The Edmondson-Westside Red Storm football team came into their matchup against the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Poets atop the Baltimore City Division I standings. But they would leave the matchup in second place, as new No. 1 Dunbar edged the Red Storm, 13-8, in the Sixth Annual Ben Eaton Memorial Bowl on Oct. 5 at Poly Tech Field in West Baltimore, Md.

Both Dunbar and Edmondson struggled on offense throughout most of the game. Neither team scored in the first quarter, as the Poets turned the ball over on downs during several of their first offensive possessions. Edmondson couldn’t get anything going on offense either, and was forced to keep punting the ball right back to Dunbar.

The Poets finally put some points on the board after junior running back Aaron Savage scored on a short touchdown run that gave Dunbar a 7-0 lead with 5:15 left in the second quarter. Dunbar then continued to shine on defense as junior defensive back Dominique Miller intercepted a pass from Edmondson to close out the first half.

Both teams continued to struggle on offense in the second half as defense ruled the game. Neither team produced anything offensively in the third quarter, but Edmondson’s fortunes would change late in the fourth quarter.

The Red Storm managed to wake up on offense and finally put together a scoring drive capped off by a 40-yard touchdown run by running back Hakeem Holland that gave Edmondson-Westside a 8-7 lead after a successful two-point conversion with 6:44 left in the game.

It appeared as if Edmondson-Westside was on the verge of victory, leading Dunbar in a football game for the first time since 2006. But the Red Storm lead didn’t last long, as they muffed a punt recovery that set up the Poets for a short, easy touchdown run by junior quarterback William Crest, pushing Dunbar back ahead, 13-8, with 2:29 left in the game.

Dunbar’s defense didn’t let Edmondson get near the end zone again, and the Poets left the game as the new No. 1 team in Baltimore City.

“We talk about this all the time, and then we went out there and proved it,” said Dunbar head football coach Lawrence Smith. “We never quit until the final whistle. That’s Poet Pride!”

Smith said this game was important both because it was essentially for the Baltimore City title, but also because it was the memorial game for the former late legendary Dunbar coach Ben Eaton. Eaton was one of the most lovable coaches in the state of Maryland and led Dunbar to two state titles before he died suddenly while exercising in August 2007.

“This team knows how much Coach Eaton means to me and the coaching staff and he would have been proud of how they fought hard to the finish and never gave up,” Smith said. “They showed what Poet Pride has always been about.”

Dunbar advanced to a 6-1 overall record and first place in the Baltimore City standings, while Edmondson-Westside fell to 5-2 overall and second place in the standings. Dunbar will face Douglass (4-2 overall) on Oct. 12 while Edmondson takes on Carver Vo-Tech (0-5 overall) on the same date.

Here’s a link to a video of Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith talking to his team after the 13-8 win over Edmondson-Westside on 10-5-12:

In other Baltimore City football action from the weekend:
– Poly beat Patterson, 35-32
– City College beat Mervo, 32-14
– Douglass crushed Southwestern, 44-6


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor