Robinson will try to
‘step it up’ for Islanders

After a season in the shadows, Joshua Robinson is getting used to life in the spotlight.

The Hawaiian Islanders defensive specialist spent most of last season toiling in a dimly lit corner of the Saint Louis School field, a regular site of the team's evening practices, and played under the lights in Blaisdell Arena just once.

A year later, Robinson is one of the Islanders' bright spots early in the arenafootball2 season and leads a wounded Islanders defense into today's West Division game against the San Diego Riptide (1-3). Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Hawaii time.

The Islanders are missing two of their top defensive backs -- Eddie Klaneski and Anthony Arceneaux -- for the game at San Diego Sports Arena.

"Whoever's going to be back there, we just have to step it up," Robinson said. "It's a big loss, but it's going to be up to the guys coming in to fill their shoes. It's a great opportunity for those guys."

The Islanders (3-2) are looking to rebound from a costly loss to Bossier-Shreveport last week. Not only did they fall into a tie with Bakersfield for first place in the division, they also lost Klaneski to a knee injury.

Arceneaux did not make the trip due to bruised ribs. Receiver/linebacker Robert Kemfort (ankle) and lineman Antoine Simpson (concussion) are also on the short-term injured-reserve list. Klaneski joined Gabe Amey (knee) and Morrie Roe (calf) on the long-term IR.

Robinson is tied with Klaneski for the team lead in tackles with 24. He also has an interception and has broken up seven passes.

Robinson had been playing a cornerback spot, but will patrol the middle of the secondary in Klaneski's absence. He last played the position in the season-opening win over Central Valley, when he recorded eight tackles and earned defensive player of the game honors.

"Each and every week I feel like I'm getting better," Robinson said. "This week is going to be more of a challenge because I'm going to be playing the middle and I haven't done that since the first game of the season. But I'm ready for it."

Robinson expects to have a strong group of supporters in the crowd, as friends and family make the two-hour drive south from Los Angeles for the game.

The Islanders' defense will attempt to contain an offense designed by the man who helped set the foundation for the team's division-title run last year.

Darrell "Mouse" Davis, regarded as the father of the run-and-shoot, served as a consultant with the Islanders last season and is in his first year as San Diego's head coach.

"He came by and gave us some ideas about arena football and a lot of credit for the season last year has to do with him," Islanders coach Cal Lee said.

"There's no question he was a big help to our program. I always look to him for guidance."

The Islanders activated three members of the University of Hawaii's 1999 Western Athletic Conference champion squad this week in Nate Jackson, Craig Stutzmann and Joe Correia, and face two more on the San Diego roster today.

Former UH standout Dwight Carter leads the Riptide in receiving with 29 catches for 406 yards and eight touchdowns. Defensive specialist Quincy LeJay is San Diego's top tackler with 18.5 stops.

The Riptide broke into the win column last week with a 59-34 victory over Central Valley and look to end a four-game losing streak against the Islanders.

"I think (Davis is) starting to get them to believe in what he's doing," Lee said. "It's not going to be good for us, but I'm glad he's getting there and getting the program going. It should be a big challenge for us."


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