OTH New York football roundup: Salamanca bests Maple Grove in playoff preview
BEMUS POINT — Salamanca and Maple Grove will meet on the football field for the third time this season next week in the Section 6, Class D playoffs.
Round 2 of the matchup went to the Warriors on Friday night in the regular season finale as Hunter McAuley connected a 27-yard field with time running out for a 23-21 victory.
Salamanca (4-4) produced the game’s final nine points in the fourth quarter and rallied from a 14-point deficit in the first half.
Tristen Gillette scored on a pair of 1-yard runs in the second half to bring the Warriors back. They trailed 21-20 after a 2-point conversion failed, but McAuley, who also plays soccer, came through with the winning kick.
"That's his first attempt at a field goal ever,” coach Paul Haley said. “He's been making 40-yarders pretty consistently in practice and we had it in our heads that we had to get to the 23-yard line to give him a legitimate shot at it. Tristen Gillette had a huge run, Xavier (Taylor) had a nice run and we got down, spiked it, kicked it and let it rip."
Carson Crist threw a pair of touchdown passes to Easton Tanner and Zach Hendrick for Maple Grove (5-3). Tanner also rushed for a score for the Red Dragons, who prevailed 49-22 at Salamanca on Sept. 14.
Before Friday’s kickoff, the teams knew they would meet again the next week.
"We didn't want to show too much and I think we did a fairly good job of that,” Haley said. “But that being said, our success comes from just lining up and powering the football so I think that's how our team operates best, lining up and going and getting it and playing good defense. We did that today.
“Our defense played really great. That's why I didn't hesitate to go for a 2 on that. The way our defense has been playing, if we get up by one point, I like our chances, we like our chances.”