Baltimore City’s Dunbar Poets 23 game winning streak and dreams of repeating as Class 1A champions came to a crashing end Saturday afternoon. The undefeated Poets simply looked flat in most of the Class 1A semifinal contest against Douglass-PG. Despite 4 losses on the season, Douglass appeared confident the entire game scoring their first points on a spectacular catch by Alajah Dawson from Devin Harding in the corner of the end zone (6-0 1Q Douglass-PG).
Down 6 early, Dunbar’s defense was tenacious in the first half. The Poets stymied much of the Eagles progression on the ground and in the air. But the offensive side of the ball is where the defending champs struggled. Penalties, fumbles, missed tackles and wide open drops were a common theme.
Despite the rough start, Dunbar eventually showed signs of their high powered offense with big runs and a 2 yard rushing TD by senior Andre Brandon in the second quarter (6-6 2Q). Brandon rushed for 99 yards on 18 carries in the contest. The senior running back eclipsed the 2000 yards rushing milestone during the contest, finishing with 2,033 rushing yards on the year.
Seconds half, two thoughts came into play. When will Dunbar turn it on? And the longer Douglass sticks around the bigger the possibility of a upset. The latter occurred. Under the wet conditions, Dunbar was unable to get into a consistent rhythm offensively. The weather forced the 10-time state champs to scrap the passing attack after only 35 yards in the air. This effectively played into the Eagles hands who’s scrappy defense had a “bend but don’t break” mentality.
Dunbar’s plans to return to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium began fade in the fourth quarter. On his first carry of the day, Eagles Geo-Di Tolbert slipped several tackles to bust open a 66 yard TD run to give Douglass a 14-6 lead. With 1:16 left, the Eagles finished Dunbar converting a 4th and 1 into a 60 yard Zavier Prince touchdown run (20-6 Douglass-PG Final).
The 1A semifinal win was the second time the PG County school beat Dunbar in the last 4 years . The Eagles also defeated Dunbar 38-0 in the 2014 Class 2A State Championship game. Douglass-PG will face Fort Hill in the 1A final Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm. The Sentinels lost to Dunbar in the 2017 1A finals 30-26.