Irby's runs rally Dunbar by Poly, 8-6

Poets now 6-0 in division

Engineers' Mitchell scores

Football

High Schools

October 15, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Visiting Poly was having its way yesterday with Baltimore City Division I rival Dunbar, whose high-scoring, All-Metro running back, Nathan Irby, hadn't come anywhere near the end zone by halftime.

But after Dunbar fell behind by a touchdown midway through the third quarter, the Poets' offensive line rediscovered its heart, Irby found the holes, and the team's defense answered the call for a homecoming win.

Irby scored an 18-yard touchdown with 2:43 left in the third quarter, then tacked on a game-winning two-point conversion run. His effort earned No. 8 Dunbar an 8-6 victory over the defending league champs and its sixth-straight win since a season-opening loss to No. 3 Gilman.

The Poets (6-1, 6-0) avenged last year's 14-0 loss, gaining the inside track to the division title.

Irby's effort ended a nine-play, 60-yard drive during which he rushed seven times for 45 yards. He finished with 101 yards, just 18 of them in the first half.

Poly's Kevin Armstrong, Melvin Rice and Nicholas Massey combined for 21 tackles, Ricardo Silva had an interception, and Laquan Williams two pass disruptions as part of a defense that held Dunbar far below its 42-point average.

"It was tough in there," said Irby, who scored for the 14th time this season. "They blitzed a lot and stacked up the middle with eight men in the box."

The Engineers led 6-0 with 7:52 left in the third period after Leonard Mitchell's 26-yard run, but the Poets responded.

"They came out with emotion; we came out flat. But their touchdown brought us back to reality," said Dunbar's Antonio Powell, part of an offensive line that included John McCoy, James Conway, Cecil Crowell, Nathaniel Evans and Eric Carter.

The Engineers (5-2, 4-2) then botched three chances to regain the lead. First, Danny Wilkins' 31-yard pass to an all-alone David Williams fell incomplete in the end zone.

The Poets' later foiled the Engineers' first-and-goal situation at Dunbar's 5-yard line. On the last two downs of the series, Elbert Walker dropped Poly's Jarrell Crosier for a 2-yard loss and Rodney Shipp disrupted a 5-yard pass by Wilkins into the end zone.

Dunbar had similar stops in the first quarter, when Keon Redhead blocked a field goal attempt, and Darren Moore intercepted Wilkins at Dunbar's 37-yard line.

"We ran the ball on them all day, but we've had problems in the red zone," said Poly coach Anthony Knox. "But we grew up a lot in this game, which will help us."

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