Prep Football: Roelofs rakes in INTs
Opposing quarterbacks: Throw Ty Roelofs' way at your own peril. The Willmar cornerback has been less a Cardinal and more a ball hawk with six interceptions in the last four games, becoming an instant boost to a defense that has allowed just 10.0 ...
Opposing quarterbacks: Throw Ty Roelofs' way at your own peril.
The Willmar cornerback has been less a Cardinal and more a ball hawk with six interceptions in the last four games, becoming an instant boost to a defense that has allowed just 10.0 points per game in that time as Willmar builds to the Section 8AAAA finals Friday against Detroit Lakes.
"It's one of the best feeling ever," Roelofs said about walking off the field after an interception. "You have the whole team behind you on that. It's just so fun."
And it's been a lot of work for Roelofs to get to this point. In the summer, the senior focused on getting a faster break to the ball, utilizing plenty of squats, ladders and up-and-downs.
According to head coach Jon Konold, there's been just as much development between the ears.
"He's really grown up," Konold said. "He's more comfortable with what we're doing and he's taken more of a leadership role. Being a captain, he has to put himself out there and he has to show the guys by example. He's matured on and off the field. Guys look to him to make plays and he's done that."
In the second half of the year, the Cardinals have played against teams who feature the passing game and that has allowed Roelofs and the rest of the defense to make plays while playing zone.
"When you get teams like that, that lets us go into zone and lets you read the quarterback a lot better," Roelofs said. "In practice, we work on their pass plays throughout the whole weak. Coach (Patrick) Courtney really helps with that and (defensive coordinator Dustin) Carlson is a great play caller."
"I think he's getting comfortable," Konold added. "He's recognizing routes and getting better playing his zone. He's got a lot of experience and he knows how to bait the quarterback a little bit."
With a bid to state on the line, Roelofs won't get as many opportunities for an interception. The Lakers feature a run-heavy attack led by Isaiah Thompson, who has rushed for 1,457 yards and 14 touchdowns.
But Roelofs is far from being just a ball hawk. He ranks fifth on the team in total tackles (43) and against run-heavy teams like Hutchinson and Moorhead, he came up with 14 and 12 tackles, respectively.
Set to play plenty of man-to-man coverage against the Lakers, Roelofs is ready to take Willmar to state for the first time in 30 years.
"The main thing is when it's man, you read your own wide receiver or whoever you're guarding and then react on what they do," Roelofs said. "Most times, they will completely tell you what's happening."
He continued, "We seniors want to go out with a big boom and this seems to be the best way every. We got a great shot on Friday; we just need to be focused."