In what many consider the most intense rivalry in the Baltimore City football league, No. 13 Dunbar defeated Edmondson, 16-0, at Poly’s Lumsden-Scott Stadium Saturday evening to claim the Ben Eaton Memorial Trophy for the fourth consecutive year.
Named after the late Dunbar football coach who won two state championships before suddenly passing away before the start of the 2007 season, the trophy is presented to the winner of the annual match-up of the two city league Division I foes. Dunbar (7-1, 5-1 Division I) has won it all four years.
“It was an ugly game but our defense came alive,” said Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith. “We targeted today as the first game of our playoffs for this young team and the defense played spectacular.”
The tough, stellar play of both defensive units was overshadowed by a consistent stream of yellow flags. Both teams combined to pile 282 yards in penalties.
With three minutes and seven seconds remaining in the first quarter, Dunbar’s 5-foot-5 sophomore quarterback Kevin Estep unleashed a very big throw over the middle that provided the Poets first blow to the quick, swarming Red Storm (5-3, 4-2 Division I) defense.
Junior receiver Deontay McManus went airborne for Estep’s pass and landed, seemingly, without breaking stride before separating from the secondary to complete a 61-yard touchdown pass.
“[Estep] told me, ‘Turn your wheels on because I’m going to throw it deep,” said McManus. “I kicked into to second gear and I’m a playmaker so, I was just doing my job.”
On the ensuing Edmondson possession, the Red Storm attacked Dunbar’s defense with the effective running of junior running back Steve Everette. But after a 14-play drive that started at their 20-yard-line, Edmondson lost its second fumble of the first half at Dunbar’s 24-yard line, thwarting its deepest penetration into Poet territory.
Both fumbles were recovered by Dunbar senior linebacker Travon Garrett.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Poets took advantage of excellent field position thanks to a short punt and subsequent nifty return by McManus. The highly recruited junior seemed headed for the end zone after shaking loose from a group of defenders on the sideline, before he stepped out of bounds at the Edmondson 24-yard line.
Six plays later, sophomore running back JaQuan Holt darted up the middle for a seven-yard touchdown. The Poets defense stopped Edmondson quarterback Rodney Pratcher at the 1-yard line late in regulation to preserve their third straight shutout. Dunbar hasn’t allowed a touchdown in 15 consecutive quarters.
“At practice, coach Smith keeps telling us that defense wins championships, so we always want to come out on defense and make a statement,” said McManus. “We’re trying to keep everybody of the scoreboard.”
The Poets have another showdown Saturday against Poly at Mervo’s Modell Field with share of first in Division I on the line.
“Our first goal right now is the city championship,” said Garrett. “And some of us knew Coach Eaton, I knew him so I knew what this game was about. I know how the guys from the past felt about this game and how the coaches feel about it. [Eaton] was a father and mentor to them, so I feel like he was up there watching us and we did a good job.”
CLICK RELATED VIDEOS TAB FOR GAME HIGHLIGHTS AND POST-GAME INTERVIEWS
|No. 13 Dunbar 16, Edmondson 0|
|D-McManus 61 pass from Estep (Holt run)|
|D-Holt run (Hightower run)|