A second straight D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association West Division title and no small amount of payback were all the motivation Dunbar needed yesterday against visiting Wilson. The Crimson Tide jumped to a 16-point halftime lead and held off the Tigers for a 36-26 homecoming win, extending a 10-game DCIAA winning streak that dates from 1997.
"Two years ago, Wilson came in here and beat us and ruined our homecoming," senior quarterback Michael Coles said. "We've been talking about it all week -- that there was no way we were going to let that happen to us again this year."
Behind the passing of Coles and the power running of fullback James Lynch, Dunbar (6-3-1 overall, 4-0 DCIAA) made sure that bit of inglorious history against Wilson (3-8, 1-3) did not repeat itself.
"As a senior, this is what you play for," said Lynch, who ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. "Two years ago, we didn't know how to handle a situation like this, but as seniors, we do."
Dunbar jumped out to an early lead, something it didn't do two years ago in a 31-8 loss. On the Tide's first possession, Coles completed all four of his passes, culminating a 10-play, 70-yard drive by sneaking in from the 1 for a 6-0 lead.
After Coles was stopped on fourth and goal from the 1 on Dunbar's next series, the senior let his teammates do the running, as Lynch's one-yard run ended an eight-play, 60-yard drive, with all of the yards coming on the ground. Running back Jerome Bowling's two-point conversion extended Dunbar's lead to 14-0 with 4 minutes 58 seconds left in the half.
Wilson got back in the game on the ensuing kickoff, as David Alexander fielded Lynch's kick at the 20-yard line, made one move to his right and ran untouched 80 yards to cut Dunbar's lead to 14-6.
The Crimson Tide responded with a touchdown when Coles found a wide-open Darrell Dowery for a 34-yard score to give Dunbar a 22-6 lead at the half.
"That score right before the half was huge because they had just gotten back into the game and had the momentum," said Coles, who was 13 of 18 for 202 yards, with one touchdown and an interception.
Wilson cut the deficit to two in the third quarter as senior quarterback Avery Bowden, the DCIAA's leading passer, found senior Andre Wallace for a 12-yard touchdown pass. Wallace added a one-yard touchdown run to make it 22-20, but two fourth-quarter interceptions by Dunbar free safety Marcus Wimbush ended any hopes of a Tigers comeback. Bowden was 11 of 21 for 155 yards.