Rodney Turner scored four touchdowns and led the Depew (4-1) defense with 11 tackles Friday as the Wildcats cruised past Dunkirk (0-5), 36-6, in Class B South football action at Karl Hoeppner Field.
"That's what Rodney does for us all the time," Depew head coach Brian Wilson said. "He's a work horse for us and I'm sure he'll be complaining. He wants (the ball) more, he's a great kid, he plays hard and he knows how to get the ball in the end zone."
Turner scored on runs of 4-, 8-, 5- and 11-yards as he finished with 111 yards on 20 carries.
OBSERVER?Photo by Justin Goetz
Dunkirk’s Nick Barlette carries the ball as Depew’s Bryce Leair chases after him during Friday’s?Class B?South high school football game.
"I think winning breeds winning," Dunkirk head coach Tim Majka said. "There's a difference between kids who know how to win and kids who are trying to figure out how to win. When a team that's used to winning gets some momentum, that turns into a lot of momentum for them and it turns into a lot of confidence for them. And I think that just snowballed and Depew knows how to carry themselves once they get up."
After Cody Penner intercepted a Gage Austin pass near midfield and returned it to the Dunkirk 9-yard line, Turner got the Wildcats on the board.
"The first drive that we had, we ripped off a 7-yard run on first down and then we had two false starts at second down," Majka said. "And now it's 2nd-and-13 instead of 2nd-and-3. It's those types of things that keep coming up and creeping up and biting us."
However, a good return by Miguel Fred gave the Marauders a drive start at their own 44-yard line. On the next play, Nick Barlette broke through the middle of the Wildcats' defense for 56 yards and Dunkirk's lone score of the night.
"We've been waiting for a play like that all year to get that momentum switch that goes in our favor," Majka said. "It was nice to see. Nick has been running the ball good the last couple of weeks and he's finally getting to where we thought he'd be this year."
"You come on the road, it's a long bus ride and I'll tell you what, I watched (Dunkirk) on film and that's a pretty good football team," Wilson said. "They're right on the precipice, I think, of being a really good football team."
Aside from allowing a long drive that ate up much of the second quarter, the Wildcats' defense controlled the game, helping Depew shake off a tough loss to Alden last week.
"We had a couple of alignment problems early in the game," Wilson said. "And Coach (Mark) DiRienzo got that straightened out at halftime and the kids were able to play fast and play really aggressively. That's how we like to play defense."
Depew held Dunkirk to 193 total yards, most of which came in the first half.
"We got a long drive and we didn't get any points," Majka said. "And we got a big break, but one of the things we've been talking about with the guys since the beginning of the season was negative plays. And we had nine negative plays in the first half out of all of our offensive series between penalties and the interception and a bobbled snap at quarterback."
Turner opened the scoring in the second half with his 5-yard scamper before Dylan Sekuterski found Penner for a 34-yard touchdown to help the Wildcats take a 28-6 lead late in the third quarter.
"I thought our junior quarterback took a step up tonight," Wilson said. "I thought he played really, really well and made some big plays for us."
Sekuterski finished 5-of-9 for 160 yards while Penner had 72 yards on two receptions.
One bright spot, despite allowing four rushing touchdowns, was Dunkirk's ability to bottle up Depew's running backs at the line of scrimmage.
"Our run defense played great," Majka said. "There were coverage breakdowns that we had again. It's things that we continue to work on and put the kids in the right positions and it's a matter of translating what we do on the practice field to the game field on Friday nights. We'll continue to work at that."
Despite outrushing the Wildcats, the Marauders had their own troubles rushing the ball, especially in the second half.
"They started bringing eight in the box and just started teeing off on us," Majka said. "Even when we were trying to go off tackle, their (defensive) ends were slicing hard and the outside linebackers were slashing to the corners. (It seemed like) there were too many (defenders) and not enough of us."
Although his team is 0-5, Majka isn't worried about his players being ready to play at East Aurora next Friday.
"It's really not a lot to have to motivate the guys that are here that are on the team," Majka said. "They love to play football and they're going to come back and work hard on Monday. They want to win just as bad as anybody else."
NOTES: Barlette finished with 61 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown ... Lucas Lugen had seven tackles to lead the Marauders' defense ... Nate Skubis finished with five tackles in the loss while Willy Ray and Seamus Raynor had a sack each.