With his team clinging to a narrow fourth quarter lead, Ballou senior running back Daywone Wright took the handoff from his quarterback, shredded a few arm tackles and took off for the end zone.
This particular run had a different feel for Wright so he ran a little bit harder, a tad faster and a pinch quicker. Unlike a few of his previous runs on the evening against the Coolidge Colts, there were no penalties, no yellow flags and no disgusted groans from the audience.
Wright had finally broken a clean run and as he danced through, around and past defenders on an 83-yard scamper, all the Ballou crowd could do was check twice for flags before erupting in unison.
Wright's run put the Knights up 20-9 over the visiting Colts and proved to be the biggest play of the game as Ballou edged Coolidge 20-17 on Sept. 14.
In a game of miscues, botched punts and turnovers, Ballou survived yet another physical contest. After advancing to 1-1 to start the year, the Knights are off to a 2-1 start behind the legs of Wright.
"I just believed hard in my team,” Wright said after the game. “We kept fighting, worked hard and we got the [win].”
Wright began the night on the defensive side of the ball, recovering a Coolidge fumble before answering an early Coolidge touchdown with a two-yard dive which cut the Colts’ lead to 7-6 late in the second quarter. After stuffing Ballou deep in Knights territory, Coolidge didn’t have to do much as the Knights mishandled a punt attempt that scooted out of the back of their own end zone, stretching the Colts’ lead to 9-6 shortly before halftime. But Wright would strike again in the middle of the third quarter, jetting for an eight-yard score and putting Ballou ahead, 12-6 before his finale of the night.
And while Wright’s run was one of the more memorable plays of the evening, Knights junior linebacker Melvin Jones’ interception, which stopped a promising Colts’ drive at the Ballou 22-yard line with 3:50 left in the game, was what turned the tide for Wright and allowed the Ballou offense to take over.
“At halftime I talked to my guys about fighting and not giving up and we came back and prevailed,” Ballou coach Jason Lane said. “We have a young team and a lot of times when you’re young you go through adversity.”
After having several long runs called back due to holding and other offensive errors, Wright followed his coach’s words and never gave up on what was mostly a frustrating night for the entire offense. Wright could’ve rushed for nearly 300 yards without the penalties but was forced to settle for a paltry 175 yards; not a bad day for one of the top players on the team.
“Daywone Wright is a kid who’s been [performing at a high level] since Pop Warner Football,” Lane gushed. “He’s a kid who’s pretty much awesome. He can turn a broken play into a big play at any point in time.”
Ballou (2-1 overall) will next face Wilson (1-2 overall) on Sept. 21 at Ballou Field at 7 p.m., while Coolidge (1-2 overall) takes on a non-conference opponent, Mercersburg Academy, on Sept. 22 in Mercersburg, Pa.
Here are other available DCIAA football scores from the weekend:
- Dunbar (D.C.) crushed Jefferson (W. Va.), 35-7
- Good Counsel blasted H.D. Woodson, 49-0