Imposing first impressions aren’t part of the repertoire of Greenwood High School football player Brandon Rosado.
Rosado, a junior running back standing 5-foot-4 in bare feet and an inch taller in footwear made especially for autumn Friday nights, believes it works to his advantage.
“My offensive line gives me the holes to run through and (sophomore) Isaiah (Borjas) does an amazing job, too,” said the 190-pound Rosado. “But I feel people sometimes underestimate me.
“They usually can’t arm tackle me because I’m a short and kind of a stocky runner.”
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Don’t confuse low center of gravity with low expectations.
Rosado is Johnson County’s leading rusher this season. He has 1,209 yards and 16 touchdowns entering Friday’s home date against No. 1 Roncalli (11-0) in the championship game of Class 4A’s Sectional 21.
A running back from the first time he played organized football, he is fearlessly adept at absorbing and dishing out punishment.
“During the preseason he was hard to handle for our defense, and we’ve got a pretty solid defense,” Woodmen coach Mike Campbell said.
Rosado carried the football 18 times for 113 yards and two scores in Greenwood’s 27-0 sectional semifinal victory over Mid-State Conference foe Mooresville on Friday.
He played sparingly as a freshman and then rushed for 701 yards and seven TDs in 2015 — both seasons exclusively at fullback. Rosado is 73 yards rushing short of reaching the 2,000 plateau for his career.
During the preseason, Campbell and his staff began alternating Rosado and Borjas between fullback and tailback.
Both have flourished.
Borjas has run the football 147 times this season for 951 yards and nine touchdowns.
Asked to name a carry that best embodies his own talents as a runner, Rosado thinks back to his team’s 22-14 overtime win at Mooresville in Week 4 of the regular season.
One long run started with Rosado juking his way past one Pioneer defender in the open field. Once defenders converged, he kept the pile moving forward with sheer fortitude until some of his offensive linemen joined in to provide a push of their own.
“Brandon is a lot shiftier than I think a lot of people realize,” said Campbell, whose 8-3 squad has already sealed the program’s fourth winning season in the past six years.
“Once he gets a feeling for how the defense is going to play, he’s done a good job adjusting his style. Brandon is a powerful kid, but he is running with a lot more patience this year.”
After opening the season 4-0, the Woodmen lost three straight before regrouping for another four-game win streak.
From a confidence standpoint, no game was larger than Greenwood’s 21-10 triumph at Whiteland in Week 9, which snapped a five-game losing skid against the Warriors.
That, Campbell feels, might qualify as the best all-around game of Rosado’s season — maybe his career.
“Brandon has been very solid all season, but the Whiteland game stands out because he did so many things for us,” Campbell said. “He made some catches, blocked well and just really played a complete game.”
THE ROSADO FILE
Name: Brandon Rosado
Born: Greenwood, Indiana
Family: Parents, David and Della; sister, Alyia, 20; brother, Dylan, 18
Favorite TV show: “The Flash”
Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese
Favorite movie: “Gridiron Gang”
Favorite athlete: Emmitt Smith
Favorite team: Ohio State University football