For Brad Robbins, football is like breathing.
“Football has always been a part of my life,” he said. “It’s a unique passion.”
Robbins was the top vote-getter in an informal, weeklong social media poll asking voters to select the top all-time high school quarterback out of far Southwest Virginia.
“That’s a surprise,” Robbins said when told of his selection. “It’s a tremendous honor.
“There have been some great quarterbacks in Southwest Virginia. Guys like Travis Turner, Heath Miller, Isaiah Spivey and Robby Duncan. Those are guys I looked up to.”
Robbins passed for 3,008 yards in 2004, a Powell Valley single-season record. He also holds the school’s single-game record with a 556-yard effort.
Robbins threw for 69 touchdowns, including 37 in 2004 when he helped lead the Vikings to a VHSL Division 2 runner-up finish.
“We had a lot of guys that worked hard to get there,” he said of the team’s run to the state championship game.
Robbins, a three-sport star at Powell Valley, went on to become a two-sport star at Virginia-Wise.
An NAIA second-team All-American in baseball, Robbins holds 10 career records and nine single-season records at UVA Wise.
Football always had his heart, however, said Robbins, who threw for over 3,000 yards and 22 touchdowns his senior season with the Cavs. The UVA Wise Hall of Famer made the All-Mountain East Conference squad that year.
Football remains in Robbins’ life.
He is in his second year as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at North Greenville, an NCAA Division II school in Tigerville, South Carolina.
Robbins’ 11-year coaching career also includes stints at Virginia and VMI.
“I honestly don’t know what I would be doing if I was not a football coach,” he said.
THE OTHER GUYS
Here’s a look at the remaining top vote-getters as chosen in the social media poll this past week:
• Travis Turner, Appalachia — Turner threw for 5,189 yards over his Bulldogs career, leading them to three state championships. He played collegiately at UVA Wise and Eastern Kentucky. Turner has been coach of the Union football team since the inception of the school, the consolidation of Powell Valley and Appalachia. He has a combined record of 86-26 with postseason appearances each year of his nine-year coaching career.
• Heath Miller, Honaker — Miller’s star-studded NFL career as a tight end for Pittsburgh, one that includes two Super Bowl championships and two Pro Bowls, got its high school start in Honaker, where he was a two-time all-state quarterback. After throwing for 26 touchdowns in the 1999 season, Miller led the Tigers to a state runner-up finish in 2000. He moved to the tight end position at Virginia, where he became a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick and an All-American in 2004 before beginning an 11-year career with the Steelers.
• Isaiah Spivey, Gate City — Spivey threw for 35 touchdowns in a Blue Devils uniform and helmed the team during its undefeated run to the 2003 VHSL Division 2 championship. The 2003 VHSL offensive player of the year, he threw for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the state title game.
• Scott Allen, Lebanon — Allen led the Pioneers to a state runner-up finish in 1991, the highlight of a career in which he threw for 43 touchdowns. Allen’s high school run also included a state championship in basketball and a state runner-up finish in baseball.
• Tom Crigger, Grundy — Crigger directed the Golden Wave to the 1995 Southwest District and Region IV championships. His play earned him the Region IV player of the year honor as well as a Group AA all-state nod. He finished his career with 46 TDs.
• Jason Compton, Haysi — Compton threw for a Southwest Virginia-record 87 career touchdowns with the Tigers, including 33 in the 1995 season.
• Robbie Duncan, Powell Valley — Duncan led the Vikings to two of their seven state championships, in 1989 and 1990. He had 50 career touchdown passes, 25 in his senior year.
Other quarterbacks receiving a significant number of votes were:
Eric Smith, Trey McCall and Jake Sturgill, Abingdon; Anthony Caruso, J.I. Burton; Butch Crewey and Sam Blevins, Chilhowie; Joe Carico, Clintwood; Gene Rowland, Coeburn; Roby Hale, Garden; Shawn Hutchins and Josh Shoemaker, Gate City; Cam Allen, Graham; Trevor Childress, Chris Fleming and Terry Gulley, Haysi; Scott Church and Randy Hatfield, J.J. Kelly; Gary Collier and Randy Jenkins, Pennington Gap; Randall Cantrell and Brandon Cantrell, Pound; Dennis Blagg, Ryan Witt and Jake Stepp, Powell Valley; Matt Bays and Keith Warner, Twin Springs; and Dalton Mullins, Wise Central.