The past two seasons, Delante Penn Andrews often lined up wide left as one of the Eastern High football team's top wide receivers. But in yesterday's season opener against host Coolidge, the senior found himself rolling left as his team's new starting quarterback with the score tied and 57 seconds left in regulation.
Penn Andrews responded by beating a Coolidge defender to the left corner of the end zone for a game-winning two-yard touchdown run that lifted the Northeast Washington school to a 14-6 victory in a D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association nonleague game. Penn Andrews, who also returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown to give the Ramblers a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, became Eastern's quarterback last week, when last year's starter was declared academically ineligible and one of Eastern's backups missed a practice.
"I always saw myself as a wide receiver, but I will do anything it takes for the team to win," said Penn Andrews, who played some quarterback on the junior varsity as a freshman before starting at wide receiver for the varsity the past two years. "When the other quarterback didn't show up one day, I asked coach if I could fill in."
Eastern Coach Burnell Irby said he wanted Penn Andrews's senior leadership in a backfield that already included standout senior running back Lawrence Wade. Last year, Wade led the Metropolitan area in rushing and became the first DCIAA player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season. Wade gained 160 yards yesterday on 23 carries, but was often contained by a Coolidge defense that has 10 returning starters and hung tough in new coach Rocky Belk's debut.
The Colts tied the game at 6 with 8 minutes 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter when Penn Andrews completed a short pass over the middle to senior Alonzo Saunders, who lost the ball when hit by Coolidge senior Eric Goodall. Colts senior Kujo Saki snagged the fumble out of mid-air and returned it 83 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. Saki's extra-point attempt was blocked by Eastern junior Chase Godfrey.
With 4:14 remaining in regulation, the game was delayed for 25 minutes when Coolidge sophomore running back Tyrone Adams broke the ulna and radius bones in his left arm during a tackle on a running play. Adams was treated on the field by trainers before paramedics arrived. He was later transported to Children's Hospital by ambulance.
When play resumed, Saunders grabbed the second of his three interceptions and returned it 38 yards to the Coolidge 32. A 21-yard run on third down by Wade set up first and goal at the 3. Wade carried again for one yard before the winning score.
Eastern (1-0) 6 0 0 8 14
Coolidge (0-1) 0 0 0 6 6
E -- Penn Andrews 50 punt return (kick failed)
C -- Saki 83 fumble return (kick failed)
E -- Penn Andrews 2 run (Wade run)
RUSHING -- E: Wade 23-160; C: Goodall 14-20.
PASSING -- E: Penn Andrews 4-6-0-29; C: Burgess 3-12-3-54.
RECEIVING -- E: Saunders 2-25; C: Williams 2-37.