Mount St. Joseph football coach Mike Working is willing to look to the future with his youngest team in six years.
Then again, after yesterday's effort against 12th-ranked Dunbar, the Gaels might be a little ahead of their time.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Peeler was cool and calm in throwing and running for a touchdown. Another sophomore, tailback Isaac Kufuor, ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns, and an undersized defense rose to the occasion in a 35-8 win at Mount St. Joseph.
"We played as a team -- offense, defense, kicking game, and we played with emotion. And that was the big difference," Working said.
Most impressive was how the Gaels' defense bullied a bigger, faster Dunbar team. Mount St. Joseph (1-1) sacked Poets quarterback Jason Scott six times, including three by linebacker Matt Stoffel, returned two fumbles for touchdowns, and went nearly two quarters before allowing a first down. Dunbar (1-1) finished with just 109 total yards.
"The stunts we were running worked very well, and everyone just did their job," Stoffel said. "We just needed to play with emotion, something we didn't do in our first game against Severn. A lot of the kids are young, they haven't played varsity before, but they came together as a team."
Dunbar coach Ben Eaton said before the game that the Poets had a better understanding of his system in this, his second season as coach. Yet Dunbar's offense looked disoriented. Of the Poets 15 possessions, six ended in negative yardage and two others went for less than 5 yards.
The Poets' defense couldn't make up the offensive struggles as the Gaels often started their drives on Dunbar's half of the field.
"They [the Gaels] are a very disciplined team and took advantage of a lot of things we were doing wrong," Eaton said. "With their defense packing in on us we tried to spread things out. But their defense was that good."
Kufuor had touchdown runs of 8 and 17 yards to put Mount St. Joseph ahead 14-0 with 11: 34 left in the second quarter.
Peeler pushed the lead to 21-0 on an 8-yard TD pass to Rob Abiamiri just before halftime, ending a drive that started at the Poets' 23 after a bad punt by Dunbar.
Dunbar got within 21-8 on Scott's 29-yard touchdown pass to Darryl Dorsey. The Poets moved to the Gaels' 19 on their next possession only to see it fizzle with a holding penalty and an incomplete pass on fourth down.
"We don't have a lot of linemen so we just wore down," Eaton said.
Mount St. Joseph stamped the win with two fumble recoveries by Chad Allen in the last 1: 51.
"We showed a lot of maturity despite how young we are," Stoffel said. "We didn't get down on each other and just played hard when it looked like they might get back into the game."