Chiekezie Ogbuowu’s long journey back to Dunellen boosts Destroyers’ offense

Dunellen’s Chiekezie Ogbuowu (#3, on right) scores one of his three touchdowns in a loss at Metuchen on November 5, 2022. (Source: Hudl)

Their first game of the year went well enough.

Dunellen beat Dayton at Columbia Park 17-8 on opening night to start the season 1-0, a feat they had not accomplished since 2018.

When Chiekezie Ogbuowu came back, he helped the Destroyers score 50 points against Highland Park, and they needed every last of those points in a 50-44 road win.

On the road again last week at Belvidere, the Dunellen put up a 44-25 win over the County Seaters.

So it’s a good thing Ogbuowu is back, but there are many other reasons why.

Chiekezie grew up in the U.S., but his family is from Nigeria. His parents are there, and he had not seen them in five years, living here with his older siblings as he gets an education and plays football for Dunellen.

So, he visited there this summer. And while he was there, in late July, there was a coup, the fourth there since 2010. No one knew if he’d come back.

Ogbuowu arrived back in the states August 31st. He was on the sideline for the opener against Dayton, but couldn’t play since he hadn’t yet had the required number of practices to begin a season.

He got them in for the game against the Owls, and now the offense has dropped 94 points in two games. Chiekezie has rushed for 448 yards in just two games, with eight touchdowns. That’s a tremendous pace. He had four scores each against Highland Park and Belvidere.

His story is an inspiring one. He never played sports until sixth grade. He wants to be a computer or software engineer. And he’s had an incredible journey.

The next step on that journey is trying to get Dunellen to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2011. It would also be their first four-game win streak of any kind since 2014.

That’s if they can get past 2-1 Middlesex tonight at Columbia Park.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko speak with Dunellen’s Chiekezie Ogbuowu:

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