With Eaton in hearts, Poets win another title

Offense helps Dunbar honor coach who `was like our father'

No. 2 Dunbar 58 Allegany 34

Football state final Class 1A

December 09, 2007|By Stefen Lovelace | Stefen Lovelace,Sun reporter

The Dunbar football team had one goal this season.

The Poets' explosive offense was nice. Running back Tavon Austin's breaking the state touchdown record was nicer. But winning a state championship for former coach Ben Eaton, who died Aug. 27, was the only thing Dunbar cared about.

Eaton would be proud. Austin ran for three touchdowns and Sean Farr caught three touchdown passes from Jonathon Perry as the No. 2 Poets dismantled Allegany, 58-34, in the Class 1A state championship game yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium. It was the Poets' fifth state title and second in a row.

"It's been a long journey this year," coach Lawrence Smith said. "We played for the real head coach of the football team, Coach Eaton. Everything we do is an honor to him. I'm just so glad we could finish a season like this."

Eaton would have turned 59 today.

"These were his babies," Sandra Eaton, Ben's widow, said. "He had them from the very beginning, and he knew that this team was destined for greatness, off the field and on the field."

Dunbar finished the season 14-0 and tied the state record for points scored in a state final; Seneca Valley defeated Snow Hill 58-16 in 1977. The Poets scored 196 points in four playoff games, breaking the record of 141 that was held by Urbana (1999).

However, the records pale in comparison to what the team accomplished in memory of its former coach.

"He means everything to us," linebacker Keon Redhead said. "He was our coach. He was like our father. We had to win for Coach."

The Dunbar offense scored touchdowns on five of its first six possessions. On the opening drive, Perry found Farr, who juked and danced for 32 yards. That drive ended with a 10-yard scoring run by Austin.

On the Poets' next drive, Perry rolled to the right, fired across his body and found Farr in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. Farr reeled in a 36-yard touchdown in the second quarter and wrestled with a defender for a 33-yard touchdown in the third.

Perry went 11-for-20 for 235 yards and the three touchdowns to Farr, who had five catches for 137 yards.

The Campers' offense had some success, with running back Brian Mathews gaining 96 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Quarterback Travis Orange went 4-for-11 for 78 yards and threw two touchdown passes.

Austin was wearing a protective jacket to protect bruised ribs he suffered in the semifinal against South Carroll, and he was back to his old self. In the second quarter, on a fourth-and-three, he slipped through the middle of the line and raced to the sideline, beating three Allegany defenders in a footrace to the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown. Later, he burst through the middle, hurdled a fallen blocker and broke outside for a 32-yard score.

The junior finished with 135 yards on eight carries and had an 82-yard touchdown run and a 30-yard touchdown catch brought back by penalties. He caught four passes for 57 yards and extended his state touchdown record to 92.

More important, he kept a promise to his coach.

"I promised Coach Eaton something. I told him we were going back to the state championship," Austin said. "It feels good when you can promise a person something and it really comes true."


Allegany 6 6 8 14 -- 34

Dunbar 24 16 12 6 -- 58

D-Austin 10 run (Muse run)

A-Mathews 52 run (pass failed)

D-Farr 16 pass from Perry (Muse run)

D-Austin 59 run (Brown run)

D-Austin 32 run (Farr pass from Perry)

D-Farr 36 pass from Perry (McNeil run)

A-Babich 10 pass from Orange (pass failed)

A-Mathews 4 run (Collette pass from Orange)

D-Farr 33 pass from Perry (run failed)

D-McNeil 80 fumble return (run failed)

A-Collette 10 run (Carpenter kick)

D-Lewis 15 run (kick failed)

A-Kane 30 pass from Orange (Carpenter kick)

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