Dunkirk starts its season at Lake Shore | News, Sports, Jobs


WATCH Photo by Braden Carmen Dunkirk quarterback Noah Sikes will take over as the team’s full-time starter under center this season.

ANGOLA — High school football kicks off in Western New York at 6:30 p.m. tonight, as the Dunkirk Marauders travel to Angola to take on the Lake Shore Eagles in a non-league football game at Lake Shore High School.

The contest is one of two Division VI games on season opener night, while the rest of WNY has an extra day or two of practice before its season kicks off.

“We should draw a nice crowd, this game is exciting. The other side of the coin is that I think we are mentally prepared, but I don’t know where we will be physically yet. said Dunkirk head coach Mark Benton.

Dunkirk will dress 23 players for the opening game, with seven more expected to be eligible to play in week two. he ran over 1,000 meters.

“Quanteer Neallard is going to be the guy we hitch our cart to,” Benton said ahead of the season opener.

Many of the new faces on Dunkirk’s roster are freshman college players who left the junior college program.

“Starting work last year, we had to build the program. This is the first year that most of these guys have made it to college level,” said Benton. “To get the program back to where it was a few years ago is not going to happen overnight.”

A year ago — after a brief COVID break — the Marauders picked up their first win of the season against Lake Shore 20-6. Dunkirk took a 6-0 lead after the first quarter, a 14-0 halftime lead and a 20-0 second-half advantage against Lake Shore before the Eagles scored the only game.

That 20-6 victory ended up being Dunkirk’s only regular season victory, but the Marauders won two games in the Class B Chuck Funke Bowl consolation tournament in the playoffs. Lake Shore also finished the 2021 regular season with a win, a 28-22 win over East Aurora.

This year will be a much different narrative, regardless of the outcome. All three of Dunkirk’s touchdowns in last season’s game were scored by players who no longer play for the Marauders. The first touchdown was a carry from Ted Roberts, the second was a Roberts reception from quarterback Javier DeJesus, and the third was a carry from DeJesus. Roberts then transferred to St. Francis and DeJesus graduated.

Dunkirk have also lost many other players on both sides of the ball, but Neallard remains a constant for the Marauders offense. Despite not finding the end zone in last season’s game against Lake Shore, Neallard led Dunkirk with 22 carries for 156 yards.

“Neallard played well for us (against Lake Shore) last year, especially in the opening series. He had some big runs for us. said Benton.

Dunkirk’s new starting quarterback this year is Noah Sikes, who comes into this season with some experience a year ago after occasionally replacing DeJesus. Sikes started two games for Dunkirk last season. Now it’s his turn to be the main man under center.

According to Benton, Lake Shore should bring back a more experienced team this season after playing with a young roster a year ago.

“They got a lot of their kids back. They have a strong roster and they probably have more experience than us this year.” said Benton. “Their quarterback can both run and throw, so we’ll have to plan for that. … It will be a good game. I expect it to be a tough non-league for us.

While Dunkirk are a much younger team this year, Benton is yet unsure if that necessarily puts the Marauders at a disadvantage.

“It’s one of the youngest teams I’ve started a year with. It will be both exciting and interesting. I really don’t know what to expect when I walk in,” said Benton. “Things have gone well so far. … Now that the games are real, I’ll be interested to see how well we can perform.

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For live in-game updates, follow on Twitter: @bradencarmen and @TheObserverNY

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