Coach Dante Jones knew his Edmondson defense was good, but yesterday's 12-0 shutout at 11th-ranked Baltimore City Division I rival Dunbar showed it can be great.
Playing in the rain and on a sloppy field, Tariq Jones rushed for 76 yards and a first-quarter, 26-yard touchdown, and Markkeder McCall returned a third-quarter interception 43 yards for the other score, as the Red Storm (4-1, 3-1) avenged a loss from a year ago while registering its third shutout of the season.
Jamell Mason had an interception, Alge Berry had a sack, and Kyle Jackson, Thomas Turner and Joshua Katrell all had key tackles for lost yardage on a squad that has not allowed a team to score in the second half.
The No. 8 Red Storm trailed 19-18 at halftime of its season-opening, 25-19 victory over Linganore, and 16-0 at halftime of a 16-6 loss to No. 3 City.
"Once I scored the second touchdown, I knew we had them," McCall said. "When we're up on a team, it's going to be hard to come back on us. Our defense is No. 1 in shutting you down."
After helping his teammates hold Dunbar (2-3, 2-2) deep in its territory on the Poets' first possession, Jones scored on the Red Storm's second play from scrimmage for a 6-0 lead at 8:35 of the first quarter.
Dunbar running backs Tavon Austin (61 yards) and Derrick Session (42 yards) were held to minus-5 and 34 rushing yards, respectively, in the first half. That was due in large part to the Red Storm's defensive line rotation that included Nick Speller (6 feet 5, 300 pounds), Johnathan Mason (6-3, 305), Quinton Lyons, Jerome Baskerville, Stanley Savoy and Rachard Douglass.
"Once I saw that they were going to stick with a power-I, we knew we could stack the box," Dante Jones said. "We made them work for everything they got."
Kicker Keon Fisher was instrumental in controlling the Poets' field position, with a touchback and punts of 44 and 50 yards.
"We spend a lot of time working on staying home, defensively," said Jamell Mason, who dropped Austin for a 2-yard loss on the Poets' first offensive play. "As long as we're disciplined, things seem to work out in our favor."
Dunbar's best scoring chance came on its final possession, starting at Edmondson's 14-yard line. But the Poets' successive downs ended with an incomplete pass, another pass being broken up by Darrin Johnson, Berry's sack and Jamell Mason's interception.
"This shows we have a lot of work to do," said Session, whose Poets lost, 28-12, last week to City. "As a team, we've got to go look at ourselves in the mirror, come back stronger every week."