This week's Varsity football game, against King Philip Regional High School at Attleboro High School, has been rescheduled to Saturday, October 25th at 12PM
Former Bombardier Setting Records for Stonehill
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
With 8:16 remaining in the fourth quarter at Bethpage Stadium, Nate
Robitaille hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Tom Sydeski to pull
Stonehill within two points of LIU-Post in a critical road game. It was
also the 23rd touchdown reception of Robitaille’s Stonehill career,
which broke the career mark set by Dan Cahill in 1996.
At the time, the historic significance of the catch was lost on the senior wide receiver.
“When it first happened, I really didn’t think much of it,” he said by
phone last week. “We’ve got a new offense that’s been struggling this
season, so it was good to get into the end zone and it didn’t hit me
Stonehill coach Robert Talley was not surprised that Robitaille had no
idea what the touchdown meant beyond the scoreboard and its immediate
impact on the game.
“He’s more worried about winning football games than breaking records,”
said Talley. “I think Nate was invested in trying to win the football
game and that’s where Nate’s focus was; where the team’s focus was.
Afterwards, obviously, it was a much bigger deal.”
Four years ago, when Robitaille made his way to Easton as an
athletically gifted, but very raw football player, Talley and his staff
had no idea that they had just recruited a potential record-breaker.
Although he had played some receiver as a sophomore in high school,
Robitaille’s final two years at Attleboro High were spent as a
quarterback more often than not making plays with his feet rather than
reflected, “We put him into a workout [as a freshman] and, you know, he
didn’t catch the ball incredibly well. Athletically, we knew what we
were getting and he’s worked on all the little details of being a
Robitaille chuckled when he was asked if four years ago he could have
imagined that he could go down as the best receiver in the program’s
every little kid’s dream to play at the next level and stuff but my
freshman year I didn’t play much and I didn’t think this would all
happen,” he remarked.
He added, “Coming in my coaches asked what I wanted to do while I was
here and I said that I wanted to be the best football player that I can
be…They really helped me in my four years here and just to see it on the
field blossom and get the notoriety that I’ve had is a great feeling.”
FIVE YEARS AGO Robitaille
walked into DoubleACS, the Attleboro cable access television station
that at the time covered every Bombardiers football game, and said that
he wanted to create a highlight video. Robitaille was not a heavily
recruited player in high school and he wanted to reach out to coaches
and find a way to showcase his talents and maybe get a workout or a
meeting that could lead to a chance to play in college.
He came in before or after basketball practice to learn editing with
Final Cut and to sift through the hours of game footage that DoubleACS
had from his senior season. He knew that it was unlikely that he would
be able to play quarterback at the next level and was trying to
highlight the athletic ability that made him a star on the gridiron and
the basketball court.
Robitaille extended his record with a TD catch this week. “That
process when I was a senior really made me realize that I can do a lot
of stuff when I put my mind to it,” he explained. “That whole process of
getting recruited and promoting myself…even my dad always harps on it,
how I did that, and he’s so proud of me.”
many recruits, Robitaille had to work to get his collegiate
opportunity. It was not handed to him; he had to to make it happen
The video worked. He got noticed by area colleges
and started going on campus visits to find the best fit for him. The
willingness to work and to create his own chance is a personality trait
that has endured into his Stonehill career and enabled Robitaille to go
from an athlete without a position to a receiver that his coach
acknowledges the team wants to get the ball in any way it can.
“I think he feels that he has something to prove. He plays with a
little bit of a chip on his shoulder,” said Talley, adding, “He’s worked
really hard in the offseason to become the receiver that he is.”
The coach continued, “Obviously, we’re really happy he chose to come
to Stonehill and I think it’s worked out well for both sides.”
THE TRANSITION FROM QUARTERBACK
to receiver is not an easy process, as Robitaille found out right away.
He had to know his route, read the coverage, and at the same time watch
the ball to make sure he did not miss the snap. Coming from an offense
that was predicated on running the ball, there were also techniques that
he had to learn about getting in and out of cuts and making sure to
catch the ball with his hands.
But, form and technique can be taught. What could not be taught was
the athletic ability that Robitaille brought to the position and what
his coach believes separates him from most other Division II receivers.
“His burst -- he can really change direction, change speeds really
quickly and I think that’s what kind of separates him from other
receivers in our league,” said Talley, who is in his ninth season as
head coach. “He has another gear where people can be in a great
defensive call but because of his ability he’s able to really change the
that Robitaille put in on the practice field and in the film room has
paid off in games and earned him notoriety across the country. He was
named a NE-10 All-Conference player after his junior season and named to
several publications’ All-Super Region 1 second teams.
“Coach always says to work on the little things and a lot of good
things will happen and that’s what I’ve been trying to focus on like
getting in and out of breaks correctly, catching the ball with my hands,
getting upfield, all the little things,” said Robitaille.
He added, “It was all new coming in, so just the growth from that from
my freshman year not playing very much to now being seen as one of the
top players in the nation is a good feeling.”
In 2012, the Skyhawks took on nationally ranked New Haven in a game
that was broadcast across the country by CBS Sports. Stonehill lost
45-41, but it was a big game for the then sophomore receiver who caught
two touchdown passes in the game. It was a coming out of sorts for
Robitaille to gain attention outside the region.
He explained, “I know they had a handout that showed cities all over
the country that had the game playing and even people that our family
knows said they were in bars and had the game on. It was just an awesome
attention is growing for Robitaille and he is hopeful that it could lead
to a chance at the next level. He noted that he had worked out for the
Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals at a camp at Bentley and that
he had scouts from the New England Patriots and Redskins at games this
fall. It would still be a long shot for a DII player to make that jump,
but it is one that he is working to achieve.
Robitaille said, “That’s what I want to do and that’s what I keep
pushing for, so I hope they see something that they like and stuff
happens for me, but that’s just going to keep my drive focused on the
next five games and even after preparing for the combine and all that
THIS PAST WEEKEND, Robitaille
got closer to two more receiving records with 10 receptions for 144
yards and another touchdown. The Skyhawks won 33-0 at Pace and are now
3-4 on the season with four games remaining. Although the chances of
making the playoffs are slim, Robitaille insists that his only focus is
getting the season back on track getting four more wins.
“I want us to come out and win the next [four] games and kind of
switch around the morale of what everyone is feeling right now,” he
said. “We’ve just got to control what we can control and go out there
added, “Nate realizes that we’re going to try and get the ball in his
hands in any way that we can and then being able to take advantage of it
is what he’s going to want to do, but it’s really in helping the team
be successful is really his main goal.”
In the midst of a busy season it can be hard to take a moment and
think about where you came from and how you got to where you are, but
Robitaille tried for a second.
“When you’re in the game, you don’t even think about that stuff,” he
said. “But it’s been a fun ride from playing Pop Warner at Attleboro to
playing at the high school and now to this…I’m blessed.”
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
Game 7 Who: Attleboro HS vs King Philip HS When: Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 12:00PM Where: Attleboro High School
Freshman Game - Thurs, Oct 23, 2014 at 3:30PM at King Philip Reg HS JV Game - Monday, Oct 27, 2014 at 3:30PM at King Philip Reg HS
Gridiron Meeting When: October 27, 2014 at 7:00PM Where: Attleboro High School Who: Anyone and everyone Room178(behindthe trophycase)
Photographers and Photos needed for the JV and Freshmen games.