A record-setting 63 touchdowns and a conference championship this season was the encore.
Next year’s senior campaign, if it mirrors his career performance thus far, should be the jaw-dropping grand finale.
Red Springs quarterback Blake Greene is this season’s unanimous selection as The Robesonian’s Player of the Year for leading the Red Devils to their second consecutive 10-win season and third-round trip in the state playoffs.
“It means a lot being considered the best player in Robeson County because there’s a lot of talent here,” Greene said. “I couldn’t do any of it without my teammates. We’ve had two really good seasons.”
To put Greene’s gaudy numbers in perspective, take a look at how they stack up with Robeson County’s previous most talented dual-threat quarterback since the turn of the century, Jordan Reisman.
In his only season as Lumberton High’s starting quarterback in 2002, Reisman took the area by storm. He was named The Robesonian’s top player and the Two Rivers Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year following a 27-touchdown, 2,579-yard season, beating out Pine Forest quarterback Patrick Pinkney who went on to star at East Carolina.
Reisman, who was also a strikeout machine for Paul Hodges’ baseball team, rushed for 1,028 and another seven scores on the ground that season out of head coach Jeff Smouse’s spread. Lumberton was picked to finish sixth in the conference but posted the program’s first winning record since 1986.
Reisman was a highlight waiting to happen and his 3,607 total yards of offense and 34 touchdowns for a quarterback was a Robeson County-high for nearly a decade — slightly better than Lumberton’s Buddy Fuller the previous season — until Greene eclipsed those numbers in 2011. This fall, Greene obliterated county record books with 51 touchdown passes and 3,899 yards through the air.
Greene nearly completed more passes (221) than Reisman attempted (244) during his banner campaign. Greene’s 63 total touchdowns is fourth on the all-time single-season list according to the NCHSAA, second to only Charlotte Independence quarterbacks Chris Leak and Joe Cox and Albemarle’s TA McClendon. All three of those players signed Division I scholarships and Leak won a national championship at Florida.
Greene, like Reisman at 5-foot-10, benefits from short, quick passes and getting the ball out to other talented players. The game-breaking plays just tend to happen. From 80-yard keepers to hitting a well-covered receiver in the corner of the end zone, nothing Greene has accomplished surprises Red Springs coach George Coltharp who has put his captain’s skill set to the test in Red Springs’ Air Raid attack.
“You don’t have to have a rocket arm in our offense, but you need a passer who’s smart with the football and reliable,” Coltharp said. “Blake makes my job easy. He has everything under control out there for the offense.”
At Lumberton, Smouse’s passing offense had more balance with additional depth at running back and relied just as heavily on Reisman’s running ability as his arm.