Dunbar's 11-game streak ends Douglass-PG rallies, escapes on mistake by Poets' Mitchell, 14-8

September 14, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

It was Friday the 13th, and everything that could have gone wrong for No. 1 Dunbar against visiting Douglass of Prince George's County yesterday, did.

The two-time, state champion Poets were pushed around in their own backyard -- William "Sugar" Cain Field -- by bigger, more experienced linemen. All-Metro running back Ali Culpepper, who rushed for 1,831 yards and 21 touchdowns last year, did not get in the end zone and ran for just 69 yards.

The first of two onside kicks by Douglass, which trailed by a touchdown at halftime, was recovered by the Eagles and led to a touchdown. And a mistake by coach Stanley Mitchell ruined Dunbar's final chance in a 14-8 loss that ended the area's longest winning streak at 11.

The Eagles (2-0) limited Dunbar (1-1) to 151 yards on the ground -- routinely a game's worth of statistics for Culpepper. Douglass got excellent efforts from Jerome Washington (6-1, 260), who had a sack; Gabe Hinton (6-2, 250), and Alan Pope (6-2, 325). Defensive end Todd Skinner also had a sack.

Meanwhile, the Eagles' 5-6, 145-pound Alex Coleman finished with 130 yards on 11 carries and scored both his team's touchdowns.

"A lot of people in the state don't respect our program, but if you look at the teams we lost to last year -- [Class 2A runner-up] Potomac, Dunbar and [Class 3A runner-up] Churchill -- they were all in state championship games," said Douglass coach Tom Glynn. Dunbar beat the Eagles, two-time winners of the Prince George's County 3A League, 28-6, last year.

"Dunbar's a great program, but we returned our entire offensive line. Today, we got the most out of our kids," said Glynn.

Held to just 42 yards in the first half and trailing, 8-0, Glynn worked in an option attack with the already pulverizing wishbone to gain an additional 184 yards. Coleman, quarterback Mike Crawley, Harold Lewis (48 yards) and Akim McFadden (40 yards) were the catalysts. Coleman's 13-yard touchdown run with 4: 29 left ended a 10-play, 58-yard drive for the go-ahead score.

"On the option, my defensive linemen weren't keeping their men off our linebackers, and their quarterback went down the line without taking a hit," Mitchell said.

Dunbar received the ensuing kickoff with four minutes left, but after driving 40 yards to the Douglass 38, blew its final chance to score. Facing fourth-and-10 with 57 seconds left, Mitchell instructed Poets quarterback Denelle Halle to spike the ball.

Douglass ran out the clock.

"I fully take the blame, thinking it was third down. So did my quarterback," said Mitchell. "I was trying to save my last timeout and had him throw it down to try to set up for getting the first [down]."

The miscue overshadowed an otherwise excellent effort by Halle, who was 6-for-9 passing for 89 yards and engineered the Poets' lone scoring drive of the first half. The 38-yard march ended with Halle's 11-yard touchdown run, followed by his conversion pass to Dahnell Singfield for an 8-0 lead with 3: 08 left.

Dunbar's defense, led by Culpepper and Carlrome Randall, who each had a sack, and Derry Williams, who recovered a fumble, stopped Douglass on downs at the 4 in the first half and at the 7 in the second.

"We knew we were playing the best," said Douglass assistant Bill Johnson, "but at halftime, we knew we just had to do something to get back in it."

The Eagles did just that on the first play of the third quarter. One play after George Jefferson recovered a mishandled onside kick at the Poets' 46, Coleman broke two tackles and sprinted untouched to the end zone to make it 8-6.

Pub Date: 9/14/96

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