December 6, 2019

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Dunham Holds on to Win: Defeats Newman 22-20

Two 9-1 teams face off in a Div III quarterfinal round with the Dunham Tigers traveling to Isidore Newman, a matchup featuring two of the most talent rich teams in the state of Louisiana. Newman’s star freshman signal caller and son of Cooper Manning, Arch Manning, is having a fantastic year. Manning, currently a 2,000 yard passer, is putting up ridiculous numbers this year with a touchdown to interception ratio of 34/6. Dunham is no stranger to talent as well. Dunham’s Rhett Guidry is one of the best TE’s in the state and the matchup should be one for the books.

1ST HALF

Dunham’s offense took the field first behind quarterback Anthony Safford. On the first play, Dunham’s stud RB Kalante Wilson broke through the Newman defense, picking up nearly 20 on the ground. Unfortunately for Dunham, the next play ended in disaster with a fumble being scooped up by Newman for a scoop and score, putting the Greenies up 7-0 early in the first. 

Dunham’s Wilson got right back to work on the following drive, bursting through the Newman front 7, giving him nearly 50 yards on just 2 carries. Dunham eventually found themselves in a 4th down situation to which the Tigers opted to go for it. On the play, Safford was picked off by Newman’s Sterling Scott to give the Greenies their second turnover of the 1st quarter. 

Dunham’s defense then came out firing, forcing Manning and the Newman offense into a 3rd and long scenario. Manning could not find an open receiver against the talented Dunham secondary, as he scrambled for the 1st but inevitably came up a few yards short, forcing a Newman punt. A great answer by the Tiger defense after turning the ball over on consecutive drives to start the game. 

For the 3rd straight 1st down run, Wilson broke through the Newman defense for another huge gainer, giving him over 70 yards rushing on just 4 carries midway through the 1st quarter. QB Anthony Safford made some shifty plays with his feet on a 2nd and 7 to get his Tigers in a 3rd in 1 as Dunham crossed midfield. Newman blew up the 3rd and 1 run, forcing Dunham into another 4th down try. The explosive Kalante Wilson broke to the outside picking up another huge gain to set Dunham up inside the redzone as the Tigers looked to tie things up. Dunham eventually was forced into yet another 4th down, this time a 4th and 16. The Tigers opted to go for it but came up short, handing possession back to Newman around the 15 yard line. 

Manning and the Newman O struggled to find success once again. Dunham forced the Greenies into another 3rd and long, with Manning getting sacked with help from Tiger star Rhett Guidry, who Newman struggled to block for the entirety of the 1st quarter. Newman’s punt only allotted around 30 yards, giving Dunham excellent field position with under a minute to go in the 1st quarter. 

Kalante Wilson found an open field thanks to excellent blocking, pushing him over the century mark for the game as Dunham moved into the redzone for a second straight time. A beautiful pass from Safford gave Dunham their first score of the game, as Safford found senior wideout Joshua Hardy in the endzone on a 25 yard touchdown pass. Dunham would go on to make the PAT, evening the game 7-7. 

Newman’s offense finally got moving. Manning scrambled then found one of his receivers for a modest 6 yard gain, but a roughing the passer penalty against Dunham put the Greenies across midfield for the first time of the night. Dunham tightened on defense, forcing Newman into a 3rd and 6, which Manning was not able to pick up through the air, bringing up another Newman 4th down. Newman opted to go for the 4th and 4, with Arch Manning dropping back and taking a shot to the endzone, nearly being picked off by the Dunham secondary.

Safford came up huge on a 3rd and 15, dropping back and throwing a 25 yard dime to dig the Tigers out of a sure punting situation. Dunham kept plowing ahead with Wilson, eventually finding themselves inside the Newman redzone for a 3rd time. Another 4th down conversion was tried by Dunham, this time with Safford picking up the 5 yards needed for the 1st on a QB keeper. On a 2nd and 10, Safford attempted aslant route in the endzone, which was swatted in the air by the Newman defense. Miraculously, a Dunham receiver somehow found the airborne ball and gave the Tigers their first lead of the night. Dunham opted to go for 2, successfully converting and giving the Tigers a 15-7 lead. The Newman offense began rolling with under 3 minutes to go in the half. Running back Joseph Pleasant barreled his way down field on consecutive runs, putting Manning and the Greenies O inside the redzone as time began to tick down. Pleasant took two more handoffs, eventually getting down to the 3 yard line with under a minute remaining in the 2nd quarter. The Dunham defense would again force Newman into a 4th down, this time with Newman opting for a 3 point field goal, successfully cutting Dunham’s lead to 15-10 as the half came to a close. 

