Southern tops Dunbar, 43-24 Bulldogs' running game leads way to title shot 2A football

November 20, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

In 20 seasons, Southern of Anne Arundel coach Buck Gardner has the dubious distinction of being the only coach in the county to lose 100 games.

Now his team is a victory away from becoming only the second team in the county to win a state championship.

The Bulldogs added another chapter in their storybook season last night, defeating visiting and No. 5 Dunbar, 43-24, in a Class 2A semifinal game.

Next weekend at Maryland's Byrd Stadium, Southern (11-1), ranked No. 3 and the fifth seed, will face Damascus, a 21-20 winner over Cambridge in the other semifinal, in the finals.

The victory also added to the school record that this year's squad has established. Until this season, Southern had only managed seven wins in a campaign, which was done four times.

And until this season, the Bulldogs never had made an appearance in the state playoffs. And they are making the most of it.

In their first ever playoff game last Saturday, they grinded out a 14-12 victory over Potomac in the mud.

Then last night against a Dunbar defensive unit that had allowed an opponent 10 or more points twice, Southern's running attack netted 274 yards.

"We were feeling our way and found a place where we could run the ball," said Gardner, whose team won its seventh straight. "They cut our sweep off and we went inside and we were successful."

Senior running back Jason Poknis led the Bulldog attack with 141 yards. Jamar Mullen had 51 and Corey Contee rushed for 77.

In the second half, Southern was near-flawless, rushing for and FTC scoring 27 points, 11 more than what the Poets had allowed in their previous four games.

"We knew they like to run the counter and trap with 44 [Poknis]," said Dunbar coach Stanley Mitchell. "We knew the key would be for our linemen to penetrate. You hate to point fingers, but that's where we lost it at."

The Bulldogs scored on their first two possessions of the second half. Their first drive went 61 yards in six plays, capped by a 35-yard scoring run by Poknis.

Dunbar came right back, getting a 55-yard scoring pass from Rodney Elliott to Sean Lipscomb, pulling the Poets to 22-18 with 5:27 remaining in the third.

On the ensuing kickoff, Bobby Procopio returned it 41 yards to the Dunbar 34. Four plays later, Poknis went 5 yards for a touchdown. A conversion pass increased the Bulldogs' lead to 30-18 with 3:33 left in the third quarter.

Dunbar, which was seeded eighth, opened the scoring with a 14-yard run by Johney Sawyer, which was set up by a fumble by Southern on a punt.

Poknis help tied the game for the Bulldogs by blocking a Dunbar punt, which was recovered for a touchdown by Joe McCafferty. Mike McCafferty threw a conversion pass to Jamar Mullen, giving Southern a 8-6 lead with 1:37 remaining in the opening quarter.

Dunbar committed its two turnovers of the quarter as Sawyer fumbled and Mike McCafferty recovered. On a third-and-8 from the Southern 46, Sean Lipscomb intercepted an option pass intended for Ron Gross and returned it to the Bulldog 46.

On the next play, the Poets gave the ball back to Southern as Kim Kent fumbled and Southern recovered at its 48.

The Bulldogs cashed in, going 52 yards in six plays, capped by a 4-yard scoring run by Corey Contee. Mullen's conversion run, extended the Bulldogs' lead to 16-6. Dunbar responded with a 16-play, 64-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard sneak by Elliott.

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