• John Macon Gillespie

Rohrbacher Looks To Take Next Step At Fortius Project

Lake Cormorant’s Ben Rohrbacher knows all about rising to the challenge. The rising junior is the starting quarterback for the Gators, and that in itself was something he worked hard to earn.

Additionally, competing in region 1-5A last season was a mighty difficult test. West Point won the 5A crown in 2016. Clarksdale and Oxford were also contenders in 5A North. Rohrbacher led the Gatos to a win over Clarksdale and missed the win over Oxford.

“I had a goal to be named starter before the season last summer,” Rohrbacker told SES Mississippi. “I knew I had two seniors in front of me. Every day I had to work harder and harder. I watched film every single day I could. The coaches saw the results of me working hard.”

“I’ve been playing football since I was eight years old. I’ve always loved the game. I’ve always been a driven guy and I want to do the best at my position. Focusing on the game is the main key of playing. I know that’s how you succeed.”

The next challenge standing in front of the talented signal caller is the Fortius Project. He will compete when the camp makes its stop at Northeast Mississippi community college on April 22nd.

“I want to show colleges my skill level. I want to make that step to the next level,” He explained.

“My arm, quick release, footwork, knowledge of the game and my speed as an all-around player,” are the areas that he expects will stand out when he competes amongst a talented group of his peers.

After pushing last offseason to earn the starting job, this offseason will be about pushing against himself to get better. There’s no shortage of areas he would like to improve, but two things stand to the front of his mind.

“Keeping my eyes downfield when I leave the pocket and I’m always looking to improve on my timing when I throw the ball,” Rohrbacher said.

Rohrbacher put together a productive sophomore campaign together a season ago to the tune of 2,219 yards and 22 touchdowns through the air. He added another four touchdowns on the ground.

“I’m a pocket passer, though I can make plays with my feet if the play breaks down,” Rohrbacher explained. “Every play is a read for me, and I’m very good at reading the defense. I have a strong arm, so I can get it down the field. But I also have a quick release and can get rid of the ball when I need to.”

Nick Nester’s team finished 8-4 in the regular season last fall, and proceeded to make a run all the way the 5A North title game. Rohrbacher credits that success to a strong group of recievers, that included Iowa signee Brandon Smith, plus a stout offensive line. He says an opportunistic defense also made his job much easier.

Looking ahead to the coming season, Rohrbacher is focusing on giving his team the same leadership he provided in his first season as the starter.

“I have a dream and vision for our team and my future. I will lead my team to victory,” Rohrbacher said. “I’m very vocal and I know what needs to be done.”

“I stepped up and became the leader of our football team last year. That’s something our team never really had.”

That leadership, along with his physical ability and talent, have helped him rise to the occasion for much of the obstacles he’s faced so far in his career. Next up, they could him some hardware at the Fortius Project.

**Photo by Bob Bakken, DeSoto Times-Tribune

#LakeCormorant #JohnLukeMcCord

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