Matchups between top Baltimore and Washington, D.C. high school football programs have been an ongoing trend this fall. Baltimore’s Calvert Hall Cardinals’ 21-6 dismantling of the District’s Dunbar Crimson Tide on Sept. 10 continued the season’s other trend: the dominance of Baltimore schools over District opponents.

In front of a crowd of fans, evenly split between the two teams, at Dunbar High School, Calvert Hall (3-0) handed their Baltimore-Washington Parkway rivals a defensive pounding, nearly shutting out the Tide (2-1) at home.

Billed as one of the best contests of the weekend with Dunbar (No. 13 in the Washington Post Top 25) and Calvert Hall (No. 5 by MaxPreps.com) ranked highly in their respective areas, the game was anticipated as an inter-conference slugfest. But Calvert Hall set the tone with some early knockout punches.

On their first possession of the game, Calvert Hall cruised down the field with ease, blending a powerful run game with a quick-strike passing attack. Calvert Hall’s offense reeled off some big runs as their three-man running back platoon of C.J. Williams, Brandon Neverdon and Garrett Keene kept the chains moving and Dunbar guessing. Neverdon finished a 10-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown dive to start a dominant first half for Calvert Hall.

Facing Dunbar sophomore quarterback Lamel Matthews, Calvert Hall’s defense swarmed all night, attacking the run and closing the young signal-caller’s passing lanes. Dunbar’s offense was listless for much of the first half before Calvert Hall forced a fumble with just under two minutes remaining in the second quarter. Williams’ three-yard scoring reception ended a 50-yard drive to give Calvert Hall a 14-0 halftime lead.

Dunbar’s P.A. announcer promised the crowd “fireworks” in the second half, but the home team fizzled as Calvert Hall’s defense stole the show. Three-and-outs, batted passes and short runs were all the explosion Dunbar could muster until late in the fourth quarter. By the time Dunbar got on the board with 21:04 seconds left, the Cardinals had mounted a 21-0 lead and were already packing for their trip back to Baltimore.

“They were very disciplined,” Dunbar coach Craig Jefferies said. “Their coaching staff did a good job preparing for us. I knew they would be a tough team. They were in position to make plays and they made plays. The defense really did a good job swarming to the ball, making tackles, being physical and my hat goes off to coach and his staff.”

More Game Notes:
After opening 3-0 against D.C. schools, Calvert Hall will return home for a game against Havre De Grace on Sept. 18. Dunbar will travel to Anacostia the same day before meeting Ballou the following weekend.

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO