For City's Bryant Johnson, big plays aren't out of the ordinary. In five minutes last night, however, the Penn State-bound senior made two big plays No. 10 ranked Dunbar won't soon forget.
First, he raced 65 yards with a fumble for a defensive touchdown. Then he caught a 24-yard touchdown pass as the No. 12 Knights edged the Poets, 19-18, at Patterson Park's Utz Twardowicz Field.
Manhandled throughout the first quarter, City (3-1 overall, 1-0 in the City East Division) took advantage of Johnson's heroics to turn the game around.
"That definitely was the spark," said City coach George Petrides. "We took advantage of their mistakes, and then our defense came through."
Said Johnson: "It gave us momentum. We rushed the quarterback -- got in there and caused some trouble."
For Dunbar (1-3, 0-1), the night was filled with frustration. Despite 266 yards in total offense, the Poets could not convert on two fourth downs and lost a scoring chance on Todd Galloway's fourth-quarter interception.
"They were very prepared, and we just made too many mistakes," said Dunbar coach Ben Eaton, who was less than happy with the play of his upperclassmen. "The system is fine. We just have to re-evaluate our personnel."
Early on, Dunbar dominated play on both sides of ball.
Defensively, the Poets held the Knights without a first down until midway in the second quarter.
Offensively, the Poets' running game reached City's 2-yard line on the opening drive. Short on a fourth-and-goal from the 3, the good field position helped them to the lead on their next possession.
On the drive's first play, quarterback Lenny Ferguson found Chris Barnes down the right sideline for a 44-yard touchdown.
But defense got the Knights got back in the game.
With Dunbar driving on the second quarter's first play, linebacker Brandon Wilson sacked Ferguson, forcing a fumble. Defensive back Bryant Johnson scooped up the ball and ran 65 yards for the touchdown to give City a 7-6 lead.
City extended its lead to 13-6, driving 41 yards on its next possession before quarterback Jawan Yancey found Johnson on the left for a 24-yard touchdown.
Dunbar scored just before halftime on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Ferguson to Al Nelson to make it 13-12 at the break.
Dunbar briefly took an 18-13 lead, but Yancey's 37-yard pass to Galloway early in the fourth quarter gave the Knights a lead they did not relinquish.
Pub Date: 9/26/98