The Dunkirk community has always had its fair share of talented athletes. But especially in recent years, there has been a struggle to connect that athleticism with the tools to be successful high school athletes for the Dunkirk Marauders, especially on the football field.
That was evident this past year, as the Dunkirk Marauders football program finished the 2022 season without a single victory. But the new wave of athletes coming through the Dunkirk school system hopes to change the narrative in the coming years.
The DKNY Football Club, an offseason training program and recruiting platform, has taken off this offseason. Led by Josh Cosme, a parent and disabled combat veteran, the program has seen strong numbers since its inception earlier this year.
“We’re trying to change the culture for the kids,” Cosme said. “These kids, they come from all different backgrounds. It’s beautiful, they come together and it’s like they’re brothers.”
The program is independent of Dunkirk High School and the coaching staff of the Marauders football team. They have been granted access part-time to use the school’s weight room and football field, and have also been given access to the Cattaraugus Community Center facilities.
Previously, Dunkirk had no designated weightlifting program or offseason workout program associated with the school or the varsity football program.
“We started this on our own, but we’re trying to work with the school too. We want to have a good relationship with the athletic department,” Cosme said.
Cosme noted between 25-30 kids regularly work out with the DKNY weightlifting program, with anywhere between 35-45 players working with DKNY in some capacity throughout the week. Isaiah Cosme, a freshman receiver at Hilbert College with high school football experience from west Texas, is one of the people involved with training the athletes. Frankie Beras, of 716 The Fix, is also involved with training the athletes.
Cosme said the process of forming DKNY Football has been influenced by his background in marketing and the experiences he’s had with the recruitment of his sons, Isaiah and Anthony — a freshman football and baseball player with travel baseball experience from all across the country.
“We’re trying to bring an updated approach. We do recruiting interviews with players, we use a drone to film practices. … Each of our videos we post gets between 3,000 and 5,000 views,” Cosme said.
Cosme noted that four Dunkirk football players from last season have been connected with college coaches through DKNY Football. But it’s not just college coaches who have taken note.
Cole Snyder, the starting quarterback at the University at Buffalo, is scheduled to visit the athletes at Dunkirk High School at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. He will work with the Dunkirk prospects and speak about his experiences getting recruited from Southwestern High School after growing up in the Jamestown area and eventually earning a Division I football scholarship. Snyder’s college football career began at Rutgers University, a Power-5 program in the Big Ten Conference. He then transferred to the University at Buffalo, where he became the starting quarterback for the UB Bulls last season.
“We reached out to Cole through a mutual friend. I followed his career and wanted to see if he’d come talk to our kids. He loved the idea,” said Cosme.
Cosme hopes that as the program gains attention and receives support from the community, more experiences will be available to help the athletes grow in the offseason.“Obviously the goal is you want to see the kids improve,” Cosme said.
DKNY Football is on Twitter: @DKNYFootball. A GoFundMe has been established to solicit donations for equipment, titled DKNY Football Club, which can be found by the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/dkny-football-club?utm–medium=social&utm–source=twitter&utm–campaign=p–lico+share-sheet
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