For the Poets, it was easy sledding throughout, even though the offense got off to a slow start. Dunbar turned the ball over twice in the first quarter, but led 8-0 thanks to a 12-yard touchdown run from JaQuan Holt and Coleman Blackston’s 2-point conversion.
But in the second quarter, the offense settled down and began putting points on the scoreboard. Running back Charles Brown scored twice from the Jaguars’ one-yard line in the second quarter to help put Dunbar up 22-0.
“We want to keep moving in the playoffs, it’s that time of the year,” coach Lawrence Smith said. “We felt we were a little sluggish in the beginning but we wanted to keep moving and find some motivation with these kids.”
Senior cornerback Terrence Williams added to Dunbar’s lead by picking off a Southside pass and running it back 35 yards for a touchdown.
Williams read the route and jumped it, then made several Jaguars miss on his way into the end zone.
“Once I gained on it with my feet I knew I was taking it,” Williams said.
Southside scored its lone touchdown in the second quarter, using misdirection to get Dunbar’s defenders out of position. But they left a little too much time for Dunbar’s offense to get another score before the half ended.
Sophomore quarterback William Crest completed an 11-yard pass to receiver Deontay McManus on third down and then connected with Aaron Haynes for six yards on the next play to get down to the Jaguars’ 14 yard line. After throwing an incomplete pass, Crest ran the ball 14 yards in for a touchdown, dodging and bouncing off defenders in the process.
“I had a rough start today,” Crest said. “I had an interception and had to pick up from it. My coach told me to come to the sideline, find myself and get myself. I made sure to get myself together before I did anything else. After that, I got a touchdown and completed some passes.”
In its last few games, Dunbar ran the ball much more than it did on Saturday. But Smith said he wanted to give Crest a chance to throw the ball around to get him accustomed to what the playoffs may hold.
“We worked on a lot of things, spreading the team out and trying to throw the ball a little bit,” Smith said. “We worked on some plays we know we’ll use later down the line.”
The Poets added two touchdowns in the second half in their first-round rout. They will play Surrattsville, which upset W.E.B. DuBois 24-13, in the regional final on Saturday.
“We’re ready and motivated to keep moving on,” Williams said. “We’re 1-0 right now. It’s a new season.”
by Jason Butt