Baltimore’s Dunbar Poets Reach 9th Straight Maryland State Title Game

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The Dunbar Poets of Baltimore, Md. advanced to their ninth straight Maryland state championship game after easily defeating Overlea, 42-6, in the state semifinals on Nov. 25 at CCBC-Essex. The Poets will now have the opportunity to win its eighth state title in school history and fifth championship in the last 10 years.

Dunbar didn’t take long to assert dominance over Overlea as sophomore quarterback William Crest tossed two touchdown passes in the first quarter. With the early two-score lead, the Poets then attacked through the running game, as running back Lavar Highsmith scored two straight rushing touchdowns to push the score up to 28-0 in the third quarter. Overlea scored its only touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, but by that time the Poets had already scored a couple more touchdowns to gain the easy, lopsided win.

"They were big, strong, fast," Overlea coach Craig Rollins told reporters about Dunbar after the game, "and they had multiple athletes in multiple positions.”

Poets’ senior star DeonTay McManus, who is committed to play for West Virginia University next fall, usually plays receiver and safety. But he also got plenty of snaps from the running back position on Friday, gaining a game-high 88 rushing yards; McManus also caught a deep touchdown pass on the day.

Going into the game, Dunbar expected more of a challenge from Overlea, who had won 16 straight games dating back to last season, the longest streak of any team in the Maryland area. But Overlea simply became another victim of Dunbar’s highly explosive offense and stingy defense.

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The Poets have now outscored its opponents 142-18 throughout the state playoffs.
Dunbar will now face the winner between Fort Hill and Perryville in the Maryland state championship scheduled for Dec. 3 at M&T Bank Stadium.