As a third-year veteran, Byron Selby is taking his final year at Dunbar personally.
"As a leader, there are certain plays I'm supposed to make, and my coaches know I'll make them," Selby said. "Being a senior, I'm going to keep the team focused. I feel like, in the end, all the weight comes down on my shoulders, win or lose."
The 6-foot-4 Selby shouldered a variety of responsibilities in the Poets' come-from-behind 18-14 Baltimore City West Division win over visiting Poly (2-1, 1-1) yesterday.
As a quarterback, he threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Herman Hayes and rushed for two first downs and a two-point conversion. As place-kicker, he made a critical recovery of his kick when it bounced off a Poly player. Selby also played linebacker and cornerback, making a key tackle during a goal-line stand and intercepting a pass on Poly's final drive of the game.
But Selby spreads praise to his teammates. He credited the blocking of linemen Eric Jackson, Alan Bosworth, Nate Evans, Byron White, George Davis and Barry Bankins, behind whom Eric Valentine and Quintin Garrus combined for 196 rushing yards.
Garrus, a freshman, gained his 100 yards in the second half, including a game-tying 6-yard run to end a five-play, 54-yard drive. Valentine's conversion run gave Dunbar (3-0 overall, 3-0 league) a 16-14 lead with 7:13 to play.
Selby's subsequent kickoff recovery allowed Dunbar to run the clock down to 1:39, and Eric Jackson's safety stretched the lead to four points. Selby's interception ended Poly's final drive near midfield with 27 seconds left.
Poly took an 8-0 lead on the game-opening drive as Jasmond Walker (10 carries, 85 yards) followed his 49-yard scoring run with a two-point conversion run with 9:51 left in the first period.
Dunbar drove to Poly's 31. But on third down, Hayes couldn't make a leaping grab of Selby's slightly overthrown pass and fell empty-handed into the end zone. The Poets turned it over on downs.
But Selby assisted the defense that earned himself and Hayes a shot at redemption.
A sack ended Poly's next drive - which included Selby's third-down tackle for lost yardage - at Dunbar's 24 early in the second period. Selby's pass to Hayes, and his subsequent two-point conversion run, ended an eight-play scoring drive that made it 8-8 with 4:10 left in the half.
Poly went up 14-8 with no time left on the clock after a play that began eight seconds before halftime.
Derrion Stackhouse, in the grasp of a Dunbar player, floated an 8-yard scoring pass that Jasphur Montgomery, who out-leaped four defenders, caught for the touchdown.
"We had four starters out, but we tried to step up and win this game," said Montgomery, who missed two teammates due to injury and two others for disciplinary reasons.
"We just have to come out and win the next one."