The Dunkirk Marauders will face their toughest opponent tonight when they travel to Cheektowaga in a Class B high school football contest.
The Warriors are undefeated and have averaged nearly 45 points a game. They are led by tailback Marquel Jackson who is averaging four touchdowns a game.
"I think they have the best running back in the state," Dunkirk coach Rob Genco said of Jackson. "He is probably the best running back I have seen since I have been coaching. He is 6-foot-3, 210 pounds. He runs a 4.4, 40-yard dash and he has got moves. They have the best three receivers in Western New York and they are absolutely loaded."
Dunkirk’s Kevin?Burns hopes to lead the Dunkirk Marauders to an upset victory over undefeated Cheektowaga tonight in?Class B?high school football.
One problem Dunkirk had in practice this week was the inability to emulate a player with the speed of Jackson.
To try and replicate Jackson, coach Genco played the role of Jackson in practice.
"We don't have a player on our squad that has that kind of elusiveness," Genco said. "I tried to run. I tried to move around. The defense tried to keep me from getting outside.
See DUNKIRK,?Page B3
"We told the guys, if you're there 1-on-1 with him in the open field, don't try to tackle him," Genco continued. "Dance with him like you're playing defense in basketball. Dance with him until help gets there. One-on-one, nine times out of 10, this kid wins. We talked about getting 11 hats to the ball. Our number one job is to contain him and number two is dance."
Though Dunkirk has lost two league games this season, both of those teams are undefeated at 4-0 as is Cheektowaga.
"This will be a tough game," Genco admitted. "If we do lose, we have lost to teams with a combined 12-0 record. Our path and schedule hasn't been easy at all. We are not fortunate enough to have an easy schedule, but we never wanted easy."
Cheektowaga is considered one of the top teams in Class B, but Genco said the team is very similar to Olean.
"They are similar to Olean, but just better athletes," he said. "They are better and faster. I think we can use our size and move the ball. Our game plan is hold the ball as long as possible. We want to control the ball and eat up the clock. I don't think they will stop our offense, but stopping them will be a challenge. Teams have scored points against them. They are just doubling points."
Though a loss would be detrimental, Genco noted his team will still be on track to obtain the goals he set at the beginning of the season.
"We wanted to win a home game. We did that," Genco continued. "We want to have a winning season. Win or lose this game, we can still get that. We can have a 4-3 record. This isn't a need game. It's a want game. We want to win this and be able to compete. If we do, we reach all our goals. If we want to be successful in the playoffs, we need to beat a team like Cheektowaga. This will be a good game for us to gage where we are and let us know what we need to do to get better to make the playoffs."
And though Week 5 is here, Genco noted he is still learning as a first-year coach every week.
"I look at what I can do better," he said. "These kids have done everything I have asked them to do. It's on me to figure out what to do better. Offensively, we had an awesome week. We are banged up. We won't have Marquel Ruiz. We are banged up and we are fighting with the guys we have. We are proud of them. We have our goals in tact and we are excited to play."