Warriors spring upset over Griffins at snowy Vets' Park
Springville unbeaten streak ends at 31 games -
By DAN SERNOFFSKY - Press Sports Editor
It was worth waiting for.
For seven weeks everyone watched and wondered as the Salamanca Warriors met team after team while always keeping an eye on the calendar, waiting for that final game with Springville, the game that was postponed in the second week of the season.
After all that waiting, the game finally arrived.
So did the Warriors.
In what had to be, purely and simply, a classic high school football game, the Salamanca Warriors dealt the Springville Griffins a 13-6 setback Friday night on a snow covered field at Veterans' Park.
Undaunted by the weather, about 2,500 fans filtered into the park, but never got the chance to settle back and enjoy things. Action was continuous, and every armchair quarterback there had a chance to guess what strategy would be used next, and then to comment on how something else would have worked better.
Salamanca's strategy was simple. Keep Springville as far away from the goalline as possible when giving them the ball. A couple of quick kicks and some stellar defense did just that.
For the Warriors, it was a fitting finale. to a season that left the feeling of frustration when four points might have been the difference between a 6-3 record and an 8-1 finish.
For the Griffins, it was a heartbreaker.
The loss ended Springville's 31 game winning streak and ended Griffin hopes for the 1975 New York State small school championship, a title the Griffins had been battling for for the past three seasons.
"Our kids played a tremendous game," beamed Warriors coach George Whitcher after the game. "We worked really hard for it, and about all I can say is that it was a great team win. It would be unfair to even try to point out individuals. Everyone did a fantastic job."
"Salamanca outplayed us. They deserved to win." said a disheartened Mick Nugent, Griffin head coach. "I think we played well, and I was pretty satisfied with the way we moved the ball, but Salamanca did the job. We tell our kids to go out there and do the best they can. and win or lose, if you do your best, you've got nothing to hang your head about. That's the way I feel about tonight. Our kids played well, but Salamanca played better." The key to the game was the weather. Although the field was in excellent condition, the snow on the ground left the ball wet, and combined with the cold, made the passing game difficult. That forced both teams to battle it out on the ground, and that turned things into a defensive battle.
Neither team managed to gain 100 yards via the rushing route, and, with the exception of Springville's second quarter touchdown drive, neither "was able to sustain much of a drive on any one series. Field position, from the opening kickoff on, loomed as a crucial factor, and the Warriors managed to maintain the field position.