Ellicottville, Salamanca to Renew Football Rivalry ... In Alumni Game

Saturday night at Ellicottville Central School, two groups of proud area alums will square off on the football field.

Alumni from Ellicottville and Salamanca Central Schools — 30 years of age and older — will lace up the cleats and put on the pads one more time for a charity game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Even though the game is for charity, and will go to benefit the youth (pee wees and midgets) and high school football programs of both areas, the game is full contact.

The meeting was put together by captains from the two schools — Tim Grinols (Ellicottville) and Seth Hostuttler (Salamanca). This is the third year the Ellicottville alumni will be playing in such a game, while it will be Salamanca’s first against the Eagles.

Ellicottville played against West Valley the first two contests, and won both, 13-0 and 21-0. In those games, more than $3,000 was raised.

West Valley declined to participate in this year’s game, leaving Ellicottville in need of an opponent. Grinols (ECS class of 1992) contacted Hostuttler (SHS 2000), who agreed to field a team.

“THERE WAS talk that Salamanca was interested in the game,” Grinols said.

Ellicottville and Salamanca have only met twice on the varsity high school level— in 1933 (a 6-0 Salamanca win) and in 2006 (a 12-6 Ellicottville victory). Despite the schools’ proximity, they are in different classifications and their non-league schedules don’t sync.

“There’s going to be a lot of bragging rights on the line,” Grinols said. “Everyone wants to do the best they can. We want to get out there, play in front of our kids, and put a good show for everyone.”

Each roster lists 30-35 players, some of whom are right at the 30-year-old mark (graduated in 2000), while one player is 54 years old (graduated in 1976).

Both team have been practicing at least once a week, and both said their teams are ready to go.

“THIS IS the largest turnout we’ve had in the three years,” Grinols said. “I think this is the best team we’ve had, too. Good combination of size and speed.”

Added Hostuttler, who continues to play as a member of the Southern Tier Diesel: “Practices have been going well. We’ve had good participation.”

The game, reportedly, was originally created by two local youth football coaches — Ellicottville’s Rance Wilson and West Valley’s John Nelson.

Not only does this game give the adults a chance to put on their school’s uniform one more time, but it also allows them to play the game in front of their own children, most of whom play youth football.

Last year, Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly made a guest appearance to honor the Ellicottville Eagles pee wee youth team, which won the Cattaraugus County Midget Football League the previous season.

Kelly conducted the pre-game coin toss, as well.

“I EXPECT it to be a close game,” Hostuttler said. “Everyone knows how good Salamanca football was in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, and a lot of these guys played in past Salamanca alumni games. Ellicottville had better not hope this is an automatic win for them.”

In addition to the players, each team has coaches with ties to the respective schools: Aaron Hill and Tyler Heron (Salamanca), and Shawn Clark, Mark Ward and Bill Barto (Ellicottville).

Hill and Heron are current coaches within the Salamanca high school program, and Ward is a past coach of the Ellicottville varsity team.

Admission is $5 a person, $3 for students and kids 10 and under are free.

In addition, programs will be sold at the gate, and there will be raffles and a concession stand, with the money raised being split 50-50 between each school.

Teams will take the field at 6:30 for pre-game warmups and the game will be broadcast live on 105.9 WGWE-FM.

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