Warriors topple Eden to capture Section 6 Class C title
ORCHARD PARK - The Salamanca Central School football team left no room for debate on Friday night.
The Warriors dominated both offensively and defensively and cruised to a 28-7 win over Eden in the Section 6 Class C championship game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The win gives Salamanca (10-0) its second sectional title in coach Rich Morton's three-year tenure, and it's the school's fourth championship in the last six seasons.
The win also avenges Salamanca's 34-32 loss to Cleveland Hill in last year's final.
We had a lot of sad faces when we walked off this field last year, Morton said. That game was definitely on our minds this week. These kids, their goal all year was to make it back to this game and win it. The Warriors won because of an a overpowering performance on the line of scrimmage.
They beat us in the trenches on both sides of the ball, said Eden coach Ed Meyers. There's no question about it. Thanks to their offensive line, and strong games from backs Cameron Haines, Dustin Ross, Derrick Murphy and Mike Liberatore, the Warriors rushed for 283 yards.
Meanwhile, Salamanca's defense held Eden's potent rushing attack to just 60 yards on 20 attempts. Keien Williams, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards this season for the Raiders, had just 13 yards on 10 carries.
Our line played a solid game, Morton said. There were a lot of great hits out there, and our defensive ends made it tough for them to get outside. I thought Aaron DeBoy and Spencer George had outstanding games at shutting down their off-tackle play.
Meyers added, I didn't think they'd shut us down the way the did tonight. We could not get going offensively.à Meanwhile, it took the Warriors all of one drive get going.
On the game's opening possession, Salamanca put together a methodical 83-yard, 10 play drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. Ross scored on a 12-yard run to give the Warriors a 6-0 lead.
That was huge, Meyers said. That set the tone right away.
Ross finished with a game-best 136 yards on 20 carries, often dragging several would-be tacklers for additional yards. On one third quarter run, Ross carried six Eden defenders to gain an extra five yards. He also added a 10-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
But the star of the day for Salamanca was Derrick Murphy.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior scored two touchdowns and rushed for 55 yards on 11 carries. He also had a pair of interceptions, including one that was the play of the game.
Late in the second quarter, Murphy picked off a pass from Eden's Phil Gosner and ran untouched 61 yards for a touchdown to give Salamanca a 14-0 lead and some breathing room.
That was a huge momentum boost for our team, Morton said.
Murphy also intercepted Gosner in the end zone three minutes later to keep the Warriors lead intact going into halftime.
Derrick Murphy came up real big, Morton said.
Salamanca put the game away with a pair of long second-half scoring drives. Murphy's second touchdown, a 14-yard run on fourth down, capped an 83-play, 10-yard drive, while Ross' second score capped a 71-yard, 10-play drive.
In all, the Warriors out gained Eden, 329-74, and ran more than twice as many plays from scrimmage (59-28).
Haines rushed for 78 yards on 12 carries and threw for 46 more, while Liberatore added 20 yards rushing.
That's a quality group of kids, Morton said of the backfield. But those kids don't get downfield without our line. A lot of credit has to go to our line.
Josh Soule snapped Salamanca's shutout bid with 1:35 to play on a 63-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Mike Calderon had a team-best 37 yards rushing on seven carries for the Raiders (9-1).
Salamanca advances to the Far West Regionals, where it will face the winner of today's LeRoy-Avon game. The Regional is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Friday at Fauver Stadium in Rochester.
Eden 0 0 0 7 - 7
Salamanca 6 8 8 6 - 28
Salamanca - Dustin Ross 12 run (80 yards, 14 plays); pass failed, 6-0
Salamanca - Derrick Murphy 61 interception return; Cameron Haines run, 14-0
Salamanca - Murphy 14 run (83 yards, 10 plays); Aaron Hill pass from Haines, 22-0
Salamanca - Ross 10 run (71 yards, 10 plays); kick failed, 28-0
Eden - Josh Soule 63 kickoff return; Jason Zittel kick, 28-7
First downs 4 17
Rushes-Yards 20-60 52-283
Passing Yards 14 46
Pass-Com-Int. 8-3-2 8-4-0
Total Yards 74 329
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Punts-Avg. 4-37.5 3-39.0
Penalties-Yards 2-5 8-75
Total Plays 28 59