The Dunham Tigers put together a complete game against outmanned Pointe Coupee Central and pulled away for a 35-14 win for homecoming. The win featured a 21-point explosion in the third quarter after a slow start.
Senior SMU commit Nyle Johnson had another outstanding game at running back, rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Jordan Lange added 88 yards on 18 carries and two more touchdowns. Harrison Domingue carried seven times for 81 yards and scored a touchdown while Dylan Yesso had 13 yards on five carries.
Placekicker Michael Barnett made all five PAT kicks. Dunham led 35-0 with 11:13 still to play in the fourth. All 14 of PCC's points came in the final 9 minutes of the game.
"I thought our defense, overall, played as well as it can play," Dunham head coach Joey Thibodeaux said. "We held them to 88 yards of total offense. From a defensive stand point, we played exceptional.
"In the third quarter we put up 21 points, just that Dunham offense. Our backs all ran hard and I think our line got a little better this week."
A total of 12 penalties and two lost fumbles were the only thing that really slowed the Tigers down against PCC (0-6).
Three different quarterbacks played for the Tigers and completed 3 of 11 passes for 18 yards and one interception.
Messer runs Dunham's usual Wing-T offense while Domingue comes in for the "Tiger Formation," which is designed to make the QB a running threat from under center, and Ortego runs the spread offense.
"We brought them in to utilize their abilities the best we could," Thibodeaux said. "The jury is still out. They did good. Our Wing-T offense looked really good. We ran the ball well. The Tiger offense, the few plays we ran it, I think we did well. And the spread, we just need to do a better job blocking up front."
It was the first time for Ortego to get a number of snaps at QB.
"Ben had not played football in three years," Thibodeaux said. "The last time he played was the eighth grade. But he is just a super athlete and he is very quick. He makes good decisions on the option. We like him in the spread becasue he has a good arm, gets rid of the ball quick, and makes good decisions. Plus, he can scramble a little bit. So it puts a guy in the spread that can run and get rid of the ball quick."
Daniel Megison caught a 10-yard pass and Lange had an 8-yard reception. Johnson had a catch that went for no yards.
Johnson's second game at tailback was a solid effort with 66 yards gained in the first half, 84 in the second half and touchdown runs of 9 and 1 yard in the third period. His long run of the evening was 24 yards.
It appears as though he is settling into the position well.
"Yeah, he does," Thibodeaux said. "He's learning it. It helps to have some kids back there that have done it. Dylan Yesso and Jordan Lange have played it and can assist him.
"He's got great speed, but what separates Nyle from a lot of people is his vision. He gets in the hole quick."
Offensive line improving
Thibodeaux said that the offensive line rotation is starting to round into shape.
"We continue to tweak offensive line," said Thibodeaux. "I think our two tackles, Nick Ellison and Ben Stott, had good games."
Junior guard Drew Schoen played primarily center last week and did well. Former center, senior Brandon Stogner, is expected to make a return this week from a hand injury, though his snaps will probably be limited.
When Stogner is in, Schoen will join the a guard rotation that has included Beau Price, Foster Degenerese, Dillion McClain, Sid Carrier, and Andy Guidry.
"We're going to need consistent play up there," Thibodeaux said of the offensive line. "We have not gotten it yet. Hopefully, we can solidify a group and get a little better. Each week it's about finding the right combination and we will have to do it like we're doing in the back field, we'll have to rotate some guys in and just play week to week."
The Tigers held PCC to just 88 yards of total offense, including just 25 rushing. A lot of that success can be attributed to the play of the defensive line.
"I think Luke Simpson had one of his best games of the year at defensive tackle and Garrett Watson, I thought, had a good game at defensive tackle," Thibodeaux said. "So with those two guys playing well, and putting pressure up front, our linebackers were able to roam the field."
Inside linebacker Daniel Megison, who has battled nagging injuries, played well along side Lange. Harrison Domingue and Grayson Domingue were the outside linebackers.
In the secondary the Tigers recevied solid play from cornerbackers Ryan Mockler, Dylan Yesso, Nyle Johnson and free safety Ben Ortego.
By the Numbers
Through six games, Dunham has four running backs with roughly the same amount of yards rushing.
Lange is leading the team in rushing with 409 yards on 71 carries and seven touchdowns. Harrison Domingue has 332 yards on 41 carries and 4 TDs while Johnson has 325 yards on 33 carries and two TDs. Yesso has 283 yards on 59 carries and 4 TDs.
Johnson leads with 270 yards receiving and 4 TDs on 14 receptions. Megison has five catches for 90 yards.
Messer has completed 28 of 63 passes for 432 yards, 4 TDs against 5 interceptions. Harrison Domingue is 2 of 7 for 48 yards and 1 TD.
Before the EFHS game, Lange continued to lead the team with 31 solo tackles and 9 assists while Harrison Domingue has 25 solos and 7 assists. Other leading tacklers include Simpson (20 solos, 9 assists), Mockler (18-3), Megison (15-2), Andrew Langston (13-7), and Russ Viguerie (12-6). Kyle Clary and Lange have two tackles for loss each.
Simpson has caused four fumbles, recovering one while Harrison and Grayson Domingue each have two fumble recoveries. Lange and Andrew Langston have two INTs each. Quinn Crowton, Yesso, and Lange have each batted two balls.
East Feliciana (5-0), Dunham's opponent this week, moved up to No. 4 from No. 5. Episcopal (6-0) is No. 6, up one from No. 7. Following a hard-fought loss to EFHS, Donaldsonville(5-1) slipped to No. 12 from No. 8. University (4-2) is ranked No. 15 and Capitol(2-4), which has lost two in a row to the 7-2A's two undefeated teams, has slipped to No. 17.
East Feliciana is a new name on the Dunham schedule, but the Tigers are a familiar foe. The school was created during the summer from the consolidation of Clinton and Jackson high schools.
The campus is on the site of the former Jackson High School and based on recent enrollment numbers released by teh LHSAA, the school will move up to Class 3A next season. In the meantime, the Tigers share the lead in District 7-2A.
"This will be our toughest test," said Thibodeaux. "It seems like I can say that every week."
EFHS is 5-0 and ranked No. 6 in the state in the LSWA Class 2A poll. It is 3-0 in District 7-2A play with impressive wins over University, Capitol, and Donaldsonville. EFHS shares the league lead with Episcopal (6-0, 3-0).
EFHS is led by running back Joseph Robinson and sophomore quarterback Kendall Beckwith. Beckwith started the season planning to play defensive end, but he has had a huge impact since moving to QB. Beckwith scored twice in last week's 25-22 win over Donaldsonville. He threw three touchdown passes and ran for score against Capitol.
Robinson has been a star for Clinton and now EFHS since he was a freshman.
"Robinson has been there forever," Thibodeax said. "He's been the man. They are huge up front. What I like about East Feliciana is that they are not fancy in what they do. They line up in the I and they run right at you. They are just so talented and have so much athletic ability.
"It's a matter of us staying away from the big play. They have many, many guys who can make big plays."
Dunham has played Clinton well the last four years. Two years ago Dunham was were up 21-0 on Clinton before losing 26-21. Last year Dunham beat Clinton 10-0, electing to kneel on the Eagles' 1-yard line to end the game.
Four years ago, a controversial call against Dunham negated a Tigers score late in another close game win 31-19 by the Eagles.
"The rivalry has intensified because we've been able to play them well," Thibodeaux said. "We seem to matchup well with East Feliciana. Now, when I say matchup, I don't mean we match up size and speed-wise because they are superior. They have some big guys that can fly.
"Doing what we do with our offense, it seems to work."