DUN­BAR

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - VAR­SITY -

The Cougars did a good job on de­fense of slow­ing the Dun­bar pass­ing game. They of­ten found their way into the pass­ing lanes — a big rea­son for the first first-half in­ter­cep­tions — or pres­sured quar­ter­back Karon Moore.

He sim­ply did not have the time to throw or find open re­ceivers, and that slowed the Po­ets of­fense.

“They were just mak­ing plays [on de­fense],” Moore said. “They were do­ing a good job cov­er­ing. They were do­ing a good job all around.”

Ca­toctin coach Doug Wil­liams said the Po­ets’ mis­takes helped his team take com­mand quickly and proved cru­cial.

“The turnovers are mon­strous,” Wil­liams said. “In a big game like this, where two teams are evenly matched, turnovers change things fast, and that’s what hap­pened.”

Dun­bar fum­bled on the first play of the game, and Ca­toctin re­cov­ered at the Po­ets’ 38. The Cougars then drove for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. Af­ter that came the 6-yard punt af­ter the next se­ries that let Ca­toctin start at the Dun­bar 29.

Car­son Sick­eri then ran for a touch­down on the next play. He ran for a 2-point con­ver­sion for an 11-0 lead just over five min­utes into the game. Sick­eri then picked off Moore in the end zone on the next se­ries, and the Cougars drove 83 yards for a touch­down and a 17-0 lead.

Moore got picked off on each of the next two se­ries. The first in­ter­cep­tion didn’t lead to any­thing, but Bren­dan Ott re­turned the sec­ond one for a 27-yard touch­down and a 24-0 lead with 8:14 left in the first half.

Moore threw a 42-yard touch­down pass to Deairus Carr on the next pos­ses­sion. Dion Crews-Har­ris ran for a 2-point con­ver­sion that cut the lead to 24-8. Ca­toctin scored on its next se­ries and then re­cov­ered a Dun­bar fum­ble at the Cougars’ 18 in the fi­nal min­utes of the first half and held the 31-8 half­time lead.

Sick­eri fin­ished with 141 of his 207 yards rush­ing in the first half as he kept find­ing holes to get through. Dun­bar did a bet­ter job of qui­et­ing him in the sec­ond half, blank­ing the Cougars, but the dam­age was done.

“He’s small dude, so we could close a hole, but you’ve got to com­pletely fill it for him not to get through,” Dun­bar line­backer Crews-Har­ris said. “He’s pretty fast so you can’t give him any open field or missed tack­les.”

Dun­bar has sev­eral play­ers who will be re­turn­ing next sea­son, and Smith said that this painful loss should mo­ti­vate them to do bet­ter in 2020.

Sim­ply put, the Po­ets made too many mis­takes in the first half, and that proved very costly.

“When you turn the ball over as much as we turned the ball over to­day, you won’t beat the worst teams,” Smith said. “I know my guys don’t want this taste in their mouth. They’re not used to this taste in their mouth, so I know they’re go­ing to take this and go for­ward with it.”

C112000-31

D0800-8

C— Grana­dos 29 FG

C— Sick­eri 29 run (Sick­eri run)

C— Fields 24 pass from Orr (kick failed)

C— Ott 27 in­ter­cep­tion re­turn (Grana­dos kick)

D— D. Carr 42 pass from Moore (Crews-Har­ris run)

C— Fields 29 pass from Orr (Grana­dos kick)

KARL MER­TON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Cougars de­fen­sive line­man Jake Baker drags down Dun­bar quar­ter­back Karon Moore (9), who throws an in­ter­cep­tion dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of the MPSSAA Class 1A state cham­pi­onship game Satur­day at Navy-Ma­rine Corps Memo­rial Sta­dium.

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