Dukes Struggle at Andrew Lewis
By Ben Hanneman
The rollercoaster ride that has been the Dublin football season thus far took another dip as the Dukes were thumped by Andrew Lewis 50-6 last Thursday in Salem.
The Dukes were no doubt hoping to keep some of the little bit of momentum they’d built in a 12-0 shutout of Carroll County last week. And to that end they came out firing – literally. On the first play from scrimmage Dublin aired out a 30-yard pass play. The only problem was that it went about 33 yards and right into the hands of — you guessed it — a guy in the other jersey who made a great catch.
“The pass was thrown into double coverage,” said a disheartened head coach Ward Angle. “We’ve told them not to throw into double coverage. But we’ve also told them not to short-arm it either. And the interception was an excellent athletic play at any level.”
The pickoff set the tone early for a lopsided contest and gave Andrew Lewis its sixth straight win. They have yet to lose.
“I can see why they’re undefeated,” Angle said. “They’re strong and you have to give credit where credit is due.”
That’s not to say that everything went wrong for the boys in sky blue and white. DJ Gathers, Brock Draper, Domonte Day, Latrell Thomas and the middle linebackers proved especially stingy on defense; just not quite stingy enough.
“We shut down their run game in the middle,” Angle said. “But it was their perimeter that got us. We couldn’t turn them back inside. They had the athletes.”
Those athletes made tackles in the open field, something Angle said his troops struggled to complete.
“We had plenty of opportunities in the open field, and we would hit them, but we did not wrap them up and take them down,” Angle explained. “They’re a good team and our first guy would hit them, but we needed about three or four others to help out. And we couldn’t get off the blocks either.”
With a shutout looming like a bum over a bologna sandwich the Dukes needed a sustained, yard-consuming drive. They got it. Okay, it was against the Andrew Lewis reserves, but a drive is a drive is a drive. Starting from their 35-yard line the Dukes engineered a nine-play scoring drive capped off by a five-yard Raymon Williams TD run midway through the fourth quarter.
Avoiding the shutout may have seemed small, but during a season like the Dukes are having this year every light at the end of every tunnel is not always a train.
“You never want to be shut out. I could sense from the Carroll County coach last week how badly he felt about not getting a score. That was important for us and we’ll learn from it,” Angle said.
The Dukes will have little time to lick their wounds. They’ll host Christiansburg next week in what Angle said is equally tough. However, he predicted it should prove to be a better game.
“It’s one thing to play a tough schedule, but I’d rather play a tough schedule so we can see where we are. We will have matchups with them that we can use,” Angle said.
As for the struggles the Dukes are going through right now Angle said he’s been encouraging his team to look to the future.
“We have to have short memories,” Angle said. “Our goal for the next game is to get to .500. That’s in front of us right now. The guys can’t dwell on the past. We felt like we matched up better than we actually did.”
Among the more enjoyable moments against Andrew Lewis for Angle were the kickoff returns by Terrell Todd.
“He’s got great hands and the Lewis tacklers bounced off him when they hit. I remember turning to the other coaches and saying, ‘This young man is growing up before our eyes,’” Angle said.