Austin big for Dunbar in 30-6 win over City

15-year-old 150-pounder scores 3 times for Poets

High Schools

September 17, 2005|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

At just 5 feet 8 and 150 pounds, Dunbar's Tavon Austin hardly looks like a threat.

But put a football in his hands and the little guy becomes a speed demon who can wreak havoc on defenses.

Austin keyed the fourth-ranked Poets' come-from-behind, 30-6 victory over Baltimore City League A Conference rival City (1-1, 0-1) yesterday, scoring on runs of 9 and 25 yards and returning a kickoff 98 yards for a third touchdown - all in the first half.

Those numbers aren't bad for any player, let alone for a 15-year-old who came to Dunbar (2-0, 1-0) primarily to play basketball and who figured at best to make the Poets' JV football team.

"He's got speed, natural vision, timely cuts, all the things a coach can't teach," said offensive coordinator Travis Blackson, assistant to coach Ben Eaton. "He was smooth in practice and made a lot of big plays in scrimmages."

Austin, who has played football since age 7 and basketball since he was 10, said he learned from senior linebacker Antonio Salters that he had made the varsity after Dunbar's first scrimmage.

Austin wasn't told he'd start until just before last weekend's 15-12 overtime loss to No. 3 Loyola, in which he had a 45-yard catch for a score.

Austin has teammates comparing him to former Dunbar running back Nathan Irby, The Sun's 2004 All-Metro Offensive Player of The Year.

"I saw [Irby] play once against Walbrook last year, and he was [awesome]," Austin said. "I like being compared to him. It'll only make me better."

Dunbar trailed briefly 6-2 after City's Dominick Roseborough returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown.

But Austin's kickoff return in the first quarter gave Dunbar a permanent lead. Elbert Walker's 35-yard interception return accounted for the game's last touchdown.

Salters and David Townes had three sacks each, Orencio Moore had two sacks and Keon Redhead, Delano Johnson and Dwight Williams had one each. One of Townes' sacks was for a safety.

City's Duke-bound Sheldon Bell had two receptions for 30 yards.

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