The ground attack was alive and well, as expected, for Dearborn and Dearborn Fordson on Friday night.
In front of a packed house at Fordson, Dearborn senior running back Hussien Hannawi silenced the crowd with numerous elusive runs and helped the Pioneers (7-1, 5-0 Western Wayne Red) defeat the rival Tractors (7-1, 5-0 Western Wayne Blue), 28-23.
Dearborn started the scoring at 8:30 in the first quarter when Hannawi found the end zone from 37 yards.
Fordson answered right back on a 100-yard kickoff return by sophomore Abe Jaafar with 8:17 in the first quarter.
The score remained tied at 7 until Fordson senior quarterback Hamze Elzayat ran in a score from 11 yards with 9:52 in the second quarter. He compiled 32 yards on six carries during the drive.
After consecutive three-and-outs by Dearborn and Fordson, Hannawi took the Pioneers’ offense into his own hands. He had multiple elusive runs, one for 52 yards, and followed that with a vital fourth-down conversion and a touchdown run on first-and-goal, tying the score at 14. He had 100 yards on eight carries in the first half.
The third-quarter scoring duties were shared by Hannawi and Dearborn senior QB Michael Phillips.
Hannawi spearheaded the first scoring drive of the third with a 31-yard kickoff return. He followed with six carries for 24 yards to go along with two big catches for 23 yards, setting up a 26-yard TD pass from Phillips to junior Youseph Saad with 5:58 left in the quarter.
Dearborn added to its lead with 22 seconds remaining in the quarter. Phillips led the scoring drive with a 41-yard run plus a one-yard TD run.
Fordson didn’t go away easy, even after Elzayat threw an interception on the Tractors’ first possession of the fourth quarter.
With Elzayat throwing the ball more, Fordson recorded a touchdown through the air with 5:20 to play.
The Tractors continued to chuck the ball and gain yards in the final minutes. However, sacks of Elzayat and then sophomore QB Hussein Ajami by senior Dearborn defenders Ali Fayad and Ayman Baydoun slowed Fordson’s offensive momentum.
Dearborn senior Adam Elder then made an interception that closed the door on Fordson’s comeback attempt.
Dearborn ended the game on a safety, which led to the final score.
It was the definition of a big victory for the Pioneers.
“It’s great, man,” Pioneers coach John Powell said. “We’ve been working our butts off. We let one get away week one. That’s a really good team over there. They’re a really well-coached team, and we played our tails off. It’s wonderful for our school.”