When the game's on the line, Dunbar quarterback William Crest listens to that voice in his head.
It guided him to the game-winning touchdown Friday afternoon as the No. 6 Poets came from behind to edge previously-unbeaten City, 28-26, in steady, pouring rain that fell throughout the second half.
Facing the possibility of their first loss to a Baltimore City opponent in nearly two years, the Poets trailed 26-22 after quarterback Troy Robinson's 5-yard touchdown sprint gave the Knights a 26-22 lead with 3:29 left.
On the next drive, Crest led the Poets to the 13-yard line with 42.3 seconds to go. Two incomplete passes and a 1-yard run brought up fourth-and-9 with 12.4 seconds remaining.
"On that last play we called a pass play but I seen an opening," Crest said. "Something in me just said, 'Will, take it,' and I took it and then by the time I got to the 3- or 4-yard line, I seen black [the end zone], stuck my arm out and got the touchdown."
Although there was some controversy whether Crest's knee was down before his arm crossed the goal line , the touchdown stood and boosted the Poets' record to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the city's Division I.
On that final 13-play, 46-yard drive, the Poets overcame two penalties for 23 yards as well as two fourth-and-9s.
After DeArius Spencer recovered City's onside kick to start the drive, Crest and Blackston, the only ball carriers Dunbar used all afternoon, ran the Poets to City's 18-yard line, but penalties sent them right back to the 47.
Crest then hit Dominic Miller for a 24-yards, and Tychar Johnson made a nifty 10-yard reception a couple plays later on fourth-and-9 to give the Poets a chance to win.
After City took the lead, Crest said he drew on what he learned in a 29-26 season-opening loss to Mansfield, Mass., which scored the deciding touchdown with 17 seconds left.
"The last drive was something I never experienced before," Crest said. "But you experience it when you play football, so I just told my coach we're going to go down here and score. After they scored, I said, 'Look, keep your heads up. Let's go ahead and score. Nothing can stop us.'"
Blackston carried the ball 27 times for 196 yards and a touchdown while Crest ran 14 times for 82 yards and three touchdowns while completing 4 of 12 passes for 74 yards,
The Knights (5-1, 3-1), who haven't beaten Dunbar since 2006, made their share of big plays too, especially in the first 20 seconds.
Shamar Williams returned the opening kickoff 71 yards to the Poets' 4-yard line. Tayshawn Mayo, who finished with 27 carries for 93 yards, ran the next play into the end zone and Robinson rushed for the two-point conversion.
The Poets needed just 20 seconds of their own to answer. Blackston ran 66 yards for a touchdown on Dunbar's first play from scrimmage and added the conversion to force an 8-8 tie 40 seconds into the game.
The teams traded touchdowns until the Knights scored twice in three minutes to take 26-22 lead before Dunbar's final drive.
"I've got to give them a lot of credit," City coach George Petrides said of his players. "We don't have a lot of size, but we have heart. Defense played a heck of a game."
Dunbar 8 6 0 14 -- 28
City 8 0 6 12 -- 26
C—Mayo 4 run (Robinson run)
D—Blackston 66 run (Blackston run)
D—Crest 12 run (run failed)
C—Collins 22 pass from Robinson (run failed)
D—Crest 28 run (Blackston run)
C—Harvey 26 pass from Robinson (pass failed)
C—Robinson 5 run (run failed)
D—Crest 12 run (run failed)