Robinson 23, Oakton 17
Robinson quarterback Matt Goff spent the season's first two games in the shadow of highly touted teammate Lucas Caparelli. But after a breakout performance last night at Oakton, the first-year starter proved he deserves at least a share of the spotlight.
Goff, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior, rushed for two touchdowns and kicked a 44-yard field goal in the first half to give No. 6 Robinson a lead it would not relinquish. The Rams then survived some anxious moments late to hang on for a thrilling 23-17 victory over the Cougars.
The victory extended Robinson's regular season unbeaten streak to 25 games. But the Rams' regular season reign was in serious jeopardy in the final minutes. Robinson, after two blowout victories to open the season, was tested for the first time.
The fourth quarter began with Caparelli racing 56 yards for a touchdown that put Robinson (3-0) ahead 23-10. But Oakton's Bobby Fitton came right back with a 47-yard rushing touchdown on the ensuing possession that pulled the Cougars to 23-17 with 9 minutes 28 seconds to play.
Oakton got no closer. Twice the Cougars (2-1) were inside the Robinson 26-yard line. But they had one drive foiled by an unsportsmanlike penalty on Oakton Coach Joe Thompson, who was called for arguing with the referee over an apparent illegal substitution. And the second drive ended on two incomplete passes into the end zone in the final minute.
"I love tough, hard-fought games like that," said Caparelli, who led all rushers with 139 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and added 69 yards receiving on four catches. "It was exciting. . . . Matt deserves a lot of the credit for that win. He really stepped up for us."
Caparelli came into the game with 377 rushing yards and five touchdowns in two games for Robinson. Last night, with most of the Oakton defense focusing on Caparelli and the Rams' legion of talented tailbacks, Goff was able to use deceptive hand fakes -- and his speed -- to his advantage.
"Oakton was focusing on Luke, so that took the pressure off me," said Goff, who rushed for 100 yards on nine carries. "It wasn't the plan. It just worked out that way."
Goff's touchdowns came on quarterback keepers -- from nine and 43 yards -- in the second quarter to put Robinson ahead 14-0. On his second score, Goff opted to hang onto the ball after faking to fullback Kevin Campbell, then cut back 10 yards downfield and outran the Oakton pursuit the rest of the way.
Robinson defensive lineman Franklyn Herrera and linebacker Jack Curtis had impressive performances on defense. And Goff, who is also the place kicker and punter, booted a 44-yard field goal to send the Rams into the locker room with a 17-3 lead. Goff (7 of 13 for 87 yards) throws with his right arm and kicks with his left leg, a habit he said he picked up as a youngster.
"Matt played very well for us," Robinson Coach Mark Bendorf said. "You can see he's got the skills. He just needs to work on some of the finer points. He was certainly one of the keys for us tonight."