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Keith Pompey: West Catholic's Rozier the unsung hero

I'm a huge Juan Rozier fan. The fullback is by far my favorite player on West Catholic's football team. I know casual fans are asking, "Juan who?"

I'm a huge Juan Rozier fan.

The fullback is by far my favorite player on West Catholic's football team.

I know casual fans are asking, "Juan who?"

Those of us who followed the Burrs - I mean really followed the Burrs - know him well.

The 6-foot, 210-pounder is the most valuable player of this season's team. He's the reason West Catholic will play Wilmington at 1 p.m. today at Hersheypark Stadium for the PIAA Class AA state championship.

Yes, I'm aware that Burrs quarterback Curtis Drake is a phenomenal record-setter.

This year, the Penn State recruit became the first player among the three city leagues - Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac - to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in a season. His 1,527 rushing yards are a city record for signal-callers.

Halfbacks Rob Hollomon and Raymond Maples are exceptional. They are arguably the best pair of starting halfbacks in the state this season.

Hollomon set the city records for the most rushing touchdowns (35) and overall touchdowns (41) in a season. Not to be outdone, Maples has 1,132 rushing yards and 16 scores.

Rozier, on the other hand, has 24 carries for 191 yards and a touchdown. That averages out to 1.6 carries per game. Those carries are nothing more than a reward for hard work in practice.

Still, the senior is the MVP.

Averaging 7 yards per carry, Rozier is more than capable of being a featured back. But in this system, he's more valuable as a lead blocker. Rozier has accepted and excelled in his role.

He's the one making bone-jarring blocks that enable Drake to average 15.4 yards per carry.

He's the one routinely knocking defensive ends silly so Maples roams freely.

He's the one punishing linebackers so that Hollomon can walk into the end zone untouched.

"He opens holes up real big," Maples said.

Rozier also helps teammates keep things in perspective.

When they're disappointed about their roles, they think of his constant sacrifices.

Rozier never has complained in an era when individuals often think they're more important than the team.

He remained loyal to the Burrs even when other schools promised more carries in an attempt to lure him to transfer.

"I learned a lot from him," Maples said. "I learned how to stay humble when things don't work out. Juan doesn't complain about anything. He just comes out and does his job."

Everyone knows when he's doing it well.

First, you hear the sounds from his collisions with a defender. Then you see Rozier celebrate down the field as teammates turn his blocks into long gains.

"I get a lot of satisfaction from that," Rozier said of the long gains. "That's special. I know if I really hit [a defender], the running back is gone."

College recruiters are taking notice.

Rozier is receiving interest from Delaware State, and Division II programs Kutztown, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Shippensburg.

"People see my talent," Rozier said. "To be honest, I don't really see myself as a real fullback. I see myself as a running back. Up on the next level, I think that's where I should play at."

Still, he is willing to put his dream position on hold.

Rozier realizes Drake, Hollomon, Maples, and the entire West Catholic fan base depend on his crushing blocks.

"I'm just doing my job," he said. "It's their job to score. And it's my job to block. And if you put the two together, touchdowns."

And for that, Rozier is undoubtedly the MVP.