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.
“He gives us another weapon,” Marsh said of Siperek, who made his first appearance of the season last week after injury. “Everyone remembers Tyler in the run game, but Tyler’s also a great receiver as he showed tonight.
“He’s just an excellent football player.”
A-L junior workhorse back Zach Bierfeldt took 20 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown.
“Allegany did a good job executing what they wanted to execute,” Marsh said. “But I think our kids did a better job playing it as well.”
Furlong said A-L senior Kyle McGraw, who left in an ambulance in the second quarter after a lengthy delay, appeared to avoid major injury, with a “pinched neck.”
“It was close to his vertebrae, but he had feeling in everything. He wasn’t knocked out at all,” Furlong said. “I think he’s gonna be fine.
“In today’s day and age, you have to take your precautions.”
The Gators’ two touchdowns brought a still-evolving offense’s season total to three.
“We’ve been waiting for it,” Furlong said. “We had to simplify it almost too much. (Salamanca was) up three scores, so they couldn’t give up a big play. So they kind of (didn’t) sit back, but said ‘we’ll give three, let’s just keep burning the clock.’ It put them in a great spot. But that’s what our offense is.”
Salamanca 0 21 0 6 — 27
Allegany-Limestone 6 0 0 6 — 12
A-L - Jordan Kayes 2 run (9 plays, 49 yards); kick blocked, 6-0
Salamanca - Tyler Siperek 33 pass from Jared Fish (2 plays, 57 yards); Bryant Johnson kick, 7-6
Salamanca - Fish 41 run (2 plays, 47 yards); kick blocked, 13-6
Salamanca - Jimmie Nye 43 pass from Fish (1 play, 43 yards); Andy Crandall pass from Fish, 21-6
Salamanca - Marcus Zaprowski 60 pass from Fish (2 plays, 62 yards); kick failed, 27-6
A-L - Zach Bierfeldt 1 run (13 plays, 80 yards); run failed, 27-12
First Downs 7 18
Rushes-Yards 19-170 44-259
Passing Yards 142 5
Comp-Att.-Int. 4-8-1 1-5-1
Total Offense 312 264
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 10-89 5-49
Punts-Avg. 1-26 3-28
Total Plays 28 52