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Lake Clifton quarterback Eric Browner, who passed for two of the Lakers' four touchdowns, carries the ball in the first half against Carver In the Baltimore City Football Kickoff Classic, which was played at Poly.
Lake Clifton quarterback Eric Browner, who passed for two of the Lakers' four touchdowns, carries the ball in the first half against Carver In the Baltimore City Football Kickoff Classic, which was played at Poly. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Saturday’s inaugural Baltimore City Kickoff Classic’s first matchup featured a game in which multiple scoring blows were traded. Led by quarterback Eric Browner’s two touchdown passes and Michael Gray’s two touchdowns, Lake Clifton defeated Carver, 28-18, on Saturday.

The three-game event at Poly’s Lumsden Field was sponsored by Baltimore City Public Schools and the Baltimore City Football Coaches Association as way to showcase city football talent.

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“This was a great atmosphere for our kids,” Lake Clifton coach James Monroe said about the Kickoff Classic. “I’m proud of them. They showed up big, especially the defense.

“We pride ourselves on our defense. We do a lot of defensive drills and defensive schemes to counter everyone else’s offenses. We’re really small, but we made some big plays today.”

The scoring began with a 15-yard touchdown rush by Carver’s Khalil Anderson with 6:05 left in the first quarter, but the extra point attempt was no good. After two fumbles (one by each team), Lake Clifton regained possession and scored on a touchdown pass from Browner to Gray with 8:53 in the first half.

Carver regained the lead with a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Elvondo Thomas with 2:28 remaining in the half. With no scores until late in the third quarter, Gray ran for a 7-yard rush touchdown and Lake Clifton took a 14-12 lead into the fourth.

“I was just thinking that my team had to score. We’ve got to get this one because they went up on us,” Gray said of his two touchdowns. “So, we had to come back a little bit and dogged it out at the end. In my mind, I’m just thinking that it’s a dogfight now. It’s always been a dogfight between us and them [Carver]."

In crunch time, Lake Clifton wide receiver Kywon McCray leaped and took a 54-yard pass into the end zone and Gray punched in the two-point conversion for a 22-12 lead. Carver cut into the lead with a 20-yard touchdown rush by Juaun Jeffreys, but the two-point conversion was no good.

“It’s very important because you need teammates that you can rely on,” Browner said of the importance of a strong receiving corps. “If you don’t have anyone that you can rely on, who can you rely on? I’m a team player, so I love sharing the ball anyway. That’s why I play the position that I play.

“With Michael, we have a connection, but with me and Kywon, we’re building that connection. I hope one day that me and Kywon can be on the same level as me and Mike.”

Despite setting up shop with good field position for the their ensuing drive, Carver fumbled. Their defense would get it the ball back, but Lake Clifton caused another fumble and recovered once again. Carver fumbled one final time and Lake Clifton’s Maurice took it 70 yards for a touchdown to give Lake Clifton the victory.

Lake Clifton faces Mervo in an away matchup on Sept. 20.

City 24, Patterson 6: There wasn’t a whole lot of scoring in the first half of the second game of Saturday’s Kickoff Classic, but City scored when it counted.

“They’re tough team," City coach Michael Hamilton said. “They’re tough, they’re very athletic and I always warn my guys that when we run up against teams, don’t look at the numbers. They are athletic and they are going to stay in the game. We’ve just got to figure out what the weakness is and it is that they couldn’t cover our receivers."

With the clock expiring in the third quarter, City quarterback Alton Foreman delivered an 18-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Kaleil Kelly. Then, the Black Knights converted a two-point conversion through the air from Foreman to Isaiah Copeland.

With 6:34 left in the game, Foreman linked up with Kelly for their second touchdown on a 30-yard gain. Foreman converted for another two points by hitting Copeland once again. Their last touchdown came with 1:57 left with a Foreman pass to Antoine Purrell.

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Foreman finished with three passing touchdowns and seemed to gain more confidence as the game went on.

“My team told me to just keep in my head and play as a team,” Foreman said. “The first half wasn’t really my half, so I had to pull it together and come back. In the second half, I threw a couple of touchdowns for my team. As a result, we got the win and that was good.”

Patterson’s only score came very early, set up by Kevin Jackson’s return. Running back Kobe Evans rushed for a touchdown with just 21 seconds having run off of the clock.

City will take on Southwestern at home on Friday evening, while Patterson will head to Edmondson-Westside on Friday night.

Mervo 20, Dunbar 14: Mervo quarterback Kelin Kimbrough delivered three touchdowns – two through the air and one on the ground. His first came on a 70-yard pass to Malik Lindsey. He threw his second touchdown with a delivery to Tyree Williams with 5:28 left in the half and he ran a 1-yard rush touchdown at the 5:27 mark in the third.

Dunbar attempted to mount a late comeback with an interception by Davonta Ayers with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. Dion Crews-Harris dived into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown rush. Crews-Harris scored his second touchdown with a 4-yard rush for a touchdown with 1:30 left.

The ensuing onside attempt was long enough, but couldn’t be recovered by Dunbar. The Poets regained possession with just 1:03 remaining and drove down field. The comeback attempt came up short with an interception by Mervo.

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