Austin propels Dunbar to victory

varsity football

Versatile senior's two TDs boost Poets in game at Poly

October 05, 2008|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Baltimore Sun

Anyone with a doubt about who drives the offense of No. 3 Dunbar need only take a glance at the team's official roster.

Name: Tavon Austin. Position: Athlete.

Lining up as a running back, wide receiver and kickoff and punt returner, the elusive and highly recruited senior juked and stutter-stepped his way to a pair of first-half touchdowns as the Poets built a commanding lead against upset-minded City before holding on for a 30-18 win in front of an estimated crowd of 2,000 at Poly.

"Tavon's a phenomenal athlete. He does what he has to do," Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith said. "He steps his game up to the competition, week in and week out."

Austin gained 125 yards on 19 carries, running for one touchdown and scoring another on a 71-yard punt return. He also finished with two catches for 52 yards and ran for a two-point conversion as Dunbar built a 30-6 lead by midway through the fourth quarter before surrendering a pair of penalty-aided scoring drives.

The win was the 18th straight against a city opponent for Dunbar (4-1), which took over sole possession of first place in Baltimore City's Division I with a 3-0 mark. Since opening the season with a 33-32 loss to Gwynn Park, the Poets have outscored their opponents 152-38.

"After the first week, a lot of people wrote them off," Smith said. "Now they're focused and ready to go."

Dunbar, however, was its own worst enemy early, stifling its best early drive with four false-start penalties, then negating a 41-yard touchdown pass with holding. But with City (4-2, 2-1) unable to move the ball on offense, it wasn't long before the Poets established control.

The Knights briefly made a game of it late in the half when, after a 48-yard punt return by Adrian Coxson, Ellis Foster hit Coxson on a floating 35-yard pass down the sideline. Dunbar, however, quickly regained control, recovering a fumble by running back Malik Pack deep in City territory.

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