H.D. Woodson cornerback Darwyn Kelly didn’t have the energy to jump around in celebration with his teammates following the Warriors’ first victory of the season Friday night. The senior raised his hand and stood near his jubilant teammates, but his legs were justifiably spent.
Kelly almost single-handedly sealed Woodson’s 32-8 win at Wilson (2-4) by returning two interceptions for touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. With 92 seconds remaining in the game, Kelly returned an interception 78 yards for a score. And then on the contest’s final play, he picked off a pass and dashed 95 yards into the end zone.
“They had been trying to throw the ball on me all game,” Kelly said. “So by halftime I adjusted to it. My coaches helped me out and I made a play.”
Several, actually. Woodson (1-4) avoided going 0-5 to start a season for the first time since 2005 in large part due to its defensive dominance. The Warriors tallied six interceptions on the night, including three from Kelly and two from senior cornerback Davaughn Taylor.
Wilson’s quarterback “was just floatin’ ’em up there, so we had to come get ’em,” Taylor said.
In particular, Wilson tried to attack Kelly, who is in his first season playing cornerback. This also marks Kelly’s first season in the DCIAA. He transferred to Woodson this year after previously playing free safety at Carroll in the WCAC.
Kelly said Wilson likely attempted to pick on him because he is an “unfamiliar” commodity in the DCIAA. When asked whether he thought that might change after his performance Friday, Kelly grinned and nodded.
Kelly “was in the right position and made some great plays for us,” Woodson Coach Greg Fuller said.
Positive reinforcement had been difficult to come by for the Warriors, who began the season 0-4 after playing a slate of talented out-of-state opponents. Woodson has yet to play a home game this season, and Fuller said it has been difficult at times keeping his team’s collective confidence afloat.
“We try to keep [the players’] self-esteem high, but it’s tough,” Fuller said. “When you do go out of town and don’t perform well, it does lower your self-esteem. So it’s just talking to them, letting them know it’s their team and making adjustments.”
On Friday night, Kelly and the rest of Woodson’s defense did just that and re-emphasized that their record is not necessarily indicative of their talent and ability.
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