The quest for Little Rock Central's second straight Class AAAAA state football title got a little more challenging recently when Antwain Robinson, one of the Tigers star defenders, found out he was going to have to miss the season because of a knee problem.
But even though Robinson has to battle osteochondritis dissecans - a disorder that required surgery and occurs when there is a loss of blood supply to an area of bone underneath a joint surface - and is schedule to miss the complete campaign, teammate Kevin Thornton stresses the team has his back.
"They are telling him he is going to miss the entire year, but he is hoping that he will be able to play at the end of the year, maybe during the playoffs," Thornton said. "Either way, we are going to go out there and get it done for both him and ourselves. We just have to make plays, I have to make more plays, but we can get it done. We plan to win it again."
Robinson (6-2, 221), a stalwart on the defensive line last season for Central who had 12 sacks and was moving to his likely college position of linebacker this go round, and hard-hitting safety Thornton have both been offered scholarships by Arkansas.
The fact that the Razorbacks are committed to Robinson - bad leg or not - says a lot to Thornton, who had a whopping 10 interceptions last season and also totaled 82 tackles.
"He will come back, he will be able to play and they know that," Thornton said. "But the fact they are staying with him - when some might not because he can't play right now - that shows me they do the right thing up there."
Arkansas is hopeful that Thornton and Robinson will follow Razorback signee Fred Bledsoe to Fayetteville, but Thornton stresses he is going to take his time and make sure he makes the right decision.
"It's a big one for my future so I am going to take all my visits and take all the time I need to until I for sure," Thornton said. "But Arkansas is No. 1 right now."
Thornton said Thursday night he is also hearing from Iowa, Tennessee and Alabama in addition to Arkansas.
"Those four are really the only schools that I am interested in," Thornton said. "There's no hurry. Arkansas knows how much I like them."
As for Robinson, Thornton says he is holding up well, but he thinks his buddy may start to get a little discouraged once Central opens the season Sept. 3 at West Memphis in a rematch of the 2003 state title game.
"He's holding up okay right now, but I am sure it is going to hit him that first game," Thornton said. "But we'll be there for him and do the best we can to make him a part of what we are doing."
Thornton says Tigers plan to do it again
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