When L.C. Bird running back Paul Robertson walked off the field with about three minutes to play in a Virginia AAA Division 6 semifinal Saturday at Oakton, Skyhawks supporters gave him a standing ovation for his 421-yard performance.
Oakton fans might have felt like applauding, too, not the feat but the fact that Robertson was finally out of the game. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior ran over, through and past Oakton defenders in pacing his team’s 41-17 win.
L.C. Bird (13-0) advances to play Ocean Lakes in the state championship in Charlottesville, marking the first season since 1992 that a team from Northern Virginia has not reached the Division 6 final. There has been at least one team from Fairfax County, Prince William County or Manassas in the championship every year between 1993 to 2011. Ocean Lakes defeated Hylton, 21-14, in the other semifinal.
Robertson scored on runs of 87, 25, 79, 6 and 39 yards among his 32 carries.
“We thought it was going to be like a pound game, but things just started to break,” said Robertson, who scored on runs of 87, 25, 79, 6 and 39 yards among his 32 carries. “So it was a little different than we expected.”
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Oakton senior linebacker Joe Allely said. “He’s a fast kid, and he definitely delivers a blow. He’s good with his cuts, and he can make a play when his block’s not there.”
The most demoralizing of Robertson’s touchdown runs might have been his shortest. His six-yarder with 16.5 seconds left in the first half, after a long pass, came less than 13 seconds after Oakton had made it 27-10 on a one-yard run by senior quarterback Kyle Downer. Robertson’s score ran the lead back to 24.
Oakton opened the second half with a 66-yard touchdown drive, again capped by a one-yard Downer keeper. Four plays later, Robertson scored his 39-yarder.
“It just felt like we could never dig ourselves out of the hole that we put ourselves in in the first half,” said Oakton Coach Jason Rowley, whose team found out Friday that it would not have the services of senior all-region left tackle Chris Durant (knee).
Oakton (9-5), which lost its final four regular season games only to upset three higher seeds in the Northern Region playoffs, picked up 16 first downs behind Downer’s 86 rushing yards and 107 yards through the air.