FORT WORTH - Eastern Hills won one of the most anticipated matchups in Fort Worth ISD on Saturday afternoon when they took down cross-town rival Dunbar 20-7 at Clark Stadium.
The two schools, separated by less than two miles, have played each other annually since 2010 in the Battle of the Eastside. Dunbar has dominated the rivalry, winning 10 of the 11 matchups coming into Saturday’s game, and was a clear favorite to win again.
But the Highlanders were prepared for a fight and forced three Dunbar turnovers to secure only their second win over the Wildcats, and first since 2019.
“This is a good one,” Eastern Hills head coach Devvin Anderson said after the game. “This is a good one for the kids, they’ve been working really hard. We didn’t get to play against Kennedale so we’re kind of behind the eight-ball, digging ourselves out of a hole. But they’ve been working so hard so it’s really good to see them come out and do what we know they can do.”
The first quarter was a defensive scrum that featured four punts and a Dunbar fumble that put Eastern Hills in excellent field position for the start of the second quarter. The Wildcats appeared to score on their first drive, but an ineligible man downfield penalty brought them back and they were eventually forced to punt.
The game was scoreless after one quarter.
The Highlanders were forced to punt to start the second quarter, but an excellent punt flipped the field position. Then the Eastern Hills defense made a stand, forcing a Dunbar punt. The snap was bobbled and the hurried punt ended up deflecting off the upback.
The ball fluttered in the air for a second before Eastern Hills' Datavian Bates snatched it out of the air and ran 26 yards for the score. A failed two-point conversion kept the score at 6-0.
The Wildcats proceeded to go on a long drive behind running back Murry Moore who finished the game with 23 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown.
They were able to get to the Eastern Hills 9-yard line, but were unsuccessful on fourth down and gave the ball back to the Highlanders.
Eastern Hills had just over two minutes to go in the first half to try to extend its lead. Behind dual-threat quarterback Kenwaun Durst, the Highlanders were able to put together an impressive drive that took almost all of the remaining time.
With 12 seconds left and still 20 yards to the end zone, Durst dropped back and fired a dart to De’troy Bates who broke two tackles and waltzed in for the score. This time the two-point conversion was successful and the Highlanders led 14-0 going into halftime.
On the first play of the second half, it appeared Dunbar finally had an answer as a long pass play was completed down the sideline. However, the receiver lost the ball just 10 yards from the end zone and Eastern Hills was able to recover the fumble.
The Wildcats got a break when Antwan Thomas came up with an interception to get the ball back in Highlander territory.
Moore immediately went back to work for Dunbar and drove them to the 2-yard line before finishing the drive himself to cut Eastern Hills' lead to 14-7. Dunbar had seized momentum and forced Eastern Hills to punt on the ensuing drive.
However, while they were driving deep in plus territory and with only a minute remaining in the third quarter, the Wildcats fumbled and Da’Quorian Henderson came up with it for the Highlanders.
Eastern Hills was looking for one more score to keep Dunbar chasing, but were forced into a fourth down situation near midfield. Head coach Devvin Anderson decided to take a risk and pulled out the swinging gate.
Dunbar was confused by the formation and left Ganeston Howard wide open over the middle. He hauled in the pass and was brought down at the 3-yard line. Durst finished it from there on the quarterback keeper to make the score 20-7 after a failed two-point conversion.
After being forced to punt again, Dunbar’s defense made a stand and had a chance to get back in the end zone. However, the Highlanders had figured out the Wildcat offense and made one last red zone stop to preserve the upset and a 20-7 win, also keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Durst finished 6-of-15 for 83 yards and a score through the air, adding 97 yards on 23 carries and a score on the ground.
“Staying alive for the playoffs is big for them,” Anderson said. “They deserve everything that they get. They’ve been working harder than everyone else. So it was just really good for us to keep our playoff hopes alive.”
Eastern Hills (4-3, 2-2) moves on to face the Fort Worth Carter-Riverside Eagles (3-4, 0-4) at 7 p.m. Friday, October 21 at Hand... Click here to read full article
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