Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 47
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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BIG PLAY GUY: Hun School senior running back Nick Williams celebrates a big play in a game this fall. Williams made a lot of big plays for Hun this season gaining 517 yards on 49 carries for three touchdowns and making 20 catches for 417 yards and three touchdowns.

Hampered by Series of Key Injuries, Hun Football Learned Life Lessons

Bill Alden

In 2007, everything fell into place for the Hun School football team as it cruised to an unblemished 9-0 record.

It didn’t take long, though, for Hun to hit some bumps in the road this season as the Raiders suffered a rash of injuries in its preseason practice.

The injury bug didn’t let up through the fall with such Raider stars as Tyler Stockton and Brian Leffler getting sidelined at various points this fall.

The injuries prevented Hun from reaching its potential, leaving the Raiders battling through an up-and-down fall.

The Raiders concluded with a 19-16 loss to Hill on Halloween which left Hun at 4-4 and exemplified the team’s uneven season.

Hun jumped out to a 9-0 lead but then lost star running back Nick Williams to an injury and found itself clinging to a 9-7 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, Hun was outscored 12-0 to fall behind 19-9. The Raiders scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get any closer as it ended up on the short end.

For Hun head coach David Dudeck, the loss to Hill was a microcosm of his team’s season.

“We had an injury early in the game when Nick Williams got hurt,” said Dudeck.

“We had some young mistakes; we made four special teams mistakes. On the positive side the kids fought to the very end.”

While Dudeck would have preferred another undefeated fall, he believed his players gained some intangibles from this fall that will serve them down the road.

“Last year was a perfect year, we went 9-0, I certainly enjoyed the ride,” said Dudeck.

“We strive to be 9-0 every year but there are always life lessons taught in sports. This year was more realistic about the way life goes. We had many, many obstacles with the kids who were injured and the kids who weren’t because they lost the teammates they were looking to be leaders. The lesson is that you don’t stop working hard and competing. You keep trying hard; you keep going forward in a resilient manner.”

Star linebacker-running back Leffler showed that resiliency as he fought off injury and returned to play in the finale against Hill.

“He came back for the last game and played like a stud,” asserted Dudeck.

“We had talked earlier in the week about him only playing defense but we were driving in the first half and I asked him if he wanted to go in and he said he did. He went in and hooked up with Brendan [Dudeck] for a touchdown. It did my heart good to see him play so well.”

Hun’s core of seniors and post-graduates showed plenty of heart this fall.

“It was an interesting group; we had role players like Mark Bergen, Brendan Gallagher, and Laurent Mikerson who did very well,” added Dudeck.

“Travis Keating, Nolan MacMillan, Eli Tenuda, and Donald Coleman contributed right away and fit into the school. Nick Williams and Tyler Stockton have been with us the whole time; it is sad to see them go.”

Dudeck is happy with his group of returning players. “Brendan threw for more than 1,000 yards in eight games; he did everything we asked of him,” said the coach of his son.

“John Law, Julian Dandridge, Josiah Williams, and Shane McCullough were kids who hadn’t had a lot of varsity playing time before this year and did well.”

The younger players are hungry to do well next fall. “We finished the season on Friday and on Monday afternoon all the returners were in the weight room as a group,” said Dudeck.

“They started coming up to me near the end of the season; saying we want to work over the offseason. I set things up with our strength coach, telling him this is what we want, this is what we need. It’s the first time we have done this; they are forming bonds for next season.”

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