The Washington Post

Ballou football team enjoys an impressive start

With wins over Theodore Roosevelt and Phelps the past two weeks, Ballou is 2-0 for the first time in three years. In 2010, the Knights started the season 6-0 and made an eventual run to the DCIAA playoffs, outscoring opponents 351 to 97 in 10 games. Replicating those numbers again in 2013 is unlikely — but Ballou has taken a similar trajectory in its first two games, scoring 66 points and giving up just six in those contests. The schedule ramps up Friday with Ballou traveling to face No. 14 Douglass, which had a strong showing in a season opening loss to Wise Saturday.

“Douglass is going to be a very tough game,” Ballou Coach Jason Lane said. “It’s going to be a very, very tough matchup, because we’re so young.”

Lane’s team has been led by offensive and defensive lineman Levon Livingston, who has helped the rushing attack find its stride — sophomore running back Marquis Hamilton rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns in the opener — while junior quarterback Tirri Jones still acclimates to running a varsity offense for the first time. The junior Livingston has recorded three sacks and one fumble return for a touchdown in two games, and Ballou created seven turnovers in its win over Phelps (1-1).

Ballou is playing with a portion of its roster still in development. Jason Lane has already had 13 freshmen see action the first two weeks, and there have been steady contributions. One ninth grader, Jermaine Swanson, starts on the kickoff team; Dewayne Blacknell (6-foot-3, 160-pounds) has played well at wide receiver, and Daquan Kerns, a 6-foot-3, 325-pound freshman, will start for the Knights on the offensive line in the coming weeks.

“I’d say week five, halfway through the season, we should be hitting on all cylinders,” Lane said. “We’re still working on a lot of things, but for the past two weeks we’ve been playing consistent and the young guys are just playing hard.”

Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the weekend of football in D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)
Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.



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