Coming off a blowout loss to Madison Prep, when his team’s only touchdown came in the final minutes, Dunham coach Neil Weiner challenged his players to respond.
Friday night’s District 6-2A matchup with Christian Life was a test for his Tigers as they inched closer to playoffs. Early and often, Weiner received the answer he was looking.
The Tigers took control on the first play from scrimmage, and the defense stymied Christian Life as Dunham dominated 50-6.
The Tigers (7-2, 4-2) were propelled by a 222-yard effort from quarterback Mike Williams. He completed 11 of 16 attempts, including four touchdowns.
While Dunham only had 57 yards on the ground, tailback Tony Huey provided explosive plays in both the running and passing games, accounting for the final three Tigers touchdowns.
The Dunham onslaught started almost as soon as the teams took the field: Williams hit receiver Abel Duhon in stride for a 60-yard touchdown on the first play.
But the Tigers wouldn’t let up on their next opportunity with the ball: Derek Stringley took a punt-return reverse 56 yards to the end zone.
After another punt by CLA (5-4, 3-4), Dunham marched 54 yards on six plays, capped by a 4-yard touchdown from Williams on a keeper.
Before Christian Life could blink, it trailed 21-0 with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth real quick,” Crusaders coach Ben Palmer said. “They had a touchdown on the first play and a touchdown on the punt return.”
After Williams connected with Stingley for the duo’s second touchdown, Christian Life produced its only score with a 61-yard burst up the middle from running back Jacob Kibodi. But the Crusaders defense couldn’t respond; Huey notched his first touchdown on a 28-yard reception from Williams. Dunham tacked on a two-point conversion from holder Quincy Moreaux off an errant snap.
Though the final two quarters didn’t see the same offensive fireworks, emotions erupted as play had to be stopped for several minutes in the third quarter when the teams scuffled during a Crusaders punt.
“It’s unfortunate,” Palmer said. “I hate that. It’s embarrassing for me. It’s embarrassing for the school. Same thing over there; I know Coach Weiner doesn’t coach any that stuff. I know I don’t coach any of that stuff.”
“It’s rivalry. We share Perkins Road, right down the street from each other. It was a big game for both teams. Kids are going to be kids. But as coaches, we need to a better job of kind of corralling them up.”
When the action resumed, Huey provided another blow, taking a handoff 50 yards for his second score. Dunham added its final score via another connection from Williams and Duey for 54 yards, putting on the icing on a district victory.