Dunham lost more than the outcome to Episcopal last week, 34-16. The Tigers also lost quarterback Grant Messer, who will be out one to five weeks with a shoulder sprain.
In his place Dunham head coach Joey Thibodeaux is prepared to insert three different players at quarterback, each with a specific strength that should benefit the Tigers: sophomore Harrison Domingue, senior Cody Davis, and senior Ben Ortego.
"All three do some things well," Thibodeaux said. "So we're going to see if we can utilize some of the tools they have and help our offense."
Davis has been the primary backup and was the starting quarterback a year ago. He has completed one pass this season. Harrison, one of the team's leading rushers, has taken a number of snaps under center, but has mainly served as an option quarterback or lined up in the "Tiger Formation," Dunham's version of the "Wildcat."
"Cody was the starter last year, so he knows the offense," Thibodeaux said. "He knows everything. Harrison knows some, Ben knows some, but Cody knows it all. Cody is a good quarterback. He can do some things that can help us win."
Ortego plays safety on defense and has no offensive stats this season.
More Offensive Tweaks?
There's not only going to be a change at quarterback, but there could be some other shifting in the backfield.
"We're going to try to get Dylan (Yesso), Jordan (Lange), and Nyle Johnson all in the same backfield and see if that can do something for us on a couple of offensive series, too," Thibodeaux said.
Johnson has been dangerous nearly every time he has touched the ball with three touchdown receptions - including one last week - and several kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns.
The offensive line was shuffled last week and with senior center Brandon Stogner suffering a broke hand in practice and another new starter hurt, it appears as though another change is in order.
"It's kind of like every week we are playing a new offensive line," Thibodeaux said.
Enter freshman Dillion McClain to join tackles Nick Ellison and Ben Stott, junior guard Drew Schoen, and Beau Price.
"I think Drew Schoen is getting better and better," Thibodeaux said. "I think he is going to be an excellent offensive lineman who has a chance to play at the next level. He is physical and he just enjoys playing offensive line."
Last week against Episcopal, Dunham could do no wrong much of the first half, but the script flipped in the second half as the Knights scored 34 unanswered after the Tigers went up 16-0.
The tide appeared to turn late in the second quarter when Episcopal quarterback Vincent Dellocono connected with diving Jarrell Rogers on a 12-yard TD with 8 seconds left until halftime. The Dunham sideline erupted in disapproval because it appeared as though the ball actually hit the ground first and Rogers trapped it. The officials ruled it a catch, though and instead of going into the lockerroom scoreless, Episcopal had renewed hope.
"We were in complete control the first half," Thibodeaux said. "The defense was playing really well. Once we gave up the score at the end of the first half, and then they came back to score the first drive of the second half, the momentum swung. You culd tell by the body language.
"It's hard when you are beat 34-16 to say you played OK, but we had a pick six and a couple of fumbles, a tip ball that could have been an interception. Every game you look at a couple of plays that could have gone either way, but I really feel some of those plays go our way then we win."
The Tigers points came on a 30-yard field goal from Michael Barnett, Grant Messer's 20-yard touchdown pass to Nyle Johnson and a 13-yard TD pass from Messer to Daniel Megison
By the Numbers
Sophomore running back/quarterback Harrison Domingue and junior fullback Jordan Lange share the team's top rushing spot for the season with 230 yards apiece on 31 and 35 carries, respectively. Both have three rushing touchdowns as well. Dylan Yesso has 204 yards on 47 carries and two touchdowns.
The leading receivers include Nyle Johnson with 230 yards on 12 receptions and three touchdowns. Tight end Daniel Megison has 80 yards and one touchdown.
Quarterback Grant Messer has completed 27 of 58 passes for 422 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.
Lange, who plays inside linebacker, leads the team with 22 tackles, seven assists, and two interceptions. Domingue has 17 tackles while Megison and Ryan Mockler have 15 tackles each.
Episcopal (4-0) moved to No. 9, along with fellow district foe Donaldsonville (4-0) and University (4-0). Capitol (2-2) is No. 8 and East Feliciana (3-0) is No. 5. If the playoffs were to begin this week, Dunham would likely face Newman in the first round.
"We held (Episcopal running back Jared) Rogers to 8 yards in the first half," Thibodeaux said. "We just bottled him up. Then they came out in the spread offense and he broke a few, but I thought our linebacker play was good with Jordan, Megison, and the Domingue brothers. I thought the linebacker play was exceptional.
"I thought the defense played well enough for us to win."
Russ Viguerie performed well at his new position of defensive end. Tackles Luke Simpson and Garrett Watson are still solid. Kyle Clary is starting at the other defensive end position.
Dunham hosts St. John of Plaquemine (2-2), which enters the game on a rare two-game losing streak. One of Class 1A's winningest programs over the years, St. John lost to Class 5A Dutchtown 34-14 last week and was blanked by University 28-0 prior to that.
The Eagles have enjoyed a lot of success against Dunham over the years. Last season St. John won 28-0, in 2006 it won 32-14, and in 2005 it was a 42-13 win for the Eagles.
"St. John has beaten us over the last eight years," Thibodeaux said. "Even when we won state, that was one of our two losses."
"Last year we were missing eight or nine starters from the year before and this year I think they are missing a few," Thibodeaux said. "It should be a good game. They are always physical and play hard. It's always a difficult game."
St. John has really tried to get the ball in the hands of junior standout Da'vante Williams, who plays receiver, running back and defensive back. They also have a talented running back/linebacker in Warren Bates, who is committed to Louisiana Tech.
Quarterback Michael Martinez is a tall, rangy player who can run the ball and pull up and make solid throws.
Tight end/defensive end Herman Fitch is tough to contain and sophomore defensive tackle Curtis Jones plays well beyond his years.