The Dunham School upset eighth-ranked Episcopal 20-14 on the Tigers’ home field Friday, and Dunham coach Neil Weiner couldn’t stop using his favorite word of the night: awesome.
Weiner praised his team’s offense, defense, concentration, togetherness, resilience and more, using the word at least a dozen times while addressing his team after the game a few more times in post-game interviews.
“It was an awesome game and an awesome win for our kids, our school and our community. It was first time we’ve beat Episcopal since our seniors were in seventh grade,” Weiner said. “It was a hard-fought game between two well-coached teams and we feel lucky to come out with a win.”
The most awesome individual performance came from Dunham’s Chase Day. The University of Louisiana at Monroe commitment had a 73-yard touchdown run, threw a 43-yard touchdown pass and ran down Episcopal receiver Spencer Kleinpeter late in the game to prevent a go-ahead touchdown. Day also came back from leg cramps and a controversial roughness penalty to quarterback Dunham (3-4, 2-2 in District 6-2A) after Jyron Walker went out with a leg injury in the fourth quarter.
Day finished the game with 21 carries for 158 yards. T.J. Wisham led Episcopal (4-2, 0-2) with 90 yards on 20 carries, and William D’Armond had 163 yards passing.
Max Mannting’s interception in the final seconds sealed the win.
Day started the evening’s fireworks with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Bond Rodriguez with 6:13 to play in the first quarter. Wisham then made his first big play of the night by blocking the extra-point try.
Following a Samuel Rotenberg interception and a 35-yard pass from D’Armond to Kleinpeter, Wisham turned back to his rushing duties and picked up 15 tough yards on three carries, carrying tacklers into the end zone on a 4-yard scoring burst.
The Knights held a 7-6 lead until Day brought the home crowd and their cowbells to life when he sprinted down the right sideline in front of the Dunham fans on a 73-yard touchdown run.
“It’s a tale of two halves, and unfortunately we weren’t ready to play in the first half,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “We got caught up in the emotion of the game and didn’t play Episcopal football. We made some plays that aren’t typical of us. Credit Dunham — they showed up ready to play.”
Walker made the most of Weiner’s decision to not run out the clock at the end of the first half. Working with 2:03 on the clock, Walker led the Tigers on an 80-yard drive, throwing 9 yards to Day for one first down and running 14 yards and out of bounds on fourth down for another.
He capped the drive with a 31-yard toss to Elliot Dunham who outjumped a crowd of defenders in the end zone on the last play of the first half for what would prove to be the winning touchdown.
“We were going to try to make something happen,” Weiner said. “We practice that Hail Mary play every day in practice.”