Robinzine, Acosta make 2nd-team all-state: Mohave’s duo earn 1st-team, all-Grand Canyon honors, four T-birds also garner 2nd-team, all-region
MOHAVE VALLEY — Graduating seniors Will Robinzine and Sean Acosta represented the Mohave High School T-birds on the Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Conference Second Team.
Robinzine and Acosta also earned Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Grand Canyon Region First-Team All-Region accolades for their exploits on the gridiron following the T-birds 2-8 overall, 0-6 in region 2018 season.
“It was great to receive the reward, but I saw it more as motivation to keep going and improving,” said Robinzine, who led the T-birds in rushing during the last two seasons.
The T-birds knew they had something special the moment they laid eyes on Robinzine.
“The first time we saw William run the ball was his freshman year and we knew once he was varsity ready, we would have someone special on our hands,” said T-birds head coach Rudy Olvera by email. “He had the makings of a great back at an early age.
“So, when he came to the varsity as a junior, we knew we had to get the ball in his hands and that is exactly what we did.
“As a senior we knew after a couple years in the weight room he could handle the load of 20-plus carries a game, but he wanted more and we got it to him.”
Robinzine gained 1,523 yards on 248 carries with 15 TDs during his senior season after having a stellar junior campaign when he gained 1,480 on 243 carries with nine TDs while averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
“He always wanted the ball,” Olvera said. “He possessed breakaway speed, but William truly loved the contact and after being banged up pretty good his junior season his mind and body was ready for the work his senior year.”
Robinzine’s expression rarely changed, whether it was first carry or 25th carry of the game his body language remained the same.
“William never spoke too much even after a score I would stare into his eyes only to get a head nod and smile,” Olvera said. “He knew he did his job and loved it, and he was ready to go back to work.”
Acosta, who earned his postseason awards for playing center for Mohave, shared his reaction upon first finding out about the accolade.
“My reaction was nothing short of pure euphoria,” said Acosta by email. “After working so hard, it felt great to achieve what I came to do.”
Acosta is a self-starter, which always makes a coaching staff’s job easier.
“As far as Sean goes, he is a coach’s dream: big, smart, coachable and humble,” Olvera said. “Sean was a captain through and through.
“He had no problem communicating with his teammates the message from coaches no matter what the message was.”
The T-birds’ offense operated from the shotgun formation just about every play, which means the center has to accurately snap the ball to the quarterback and Acosta snapped the football flawlessly close to 100% of the time.
When asked if it was comforting to know that Acosta was going to snap the ball accurately just about every play, Olvera said: “Sean got off the ball with a purpose every snap and that is after making sure our quarterback had the ball in his hands with a perfect snap.
“Sean made our job easy; he commanded the respect of the line around him through his hard work and passion for the game.
Olvera credited Acosta for his business-like approach.
“He never took plays off in practice or during game-time situations,” Olvera said. “And that was coming off a knee injury early in his junior campaign.”
While his head coach shared the business-like side of his center, Acosta revealed a more happy-go-lucky version of himself.
“My experience at Mohave can be described as an all-around good time,” Acosta said. “With anything I did, I found pleasure in doing.”
Four graduating seniors earned second-team all-region honors.
Martin Salazar earned second-team, all-region honors at linebacker, but he also was valuable at fullback.
“Martin was a leader on the defense and played the later part of the season with a nagging hamstring injury that really hurt his chances at first-team,” Olvera said.
Nonetheless, Salazar accumulated a team-high 64 tackles, 32 solo, with 3.0 for losses in nine games.
Salazar also gained 118 yards rushing on 10 carries with two TDs.
Steven Matthews also garnered second-team, all-region honors at linebacker.
Matthews played 10 games, recorded 48 tackles, 13 solo, with 4.0 for losses.
“Steven was a two-way player on the line but earned his accolades on the defensive side of the ball where he anchored the defensive line at nose tackle,” Olvera said. “But sometimes moved to the end spot when we needed a play or two out there.”
Graduating senior offensive lineman Oliver Liles earned second-team all-region accolades.
The T-birds amassed 2,565 on the ground last season, and Liles helped anchor an offensive line, which paved the wave for Mohave’s runners.
“Oliver was a road grader, a beast in the weight room and a massive force for our offensive line,” Oliver said. “We do not rush for over 2,000 yards without the help of our offensive line.”
Wide receiver Christian Bay caught eight passes for 278 with two TDs. He averaged an astronomical 34.8 yards per catch.
“Christian Bay led the region in yards-per-catch average on a run-heavy team, which meant when we needed it, he made the big catches,” Olvera said.
HONORABLE MENTION NODS: Graduating seniors, QB Brent Moore, WR Nolan Beck and S Atom McKay, as well as incoming senior lineman Thomas Nunn and incoming junior lineman Ricky Ramirez got the nods.