Robinson 35, West Springfield 0
In a game that was supposed to be a matchup of the two best teams in one of the area's toughest leagues, No. 1 Robinson wasted little time last night proving that it was not nearly as close as the records indicated.
Behind a stellar performance by the Rams' defense, and the running of senior Chase Anastasio and junior Andy Hartigan, Robinson put together its most complete effort of the season and dominated Virginia AAA Patriot District opponent West Springfield, 35-0, in Fairfax.
The victory wrapped up Robinson's third consecutive district championship and gave the Division 6 reigning champion its second perfect regular season in three years and, perhaps more importantly, home-field advantage next week in the first round of the Northern Region playoffs. West Springfield finished its season 7-3, 5-1 and was eliminated from postseason contention.
"Our defense knew what had to be done, and that was stop [West Springfield running back Derrick] Braziel," said Anastasio, who gained 84 yards rushing, 76 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns. "Each week we seem to get better and better. Tonight, we finally played like a number one team."
Robinson (10-0, 6-0) turned a couple of West Springfield miscues on the Spartans' opening drive into a 7-0 lead (on an 11-yard run by junior Mike Anderson), and the Rams never relented. In fact, West Springfield did not advance into the Rams' territory until late in the third quarter.
"As a team, this was our best game, definitely," said quarterback Hartigan, who completed 5 of 10 passes for 108 yards and rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown. "We knew we had to win to clinch home field in the playoffs and that's been one of our goals all season."
Both teams knew entering that their postseason fate would be determined by the outcome. Robinson had already qualified for the four-team tournament, but wanted to clinch the second seed so it could play on home turf.
"The score totally surprised me," Robinson All-Met defensive lineman Adam Fassnacht said. "We got off to that quick start and never slowed down. We knew if we could shut down Braziel, we could be in good shape."
Behind Fassnacht, Brent Jones, Danny Adams and Blake Shubert, Robinson not only shut down Braziel, they held him to his lowest output of the season. Braziel, who had rushed for more than 300 yards twice in the past three games and had accumulated 1,748 yards and 19 touchdown's entering, was limited to 35 yards on 23 carries.
"We played well tonight, but the big question is can we do it consistently? Next week it's a different team and the stakes are much higher," Robinson Coach Mark Bendorf said.