Stoldt, Bunk look to get Alden a step further in playoffs
Having a strong leader at the quarterback position usually translates into a bunch of victories. Fortunately for Alden, the Bulldogs always seem to have a kid named Stoldt at the position.
Brian Stoldt took the reins after the gradation of his brother Tyler and was dynamic in leading Alden to a second straight Section VI championship.
“Brian’s terrific,” Alden coach Dick Diminuco said. “He’s really a wonderful leader and he’s really the face of Alden football right now. He’s a wonderful kid to coach, but more than anything else, he’s just a great human being.”
Tyler was a four-year standout and left big shoes to fill. But Brian stepped right in and got the job done. He earned a spot on the first-team Class B East all-star team and was an honorable mention All-Western New York choice.
But that’s not why he puts on a helmet. Stats and honors may be nice, but he’d trade it all to help his team continue the winning tradition
“Just do my part to win as many games as possible, that’s what I’m worried about doing,” said Brian, who’s already helped Alden start 1-0. “No stats, nobody cares about that; just doing whatever it takes to win, we’re going to do that.”
And winning games is exactly what the Stoldts do best. Brian kept that tradition going with an exceptional sophomore season that resulted in another division and sectional championship for the trophy case.
“That experience definitely helps out,” he said. “We’re all focused and gelling real well together. But right now I’m just focused on getting us as far as we can go.”
Stoldt’s first season as the varsity quarterback may have been spectacular, but it ended in heartbreak. Alden dropped the Far West Regional in overtime, falling 20-14 to eventual state champion Hornell.
Stoldt and friends haven’t forgotten about that game and the desire is to work their way back there again — and win.
“We definitely want to bounce back from that game,” he said. “We want to keep this going and take this program a step further. We’re putting in the hard work to get that done.”
Having a strong leader is always beneficial for a football team at any level, and Alden still has a good one. Diminuco has repeatedly praised Stoldt’s leadership skills and that is evident in watching the Bulldogs’ offense flow.
“It makes my job a lot easier,” the coach said with a smile.
Bunk looking to get even better on Alden line
Alden senior lineman Jason Bunk didn’t need long to answer when asked about his expectations for himself this season.
“Be better than last year,” he said. “That’s all I want.”
Seems simple, but based on his junior season, those are pretty lofty expectations. Bunk was a second-team Class B East all-star a year ago, helping the Bulldogs to a second straight Section VI championship.
He paid his dues in the offseason and seems primed for an even bigger senior season.
“Jason’s a dream to coach,” Alden coach Dick Diminuco said. “He’s a hard-working kid, as you can see he’s running sprints after practice on his own. He’s a great kid.”
The “better than last year” expectation isn’t about himself. Bunk and the Bulldogs are eyeballing another sectional crown and beyond. But the big lineman isn’t worried about Hornell, the team that ended Alden’s last two seasons in the Far West Regionals, just yet. He’s just concentrating on getting the Bulldogs to that level.
“I’m not worried about that yet, I’m just worried about the next game,” he said. “You have to take them one game at a time.”
Bunk will play an even bigger role in all of that this season. Alden has to deal the graduation of three all-star lineman from last year, including standout Josh Chase
But the 6-foot-3, 272-pound Bunk will anchor what is expected to be another strong unit.
“We lost some good guys, but we’ve been working hard,” Bunk said. “We still have a lot of size, but heart and toughness more than anything is what’s going to help us there.”
The Bulldogs sure haven’t missed a beat so far. Alden opened the season by putting 42 points on the board in a blowout win over Roy-Hart/Barker.
The offensive line, even with some new pieces in place, remains impressive.
“This is probably the smartest line we’ve had in a couple years,” said running back Corey Barzcykowski, one of six different Bulldogs to reach the end zone in the opener.
The line has worked well together so far and that seems to be a strength across the board for the Bulldogs. The tightly-knit squad is having fun on and off the field and that unity is beneficial when the lights are turned on.
“This group has the most heart of anyone I’ve ever seen,” Bunk said. “We’re all really tight. After every practice, we’ll have like 20 guys hanging out together at someone’s house. That’s a great team.”