When Rob Genco took over the Dunkirk football program mere weeks before the season started, he truly believed he could turn the Marauders into a contender overnight.
While that didn't exactly pan out, the program is certainly headed in the right direction and Genco gets to lead his team out onto Karl Hoeppner Field for the final time in 2012, today at 6 p.m., when the Marauders host the Amherst Tigers.
"It's an opportunity for us to end the season on a positive note," Genco said. "It's something to get us excited that we can carry over to next year."
Dunkirk’s Zach Torain will look to end his senior season on a high note, as the Marauders will host Amherst tonight at Karl Hoeppner Field.
Amherst came into the season, like most teams, with very high expectations. The season quickly turned sour and the Tigers finished a disappointing 1-7 overall and 1-5 in Class B West.
"We watched their film and were able to get some scouting on them," Genco said of tonight's opponent. "Both programs are coming off seasons which didn't go as well as they hoped. (Amherst) has a very athletic quarterback who wants to drop back and have a run option."
The game will be a chance for Dunkirk's seniors to play a final time in front of the home crowd, but also for Genco to get a look at some of the younger players that will fill big roles next season.
A number of sophomores were called up from the jayvee team while a couple of seniors opted not to play so the young guys could get on the field.
"For two kids to tell me that," Genco explained, "it means they got it. They got what we were trying to sell this year. We have a lot of work to do and all of them understand it."
It won't just be the young guys who see the field tonight. Genco is excited about getting some seniors who didn't see much playing time during the season into the action.
"Absolutely," he said. "It's one more chance to play in front of family and friends."
Even with a lot of inexperienced players in the game, Dunkirk still expects to perform.
"We're playing to win and Amherst is too," Genco said. "We're going to see a more basic offense and more of the base defense. We're going to be more fundamental. When we try to do too much, it causes us to make mental mistakes."
If nothing else, having the young players at practice has energized Genco.
"I'm a coach at heart," he said. "I truly love what I do. Having those young guys up here gets the gears churning. When I told them they were playing, they were smiling ear to ear."
For the Dunkirk Marauders, this game is a chance to end the season on a high note and an opportunity to send off the seniors in style.
For Genco and his coaching staff, next season begins tonight.
"I've made notes in my journal all year of things that I'll do differently next year," Genco concluded. "I wanted it to happen overnight, but I believe it can happen."