BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Iroquois Chiefs are one of just seven teams in Western New York that is still undefeated on the season, racking up win after win over ranked teams, including last week’s 21-14 victory over West Seneca East.
They’re also the number one team in Class B in New York State.
“It feels great, coming from really rough years my freshman year going 1-6 on JV, 3-6 on varsity, it’s been a long road coming to this point and it’s been well earned,” Iroquois senior strong safety Kendall Mariacher said. “We’ve put in the work in the offseason and during the season to get to this point, and I think it is well deserved we’ve gotten to this point after a lot of hard work.”
“We feel really confident. Our whole team is built off adversity, so anything that’s come our way, from practicing on a baseball field or COVID, we’re already ready for it,” Iroquois senior quarterback Trey Kleitz said. “I just think this whole season’s been great for us, now we’re just going to keep going from where we are.”
Even though Iroquois has been at the top of the mountain so to speak for the last two seasons, the players on this team have faced a good amount of adversity along the way.
A few years ago, the Chiefs went 1-6 in the regular season, and after that, the players came together and decided that they would be the hardest working team in Western New York.
That work has clearly paid off for them.
“Our work ethic and being a player-led team. During COVID, we would hold practices and get a lot of work in after practice and before practice, even when we weren’t having practice we would go to the field and still work out,” Kleitz said. “I just think that we have a mindset now of it’s us versus us.”
“Coming off that season, we had a lot of work to do and we were prepared to do it, day in and day out,” Mariacher said. “Throughout the winter, spring summer and fall to Friday nights, just constant work, constant effort, day in and day out. We might not be the largest team or the biggest team but we’ll be the most physical and most prepared team on the field.”
“The players and the work they put in. Last year we fell two yards short of a Section championship which we haven’t attained since 2008. Seeing these seniors come from that freshman year of 1-8, many of them were pulled up as freshmen because our numbers were low as a program when we had 22 guys on varsity; now we have almost 40,” Iroquois head coach Robert Pitzonka said. “It’s been their belief in our program and building the foundation that’s improved our program, not just from a football standpoint but just everybody wants to be a part of it.
“We’re a small school, and other small schools are dissolving their JV program, where our JV program almost has 40 players as well. It’s really our players and the kids that are the backbone of our program and we’re going to new heights because of the buy-in and the hard work they’re putting in,” Pitzonka said.
The 6-0 Chiefs hit the road this weekend to take on 3-3 Olean on Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7pm.