It’s an achievement Skyline High School senior quarterback Blake Roebuck had worked toward for more than four years.
On Sept. 23, nearly three years after he completed his final project, Roebuck was officially given the rank of Eagle Scout from his Boy Scouts troop.
“It felt really good,” Roebuck said. “I have a really good troop and leaders that teach you the right things for life. It’s a huge accomplishment. I’m really excited about it.”
It generally takes anywhere from three to four years for a boy scout to achieve the Eagle Scout rank. However, the time can depend on other activities the scout has going on in his life.
For Roebuck, the other activity is football. A sport that has captivated his life and one he hopes to make a career out of, whether he is playing or not.
“I want to be a college football coach,” Roebuck said. “I figure that wherever I go, I want to become a grad-assistant. I plan to major in business so if the coaching route doesn’t work out, I can fall back on that.
“But I would love to be a coach.”
Football was one of the reasons he took a two-year break from the scouts after he finished his project. On Aug. 27, 2019, he passed the Board of Review and was able to officially obtain his Eagle Scout rank.
For his project, Roebuck gave the Mesa Police Department’s firing range a makeover. He visited the site several times before it was completed, mapping out what he would do using suggestions from the officers.
At 5 a.m. one Saturday morning, he and roughly 40 of his friends, family and troop members showed up to renovate the firing range. They installed new railroad ties, added close to 30 new targets and cleaned up to provide the department with a new experience.
“We just made everything a little more stable and enjoyable for everyone that uses it,” Roebuck said. “They really enjoyed it.”
Roebuck giving back to the Mesa Police Department for his project hit home for first-year Skyline coach George Hawthorne, who spent 25 years with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. It was during that time that Hawthorne moved up to become captain before retiring last year.
“There aren’t many kids that would think about that,” Hawthorne said. “For him to go rehabilitate a firing range for law enforcement is outstanding.
“Just like schools, law enforcement doesn’t have a bunch of money so I’m sure they had a lot of appreciation for him in what he did.”
Hawthorne has seen first-hand this season the qualities Roebuck learned from his time in the scouts transition to the football field.
One of the most notable skillsets has been his ability to lead by example. It’s not uncommon to see Roebuck encouraging his teammates to practice at game speed on a consistent basis. If he isn’t doing that vocally, it’s through his own actions on the field.
Every player on the Skyline varsity roster has not only bought into the culture established by Hawthorne this season, but also the idea of allowing Roebuck to lead. An impressive feat for someone who transferred into the program just last year.
“These guys are my family,” Roebuck said. “When I first came here they gave me a lot of love, they didn’t look at me as a kid from Mesa. I’ve grown strong relationships with these guys.”
Roebuck transferred from Mesa High School in 2018 after Junior Taylor, who was the offensive coordinator for the Jackrabbits, left the program to pursue an assistant coaching position at Wagner College in New York.
Taylor was a mentor to Roebuck, who admittedly felt out of place once he had left. Roebuck looked at the surrounding program and decided to transfer to Skyline. Even with a new staff this season, it’s a decision he doesn’t regret making.
“The administration, the players, the coaches that were here at the time, they all welcomed me in,” Roebuck said. “Even now with a new staff, I wouldn’t change anything. I love it here.”
It’s been a rough go in Roebuck’s first season as the starter for the Coyotes, who lost several key players to transfer and started the season 0-5 through the first half of the season.
But like the rest of the team, Roebuck refuses to give in to the struggle so far this season. He continues to motivate his team, which helped the Coyotes pick up their first win of the season this past Friday over district-rival Westwood.
“We just have to come together as a team. We are struggling here and there with different things every game,” Roebuck said. “I’m trying to lead the offense in the right direction.
“As soon as we come together and play as a team, we will be fine.”