There are plays Falls Church‘s Dakwandre Marshall makes that simply shouldn’t happen. It’s near unfathomable that a 5-foot-7, 150-pound sophomore can get himself into certain situations on a football field, and equally unbelievable that he can find his way out.
For example, the punt return, for which there is video evidence. AgainstMarshall three weeks ago, he scooped up a kick at his own 2-yard line, broke three tackles instantly and ran 98 yards to the end zone without the help of a block.
Or, there is the 75-yard touchdown run against Jefferson on Friday night, when Marshall, 30 yards into his run, snaked back across the entire width of the field because he saw a sliver of open space.
They are indeed video-game plays to match his video-game numbers this season: 906 yards and 14 touchdowns, seven of which have come in the last two weeks.
“He’s one of those kids where he was born with it,” Falls Church Coach Said Aziz said. “But I also think he’s coached pretty well. He’s the combination of having a running back with that natural vision with speed and skills.”
Only in his first season as a varsity starter, Marshall has received interest from college programs in the Big Ten, American Conference and Colonial Athletic Association.
They love his running style, Aziz said. He has enough speed to turn the corner on a defense, but runs mean between the tackles.
“I think the special thing about Dakwandre,” he said, “is he’s like 5-7, 150, but he looks at himself in the mirror like he’s Lawrence Taylor.”
Three games ago, Aziz asked the PA announcer to play Dr. Dre whenever Marshall, who goes by Dre, scores a touchdown. A dozen scoring runs since, opponents certainly haven’t “Forgot about Dre.”
That’s been Marshall’s story since he first started playing football in fourth grade. The second carry of his life, he said, he broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and then ran for a 99-yard touchdown.
“I was going to score and I wasn’t going to go down,” he said.
His older brother Davon, a senior, starts on the Jaguars’ defense. He brought Dakwandre, then an eighth grader, to the team’s workouts two years ago. Instantly he made an impression, Aziz said. He couldn’t wait to get him on the varsity roster, and now he’s excited for a playoff run and another two years of this kind of running.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 42, 44, 42
The yardage from which Westfield kicker Brian Delaney made field goals in the Bulldogs’ 29-28 win over Robinson. Delaney, committed to kick for Virginia next year, hit the final 42 yarder to win the game as time expired.