Bulldogs surprise Dunham with come-from-behind win

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
ACHS junior wingback Kaleb Winchester rushed for 48 yards, a touchdown and a fumble recovery in the come-from-behind win against Dunham Friday night.

In his three-year stint as head coach of the Ascension Catholic Bulldogs, Doug Moreau had only won one close game. Friday night, he and the Bulldogs (2-0) nabbed their second with a 24-23 come-from-behind victory over Dunham at the Floyd Boutte Memorial Stadium in Donaldsonville.

The Bulldogs trailed the Dunham Tigers 15-6 in the second quarter with their only score coming from senior fullback James Martin. Martin returned to the ACHS rushing attack for the first time this season after being out with a leg injury. However, Martin’s lone touchdown had the Bulldogs behind 23-6 at the half.

Junior quarterback Daniel Mattingly said the team came real slow to open the game but they had a good talk at half the fired the team up.

“We went in the locker room we talked about stepping it up and that they’re not that much better than us,” Mattingly said. “You can tell they were getting tired and we took advantage of that.”

The message was well received.

The Bulldogs held Dunham scoreless the remainder of the night. In the third quarter junior wingback Kaleb Winchester added to the ACHS scoreboard, which was malfunctioned. Winchester broke a 30-yard run after a wild pitch toss from Mattingly. ACHS trailed 23-14 in the third quarter.

Although ACHS seemed to be picking up pace, the fans were still unsure if the comeback would be possible, especially not knowing the exact time of the game due to the malfunctioned scoreboard. Moreau said he and his staff did not know the scoreboard did not work until they arrived at the stadium. Had they known, he said, they would’ve gotten fixed prior to the game.

However, just before the third quarter ended, ACHS senior defensive end Delmond Landry made the play of the night. Landry intercepted a Dunham pass at the line of scrimmage, shook off two Tiger tacklers and returned the turnover for a touchdown.

With that the Bulldogs cut the lead to 23-21. That score remained the same into the fourth quarter.

Another defensive break came for the Bulldogs when Jaquel Wade put a big tackle-hit on a Dunham receiver that forced a fumble. Bulldogs’ cornerback Kaleb Winchester recovered the fumble.

On offense, Winchester came back and broke a 46-yard run that brought ACHS to Dunham 13-yard line. A few plays later, Martin, the kicker, knocked down an 18-yard field that put ACHS up 24-23 with 2:26 remaining in the game, confirmed by the referees.

“I’ve never been more proud of the team in my life,” Mattingly said about the come-from-behind win. “That was the most amazing thing I’ve seen.”

Moreau said he told the team before the game the Bulldogs haven’t won a close game since his first year against Central Catholic of Morgan City. In the win Friday night, the Bulldogs tallied 284 yards rushing led by Mattingly. Defensively, Landry led the team with 8 tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown.

“I’m proud of the way our guys came back and fought,” Moreau said. “I thought when Delmond made that interception that really got people fired up. From then on we felt like we had a chance to do it. And we went down and got the field goal. I wished we could’ve scored but we were trying to run the clock as much as we could and kick the field goal on fourth down.”

As far as the malfunctioned scoreboard, Moreau simply said, “that’s not good.”

“We kept asking the officials what the time was,” he said. “It was a weird night and I don’t think the officials enjoyed this game a whole lot. It was hard on them. There’s nothing we could do about it.”