Robinson junior Chris Jones scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to lift the Rams to a 35-27 victory over Hayfield last night in Alexandria in the AAA Patriot District opener for both teams.
Down 21-14 at halftime, No. 15 Robinson wasted little time taking control of the game in the second half. The Rams needed only five plays and 1 minute 42 seconds to cover 67 yards and get their first score of the second half. Jones carried three times during the drive for 30 yards, which included a one-yard touchdown run to pull Robinson to 21-20.
"It was very important for us to come out and move the sticks to start the second half," Jones said.
Jones found the end zone again with just under seven minutes to play in the third quarter. He picked off the first pass attempted by backup quarterback Brian Barnett, who came in for injured starting quarterback Wesley Hardin. Jones intercepted the pass and went 72 yards to score the decisive touchdown.
"I think scoring quick in the third quarter really buoyed our defense and got them going," Robinson Coach Mark Bendorf said.
Running back Scott Sanden boosted the Rams' lead to 35-21 with an 18-yard touchdown run with 1:35 left in the game. Hayfield, however, would not give up as senior Joshua Curry scored his second touchdown of the game on a 78-yard kickoff return.
Hayfield was poised for an upset early on in last night's contest. Robinson's defense forced Hayfield to punt on the Hawks' opening drive, but Mike Imoh misjudged the punt and Hayfield's Jason Howard fell on the football at the Rams 14-yard line. After losing four yards on his first carry, Hayfield junior Michael Walker took the handoff and went 18 yards for the game's first score to give Hayfield a 7-0 lead with 10:07 left in the first quarter.
Robinson answered on the next possession with a seven-play, 58-yard drive, capped by a 21-yard touchdown reception by Imoh from junior quarterback Garrett Schires.
Faced with fourth and two on its next drive, Hayfield was set up to punt. But Russell caught the snap before it got to punter Ben Butcher and then found Butcher for a four-yard pass and a first down. The Hawks took advantage of the trick play, when Curry took an end-around on the next play and darted 52 yards to give Hayfield a 14-7 lead.
Hayfield got the ball back when Howard came up with his second fumble recovery of the game. With the ball on Robinson's 40-yard line Walker and senior Armon Saunders teamed to carry the ball nine times, with Saunders capping the drive with a two-yard plunge to give Hayfield a 21-14 lead.
The Hayfield defense held Imoh, who totaled 288 yards in his previous two games, to 14 yards rushing in the first half.
CAPTION: Michael Walker, who scored Hayfield's first touchdown, slips past Robinson's Mark Clayton in third quarter.