(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
BASKING IN THE GLOW: Hun School star running back Kenny Howard, middle, enjoys a breather last Sunday in Hun's 53-13 win over visiting Mercersburg. Howard rushed for 212 yards and four touchdowns to spark the Raiders as they improved to 2-0 on the season. In his first two carries Sunday, Howard broke free for scoring jaunts of 49 yards and 65 yards.
Kenny Howard was determined to do something special when he hit the field last Sunday for the Hun School football team in its clash with visiting Mercersburg Academy.
"In the locker room before the game we got all hyped," said Howard, a junior transfer from Plainfield High. "We want to try to win the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) for the seniors who were here last year. This is our first conference game and I came out there thinking I've go to do this for them. I wasn't going to take no for an answer."
Howard wasted no time in displaying his hard-nosed approach as he broke several tackles in racing to a 49-yard touchdown run in Hun's first play from scrimmage. Minutes later, Howard did even better on his second carry as he galloped down the sideline for a 65-yard scoring jaunt.
The 5'10, 215-pound tailback finished the day with 212 yards rushing and four touchdowns as Hun cruised to a 53-13 win over the Blue Storm, the defending MAPL champs.
In assessing his performance, Howard said it took him a while to develop his aggressive running style. "I've learned the hard way that when I get hit, I have to keep my legs moving," said Howard, who was a starting linebacker but reserve running back at Plainfield. "I say to myself that I'm going to hit them before they hit me. I've been doing it for two years now so it's coming more and more naturally to me."
Howard, though, will be the first to tell you that his heroics were hardly a one-man effort. "It was because of my line, Greg Tomczyk, Tyler Stockton Brad Pietras, Ernie Owusu, and Randy Merson," said Howard, who was accompanied by his line en masse in the post-game interview. "They did an excellent job blocking for me; they are my people, they made this possible. I'm going to have to buy them dinner."
Hun head coach Dave Dudeck sensed that his team was primed for a big effort. "I think our kids came emotionally ready to play football," said Dudeck, whose club improved to 2-0 with the win. "Mercersburg were our league champs last year and they had to be the first team we had to deal with. They won the league title for the first time last year and they beat us in a thriller last year."
Dudeck was certainly thrilled by the performance he got from Howard. "Kenny is a wonderful kid," said Dudeck of his star back who started his Hun career with a 112-yard effort in the Raiders' 7-6 opening day win over Worcester on September 16. "He's come to Hun and he has shown well both as a student and an athlete."
The Hun offense showed it has a lot of weapons as it rolled up 449 yards with Nick Williams rushing for 155 yards in a reserve role and quarterback Shane Davis passing for 85 yards.
Dudeck credited Davis with coolly guiding the Hun offensive juggernaut. "Shane did real well, not only with his passes but in engineering the team," added Dudeck. "He checked off a couple of times on big plays; he read their blitzes and that helped us tremendously."
While Hun's startling offensive numbers drew attention, the Raider defense had its share of big moments as it stymied the Blue Storm offense.
"Our defense has played physical in both games," said Dudeck. "We were physical again today. That's something we ask of the kids; we want them to be physical."
Even though his team is off to a 2-0 start coming off of a disappointing 4-5 season in 2005, Dudeck isn't getting carried away. "We want to make sure that even after the win today that we stay humble," said Dudeck. "We play a very, very good Penn Charter team next week so I'll enjoy this for about an hour before I think about them."
Howard, for his part, is enjoying his first season at Hun. "I like everything about the football program, the environment, the academics," said Howard, who is a boarding student. "I like it a lot; it's like home already."
And it looks like Howard is destined to be a valuable member of the Hun football family.
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