Belmont senior running back Elijah Malcolm earns a pardon for mangling City League football history.
“This is unbelievable,” Malcolm said following a stunning 42-0 defeat of Dunbar during Thursday night’s season-opening high school football showdown at Welcome Stadium.
“We’ve never beat Dunbar, ever, in football history. We just made history.”
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To be certain, longtime followers can recite other Belmont defeats of Dunbar, but none so convincing. It was as unexpected as Fairmont’s 13-12 defeat of Alter in Kettering, also on Thursday.
Malcolm was a one-man wrecking crew, scoring on four short runs. After Damari Black scooted 15 yards midway through the third quarter to join in the Bison scoring, Dunbar was hit with a running clock.
Actually, it’s the second straight season Belmont has defeated Dunbar, although last year’s Week 10 matchup was ruled a forfeit win because of an academically ineligible Dunbar player. That setback helped keep Dunbar – 9-1 on the field – out of the playoffs and launched Belmont into the 2016 postseason.
Loaded with an experienced lineup, Dunbar was heavily favored to roll to the playoffs this season. Instead, it’s Belmont that jump-started its season with a program-defining win before a crowd of about 2,500.
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“We call ourselves the faithful few,” Belmont coach Earl White said. “We only got a few kids and dress about 36-37, but they’re really committed and dedicated. We’ve got a ways to go, but we got a program win and a hard-work win.”
White initially worked his magic at Thurgood Marshall and took over a program at Belmont in 2014 that had flat-lined. There has been steady improvement, but no one other than the “faithful few” and the Bison staff could have seen this coming. It had all the characteristics of White’s previous great teams at Thurgood: an unstoppable wing-T running game and shutdown defense.
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Belmont sophomore quarterback Rian Reeves had a breakout game directing the offense. Both Malcolm and Dawson Martin rushed for more than 100 yards.
Belmont defensive end Alfonse Joseph, junior defensive tackle Raygee Warden and senior linebacker Jayion Wagner were key in stopping heralded Dunbar senior running back Tavion Thomas, who’s committed to the University of Oklahoma. Another senior, receiver Joseph Scates, also was shut down.
Dunbar also couldn’t overcome the loss of starting QB Jamar Walker with a possible shoulder separation in the first half.
“The better team won,” said a glum Dunbar coach Darran Powell. “We just didn’t show up. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ll be back. Congrats to them.”
City League teams Meadowdale and Ponitz will play in a doubleheader at Welcome Stadium on Friday. Ponitz will play Danville, a Kentucky power, at 5:30 p.m. That will be followed by Meadowdale vs. Piqua at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Thurgood Marshall will play Springfield Shawnee at 7 p.m. also at Welcome Stadium.
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