Terrell Dickens (1), shown with Washington Redskins Pierre Garcon in August, has the Rough Riders thinking playoffs. (Toni L. Sandys / The Washington Post)

In late August, when Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon visited Theodore Roosevelt to donate new uniforms to the football team, junior Terrell Dickens was one of the players to model the threads in front of spectators in a packed gym. In a sense that day, Dickens became one the faces of the Rough Riders’ football team, a group that was looking to form an identity after going winless last fall and struggling to keep roster numbers up.

The 5-foot-7, 150-pound Dickens has certainly become the face of the team on the field this fall, cementing his place as one of the most talented cornerbacks in the city. He has five interceptions, and has scored three special teams touchdowns – two kickoff returns, one punt return – helping Theodore Roosevelt to stay in the third spot in the DCIAA Stripes division playoff hunt.

“We have a lot of young guys stepping into roles, just building it up,” Dickens said in an interview last week.

Theodore Roosevelt (2-6, 2-2) has taken some lumps this season. It lost the first five games, getting shut out in three of those contests. But there were some bright moments in that stretch for Dickens – he had two interceptions and a kickoff return to nearly rally the Rough Riders back in a loss to Maret back in September, and he scored two touchdowns last week in a 29-14 win over Eastern. He played quarterback for the first time all season in that game, helping Roosevelt continue its upswing on offense the last three weeks. In that stretch, in which the team has won two of three, the Rough Riders have scored 56 points. It is the best offensive surge in nearly two years for the team, which scored just 30 points all last season and just 14 in the first five games this season.

“I just look at every game like it’s an opportunity to show people that we can really put points on the board, and we can really get something positive going,” Dickens said.

That has the young Rough Riders (who have just a handful of juniors and seniors) currently in the third spot of the four-team DCIAA Stripes division playoffs with just two games remaining. It will be something new for the players on all of those teams – but especially for Dickens, who has been asked to play a handful of new positions this year. He had never played corner before August. Last Friday, he was asked to fill in under center. But he’s dynamically changing the game on special teams, Coach Johnnie Sharp said. He’s still trying to build his team’s numbers and morale. New uniforms was a step. Winning two of three was another. Making a run at the playoffs will be another. Dickens will be one of the faces of that run, regardless.

“The biggest thing he provides is consistency,” Sharp said. “Week to week we expect him to make some type of move offensively or on special teams to give us an edge…he’s a huge piece.”

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