An interception by defensive tackle Andre Colvin opened the door for a 40-yard touchdown drive by Dunbar with four minutes remaining, capping an upset of No. 7 Patterson, 36-32, at Utz Twardowicz Field in Patterson Park last night.
The win gave unranked Dunbar (6-1, 4-0 city) the upper hand in the City East Division race and ended Patterson's 16-game, regular-season winning streak.
Patterson (6-1, 3-1) had stormed back from an 18-8 halftime deficit to take a 32-24 lead, but Darnell Baylor, who ran for 114 yards on 19 carries, scored twice in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner.
Baylor's 8-yard scamper up the middle with 8: 00 left cut Patterson's lead to 32-30, though the Clippers protected their margin by stopping Dunbar's attempted sneak for a two-point conversion.
On Patterson's next possession, however, quarterback Gamayel Scott was nailed from behind just on his team's side of midfield, and the ball popped up into Colvin's hands.
"I just grabbed it and took off," said Colvin, who is 6 feet 4 and weighs 315 pounds. "It's a big man's dream."
He lumbered into the end zone for an apparent touchdown, but the ball was brought back to Patterson's 40 because of an illegal block on the return.
Still, momentum had swung firmly to the side of the Poets.
Baylor broke free for 21 yards on the very next play to the Patterson 19, and five plays later, he found a seam up the middle for a 6-yard touchdown.
Patterson's last chance ended in the final minute, when Tony Smithson's halfback-option pass was intercepted by the Poets' Darryl Dorsey -- the Clippers' fourth turnover.
"We turned the ball over too many times to win," said Patterson coach Roger Wrenn.
Dunbar jumped to an 18-8 halftime lead, holding in check a Patterson offense that had outscored opponents by 31 points a game this fall.
After Patterson marched 75 yards for a touchdown on its opening drive, Dunbar held the Clippers to just 59 yards in the rest of the first half.
"We spent all week working on defense," said Dunbar coach Ben Eaton. "You have to be disciplined against that team, and tonight, for the most part, we did that."
The Clippers rallied in the third quarter behind the running of Smithson (10 carries for 149 yards) and Rashidi Scott (10 for 135).
Smithson scored on a sensational 61-yard touchdown run that gave Patterson a 24-18 lead, and Scott added a 57-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put Patterson ahead, 32-24.
"This was a great high school football game," Wrenn said. "Someone had to win, and someone had to lose. My hat's off to Dunbar."
No. 2 Randallstown 34, Perry Hall 12: Jabari Savage scored three times, and Davon Johnson scored twice for the Rams (6-1, overall, 6-0 league.)
No. 4 Hereford 48, Western Tech 0: Sean Wdowiak threw for 187 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulls (7-0) scored on every offensive possession for the second straight week in another rout of a Baltimore County 1A-2A League opponent. Hereford's All-Metro C. J. Feldheim, offered a full scholarship by Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden on Sunday, rushed for a touchdown as the Bulls reached 23-0 on the road.
No. 5 Annapolis 55, Southern-AA 12: Senior All-Metro Rayvon Johnson rushed for 228 yards and five touchdowns, all in the first half, and Aaron Copeland had 122 yards and two scores as the host Panthers (7-0) ripped the Bulldogs (0-7). Johnson now has 1,094 rushing yards this fall, 3,154 including last fall's total.
No. 12 Edmondson 43, Forest Park 0: Junior Darryl McCray had 144 of Edmondson's 296 rushing yards to go with four touchdowns, second-team All-Metro Raytron Leak got most of his 96 yards on an 88-yard scoring run, and Justus McLeod returned a punt 65 yards for another score. The defending City West Division champ Redskins (7-0 overall, 3-0 league) also scored 40 points or more for the fourth time this season.
No. 13 Mount St. Joseph 34, Boys' Latin 7: Sophomore Isaac Kufour rushed for two touchdowns, returned a 40-yard punt for another score, and was 4-for-4 on extra-point kicks as the Gaels (5-2) rebounded from last week's loss to No. 1 Gilman.
No. 15 Eastern Tech 47, Parkville 33: Second-team All-Metro Jerome Owens rushed for two scores, and second-team All-Metro Steve Lawston caught two as the Mavericks (5-2, 4-2) won in Baltimore County 3A-4A. Parkville's Mike Hall rushed for all five of his team's touchdowns, raising his season total to 20.