Second-half turnovers and mental mistakes proved to be the undoing of Capitol High as The Dunham School rallied for an 8-2 District 7-2A win Thursday night at Memorial Stadium.
Capitol (1-5, 0-1) looked to build on a precarious 2-0 halftime lead, but turned the ball over three times and had a touchdown erased by a penalty - all in the second half.
Dunham (3-3, 1-0) struggled to move the ball most of the night, but hung tough with a gritty defense. The Tigers broke through in the third quarter when Harrison Domingue busted a 46-yard scoring run.
The Dunham defense did the rest. Capitol twice drove inside the DS 30 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t turn the corner.
“We told them at halftime to just keep pounding them and pounding them, and I thought we would outlast them,” Dunham coach Guy Mistretta said.
“That’s pretty much what happened. I’m proud of both teams for fighting the way they did.”
Dunham’s passing attack was a non-factor as quarterback Grant Messer completed 1-of-12 passes.
Domingue was the leading rusher with 52 yards on five carries as the Tigers had 101 yards of total offense.
Capitol got 66 yards on 16 carries from running back Jarmar Roberson, but four turnovers and costly penalties were too much.
“I’m not a guy with a bunch of excuses, but we’re really young,” Capitol coach Damieon Mills said. “My kids fought hard to the end, and that’s all you can ask from a young group like we have.”
Capitol got a 61-yard kickoff return from Darius Stampley to start the second half, but fumbled on the second play. The Lions took over at midfield on their next series, but Domingue’s interception ended that threat.
Capitol recovered a key fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter. Taking over at the CHS 21, Capitol used four plays to gain a first down at the DS 30. From there, a 30-yard touchdown run was nullified by a holding penalty, and Capitol eventually turned the ball over on downs.
Defense and punting highlighted first-half action as Capitol took a 2-0 lead.
All totaled, the teams combined for eight punts, three turnovers and 128 yards of total offense. The lone score came with five minutes left in the half after Dunham’s Jordan Lange intercepted Capitol at the DS 27.
From there, Dunham was pushed back to the DS 14 after a first-down holding penalty. On the next play, the ball was snapped over the head of Messer, and it rolled out the back of the end zone as Messer and a defender scrambled for the recovery.
Capitol got the ball back in excellent field position twice in the half’s closing minutes, but couldn’t capitalize.
Following the safety, Capitol took over at midfield, but it gained zero yards before punting to Dunham.
Capitol intercepted Messer to give the Lions another start at the Dunham 33. This time, a 5-yard run and three incompletions were all Capitol could muster.
Dunham fared even worse as the Tigers picked up a first down on their second series, and didn’t gain another until less than three minutes remained in the half.