CASHION — Dexton Robertson used to think about all the opportunities he missed last summer, while other football players were attending camps and combines to showcase their skills in front of college scouts.
At 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds with a powerful build and good footwork, the Cashion senior is exactly the type of offensive lineman colleges want. He could have exploded on the recruiting scene.
But while all of those other prospects were working out for recruiters, Robertson was grinding through the rehabilitation process to rebuild his surgically repaired right knee — again.
Robertson's sophomore and junior seasons each ended when he tore the ACL in his right knee. Now, he's just happy to be on the field with his Cashion teammates, who visit Talihina in the Class A quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“I have friends around at Guthrie and Kingfisher, and they were all going to camps. At the time, it killed me,” Robertson said. “But it's behind me now. I'll be all right.
“It feels good to play up to my potential, not worrying about anything, just going out and playing week after week.”
Robertson earned a starting job as a freshman, and was a mainstay at tackle through his sophomore year. In the first quarter of a state quarterfinal game against Morrison that season, a player rolled up on Robertson's leg.
“I'm pretty pain-tolerant,” he said. “I've never had anything close to that much pain. If it wasn't an ACL, there was something way wrong.”
As soon as he could, Robertson was in the weight room. He got in extra workouts when he could, and pushed himself as much as possible to get healthy for his junior year.
Ten games in, he was inadvertently kicked, and the ACL popped again. The pain wasn't nearly as bad, and he actually tried to go back in the game, but the knee gave out on the first play.
After surgery, he was back in the weight room.
“He was a great example to the other kids,” head coach Lynn Shackelford said. “OK, you don't want to come to the weight room today, well, we've got a guy in here with a torn ACL who's doing it. So you don't have any excuses about being a little sore and not wanting to come work out.”
Now, Robertson is back at full speed and pain free, trying to keep 12-0 Cashion rolling through the postseason. He anchors the line of an offense that's among Class A's best, averaging around 475 yards per game.
“When we're gonna run the ball, we're running behind him. It's no secret,” Shackelford said. “The other day, somebody said, ‘Hey, I think they know we're running left.' Well, yeah. If they don't know, they're morons. Somebody's still got to get off his block.”
Quarterback Ty Reasnor is certainly thankful for Robertson's protection.
“It's an insurance policy having him over there on the blind side,” Reasnor said. “I don't think I've been sacked from the left side this year. Run-blocking, he's like a bus. It's amazing how far down the field he can push a guy.”
The state's Division II colleges, as well as some in the neighboring states, are still strongly interested in him — “Somebody's gonna get a steal when they sign him,” Shackelford said — but Robertson is more focused on trying to play three more games at Cashion before he worries about college.
“It's a huge opportunity to be playing on Thanksgiving weekend,” he said. “The team is really excited and the community has been great.
“We've got to get through the next game, keep on working hard. That's what I keep trying to preach.”
Cashion (12-0) at Talihina (11-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Talihina High School
Noteworthy: Cashion has one of the longest road trips of any team in the playoffs this week, measured at 212.3 miles according to MapQuest. Cashion and Talihina have been strong in the postseason of late, combining for 12 playoff wins dating back to the 2009 season. Friday's winner will face either Wynnewood or Thomas in the Class A semifinals.