Coolidge senior cornerback Wayne Ouzts broke up the pass, and as the ball rolled harmlessly to the turf yesterday on the Colts' field it took eight years of history with it for Dunbar. Outzts's play -- on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime -- sealed a 27-26 win for the Colts and handed No. 12 Dunbar its first loss to a D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association opponent during the regular season since 1997.
"The reign is over," shouted Colts junior lineman Marvin Austin. "We hunkered down and got it done."
Dunbar, which had won 41 consecutive DCIAA regular season games, rallied to force the game into overtime after the Tide's Renaldo Curtis recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. The Tide completed the two-point conversion to knot the game at 20, where it stayed through regulation.
Coolidge (6-2, 2-0 DCIAA West) took over first in overtime and senior Dwan Thornton scored on the first play from scrimmage with a 10-yard scamper along the left sideline. Senior kicker Ebba Wege kicked the extra point for a 27-20 lead.
Dunbar (5-2, 1-1) then took its turn, and needed three plays before junior quarterback Nathan Bussey barreled into the end zone from two yards out.
On a sloppy field, Dunbar Coach Craig Jefferies opted not to kick, instead going for the win. Ouzts then came up with the game-saving play when he broke up a pass from Bussey to senior wide receiver Arrelious Benn across the middle of the end zone on a conversion pass.
"We didn't want a player as good as Arrelious to beat us," Ouzts said. "After he had beaten us on a big play in the first half, I asked coach to let me have him for the rest of the game. I made good on my pledge to shut him down."
Coolidge handed the Crimson Tide only its second loss to a DCIAA opponent since it fell to H.D. Woodson in the 2002 Turkey Bowl championship. The Colts have a chance to earn at least a share of the West Division title if both teams win their two remaining games.
Coolidge took a 7-0 lead on its opening drive of the game on a four-yard run by Ouzts with 8 minutes 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Dunbar immediately responded when D'Angelo Martino, who was starting in place of senior Jerry Johnson (broken ankle), scored on a 23-yard run to cut the deficit to 7-6. But the Colts led at halftime, 14-12, on a seven-yard touchdown by Thornton with 51 seconds left in the second quarter.
The momentum remained with the Colts when Dunbar senior Vontae Davis fumbled the opening kickoff in the third quarter and Romale Tucker recovered at the Crimson Tide 20-yard line. Dunbar committed a personal foul that moved the ball to the 10, and Thornton scored three plays later on a three-yard run for a 20-12 lead with 9:41 remaining in the third quarter.
"I was kind of shocked," Ouzts said. "We couldn't let this slip away. We had gotten so close. We decided that we wanted it more than they did."