PILLAGER -- Lee Roberts might have more options than a lawyer graduating from Harvard.
Roberts, a four-year starting quarterback, hands off to five running backs who could gain 100 yards in any game. He has a receiver and tight end who want as many catches as possible, plus he's leading a team striving to return to the Class A state tournament.
"He's been through the fires," said Pillager head coach Pete Bothun. "He's a veteran player.
"The leadership aspect is huge. The kids are real comfortable with him at quarterback. They know he's not going to make mistakes. What he does doesn't show up in the stats, but it does on the scoreboard."
In a 52-40 win over Menahga Oct. 2, Roberts threw for 126 yards on 7-of-8 passing. He connected with Adam Brown for a 45-yard touchdown and found Brown again for a 10-yard score. He also rushed for 51 yards and a score.
"It's nice to know that you're on top and expected to do good," said Roberts. "It's nice not always being the underdog and it's nice to get some recognition."
For the season, Roberts has passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns with a completion percentage of 50 percent (20-40). He's also rushed for two scores and 239 yards on just 36 carries.
More important, Roberts is the leader of a team filled with standouts. His unselfishness and ability to spread the ball around to many weapons is a bigger threat than his arm or legs.
"We understand that whatever is working we're going to stick with," said Roberts. "It seems like every game we have a different player that steps up and does good.
Aside from his offensive contributions, Roberts is also the free safety on defense. He's leading the team with five interceptions.
Although Bothun would like to see his quarterback on the sidelines while the defense is on the field, he knows the defense needs Roberts.
"He's always in the right place at the right time," said Bothun. "He's very coachable."
Bothun and Roberts have had a special relationship since Bothun arrived in Pillager three years ago. Roberts has been the only quarterback in Bothun's tenure and the two have an understanding and almost think alike.
"The most important position is the quarterback," said Bothun. "For me, there are no worries. He's going to execute the game plan so I can focus on other things.
"He and I will talk and I'll ask him what he thinks we should do in a certain situation and 99 percent of the time we're on the same page.
"He's a security blanket because I know he will be there. We're a different team when he's not playing quarterback."
Other notable performances:
Cross country -- Crosby-Ironton's Sam Anderson was the individual winner with a time of 16:37 at the Becker-Big Lake invitational Oct. 1.
Football -- C-I's Steve Perpich rushed for 161 yards and a score in a 30-15 loss to Osceola, Wis., Oct. 4.
Wadena-Deer Creek's Peter Hayes rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in a 27-21 win over Park Rapids Oct. 5.
Pierz's Dan Saehr passed for two TDs and 105 yards to lead the Pioneers to a 14-12 win over Eden Valley-Watkins Oct. 5.
Ryan Olson of Little Falls rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown in a 21-14 loss to Rocori Oct. 5.
Verndale's Jordan Hinkle scored twice and rushed for 118 yards in a 49-8 romp of Ashby Oct. 5.
Justin Biebighauser of Pequot Lakes rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-0 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Oct. 5
Justin Schwegel of Pine River-Backus rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown in a 27-7 win over Lake of the Woods Oct. 5.
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