Patterson forces three turnovers in win over No. 13 Dunbar, 14-0

November 22, 2013|By Rich Scherr, For The Baltimore Sun

Running back Sherrod Hawkes has earned a special place in the heart of second-year Patterson coach Larry Mitchell.

On the Clippers' biggest stage of the season Friday night, that place was the spotlight.

"We call Sherrod 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,'" Mitchell said. "We told him we're having Christmas early, and we needed him to guide our sled."

Hawkes did just that, running over, around and often times through Dunbar's beleaguered defense, racking up 239 yards on 27 carries and scoring both of his team's touchdowns as Patterson shocked the host and No. 13 Poets, 14-0, in the Class 2A North final.

The win gave Patterson (9-3) its first regional title since 2004, and ended a string of 10 straight regional championships for Dunbar (9-3), which was seeking its fourth consecutive state title.

The Clippers advance to next weekend's state semifinals, where they will travel to Patuxent, the top seed remaining in the tournament based on regular-season point averages. Middletown will face Kent Island in the other semifinal.

The result was monumentally different than the teams' previous matchup, a 42-6 win by the Poets in late September.

"That first loss, it really haunted us," Hawkes said. "This is all we wanted. We always said we're going to get them when it really counts. This is when it really counts."

Despite getting 117 yards rushing on 25 carries from running back Coleman Blackston, the Poets could do little else on offense, and committed three costly turnovers. Patterson scored both of its touchdowns off turnovers.

The first score came after quarterback Williams Crest's first of two interceptions, when linebacker Victor Banks III stepped in front of a sideline route near midfield and returned it to the Dunbar 23. Two plays later, Hawkes burst through a hole on the right side and sprinted 14 yards into the end zone.

The next came after Coleman, fighting for extra yardage, fumbled into the arms of Clippers linebacker Jacob Forrest deep in Patterson's territory. Two plays later, Hawkes broke through a gap in the right side of the line, shed two tackles, and ran 78 yards before getting dragged down from behind.

He scored untouched from the 5 on the next play, with Ali Atif Jr. adding the two-point conversion run.

"We were hungry for it," Hawkes said. "I think we really wanted it the most … They tried getting me down a lot. They tried to bring me down, gang-tackle me. I couldn't go down. I couldn't."

Mitchell said the Clippers are a different team than the one that was blown out by Dunbar earlier this season.

"We didn't have any identity. Our whole game plan from when we played them last time was all over the place," Mitchell said. "We just wanted to try and find out what we do well, and do [those] things."

Class 2A North finals

Patterson 14, Dunbar 0

P-Hawkes 14 run (kick failed)

P-Hawkes 5 run (Ali run)

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