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Looking ahead to the DCIAA semifinals

DCIAA Semifinals
Wilson (6-4) vs. Ballou (8-1)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m., at Cardozo
Last meeting: Nov. 18, 2006, Ballou won, 30-0, in the DCIAA semifinals

Outlook: It’s strength against strength. Ballou used the league’s most dominant line to control both sides of the ball against its opponents. The trio of Michael Pearson, Lamonte Clark and Johnathan Parrott (who average 6-foot-2, 290 pounds) have been too big and strong for anyone in the city so far. They have given opposing quarterbacks little time to work, and, offensively, have cleared the way for running back Eric Shaw (1,158 rushing yards, 12 TD’s) and protected quarterback Delonte Edwards (1,307 passing yards, 20 TDs). How quickly, though, will that trio be able to get its collective hands around perhaps the DCIAA’s running game? Wilson senior Brian Glover (935 rushing yards, 13 TDs) leads a Tigers ground game that is averaging nearly eight yards per carry. Rico Thompson and Jonathan Spinks have also rushed for four scores apiece, thanks to the strong blocking of Greg Cunningham and Ibrahima Kebe. If Ballou can shut down the Tigers’ running game and force them to pass, it could be a long day for Wilson, especially with senior Larry Pinkard patrolling the Ballou secondary.

H.D. Woodson (7-4) vs. Dunbar (9-1)
Saturday, 6:30 p.m., at Cardozo
Last meeting: Nov. 27, 2008, Woodson won, 24-6, in the Turkey Bowl

Outlook: So much for predictions; these two won’t meet in the Turkey Bowl for the sixth time since 2001, but that shouldn’t detract from seeing the city’s two most successful programs match up. With an uncharacteristically young and inexperienced roster entering the season, Dunbar lost its opener to Friendship Collegiate, but has reeled off nine straight victories behind DCIAA leading rusher Vernard Roberts (1,155 yards, 17 TD’s) and freshman quarterback Lamel Matthews, who has shown poise beyond his years. Dunbar's running game will be critical to controlling the ball (much like it did in its 20-9 victory over the Warriors in the 2007 Turkey Bowl) and keeping it out of the hands of Woodson quarterback Ricardo Young, who has a fleet of talented wide receivers, in Alonzo Russell, Sherrard Harrington and Don Hursey. A decisive factor could be special teams: Dunbar has returned six punts and three kickoffs apiece for touchdowns, with sophmore Olu Izegwire turning the trick three times.

By Alan Goldenbach  |  November 9, 2009; 10:51 PM ET
Categories:  Ballou , DCIAA football , Dunbar , H.D. Woodson , Wilson  
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