Marauders, Huskies seek first league win

When Dunkirk coach Tim Majka looks back on the first three weeks of the season, he is “perplexed” at how the season has gone.

The hardest thing Majka is trying to figure out is how his team continues to shoot themselves in the foot with costly turnovers.

“We got back to basics this week,” he said. “We preach holding the ball high and tight, and when in traffic, put two hands on the ball. Why it happens in games when it doesn’t happen in practice, I don’t know. It’s part of the game. It’s going to happen. But we have to be able to deal with adversity. It’s lessons they will learn in sports and in life. Whether they know it or not, they are learning things they will carry with them in life.”

Last week, the Marauders dropped their home opener, 35-6 to Pioneer. Dunkirk will look to get its first win of the season tonight when it hosts Olean at 7:30 p.m. in Class B South action.

Part of last week’s loss was the fact Majka felt his players were overly excited for their first home game of the season. He compared it to his team’s first two road games of the season and how his team played much better in the second road game. He hopes his team will play much better tonight – in the team’s second home game.

“We had a couple guys Friday who were amped up about playing at home and they played outside of themselves and took it too far,” Majka said. “I told them to be in the moment and have fun. It’s high school football. It doesn’t last that long. If you’re not having fun doing it and play tight, that’s when mistakes happen. Have fun and go after it. You can liken it to our first road game and the jitters and how much better we played in Springville Week 2. I’m hoping we are more relaxed and more at ease. We have been home once already.”

The Huskies are 1-2 on the season and are also searching for their first league win of the season. They are a passing team with big, fast receivers, according to Majka.

“They don’t do a lot, but what they do, they do well,” he said. “They want to attack downfield and get to the edges in a hurry. They are the complete opposite of what Pioneer was.”

Defensively, the Marauders will put out a faster defensive front this week with new players in new spots to try and slow down Olean’s offense.

“I think we have the right idea of where we are going,” Majka said. “I don’t know if Olean can throw the ball as well as Alden, but they are the closest as far as getting ball downfield.”

Defensively, Olean is not as big as the defenses the Marauders have faced this season. But Majka said the key this week will be sustaining blocks to get big plays – something they haven’t had in recent weeks.

“We want to work to maintain our blocks and get to the linebackers,” Majka said. “We missed some of those that could have been long gainers compared to the 3- or 4-yarders we have gotten. It’s tough for a high school football team to march down the field 3 or 4 yards at a time without making mistakes. The emphasis is sustaining blocks and make smaller gains into bigger gains. I like our matchup every week with our offensive line.”

Through three weeks, Majka has been impressed with his team’s work ethic.

“The biggest thing is the effort is there,” he said. “The guys aren’t quitting in the fourth quarter. Dunkirk teams, in the past, have been like that. The scores this year are not indicative of how we played. We really have given teams other points. The defense has played well and the schemes are there. At some point, things will turn our way. We need to get a bounce our way. Law of averages will say we are due. I hope this is the week.”