You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

Daouda Sylla does a little bit of everything for Ypsilanti Community football team

By Pete Cunningham


Ypsilanti Community School senior Daouda Sylla, pictured above, did a little bit of everything against Saline in Friday's 37-29 loss.

Patrick Record |

On paper, Ypsilanti Community School’s loss on Friday to Saline will only go down as a one-touchdown loss. But to anyone who witnessed the Hornets build a 30-point lead before the fourth quarter began, it was pretty obvious that Saline had Ypsilanti outmatched at nearly every position.

That is, save for one -- or rather, three -- as Ypsilanti Community senior Daouda Sylla was Mr. Everything for the Grizzlies on Friday night, displaying his skills as a linebacker, receiver and running back.

He even handled kicking duties for the Grizzlies.

“He’s our man. He’s our do it all,” said Ypsilanti coach Rufus Pipkins. “He’s more than willing to put it all on his shoulders.”

More coverage: Game of the Week story | Photo Gallery | Football roundup

He put his shoulders one others as well.

Ypsilanti’s first scoring drive in the second quarter showed just how valuable and punishing a player Sylla can be for the Grizzlies (0-2). On what would have been a first down run deep in Ypsilanti territory, Sylla hit Saline quarterback Travis Brown so hard it sent the junior quarterback and the ball he was carrying flying in opposite directions.

It would be Brown’s final play of the night.


Daouda Sylla, 7 into the air by Saline High School junior Colin Payne, 91, on Friday, Sept. 6. (Patrick Record |

Ypsilanti recovered the fumble and on the ensuing drive, and it was Sylla who would put the team onto the scoreboard, catching a pass in the backfield and rumbling 54 yards for a score, barely breaking stride to lower his shoulder and plow over a Saline linebacker en route to the end zone.

When the Grizzlies lined up for the extra point, it was Sylla (who else?) who split the uprights giving him a forced fumble, touchdown reception and extra point in a five-play span.

“He’s our heart and soul. He’s our guy,” said Pipkins. “It’s not going to take long before a college recognizes that he’s definitely a big time D1 player.”

Sylla finished with seven receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns, nine rushes for 28 yards and made his only extra point attempt. On defense there was hardly a play where Sylla wasn’t delivering a hit and on offense it was much of the same.

“(Hitting) definitely feels good on both sides,” Sylla said.

Sylla’s onside kick attempt in the final 30 seconds during Ypsilanti’s comeback attempt left much to be desired. Despite all he’d done for his team, and the minor chance even a well-struck onside kick would have been recovered, Sylla seemed genuinely disappointed to have not performed better.

It’s the type of attitude Pipkins said Sylla applies to everything he does. Having Sylla in the huddle, Pipkins said, is like having another coach on the field.

“He wants us to play with a sense of urgency all the time,” Pipkins said. “Coach, captain everything in one on the field.

"We look up to him and it’s amazing. You don’t get kids often with his type of ability and his type of passion for the game.”

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

This kid was awesome last night. Great game Daouda.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 8:46 a.m.

I've seen Daouda play soccer as well. This kid is an amazing athlete and a born leader.