CLOSER LOOK: Hillcrest’s Manny Robert

Take a closer look at Hillcrest senior Manny Robert and you’ll see an elusive dual-threat runner/receiver who should be able to find opportunities at the next level.

Robert was the most electric player on the field in a game played mostly in the trenches as the Trojans (3-0 overall) toppled Riverside Norte Vista in a critical River Valley League victory on Friday, April 1.

The 5-foot-8 slotback has been given a leading role in Hillcrest’s offense alongside QB Camren Payne, and might be just as important to the team’s success this season.

Robert is more than fast enough to get outside the tackles and remains elusive enough to run inside. He’s also a versatile option in the passing game, whether its out of the backfield, the flank or at wideout. 

We caught up with Robert after Hillcrest’s 29-21 victory over Norte Vista in Week 3-A on Friday, April 2. Robert had 106 total yards and two touchdowns to lead the Trojans to their second win over Norte Vista in the last three seasons.

InlandFieldhouse.com: How important was this win for this team?
Manny Robert: “This is very important. Last year, it was bad. It was a battle and unfortunately they beat us. This year all of our team just laid it on the line. I want to give major props to by ‘D’ line and my ‘O’ line, receivers, blocking, everybody, everything, and especially my quarterback. He had one helluva a game. It’s crazy.”

IF: What was the talk going into tonight?
MR: “The talk was all about what coach was talking about during the week, which as about executing and efficiency being key, and playing your butt off. And that’s what we came out and did.”

IF: The two early possessions to get you into a rhythm; how important was that?
MR: “That changed the whole tempo of the game (and) the whole tenor of the game. It hyped it up for offense. Got us fired up and on the ball.”

IF: Where does this stand with two games to play?
MR: “Putting it into perspective, this game was a statement and we proved out statement. We’re ready to be league champs but we have to take it game-by-game, week-by-week and just go out and executive.”

IF: As a senior, what does this win mean to you?
MR: “This win means everything. It’s the last time I get to play this game and like coach told us, ‘You can play any other sport but you’re not going to get this moment. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment so don’t take it for granted and savoir every moment of it.'”

IF: What are you thinking about for football after this season?
MR: “I’m thinking about playing football in college, 100 percent. I’ve had a few looks.”

PHOTO by TERRY PIERSON for THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE

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