By: Tadi Abedje
On a rainy night, the Wilson Tigers (7-2) defeated the Dunbar Crimson Tide (3-4) on their home turf in a 20-6 slugfest. This conference game quickly turned into a knock-down, drag-out affair.
During the Crimson Tide’s opening possession, they went three-and-out. During the Tigers’ first drive, they failed to connect on a 73-yard touchdown. Like Wilson, Dunbar struggled moving the ball on its first possession and punted the ball.
Unfortunately, the Tigers’ awful punt gave Dunbar great field position at their own 46-yard line. Thanks to four encroachment penalties on Wilson, the Crimson Tide drove down the field and capped off that drive with a touchdown throw from quarterback Amonte Dreher. However, Dunbar failed to score the two-point conversion.
Furthermore, Wilson went three-and-out during its next possession. In the second quarter, the Tigers recovered a muffed punt on the Dunbar’s 16-yard line. There, Malakai Anthony threw a 16- yard touchdown pass to Chad Rockingham to go up 7-6.
Then, the Tigers’ defense forced the Crimson Tide to punt it away. The encroachment penalties continued for Wilson but forced another Dunbar punt. “ [The] defense probably was being anxious. They have been playing physical all year, so that’s gonna happen in a game,”
Tigers head coach Mark Martin said. Before the first half ended, the Tigers drove down the field thanks to a first down conversion on third-and-19. They reached the end zone on a quarterback keeper by Malakai Anthony to jump out to a 14-6 at halftime.
The heavy rainfall continued in the second half, which led a brief delay. Running back Chad Rockingham exploded for a 37-yard run during the Tigers’ first possession of the second half. Then, Anthony threw a touchdown pass to Jerus Belinga to extend Wilson’s lead to 20-6. Wilson fumbled the ball during its next possession, and Dunbar recovered it.
Dunbar barely moved the ball during the second half. And Wilson’s defense continued to dominate in the trenches and in the defensive backfield. Even though the Tigers pulled off this hard-fought victory, Martin believes his team could have played better.
“I don’t think we played like we should’ve played. [The] defense played well, [and the] offense sputtered a little bit. But we just got to work on our run game and correct some mistakes. Overall, I would give us a C-plus,” Martin said.
At 7-2, Wilson hopes to end the regular season on a high note. The Wilson Tigers will travel to go head-to-head with Eastern High School on Friday, November 2. Dunbar will go on the road to face Woodson High School on Friday, November 2. Both games begin at 6:00 p.m.