Week 1: Du-Pec vs East Dubuque
Warriors hold tough against Rivermen
EAST DUBUQUE–Fall Friday night football returned to the region on Aug. 27 as crowds gathered on a warm August evening in East Dubuque to watch their Warriors take on the Du-Pec Rivermen in an NUIC clash.
The Rivermen, predicted to be one of the top teams in the conference this year, were met with a challenge against a Warrior team that refused to give up.
The Warriors opened the game with a four and out as they tried to solve their offensive struggles, giving the ball to the vaunted DuPec offense, led by reigning NUIC MVP Hunter Hoffman.
The Rivermen’s first possession was behind the quick footwork of running back Trenton Taylor who helped march the Rivermen deep into Warrior territory, however a stop by the Warrior defense on a fourth-and-seven turned the ball back over to the Warriors. The Warriors were unable to sustain the drive and punted from their own 30 yard line with 5:40 left in the opening quarter.
The Rivermen moved the ball with more ease in their ensuing possession and a run by junior AJ Mulcahy for seven yards gave the Rivermen the 8-0 lead in the closing minute of the first quarter.
The Warriors would answer with a nine play possession, which included runs by the Warriors’ senior running back tandem of Sam Huntington and Dawson Feyen.
A seven-yard pass from senior quarterback Sam Bowman to senior tight end Zach Freiburger gave the Warriors their first points of the season. However, a failed 2-point conversion allowed the Rivermen to hold onto the 8-6 lead with 10:25 left in the opening half.
The tough Warrior defense, led by senior linebacker Gabe Hilby, held tough and led to a turnover by the Rivermen off a fumble at the East Dubuque 11 yard line.
Backed up in the shadows of their own goalpost, the Warriors went four and out and gave the ball back to the Rivermen who were able to put together a nine play drive, however back-to-back sacks by Hilby halted the drive.
The Warriors once again backed up deep in their end of the field, were unable to keep the pressure off of Bowman and resulted in a safety, giving the Rivermen the 10-6 lead, which they would hold going into the second half.
The second half would see more scoring from the Rivermen as a two-yard run by senior Bryce Fitzanko and a six-yard run by Taylor in the third quarter would extend the Rivermen lead to 24-6. A safety by the Warriors in the fourth quarter would be the home team’s lone points in the half and result in a 24-8 defeat.
By the numbers
The game was only the third between the Rivermen and the Warriors with the Rivermen winning each of the games. The 24 points scored by the Rivermen were the fewest they have scored against the Warriors in the series.
The Warriors are 1-3 in their past four season openers, with their last season opening win occurring in 2019 against Ashton-Franklin Center with a 26-0 win. The AFC win was also the team’s last home victory.
East Dubuque is 1-13 in their last 14 games, with the sole win occurring last season, a 28-7 win @ Dakota.