Dunbar quarterback Chrisdeion Alston woke up Friday morning and started placing calls. He called several old teammates at Ballou, and called cheerleaders he knew at the school, too. They laughed and jabbed each other like old times, knowing that Alston was just hours away from playing a game unlike any other in his young career. And before each phone call ended, he told them two words: “I’m ready.”
It wasn’t going to be easy for Alston to face his old team Friday night at McKinley, especially just a few months removed from transferring to Dunbar over the summer. It’s been hard enough learning how to find his way around the brand-new school these first few weeks, trying to meet new people, and after class, trying to learn — and lead a new offense.
Sensing how emotional the game was going be Friday, Dunbar star running back Malonta Patterson helped gather the team into a circle before kickoff and dedicated the performance to Alston.
And it was a good one, too. Patterson rushed for 167 yards and scored two touchdowns — but the night really belonged to the sophomore Alston, who threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-0 rout of Ballou (3-2, 0-1 DCIAA Stars) at McKinley Tech in Northeast Washington.
“At the end of the day we still gotta play ball,” Alston said. “I just think about succeeding and making plays.”
It was the best performance to date in red and black for Alston. After Patterson ran untouched for a 43-yard score in the middle of the second quarter, Alston made it 13-0 on the next possession after he hit Patterson on a third-down screen that went 41 yards for a touchdown. With the Ballou defense tired, Alston did most of his damage in the second half for the Crimson Tide (4-0, 2-0), throwing both of his touchdowns to James Duff. The first touchdown pass came late in the third quarter on an 18-yard seam route, while the second, a nifty eight-yard fade in the corner of the end zone, put the win on ice.
“It was a big game for him, because he was talking about it all week,” Patterson said. “So I took it to the house to help us win, to help beat his old team.”
This was more than a game for Alston on Friday, but it also had a backyard feel. He ran a “Statue of Liberty” play several times, and he ran around the line of scrimmage trying to make something out of nothing on occasion. He jawed with old teammates, and he high-fived them after taking shots, too. It was unlike any game he has played.
“It’s all love. That’s all it is,” Alston said. “Still love them, still love them like they’re my brothers today.”