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Millville QB Nate Robbins' stellar senior season culminates in sectional title

Millville QB Nate Robbins' stellar senior season culminates in sectional title


MILLVILLE — When Nate Robbins was in eighth grade, his midget football team went 1-9.

Robbins and his fellow seniors had never won a championship until Friday.

Top-seeded Millville High School knocked off No. 2 seed Ocean City 40-3 to win the South Jersey Group IV championship on their home turf at Wheaton Field.

It was several years of hard work coming to fruition for the Class of 2021.

“We’ve been wanting this our whole four years (in high school),” said Robbins, 17. “Coming out here and getting it on our home field was something really special.”

Robbins was just as steady as he had been all season for the Thunderbolts. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 189 yards and three touchdown passes. He threw an interception that came on a nice play from an Ocean City defender. He also converted three long third downs for the Thunderbolts, who improved to 10-1.

“He’s the heart and soul of this offense,” Millville coach Dennis Thomas said. “When he’s on the field at quarterback, his mindset is very similar to mine, and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.”

Thomas said the Thunderbolts offense goes through Robbins, calling the three-year starting QB another coach on the field.

“If I call the wrong play, like the wrong look, he’ll go, ‘no, Coach, it’s this look,’ and he’ll correct it. He knows (the offense) inside and out,” Thomas added.

There were several big plays made by Robbins on Friday night.

He threw two touchdown passes to freshman Lotzeir Brooks from 31 and 42 yards out, and a 50-yarder to a wide open senior receiver Calem Bowman.

But, it was what Robbins was able to do to sustain Millville’s drives Friday that was key.

The Thunderbolts faced a third-down and 9 about midway through the first quarter. Robbins dropped back to pass and immediately had an Ocean City defender in his face. He shook off the would-be sack, broke free from another defender and scrambled 14 yards for the first down.

“I’m just dropping back, and I see everybody on Ocean City dropping back in coverage,” Robbins said. “They had our routes all locked up, and then I see pressure in my face, so I stepped to the right and I see a hole, so I get low and break a tackle and make sure I get to the first down.”

Millville was faced with a pair of long third downs again in the second quarter.

Facing a third-and-6, Robbins drew up a swing pass to the right, finding junior wide receiver Thomas Smith on a 15-yard pickup for the first down. A few plays later, facing a third-and-11, he found senior receiver Ti-yon Cephas, who made a leaping grab between two defenders, over the middle for a 17-yard gain.

Three plays later, Robbins’ 31-yard TD pass to Brooks extended Millville’s lead to 13-3.

“For him to make those conversions, it might have been a different game if he didn’t make those conversions,” Thomas said.

Robbins called this season the best of his football life. He has thrown for a single-season school record 2,291 yards to go with 26 TDs. Winning a sectional title was the true team goal, and finishing the season with wins against rival Vineland on Thanksgiving and another in a bowl game the following week would be icing on the cake.

Robbins said he is considering attending Rutgers University in the fall to study sports medicine. He may consider trying to walk onto the football team.

All that he accomplished this year, Robbins couldn’t have done it without his teammates, he said. It’s all about the OBG mentality — orange and blue gang — he said.

“They all put in 100% today, and that showed,” Robbins said. “They all have love for everybody on this team and just putting that all together and put up points.”

Contact John Russo: 609-272-7184

Twitter: @ACPress_Russo

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I graduated from Rowan University in 2011 where I studied journalism. I covered local high school and college sports at the South Jersey Times and Vineland Daily Journal. I have been a sports reporter with The Press since July 2013

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