Radford’s Garrison makes (hoops) coach proud

In his first game in a Radford uniform Friday night, senior Robert Garrison played defensive end, wide receiver, kicker and punter. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The basketball coach in the press box watching the football game couldn’t contain himself.

You see, coaches aren’t all about winning and nothing else. They also love to see their student-athletes spread their wings.

So, when Radford hoops coach Travis Armstrong saw one of his players, Robert Garrison, enter Friday’s football game against Aiea, he told his colleagues right away: “There he is. No. 35. The big guy.”

At that point, Garrison was lined up as a defensive end. Later on, he nearly had a sack, which would have been a significant accomplishment since this was the senior’s first football game at Radford.

Garrison also played wide receiver, punted and kicked off, and he showed that he was a capable rookie in all of those facets.

At wide receiver on one play, he sped down the left sideline and made an over-the-shoulder catch of a Randy Wright pass with a defender on him, but the play was ruled out of bounds.

On another play, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Garrison showed his valuable “rebounding” ability, leaping high with a defender to nab Wright’s two-point conversion pass. Both players had their hands wrapped around the ball, but it was Garrison who came down with it.

A huge hoot came from Armstrong, who was working as a spotter for some of his teacher/athletic department friends who were keeping score and doing the announcing.

“He came out for the team in July after the basketball summer league was over,” Radford football coach Lon Passos said about Garrison. “I talked to him earlier and our AD Kelly Sur talked to him about coming out. He came out and we were a little surprised. He’s fast, but he’s still learning.”

Armstrong said he believes Friday’s 46-22 loss to Aiea was Garrison’s first football game. Passos said Garrison may have played the sport a little bit previously, maybe before high school, before moving to Oahu from Florida.

“He’s very new to the game,” Passos said. “We have him on defense because learning the offense would take much longer. Being that he’s athletic, we tried him at safety. And the game was still kind of fast. So, with his speed, we tried him at D-end. He’s learning to take on the run block, and then (on another play) recognize that it’s a pass and put the pass rush on.

“On offense, we have some plays set aside for him. It’s simplified for him, so he doesn’t have to learn the whole playbook.”


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