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Dunbar football outlasts Eastern Tech in Class 2A North regional final

Dunbar football outlasts Eastern Tech in Class 2A North regional final

Dunbar's dynamic junior quarterback Zionnez Spencer usually leaves opposing coaches frustrated. Spencer did that again Friday night in the Poets' 30-28 victory over Eastern Tech in the Class 2A North regional final at Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.

He picked up several crucial first downs running the ball and passed for two touchdowns to bring his season total to 26.

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"He is still learning, but he grew up tonight," Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith said. "He was great with his feet and throwing the ball."

But Dunbar (9-3) had to sweat out the victory. Eastern Tech cut the lead to 30-26 with 2:18 remaining when quarterback R.J. Stuckey hit Brandon Hlavach in the left corner of the end zone. Ian McBorrough ran in the two-point conversion.

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The Mavericks (10-2) got the ball back five plays later after blocking Joneil Falloon's punt and took over at their own 47. Eastern Tech moved to the 18 in seven plays to set up a game-winning field goal attempt with eight seconds remaining.

But Brian Nguyen's 35-yard kick was blocked, and Jebree Christian recovered it to spark a wild celebration.

"I thought we played as well as a team could play in the second half," Eastern Tech coach Marc Mesaros said.

Dunbar went ahead for good with 10:13 left in the third quarter. Avery Thurmond blocked Nguyen's punt at the Eastern Tech 27, and after the ball bounced around a few times, he picked it up at the 2-yard line and ran into the end zone to make it 20-14 Poets.

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Forty-one seconds later, Dunbar scored again. Three plays after they recovered Prince Ajegwu's fumble on a kickoff, Kendall Johnson went 5 yards up the middle.

Plevon Pryor added the two-point conversion to make it 30-14.

Eastern Tech trimmed the lead to 30-20 early in the third quarter. Hlavach leaped into the end zone from 1 yard out. The two-point conversion failed. Stuckey was 6-for-6 passing for 82 yards on the drive. Overall, he completed 15 of 20 passes for 208 yards.

In the first half, Dunbar started quickly. Spencer hit slot receiver J'uan Campbell for a 51-yard touchdown on the game's second play. Spencer ran in the two-point conversion.

Eastern Tech scored on its second possession with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter. Hlavach scored from four yards out on a pitch from Stuckey on the seventh straight run of the seven-play drive.

Dunbar took advantage of Brian Nguyen's 17-yard punt in the middle of the second quarter and went ahead 14-7. Spencer capped a seven-play drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Daelun Darien, who beat two defenders to the end zone.

Eastern Tech answered on the next play when Ian McBorrough returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score. Nguyen boosted his second extra point to make it 14-14 -- the halftime score.

Late in the second quarter, Dunbar got down to Mavericks' 1, but the Poets fumbled on a run up the middle. Eastern Tech linebacker Riley Hodge recovered the ball in the end zone.

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