Poolesville tackles Dunbar, minus Irby



During each of the past two seasons, Poolesville of Montgomery County has vanquished one Baltimore City team only to have its unbeaten season end a week later in Baltimore at the hands of Dunbar.

In 2003, the Falcons defeated W.E.B. DuBois at home only to lose to Dunbar, 30-22, on a touchdown with 23 seconds left in regulation. And in 2004, the Falcons again edged W.E.B. DuBois only to be thwarted by Dunbar, 34-14.

The difference in both instances was the Poets' Nathan Irby, The Sun's 2004 All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year, who combined for 708 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the two wins over Poolesville.

"It was Poolesville against Nathan Irby, and Nathan Irby won," Poolesville's third-year coach Larry Hurd said after last year's loss. "We're 22-2 in the last two years and lost to Nathan Irby twice."

When Poolesville (9-1) comes to Baltimore, yet again, to meet Dunbar (9-2) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Mervo, Hurd won't have to worry about Irby, who has graduated.

Poolesville is coming off last week's 38-12 rout of Forest Park in which the Falcons' Jared Christman rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns to raise his season totals to 1,477 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Hurd is 31-3 since taking over a program that had gone 2-6 the year before. He returns junior quarterback Matt Ray. Against Dunbar last year, Ray was 11-for-19 for 154 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a touchdown.

During its eight-game winning streak, the Poets have outscored their opponents, 278- -27 (34.7 to 3.4 per game) with four shutouts.

"They're both big, strong teams," said Forest Park coach Obie Barnes, whose Foresters lost, 44-7, to Dunbar on Nov. 4. "Poolesville mixes it up well - their quarterback runs a lot and they also play good, smash-mouth football from the I-formation."

Youth served

The underclassmen had their day last Saturday in City's 22-0 shutout of visiting Baltimore City rival Lake Clifton in Class 3A North regional semifinal action.

Not only did City's defense record its third shutout in four games, but it was mostly the juniors who carried the 11th-ranked Knights (10-1) to their ninth consecutive victory.

Joshua Rushing had two interceptions, with one each from Mark Williams and Ross Parker among the Knights' trio of junior defensive backs.

Junior running back-linebacker Earl Townes rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown, and made a 1-yard scoring catch off a pass from freshman quarterback Ellis Foster.

Also contributing was junior running back Kyle Brooks, with a 4-yard touchdown run, and junior Brian Dunston, with a two-point conversion catch.

The Knights' offensive line averages 240 pounds and is comprised of sophomores Troy Marable and Jonathan McDew, juniors Zion Pyatt and Christopher Hale, and seniors Marcus Smothers and Keith Ransom.

Duke University-bound senior Sheldon Bell leads the Knights with seven interceptions.

Against Lake Clifton, the Knights were without junior linebacker-fullback Dominick Roseborough, the team's No. 1 tackler who missed the game with an ankle injury.

But coach George Petrides said Roseborough will return for Saturday's regional final vs. Catonsville (9-2), which boasts the state's top rusher in Jaren Maybin (2,235 yards, 25 touchdowns).

Weight-loss changes

Starting in 2006-07, wrestlers can compete at higher weight classes during the regular season, then drop into a lower one for the county, regional and state tournaments provided they don't lose more than 1.5 percent of their weight per week and their body fat content does not fall below 7 percent (12 percent for girls).

Also, wrestlers' weight-loss plans must be monitored weekly by the schools, all in accordance with rules that were mandated last April by the National Federation of High School Associations.

Next year's rules will differ slightly to those presently governing the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. Gone is the "50 percent rule," which requires half a wrestler's regular-season weigh-ins or matches to be in the category at which he'll compete during the postseason.

And the hydration test, used by at least three Maryland districts last year, will be required for all of the MPSSAA's member schools.

Proponents of the new rule believe weight loss in excess of 1.5 percent "indicates muscle mass has been lost, or dehydration has taken place," said NFHS committee head Dave Carlsrud, adding that Nevada, California, Utah, Arizona and Hawaii already use the method.

The NFHS also lowered from 1 pound per day to a maximum of 2 the weight wrestlers can gain over consecutive days of competition regardless of consecutive days wrestled.


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