Ballou defeats Dunbar, 35-31, to advance to DCIAA final

Ballou quarterback Delonte Edwards threw for three touchdowns and ran for two in the Knights' victory over the Crimson Tide.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 14, 2010; 12:08 AM

Delonte Edwards went back in time Saturday. The Ballou senior quarterback turned back the calendar to to when he was an eighth-grader leading Hart in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association Middle School final.

In that game, Edwards led Hart down the field with a no-huddle, hurry-up offense before throwing the title-winning touchdown pass. Four years later, Edwards said he was thinking about that game as he led Ballou on an eight-play, 72-yard drive before throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Dontray Crawford with a minute left to give Ballou a thrilling 35-31 victory over Dunbar in the DCIAA semifinals at Cardozo.

Edwards's third scoring pass of the game, to accompany two touchdown runs, gave the Knights a chance to avenge its loss to H.D. Woodson in last year's final. The Warriors beat Coolidge, 14-2, in the second semifinal.

Trailing 21-15 at halftime, Dunbar (8-3) got its offense going behind running backs Curlee Walker (35 carries for 160 yards) and Olu Izegwire (16 for 91). Walker scored on a five-yard run with just more than nine minutes left to put Dunbar ahead 31-28.

Ballou (9-1) took over at its 28 with 3 minutes 49 seconds left. Edwards (18 of 28, 282 yards) completed 4 of 5 passes on the drive and also ran for 24 yards. While the Ballou sideline implored its offense to hurry up, Edwards unflappably called out each play at the line of scrimmage, never losing control.

"It was exactly like that last game at Hart," Ballou Coach Moe Ware said. "The game just slows down for him. I want the ball in his hands."

Edwards said: "All I was thinking about was winning this game."

Facing second and 11 at the Dunbar 35, Edwards hit Dontray Crawford on a post pattern just inside the 10-yard line. Crawford looked to his left, and saw an open spot, so he headed for the pylon at the left corner of the end zone and sneaked in for the touchdown with 1:08 left.

"Coaches have been expecting me to make big plays," said Crawford, a 6-foot-4 junior who is in his first varsity season. "I saw that I was short [of the end zone], but I had to get there."

In the other semifinal, it took H.D. Woodson's offense a while to make some plays, but the defense, as it has all season, did all the work. Woodson (8-3) held Coolidge (4-7) to just 66 yards of offense.

Tyrell Arrington's six-yard touchdown run shortly before halftime put Woodson up 8-2.

"Coach [Greg] Fuller told us before the season, 'It's your year to take us to the Turkey Bowl,' " senior linebacker Nate Robinson said. "Now, here we are."

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