Dunkirk makes a statement

Marauders’ dominant win highlights Week 1 of Friday night lights

OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot Dunkirk Marauders running back Quantavis Kleckley bursts through the Eden/North Collins defense on Friday night during the Marauders’ 58-14 win.

Dunkirk football coach Mike Sarratori said leading up to the first game of the season that his team would go as far as their offensive line would take them.

Friday night proved the line could take Dunkirk as far as anyone in 2018.

Dunkirk throttled Eden/North Collins 58-14 on Friday night in Dunkirk, highlighted by a 30 point first quarter with three rushing touchdowns and a defensive score, as well.

“Our offensive line did a heck of a job,” said Sarratori. “Their fronts were advantageous for what we were running and they didn’t switch from it.”

Dunkirk (1-0) got on the scoreboard first with a 25 yard touchdown run by Quantavis Kleckley just over four minutes into the game. After a Tywon Wright two-point conversion run, Dunkirk led 8-0.

The Marauders extended the lead with another touchdown run on the next drive. Dunkirk forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff after the first score of the game. On third down and long, Wright broke free for a 33 yard touchdown run to put the Marauders ahead 14-0, still less than five minutes into the game.

Dunkirk’s opportunistic defense contributed once again, as Gabe Vega forced a fumble on a sack, which Peyton Moreland recovered and returned for a touchdown. After Earl Stewart ran in the two-point conversion, Dunkirk held a 22-0 first quarter lead.

“The start gave our kids a lot of confidence early and that continued throughout the game,” said Sarratori.

Kleckley got in on the fun once again toward the end of the first quarter, breaking free for the longest play of the game, a 62 yard touchdown run. Dunkirk held a 30-6 lead after the first quarter, and it didn’t get any closer from then on.

“Everything we predicted they were going to do, especially on defense, they gave us,” said Sarratori.

That was very evident by the final result.

Kleckley added another long touchdown run in the second quarter, a 53 yard rush, to put Dunkirk ahead 38-14. Still, Dunkirk was far from satisfied.

“They scored a couple touchdowns, and we were really upset about that,” said Sarratori. “We were not disciplined, and if we’re not disciplined and in our assignments, we won’t go as far as we want to go this year.”

Dunkirk outscored the Raiders 20-0 in the second half, highlighted by three rushing touchdowns by three different players. Rocky Radcliffe, Earl Stewart and Phil Messina — making his first varsity start at quarterback as a freshman — all reached the endzone in the second half.

“Phil Messina, that’s a freshman making his first varsity start. I could not have asked for more from him,” said Sarratori.

When it was all said and done, 58-14 didn’t even seem so bad when compared to the rushing statistics. The Marauders totaled 349 rushing yards on Friday, compared to only 17 from Eden/North Collins. Kleckley led Dunkirk with 183 yards and three touchdowns, on only six carries in the game. Wright had three carries for 75 yards and a score.

“They’re both two big horses,” said Sarratori. “I have two of the best backs in Western New York, if not the whole State of New York.”

As good as Kleckley and Wright were on Friday, Sarratori was definitive that the offensive line deserved a lot of the credit.

“The line is who deserves a lot of credit,” said Sarratori. “Those two guys are the ones that get their names in the paper, but the guys blocking for them, including Peyton Moreland and Gabe Vega, those guys really did a great job.”

Dunkirk is away next week at Tonawanda, before returning home in Week 3 for a game against Alden on Sept. 14.

Twitter: @bradencarmen