CARY – There is a fan favorite in the Cary-Grove secondary and it’s not because his last name is easy and fun to pronounce.
The player the team simply calls “Dun” may not be blessed with the most athletic ability but for coach Brad Seaburg, cornerback Ryan Dundon is the epitome of all that is right about high school football.
“Ryan is not tall and he’s not overly fast and he’s not overly strong,” Seaburg said. “Ryan’s had to fight for everything that he’s gotten. That’s why we like him so much.”
It’s been a winding road to a starting cornerback spot for the C-G senior, who has spent time as a backup quarterback for the Trojans as recently as this season.
He saw mop-up duty at quarterback early in the year but when starting Q-B Quinn Baker went down in Week 7, the Trojans turned to sophomore Jason Gregoire.
The adjustment to the two vastly different positions has not been an issue for Dundon but his goal at the beginning of the year was to become a full-time starter.
“It’s all football,” Dundon said. “As long as you’re on the field playing you’re getting used to it.
“Quarterback definitely helps because you get a good feeling of the other team’s defense so I think that also helps for playing defense.”
Dundon has brought stability to the defensive secondary, which will be necessary in Saturday’s 6A state title game against an athletic Crete-Monee.
Senior strong safety Kasey Fields is happy to do battle with such a staunch teammate.
“He’s a really reliable guy,” Fields said. “You know that he’s always going to be there and work his hardest to get better.”
Seaburg remarked that Dundon’s best game this year came in the playoffs against St. Patrick when he was battling all day with taller and faster receivers.
“He would not quit,” Seaburg said. “He caused two turnovers and just did a great job. I was happiest for him because I know the work that he’s put in.”
There seems to be a little extra enthusiasm from the crowd whenever Dundon makes a play on the field. Seaburg said it was mostly because fans are excited to see players who beat the odds, which is very true in Dundon’s case.
Dundon, however, is not sure why people seem to be excited for his play but wonders if it may be because of his last name.
“I don’t know. I guess a little bit,” Dundon said. “Ever since elementary school people have kind of called me by my last name. It’s kind of stuck all the way up through high school.
“It’s hard to hear on the field but when I talk to people after I guess they’re chanting Dundon sometimes.”
The Trojans (13-0) will need Dundon and everyone on the defense to be up to the task come Saturday. Crete-Monee has a dynamic receiving corps.
Dundon and the rest of the secondary will be important parts in stopping that and Dundon believes everyone will be ready.
“We’re just going to go out there and play hard Saturday night,” Dundon said. “This was a big goal going into the year but now we have to make it happen.”