Senior running back Sherrod Hawkes ran for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns as the Patterson Clippers upset the Dunbar Poets, 14-0 in the Class 2A North Region finals on Nov. 22 at Sugar Cain Field in Baltimore, Md.
The win advanced Patterson to the Maryland state final four for the first time since 2004, and also served as Dunbar’s first regional playoff loss since 2003 and ends the Poets’ state title streak at three-straight titles.
Hawkes was a one-man wrecking ball for Patterson, carrying the ball 27 times against Dunbar. He not only scored the only touchdowns of the game but also allowed Patterson to control the time of possession battle against a tough Poets team.
“We call Sherrod ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’” said Patterson head coach Larry Mitchell. “We told him we’d have Christmas early, but we need him to guide our sled. They call me Santa Claus, so we call him Rudolph. We just used that Rudolph to guide our sled, that’s all."
Mitchell, who played for Patterson during the 1990s and is now wheelchair-bound from a 2012 robbery and shooting, told reporters after the game that he used history as a motivating factor for his team to pull off the upset over the Poets.
“I told them the story about in 1993, when Dunbar came up to Patterson and beat us 56-0,” Mitchell said. “Later that year, we played them at Poly in the championship [MSA B finals] and we got them back. I tried to breathe that into them all week.”
Mitchell’s team apparently bought into his history speech because the Clippers didn’t allow one point scored by a Dunbar team that won the last three state championships.
“This senior class won three state championships. They really accomplished a lot, and this hurts for them,” said Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith. “We played as well as we could play this year with all the injuries we had. We had a hell of a season – it’s not a Dunbar season – but it’s still a heck of a season.”
Dunbar finished the season with a 9-4 record, while Patterson (9-3 record) advanced to face Patuxent in the final four, scheduled for Nov. 29.
Other Baltimore City high school football scores:
Douglass beat Edmondson-Westside, 20-14 in the 1A South Regional Final