In its first game since their beloved coach, Ben Eaton, died, No. 6 Dunbar honored his spirit by playing within the system he called "Benny Ball."
The Poets (1-0), the defending Class 1A state champion, used their usual game plan of old-fashioned, hard-nosed football to put away Gwynn Park of Prince George's County, 27-6, yesterday at Poly.
At the end of the game, the Poets, who have won 10 straight since last season, and Yellow Jackets made a circle at midfield and prayed for the coach, whose name was emblazoned on a bright yellow sign next to the U.S. flag at the 50-yard line.
"It was very emotional and the guys just wanted to come out here and win one for Coach Eaton," Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith said. "We had too many penalties but this was a big win for Dunbar and Baltimore City as a whole. We need to straighten some things out, but we are going to continue to work hard and hopefully be at M&T; [Bank] Stadium in December."
It was a complete performance for the Poets, who dominated on both sides of the ball.
Running back Tavon Austin also had the type of game that made him last season's All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year, with 135 yards on 22 caries and touchdowns on a 22-yard run and a 35-yard reception.
Dunbar quarterback Jonathan Perry did a solid job managing the offense by completing seven of 20 passes for 115 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. Perry also ran for a 1-yard score.
Dunbar opened the scoring with 2:40 left in the first quarter when Perry threw a 23-yard pass to Sean Farr, who leaped over two defenders for the touchdown. Gwynn Park, among the top-ranked teams in the state, answered with 8:15 left in the half with a seven-play, 30-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard run by Khalik Shepherd.
However, that was the last time the Yellow Jackets were able to move the ball against Dunbar's defense, which forced five turnovers.
Dunbar blew the game open in the second half with 20 unanswered points.
Perry threw a 35-yard pass to Austin near the corner of the end zone with 3:48 left in the third quarter, and that was followed three minutes later by Austin's 22-yard scoring run. Perry capped the scoring with a 1-yard sneak behind center.
Still, it was a bittersweet day for the Poets, who did not wear anything on their uniforms to honor Eaton. They knew he wouldn't have wanted that type of attention.
Instead, Dunbar plans to play every game like yesterday where they are aggressive to the final whistle and walk off the field victorious.
"I have to praise my offensive line because they did just a great job," Austin said. "At the end of the game, we prayed for Coach Eaton and that they keep his name out there [on the sign]."
No. 2 Loyola 49, Boys' Latin 7 -- Terence Garvin had a 72-yard touchdown run to break a 7-7 tie in the first quarter and give the visiting Dons a lead they would never relinquish in a victory over the Lakers. Garvin rushed for two more touchdowns of three and 32 yards for Loyola. Kicker Jeff Timmons went seven-for-seven on extra points.
No. 12 Parkville 48, Patterson 0 -- Ian Sadon played well on both sides of the ball to lead the visiting Knights in a rout over the Clippers. Sadon had six rushes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, he made nine tackles and had an interception. Tai-jee Glenn-Akles had five rushes for 72 yards two scores for Parkville in the first game of the season.
No. 14 Hereford 38, Douglass-PG 18 -- Lonnie Liggins rushed 16 times for 88 yards and a touchdown as the visiting Bulls (1-0) beat the Eagles (0-1). Hereford totaled 347 yards on 54 carries. The Bulls' Eric Hemeter had 15 rushes for a 104 yards and a touchdown, and Adam Yates made three field goals and three extra-points.
No. 1 McDonogh 5, No. 5 River Hill 0 -- Senior midfielder Andrew Bulls scored three goals in the game's first 19 minutes and later added two assists as the Eagles (6-0) had an easy time over the visiting Hawks (0-2) at yesterday's McDonogh Tournament. The Eagles were playing without first-team All-Metro striker Chris Agorsor, who injured his hip in the team's 2-0 win over St. Mary's-Ryken on Friday. Agorsor is likely out for a week. Bulls had a big week to lead the Eagles to four wins, scoring five goals and adding six assists.
South River 1, St. Mary's 1 -- The Seahawks and Admirals played to a tie in the Pioneer Tournament at Anne Arundel Community College yesterday. Christine Flanagan scored for South River and Megan Austin had the lone goal for St. Mary's.
No. 4 South River 3, No. 15 Severn 0 -- Melissa Nelson, Kerri Dress, Brooke Griffin each scored a goal to lead the host Seahawks (2-0) over the Admirals (2-1) in the championship game of the South River Invitational Tournament. Griffin added two assists for South River and goalie Virginia Jorden stopped six of the seven shots she faced. The Seahawks beat Quince Orchard of Montgomery County, 3-0, in the opening round. Michele Manis and Avery Burns scored goals to help Severn to a 2-0 victory over No. 11 Glenelg in the other opening round game to advance to the finals.
Quince Orchard 2, No. 11 Glenelg 1 -- Brie Kitchelt scored on a goal assisted by Kristy Black for the Gladiators' lone goal in the consolation game of the South River Invitational.
Staff reports contributed to this article.