PRIDE — In a game fittingly played in Pride, Northeast’s Dave Masterson was proud of his defense.
Proud because they lost 10 of 11 starters from last year’s squad and so far have managed two shutouts through four games, including Friday’s 8-0 thriller over Dunham.
Proud because they held Matt Williams, one of the area’s top passers, to just two completions in nine attempts for 11 yards. He also managed 15 rushing attempts and minus-11 yards.
Proud because they held the previously unbeaten Tigers to seven first downs and 120 total yards of offense.
“You saw some puppies come of age tonight; they became a pack of dogs,” said Masterson, whose Vikings improved to 3-1, 1-0 in District 6-2A. “If you had told me Monday we would beat that team 8-0, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
Dunham managed only two first downs in the first half and just seven for the game. Neil Weiner’ squad had a few chances, but only penetrated into the red zone one time although it threatened on two other occasions.
“They did a great job,” said Weiner, whose team dropped to 3-1 for the season and 0-1 in district. “Their defense was well prepared. They were a more disciplined team than we were tonight. I’ve never seen that many penalties on a team. I guess that means we were undisciplined and poorly coached. But give them credit. They played hard and aggressive defense.”
Meanwhile, the Vikings relied on a conservative ground attack with quarterback Marqueon Minor passing just enough to keep Dunham’s defense off balance. He completed 6 of 14 passes for 86 yards. His squad also managed only 127 yards of offense.
The key drive occurred in the beginning of the fourth quarter after a punt from deep in Dunham territory gave the Vikings the ball on the Tigers’ 38. They had moved the ball only 13 yards on six plays when Minor hit wideout Grovante Stewart in the left flat, and he broke a tackle and scored from 25 yards out with 8 minutes remaining. Minor hit Tyriq Kelly for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Taking advantage of a 50-yard return by Abel Duhon, Dunham took over at the Northeast 40, but turned the ball over on downs nine plays later at the 27. The Tigers had one more snap after a bad punt snap by Northeast gave them the ball at the Viking 26 with 1:46, but again the Northeast defense didn’t allow a first down and the ball was again turned over on downs.
“The defensive line contained their quarterback, and our offense made just enough plays to get us the win,” said Masterson. “Offensively, we’re seeing some growing pains after a complete overhaul, and hopefully we’ll get a little better down the road. But I was awfully proud of the way our defense played.”
Next week, Dunham will host Mentorship Academy while Northeast travels to play at Christian Life.