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Ballou comes on strong
QB Scott, '2 James' backfield lead offense
(Published September 8, 2003)

Staff Writer

The clock was ticking down in the fourth quarter, with less than five minutes left, and it looked like the Ballou Knights would be taking a frustrating 42-28 loss with them on the long trip home from Beckley, W.Va.

"It seemed like we were doing everything to lose the game," said Head Coach Noel Cyrus. "They rushed for almost 500 yards on us, but in the end we finally learned how to play ‘em and started stopping them."

But more than the Knights’ defense clicked in those final minutes Sept. 5 before a stunned crowd at Beckley Wilson’s Flying Eagle Stadium. Ballou’s offense, led by sophomore quarterback Nico Scott, scored three touchdowns in just over three minutes and took the lead, 46-42, with just 1:20 remaining.

"It was one of the best games I’ve been involved with – as a coach and even as a fan for years before that,"an elated Cyrus said of his team’s exciting come-from-behind victory.

The coach called his young quarterback’s stellar performance, with 14 completions for 312 yards and two touchdowns, "his coming out party."

"We’ve got two of the best backs in the DCIAA – the two Jameses [juniors James Richardson and James Martin] – and if our quarterback can put it together, we will be a force to be reckoned with," Cyrus said.

Ballou, which started its season a week ahead of the other nine D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association football teams by taking on the 10-time Ohio state champion Canton McKinley Bulldogs, is the first team in the league to post two victories. The Knights’ lone loss – their 32-14 season opener against McKinley on Aug. 22 – still was an "exciting" experience for the team, according to Coach Cyrus, including several big running plays by the Knights before a crowd of 6,000 high school football fans on the field where NFL players meet annually for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.

Ballou shut out the Coolidge Colts, 35-0, Aug. 29 in their first home game of the season to post their first win. The Knights host the Roosevelt Rough Riders Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.

In other DCIAA season-opening games:

Copyright 2003, The Common Denominator