Dunbar falls short in 12-7 defeat
Poets struggle to contain Lions’ Wetzel; Walkersville to face Elkton in final
WALKERSVILLE — If the Dunbar Poets didn’t know who Jacob Wetzel was, they do now.
Wetzel, a receiver and strong safety for Walkersville, scored on a 10-yard pass, ran for 139 yards and made a key interception to give the host Lions a 12-7 win over Dunbar in the Class 2A state semifinals Friday night.
Walkersville (13-0) will play Elkton in the 2A state championship next Saturday or Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. It marks the second straight year Dunbar’s season ends in the semifinals.
Dunbar was led by quarterback Jared Lewis, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 143 yards, and ran for 67 yards and a touchdown.
As well as the Poets played at times, it was their inability to finish drives that cost them. Dunbar held Walkesville to 14 offensive plays in the second half but reached the end zone just once.
“If you’d have told me that we’d come here and only give up 12 points and lost, I’d have told you you were crazy,” Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith said. “They haven’t been shut down like that in a long time. We have everybody coming back, and this will make us hungry for next year.”
The Poets (9-4) held Walkersville on its first series, but the second was a different story. On the first play from scrimmage at the Lions 18, Wetzel took a handoff and burst through the center of the Dunbar defensive line. By the time the Poets ran him down, Wetzel had a 74-yard gain and Walkersville had a first down at the Dunbar 8.
The Lions extended the lead with another long run in the second quarter. On a second-and-13 from the Walkersville 14, Wetzel found another seam in the line and took off for a 58-yard gain down the sideline. After he was caught, the Lions had the ball at the Poets’ 24. Three plays later, Walkersville quarterback Billy Gant executed a fake run and threw a 10-yard pass to Wetzel in the back corner of the end zone for a 12-0 lead.
The Poets averted disaster with a defensive stand to start the second half. The Lions’ Chad Gleason took the kickoff from the Poets’ 15 to set Walkersville up in great field position. Dunbar’s defense tightened, though, and the Poets took over four plays later at their 6-yard line.
Dunbar put together an impressive drive, mostly on the feet of Jamorie Ransome and Jared Lewis. The Poets drove to the Lions’ 28, but Lewis was intercepted by Wetzel at the 6.
Dunbar finally scored late in the fourth quarter. After taking over at their 43, the Poets used a series of passes and runs by Ransome before Lewis ran the ball in from the 7-yard line to cut the lead to 12-7 after a kick by Uriah Kemoh with 3:02 left.
Walkersville got the ball back and appeared to be stopped on fourth-and-4, but player jumped offside, giving the Lions a first down, and they ran out the clock.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Lewis said. “I tried hard to lead us to the win, but we came up short. I have a lot of respect for Walkersville. They’re a great team.”