Just as Northwestern High School running back Darius Victor crossed the goal line for the second of his three touchdowns Friday night against DuVal, Wildcats coach Bryan Pierre — jogging toward his wrecking ball of a back — said simply, “That's the best run I've ever seen.”
Indeed, Victor's 53-yard scamper up the gut, during which he broke at least four tackles, was special. But perhaps more special was the fact that in beating DuVal for the first time in five meetings — 28-10 underneath the lights at Heurich Field in Hyattsville — the Wildcats strengthened their belief that this could be the team to snap the program's nine-year playoff drought.
“I feel great,” Victor said. “We knew we could do it. It took us four years [to beat DuVal], but we knew we could beat them. They're a tough team.”
Victor, who cramped up badly late in the third quarter, finished with 138 yards on 16 carries.
“When I get the ball, all I think about is the end zone,” said Victor, a 5-foot-8, 210-pound senior. “I don't think about anything else. If I have to run through them, go around them, it's end zone. That's all that goes through my mind.”
Pierre attributed Victor's second-half fatigue and cramping to a good problem to have.
“We can't get a great look at him in practice because he's knocking people around. Nobody wants to tackle him. It's a little hard,” Pierre said.
Victor's run with 32 seconds remaining in the first half gave Northwestern (2-0) the lead. Senior Jeremy Douglas' punt block late in the third quarter ensured they'd keep it.
With DuVal (1-1) punting from its own end zone, Douglas broke through the line and got a large piece of senior Devon Ellis' punt. The ball rolled into the end zone, where senior Darnell Green pounced on it for a touchdown. Victor converted the two-point try to give Northwestern a 21-10 lead.
“I was there at the right time,” Douglas said. “You've just got to stay focused. That's all there is to it.”
After DuVal's Karee Mines returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, the Tigers stumbled on offense. Running back Shamik Perry carried 10 times for 11 yards as DuVal's line couldn't solve Northwestern's large defensive front, mainly 6-5, 325-pound cog Victor Tamba.
Frequently DuVal ran its offense out of the Wildcat formation with Perry and quarterback Natio Scales taking turns under center. Scales had a nifty 62-yard run in the second quarter on a drive where DuVal gained a first-and-goal from the 2. But the Tigers lost yardage on three consecutive plays and settled for a 33-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead. Those would be their last points of the game.
“The goal-line stand really hurt us,” said DuVal coach Dameon Powell. “But that's a good football team we faced. They've got a lot of veterans there. They wanted to win so bad. It's going to take some time getting over this game and working to put this behind us.”
Northwestern 28, DuVal 10
DuVal (1-1) 7 3 0 0 — 10
Northwestern (2-0) 7 6 8 7 — 28
D — Karee Mines 91 kickoff return (Denzel Seisay kick)
N — Darius Victor 15 run (Darius Victor kick)
D — Denzel Seisay 33 field goal
N — Darius Victor 53 run (pass failed)
N — Darnell Green 0 punt block recovery (Darius Victor run)
N — Darius Victor 1 run (Alvaro Berrios kick)
DuVal — Natio Scales 12-69, Shamik Perry 10-11, Terewell Newton 3-7, Patrick Nwadjie 1-5, Terrance Davenport 2-(-2)
Northwestern — Darius Victor 16-138, Darnell Green 11-43, Quamy Sparman 2-8, Jovante Seard 4-4
DuVal — Natio Scales 1-4-25-0
Northwestern — Jovante Seard 4-10-60-0
DuVal — Jarrett Scott 1-25
Northwestern — Keandre Brown 2-32, John Johnson III 1-20, Quamy Sparman 1-8