Friday night’s regular season finale between Dunbar and Wilson will determine the second and third seeds in next week’s DCIAA Stars playoffs, which means that the Tigers and Crimson Tide will meet in that game regardless.
Playing a team three times during a 11-game season is discomforting, mathematically at least. Wilson (7-3, 5-1) won the first meeting 13-6 in one of the league’s better games of the year — a defensive stalemate that came down to the final minute of the fourth quarter. Replicating that type of performance, or at least trying to repeat that type of effort, has been an exhaustive task for both coaching staffs this week. And they’ll have to do it again next week.
“I expect the best from them. And we expect to give them the best,” Wilson running back Larry Frazier said. “Game time.”
Frazier and backfield mate Abdul Adams were prepared for game time in last week’s 55-42 win over Anacostia — they combined for 237 rushing yards on just 21 carries. Frazier (13 carries, 116 yards) ran for scores of 40, 8, 6 and 5, while Adams (eight carries, 121 yards) caught a 57-yard touchdown in the first half and capped his best performance of the season with a 48-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter to secure the win for the Tigers.
“Me and Larry, we work hard in practice to get better,” Adams said. “We both sharing time, doing what we do, getting better. We’re pushing eachother in practice, and it pays off in the game.”
Dunbar (6-2, 4-2) shut out Coolidge 48-0 last week, the second win over the Colts this season. As they have done all season, the Crimson Tide won with a blend of strong running and special teams play — which produced a 95-yard kickoff return from Justin Barrett to open the game. Running back Malonta Patterson needed just 10 carries to rush for 141 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown in the second half, while Adisa Belfon added a 60-yard touchdown on his way to a 100-yard rushing day. Patterson needs just 92 yards to eclipse 1,000 yards this season; he’s averaging nearly nine yards per carry and has scored 10 touchdowns.
The difference against the Tigers, at least according to linebacker Byran Ragland, is creating turnovers. The Crimson Tide hung with division leader H.D. Woodson late last month, creating three turnovers, a blocked punt and a recovered onside kick. Dunbar has produced turnovers in each game this season, Ragland said, except for one: the first meeting with Wilson.
That was our first game without causing one. It shouldn’t be that hard,” Ragland said. “There’s not too much they can throw at us, that we haven’t seen yet.”