Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Dragons Devour Hawks in Season Opener

Mandarin– The Dupont Dragons and Mandarin Hawks opened their 2017 seasons in a southern divisional match up that could very well determine their entire seasons. It’s not common for a season to kickoff with such high stakes, but due to Hurricane Irma, two previous non divisional games on both team’s schedules were cancelled setting up Tuesday’s contest at the Hawk’s nest. Mandarin boasted a new coach and a new look, possessing a decisive size advantage over Dupont. Yet Dupont and third year Head Coach Marquis Lundy sported an athletic bunch that were ready to tangle with their opponents. A loss by either team meant almost sudden death in hopes of making the playoffs. In this clash of flying vertebrate, the game would decide who would become the predator and who would fall victim as the prey.

Christian Ellis looks on after scoring the first touchdown of the season for Dupont

The first play of the game saw the Hawks soaring. On the initial kickoff, Mandarin got a big return which place the ball at the Dupont ten yard line. However this would be the biggest play of the afternoon for Mandarin. Two plays later, OLB #18 Christian Ellis knifed in off the edge forcing a fumble which bounced into the end zone and was recovered by #10 MLB Phillip Collins for the touch back. Mandarin squandered a golden opportunity to score, and gave their opponents in gold a gift that they would cash in. After both teams traded punts ending the first quarter in a 0-0 tie, the second quarter saw Dupont capitalize on another mistake by Mandarin. A pitch to the right by the Hawks was fumbled by their running back, scooped up by their quarterback then fumbled again when Dupont’s OLB #3 Marquise Lundy Jr (MJ) tackled the runner. The fumble was recovered by #12 DE Janari Grimsley who advanced the ball into Hawks territory before being tackled. On the very next play, Ellis now at running back, took the hand off up the middle, broke a tackle from a linebacker, broke down the safety one on one, then turned on the jets to race 47 yards for the game’s first score. The two point conversion was no good but Dupont led 6-0 going into halftime.

#14 Tyrez Fluellen, #12 Janari Grimsley, #1 Kysaun Jones, #10 Phillip Collins, #30 Carmelo Murphy, #18 Christian Ellis

The second half got worse for Mandarin. On a second down play Mandarin attempted another student body sweep to the left side with their quarterback, but Dupont’s #1 Kysaun Jones stripped the football and it was recovered by Phillip Collins. It was Collin’s second fumble recovery of the game, and Mandarin’s third lost fumble of the day. Having the ball at the Mandarin five yard line, Dupont’s full back #23 Robert Bryant bull dozed his way into the end zone for the touchdown. The extra point was good by #47 David Simic, and the Dragons led 13-0. It was now desperate times for Mandarin as they trailed by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Yet they surprisingly kept the ball on the ground. Their reluctance to put the ball in the air allowed Dupont’s corners to creep up in run support. Players like DB #30 Carmelo Murphy made several plays on the edge, while the defensive line and linebackers stuffed inside runs. With the game firmly in hand, Dupont went on a six play 45 yard drive, which ended in quarterback Tyrez Fluellen tossing a touchdown pass to Grimsley to seal the shut out. The 21-0 victory for Dupont over Mandarin is the first of its kind in recent memory. It wasn’t the win that has many optimistic on the season, but the manner in which they won, a convincing shut out on the road. They look to build off the performance against Southside Middle next week, while Mandarin looks to rebound against Darnell Cookman.

 

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