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 at Dunbar High School evenly split between the two teams, 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 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 one-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 21.4 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.”

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