Roche, Keenan pace No. 10 Poets past City; Mervo’s next (VIDEO HERE!)


Dunbar running back Devin Roche (3) is tackled by City’s Lamar Martin during Friday’s Baltimore City football game. Roche and the 10th-ranked Poets scored the first 38 points, en route to an easy victory over the Knights at Alumni Field in Northeast Baltimore. (photo – SportsMajors)

by Demetrius Dillard

Special to VSN

It took less than 15 seconds Friday for Dunbar High football to get on track for another Baltimore City league victory.

Tristan Keenan took the opening kickoff 75 yards, and the 10th-ranked Poets’ running game and pulverizing defense conspired for a 38-8 victory over City College in a city league Division I match at Alumni Field.

Junior back Devin Roche finished with 68 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine carries for the Poets (2-0 overall, 1-0 Division I) while Keenan contributed with 30 yards and a touchdown on five rushes in addition to his game-opening score.

“Good team game, good team effort. We just gotta keep getting better every week,” Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith said.

“We think that we have one of the best front sevens in the state. You’re talking about our front four and our linebackers – we think that we have one of the best in the state, and we just want to play a relentless attacking defense.”

The Poets missed a shutout as City (1-1, 1-1 Division I) scored in the final seconds. The Knights blew a red zone opportunity early in regulation, and Dunbar’s offense made them paid.

Early in the second, Roche took a handoff and ran clean through the middle for a 34-yard touchdown. Keenan capped off a 77-yard drive with a two-yard scamper to the end zone.

Poets quarterback Jeremiah Dallas connected with receiver Tony Hart twice for two-point conversions, giving the Orleans Street school a 24-0 advantage at halftime.

“I still feel as though I could have done a slight bit better, but I give it all to the big men up front. They controlled all my production,” said Roche, 5-foot-9.

The Poets turned a blocked punt into another touchdown as Tyler Hood recovered the ball in the end zone, inflating Dunbar’s lead to 32-0. Poets backup quarterback Jalen Bowman tossed a 21-yard pass to Donte Lee at the top of the fourth quarter, starting a running clock.

Knights junior quarterback Kameron Williams led a five-minute, 66-yard yard drive, ending with a 44-yard pass to Daequan Shell. Williams finished 7-of-15 passing for a game-high 116 yards and a touchdown.

The Knights had a chance to answer Dunbar’s opening strike, getting to the Poets’ 10 after Williams connected with Antonio Green for 55 yards. City turned the ball over downs and didn’t threatened again until the end of regulation.

“We just executed the game plan. Coach called the blitz and I’m gonna go get it,” said Poets senior linebacker Robert Smith, who had three sacks.

“We made a lot of unnecessary mistakes where we just gave them (Dunbar) optimal position, gave them short fields, gave them easy touchdowns so if you do that too often it’s hard to come back from,” said City first-year coach Rodney Joyner. “We had an opportunity to finish plays, but we couldn’t capitalize.”

The Poets believed they’re where they need to be after two weeks. Next weekend, Dunbar takes on No. 8 Mervo at Poly, with the winner gaining the upper-hand for the city title.

“I think this was a good team win, good tune-up game for Mervo…we should have had the shutout,” said Smith. “We also left a few points on the board, but this competition is not going to be anything like Mervo, so we gotta come back to practice Monday and we gotta work.”

No. 10 Dunbar 38, City College 8

First quarter

Dunbar – Tristan Keenan 75 kickoff return (Roche run)

Second quarter

Dunbar – Devin Roche 34 run (Tony Hart pass from Jeremiah Dallas)

Dunbar – Keenan 2 run (Hart pass from Dallas)

Third quarter

Dunbar – Tyler Hood blocked punt recovery touchdown (Roche run)

Fourth quarter

Dunbar – Donte Lee 21 pass from Jalen Bowman (run failed)

City – Daequan Shell 44 pass from Kameron Williams (Jahmari Powell-Wonson pass from Williams)