robinson houston

Isaiah Houston rushed for 737 yards and amassed 381 receiving for Robinson in 2016.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte

Isaiah Houston wants to create video games, especially the real world kind.

He wants to make a game where users can walk around where they live by being able to download that area. They live their life by choosing their own path.

This is something Houston sees from himself after college where he plans to major in computer science. For now though, Houston is content with his own video game collection. His current obsession is playing NBA 2K. His favorite team is Chicago, but he’s playing with Atlanta. He smiles and shakes his head and he says, “You can’t have everything you want.”

Even though he’s years from creating his first video game, it’s already Isaiah’s world, especially in Robinson as he’s in the midst of his final football season. We’re all just living in it.

Starting out

Houston first started playing football at the age of six. It wasn’t until a year later, though, that Houston got a taste of what would become normal years later.

“The first time I got the ball, it was tossed to me and I ran down the sideline,” Houston said. “Everyone was running after me. It was so cool.”

Ten years later, defenders are still chasing after him. After running for 737 yards along with 381 receiving yards last season, Houston has already racked up 700 rushing yards and 241 receiving yards this year for a total of eight touchdowns, not including a passing touchdown along with an interception and two fumble recoveries.

“I think I’ve been doing good,” Houston said. “It’s never good enough. I’m watching film and criticizing everything I do. I have to make it better.”

These film sessions aren’t new for Houston. He’s been doing them for a while. Except he wasn’t watching much film of himself when he was younger. That’s how he learned about football and picked up different techniques and moves.

“I taught myself things mostly,” Houston said. “My stepdad helped me a lot too. We’d work on things together.”

Houston didn’t look up drills until he was a freshman. Before then, it was all about the Oregon Ducks.

“I liked LaMichael James,” Houston said. “I liked watching everything of Oregon’s. First off, their jerseys were cool. They had a lot of skill players who were super fast. I wanted to be like them.”

All of Houston’s hard work certainly paid off. But his football skills weren’t what stood out to Tommy Allison when Houston moved to Robinson part of the way through his sophomore year.

“When he got here, we knew we had a pretty special kid,” the Rockets head coach said. “He’s a great kid. Far beyond football and athletics, he’s a quality young man. That’s what we look for first.”

New scheme

Houston was disappointed.

The Rockets were up 21-7 over Troy at the half, but the Trojans scored 21-straight points to take a 28-21 lead late in the fourth quarter. Robinson answered with 1:14 left as Mason Cooper hit Noah Richard for a 53-yard touchdown.

In overtime, it was Houston who ran the ball 10 yards into the end zone for Robinson’s game winning touchdown. Robinson’s win over Troy was its first of the season after dropping late-game heartbreakers in each of the previous two weeks.

“We lost a very big lead,” Houston said. “After scoring that touchdown in overtime, it released a lot of stress from me.”

This year’s Rocket team has a much different look from last year. In 2016, Robinson passed for nearly 4,000 and 51 touchdowns, which ranked ninth in Texas high school football history. This year, things have switched for the Rockets.

“I love it,” Houston said. “This year it’s run, run, run, pass. Last year it was pass, pass, pass, run.”

For Allison, the adjustment was obvious. The Rockets had to do what they had to do in order in be successful.

“We’ve had success running the ball and throwing it as well,” Allison said. “It makes us more balanced offensively the way we’re doing it. When you have a player like Isaiah, you can put him in the backfield and run it, throw it to him out of the backfield or split him out at wide receiver. He’s a pretty tough matchup.”

Houston had upped his game to match the increased touches he’s gotten so far this season. The biggest improvement, for Allison, has to be Houston’s vision as a running back.

“He’s a special running back in space,” Allison said. “He’s always been good in space. He’s gotten to the point where he sees things so well inside now. He’s tough to tackle and bring down. He’s a tough offensive player to defend.”

Future plans

While playing his final high school season at Robinson is bittersweet for Houston, it’s also brought some added pressure.

“It’s very stressful,” Houston said. “I know everything is on the line.”

But his senior year isn’t only about what happens on the football field. He’s also hard at work in the classroom.

“He’s very intelligent,” Allison said. “He’s done all the little things he needs to do in order to keep playing at the next level. He’s taken care of his tests and his grades. He’s a great example for others around him.”

Houston is talking to a lot of schools at the moment.

“I’m really looking into Oklahoma State,” Houston said. “At this time, if I got into the Naval Academy I’d be really glad to do that.”

While juggling his school work and the various opportunities his future could present, Houston still remains that quality young man Allison first met two years ago.

“He’s a leader in the way he works, in the way he performs and in the way he treats his teammates,” Allison said. “He’s a leader by the character he brings to our football team.”

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