2021 36 Blitz: Dunbar Bulldogs

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ) – Last season, the Dunbar Bulldogs went on an unforgettable run at the end of the season. They would end playing for a shot to the state championship game.

“That run was really humbling. It was really a proof of our dedication and what we put in to that season,” says junior linebacker Mason Hayslett. “Practicing on Thanksgiving early morning. Leaving our blood, sweat and tears on that field. Doing it for loved ones that couldn’t be there with us because of our Corona rules. Just playing for our family. Playing for our school, putting our hearts out on the line and amazing things happen like the state final four.”

When Wes Johnson took over Dunbar in 2018, they had just come off a winless season. 0 and 10. His guys got for 3 wins his first season, 7 his second…last season the big one. the Bulldogs won 7 games again but made a run to semi-state which means they were region champs.

“You look up at the scoreboard in the regional championship game and then it kinda comes down on ya a little bit,” said Head Coach Wes Johnson. “It was an emotional night. I tell the these guys, your goals are out there and you know what you want to achieve, but you can’t have one eye on the goal and on eye on the journey. It’s gotta be two eyes on the journey.”

It’s a sports cliche, but the Bulldogs say they owe that success to buying in.

“All these guys out here are out here because they wanna be out here,” says senior quarterback Erik White. “I really feel that the team morale is kinda built around that. It’s really gotten better over the last four year.”

Let’s go sports cliche again…Johnson has started to build a culture. That takes time, but it’s stronger than ever.

“And the culture of not missing practice,” says Johnson. “The culture of not missing weights. We go after school. We don’t have that luxury of zero hour or first hour or lifting all day long like some of these places do. We’ve gotta do the old fashion meet at the weight room and that takes more.”

District title, region title, semi-state appearance, the Dunbar Bulldogs were on Cloud 9 last season, but they don’t want to stay there. They want to come back to Earth and make sure they have sustained success.

“Last year we don’t want it to be a flash in the pan, says White. “We want it to be a building block so we gotta coach up these younger guys. Gotta make sure they know what they’re doing so we can continue this legacy and keep it going.”

“We’re hungry. We’re humble and hungry,” says Hayslett. “We’re ready to get back at it. As you see we’re out here early in the morning getting it in just like Dunbar does. Fives days a week.”

If the dogs want to keep that going, they know it won’t be easy. They’re not sneaking up on anyone now.

“The big thing is you’re not under the radar any more,” said Coach Johnson. “When you finish in the same breath and Trinity, St. X and Male and Dunbar there’s no more flying under the radar. We’re district champions and region champions and you’re everybody’s Super Bowl at this point and they know that you got a target on your back.”

Categories: athletics, Featured, Football – General, High School Highlight Reel, Sports

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