There is a reason the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Senior High School Poets football team is considered the “King of Baltimore City”—with four championships, they’ve won more state titles in the last five years than any other team in the city.

Dunbar will now vie for a fifth state championship after edging Fort Hill, 20-14, in the 1A state semifinals on Nov. 27 at Poly Technical High School.

Dunbar had its goal set on reaching the championship game all season long, but it didn’t come easy. Fort Hill of Cumberland, Md. made it tough for Dunbar throughout all four quarters and nearly forced an overtime period to decide the winner.

Fort Hill’s Dylan Clay tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Justin Dawson to tie the game 14-14 at the start of the third quarter. The score remained tied at 14 through the final two quarters until Dunbar quarterback Kevin Estep sneaked into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run with only three seconds left in the game. Estep also scored the game’s first points with an 18-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith
Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith talks to the team.
said this victory proves his team cannot only win the blowouts, but the tough nail biters, too.

“We showed we can stay together in a blowout and tight game, so we know we’re fully ready to go to battle with anyone,” said Smith, who also counted his 50th victory as Dunbar’s head coach.

Smith will try for win No. 51 at M&T Bank Stadium at 12 p.m. on Dec. 4 in a 1A state championship faceoff with Havre de Grace.

“We’re going to celebrate this win over the weekend, but come Monday it’s a work day,” Smith said. “Time to go get what we came for.”


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor