Hun Football Overcomes Peddie 41-23 To Win First-Ever MAPL Championship
By Bill Alden
Under the circumstances, Hun School football head coach Dave Dudeck didn't mind coming up all wet.
In the waning moments of the Hun's 41-23 win over Peddie which clinched the program's first-ever Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title, Dudeck's players doused him with water in celebration of their achievement.
For Dudeck, the moment of glee was the culmination of years of toil. "When we came here as a coaching staff six years ago, the first goal was to be competitive in the MAPL," said Dudeck as he reflected on Saturday's triumph which was particularly sweet considering that Hun had narrowly missed winning the title the last two seasons.
"The next goal was to win the MAPL. The last several years the kids have put in a lot of work. The kids that are in college now have a piece of this. Little by little, the kids have gotten more and more confident."
As with most good things, the win over Peddie didn't come easy. The gritty Falcons jumped to a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. After falling behind 14-10 at the half, Peddie scored in the third quarter to narrow the margin to 20-16.
Showing its class, however, Hun scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Dom Natale to Derek Benson and a 61-yard scoring run by Myron Rolle as it pulled away to improve to 5-1 overall and an unblemished 5-0 in MAPL play.
"We knew that Peddie was going to present a challenge," said Dudeck. "They play a tough schedule and they nearly beat Lawrenceville a week earlier. Nobody is going to roll over for you."
In addition, Hun had Rolle, a junior transfer from Peddie, to roll through his old teammates. The gifted Rolle rushed for 253 yards and three touchdowns.
Dudeck acknowledged that Rolle came into the contest with a little extra spark of motivation. "Myron prepares the same way for every game," said Dudeck. "Obviously he still has friends there and people he respects at the school so he was excited."
Hun also got an efficient performance from quarterback Dom Natale, who hit on 11-of-19 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The Hun defense, as has been its custom this fall, came up big when it counted most.
Dudeck asserted that the championship was due more to collective effort than the heroics of a few standouts. "To be a championship team, you need more than one or two stars," maintained Dudeck.
"You need a group of players to come together and share goals. The players who work hard everyday in practice but don't get to play in the games are just as important as the stars. This is everyone's championship."
Dudeck had special words of praise, however, for the play of his defensive unit. "Last year when we critiqued the coaching performance after the season, we knew we had to play better defense to make the next step," explained Dudeck, whose team hosts Germantown Academy on October 30. "Like the old adage says, defense wins championships and it did for us this year."
And by so doing, it produced a wet and wonderful October afternoon for Dudeck.