2014: Quick Plays Get Salamanca Football Back On Track
ALLEGANY — Paul Furlong knew all too well how quickly the Salamanca varsity football team could strike.
Furlong, after all, coached the Warriors in 2012 during Jason Marsh’s year away. Friday night, in his second crack at Salamanca after returning to Allegany-Limestone, Furlong’s Gators suffered a similar fate. Salamanca (3-2, 2-2) overcame two first-quarter turnovers and a 6-0 A-L lead to win 27-12, scoring its four touchdowns on drives of a combined seven plays.
“Our whole plan was to do what we did the last two drives, hold onto the ball three, four yards a pop and keep it out of their skill kids’ hands,” Furlong said.
The Gators (0-5, 0-4) accomplished that, running 52 plays (44 rushes) to Salamanca’s 28 at Fred G. Grace Stadium. But Salamanca quarterback Jared Fish, and a cast of explosive Warrior weapons, quickly erased A-L’s advantage in the second.
Fish threw a 33-yard touchdown to Tyler Siperek and a 43-yard score to Jimmie Nye, both fellow seniors, and ran an option for a 41-yard touchdown, all in the second quarter.
The Gators looked poised to climb back, driving 67 yards to Salamanca’s 3-yard line in the second quarter’s waning minutes. But defensive back Andy Crandall disrupted Zach Bierfeldt’s carry in the backfield as time expired.
“We punch that in, it might be a little different game,” Furlong opined. “But we just don’t finish. We had a couple drives, we just couldn’t punch it in.
“And against their talent, we missed a couple tackles, let one kid get over the top. We tried to cut down on the big plays, ‘don’t let Salamanca get big plays.’ And we gave them a couple big plays.”
Furlong recalled a similar situation in last season’s meeting at Vets’ Park.
“We were driving before halftime and we fumbled,” he said. “They went right down and scored, 21-7. It had almost that exact feeling as last year.”
For Marsh, Salamanca responded much better to a slow start after turnovers and penalties snowballed at Southwestern a week ago.
“We were down a score, and we turned the ball over, but our kids didn’t panic,” he said.
Fish stepped into an all-out A-L blitz in the fourth, finding running back Marcus Zaprowski for a 60-yard screen pass touchdown.
Despite wind and rain through most of the night, Fish completed four of eight passes for 142 yards. A-L completed one pass for five yards on five attempts. Crandall and A-L’s Holden Farr each had interceptions.
“We didn’t put it up in the air as much as we would have if it was a dry night,” Marsh admitted. “But there were some things we wanted to do.
“We trust our players and we knew we had to go out and make plays.”
In addition to his TD catch, Siperek ran for 107 yards on 11 carries and recovered a fumble while playing safety.