Dunbar, Southern-AA break new ground together First time in states, teams meet tonight

November 19, 1993|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer Staff writer John W. Stewart contributed to this article.

Basketball practice began Monday at Dunbar and Southern of Anne Arundel County, but for the first time in either school's history, several key players didn't report -- they're still playing football.

This is the first time No. 3 Southern (10-1) or No. 5 Dunbar (9-2) has made the state football playoffs, and they square off at Southern in tonight's 2A semifinal.

In other semifinal matchups, No. 8 Perry Hall (10-1) plays host to Watkins Mill (9-2) of Montgomery County tonight in a 4A battle at Dundalk Community College, and No. 1 Poly (10-0) plays host to No. 7 C. Milton Wright (10-1) in a 3A game tomorrow afternoon.

In Class 1A tonight, Joppatowne (8-3) visits top-seeded Beall (11-0) in Frostburg.

Eighth-seeded Dunbar and top-seeded Poly have left the Maryland Scholastic Association to participate in the state playoffs for the first time, and fifth-seeded Southern is having its best season.

"It's two schools where basketball is the big sport, so it's ironic we're meeting in football," said Southern coach Buck Gardner, whose Bulldogs hold the school's victory record.

Dunbar beat then-unbeaten No. 4 Overlea, 22-10, last week. Overlea, like Southern, averaged more than 36 points.

"Few teams sustain drives on us," said Dunbar coach Stanley Mitchell. "We take pride in that."

The Poets' defense has linemen Derrick Player (6 feet 5, 325 pounds), Taurence Bishop (13 sacks) and Jimbo Elliott (nine sacks), defensive backs Sean Lipscomb and Johnny Sawyer and linebackers Nate Brown and Tommy Polley.

Southern's only loss came by 22-16 to Douglass, which last weekend beat then-No. 2 City, 30-18.

The Bulldogs' pro-set offense has Corey Contee, Jason Poknis, Jamar Mullen and quarterback Joe McCafferty (850 yards passing, 18 touchdowns). Wayne Small has 24 receptions for 452 yards and 15 touchdowns.

"I watched them against Potomac -- they make few mistakes," said Mitchell. "Their linemen were impressive and fundamentally sound."

The Poets' pro-I boasts 6-7 quarterback Rodney Elliott and running backs Sawyer and Kim Kent. Dunbar has outscored opponents, 238-71.

"They impressed us against Overlea with their size and gifted athletes," said Gardner, whose Bulldogs have scored 380 points. "Both are outstanding teams, but I can't think of anyone of their caliber we've played."

Third-seeded Perry Hall, meanwhile, has it tough against seventh-seeded Watkins Mill, which beat North County, 30-6, last week.

"I don't think we've played anybody as good as Watkins Mills," said coach Joe Stoy, whose Gators have reached their first semifinal since 1974.

Mark Franklin, Mandel Marsh and quarterback Kevin Znamorowski (901 yards, seven touchdowns) lead the Gators, who edged No. 10 Patterson, 30-28, in overtime last week.

"We'll do some things defensively to try to stop them," said Stoy. "But they run right at you."

Watkins Mill has lost 21-14 to defending 3A champ Seneca Valley, and 7-6 to Churchill (11-0), the top seed in the 4A.

"I think Springbrook [a 17-0 victory] and Sherwood [24-0] does some things that are similar offensively [to Perry Hall]," said Watkins Mill coach Ken Brace. "We've not seen running backs as good, big and strong as theirs."

Beall has a big one in running back/linebacker Adam Patterson (6-2, 220), who leads the team in rushing (648 yards, 19 touchdowns) and tackles (90). He has 25 touchdowns overall.

"We had gone to the playoffs in 1985 and 1990 without winning a game, so the win [50-0] over Milford Mill was our first," said ninth-year coach Bill Patterson. "We know Joppatowne will have speed and a top scorer [Lewis McKisset]."

McKisset is Harford County's third-best scorer with 80 points and ranks fourth in rushing (862 yards, 11 touchdowns). Cable Miller and Andre Turner (a county-leading 10 interceptions) lead a defense that includes McKisset, Alonzo McDowell and Wendell Davis.

Turner also has returned five kicks for touchdowns. McDowell makes his third start at quarterback since replacing Matt Berger (broken collarbone).

Poly has "speed, speed, speed," said C. Milton Wright coach Steve Harward. "We'll have to neutralize their speed, not give up big plays," he said. "They're not going to beat themselves by turning the ball over."

To stop Greg Kyler, Louie Randall, tight end Arthur Peace and quarterback Charles English, the Mustangs need big games from Jeff Judy, Gavin Snyder and Don Behler.

Poly defensive end Rashaad Kitchen (13 sacks), top tacklers Zack Jeffers and Sebastian Smothers and defensive back Robert Maddox will have their hands full with running back Jason Tharpe, who leads area rushers and scorers.

The fourth-seeded Mustangs' Mike Schmidt targets receivers Duane Fisher and Eric McEvoy.

"C. M. Wright doesn't lack in any aspect -- they have total execution," said Poly coach Augie Waibel. "Their defense gang-tackles, they have kicking and punting games -- I don't see a weakness."

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