Too big. Too fast. Too intimidating.
That's the composite picture the Northern High football team received of Dunbar yesterday as the No. 2 Poets romped to a 42-0 victory.
Dunbar (5-0) did just about anything it pleased in the first half -- scoring touchdowns on its first five possessions -- and the rest of the game was a mere formality, played with the officials using running time on the clock.
"It was an easy game," said Poets quarterback Anthony Wiggins. "We got our groove on early."
The Vikings (4-2) backed off quickly in the face of fierce defensive pressure from Dunbar's superior line and linebackers and the trend carried over to their defense.
"We seem to have problems getting up for the big games," said Northern coach Ike Hemphill. "To say we were intimidated is being kind. Dunbar is an extremely physical ballclub that dominated us on both lines."
The Poets marched the opening kickoff 59 yards in eight plays to their first touchdown.
After a roughing-the-kicker penalty kept Northern's first offensive series alive, the Poets pushed the Vikings back to their own 7.
After a short punt, Wiggins and wide receiver Douglas Hamilton connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass and the tone was set.
Northern was across midfield only once -- when the Poets fumbled a punt near the end of the first half -- and promptly was thrown for 16 yards in losses on the next three plays.
Meanwhile, the Poets' line, anchored by Carl Carter, Shamai Butler and Dwayne Green, made it a simple chore for Wiggins and the running backs, opening huge holes and keeping the Dunbar quarterback's uniform spotless on pass plays.
"People don't give our line enough credit," said tight end-linebacker Tommy Polley. "We figured we'd have a little bit of trouble, especially on defense, in this game, but our line just took over."
Poets coach Stanley Mitchell said he believed Northern was surprised by his team's early aerial assault. Wiggins completed six of seven attempts in the first half for 121 yards and two touchdowns and also passed for a two-point conversion.
"I think they were planning on seeing a lot of running," said Mitchell. "But our quarterback was on and we found the soft spots in the zone."
He added that his players realize that opponents will be gunning for them because of their high ranking. "They know they can make their day by beating us, so we have to stay on top of them," he said.
But that didn't prevent a bit of levity toward the game's end when Mitchell lined up 352-pound tackle Deon Johnson at tailback on a two-point conversion attempt after Gary Hinton returned an interception for the final touchdown.
Johnson carried the ball as expected, but was tackled a yard short of the end zone. "We tried to run the Chicago play with our Refrigerator," said Mitchell, referring to former Bears star William Perry.
"That was about the only thing we had to laugh about," said Hemphill. "It took half our team to bring him down."