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Hurricane Laura evacuee and Brusly High junior finds success on field despite odds being stacked against him

Baton Rouge WAFB logo Baton Rouge WAFB 11/28/2020 Austin Kemker
a group of people posing for the camera: Lake Charles teen plays high school football in Baton Rouge after Laura © Provided by Baton Rouge WAFB Lake Charles teen plays high school football in Baton Rouge after Laura

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Hurricane Laura evacuee and Brusly High junior Denarius Robinson has found success on the field despite odds being stacked against him.

When Brusly High takes the field Friday evening in Monroe, La. for its first game in the playoff, it will already be a win.

For Robinson, 17, even getting on the field was a challenge. Robinson and his family were forced to leave their home in Lake Charles in August as Hurricane Laura set its sights on the Southwest Louisiana coastline.

Robinson, his mom Erica, brother Dayan and his grandmother took shelter in a cramped hotel room in Baton Rouge as Laura ripped apart their home.

With nothing left to go home to, the Robinsons found themselves stuck in that hotel. They lived there for nearly two months.

“I remember there was a time when I was at the hotel and I thought I wouldn’t be playing football my junior year,” Robinson said.

Erica Robinson said conditions in the hotel were abysmal, saying there was regular drug usage and stealing among the evacuees.

“It wasn’t a good place to be,” she said.

All the while Denarius felt his dreams of getting back on the football field at Barbe High School getting blown away, just like everything else back home.

“It’d be like, if I was to go back to Lake Charles, would Barbe still have a season,” Robinson said. “What, would I be able to play football? Would I have the opportunity to go to college after high school?”

After while Erica Robinson decided there was nothing to go back to in Lake Charles and planted roots across the river in Brusly, Louisiana.

Denarius enrolled at Brusly High and then joined the football team.

“He comes in and fits right in and part for the team and a big part of the team,” said Brusly High Head Coach Hoff Schooler.

After just a game Schooler gave Robinson the nod. He has started every game since.

“Guys through the off season and those kind of things and sort of earn their stripes so to speak, so for someone to step in late like that and gain the respect of his teammates as quick as he did, says a lot about him, says a lot about the effort he give out here as well,” Schooler said.

Robinson has taken the roll as a starting defensive end and run with it. He said he is blessed to have the opportunity to play the game he loves, something he did not think was going to be possible this year.

“Just 2020 in general, this will be a story man,” Robinson said. “It will be a story but I’m happy. I’ve been blessed with Brusly and the people that’s in it. Brusly and Addis, I’m blessed, beyond blessed.”

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