Last year, Dunbar used its speed to get the best of Ida Baker on special teams.
This time, that speed proved decisive in the pass rush.
The Tigers literally pressured host Ida Baker until the end in a 25-7 season-opening victory Saturday morning. The game was postponed to Saturday because of lightning Friday night.
“We got off the block pretty well and attacked the quarterback and played fundamentally sound,” Dunbar coach Sammy Brown said. “Anytime you pass the rock that much, we’re going to get after you. (Ida Baker) coach (Brian) Conn runs a nice package. It was an early-morning game but we played well.”
Judas McKenzie, Rocky Jacques-Louis and Justin Michel literally kept the pressure on until the end. On the last play of the game, Jacque-Louis tackled quarterback Toby Noland – his eighth sack of the game – and Michel scooped up the ball and took it 73 yards for a touchdown.
“Those defensive ends could play receiver for us,” Conn said. “Very good athletes, long and lanky. It was tough for our tackles. They caused us a lot of problems with their quickness. We countered and screened them OK in the first half but not enough to slow them down.”
The Bulldogs and Noland had the upper hand early. Noland completed his first seven passes. On the team’s second series, Ida Baker took advantage of great field position to score first when Noland hit receiver Luke Endsley for a 13-yard TD pass off a double move.
Noland finished 17-of-35 for 222 yards but was sacked eight times for losses totaling 69 yards.
Dunbar drew within 7-6 on a 28-yard TD run by Lajuan Preston (14 carries, 89 yards). His 20-yard TD run gave the Tigers the lead for good and quarterback Jairus Johnson gave his team some cushion when he saw no open, took off and found open field for a 44-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Keanu Young added 70 yards rushing on 15 carries. Tigers had 240 yards on the ground.
“Our offensive line is getting better each day, each week,” Brown said. “We’ve still got a lot of work and have a long way to go but I’m excited.”
DUNBAR 25, IDA BAKER 7
D 0 | 13 | 6 | 6 – 25
IB 7 | 0 | 0 | 0 – 7
IB – Luke Endsley 13 pass from Toby Noland (Julio Amaral kick)
D – Lajuan Preston 28 run (kick failed)
D – Preston 20 run (Xavier McDonald kick)
D – Jairus Johnson 44 run (kick failed)
D – Justin Michel 73 fumble return (no kick)
Rushing — D, Preston 14-89, Keanu Young 15-70, Johnson 4-50, Kenny Benjamin 4-18, Tariq Thomas 2-11, Seneca Milledge 2-2. IB, Shomari Mason 12-22, James Stewart 6-14, Endsley 1-0, Noland 10-minus 66
Passing — D, Johnson 5-8-0-26. IB, Noland 17-35-0-222.
Receiving — D, Thomas 2-22, Shocky-Jacques Louis 1-5, Preston 2-minus 1. IB, Endsley 9-111, Isaac Williams 4-83, Mason 1-11, David Drennan 1-7, James Cuttino 1-12, Stewart 1-minus 2.