Although both teams lost their football games to highly ranked teams last weekend, the efforts of No. 13 Dunbar and unranked St. Paul's are worth another look.
Dunbar (2-1) dropped a 12-6 decision to No. 2 Poly (3-0). And after holding a 6-0 lead for 3 1/2 quarters, St. Paul's (2-1) fell, 7-6, to No. 4 McDonogh (2-0).
Dunbar was last year's Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference runner-up at 10-1 (seven shutouts), and St. Paul's won its fourth straight MSA C Conference title last season.
McDonogh is an A Conference team -- the most competitive, according to the MSA classifications -- as was Poly before joining the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association along with the city's other public schools.
Despite their reputations, neither Dunbar nor St. Paul's was expected to do as well as they did.
"People thought we were going to come in here and get blown out, but we should have beat them," said Dunbar linebacker Tommy Polley. His teammate, defensive back Dante Jones, said, "I think the whole city underestimated us."
"Our kids gave it all they had. They just wore us down with their size," said St. Paul's coach Mitch Tullai.
Last week, a few former and current coaches and athletic directors from the now-defunct MSA put together a list of 10 landmarks, in no particular order, of the organization:
1. Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's quarterbacking the 1967 City football team to the MSA title.
2. Schmoke's being projected as "possibly the first black president" by then-City coach George Young, now general manager of the New York Giants.
3. Mount St. Joseph's domination of wrestling.
4. Wrestlers of various economic and ethnic backgrounds' shaking hands in mutual respect after an MSA tournament bout.
5. Poly's going to the Orange Bowl in 1941, losing its only game.
6. The integration of the league in the early 1950s.
7. The annual Poly-City football game's being played on Thanksgiving Day at Memorial Stadium.
8. Athletes like Dunbar basketball players Mugsy Bogues (Charlotte Hornets) and Reggie Lewis (Boston Celtics) making their marks in the NBA.
9. Philadelphia Eagles football players Vaughn Hebron (Cardinal Gibbons) and Calvin Williams (Dunbar) having been groomed in the MSA.
10. Dunbar's 29-0 season and No. 1 national ranking two years ago.
Sources: Poly athletic director and MSA vice president Mark Schlenoff, president Vince Bagli and former officers Charlie Gamper, Hy Zolet and Bill Lewis.
Third-ranked Overlea's boys soccer team entered Saturday's game at C. Milton Wright disadvantaged in several ways.
The game was Overlea's season opener, while the Mustangs (1-1-2) had tied then-No. 1 Calvert Hall (0-0) and then-No. 2 Centennial (2-2) and routed No. 12 Mount St. Joseph, 7-1.
The Mustangs also had won last year's meeting, 5-4.
But the Falcons (1-0) got both goals from junior striker Jason Owens in a 2-1 victory. In addition, sweeper Gary Kern played well, and second-team all-county keeper Lance Burgess -- a converted defender -- registered 10 saves.
"It was tied 1-1 at the half, but we made an adjustment, moving Craig Schoetflin from the center midfield to the left side," said Overlea coach Doug Eisenhauer.
On Sept. 10, Gibbons' Ryan Beaumont kicked all four extra points and averaged 37 yards a punt in a 28-6 football victory over EVT.
He switched into a soccer uniform six days later against then-12th-ranked Mount St. Joseph, recording a 1-0 upset victory as goalkeeper.
For the past 10 years, said Gibbons athletic director Rod Cameron, it's become customary for soccer players' to punt and kick for the Crusaders football team.
But Beaumont, a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, is the first goalkeeper to do it.