Dunkirk will look to get into the win column tonight as it takes on Pioneer, at Karl Hoeppner Field, in a Class B South football matchup.
"It seems like a lot longer than two weeks that we've been on the road," Dunkirk head coach Tim Majka said. "It's never been easy taking those bus rides, and last Friday was kind of a heartbreaker. The bus ride seemed a little bit longer."
The Marauders opened their season with a 32-7 loss at defending Section 6 Class B champion Alden, before falling last week, 7-6, at Springville, last year's Sectional runner up.
Both the Fredonia Hillbillies and?Dunkirk Marauders will compete in their first home game of the high school football season tonight. Fredonia hosts Salamanca in a battle of Class C?South powerhouses while Dunkirk looks for its first win against Pioneer.
"We have to do what we haven't done in the first two weeks," Majka said of what it's going to take for his team to be successful tonight against the Panthers. "And take care of the ball and maintain some drives on offense."
Pioneer lost its opener 47-7 to Section 3's Oneida, the No. 14 team in this week's New York Sports Writers Association Class B poll, before defeating Olean, 10-7, in Week 2.
"They ran up and down the field on Olean," Majka said. "If it wasn't for a couple of fumbles inside the 10-yard line, they could have won by a lot larger margin."
If the Marauders' defense can play as well as they did last week against the Griffins, they should have a shot at picking up their first win of the season.
"On the offensive side of the ball, Pioneer plays a power game," Majka noted. "They have two running backs in the back field and they want to come at you.
"Coach (Will) Thiel and Coach (Mario) Muscarella have done hours of work to come up with schemes," Majka continued. "It's nothing too different than what we run normally, other than a few tweaks. The first two games, our defense has not really been a problem. We adjusted some personnel and have made some lineup tweaks. If they're playing within the scheme, we can be successful."
Offensively, the Marauders will have to be prepared for the Panthers' defensive front seven.
"Traditionally, they have had solid linebackers," Majka said. "And big guys up front. Their linebackers are really active. They are going to come right at you at the line of scrimmage. Our focus has been on being able to take care of their blitzing linebackers."
Ultimately, for the Marauders to be successful Friday night, Majka knows it's going to take a total team effort.
"We've been preaching all year that it's 11 guys on every play playing within the scheme," Majka said. "And doing what they are responsible for and relying on their teammates to do their jobs. We talk about it being 11 guys pulling on the rope in the same direction at the same time."