Dunbar, Barnes catch win over Poly, 20-13 Sophomore scores 2 TDs

Waibel's career closed out

November 23, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Dunbar's sophomore wide receiver Chris Barnes made perhaps the two most difficult scoring receptions of his life yesterday, lifting the No. 13 Poets to a 20-13 Class 2A state semifinal victory and their seventh straight win at No. 12 Poly.

Barnes' 16-yard catch from Denelle Hale made it 6-0 with 7: 45 left in the first period, and he overcame a 13-12 deficit with a 46-yard score with 3: 12 to play as the Poets -- in their fifth straight semifinal in as many playoff appearances -- earned the right to go for their third state title at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium.

The circumstances surrounding the game are what made Barnes' poise so remarkable, as he helped to usher Poly coach Augie Waibel (280-75 career record) into retirement some 35 years after his father, Obie Barnes, helped to start it as a lineman at Edmondson.

Last year, Chris Barnes became the first freshman ever to start on an Augie Waibel-coached team. He transferred from Poly to Dunbar this season after earning first-team All-City/County honors.

"It was a tough decision, coming to Dunbar, and it took a while. But I just thought it was best for me," said Barnes, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder who has 34 receptions for 763 yards and seven touchdowns (45, 1,052, 15 TDs in two seasons).

"Being 1-4 earlier this year, all the odds being against us making the playoffs, that was tough to take," said Barnes, whose father watched from the stands. "But going to Byrd makes it all worth it."

Poly led, 13-12, after Timmy Frazier's 1-yard run, followed by Marcus Smith's extra-point kick, capped a 10-play, 56-yard drive with 5: 04 left in the game.

But Hale (1,499 passing yards, 10 TDs) returned from a third-quarter eye injury to finish 4-for-5 for 95 yards. He followed his second TD to Barnes with a conversion to two-time All-City/County wide receiver-defensive back Dahnel Singfield.

"Chris ran a great route, and I just laid it up there, hoping he'd get under it," said Hale, also Dunbar's second-leading rusher with 807 yards and seven touchdowns.

Defensively, Dunbar's Unray Peters (6-5, 235) had a late-game sack and two of the Poets' three tackles for lost yardage -- the other was by Naeem Harrison (6-3, 200) -- on the Engineers' game-opening offensive series. Dunbar's Antoine Colvin (6-3, 328) and Alan Nelson also registered sacks.

Devin Murphy grabbed his ninth interception of the year, and Tyrone McQuay and Kirk Williams combined to deflect a punt.

Dunbar (8-4) next faces Fort Hill (12-0), the team it beat, 30-15, in 1994 for its first of two straight state titles.

"It's basically the same Fort Hill -- percision offense, disciplined defense," said assistant coach Ben Eaton, who has been with Stanley Mitchell (50-11 in five seasons) during his entire tenure at Dunbar. "We've got our work cut out for us."

Junior running back Thomas James (5-7, 167) "basically rode the bench" until getting his first start in the Poets' first meeting with Poly. Yesterday, he had a game-high 95 yards on 20 carries and a 7-yard touchdown that gave Dunbar a 12-6 lead with 2: 15 left in the third period.

Poly (8-4) had tied the game at 6-6 on Tony Clark's 10-yard return of a second-quarter punt blocked by Damian Mindley, who, like Clark and Craig Green, also had a sack yesterday.

But Thomas gave the Poets the lead again, finishing off a 12-play, 67-yard drive during which he ran eight times for 43 yards and caught a 23-yard pass.

The Poets used six different ball carries to gain 171 yards on the ground, but mostly rode the tiny shoulders of James.

"I'm only 5-7, 167, but I run a 4.5 in the 40," said James, who has 1,391 yards and 10 touchdowns this year. "The coaches told me I'd get the opportunity, and I've taken advantage."

State playoffs

Class 1A:

Hereford 31, Cambridge-SD

0 Beall 14, Allegany 8

Class 2A:

Dunbar 20, Poly 13

Fort Hill 21, Middletown 0

Class 3A:

Thomas Johnson 32, Woodlawn 6

Wilde Lake 3, Friendly 0

Class 4A:

Seneca Valley 35, High Point 19

Suitland 6, Sherwood 0

Schedule

+ (all games at Byrd Stadium)

Friday

Class 3A: Thomas Johnson vs. Wilde Lake, 3

Class 4A: Suitland vs.

Seneca Valley, 7

Saturday

Class 1A: Hereford vs. Beall, 1

Class 2A: Dunbar vs. Fort Hill, 4

Pub Date: 11/23/97

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