Maple Grove takes Round 3, advances past Salamanca
DUNKIRK — A week meant a world of difference to both the Salamanca and Maple Grove football teams.
The Warriors ended their regular season flying high with a 23-21 victory at Maple Grove last Friday, tying the season series ahead of a playoff rematch. But with season-ending stakes on the line, the Red Dragons didn’t let up this Friday, jumping on Salamanca early for a 28-0 halftime lead in the Section 6 Class D semifinals and winning 38-7.
“They came out flying and we did not. That's about it,” Warriors coach Paul Haley said. “They were ready to play and we came out a little flat and by the time we had a chance to gather ourselves, we were in a hole and we're not built to come out of a hole too much. They had our number today. We had theirs last week, they had ours today.”
Multidimensional senior star Easton Tanner played a hand in all five of Maple Grove’s touchdowns, throwing for two, running for two and catching one. Both of Tanner’s passing completions went for scores, one to quarterback Carson Crist (who went 9-for-15 for 230 yards) and one to Zach Hendrick. He added a game-best 162 rushing yards and 134 receiving yards.
Salamanca played without one of its senior leaders, wide receiver/safety Tyler Hedlund, who came down with mono this week. Additionally, two-way lineman Dylan Jimerson sat out after an ejection in last week’s game.
“That's a big loss for us,” Haley said of Hedlund. “He's one of, if not the best, defensive player in the Big 30 and to lose him on Thursday morning, it's tough to adjust to.
“We lost Dylan last week because of a questionable call. Now our offensive line we've got to shuffle a little bit. But it is what it is. The next guy has got to step up, you've got to roll and we just couldn't get rolling.”
Fullback Tristen Gillette led the Warriors with 65 rushing yards while Ira John had 56 and Xavier Taylor had 47, including the team’s only touchdown, an eight-yard run in the third quarter.
Ezra Stahlman, Kawliga Stahlman, Asa John and Mitchell Gregory each had a sack for Salamanca and Zach Helms recovered a fumble.