Titans jump on Warriors early, roll to 53-13 win
ELLICOTTVILLE — Any doubt Chad Bartoszek had about his team’s readiness to play a week after its most impressive win of the season, the Franklinville/Ellicottville Titans answered within minutes of kickoff Friday night.
After dispatching defending sectional champion Maple Grove 26-6 last week, F/E jumped on Salamanca early, building a 16-0 lead just 3:15 into the game and 40-0 with 10:58 to play in the second en route to a decisive 53-13 Section 6 Class D victory over Bartoszek’s alma mater.
Ellicottville’s lone regular season home contest doubled as homecoming and Senior Night at Ray Gray Field.
“We were concerned because it was such a big win, those guys played their hearts out last week, but I'll say the atmosphere here was great,” Bartoszek said. “I really think the fans and everybody (helped). It was a cool atmosphere and it's hard not to play up when you have a big crowd and it's senior night, homecoming, all that good stuff and I think the kids kind of felt that a little bit so they were able to feed off of that.
“You've got to play football at 100 percent. If you don't, bad things are going to happen, so we kind of preached that all week and I was just proud of the way they played the game.”
The Titans turned to its second-string offense and defense through the second half, with junior Ben Mooney scoring a 15-yard touchdown run in the third.
F/E (4-0, 3-0) needed just 193 offensive yards to pile up its biggest point total of the season, using three defensive scores (two fumble recoveries and a safety) in the first quarter and a 38-yard Griffin Chudy punt return to set up another.
All four F/E senior captains — running backs Chudy and Austin Grinols, quarterback Brock Blecha and tight end Sam Erickson — scored an offensive touchdown in the first half and Chudy and Erickson both added a defensive score.
Bartoszek said both Erickson and Chudy possess unique leadership and physical abilities.
“The kids really look up to them,” he said. “They've been very consistent, they bring an energy that doesn't really go away. It doesn't go away in practice and it doesn't go away on film. That's hard to do at the high school level. We're really lucky to have that type of energy, but they're also athletic and very good at football. They really are just a perfect combination of effort and skill on the field and they're making plays all over the place.”
Blecha only needed to attempt four passes, completing three for 75 yards and a score (13 yards to Erickson) and ran in another. Chudy had the game’s longest play on a 64-yard connection with Blecha.
Jacob Peters led F/E defenders with 5.5 tackles, while Dakota Olson (1.5) and Walter Woodarek claimed a sack each.
Senior wide receiver Nick Johnson scored two touchdowns for Salamanca (2-2), both in the fourth quarter on passes from junior Zariah Armstrong. Torri Ball led the Salamanca defense with nine tackles and Jeremiah Shoup had a sack.
The Warriors got Armstrong back after a one-week absence with an ankle injury, but struggled to give him time and twice snapped the ball over his head, resulting in Erickson’s fumble recovery touchdown and later a safety.
“I can't imagine it going much worse than it did,” Salamanca coach Paul Haley said of the first quarter. “We knew they were the best team in our division and we had to play our best game and we come in and it's the same snaps over our head and fumbles and still we can't move the ball on offense to keep our defense off the field. It's the same problems. We knew coming it that it was the cream of the crop over there and this was going to be a measuring stick. We just didn't measure up to where we thought we'd be.”
Snapping issues plagued Salamanca a week ago at Cattaraugus-Little Valley, with turnovers on downs due to long snapper-punter connection.