Ben Eaton, Dunbar
It has been eight years since Eaton stood on the sideline as an assistant to Stanley Mitchell, whose Poets were state runners-up to Fort Hill in 1997. Eaton earlier had assisted Mitchell's 2A and 3A state champion Poets of '94 and '95. But since becoming the head coach in '98, Eaton - following a couple of sub-par seasons - was able to return Dunbar's program to dominance in his seventh season.
Eaton's emphasis on old-school techniques and discipline, on toughness and tradition and his faith in a young coaching staff sparked the unleashing of a talented, physical squad. Dunbar earned its fourth trip to the state title game, a 16-14 Class 1A victory over defending champ Joppatowne, and a record-breaking, 13-1 season that ended with The Sun's No. 4 ranking.
Under Eaton, a 1966 graduate of Douglass High and a All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference offensive lineman as a senior at Morgan State in 1970, Dunbar won 13 consecutive games and its fourth Baltimore City title. Eaton's career record rose to 55-24, and the Poets joined Damascus, Seneca Valley and Wilde Lake as the only programs to win titles in three different classifications.
Eaton's assistants were Travis Blackston (offense), Anderson Powell (defense), Lawrence Smith (offensive line), William Crawford (defensive line) and Nate Brown (special teams).