Tuck Masker’s career night helped Oakton forget all about getting flagged for 235 yards during a 38-23 win over Lee for its Homecoming. The senior completed 12 of 21 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns — all personal bests — as the Cougars improved to 5-0 for the second straight season.
Head coach Jason Rowley was more impressed with the way his team responded to the myriad fouls called than he was disappointed in getting penalized in the first place.
“We didn’t do a great job in terms of eliminating mistakes,” he said. “It’s difficult when you do have some starts and stops like that, but all things considered I thought they did a nice job.”
Masker was brilliant from start to finish. He found Stephen Lambrides down the right sideline for a 61-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage, and converted a fake punt for a 44-yard score to Andy Boone to put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter. In between, he managed the offense seamlessly.
“I get confident, the receivers get confident and we feed off of that,” Masker said of the increased workload he saw Friday. “We stress every day in practice to keep your composure. You’re gonna face adversity, but that’s the name of the game. You’ve got to be able to beat that, and play well when things are going down, and that’s what we did.”
The Cougars established a balanced attack in building an early lead. After Eric Goins added a 38-yard field goal to make it 10-0, Mike Wandey nearly broke free on a couple of runs during Oakton’s third drive. Connor Sullivan finished things off when he found the end zone from 16 yards out to extend the lead to 17-0.
Lee’s Quintezz Diggins took snaps for the Lancers’ first two drives, but he gave way to Bradley Hann for the rest of the half. The switch from mobile quarterback to pocket passer seemed to work as Hann engineered a scoring drive capped off with a 26-yard pass to Kyon Taylor.
Momentum continued to shift as Wandey struggled to find holes and Goins missed a 27-yard field goal attempt. Hann showed off his arm strength and effortless throwing motion when he put the ball in the air for about half of an 80-yard touchdown pass to Taylor as the Lancers pulled within three points. Masker responded quickly though, eventually finding Ryan Santoro in the corner of the end zone on a 7-yard fade rout to put Oakton up 24-14 heading into halftime.
Diggins came back out under center for Lee after the break, but the game plan was the same. The Lancers ended up attempting 57 passes and went through of stretch of about 20 minutes during which they didn’t hand the ball off once. Oakton answered a Lee field goal with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Masker to Lambrides to lead 31-17 after three quarters.
Lee again pulled within one score when Hann found Cameron Lewis for a 72-yard touchdown early in the fourth, but the Cougars’ pass rush finally came alive when it mattered most. Hann was sacked on fourth-and-10 with 5:48 remaining, and Masker found Boone on the fake punt with 3:22 left for what would be the game’s final points.
While a 5-0 start in 2010 gave way to a disappointing 2-4 finish, including a 14-7 loss to Robinson in the first round of regionals, Rowley didn’t hesitate when asked what sets this season’s squad apart.
“We have team leadership this year,” he said. “We’ve got guys that have the desire to move on and go past the first round of the playoffs. That’s what we’re working toward: winning the regional championship and contending in the state championship. That comes first and foremost from senior leadership.”
Oakton begins Concorde District play next week at Herndon. Four of the six teams in the district, including Oakton, are ranked in the top 10 of the Washington Post’s poll. Rowley welcomes the challenging schedule and has no doubts the Cougars will be able to compete with the region’s best.
“It’s always good year in and year out,” Rowley said. “It’s a ton of fun coaching in it and I know it’s a ton of fun playing in it. I can’t wait.”
Game notes: Lambrides had more receiving yards Friday (108) than in his first four games combined … Meghan Cox, Lee’s kicker, connected on a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter and converted 2/3 XP’s … The game finished just before 11 p.m. as a result of all the penalty stoppages and Homecoming festivities at halftime. Final results from around the Northern Region were being announced at the start of the fourth quarter … The 697 passing yards by both teams was by far the highest total in the Northern Region so far this year.