Po­ets con­tinue surge, beat archri­val

Dun­bar scores 1st 19 points, Darien runs for two TDs to re­tain Ea­ton Tro­phy

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Kather­ine Dunn kather­ine.dunn@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com@kdunnsun

Af­ter Dun­bar’s foot­ball team started the sea­son 0-2, coach Lawrence Smith told his play­ers it was play­off time from then on.

The Po­ets have been to the re­gional play­offs 14 straight times, but one more loss this fall might be enough to keep them out of the Class 2A North post­sea­son. For a pro­gram that has won nine state ti­tles and aims to win one ev­ery year, that would be tough to take.

So Fri­day, the Po­ets got off to a blis­ter­ing start against archri­val Ed­mond­son, scor­ing the first 19 points to drive a 26-14 vic­tory and re­tain the Ben Ea­ton Memo­rial Tro­phy.

Da’Shawn Darien ran for two touch­downs and An­dre Bran­don, who had two in­ter­cep­tions later in the game, ran for a third with five sec­onds left in the first quar­ter.

Even though the Po­ets cel­e­brated win­ning their sec­ond straight Ea­ton Tro­phy — awarded each year to the win­ner of their East-West ri­valry game and named af­ter the late Dun­bar coach who died be­fore the start of the 2007 sea­son — Smith re­minded them they hadn’t won any­thing yet.

“We haven’t had a play­off game down here in a long time,” Smith said of the Po­ets’ Wil­liam “Sugar” Cain Field in East Bal­ti­more, “so we want to keep win­ning and do what we need to do to get that here, and the top half of our sched­ule was re­ally stacked. At least it’s calmed down, so we’re ready to roll now.”

The Po­ets started their sea­son with losses to Gil­man and Mervo, a team the Red Storm de­feated in Week 3. Last week, Dun­bar de­feated Boys’ Latin, and the rest of its games are in the Bal­ti­more City Class 4A-3A Di­vi­sion.

“If we want to con­trol our own des­tiny, we had to win this game,” said Po­ets linebacker Christo­pher Baze­more, who had a dom­i­nant per­for­mance, in­clud­ing sev­eral sacks. “Hon­estly, games like this are just to show us where we’re at, to show us the play­mak­ers that we’ve got. We’ve got to win these type games right here be­cause this is a 1A team and we can’t lose a game like this.”

The Po­ets (4-2, 3-1 di­vi­sion) ran the ball to get rolling. Darien, who fin­ished with 57 yards on 18 car­ries, car­ried the ball six times for 39 yards on the first drive and An­to­nio Knox rushed once for 15 yards.

The Red Storm man­aged just one first down in the first quar­ter, and its mis­takes led to the Po­ets’ sec­ond two touch­downs — a bad snap on a punt that set the Po­ets up on the Ed­mond­son 4-yard line and a fum­ble re­cov­ered by Shaun Tol­bert on the Ed­mond­son 34.

“They re­ally came back with a lot of power and we just didn’t match their phys­i­cal­ity at the be­gin­ning of the game,” Ed­mond­son coach Corey John­son said. “We can’t warm up into a game. We’ve got to be phys­i­cal from the start and that’s what it seemed like was hap­pen­ing.”

The Red Storm (3-3, 3-2) shouldn’t have dif­fi­culty qual­i­fy­ing for one of the four play­off berths in their Class1A South re­gion. They were in sec­ond place com­ing into the game while the Po­ets were in sev­enth place in their re­gion.

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