Dunbar dominated Saturday night's game with Poly on both sides of the ball. The Poets moved the ball with ease, and their defense limited the Engineers to just 131 yards of total offense.
But even with that domination, Dunbar needed some big plays to take command of the game at Mervo. Travon Garrett ran for a 44-yard touchdown on a fake punt, and DeonTay McManus scored on a 75-yard interception return to help the Poets shut out Poly, 22-0, in a Baltimore City game.
Dunbar (8-1, 6-1 in Baltimore City Division I) kept the ball for long stretches with a running attack that Poly (6-2, 5-2) couldn't stop.
The Poets used their speed to run wide and showed power when going up the middle on short-yardage situations. Dunbar went for it on fourth down five times — converting four — as it kept possession for nearly 28 of the game's 48 minutes.
"The offensive line came alive tonight," said Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith. "We wanted to limit the turnovers and control the clock. It was a great win."
The Poets compiled 269 yards of total offense — 235 of which came on the ground from a variety of runners. Epe Henriques led Dunbar with 81 yards, and Garrett added 59. Dunbar used that strong rushing attack to put together a pair of 13-play drives that ate up over 15 minutes.
But Dunbar couldn't score on either of them. The first one ended when the Poets couldn't convert on fourth-and-goal from the Poly 7-yard line in the first quarter. The second long drive ended when Poly's Donovan Riley made a leaping interception in the end zone in the third quarter.
The Poets took a 6-0 lead when Paki Brown ran for a 13-yard touchdown on the third play of the second quarter.
A fake punt later in the period gave Dunbar some insurance. Garrett is the up-back on the punting team, and the Poets direct-snapped to him. He easily ran for a touchdown. McManus added the two-point conversion run to make it 14-0 with 2:39 left in the half.
"I saw the way they lined up, and I told my center to give me the ball," Garrett said.
Garrett did the same thing again on Dunbar's first drive of the second half. He ran for 15 yards this time to keep that drive alive and help the Poets eat up a few more minutes, although they didn't score.
McManus picked off a Jordon Garrison pass in the final minute and weaved his way through the Poly offense for a touchdown. That sealed a big night for Dunbar's defense, which held the Engineers to just two first downs in the first half.
"Poly is one of the best teams in Baltimore City," McManus said. "Nobody has shut them down this year. I know what this defense can do how hard we work."
Poly had just 30 yards of total offense through the first two-and-a-half quarters, as starting quarterback Darrell Milburn, who had thrown for 1,081 yards this season, completed just one of four for 7 yards.
Coach Roger Wrenn then switched to Garrison, who quickly got the Engineers moving. He ran for 70 yards in just over a quarter of action. But Poly came up empty when Garrison threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line early in the fourth quarter while Dunbar was up, 14-0.
"They beat us in all three phases of the game," Wrenn said. "They just beat us physically in the interior [on] both offense and defense."
Dunbar 22, Poly 0
D- Brown 13 run (run failed)
D- Garrett 44 run (McManus run)
D- McManus 75 interception return (Highsmith run)