Game of the Week: Dunbar vs. Poly

Dunbar (7-1, 5-1 Baltimore City Division I) vs. Poly (6-2, 5-1) at Mervo



: Saturday, 6 p.m.



: Lawrence Smith, Dunbar; Roger Wrenn, Poly

Last meeting

: Dunbar 22-18, 2009 regular season

Key players to watch



— DeonTay McManus, Jr., WR/FS (seven TDs — two on punt returns, one on an INT return, three receiving and one rushing, 17 catches for 329 yards); Travon Garrett, Sr., TE/LB (73 tackles); Aaron Haynes, Jr., DB (four INT, one returned for a TD); Andre Cudanin, Sr., LB (69 tackles); Epe Henriques, Sr., RB/LB (69 tackles, 46 carries for 403 yards and four TDs, two receiving TDs).



— Darrell Milburn, Jr., QB, (73 percent completion rate, thrown for 1,081 yards and eight TDs); Donovan Riley, Jr., WR/DB (32 catches for 626 yards, two punt returns for TDs, four INTs); Gabriel Ali-El, Sr., RB (returning from ankle injury, 51 carries for 408 yards, nine TDs); Jamal Chappell, Jr., RB (150 yards rushing, 306 yards receiving, six TDs in the last three weeks); Wilfred Deshield-Lynch, Sr., LB, (96 tackles, one INT).

Keys to victory

The key to victory for each side likely will be cutting down on youthful mistakes. Relying heavily on juniors, both teams have been prone to turnovers and penalties this season resulting from inexperience. The Poets, who also use a number of sophomores, were penalized 165 yards last week but still overcame Edmondson, 16-0.

The Poets have beaten the Engineers six straight times — including all four since Wrenn took over the Engineers — with Poly's last win coming in 2003. Still Smith is always wary of Wrenn's teams.

"The first couple of years when Coach Wrenn wasn't there, I believe we beat them pretty handily," Smith said. "But since he's been there, they've been tougher and tougher games. Any time you play Poly, you can't take them for granted."

Wrenn said, "Last year's game was a great game. We gained over 400 yards of offense and lost. They returned a punt for a touchdown and we fumbled and they ran for a touchdown."


Milburn's passing ability has brought a new dimension to the Engineers' offense, complementing their triple-option ground game. While Riley is the top receiver, the Engineers have a number of targets for Milburn, as well as a number of capable running backs — although injuries have been a factor. Ali-El is in his second full game back after an ankle injury. Senior running back Dexter Davis is sidelined after dislocating an elbow last week.

Dunbar, which has been playing very good defense of late, also has a strong corps of running backs as well as a handful of receivers. The Engineers will have to watch out for McManus, who is capable of ruining the opposition's night with a big play on either side of the ball. Sophomore JaQuan Holt did the majority of rushing last week, but all of his runs — including a 7-yard touchdown run — came in the second half.

The loser of this game will drop out of a three-way tie for first place in Baltimore City's Division I. Patterson is also in the running at 5-1, having lost only to Poly — and likely will stay there with games remaining against Mervo and Northwestern. The Engineers have won two 40-0 games since dropping back-to-back games to No. 2 Calvert Hall (29-0) and Edmondson (24-12), while Dunbar has won six straight since falling to Patterson on Sept. 11.

Other games to watch:

• Forest Park (8-0, 7-0 Baltimore City Division II) at Douglass (7-1, 6-0). Friday, 2:30 p.m.

• No. 9 Archbishop Spalding (6-3, 5-1 MIAA B Conference) at St. Paul's (6-1, 5-1), Friday, 3 p.m.


• No. 8 McDonogh (6-2, 1-2 MIAA A Conference) at No. 2 Calvert Hall (8-1, 2-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

• Glenelg (4-4, 4-4 Howard County league) at No. 6 River Hill (7-1, 7-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

• Annapolis Area Christian School (8-0, 4-0 MIAA C Conference) at Lutheran (6-2, 2-2), Saturday, 1 p.m.