Unranked Dunbar edges No. 6 Lake Clifton, 30-28 Poets defense breaks up last-gasp try for 2 points

October 18, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Under dark gray skies late yesterday, Lake Clifton coach James Monroe gave an emotional post-game prayer with both his own and Dunbar players in a large huddle near midfield.

It was a fitting end to what may have been the best football game between the longtime east Baltimore rivals.

The visiting, unranked Poets held off the No. 6 Lakers for a 30-28 triumph in a Baltimore City East Division contest.

With no time remaining in regulation, Taavone Ervin couldn't hold on to Joe Able's two-point conversion pass that would have sent the game into overtime for Lake Clifton. Instead, the Lakers (5-2) dropped their second straight game while Dunbar (3-4) has won two in a row, both against Top 15 teams.

"It was East Side football today," said Monroe. "Anyone who says that the East Side can't play football would have been proven wrong today."

After the Poets went ahead, 30-22, on a 18-yard touchdown pass from DeNelle Hale to Chris Barnes with 1: 55 remaining in the game, Lake Clifton went 72 yards in nine plays to pull to within 30-28.

With four seconds left, Dunbar linebacker Curt Williams had Able in his grasp, but Able threw a pass by the right sideline that was tipped by a Poets defender into the hands of Eric Thompson. Thompson kept his balance and slid his feet just inside the end zone marker for the touchdown.

On the try for the 2-point extra point, Lake Clifton looked to Ervin, who had torched the Poets for 107 yards on only three catches, on a quick slant pattern, but Devin Murphy was right there and Ervin couldn't bring in the pass.

"I knew that it would be coming his way," said Murphy, a senior. "I got some help from Alan Nelson [Poet outside linebacker], and things worked out. This was a tough game."

A couple of weeks ago, Ervin probably would had made the catch and Dunbar would be on its way to another frustrating setback. After a disastrous 1-4 start, the Poets are thinking they can play themselves back into playoff contention.

Dunbar continued to be plagued by errors (three turnovers yesterday), but made enough big plays to overcome them, including a 26-yard punt return for a touchdown by Tyrel Henderson and a 81-yard kickoff return by Dahnel Singfield.

The Poets, who were upset by Lake Clifton a year ago when they were ranked No. 1 in the area, gained the lead for good as Hale rolled to his right, avoided pressure, and found Barnes breaking open in the back of the end zone.

"I tried to do a post, fake my defender outside, then take him inside," said Barnes, a 6-foot-1 junior. "I couldn't look back and see DeNelle, and I hope he threw it, and he did."

Hale ran in for the two-point conversion, securing the drive by the Poets that succeeded a Lake Clifton scoring series of 73 yards in 12 plays, 11 of them on the ground.

The lone pass of the drive produced the touchdown for the

Lakers as Able (7-of-16, 134 yards) found Ervin on the left side of the end zone for a 10-yard score with 8: 29 left in regulation. A two-point pass from Able to Thompson tied the score at 22.

"It was big plays in this game from both sides," said Dunbar coach Stanley Mitchell. "The kids just rose to the occasion."

No. 7 Hereford 54, Lansdowne 0: Fullback Jason Murphy carried the ball 15 times for 245 yards and three touchdowns and Reggie Cavender rushed for 91 yards on 10 carries in the Bulls' romp over the visiting Vikings (4-3). It was the fifth straight shutout for Hereford (7-0), which had 432 rushing yards.

Pub Date: 10/18/97

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