Senior quarterback Nick Roberge isn’t afraid to dive for an extra yard if it helps Massabesic win. The Mustangs will look to their fearless leader to drive them to a playoff berth in 2019. (JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY)

Even in practice, Nick Roberge always brings intensity. 

Whether he’s diving for first downs or lowering his shoulder into a defender to gain an extra yard, the Massabesic senior quarterback embraces the physicality of the game. 

“I don’t shy away from contact,” Roberge said. “We only have maybe two months (during the season), and I might not get another chance after that.”

Roberge hopes his drive translates into a successful season for the Mustangs, who missed out on the Class B playoffs last season after finishing 1-6.

To get ready for his final year as a Mustang, Roberge used the summer to get stronger, and he has also strengthened his relationships with his teammates.

“I’ve been doing a lot of throwing on the side,” Roberge said. “I’ve been throwing with our receivers and working with them to get a connection.”

Second-year head coach Eric Ouellette was an assistant with Massabesic when Roberge was a freshman. The quarterback’s arm strength caught Ouellette’s eye, but the coach felt the young gunslinger could improve on his decision-making skills. 

As an underclassman, Roberge would often decide where he was going with the ball before the play started. In some cases, Roberge would zero in on a receiver without watching the play develop. Those decisions often led to turnovers. Over the past two years, though, he has worked on limiting the mistakes.

“I’m starting to realize more coverages,” Roberge said. “Now, I know what to do with the ball.”

The improvement in Roberge’s decision making is something Ouellette has noticed so far in the preseason. 

“He’s reading defenses, seeing where safeties are supposed to be, seeing where linebackers are lining up,” Ouellette said. “He’s seeing those things and also using his physical capabilities to make himself a better football player.”

Massabesic is implementing a triple-option offense in the early stages of preseason. The system requires added attention to detail and cohesiveness, but Roberge thinks the Mustangs have adapted well to the new scheme.

“I feel like this is the smartest team I’ve been on,” Roberge said. “I feel like we’re all on the same page and we know what we’re doing. If we get a play call, and there’s a check down, I’m very comfortable that our team knows the right play.”

Ouellette, who is also the head of the guidance department at Massabesic, said he and Roberge often talk about goals for the season off the field as well as on. While Roberge shies away from personal achievements, just looking to help produce a winning football team, Ouellette thinks the senior has the potential to be one of the best players in the league. 

“He knows that it’s going to take more work,” Ouellette said. “If he applies himself, he will be able to reach those goals … He has all the attributes you could think of when it comes to an all-conference quarterback.”

Whether he makes an all-star team or not, Roberge wants to leave it all on the field in his final season.

“It’s one of those things where you play all out and with no regrets,” he said. “You play every down your hardest.”

 

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