The 34-0 victory is largest since 1999
The energy was electric on both sides at the annual Crenshaw-Dorsey game but all it took was the opening kickoff to permanently send it over to the Crenshaw stands.
DeAnthony Thomas returned it 85 yards for a touchdown and the Cougars (5-2, 3-0 in league) never looked back on their way to a 34-0 shutout of their cross-town rivals at Jackie Robinson Stadium, a game that briefly turned somber when Dorsey senior Malcolm Chapman suffered a neck injury in the first quarter.
It was the first victory by a road team in the series in 2003 and, following last year’s 46-28 victory, the Cougars’ first consecutive wins since 2000-01. The 34-point margin of victory was the most by either team since 1999 when Crenshaw won 42-7 at home.
A packed house of students and alumni turned out for the game dubbed as the “Classic,” and they got to see the defense earn Crenshaw its first shutout in over two years as well as a standout performance from Thomas on both sides of the ball.
The sophomore, who rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries, also returned an interception 30 yards for another touchdown in the second. He would have done more damage had another interception return not been called back due to a Crenshaw penalty.
“He’s a special kid and he’s still learning how to run the ball but he has great speed,” Crenshaw head coach Robert Garrett said.
The Cougars stuck to their running game – seven different Cougars carried the ball – while continuing to ease sophomore quarterback Marquis Thompson (4-for-5, 102 yards) back into the lineup after suffering a shoulder injury against Culver City on Oct. 3.
Their defense didn’t allow the Dons past midfield in the second half and only twice overall as their linemen gave the Dorsey backfield fits all night. Junior linebacker Michael Ratliff recovered a fumble and senior linebacker Torreon Johnson registered one of the team’s four sacks.
The win was the Cougars’ fourth consecutive victory and put them as the frontrunner for their third Coliseum League title in four years.
“We played well tonight but we got a lot of work to do,” Garrett said
Dorsey (6-2, 2-1) struggled to get in a rhythm offensively as quarterback Freddy Lovo threw two interceptions in the first half before leaving with a hand injury. His replacement, Brandon Edwards, fared no better as he was sacked three times in the second half.
Sophomore tailback Robby Gasaway (14 carries, 57 yards) also left the game with an ankle injury.
The defense, save for a second-quarter fumble recovery, had trouble stopping Crenshaw’s running game, whether it was the speed of Thomas and Gregory Norwood, whose 41-yard run set up the game’s final touchdown, or the power of Pullard (70 yards) and Geoffrey Norwood (two short touchdown runs).
“We made too many mistakes with a team that talented,” Dorsey head coach Paul Knox said. “We knew exactly what we were dealing with. They are a really good team with some really talented players.”
By game’s end, the Dons may have left disappointed and banged up but they were encouraged by the news regarding Chapman, whose injury was not as serious as they feared.
After converting a 4th down run with 1:32 in the first quarter, Chapman, a tight end who also doubles as a kicker, fell on his head while rolling out of bounds. The game was halted for 25 minutes as paramedics were called and Chapman, lying motionless and briefly unconscious, was taken to a nearby hospital.
Both coaches were informed after the game that he was moving and was responding well to tests, a message that brought ease to a night where football appeared at times to be a secondary focus.
It was a moment that reminded fans that their rivalry is not just because of the fierce competition, but the neighborhood ties that connect them beyond the game.
The teams will play their next games at home on Friday, November 7, as Crenshaw will face Jefferson (3-3) and Dorsey will take on Locke (3-3).