There is nothing flashy about seventh-ranked Lake Braddock, including its two injured running backs, Peter Ouk and Ryan Neff. The only thing flashy about the Bruins is their record. Neff and Ouk scored one touchdown each last night, helping visiting Lake Braddock to a 21-7 victory over 17th-ranked Robinson in a Virginia AAA Patriot District game before more than 5,000 at Coffey Stadium in Fairfax.
The victory gave Lake Braddock (10-0, 6-0) its first undefeated regular season under Coach Francis Dahl, who has announced he will be leaving the Burke school after this season to become the athletic director at a new Fairfax County high school in Chantilly.
Both teams had already qualified for the Division 6 Northern Region playoffs, but the victory gave Lake Braddock the Patriot District title outright and the home field for next week's rematch against Robinson in the first round of the playoffs. No. 5 Fairfax will play Centreville in the other first-round game.
After the final seconds ticked off the clock, several Lake Braddock fans rushed the field and a few climbed on the goal posts at one end of the stadium.
"You like to win and you like to beat Robinson, but here we go again next week," Dahl said. "It's nice [to finish 10-0], but I probably am more appreciative [of the effort] over all the years."
As has been the case all season, Lake Braddock won with its defense last night, holding Robinson off the scoreboard until Mike Imoh's one-yard touchdown run with 1 minute 11 seconds left. By that point, the Bruins had built a 21-0 lead and its fans had started chanting, "District champs."
Linemen Adam Moore and Ernest Hunter led Lake Braddock's defense and defensive back Mark Malone set up the game's first touchdown, returning a fumble 54 yards to the Robinson 1-yard line early in the second quarter. On the next play, Neff, who has not practiced in two weeks because of an ankle injury that he aggravated in the first quarter, scored on a one-yard run behind the right side of the offensive line for a 7-0 lead.
"Our defense did a great job," said Dahl, whose team has allowed just three touchdown in its past five games. "We played good assignment defense and covered the gaps we needed to cover. They're very explosive if you let them have holes."
Said Hunter: "We just keep it simple and try to get the job done and try to work as a unit."
Midway through the third quarter, Lake Braddock quarterback B.J. Quigley threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ashley Simmons for a 14-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, Ouk, who had missed the previous three games because of knee and ankle injuries, broke a 36-yard run to set up his two-yard touchdown run that made it 21-0.
"They are hard-working, tough-nut kids who do what we ask and who hustle and play well together," Dahl said. "They make it enjoyable to coach. That's the hardest part about leaving."