Dunkirk returns home looking to stay undefeated

OBSERVER File Photo Pictured are Dunkirk’s Gabe Vega (30) and Koty Leeper (22) taking down Eden/North Collins quarterback Colton Stetz during their Week 1 matchup. Dunkirk returns home tonight to face Alden while Fredonia/Brocton travels to take on Eden/North Collins.

The Dunkirk Marauders have had about as different a pair of victories to start the season as a team could have. Tonight, the Marauders will find out which team they really are.

Dunkirk (2-0) faces off against Alden tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Dunkirk High School, in a game that gives the Marauders a chance to figure a lot out about this year’s team after a Week 1 blowout win and a Week 2 thrilling comeback victory.

“I don’t know where we are as a team right now,” said Dunkirk head coach Mike Sarratori. “I don’t know if we’re the team from Week 1 or the team from Week 2.”

This game will certainly reveal a lot, as Dunkirk hosts Alden — a team that rival Fredonia had a 37-0 halftime lead over last week. The Marauders should come away with the win if everything falls into place correctly, but there is one major concern. All-State two-way starter Tywon Wright will not be available for the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his knee in Week 1.

“One of the best players in Western New York is not going to be playing for us the rest of the season,” said Sarratori. “I think that shocked everyone a little bit. That was hard for us to overcome last week, and on top of that, Tonawanda played a great game.”

For Dunkirk, Quantavis Kleckley will likely be featured once again tonight. He carried the ball for over 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns in each of the first two games, including the game-tying touchdown and game-winning two-point conversion against Tonawanda last week.

“He carried us last week, especially at the end,” said Sarratori. “He put the team on his back on that last drive.”

This week, Dunkirk will be looking to a group including Rocky Radcliffe, Angel Reyes and Earl Stewart to help shoulder the load in Wright’s absence.

Sarratori said — without a doubt — the key to the game for Dunkirk will be how the team comes off the line of scrimmage. Sarratori always believes that games are won or lost on the line of scrimmage. With an athlete the caliber as Wright unavailable, it will be even more crucial for the boys up front to open up holes for Kleckley and crew in the backfield.

A key for Dunkirk defensively in this matchup is the athleticism on the defensive side of the ball. Sarratori said the “overall speed of the defense and its aggressiveness” will be tough for Alden to handle.

After Fredonia threw three touchdowns against Alden last week, the opportunities through the air may be available for Phil Messina to capitalize on. Sarratori said, “We’ll pick our spots” to pass during the game, but that Dunkirk will not stray from what it normally runs offensively.

“I’d be pretty foolish to think we’re not going to do what we do best,” said Sarratori.

It seems like what Dunkirk has done best the past few seasons is dominate the regular season portion of its schedule. It will be up to the Marauders to continue that trend tonight.

NOTES: Tonight is Midget League Football Night at Dunkirk High School, as many of the area’s young future football stars are welcomed to sit in the endzone and the stands at the game tonight. Sarratori characterized the experience as “something that will be a lot of fun” for everyone involved. Look for coverage of Dunkirk’s game tonight in Saturday’s OBSERVER.

Twitter: @bradencarmen

Fredonia/Brocton (2-0) @ Eden/North Collins (1-1)

EDEN — Don’t look now, but the Fredonia/Brocton Hillbillies have a chance to start their season 3-0 as they face off against Eden/North Collins tonight in Eden.

Fredonia has been searching for success for some time now, and while they’ve found it early here in the season by beating Newfane 20-7 and Alden 50-14, they’re goal is to sustain this success.

“We’re trying to learn a few different things this week to get ready,” said Fredonia/Brocton head coach Greg Sherlock. “We’re adjusting to some different things.”

The Hillbillies are coming fresh off a dominating performance over Alden where they took a 37-0 lead into haltime en route to a monster victory.

“I liked the quarterback play,” said Sherlock. “The decision making I thought last week was very strong. I was more than impressed with the play of our backfield overall. With that, we still have some work to do on defense.”

While the Hillbillies impressed last week, so did this week’s opponent in Eden/North Collins, as they rattled off their own dominating performance by defeating Lake Shore by a score of 39-18.

“Eden/North Collins quarterback is a load and he can run,” added Sherlock. “He’s got a great arm and can really throw the ball.”

“Their top receiver can run and catch,” said Sherlock. “They’ve made big plays together against both Dunkirk and Lake Shore.”

Eden/North Collins dropped their opening contest of the season to Dunkirk, losing 58-14. For Fredonia/Brocton’s strategy going into this game, staying disciplined will once again be key.

“Eden/North Collins has very good athletes,” said Sherlock. “Defensively if you bring guys up to play the run they can expose you in the passing game. They’ve looked good in their spread sets, our pass defense has to be good.”

Stopping Eden/North Collins quarterback Colton Stetz will also be a major key, as Sherlock says, “If he finds a gap he’s gone.”

“We have to be disciplined on defense that’s the biggest key,” mentioned Sherlock. “They’ll bring a lot of guys to the line of scrimmage so we have to manage to find holes on offense.”

Look for Fredonia/Brocton’s quarterback Trey Swartz to command the offense and continue his good decision making for the Hillbillies. Joelle Colon is also in line to receive a lot of carries as the lead back.

The Fredonia/Brocton (2-0) and Eden/North Collins (1-1) game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.