Naysayers were right. Wright actually rushed for 403.
“People were saying there was no way he (ran for 415),” Dunbar coach James Lacking said. “Well, I got up Sunday and watched the film again and recalculated every play. He ended with 403, which is still a hell of a lot of yards.”
Wright’s tally was a school and stadium record and ranks among the top 25 single game performances in state history. He also added seven rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner in OT, which ties him with 11 others for the second most in state history. For good measure Wright tacked on a two-point conversion run.
“We like to mix it up on offense with our receivers and tight end, but he was in zone that night along with our offensive line and fullback,” Lacking said. “They were asking us to run the ball and that’s what we did. If it isn’t broke why fix it?”
For a long time Dunbar has been the class of the Dayton City League and this year looks to be again.
The Wolverines have been to the state playoffs five times but are searching for their first trip since 2002. After back-to-back one-point losses to Franklin (21-20) and Dayton Carroll (20-19) to open the season the Wolverines have won three straight and climbed back into postseason consideration.
“We knew we had good players coming back and we’ve got a great system,” Lacking said. “We really did feel like we should be 5-0 at this time.”
Lacking chalks Dunbar’s slow start up to one thing – no two-a-days.
Unlike other school systems, Dayton Public is year-round. Therefore, when other teams are participating in two-a-days, Dunbar has a single practice after school.
“We lose 10 practices and that could be the difference in two points,” Lacking said. “We’re definitely at a disadvantage and I’ve been saying that for years. When other schools are in two-a-days, we’re in school. And then we have to fit in practice, weightlifting and study table all at night. We can squeeze a two-a-day in on a Saturday, but then the state mandates we have to take a day off on Sunday. It’s tough.”
So too are the Wolverines despite their obstacles.
Through five games, Dunbar has established itself as one Dayton’s top D-II teams along with Carroll, Trotwood-Madison, Bellbrook and Vandalia-Butler.
Wright, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound senior who has already met NCAA academic eligibility standards and has 984 yards thus far, is being courted by Purdue, Northwestern, Akron and Toledo. Overall, Lacking believes his squad has six potential NCAA D-I recruits, including senior receiver/defensive back NaRonn Goddard (6-0, 170). Goddard is getting attention from Maryland, Miami, Toledo and Akron. In all the Wolverines have 55 players on the roster and 20 seniors.
“We’ve got an excellent class,” Lacking said. “And I don’t want to single anyone out, but we take pride in our college recruits too. We continue to put kids in college.”
Dunbar’s success is impressive as well considering it had to replace quarterback Norris Cole (now playing basketball at Cleveland State) and two-way lineman Anthony Oden (Greg Oden’s brother), who moved back to Indianapolis for his senior year.
Junior Steven White (5-10, 170) has filled in for Cole.
“He has done an excellent job,” Lacking said. “He’s done a good job running the offense and spreading the ball around.”
Dunbar is currently 12th in computer points in Region 8 and has a huge game this weekend at Indianapolis Cathedral Prep the No. 1 ranked 4A team in Indiana. The game will be played at the University of Indianapolis.
Remaining games with Taft and Withrow will also impact the Wolverines playoff push.
“(Cathedral) comes off the ball, they are strong and they are disciplined,” Lacking said. “Hopefully the football gods are in our favor that day. We’ll lean on that old Dunbar tradition and spirit as well.”