ELGIN – Nearly 24 hours earlier, the Dundee-Crown Chargers stood on Memorial Field ready to receive the opening kickoff and start its season under first-year coach Mike Steinhaus.
But seconds before the first whistle, lightning would force the Chargers into cramped quarters underneath the home team’s bleachers, where they remained waiting for well over an hour before receiving the bad news: there would be no game.
On Saturday, the Chargers were back on Memorial Field and Steinhaus got his second chance at his first game.
This time, D-C received the opening kickoff and senior Kiwaun Seals made it count, taking it 88 yards for a touchdown in the game’s first 15 seconds.
Seals said he and Malik Dunner, who also returns kicks, talked about the opening kickoff before Friday’s originally scheduled game, and they each had a feeling something special was about to happen.
“Before kickoff on Friday, we just mutually agreed,” Seals said. “I said, ‘Bro, if you get it [the opening kick] I got you.’ And that’s what happened. It was wide open and I just took off.”
The Chargers had to regroup after Friday’s postponement, but they were more than up to the task, scoring 22 points in the first half in a 36-22 nonconference win over Elgin.
Dunner made his presence felt on the ground, rushing 14 times for a game-high 171 yards and three touchdowns, including a 54-yard burst to end the first half.
Brandon Brooks relieved an injured Caleb Parson – who rolled his ankle in practice and was kept out of the second half as a precaution – and added 86 yards on 13 attempts. His 19-yard touchdown run down the right sideline with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter all but put the game away.
A late comeback attempt by Elgin and backup quarterback Terrance Miller-Allen was spoiled after the Chargers recovered an onside kick with 1:34 remaining.
Following the game, Steinhaus said he was proud of the way his team handled the disappointment of not playing on Friday night.
“It’s a fun way to start,” Steinhaus said. “You have to deal with adversity and we kept stressing to our kids, ‘This will make us a better team.’ And they fought through it. They did a great job of coming back, focusing and doing their job.”
Brandon Brooks, senior, Dundee-Crown
Brooks came on in relief of Caleb Parson in the second half, rushing 13 times for 86 yards, including a 19-yard TD run with 3:52 remaining in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Big Number 171:
The number of rushing yards for Malik Dunner on 14 carries. Dunner scored three touchdowns in the win, from 1, 54 and 4 yards out.
The Big Moment
Kiwaun Seals took the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to start the scoring for Dundee-Crown.
Dundee-Crown 36, Elgin 22
Dundee-Crown 8 14 0 14 – 36
Elgin 0 8 0 14 – 22
DC–Seals 88 kickoff return (Dunner run), 11:46
DC–Dunner 1 run (Seals from Atherton), 11:37
E–Riley 2 pass from Miller-Allen (Riley run), 5:04
DC–Dunner 54 run (2 pt. failed), 4:43
DC–Dunner 4 run (Sprouse kick), 8:05
E–Miller-Allen 9 run (2 pt. failed), 5:55
DC–Brooks 19 run (Sprouse kick), 3:52
E–Miller-Alen 1 run (Bonds from Miller-Allen), 1:34
RUSHING–Dundee-Crown: Dunner 14-171, Parson 5-23, Brooks 13-86, Atherton 3-2, Hamelberg 1-minus 3. Totals: 36-279. Elgin: Gaddy 12-64, Sallis 4-15, Waarich 3-1, Riley 1-minus 6, Miller-Allen 10-73. Totals: 30-147.
PASSING–Dundee-Crown: Atherton 5-13-1-46. Elgin: Miller-Allen 10-15-0-143, Gaddy 5-11-1-65.
RECEIVING–Dundee-Crown: Seals 4-43, Alvarado 1-3. Elgin: Higgins 3-12, Riley 2-6, Span 2-27, Anderson 1-18, Smith 3-53, Douglas 1-14, Gaddy 3-78.
TOTAL TEAM YARDS: Dundee-Crown 325, Elgin 355. Sophomore score: Dundee-Crown 42, Elgin 12