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Warriors edge T-Wolves again, 14-6, for control of third place

CATTARAUGUS — Gaining its initial first down of the night late in the second quarter, the Salamanca football team started slowly Friday night.

But after falling behind 6-0 to Cattaraugus-Little Valley, it only took two offensive plays for the Warriors to wrestle control of the Section 6 Class D matchup and third place in the division after a 14-6 Salamanca victory. Salamanca controlled the turnover battle, 6-1, with four interceptions, and scored on touchdowns of 46 and 60 yards to put away C-LV for the second time this season.

Salamanca’s (2-3, 2-2) Kawliga Stahlman recovered a fumble at his own 15 to keep it a one-score game in the second quarter. After going three and out, the Warriors stopped C-LV on fourth down leading into a 70-yard touchdown drive on Xavier Taylor’s 46-yard run. With an 8-6 halftime lead following Taylor’s two-point conversion catch from Zariah Armstrong, Salamanca scored again on a 60-yard catch and run by Tyler Hedlund from Armstrong for a 14-6 lead, which it held through the second half.

Warriors coach Paul Haley expressed frustration with the slow start and penalties which continued throughout the night to the tune of 11 flags for 100 yards.

“We started to get a little momentum, we got that fumble (in the second quarter) and they started getting a little fired up,” Haley said. “It's the same thing, we can't seem to start a game fast or if we do, then we get a lull. Penalties killed us tonight. We're starting every drive 1st and 15; it's tough, especially when they're bringing the house on blitzes.

“But we switched some kids around, we had some younger guys really step up for us tonight. We had two freshmen and a sophomore at the guards and center so they really stepped up for us once we got rolling. Ira (John) had a good run called back. The penalties were brutal. We're not a smart football team right now.”

Taylor led the team with six carries for 78 yards and a touchdown and John tallied 16 carries for 53 yards. Hedlund had all three of the Warrior’s catches for 67 yards.

While Armstrong was just 3-of-9 passing, he helped extend drives as a runner including a 13-yard bootleg in the fourth quarter while the Warriors tried to run the clock out.

Despite the penalties and slow start, Haley called it a “gritty performance” with a handful of players suspended for a disciplinary issue while John played through a broken pinkie with a cast on.

“(Ira) never got cleared to do anything until Thursday, midway through practice and of course he's somewhat limited because he's got