Hauff quietly leads Centennial to 2-0 mark

September 22, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Robbie Hauff is a quiet athlete who leads by example and doesn't complain. He plays with injuries. He's intense, serious and loyal. He works hard at running and weight training during the off-season, and he is a good student (3.0 GPA).

"It's like you died and went to heaven to get a kid like this," Centennial football coach Ed Holshue said. "He has all the positive characteristics you could want, and is as respected by his peers as any kid could hope to be. He's making my job easy."

Hauff, a senior tailback and monster back, already has 340 yards rushing on 60 carries. He's scored five touchdowns in two games -- both Centennial victories.

Hauff has enough open-field speed to break a big play -- he had a 94-yard run against North Carroll last season. But so far this year his longest gain is 40 yards.

At 6-foot and 190 pounds, Hauff is a classic power tailback who breaks tackles.

"He breaks arm tackles easily. He shrugs off kids like an old plow horse," Holshue said.

Hauff has decent, but not spectacular, speed. He runs the 40-yard -- in 4.7 seconds. But he's exceptionally strong. He bench presses 265 pounds.

"I've coached bigger and faster kids but none stronger," said Holshue. "He's an iron horse. He gets everything out of his skills. He has the intangibles that you can't teach."

Hauff also has good enough hands to catch passes. He caught three screen passes against South Carroll last weekend.

Last season Hauff was mainly a blocking back for Don Culbreth, who set Centennial's single-game rushing record of 213 yards, and Centennial's single-season rushing record of 1,098 yards.

"He made a lot of kick-out blocks for our tailback last season," Holshue said.

Hauff also played outside linebacker, but has moved to strong safety this season. He made 15 tackles in the opening game but only four last week, because South Carroll wisely decided to run away from Centennial's defensive strength.

Holshue thinks that playing strong safety is less demanding than outside linebacker, and that the new position will conserve Hauff's energy so that he can carry the ball more often.

"Playing monster is like being a fast linebacker," Hauff said. "You have the off-tackle responsibility, and you have to cover the flat pass, among other things."

Not many players get varsity football experience their freshman season, but Hauff did. He played the last three varsity games that season.

He started playing organized football in the sixth grade with the former COBRA program, which became the Columbia Bulldogs.

He played on teams with other top high school players like Jake Daft (Oakland Mills) and Allan Anderson (Wilde Lake).

His sixth-grade team won a state championship, and his eighth-grade team lost the state championship game.

Hauff, who is also an outstanding lacrosse player with college scholarship possibilities in that sport, likes football because it is fun, intense and physical.

"It's like winning a war," he said. "There's no other feeling like it because you have to work so hard to win."

Hauff is co-captain of the football team, and was the sole captain of the lacrosse team that lost the state championship game last spring to Annapolis. Hauff was The Baltimore Sun's Howard County Player of the Year in lacrosse.

Centennial has won only one county football title (1980), and the team has hopes this can be a championship team. The Eagles play defending champion Howard on Oct. 7 at Howard. Centennial was the only team to defeat the Lions during the regular season last year.

If the Eagles are to pull off another upset, it will take a major effort from Hauff and his teammates. But Holshue won't be surprised by anything that Hauff accomplishes.

"He's one of the four or five best I've ever coached," said Holshue, who also has coached at Mount Hebron and McDonogh.

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