Unbeaten Burlington Twp. powering through playoffs behind Omar Rogers
The versatile senior is coming off playoff victory in which he returned an interception for touchdown, returned a kickoff for touchdown and threw touchdown pass.
Omar Rogers still thinks he could have made it.
Rogers calls signals for the Burlington Township football team in punting situations. He has the option to signal for a fake if he sees an opening.
That's what happened on Saturday night in the Falcons' game vs. Oakcrest in the first round of the South Jersey Group 3 tournament.
Rogers saw an opportunity, called for a run, took the snap, and raced for 15 yards.
He needed 17.
"A lot of kids would have hung their head in that situation," coach Tom Maderia said. "Omar, he's the kind of kid who says, 'I'm going to make up for that.' "
It didn't take long. After Oakcrest took advantage of the field position to cut Burlington Township's lead to 14-7, Rogers returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown.
Rogers also returned an interception for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass in Burlington Township's 68-26 victory.
Burlington Township (9-0), No. 4 team in the Inquirer Top 25, hosts No. 24 Timber Creek (4-5) in the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals on Saturday night.
"When I make a mistake, I always try to make it back for my team," Rogers said. "I'll do whatever I can to make it back."
Rogers' greatest strength is his ability to make amends in many different ways. The Elon recruit is one of South Jersey's most versatile players, with a knack for impacting the game on offense, defense, and special teams.
"He just makes plays," Maderia said. "He's a football player. He makes football plays. He's all over the field."
Maderia limited Rogers to action mostly on defense and special teams through the bulk of the regular season. But with the Falcons in pursuit of the program's first perfect season and sectional title since 1977, Maderia has begun to allow Rogers to take a few snaps on offense, as well.
On Friday night, Rogers took a pitch on an end-around, stuck his foot in the ground and fired a 41-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Pae in the second quarter.
"All our end-arounds have a run-pass option," Maderia said. "Omar saw what was happening and made another play. That's what he does."
For the season, Rogers has rushed five times for 87 yards. He's tops on the team in fumble recoveries with four, in sacks with four, and in interceptions with four.
Rogers has returned two kickoffs and an interception for touchdowns. He's second on the team in tackles with 80.
"I take pride being able to help my team in a lot of ways," Rogers said. "I like being all over the field."
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Rogers projects as a safety at Elon, an Division-I FCS program in North Carolina that competes in the Colonial Athletic Association with Delaware, James Madison, Towson, and Villanova, among others.
Rogers is likely to see lots of action in the secondary on Saturday night, since Timber Creek is a pass-heavy team that features top receivers such as senior Jayvin Little and junior Tarheeb Still.
"I can't wait," Rogers said.
As for that fake punt that resulted in a turnover on downs, Rogers isn't second-guessing himself. He saw an opportunity. He took it.
Plus, he thinks he might have made it with one more cut.
"I still think I could have made it," Rogers said. "But I wasn't too worried about it. I knew I would make it up for my team."