Robinson beats Oakton, 14-7, in Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 6 playoffs

Big plays in all phases of the game allowed Robinson to narrowly knock off Oakton, 14-7, in the Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 6 playoffs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 13, 2010; 12:11 AM

Preparing for an Oakton team that had been strong against the run all season long, Robinson Coach Mark Bendorf said in the days prior to the teams' Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 6 quarterfinal rematch that it would be important for the No. 14 Rams to make plays on special teams and on defense.

On Friday night, with their offense indeed struggling, the Rams (9-2) got another major contribution from special teams with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, and used a turnover to set up another score to edge Oakton, 14-7, in Fairfax.

The win sets up a rematch in the semifinals with rival No. 8 Lake Braddock - which defeated Langley, 37-10, in another quarterfinal - next Friday. Robinson beat the Bruins, 10-7, on Oct. 1.

"That's really what made the difference," said junior lineman Andre Kendall, who blocked the punt in the first quarter. "Defense just did their job and we put some points on the board and that's what did it in the end."

The key play came on a weird sequence in the first quarter. Oakton (7-4) punted to Robinson, but the Rams were flagged for too many men on the field and the Cougars took the 15-yard penalty.

Facing a fourth and one, Oakton lined up as though it was going for it but instead tried to quick-kick. Kendall broke through the line and blocked the punt, and senior Patrick Miller picked it up and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.

"I just saw him, he stepped a little to the left," Kendall said. "So I saw an opening to the inside and I just put my hands up and hoped I'd block it."

Robinson again found a way to get into scoring position - this time when cornerback Thomas Petrocci intercepted a pass to set up Jared Velasquez's 25-yard touchdown run.

"It's going to be harder the second time around, we know, because it was harder this time against Oakton," Velasquez said of facing the Bruins. "We got to prepare all next week, got to get the mindset, because we want to keep playing."

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