Weekly Feature

2017-09-07 / Sports

Depew football falls just short against Dunkirk

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI Reporter

The Depew football team had a slow start, finished strong, but fell just short of a win in the first game of the 2017 season. The Wildcats fell to reigning Class B champion Dunkirk, 21-19. The Marauders got off to a 21-0 lead in the first half as Depew took some time to get going.

“We started slow and weren’t going through our reads,” Depew Coach Brian Wilson said. “We got beat on two big pass plays, one went for a score and the other set up a score. It was frustrating. I don’t know what we have to do to get going faster, but it’s been a little bit of a problem the past couple years and we have to figure it out.”

The Wildcats were moving the ball well throughout the first half, but were having trouble finishing drives. Depew would either stall out in opponent territory or turn the ball over at an inopportune time.

“We just stayed with what we were doing and tried to finish drives basically,” Wilson said. “We’d move the ball really well during the game. We went right down the field after they scored on their first possession. I made a bad call trying to throw the ball in the end zone when we probably should have just kept it on the ground. We got intercepted. But even later in the first half, we drove the ball pretty well. But we couldn’t finish any drives. In the third quarter, we pushed the ball right down the field, but turned it over on fourth-and-one.”

Then things began to turn for Depew. Quarterback Joe Pagano ran for two touchdowns in his first start, on a counter and a sneak. He also hit Alex Neu on an out route, before Neu broke some tackles and tore off for a 60-yard score.

“Then it started to come together a little bit for us,” Wilson said. “Maybe we wore them down a little bit. We got back in the game. I thought in the second half we played pretty well. We bent a little bit defensively, but we didn’t break. We got rid of the big plays, which is what hurt us in the first half. It was just frustrating because it’s one we should have got.”

The teams scored an equal number of touchdowns, but conversions and point-after attempts made the difference. While that might be a tough pill to swallow for the Wildcats, they can be proud of sticking with a team that’s coming off of a sectional title.

“We talked to them all week and said they were going to come in and play like their hair was on fire because they’re coming off a great year,” Wilson said. “They lost a lot of their players from that team, but they’re not going to admit that. They’re going to come out and play like they’re state quarterfinal participants. We talked about that all week. We just didn’t do a real good job in the first half. It’s not like we have a bad football team. We just have to wake up and play 48 minutes, 24 minutes doesn’t get it done.”

Depew will next take on Albion at 7:30 at home Friday. The Purple Eagles should provide a major challenge to Depew with their size and strength.

“Albion is a big, strong football team. They’re tough to move off the football,” Wilson said. “Offensively, they don’t do a lot of fancy stuff. They’re going to come straight at you. It was similar to what we saw last week with Dunkirk. They have a huge fullback, a really good tailback and a nice-sized quarterback and some good receivers. They can move the ball. Defensively, they’re big up front, and we’re going to have to take advantage of that. I think our speed will help to some degree there. We’ll have our work cut out for us. They’re a real good football team.”

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