Malik Dunner found himself in unfamiliar territory when he transferred to Dundee-Crown from Elgin this summer, but the talented junior athlete seems to be making the most of the transition.
Dunner further endeared himself to his new teammates and classmates by scoring what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown on a 41-yard run in the third quarter of Friday’s 17-14 victory against Huntley.
The scoring play highlighted a solid all-around effort from Dunner, who is a mainstay in the defensive backfield and also a contributor on special teams for the 4-1 Chargers.
“I’m feeling more and more at home here, and I can tell they accept me more,” Dunner said. “The coaches have a lot of confidence in me and I appreciate that.”
Dunner was popular among teammates at Elgin, where he was a varsity starter in football and basketball as a sophomore for the Maroons. His family recently changed its residence, prompting his transfer.
With an abundance of talented running backs at Dundee-Crown, Dunner was asked to focus on defensive duties this year. The idea wasn’t easy to accept at first for Dunner, who was used to playing both ways at Elgin and getting his share of carries on offense, but he is on board with the plan now.
“I’ll do whatever I can to help the team,” Dunner said. “It’s not about me.”
The Chargers have found ways to get Dunner involved on offense, and his work load was heavier last week as he had five carries for a team-high 52 yards with senior running back Cordero Parson out for team reasons.
Dunner’s speed was on display on his touchdown run when he went down the left sideline untouched, prompting Huntley’s coaches to implore the Red Raiders defense to key in on Dunner down the stretch.
“Malik is a good kid and he’s a great addition for us,” Dundee-Crown coach Vito Andriola said. “I love him because he wants to do what it takes to win.”
Here is the rest of my Week 5 breakdown as we move ahead into the second half of the season:
Most impressive win
Dundee-Crown’s triumph against Huntley was the biggest head turner of the week, simply because the Chargers were without three offensive starters and still found a way to win. Andriola called it a “program win” because of the way his players rallied in the face of adversity and stuck with the game plan.
Player of the Week
Bret Mooney continued his red-hot play by completing 17-of-23 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns to lead Jacobs to a 43-21 win against Woodstock for its third victory in a row. Mooney also ran for 87 yards on 12 carries and spread his touchdown passes around to four different receivers.
Jacobsen’s Top 5
Here is how I stack up the top teams in the Courier-News coverage area after Week 5:
1. St. Charles East (4-1): Senior quarterback Jimmy Mitchell has 17 touchdown passes through five games for the high-powered Saints offense.
2. Jacobs (3-2): Winners of three straight, Golden Eagles are tied with Cary-Grove atop Fox Valley Valley standings.
3. Dundee-Crown (4-1): Next win for Chargers makes them playoff eligible for first time since 1994. They host Grayslake Central this Friday.
4. St. Edward (3-2): Following big road win at ACC, Wave must keep pedal to the metal the next two weeks vs. Chicago Christian and Wheaton Academy.
5. St. Charles North (2-3): North Stars are winless in three road games this year, and they’ll need that to change if they hope to reach the playoffs.