City whipped Douglass, 41-16, in its season opener yesterday, raising its winning streak to 21 games before a home crowd.
But Knights veteran running back Ricky Dangerfield said the team didn't look like one that had gone 20-0 and been top-ranked in the area over the past two seasons.
"I think if you asked our coaches, they'd see it the way I see it -- and I felt like we played poorly. Disastrously, to be honest," said bTC Dangerfield, a 5-foot-6, 160-pound senior who rushed 18 times for 163 yards and four touchdowns.
The victory earned City (1-0) its first win in the city's new five-team 3A league, which includes Douglass (0-1), Poly, Carver and Northern, but Dangerfield wasn't convinced.
"We've got to do better than this," said Dangerfield, a 4.4 40-yard -- sprinter coming off last year's 757-yard, 13-touchdown season. "It's important to win, but I feel it should have been much worse of a score for them."
The Knights led 21-0 at halftime, scoring on three of the first four possessions and racking up 206 of their 283 yards. Senior quarterback Teron Matthews, a reserve behind 1992 All-Metro Player of the Year Terrence Suber last season, completed six of eight passes for 67 yards.
Douglass players were incensed by a Baltimore Sun article last week in which City's Dwight Banks, a second-team All-Metro receiver, said the Knights would "seek and destroy Douglass." Several copies of the article were posted around Douglass, and Banks was taunted by Douglass players during the game.
"They're all worried about me, and everyone else on the team is scoring. I think they have other things to worry about," said Banks, a highly recruited Division I prospect who has caught 49 passes for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns in two seasons.
Yesterday, Banks caught three passes for 29 yards and was successful on three of four extra-point kicks, but the Knights' defense -- led by linemen James Whiting and Brian Douglass -- did early damage.
The Ducks -- who amassed 157 yards of offense for the game -- could muster only 25 yards in the first half, crossing into City territory only once before the Knights' Dennie Freeman recovered a fumbled snap on a first-and-10 at the 44.
They had more success in the second half, beginning with Jeremy Terlington's 23-yard touchdown pass to Qasim Kabah
that cut the
deficit to 21-6 with 7:19 left in the third quarter. Terlington ran in the conversion and also rushed for three of the Ducks' seven first downs.
City scored twice more to make it 35-8, the first time -- with 24 seconds remaining in the third -- after freshman running back Taber Small (seven carries, 45 yards) capped a 10-play, 61-yard drive with his second touchdown of the game, from 4 yards out.
With 9:46 left in the game, Shannon Cole's fumble recovery at the Douglass 1 set up Dangerfield's third scoring run.
Then Douglass got its running game together, going 56 yards in 12 plays before fullback Gregory Bradley drove in from a yard away. Bradley ran four times for 41 yards in the drive, including sprints of 19 and 12 yards.
"We started to show that we had a little heart and determination to win," said Bradley, a junior who, as linebacker, ended the second quarter with a 5-yard sack of Matthews.
"I started to show I had the power and they couldn't stop me. If we just pull together more, we should be all right for the rest of the season."
City's game-opening scoring drive took 5:20 and covered 77 yards in 10 plays before Small made it 6-0.
Dangerfield followed two minutes into the second period. His 11-yard run ended a five-play, 50-yard drive. His conversion run gave the Knights a 14-0 lead.
Six minutes before the half ended, Dangerfield struck again -- this time from 24 yards on a left-side pitch from Matthews. Banks made his first extra-point kick for a 21-0 lead.