DAPHNE — Sophomore sensations Samuel Dunn and Damien Tate have been best friends for years and Friday night at Freedom Field, that connection resulted in a pair of passing touchdowns that …
DAPHNE — Sophomore sensations Samuel Dunn and Damien Tate have been best friends for years and Friday night at Freedom Field, that connection resulted in a pair of passing touchdowns that helped Bayside Academy earn a 33-7 win over Elberta to open the season.
It was the first win for the Admirals’ new head coach Barrett Trotter in his first try and he was congratulated by his players when they dumped a water cooler on him as the clock ran out.
“It was nice to cool off. It’s been a long, hot summer so that ice bath felt especially good,” Trotter said after the game.
Tait Moore supplemented the scoring effort with a 45-yard receiving touchdown and a 2-yard rushing touchdown to help the offense click in its first action of the regular season.
Dunn-Tate connection finds paydirt
With Dunn at quarterback and Tate working in at various offensive positions, Trotter was most pleased with the consistency shown by the pair.
“Sammy did an incredible job. I know he had one turnover on a pass that probably should have just been a 3-ball instead of a 2-ball or even come out early. … Other than that he really protected the ball well and all of his reads were spot on,” Trotter said. “Damien did an incredible job at making people miss and getting downhill on runs to move the ball, and we moved the ball consistently.”
Both of the athletes mentioned their rapport with the other and said that was one of the keys to Bayside Academy’s success Friday night.
“That’s like my best friend, I’ve known him since I was like six or seven years old. Been together a long time,” Tate said. “We played AAU (basketball) together for the first time and now this is our second year playing football together.”
“That’s been my dog for like 10 years. He just puts in the work,” Dunn said. “He always gives it his all, 110% and you don’t even have to ask him so we love it.”
Pre-snap read leads to six points
On the second scoring pass from Dunn to Tate that stretched 37 yards, they both recognized the planned coverage on the receiver and immediately knew the play was bound for the end zone.
“I saw him come up on me and I was like, ‘I’m going to burn him,’” Tate said of his pre-snap thoughts. “Then I saw the ball, it landed in my hands and I got in there. Me and him have been working on that pass for a long time.”
“I saw him come up a little bit so I dropped back and let it fly, just let him run under it,” Dunn said. “I knew if he played up on Damien, he’s pretty fast so I knew he could get him.”
Admiral defense provides complementing effort
While the hosts’ offense got the job done early and often with a 23-0 halftime lead, the defense put up a similarly strong performance.
“The score speaks for itself. I felt really confident with our defense the entire game that they were making all their tackles and making all the reads they had to and getting guys down,” Trotter said. “Then up front, I feel like we controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the game.”
Warriors strike back
Elberta hit paydirt in the third quarter after Brady Cole Harrison connected with Rosson Duplesis who made a move over the middle and outran the Bayside Academy defense to the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown.
The scoring play came shortly after Corbitt Williams picked off a Dunn pass attempt for what served as his first varsity interception with the Warriors.
Trotter reflects on first game on The Bluff
While he has familiarity with the Bayside Academy campus since his wife Katherine is an alumna, Friday’s first-game atmosphere made the new Admiral head coach feel more than welcome.
“It felt great, it felt like being home,” Trotter said. “It just felt natural; the fans were great, our players were fired up bringing energy and played with a great effort the whole game.”
Not only that, but Trotter was able to celebrate the victory with his family in attendance, including the son he and his wife recently welcomed.
“My little man made it to the first game so that was pretty cool,” he said.
Bayside Academy will return to Freedom Field in Daphne with a 1-0 record next Friday, Sept. 1, for a meeting with Pike Liberal Arts. Elberta is set for its home opener next week against Faith Academy which will also begin play in Class 5A Region 1.
“Real big,” Tate said of the size of Bayside Academy’s Week 1 win. “New coach, new color wave, new plays, so it’s real good.”
“It was fun, exciting to get everyone out here,” Dunn said of the first-game vibes. “I was waiting on this day, today at school it was all I could think about so it was a good feeling.”
“I’m excited for where we’re heading and excited for this season with these players and all the work they’ve put in to know we came out here and produced and played like I think we’re capable of playing,” Trotter said. “And we’re only going to get better.”
Other Baldwin County scores from Friday
Milton 7, Orange Beach 0
Foley 45, Prattville 19
Rocky Bayou 42, Snook Christian 13