Whatever doubts lingered about No. 7 Douglass's standing in the Prince George's 4A league were erased yesterday on the first play of the second half of its game against No. 14 Eleanor Roosevelt.
With his team ahead by 10 after intermission, Douglass senior Deago Washington took the opening kick of the second half and raced 84 yards to send the Eagles to a decisive 39-6 win over the host Raiders in a battle of unbeatens in Greenbelt.
"That was the changing point in the game right there," Douglass Coach J.C. Pinkney said. "We knew we had a good kick returner, and he executed perfectly."
Douglass (6-0, 6-0), in its first season in Class 4A, has now beaten its new league's top three teams -- Suitland, C.H. Flowers and Roosevelt (5-1, 5-1) -- by a combined score of 79-6.
The Eagles' recipe was their usual mix of a tough running game on offense and a punishing defense. Quarterback Davon Gray rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown and added a 50-yard touchdown pass to Rico Greene in the second quarter. Gray also had three two-point conversion runs.
"We knew we could come in here and beat this team," Gray said. "We were ready to prove ourselves again."
That Douglass was even receiving the kick after halftime was the result of an unusual decision by Roosevelt Coach Rick Houchens. Douglass won the coin toss at the start of the game and chose to receive the opening kick. At the start of the second half, the Raiders had the option to receive. But Houchens opted to kick, hoping that his team could pin the Eagles deep in their own territory. Douglass thus chose to defend the west end zone, forcing Roosevelt to kick into the stiff west wind that blew all game.
Washington received the ball at the 16-yard line and burst through a hole about 15 yards ahead of him, finding little resistance after that.
"We felt like field position was going to be important at the time," Houchens said. "The thing was, we had the guy stopped, and we kind of stood right there and watched him go by."