KIPP Renaissance was trying to stay unbeaten in district play Friday and position itself for a playoff berth.
Sophie B. Wright dashed those hopes quickly.
The Warriors marched down the field and scored on their opening possession and remained in control for much of their District 9-3A game, winning 24-11.
“We just leaned on our discipline and it helped us close,” Wright first-year coach Dennis Christopher said. “It starts in practice, you know. Our kids relied on that. It allowed us to pull it out. We will learn and improve, but it starts with our focus.”
Tyree Skipper intercepted an errant Bobcats’ pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown to help Sophie B. Wright (2-4, 2-0) put away any hopes of a comeback.
“My eyes were big when I saw that pass coming my way,” Skipper said. “I had to return that thing. It was only right for me to bring it home. My coaches made sure I was locked in, and I just executed. We needed a play, and I stepped up to deliver.”
Skipper also starred on offense for the Warriors and seemed to singlehandily spoil KIPP’s homecoming celebration. He broke open the game late in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run that put the Warriors ahead 18-3.
Skipper finished with 82 yards rushing and 65 yards receiving.
KIPP Renaissance (2-5, 1-1) had its chances early and often but failed to convert any of their four takeaways. Lucious Baker finally got the Bobcats into the end zone on a 1-yard run late in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late.
“We played a very good team and our boys were up for it,” Bobcats coach Luke Strattner said. “We just needed to make a couple of plays here and there, and it could have been a different game.”
The scoring opened early when Skipper found Damiree Burns for a 10-yard touchdown to give Sophie B. Wright a 6-0 lead. The Warriors faltered at times but never looked back.
Wright’s Jaheim Evans later soared over the goal line for 4-yard touchdown to help extend the lead to 12-3 with 2:36 remaining in the third quarter.
The teams traded turnovers during a 3-minute span heading into halftime, both quarterbacks throwing multiple interceptions.
However, KIPP’s Lawrence Joiner was the beneficiary of two interceptions, stalling consecutive drives for Wright and keeping the game close.
The Bobcats reached the red zone in the third quarter, but quarterback Talim Watkins misfired on three passes into end zone. He finished the night 8 of 13 for 108 yards. Zhi Thomas churned out 16 carries for 110 yards.
Danior Raul Ballesteros booted a 27-yard field goal to put the Bobcats on the board in the closing minutes of the first quarter, cutting the deficit to 6-3.