The Northeast Vikings capitalized on a stingy defense and a couple of costly mistakes by The Dunham School to score two first-half touchdowns and hold on for a 12-7 win in a District 6-2A contest Friday night.
Dunham (1-4, 0-2) gave the ball to the Vikings twice for short touchdown drives in the second quarter. The first came when Andre Snowden picked off Jyron Walker’s pass at the Dunham 28. Northeast ended that drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Marqueon Minor to Marvin Minor.
The Vikings got the ball right back when Marvin Minor’s kickoff took a strange hop and bounced backward toward the kickoff coverage team. The recovery and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved the ball to the Dunham 15 and set up a short drive capped by Marqueon Minor’s 6-yard sneak.
The win kept Northeast undefeated at 5-0 and 2-0 in district, but coach David Masterson still isn’t sure whether his team is for real.
“We’re not there yet,” he said. “What this game did was to expose where we’re weak and what we need to work on. We had too many drops — at least three for first downs. We’ve got to hang on to the ball.
“I was pleased with the way (quarterback) Marqueon Minor handled the game. He has made such great strides in the past year.”
The defensive nature of the game was reflected in the statistics. Northeast had 138 yards of total offense, and Dunham managed only 98. There were a total of 17 plays for zero or minus yardage.
Chase Day led Dunham’s rushers with 23 yards on 15 carries with a long run of 19 yards.
Tyriq Kelly gained 46 yards on five carries for the Vikings.
The first half was a study in futility for the Dunham offense. It totaled minus yardage in total offense, rushing for minus-10 yards on 13 carries and adding only 7 yards on 1-of-5 passing.
“Our defense played lights out, but our offense couldn’t do anything in the first half,” Dunham coach Neil Weiner said. “Our offensive line coach suggested some adjustments at halftime, and that seemed to help, but we couldn’t keep it going.
“We dressed out 25 and got a couple hurt during the game, but that’s not an excuse. (Northeast) didn’t dress out many more.”
Northeast had trouble with the Dunham defense through the scoreless first quarter but finally came to life behind 15-yard and 9-yard runs by Ramon Parker. Kelly added a 16-yard run, and the Vikings finished the first half with 62 yards of offense.
Dunham’s only first-half highlights came on special teams play with a 36-yard kickoff return by Bond Rodriguez and a blocked punt, but the Tigers couldn’t capitalize on either opportunity.
Dunham finally got a short field of its own on its first possession of the second half. A 22-yard punt return by Abel Duhon gave the Tigers the ball on the Northeast 43. Two runs by Day set up a 26-yard scoring pass from Walker to Quincy Moreaux, and the Tigers had new life.
Their defense had a shutout in the second half, and they had the ball twice in the final 2:42, but they couldn’t move it, and Marvin Ramsey intercepted Walker on a fourth down play with just seconds left to ice the win.
“Coach Weiner and coach (Randy) Leindecker had such a great defensive plan,” Masterson said. “We’re lucky to sneak out of here with a win.”