2ND HALF

Dunham tried catching Newman off guard at the onset of the 2nd half, with the Tigers attempting a surprise onside kick. Newman would recover, and on the first offensive play for the Greenies, Manning was sacked by Dunham’s Rhett Guidry, who continued to find his way into the Newman backfield. A penalty on Dunham, and a shifty read option by Manning pushed the Newman offense across midfield. The Dunham defense kept strong, forcing Newman into another 4th down. Newman decided to go for the first, but Manning was unable to pick up the yardage through the airvas the Tiger offense took over following their defensive stand. Newman capitalized after their failed 4th down conversion. The Greenies picked off Safford for a 3rd time to put the ball right back into the hands of the Newman offense. 

Newman’s offense found its legs following the turnover, quickly moving into the Dunham redzone behind a big throw from Manning and hard running from Pleasant. Pleasant then was met in the backfield by non other than Rhett Guidry, tackling Pleasant for a loss of 3 to bring up a 3rd and 13. Manning failed to find an open receiver on the 3rd down, so Newman opted for a 39 yard field goal, perfectly splitting the uprights to close the gap. 15-13 Dunham in the 3rd quarter. 

Dunham’s Wilson responded with yet another big run, this time for 15 yards on 1st down, giving the sophomore back 150 yards on 19 carries with the 3rd quarter winding down. Following the run, Guidry recorded his first catch of the night from QB Safford, picking up the 1st down as the Dunham offense began to trot along with ease. Safford then found Hardy again for the score, this time as a 24 yard pass with pressure in his face. Dunham would go up 22-13 with the 4th quarter looming. 

Manning and the Newman offense came out throwing, completing 2 consecutive passes as the Greenies crossed the 50 yard line into enemy territory. Manning then scrambled for another 1st down, then Pleasant took the following handoff to move the chains yet again. From the Dunham 15, Manning found receiver Jarmone Sutherland Jr. on a slant which set Newman’s offense up inside the Dunham 5 with the Greenies threatening to score. Manning then tried a QB sneak, managing to get the ball inside the 1 yard line. Manning tried the sneak again but the Dunham defensive line allowed nothing, forcing a 3rd and goal for Newman. Manning went to throw it on 3rd and goal, beut scrambled to the left, finding the endzone on an improvised run to make it a 2 point game. 

Kalante Wilson exploded on Dunham’s first snap for a gain of over 20 yards. Dunham continued pounding the football, picking up another first down with the Tigers closing in on Newman’s redzone with 9 minutes to play in the ball game. Newman’s defense forced a 3rd and 5 from the 19 for Dunham, with Safford keeping and picking up 3 yards to make it a 4th and 2 for the Tigers. Safford kept again on the 4th and 2, successfully picking up the yardage for a Dunham 1st down. Dunham seemed content with milking the clock. Following the 4th down pick up, Dunham ran the ball 3 straight times, ultimately resulting in another 4th and short. On 4th and 1, Safford went empty on a QB keeper, but Newman’s defense came up huge, stopping Safford short of the line to gain.

Newman started deep into their own territory on the 5 yard line with 4 minutes remaining in the game. Manning’s first snap was a shot down field, which was overthrown bringing up a 2nd down. Manning luckily escaped out the endzone on Newman’s second play, avoiding the safety but ultimately losing 3 yards to bring up a 3rd and 13. Newman was unsuccessful on the 3rd and long, forced to punt back to Dunham out of their own endzone.

Dunham’s offense was content with keeping the ball on the ground with under 3 minutes remaining in the game. Dunham successfully picked up a much needed 1st down, which secured victory for the Tigers to improve to 10-1 on the season.

Dunham will face Lafayette Christian Academy next week in a semi-final bout to determine one of the Div III representatives in the state championship.

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