Saturday’s clash between Class B-3 rivals Dunkirk and Newfane seemed by halftime as if it would become an upset in the making.
Then the second half started. And the Marauders asserted themselves.
Dunkirk (4-0) pulled out a 30-6 victory by doing it the old-fashioned way – pounding the ball down Newfane’s (1-3) throat and ripping off several long runs in the process, leading to running back Quantavis Kleckley racking up 267 yards and three touchdowns.
“I thought we played pretty well,” coach Michael Sarratori said. “It was really the first time we’ve came out that far to play on a Saturday afternoon, and I liked what we did.”
The first half was marked by two characteristics – special teams and defensive play. Each defense forced a number of turnovers and the two schools notched just one score apiece – a kick return by Josh Everett and a rushing touchdown by Kleckley.
“Those turnovers and our special teams were killing us,” Sarratori said. “We then made a couple of adjustments with our offensive line at the half, and the changes we made seemed to work.”
In the third quarter, the Panthers’ coaching staff attempted to spark their scuffling squad by trying a fake field goal from inside the 20-yard line. Their trickery went for naught, however, when the ensuing pass attempt fell incomplete, and the Marauders took over.
A short time later while trying to keep the chains moving on fourth down, Kleckley took a handoff and took it the distance, scoring his second from 40 yards out and blowing the game wide open. His third would come in the next quarter while rushing 33 yards down the right hashmark.
“Everyone around the country in high school football nowadays likes to use spread offenses,” Sarratori said. “But if you really look at who plays in the state championships every year, they’re usually football teams that like to run with power.
“The advantage to us is, on a week-to-week basis every other team is playing against spread offenses, so when preparing for us, you only have three or four days. It’s totally different from what everyone’s used to, and that’s a huge advantage for us.”
“That second touchdown was just the result of a lot of practice time and us working really hard at our offense,” Kleckley said. “The way we practice is the way we play on the field, and it showed today.”
Rocky Radcliffe later punched in another rushing tally from a short distance a bit later, while Angel Rios and Earl Stewart each hauled in interceptions off of Panthers quarterback Dylan Finch.
Hamburg awaits the Marauders next week, and both Sarratori and Kleckley know that they’ll need to be prepared if they want to take down the Bulldogs.
“We’re really going to have to work harder for Hamburg,” Kleckley said. “They’re a lot like us, real big and physical. It’ll be a really good game to watch.”
“They’re very tough running in-between the tackles and they’re similar to us,” Sarratori said. “It’s going to be a tough non-league game for us, and it’s homecoming weekend for us too. We’ll be ready.”
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