All aboard, The Train has arrived.
Topping over 1,000 collective pounds, the Dunbar offensive line doesn’t see too many teams that match up against them. Adding to the size advantage, the Poets’ line is playing its best entering the 2011 playoffs.
The Train, what the Poets linemen call themselves, paved the way for 202 total rushing yards in Dunbar’s 32-0 win over archrival Patterson last Friday. It didn’t matter who was running behind The Train. Nine different players had the opportunity to tote the ball behind the big boys up front.
“It’s about being nasty, flying off the ball and having no mercy for your opponent,” junior lineman Dariz Hill said. “We fly off the ball 24/7 and have no mercy, nonstop.”
Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith said the win over Patterson was the line’s most complete game of the season. Penalties were at a minimum and execution was near flawless.
“We had a good week of practice and this is what they wanted to do,” Smith said. “We finally put it all together.”
Senior offensive lineman Michael Carter, Jr. said the line came together in Dunbar’s 18-14 loss against Poly. Though the final score wasn’t on the Poets’ side, Dunbar dominated the line of scrimmage offensively against the Engineers.
Even though they lost, Carter said the momentum from that performance has since carried through.
“We had a good push,” Carter said. “We wanted to keep that momentum running and keep pushing.”
The win over Patterson was gratifying for the seniors. The Poets had dropped the previous two games to their biter rival and will graduate on a winning note.
“The previous two years we lost,” senior lineman Joshua Davis said. “This year, we weren’t taking failure.”
Dunbar made its first scoring drive look easy. The Poets scored in just three plays, with running back JaQuan Holt scoring a 14-yard touchdown.
“Ever since we scored the first touchdown I knew we had the game,” junior lineman Malik Jones said. “They had their heads down low already.”
Fullback Charles Brown was the main beneficiary of the Poets’ offensive line, as he churned out 86 rushing yards.
The running game’s success opened up quarterback William Crest’s play in the passing game. Crest threw for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Both of those touchdowns were thrown to senior receiver Deontay McManus, who finished with 50 yards and receiving and 21 yards rushing.
Senior lineman Rodney Ginnage said most teams they come against don’t have the size to compete with The Train in the trenches.
“They can’t match up,” Ginnage said. “We’re big and fast.”
Hill and Jones will be the only two returning starters on Dunbar’s offensive line next season. Hill said it’s his job to keep the line performing at its best.
“I have to keep The Train running,” Hill said.
by Jason Butt