One streak ended for No. 2 Dunbar against visiting Lake Clifton, but the most important one continued in a 26-6 victory yesterday.
Dunbar (9-0), which has out-scored its opponents 316-12 with seven shutouts, could have tied the state record with its seventh straight shutout.
But that quest ended late in the third period, when Lake Clifton's Charles Kane stripped the ball from quarterback Anthony Wiggins and won a footrace against Reggie Boyce for a 65-yard touchdown.
"They wanted a shutout, but it didn't happen," said Kane, whose team battled to a scoreless first quarter. "But we didn't come in here just to score, we came in here to win."
Dunbar, which may enter next week's 2A state playoffs as the No. 2 seed, played a Lake Clifton team bent on pulling the upset. In the stands were scouts from perennial 2A powers Fort Hill and Cambridge.
"We didn't want to show too much, so we held back in some areas," said Dunbar coach Stanley Mitchell. "Not to take anything away from Lake Clifton. They could have been 0-9 and still given us a good game."
Lake Clifton (6-4) led last year's meeting all but five minutes before losing, 16-6. But yesterday, Dunbar led 20-0 early in the third quarter behind Boyce, who ran for 176 of the Poets' 225 total yards and scoring three touchdowns on 17 carries.
Dunbar's defense was just as sharp. The Lakers' Greate White )) (3-for-11, 12 yards) was sacked four times by Ali Culpepper (minus 9 yards), Shamai Butler and Chris Hall (each for minus 3), and Tommy Polley (minus 2). Dante Jones, Polley and Culpepper each recovered fumbles, and White's favorite receiver, Terril Lowery, didn't catch a pass.
Lance Askins' fourth-quarter interception halted a Lake Clifton drive at the Dunbar 3, but the Poets turned the ball over on downs after moving just 14 yards.
On the first play of Lake Clifton's series, however, Polley intercepted White and ran untouched 53 yards for a 26-6 lead with three minutes left.
"We didn't dominate like usual, but the bottom line is that we came out on top," said Jones.
Boyce (20 touchdowns) gained 123 yards in the first half, the big gainer a 55-yard off-tackle sprint down the sideline for the score to open the second period.
In the third quarter, Boyce, whose 2-yard scoring run came 3:30 before halftime, capitalized on Polley's recovery of a fumble by Teone Rhodes at Lake Clifton's 14. Two plays later, Boyce took a delayed option pitch on the left from Wiggins and went untouched 10 yards with nine minutes left.
Lake Clifton's offense moved well behind running back Kenny Williams (123 yards on 23 carries) and Darnell Pearshall (24 yards, seven carries), but too often self-destructed.
Pearshall converted two fourth-and-one situations in the Lakers' opening drive, which covered 46 yards in 11 plays before Butler hit Williams, whose fumble was recovered by Jones at the Lakers' 44.
Seven plays later, the Lakers' Sherman Braxton scooped up Boyce's fumble, returning it 34 yards to Dunbar's 35. But the Lakers' turned the ball over on downs at the Dunbar 26.