Ballou needed a touchdown on a broken play with 4 minutes 26 seconds remaining to defeat winless Wilson, 21-14, in a D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association matchup yesterday in Southeast.
Ballou, off to its best start since 1994, when it went 7-3, improved to 3-1. The Knights dropped their first six last season. Wilson fell to 0-5.
With Ballou trailing 14-13, Knights running back Ronald Gill--as he was being tackled by three defenders--flicked the ball back to quarterback Norman Marrow, who completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Kevin Hill. Ballou capped the winning 70-yard drive with a two-point conversion reception by Maurice White.
"It was a busted play," Hill said of the touchdown. "I was blocking down field when I looked up and there was the ball. My first thought was that I didn't score."
The Tigers tied the game at 12 with 3:01 left in the third quarter when quarterback Avery Bowden connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown. Preston Hollard added the two-point run for a 14-12 advantage.
"I thought we had them until that play [the go-ahead touchdown]," Wilson Coach Horace Fleming said. "The best play in football is a broken play. We gave up the big plays. We aren't working hard enough."
In the first half, Ballou struck early as Marrow completed a 24-yard pass down the middle to tight end Randolf Holmes to secure a first down after losing 15 yards on two penalties. Morrow, who completed 8 of 12 passes for 251 yards, then completed a 67-yard pass to Kevin Daniels for a 7-0 lead. Daniels caught four passes for 190 yards, and scored two touchdowns.
Wilson responded early in the third quarter when Bowen found Brown on a 17-yard touchdown pass. Eddie Thurston's extra-point attempt was blocked.
"I think we came out overlooking these guys, and they're a great football team," said Ballou Coach Noel Cyrus, whose team was coming off a 45-0 victory over Theodore Roosevelt last week. "After last week, our head started to swell. We needed this. This was gut-checking time."