Tigers are on a roll: Dunsmuir downs Herlong 52-6 for third straight win
The wins keep on coming for the Dunsmuir Tigers 8-man football team.
The Tigers downed the Herlong Vikings on the road Saturday afternoon for their third straight win to improve to 3-1 for the season.
Before the season began, Dunsmuir had not won a game since 2018. The squad wants to keep their winning streak going Friday during homecoming night against fellow Siskiyou County squad Butte Valley. The game is scheduled at 7:30 p.m.
Head coach Jacob Mekeel, a former DHS player and 2012 graduate, said it's special to see the team performing so well. This is his first year as head coach.
“Being in the midst of a three-game winning streak is a confidence builder for the team,” he said. “A lot of these guys have not experienced success in sports in quite some time, so it is a new feeling for a lot of them. However, the coaching staff preaches to not get complacent with where we are at because we are just scratching the surface of our potential.”
Below are four takeaways from the win and season so far.
Mekeel said a key reason for the Tiger’s success this season is how the entire team has banded together and worked hard to achieve their goals.
“The one thing I have noticed that is different this year than previous years is the commitment of the players,” he said, adding they only have 12 players on the roster.
“It is 12 players that we can rely on to be there every day for practice, film, team meetings, etc.,” Mekeel said. “These guys have made a commitment to the team, and the work they have put in has created some positive results for the program."
Mekeel said the Tigers were a bit rusty at first. Perhaps, he said, the long, four-hour bus journey to Herlong played a factor in the slow start. They started to come around and were up 16-6 at the end of the first quarter and led comfortably at 30-6 at halftime.
While usually a running team, the Tigers were able to gain some yards through the air, which Mekeel said, “was a goal of ours so we can make our offense more diverse.”
Dunsmuir was able to complete a couple of passes, including a 57-yard touchdown pass and a 2-point conversion.
Mekeel was pleased that “defensively we covered the pass at a better rate than we have in our previous game. We have had some trouble defending the pass, so we made that an emphasis this week and practice and it paid off for us.”
He said he believes the squad’s solid fundamentals were the reason they were successful against Herlong.
“The coaching staff does a great job preparing the team for the team they are going to play and putting the players in the right spot to succeed,” Mekeel said. "The players have remained coachable and take constructive criticism at a high level, which leads to the development of the team as a whole.“
Players who were key in the victory, included quarterback Noah Snell, who rushed 20 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns and threw for a touchdown. Jasper Mitchell ran for over 200 yards and a touchdown.
Gabe Hernandez led the offensive line and was able to drive block players, sometimes 10 yards down the field on a consistent basis, Meekel said. He also did a good job at containing the outside at defensive end.
Now, Mekeel said their focus this week is to prepare for Butte Valley, which is 0-4 for the season on homecoming night.
“The team is very excited for homecoming week,” he said. “None of the players have experienced a homecoming football win so I think that adds a little edge for them going into the game against Butte Valley.”
"All of the festivities that come along with homecoming will create memories for these guys that they will remember the rest of their lives," Meek said. "That being said, they know when they step on the foot."