Coast Guard's Dunaway loves the intricacies of football

Coast Guard Academy center Hudson Dunaway has helped lead the Bears to a 4-2 record headed into Saturday's Homecoming Day game against Maine Maritime at Cadet Memorial Field. (Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Athletics)
Coast Guard Academy center Hudson Dunaway has helped lead the Bears to a 4-2 record headed into Saturday's Homecoming Day game against Maine Maritime at Cadet Memorial Field. (Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Athletics)

New London — Hudson Dunaway was sitting at Coast Guard Academy's weekly football luncheon Wednesday and reeling off names and stats of opposing defenders from this season.

Union's Jack Reilly at linebacker and Bobby Law at defensive tackle were two of them and for good reason. The Bears fell to Union 28-10 in Week 2 of the season, one Dunaway, Coast Guard's 6-foot-3, 270-pound senior center wishes he could have back.

But there's a lot more information where that came from.

Dunaway, a former two-time all-state pick at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, where the Dolphins won the 2014 Virginia 6A state championship and finished ranked ninth in the nation, in addition to majoring in government, is somewhat of a football scholar. He watches film an hour to an hour and a half per day, admitting he "almost had an aneurysm" when the tape of Saturday's loss to Springfield wasn't available to watch until the following day.

"I only watch the bad plays," Dunaway said. "I don't watch the good ones."

Coast Guard head coach Bill George joked that he knows a perfect first assignment for Dunaway after he is commissioned as an ensign in May: graduate assistant coach to the football program.

"Everybody in their life has hobbies," George said of Dunaway. "His hobby is studying the chess match of football. Some people enjoy deep sea fishing. He's a person who is highly intelligent on the field. ... Everybody thinks football is a big boxing match; that's not the case, it's a very technical game. Hudson enjoys that."

Dunaway, one of three senior offensive linemen along with left tackle Bill Boardman and left guard Nick Szep, has helped the Bears to a 4-2 record overall heading into Saturday's Homecoming Day matchup against Maine Maritime (1:30 p.m., Cadet Memorial Field).

Coast Guard has nearly doubled its rushing yards from a year ago (159.7-88.1) and upped its total offense (378.5-284.4), meanwhile allowing just five sacks in six games.

Dunaway, who received several Division I offers out of high school, including those from William & Mary and James Madison, follows older brother J.D. — a member of the Class of 2017 and also formerly the Bears' center — to the Coast Guard Academy.

"I got a new offensive line coach my senior year of high school," Dunaway said, explaining the origin of his cerebral approach to football, "Jonathan Hoggard ... he played for the offensive line at Delaware State and he was a big proprietor of knowing what's going on, knowing the playbook. He quizzed us every Friday ... he would give us tests. He wouldn't give me the O-line test; he knew I already knew every position on the line.

"I'm a big 'why' guy. 'Why?' 'Why?' 'Why?' It started there, probably. I think that's helped me here a lot."

The Dunaways' dad, Dan, played on the offensive line at Navy and the family attended nearly every home game in Annapolis when the boys were growing up. Navy, however, disqualified J.D. Dunaway on the basis of knee surgery he underwent his senior season at Ocean Lakes — he started all 10 games on the line for Coast Guard as a freshman — and the path to New London was forged.

Only Hudson never thought he'd be at Coast Guard. Or stay.

"I remember sitting in (George's) office saying I hated the place," Hudson Dunaway said of approximately his fourth day of Swab Summer.

"I think Hudson didn't like people telling him what to do," George interjected.

Why did he stay?

"I think it was knowing if I left, I wouldn't be playing football that year," Dunaway said. "So here we are, 155 weeks later."

Dunaway also played basketball and lacrosse at Ocean Lakes and serves as the play-by-play announcer for the Coast Guard men's lacrosse team. He said he would love to coach some day, but he doesn't know on what scale that might be. He's hoping to attend law school and become a Coast Guard JAG, an attorney in the office of the Coast Guard Office of the Judge Advocate General.

Said sophomore running back Chris Gardner, who has carried the ball a team-high 84 times for 385 yards and four touchdowns, speaking of the line: "I didn't have the opportunity (in high school) to have these holes open up."

"Hudson really studies it. He's got a tremendously high football IQ," Coast Guard offensive coordinator Ray LaForte said recently. "I could see him going five (years) and out and going to coach college football. He's coach-level IQ."

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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