With the victorious Dunbar High School football team already off the field Friday night, Forestville Military Academy coach Charles Harley Jr. split his team into two groups: seniors and everybody else.
He lined up the six athletes who had just played their last game facing the rest of the group, who were still stunned in the aftermath of the 51-0 loss to the powerhouse Poets in the first round of the Class 1A South Region playoffs, and had the underclassmen and coaches individually thank each of the seniors’ commitment to the team.
It was a bittersweet sight, the veteran players attempting to hang onto every last moment on the field with the underclassmen knowing another game will come.
Senior quarterback Andre Dalton played Friday with a partially-torn anterior cruciate ligament as Forestville deployed three different signal-callers in an attempt to find one who would energize the offense. Dalton welled up with tears after the game, as did senior quarterback/wide receiver Jourdan Ginyard. The Poets, simply, were too much.
“It was a great season,” Ginyard said. “We didn’t slack off and we worked as a team. We had to stay consistent. When they were getting touchdowns, we fell off. We’ve got to keep our heads up no matter what.”
There certainly were plenty of touchdowns on Friday night under the lights in Baltimore as Dunbar scored easily on its first drive, a seven-play, 67-yard march. The Poets didn’t step off the accelerator until they scored enough points to institute a running clock.
Dunbar running backs Coleman Blackston, JaQuan Holt and Dominic Miller all carried the ball with ease as the Poets accumulated 231 rushing yards compared to Forestville’s 74. In addition, Dunbar quarterback William Crest was effective when necessary, throwing two of his four completions for touchdowns, including a beautiful 26-yard fade to the back corner of the end zone that Jocheim Childs-Bey toe-tapped to keep in bounds.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens when they go to 2A,” Harley said of Dunbar, which is making the switch next season. “I’m not taking anything away from them, they’re very well coached. But when you’ve got 50-plus [players] and you’re playing 23 or 24, and the last two state championships they were either losing or tied at the half, the [numbers] take over in the second half.”
The Poets played with a running clock for the entire second half this time, capitalizing on five turnovers by the Knights to cruise to the first-round victory.
“I wish we could have beaten them, but things are fair now in 1A,” Harley said. “I don’t know if fair is the right word, but now we won’t see another team in 1A with 50 players. The scales ain’t fair. It just ain’t fair.”
Dunbar 51, Forestville Military Academy 0
Forestville Military Academy (6-5) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Dunbar (Baltimore) (10-1) 16 22 7 6 — 51
D — Coleman Blackston 16 run (JaQuan Holt run)
D — JaQuan Holt 23 run (Aaron Savage run)
D — Oliver Robinson 11 pass from William Crest (kick failed)
D — Jocheim Childs-Bey 26 pass from William Crest (Nias Martin run)
D — Aaron Savage 1 run (Dormaine Willett run)
D — Jerrell Jenkins 5 pass from Dominic Miller (Joneil Faloon kick)
D — Darius Holmes 22 run (run failed)
Forestville Military Academy — Marcel Joly 13-38, Jourdan Ginyard 13-38, Larry Powell 1-5, Reggie Smith Jr. 1-(-3), James Green III 3-(-4)
Dunbar (Baltimore) — Coleman Blackston 9-93, JaQuan Holt 4-54, Dominic Miller 3-44, Darius Holmes 1-22, Aaron Savage 6-19, Leland Lassiter 1-4, William Crest 1-(-5)
Forestville Military Academy — Jourdan Ginyard 4-14-31-2, Andre Dalton 0-3-0-1, Quinton Boston 0-2-0-1
Dunbar (Baltimore) — William Crest 4-7-66-0, Dominic Miller 1-1-5-0
Forestville Military Academy — Andre Dalton 1-18, Geronimo Omar 1-13, Marcel Joly 2-0
Dunbar (Baltimore) — Jocheim Childs-Bey 1-26, Keontay Gaines 1-16, Oliver Robinson 1-13, Tychar Johnson 1-11, Jerrell Jenkins 1-5