It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter, when he broke free for touchdown runs of 61 and 32 yards, that Westfield's Evan Royster flashed the sort of game-breaking ability he's shown all season.
But throughout Westfield's game at Oakton last night, it was Royster's ability to grind out tough yardage that helped his team preserve its undefeated season. Royster, the area's leading rusher, ran for 256 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to lead No. 8 Westfield past No. 12 Oakton, 31-13, in a Virginia AAA Concorde District game.
"Give Evan the ball and he'll get you four or five yards every time," Westfield quarterback Josh Witmer said. "Our line did a great job tonight, but even without the line he does so much by himself."
With Westfield's win, the once-cluttered situation atop the ultra-competitive Concorde District began sorting itself out a bit. Locked in a virtual three-way tie with the Cougars (5-1, 2-1) and top-ranked Robinson heading into the game, Westfield (7-0, 3-0) stands alone in first place after the Rams' 20-17 loss to Centreville earlier.
With his team trailing 7-6 at halftime, Royster established himself in the second half, and Oakton held the ball for only three plays during the third quarter. Witmer gave his team the lead for good on a one-yard keeper in the third and then put Westfield up, 18-7, on a six-yard pass to Chris McMahon to open up the fourth.
The Cougars capitalized on a missed Westfield field goal attempt at the end of the first quarter, putting together the kind of deliberate drive that has typified their offense this season.
Oakton moved the ball 80 yards on 11 plays during the ensuing drive, as a 31-yard run by running back Keith Payne set up a two-yard touchdown run by Alex Wargo that gave Oakton a 7-6 lead.
"We were a little upset with ourselves in the first half," Westfield Coach Tom Verbanic said. "I don't want to say our coaches were as upset, but our kids were really disappointed with themselves. So we got ourselves together, we talked about what we do best and we tried to do what we do."