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Rams Smash through Titans Defense

Robinson’s 231 rushing yards batter T.C. Williams in 36-23 win.

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Connor Riley uses his size to overwhelm T.C. Williams' defensive line. Riley rushed for 82 yards and one touchdown in Robinson's 36-23 win against T.C. Williams.

Connor Riley stood on the sidelines after Robinson Secondary School's 36-23 victory against T.C. Williams High School on Sept. 3, and hoped his 82 yards of rushing in the first half would shake a nickname he picked up earlier in the year.

"[The team] calls me Cadillac," said Riley, a senior. "It's kind of bad. I got it because I didn't hustle. It's going to change to Hummer by the end of the season."

Hummer isn't a bad name, considering Riley's rugged run-through-walls style of play would live up to the sport utility vehicle's name.

Using his size, Riley chipped away at the Titans defense, rushing for no more than 8-yards on a single carry, but averaging 5-yards a carry on his 17 rushing attempts.

"We just shoved the ball down their throats," he said.

Riley finished the night with one touchdown, but sat on the sidelines for the second half due to muscle cramps.

"It's just a precaution," he said. "By the end of the second half I was ready to go, but the game was over."

Riley's absence didn't make the Titan's job any easier. Junior Jared Velasequez not only picked up where Riley left off, but also used his speed to dash past the tired defense.

"Whenever we need [a touchdown], I just go at it," Velasequez said. "I'm just full speed all the time. It's what I do."

In comparison to Riley's battering ram style, Velasequez is the speedster. In the second half, Velasequez ran at-will past the Titans defense, accumulating 114 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

"We just kept trying to punch it down [T.C. Williams'] throat," Velasequez said. "The line blocked well and it helped us move down the field."

USING TWO running backs isn't new to the Rams offense. Robinson Head Coach Mark Bendorf said that he's confident his duo would carry the team this season.

"I feel like we have a stable I can rely on," Bendorf said. "It's always been my philosophy to use multiple [running backs] so the defense can't focus on one guy."

While the Rams two-headed monster rushing attack was the highlight of the game, the Titans stole the show in the first half and planted the seeds for an upset.

On game’s first play, T.C. Williams running back Cortez Taylor broke a 60-yard touchdown run to give the Titans an unexpected early lead. The Titans followed that with a 90-yard kickoff return by Taylor that set the score at 14-7 before the first quarter ended.

"That kid is pretty fast," Bendorf said. "We were too flat in our pursuit angles and those are things you find out in your opening game. That's a hard thing to simulate in practice."

Despite trailing at the half, Velasequez said that the team didn't get discouraged and knew that it was going to take more intensity to win.

"There were a lot of inspirational speeches in the locker room, " Velasequez said. "We told each other that we just weren't going to lose this game."

In the second half, Robinson's defense held the Titans scoreless and completed the comeback. The Rams defense never let the Titans get into an offensive rhythm and forced four fumbles.

In his post-game talk with the team, Bendorf applauded his players’ character win.

"We had to overcome adversity," he told them. "In the second half, you overcame that adversity and earned this win."

The Titan's competitiveness didn't come as a surprise to Bendorf who said he expected the game to be close from the start.

"It was a very good test, " Bendorf said. "In the two scrimmage films we had of [T.C. Williams], they were very dominant. I knew we were going to be in for it."

Bendorf said he even told his team that despite the 23-14 deficit, the team that could keep up the intensity for two more quarters ultimately would win the game.

"Before the game, I told them it was going to come down to the second half," Bendorf said. "We take great pride in our conditioning and that was the determining factor [in the game]."