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Dunkirk Continues Run with an OT Thriller

The Dunkirk Marauders continue to defy the odds, this week upsetting Section V’s undefeated Batavia Blue Devils 50-48 in overtime to win the NYSPHAA Far West Regional Class B Football Championship on Saturday evening.

“It’s a fantastic feeling, we had so many people hurt this week. We had other people step up, that was the best team win I’ve ever been involved with,” Dunkirk Head Coach Michael Sarratori said.

It was almost Déjà Vu for Dunkirk. As the Marauders were again in a shootout in the first half. The teams went back and forth matching quick score for quick score, finishing tied at 28 to finish the first half.

The thrilling game had to go into overtime, where Batavia failed a two-point conversion that finally won it for Dunkirk.

“It was nerve racking,” Dunkirk running back Alton Ingram admitted. “I just told everybody we got this, we just have to work as a team.”

Just over a minute into the game, Ray Leach took a 33-yard run to the house for Batavia. On the ensuing drive, the team known for its great running attack surprised everybody as they threw a pass to start the game. It worked as QB Evon Hernandez found Elwin Gomez for a 66-yard touchdown.

Hernandez who had no passing yards in last week’s win over Cheektowaga, threw for 119 yards and two touchdowns against Batavia.

But the Blue Devils responded right back as Leach took it 59 yards for a touchdown on the very next offensive play for Batavia.

The score was 22-20 in favor of Dunkirk at the end of the first quarter and not a single scoring drive had been longer than two minutes.

Alton Ingram scored for the Marauders with 35 seconds left in the half.

Ingram took the ball 33 times for 240 yards and four touchdowns, including the game winner.

“Ingram was running like he was mad tonight,” Sarratori said. “But don’t forget we have an offensive line that busts up beautiful holes for him.”

The game slowed down in the third quarter, as Batavia took the lead with a 61-yard touchdown run by Leach.

Leach, a sophomore, lead the Blue Devils with 224 yards on 20 carries and four touchdowns.

With just over 2 and a half minutes to go, the Marauders thought they had the game in hand after Hernandez found Dontrell Clemons for five yards to cap off a nearly five minute drive. However, the Blue Devils quickly came down the field and scored as QB Jerry Reinhart found Leach with 16 seconds left to tie the game.

In overtime, the Marauder offense kept in rhythm handing the ball off to its leading rusher, until Ingram scored the game winning touchdown.

Batavia in their third straight trip to the Far West Regionals, still had some magic left. Reinhart lead the offense down the field before scoring on a three yard run.

The Blue Devils needed to convert the two-point conversion to keep the game going. Reinhart rolled to his right but his pass sailed over the receiver to end the game to make it three straight losses in the Far West Regionals for Batavia and give Dunkirk their first ever trip to the State semifinal.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling right now, we came so far coming from an 0-2 start,” Dunkirk senior starting lineman Andrew Vetter said.

The City of Dunkirk has been full-fledged behind this football team this postseason. The Marauder faithful were by far the best attended group of the entire Regional weekend.

“They have been following us for the past two or three weeks now. They’re have stuff for us every night, they come out here on a cold night. These kids love it,” Sarratori said.

“They bring us buses, they bring us food, it’s amazing to have a city behind us,” Vetter said gratefully.

Next week, Dunkirk travels to Cicero-North Syracuse High School to take on the Chenango Forks of Section IV in the State-semifinals at 3pm on Saturday.

“I’m happy I’m going with my team; I wouldn’t want to play with any other guys,” Ingram said.

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