Lawrence Smith, head coach of the Dunbar (Baltimore, Md.) varsity football team, has been named Ravens High School Coach of the Week for the fourth week of the 2009 season. Presented by Toyota, this is the 13th year of the Ravens' award program.
Smith earned the honor after the Poets improved to 4-1 with a sound defeat of rival Baltimore City College Friday (10/2) afternoon. The 22-0 shutout was unexpected against the Knights (4-1), who had shut out two opponents in September.
Both teams' offenses were stifled in the first half, with Dunbar only gaining 25 yards. The game was scoreless at the half, but Smith made adjustments and gave his team an inspirational halftime speech.
"We encouraged them to stay motivated," Smith said. "We took City's best shot in the first half, and we knew we had to go harder and give it our own best shot. The second half was an entirely different story."
In high schools across the country, football players are in the habit of playing on all sides of the ball. Dunbar is no different.
Poets' RB Nathan Ayers, Jr. opened up the scoring in the second half with a 6-yard touchdown run on the team's first series. He was not finished, though, and on defense forced a fumble on the Knights' ensuing possession that teammate Deontay McManus recovered. In the same vein, McManus went on to score later on a 37-yard touchdown grab.
Not to be outdone, Poets QB Evan Pittman forced a turnover on defense and also lobbed a 15-yard touchdown pass to WR Derrell Edwards late in the game.
"Our players commit to every play and making an impact on all phases in the game," Smith acknowledged. "This was a good team win for us."
Smith was the 2007 Ravens High School Coach of the Year, when he finished the season 14-0 and led his team to a Class 1A state championship. He is in his third year as head coach of the Poets and in his 10th year coaching overall. He is also a school police officer for Dunbar.
Each week during the season, the Ravens honor a high school coach who has made a significant impact on his athletes. Each of the season's weekly winners will be present at the Ravens–Lions home game on Dec. 13, for the naming of the Ravens' High School Coach of the Year.
A panel of area high school experts selects the coach of the week. The recipients receive:
- A $2,000 donation to the school's football program
- An award certificate signed by Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
- A specially-designed hat
2009 Ravens HS Coach of the Week Recipients
Week 1 Corey Johnson Patterson
Week 2 James McCormick North Caroline
Week 3 Kyle Schmitt Atholton
Week 4 Lawrence Smith Dunbar