Dunham looks to continue progress led by elite cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr.
After a second state quarterfinal appearance in succession, expectations are high for The Dunham School during the 2018 season.
The Tigers scored 42 points in the quarterfinals a year ago but still lost to potent Riverside Academy.
Dunham head coach Neil Dunham is philosophical about where his program is now.
“Riverside put up 62 points a year ago,” Weiner said. “They threw at Derek Stingley, Jr. one time and he picked it off. We scored lots of points a year ago but we have to get more stops at key times and do a better job on special teams overall. For the most part, our defense has been outstanding the last few years with few exceptions.”
The Tigers scored 40 points against Newman in the playoffs in 2016 but fell short to Newman by a point.
Weiner should have a good team once again. He took Dunham to the quarterfinals in 2014 as well and the Tigers have reached the playoffs for seven straight years, dating back to the pre-split format. Dunham won the Class 1A state championship in 2004.
To remain a strong team, the Tigers must replace outstanding quarterback Mike Williams, along with a pair of top linemen in Shelby Hanks and Tyler Johnson but they should be stout once again.
“We had some guys who were seniors for us who did a really good job last year,” Weiner said. “We’re hoping the next group this year can replace them well.”
When you have the best player in the state, you are off to a good start.
A rare five-star defensive back, Stingley, Jr. (6-1, 195) has committed to LSU. Stingley is coming off of a season in which he had 11 interceptions. Stingley, Jr. is the dangerous kick return specialist as well.
“Derek is not somebody who will get called into the Dean of Student’s office,” Weiner said. “He gets lots of attention, he doesn’t covet it and he handles it well and handles himself very well. I’ve never had anyone in fluid of an athlete and as natural of a football player as he is. He understands the game so well and understands his responsibility. He has the total package with speed and size as well. He is the fastest player on the field every time we play and he is very smart and studies hard.”
Also returning is junior running back Treylan Mouton (5-10, 215), who will play linebacker as well. Another two-way star is senior Jordan Roberson (6-0, 180), who will play defensive back and wide receiver.
“Mouton is big now and he is running really well,” Weiner said. “While he is big, he can take it the distance.”
Taking over at quarterback is senior Reed Godbery (5-10, 170). The wide receivers include senior Nicholas Cambias (6-2, 175) and junior Devin Taylor (5-8, 155). Junior Rhett Guidry (6-5 ,195) is the tight end.
“Reed is going to have an awesome year,” Weiner said. “I really believe that. He is totally the opposite of Mike Williams, who was a bruiser and could throw it 80 yards. Reed is extremely accurate and has a very quick release. He can handle the ball well in our zone read offense. He won’t be a power runner but he will look the part of an old-school quarterback. He’s the shortstop on our baseball team and student council president, a real leader.”
The offensive line features two senior tackles in CJ Falgoust (6-4, 250) and Grant Rabel (6-2, 220). The guards are junior Corbin Leindecker (5-9, 220) and sophomore Camden Holmes (6-1, 200) while the center is junior Jarrett Fontenot (6-1, 215).
“Falgoust is a three-year starter,” Weiner said. “Leindecker missed last season. He is capable of playing both ways and should be a good player for us.”
The defensive front must replace Thomas Brinson but it is dominated by senior tackles BJ Lewis (5-11, 180) and Rabel while the ends include Falgoust and Guidry, who is the son of former Archbishop Shaw and LSU star quarterback Mickey Guidry.
Leindecker starts at linebacker, along with senior Connor Brown (5-8, 175) and freshman Kalante’ Wilson (5-7, 155). Joining Stingley, Jr. and Roberson in the secondary are seniors Isaiah Arceneaux (5-9, 160) and junior Cruz Bridges (5-9, 165).
“We don’t have a lot of big kids up front but we have some length,” Weiner said. “Falgoust and Guidry have great range. We have ants at linebackers but they are just tough as nails. They will be aggressive. Derek locks it down at corner and Roberson is a three-year starter for us.”
The schedule opens on the road at 5A Central on Aug. 31 before another road contest at Baker. After a home game against St. Michael, the Tigers open District 7-2A action on Sept. 21 at home against Port Allen. After a road game at The Church Academy, Dunham hosts East Feliciana for Homecoming on Oct. 5.
“We try to play up as much as possible in pre-district play,” Weiner said. “The main motivation is to get power points and get the highest seed possible. Central didn’t have the kind of season they wanted to have last year but they have had a really good team for the last decade. Eric Randall will do a good job of turning things around at Baker. St. Michael lost a lot of seniors and changed coaches. They will play hard.”
The Tigers then face Capitol before hosting Northeast. Following a bye week, Dunham travels to Episcopal for its regular season finale.
“I think Northeast will surprise a lot of people,” Weiner said. “They are loaded on defense and their skill guys can match up with anyone in the state. Their wide receivers are fantastic. East Feliciana and Cedric Anderson are a tough team. Episcopal is always disciplined and tough with their Wing-T attack.”
If Godberry can progress quickly and if the defensive front can step up, Dunham figures to have another winning season and to be a contender in Division III.
“In our Division, when it comes time for the state playoffs, there are really solid programs once you get to the final eight,” Weiner said. “Catholic, Notre Dame, Newman and Riverside are always very tough. Defense wins championships. We believe in that. We have to make it happen when it counts.”
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