With the playoffs looming, the Wilson Tigers entered their Nov. 13 game against the Ballou Knights with only two goals: stay healthy and go home with a win. Wilson accomplished both missions, defeating Ballou, 34-21, to win their tenth straight game.

The two D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) – Stars teams have a short history. Last year, Wilson’s season was cut short when Ballou defeated them in a 14-13 playoff win to head to the Turkey Bowl. This year, however, Wilson was prepared for Ballou, its most competitive matchup of the regular season.

“We knew they were going to run the ball a lot, so we just had to stop the run,” said junior quarterback Steven Williams. “Execution.”

In the second quarter, Ballou’s offense—led by sophomore quarterback Talonte Buccahann—began chipping away at Wilson’s 14-0 lead. Ballou freshman running back Jamal Speaks scored on a goal-line rush to cut Wilson lead to seven; he finished with 12 carries for 108 yards and one touchdown.

However, Ballou’s defense didn’t have an answer for Williams’ elite passing game. Wilson’s captain responded with a perfect 58-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Sean Savoy to tie the score at 14-14.

Williams continued to elevate the ball in the second half, connecting with sophomore Emon Fleming for a 41-yard touchdown.

After a hit on Buccahann in Wilson territory, Wilson junior defensive end Michael Galloway recovered the loose ball and ran to Ballou’s 41-yard line. Although the Tigers offense wasn’t able to capitalize with a score, the play ran a significant amount of time off the clock.

Ballou scored at the bottom of the third quarter to cut the Wilson lead to 26-21.

With six minutes left in the fourth, Williams hit junior receiver Khaleb Coleman with a game-winning 18-yard touchdown pass, and an ensuing successful two-point conversion sealed the win for Wilson.

Prior to the touchdown, things had not been going Coleman’s way on the field, as he dropped a couple key passes down the stretch.

“You’ve got to have a short memory,” Coleman said. “That’s why I got that touchdown and we came out with the W.”

Neither Wilson nor Ballou can afford to dwell on the outcome of the game, because the two teams will meet yet again in rematch of last year’s playoff game on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.; the winner will go on to compete in the Turkey Bowl.