RAVENS HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE WEEK
Lawrence Smith, varsity head football coach of the Dunbar High School Poets (Baltimore, Md.), has been named the Ravens High School Coach of the Week. Now in its 25th year of existence, Smith is the third recipient of the award in 2021. This marks his fourth time receiving the honor, having also been recognized in 2009, 2012 and 2017.
Last Saturday (9/18), Dunbar (3-0) earned a thrilling 48-46 victory over their Baltimore City rival, the Mervo Mustangs. Trailing 40-24 with just over two minutes remaining in the game, the Poets cut the deficit in half with a 25-yard touchdown toss from junior QB/RB Devin Roche to junior RB Tristan Keenan, followed by a two-point conversion from senior RB Corey Anderson. Less than 30 seconds later, the Dunbar defense created a key turnover when senior DB Aaron Charles forced a fumble that was recovered by senior DT Kaira Christian.
With one last opportunity on offense, Roche connected with WR Devin Page on a 61-yard touchdown throw, cutting Mervo's lead to 40-38. Roche then ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game and force overtime.
During the extra frame, Keenan found the endzone for both a touchdown and two-point conversion, giving Dunbar a 48-40 lead. Mervo scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive, but the Poets' defense stymied the two-point conversion attempt and secured the victory for Dunbar.
The win marked Dunbar's 13th-straight versus Baltimore City opponents dating back to 2019 and avenged a 20-14 loss to Mervo in their last meeting two years ago.
"Our kids could have easily given up being down by so many points, but they didn't," Smith stated. "They refused to give up, and they kept pushing and pushing to get back into the game – and they did it in the end. Kids can get down on themselves when they are losing, but to see them make this comeback, that means a lot to me."
Dunbar hosts Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Baltimore, Md.) this Friday (9/24) at 3:45 p.m. The Poets have won eight-consecutive contests against their Baltimore City foe.
Throughout this season, the Ravens will honor 10 high school coaches who have made a significant impact on their student-athletes. Each Coach of the Week winner will receive a $2,000 donation to their school's football program and will be invited to the Ravens-Rams game (1/2/22) at M&T Bank Stadium for an opportunity to be named the Ravens High School Coach of the Year.
This initiative is just one piece of Ravens RISE, the team's football outreach program presented by MedStar Sports Medicine. Ravens RISE impacts a range of area football players from youth to high school, providing them with a year-round opportunity to "Play Like A Raven" through clinics, tournaments, grants, ticket donations and exclusive opportunities to play at M&T Bank Stadium and interact with Ravens players and coaches.
To learn more, please visit www.BaltimoreRavens.com/RISE.