No. 2 Dunbar toughs out win over Largo, 32-19 Randle, Culpepper, Thomas lead the way for Poets

September 21, 1996|By John Harris III | John Harris III,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LARGO - Dunbar's Carlrome Randle couldn't remember where or when exactly he received a the growing knot on the front of his head during his team's non- league clash with Largo.

The senior running back-defensive back knew he and his teammates had more than earned their lumps against the perennial Prince George's county Class 4A power. Thanks in part to the 5-8 160-pounder's all-around play, the No. 2 ranked Poets avanged last year's loss to Largo with a 32-19 victory in a non-league showdown.

"I knew it was going to be a tough game, but we just had to put everything we had into it,' said Randle, who returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown to put his team ahead 18-13 two minutes into the third quarter. He also picked off a first qurter pass, setting up one of two Ali Culpepper touchdowns, rushed for 33 yards on seven carries and returned a punt 22 yards. Randle also had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown called back on a clipping penalty.

'Guys like Randle, Jonathan Thomas, and Culpepper really stepped it up and played well when they had to,' said Dunbar coach Stanley Mitchell. Thomas set the tone of the game with a 50-yard touchdown off of a fumble handoff just three minutes into the contest.

Mitchell continued,"A lot of guys got banged up tonight. I tried to keep Culpepper out of the game because he had jammed his thumb. But when they [Largo] took the lead, he said 'coach, please put me back in the game.''

Despite his injury, Culpepper ammassed 96 yards on 17 carries, scoring two touchdowns and an extra point. His first touchdown _ 5-yard plunge _ gave the visitors a 12-0 lead at the 9: 22 mark of the second quarter. His final touchdown with 47 seconds left in the game sealed the win.

The Lions (2-1, ranked 19th in the state poll) however, made sure the game would be in doubt for most of the evening by scoring 13 unanswered points in the second period. Star running back David Johnson rambled 13 yards for the hosts first score. Damien Johnson-Hopkins then hit Bernard Lockley with touchdown strike in the right corner of the end zone to give Largo and one point advantage. Johnson, who entered the game with 481 yards in two games, was held to 92 yards on 14 carries.

"We knew we couldn't get nervous when they took the lead,' Randle said. 'We knew we gave [the lead] up because of our own mental breakdowns."

Johnson's 85-yard kickoff return up the middle gave the Lions their last lead of the evening. Midway through the third period Dehnel Singfield caught a 30- yard touchdown pass from Denelle Halle. Culpepper's extra point run gave the winners a seven point bulge.

"I think the key to our win was fundamental football,' Mitchell said. Our offensive and defensive lines did what they were supposed to do. We still have a long ways to go, but you can't take anything away from Largo, they are a good football team"

! Pub Date: 9/21/96

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