Dunbar and Mervo entered their Baltimore City League Division I game looking to improve their postseason chances, with No. 3 City having all but locked up the conference title.
Thanks to yet another outstanding performance by Poets sophomore speedster Tavon Austin, Dunbar emerged with a momentum-building 40-0 victory.
Austin, 5 feet 9, 170 pounds, rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns, and intercepted a pass that set up Lawrence Watson's 6-yard scoring pass to Donovan Brooks, as the Poets won their third straight game and improved their standing in the Class 1A South Region last night at Poly's stadium.
Dunbar's Kendall Jamison blocked a punt and had two interceptions, Brooks, Derek Session and Matthew Odezego recovered fumbles, and James Bailey caused a fumble and ran for a two-point conversion as the Poets improved to 5-3 overall, 5-2 in Baltimore City.
Keith Jones and Maurice Portee also rushed for scores for Dunbar, which seeks a fourth state title and its first since defeating Joppatowne in 2004.
Austin has scored 15 touchdowns this season and 36 in his career. Dunbar's only losses have been to No. 1 ranked Loyola, No. 3 City and No. 7 Edmondson.
Mervo fell to 5-3, 4-3 in Class 3A North.
"We didn't want to lose, but I believe in the long run, the losses have helped us," Austin said. "Now, we're just focusing on the second half of the season and winning another state title."
Two Mervo players - Nate Edmondson (ankle) and Christopher Chambers (fingers) - were injured and taken by ambulance to nearby Sinai Hospital.
Chambers complained of numbness in his fingers because of the cold, said Derrick Ready, a medical technician in the Baltimore City Fire Department.
Atholton 33, Mt. Hebron 7 -- Troy Gibson (13 carries, 117 yards) and Geoffrey Easterling (four carries, 58 yards) rushed for a pair of scores for the Raiders (5-3), putting the game out of reach. Gibson, Easterling and Tochi Odocha (62 yards and a touchdown) combined for 237 of Atholton's 311 rushing yards against the visiting Vikings (3-5).
Towson 28, Woodlawn 6 -- Senior Robert Jones (20 carries, 155 yards) scored three times for the Generals (5-3) before allowing the Warriors (2-6) to cross the goal line. Jones was effective on both sides of the ball, scoring on runs of 79 and 15 yards and returning an interception 53 yards for a touchdown.