Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 38
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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NICKED UP: Hun School star back Nick Williams flies up the field in action last season. With Hun having suffered a rash of injuries in the preseason, the Raiders were grounded in their opener last Saturday as they fell 10-0 at Wyoming Seminary (Pa.). Hun will look to get on the winning track this Saturday when it hosts Mercersburg Academy in a Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) contest.

Struggling With Rash of Injuries, Hun Football Stumbles in Opener

Bill Alden

Things fell into place for the Hun School football team right from the start in 2007 as the Raiders rolled to a 9-0 campaign.

So far in 2008, however, it appears that Murphy’s Law has afflicted the Hun program.

“This was the most difficult camp I’ve had,” said longtime Hun head coach David Dudeck. “We have had six starters out and five of those kids play both ways.”

In the course of a few days in preseason camp, Hun lost receiver DeOliver Davis for the season due to a badly fractured leg with receiver Chris Alston suffering a kidney laceration, lineman Nolan MacMillan finding out that he had mono, blue-chip tight end Anthony LaLota spraining his ankle, linebacker Eli Tenuda straining a hamstring, and all-purpose back Nick Williams incurring a strained hip flexor.

The injuries held Hun back last Saturday as they fell 10-0 at Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) in the season opener, ensuring that the Raiders won’t be matching last year’s perfection.

For Dudeck, though, this season has never been about matching last year’s feats. “One of the things I have stressed to these guys is that they can’t compare themselves to last year or the year before that,” said Dudeck, who expects all of his walking wounded except Davis to be in action this fall.

“I just want them to practice hard every day and get better and develop their own personalities.”

With the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) schedule starting this Saturday when Hun hosts Mercersburg Academy (Pa.), Dudeck thinks he has the talent on hand to be a title contender.

In the offensive backfield, Hun welcomes back two stars in rugged senior Brian Leffler and the shifty Williams.

“Leffler is an outstanding kid; he plays real hard every rep in practice,” asserted Dudeck, noting that the 6’1, 225-pound Leffler is being recruited by Yale, West Virginia, Tulane, and Army.

“Nick is a phenomenal football player. He is multi-faceted; he can play tailback, he can be a receiver, he can return kickoffs and punts. On defense, he plays safety and cornerback. He does a lot for us; his attitude is phenomenal. Our goal is to get the ball in his hands in space.”

At quarterback, Dudeck has put things in the hands of his son, Brendan, a junior. “He understands the game and our scheme,” said Dudeck. “He has been with us a long time. He has a strong arm and he is a fast runner. He is poised and doesn’t get too rattled. There will be mistakes but he can handle that.”

In the trenches, the Hun offensive line will be spearheaded by 6’1, 280-pound senior Tyler Stockton, who will be playing his college football at Notre Dame.

“He’s big, strong, fast, and he is just learning the game,” said Dudeck in assessing Stockton. “He’s very aggressive and he’s a passionate kid.”

Across the line, Hun will be using MacMillan at left tackle, Matthew O’Brien and Shane McCullough at left guard, John Law at center, Stockton at right guard, and Drew Wilkins at left guard. The 6’5, 265-pound LaLota, who committed to Michigan over the weekend, will provide power from the tight end spot.

The offensive linemen will see double duty as they help fill out the defensive front seven with Stockton, MacMillan, LaLota, Law, and McCullough getting a lot of action both ways.

The Hun linebacking corps will be led by Leffler with Tenuda, junior Josiah Williams, and senior Donald Coleman also in the mix.

Nick Williams is the glue of the secondary and will get help back there from Dudeck along with Alston, Travis Keating, and Julian Dandridge.

In a way, Dudeck believes that the team’s rash of injuries will help bring the team together.

“These guys have faced adversity with all the injuries and I think that’s helped them bond more,” maintained Dudeck.

“We need to jell as a team and I think they are doing that. They are working hard. The defense is a little bit ahead; we need to jell as an offensive unit and on special teams.”

While Dudeck would dearly love to see his team win another MAPL title, he is expecting a rewarding season no matter what the final record turns out to be.

“It is the one thing I never get tired of; we constantly have great kids,” added Dudeck. “It’s good mix this year and we just need to regroup from the injuries.”

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