Head coach: Joey Thibodeaux (LSU, 1982; Baseball); 26 years at Dunham; 27 years in coaching Offensive Coordinator: Joey Thibodeaux Defensive Coordinator: Curtis Tupper Staff: Kris Harrel (defensive backs), Mike Jenkins (offensive line), Mitch McIlwain (linebackers), Steven Dearman (wide receivers/defensive backs), Kody Viator (running backs), and Alex Wright (tight ends/linebackers) Last season: 7-4 (4-2 in 7-2A, third place); Qualifed for Class 2A playoffs. Postseason: First round: Lost to Calvary Baptist, 52-27.
The Dunham Tigers have just one starter back on offense and two on defense, but there is reason for head coach Joey Thibodeaux to be optimistic given the amount of talent the team has.
The Tigers' skilled positions will be as good or better than a year ago, but they lack experience, something that is so important in such a competitive district.
Depth, as always at Dunham and most Class 2A programs, will be an issue. So staying health will be key.
The Tigers have a ton of starters to replace -- 10 to be exact -- but many of the new starters are pretty good. Senior running back Dylan Yesso (5-8, 165) returns after a solid campaign last season as a change of pace back. This year he will take on a more prominent role, along with new starting running back Jordan Lange (5-11, 190), a junior who will line up at fullback in the Tigers' Wing-T set.
Yesso and Lange give Dunham a nice 1-2 punch in the running game. They, along with senior wing back William Cox (5-8, 165), give the running back positions more overall speed than a year ago. They are also legit receiving threats out of the backfield.
The offensive line is bigger and stronger than a year, but they will need to match the intensity of last year's unit. At center is big senior Brandon Stogner (6-3, 310), who comes off the ball well and clears quite a path. Rotating at the guard and tackle positions will be senior Nick Ellison (6-0, 195), sophomore Andy Guidry (5-10, 180), junior Beau Price (5-10, 175), junior Drew Schoen (5-11, 235), senior Luke Simpson (6-0, 215), and senior Ben Stott (6-1, 210).
A player to keep an eye on is junior tight end Daniel Megison (6-2, 210). He has prototypcal tight end size, athletic, physical and has good hands. He will also start at middle linebacker, where he should shine as well.
Sophomore Harrison Domingue (6-1, 185) will be a jack-of-all-trades for the offense. He is a running back, receiver, and the backup quarterback. He'll sometimes line up at QB for Wildcat sets. He has tremendous speed, is elusive, but does not shy away from contact. Two years ago he scored 29 touchdowns for the eighth grade team and could be poised for a breakout year.
At quarterback, Thibodeaux turns the reins over to junior Grant Messer (5-11, 190). He has a real good grasp of the offense's run game and is developing as a solid passer as well.
Messer has his share of targets in passing situations. In addition to the backs, tight end and Domingue wherever he lines up, senior Cody Davis (5-11, 165) is an experienced and dependable target at receiver along with the tall and athletic sophomore Grayson Domingue (6-3, 180). He is the younger brother of Harrison Domingue, but they are in the same grade because they were born less than a year apart.
Taking over as placekicker will be senior Michael Barnett (5-11, 170), who has excelled at soccer and is playing football for the first time.
The defense features the return of linebacker Jordan Lange (5-11, 195) and strong safety Harrison Domingue (5-11, 190). Both players are quick to the ball and physical when they get there. That will likely be the trademark of the defense as a whole: running well to the ball.
The defensive line definitely has promise. The tackles include senior Luke Simpson (6-0, 215) and senior Ben Stott (6-1, 210). At defensive end will be senior Garrett Watson (6-4, 225) and junior Quinn Crowton (6-0, 185), and sophomore Grayson Domingue (6-3, 180) rotating as starters.
Lange is at strong side linebacker and at the middle will be junior Daniel Megison (6-2, 210). Megison is a big, physical player who reminds you of last year's standout Collin Ellis. At the weak side linebacker position is junior Russ Viguerie (5-7, 170).
Rotating at cornerback will likely be senior Dylan Yesso (5-8, 165), who has fantastic speed, senior William Cox (5-8, 165), and junior Ryan Mockler (5-8, 160). The free safety is junior Andrew Langston (5-9, 170).
Shoes to Fill
The Tigers lost a lot when Collin Ellis graduated and is now on scholarship at Northwestern. He was a powerful force on the offensive side as a running back. He was a physical, dominating presence at strong safety on defense.
Also, the offensive line as a whole was an impressive unit that worked extremely well together in Dunham's Wing-T set. They were not big, but they were fast and intense.
For any offense to do well, you have to have a good offensive line. But it's extremely important for an offense like Dunham's. How these new starters progress will go a long way at deciding the path this team takes.
Another important position will be quarterback. Thibodeaux is extremely pleased with the enthusiasm and work ethic Grant Messer has shown so far. All the hard work will be needed because the Tigers will need the quarterback position to be productive.
Senior Dylan Yesso is a returning starter, but this is his first season to be considered an offensive leader. He and Jordan Lange should, and will need to, have breakout seasons. Also, look for Harrison Domingue to be productive on both sides of the ball.