Tigers hold off Wolves in wild 6-2A contest
The Dunham School and Redemptorist traded turnovers, penalties, momentum shifts and spectacular plays before the Tigers turned back a Redemptorist rally in the fourth quarter to bag a 34-20 win in a 6-2A battle at Dunham’s Tiger Stadium on Friday.
On the negative side, the teams combined for nine fumbles, four interceptions and 28 penalties totaling 238 yards.
On the positive side, there were five scoring plays of 19 yards or more, a long kickoff return and several key defensive stops.
Dunham’s Jyron Walker passed for 212 yards on a 12-for-23 night with four touchdowns and three interceptions. His leading receivers were Drake Davis (five catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns) and Chase Day (four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.)
“I thought we really came out smoking,” Dunham coach Guy Mistretta said. “Offense, defense, special teams, the whole bit. Except for (Redemptorist quarterback) Russell (Gage’s) long run I thought we did pretty good. Then in the second quarter we bogged down.
“Second half, the exact same thing. We start off really strong, then bog down again.”
Dunham (5-1, 3-0 in district play) was the beneficiary of a bad snap on a punt in the first quarter to set up their first touchdown, taking over on the Redemptorist 30-yard line. It took them eight plays to score against a rugged defense, but lineman Kirk Wilson powered in from the two to open the scoring.
The next two Dunham drives lasted one play each and each resulted in touchdowns. On the first, Walker connected with Jon-Austin Volland for 37 yard score, and on the second Walker found Davis for a 52-yard pass and run. Caleb Porter kicked the first two PATs, but the third was blocked.
Redemptorist (1-5, 0-3) answered when Gage, one of only six seniors on the 50-player Redemptorist roster, ran 19 yards for a touchdown.
Gage ran for 83 yards on 12 carries in the first half, and finished with 99 yards and two touchdowns rushing and 164 yards passing with one touchdown.
The Tigers kept their big play engine running in the second half. Shelby Trahan’s 61-yard kickoff return set up a five-yard TD pass from Walker to Davis on the following play for their third one-play scoring drive of the night.
On Dunham’s next drive Walker went to Chase Day for a 59-yard scoring strike to cap and 80-yard drive.
Redemptorist pulled within 14 at 34-20 when Jawaun Sanders hauled in a wide receiver screen from Gage and scampered 80 yards with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
It was the Wolves’ second touchdown of the quarter after Gage had earlier tallied his second TD of the night on a one-yard run.
Redemptorist looked to tighten the game even more when Gage intercepted a Walker pass and returned it to Dunham territory, but Day ran him down from behind and stripped the ball loose with Dunham recovering the fumble.
“Coach preaches all the time to secure the ball and I didn’t-I had it freely in one hand,” Gage said. “That won’t cut it.
“We came out and did all right in the second half,” but we have to play all four quarters.”
The brightest spot for Redemptorist coach Terence Williams was his team’s refusal to quit when they were down 34-7.
“The thing about these guys is they’re going to compete to the end,” he said. “We don’t care what the score is. Redemptorist was a step quicker than we were. Coach Guy does a great job getting his guys ready to play, and I’ve got to do a better job getting our guys ready.”