Spartans runners, is ready to take on the new offense.
The switch in offensive philosophy is predicated by the strength of the Hempfield offensive line.
And while most quarterbacks might balk at the move because they like to throw the ball, Remaley is eager because it might help the Spartans win more football games.
“We have our top two running backs, and the entire offensive line returning,” Remaley said. “I’m excited for this year.”
Senior offensive tackle Fintan Brose is committed to Delaware, and Ryan Cross and Paul Newill are receiving looks from colleges.
The running game should also benefit Remaley because a strong ground game can open up the play-action pass.
Remaley rushed for 260 yards and scored four touchdowns last season, and he completed 117 of 200 passes for 1,294 yards and seven touchdowns.
But it will be Roby and Perkins who benefit the most.
“We’re real excited,” Roby said. “We have a good group of guys and a good line, big dudes especially Fintan, Ryan and Paul. We’re looking to run the ball down teams’ throats this year. I’m excited, and I know Mario is to.”
Roby led the Spartans in rushing last season with 691 yards. He also caught 22 passes for 237 yards and scored nine touchdowns.
“We plan to use both players in the offense,” Hempfield coach Rich Bowen said. “We want to use Nathan in the slot position to utilize his receiving ability. We’ll still throw the ball.”
Perkins rushed for 567 yards, caught 19 passes for 169 yards and scored seven touchdowns.
“Right now, I’m splitting time between running back and slot,” Roby said. “I’m doing motion stuff and all that with Mario and Demetrius (Murphy).”
“We have three different types of running backs,” Perkins said. “We want to pound the football at people.”
The change in offensive philosophy is also part of the change in attitude at Hempfield.
“We want to win no matter what,” Roby said. “We’re not going to take losing as an option, no matter what. We know we can compete against the Class 6A teams.”
Perkins added: “Our mentality has changed. We don’t like that losing mentality anymore.”
And Perkins spent extra time in the summer working on catching the ball better and running better routes.
“I’ve been working all summer with coach Ty (George),” Perkins said. “They’re experimenting with me at different spots. I’m looking forward to the run game and pass game combined.”
And if the switches work, Roby, Perkins and the rest of the Spartans might end up with more wins than losses. At least that’s the plan.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .