All Garrett Carney can do is sometimes laugh to himself.
Carney is a tractor of a linebacker at Eastlake High School – and also the 4A KingCo’s reigning top defensive player – so he knows a thing or two about sticks of dynamite.
So when he sees teammate Grady Robison decide to be the bravest quarterback in Washington high school football, and take on defenders after getting loose on a broken play, it is a sight to behold.
“A lot of quarterbacks you play, they go out of bounds,” Carney said, “As a defender, if you are going to the sideline to tackle him, you are not expecting the quarterback to lower his shoulder on you … and he just lays kids out.”
On Thursday, the Wolves are playing for the 4A KingCo championship against Bothell, and the No. 1 seed to the district playoffs.
Their dual-threat quarterback – Robison, who is a Montana State commit – is the biggest reason why they are in this position.
His 2,209 yards of total offense in eight games leads the league by a considerable margin. He also has scored 23 touchdowns.
But it just isn’t yards and points that makes Robison so special. It is his ultra-competitive spirit.
“I don’t think there is anybody more competitive in a game than me,” Robison said. “I hate to lose. That is just how it is. I will do anything in my power to win.”
But first, he had to learn everything it takes to run the team’s complex offense – inspired by former Skyline coach Steve Gervais, and tweaked by Wolves coach Don Bartel and offensive coordinator Kyle Snell.
If you go to Eastlake, you are not handed any sort of playbook, Bartel prefers his players to be more “action-based” in learning it.
And for quarterbacks, they see exactly what the offensive concepts are when they head into the coaches’ office for weekly meetings with Snell.
“My sophomore year was rough, and it took me about a year to learn them,” Robison said.”There has got to be near 100 (play calls) with what we do.”
Robison took over the starting job last season. And even though he accounted for his fair share of big plays, he also struggled with consistency and confidence, Bartel said.
As a second-year starting senior, Robison has taken off in 2019.
“The growth he has seen between last year and now, it is unreal,” Carney said. “He is such a weapon to have.”
And while Robison has mastered the team’s offensive concepts, he seems to do his best work on the fly.
Teammates and coaches constantly praise Robison’s toughness, but he might also be the fastest big-school quarterback in the state. He is the reigning KingCo springs champion in track and field, and placed fifth last spring in the 100 meters at the state meet.
His best 100 time is 10.92 seconds. Not bad for a wiry-strong athlete standing at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds.
“I have always been naturally fast,” Robison said.
Case in point: A jaw-dropping scramble in the Wolves’ 34-13 victory over Newport of Bellevue on Oct. 18.
With the Wolves at the Newport 10-yard line, Robison saw the shotgun snap go way over his head.
Retreating to go pick up the loose football, he was forced all the way back near midfield bu Newport’s pass rush.
And then Robison performed his escape act: Not only did he dart through traffic evading tacklers, he finally saw an opening on the right sideline and took off untouched to the end zone.
The play must have covered 75 yards – all for a 10-yard touchdown.
“That is who he is, and what he is,” Bartel said.