Warriors adjust early to romp past Eden in home opener
By PHIL AMEELE
Press Sports Editor
With seven minutes gone in Saturday night's home football opener, Salamanca trailed by 6-0 after Eden had marched 85 yards on its first possession.
Things were not looking well at that time but it was only three minutes later when the Warriors tied the game and began to dominate.
That domination allowed Eden only 50 more rushing yards and no points while the Warriors were running and forcing turnovers in the 36-6 victory.
A total of 10 Warriors piled up 315 yards rushing while the defense forced Eden into five turnovers and held them to just 2 19 possession time in the second quarter.
"We were really worried at the beginning.'' said Salamanca coach George Whitcher. "We went with pretty much the same things we did last year while we were not sure what Eden was going to do and had to adjust on the fly."
"Eden went from a 40 defense to a 50" he added, "and we only had practiced against that about 40 minutes on Friday, but we picked up on our blocking assignments really well and our veteran linemen did a fine job. Mac MacLeod and Jim Knaus did good jobs at end. Dennis Titus had some super trap blocks and did a good job of pulling. Luen Fisher went against a physically tough kid and did well and Carl Muzi pulled out around the corner to lead the pitch "
Things started out a little precarious for the Warriors as they recovered their own fumble on the opening kickoff but only advanced to midfield before punting. Eden then put on an 85-yard drive on 10 rushing plays that ended as Bert Weidner went through right tackle for a 26-yard scoring jaunt with 4:45 left.
But the adjustments were made, with the help of co-captain Jay Haley and the speed of halfbacks Chris Krantz and Joel Whitcher, as it took just five plays before quarterback Todd Heidrick scored the first of his three touchdowns on bootlegs to tie the game with 2:04 remaining.
We got stellar performances from everyone in the backfield," said Whitcher and Heidrick had "one of the strongest performances we ever have had from a quarterback. His quickness and ball handling, along with his fakes to the ball carriers, helped him score three times off the bootleg and he is a fine open field runner."
After runs of 24 yards from Joel Whitcher up the middle and 16 yards off the right end from Krantz. Heidrick called his own number on second and nine from the 13 and went around the left side untouched for the tying touchdown.
"Our versatility on offense gives us enough variety." said Whitcher, "so that our opponents can't key on any one back. Ours is a four-back offense and we did not use our fullbacks that much but three averaged almost six yards per carry so our inside game is there."
"We just took what they were giving us," he added, "as our ends were blocking nicely so it was possible to go to the outside. MacLeod (at end) is always a threat with his speed and quickness so it opens other backs."
Heidrick and Joel Whitcher each rushed for 60 yards while Chris Krantz had five runs of 11 yards or more and ended with 12 carries for 105 yards.
Eden was stopped at fourth-and-two on its second possession and had to punt as MacLeod ran that back deep into Eden territory but a clip was called, forcing the Warriors to start from their own 33 early m the second quarter.
Krantz began with a 22-yard scamper but a third-and-14 pass to MacLeod for 15 yards was necessary to gain the tint flown at the Warriors' 44.
Krantz then took off again for 11 yards, Whitcher followed with a six-yard gain and Krantz came back for three more before Heidrick bootlegged again, this time to the right, for 19 yards and another six points.
Whitcher ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-6 lead with 7:04 to half time. The Warrior defense then took over as end Jim Knaus sacked Eden passer Jeff Ermi for a seven-yard loss and two incomplete passes forced Eden to punt as the Warriors took over at their own 38. Mike Whitcher then got his only carry at fullback for 10 yards, Krantz and Joel Whitcher combined for 17 yards on the next two plays and Heidrick pushed through on a delay up the middle for 11 yards to the Eden 23.
An illegal procedure penalty put the hosts back to a first-and-15 situation but Krantz slanted right for 19 yards and Joel Whitcher took off around left end for nine more yards and six more points. Krantz got the two-point conversion run for a 22-6 lead with 2:05 left until halftime.
A little later, MacLeod got the Warriors first interception of the season at his own 17 yard line and the Warriors ran out the clock. Eden's first two tries of the second half resulted in fumbles that Mike Colton and Haley recovered and the Warriors made use of for a 36-6 lead with 44 seconds left in the third quarter.
Heidrick bootlegged for his third touchdown on a 16-yard jaunt and then passed over the middle to MacLeod who crossed into the end zone for the final score. Ed Dry ran in the conversion after Heidrick's score.
"I was concerned about Krantz, said Whitcher "because of a knee bruise be has had for two weeks. But he was just outstanding, running with speed and authority over people and fighting for yardage which gave us a tremendous lift. Joel Whitcher is a gutty-runner with good speed who only ran once to the outside and scored on it. Fullback Ed Dry just levels off and runs hard and blocks well while Mike Whitcher just devastated his man a few times and worked well at faking outside and picking up the ends on pass protection."
"MacLeod is always a threat," be added, "as be draws attention going off the line of scrimmage. It gives us the ability to go deep with the ball while, on his touchdown, he cut across the grain and ran into the end zone with ease. Krantz showed great concentration on his catch (for 34 yards in the third quarter) as we sent three receivers into different areas and he pulled in the ball on his way down."
The four Eden fumbles were recovered by Mike Colton, Jay Haley, Todd Titus and Mike Whitcher and two led to Warrior touchdowns.
"We expected some turnovers," said Whitcher, "but figured there would be more in the backfield. Eden was so big that we tried to play the gaps with the ends going to the fullback but Eden did a nice job of mixing it up on us."
"We then decided to quit playing the gaps (after the first series)," he added, "and go in with our heads up to the fullback We did not really pressure but read the defense and most of Eden's yards were gained on their first series."
"Dennis Titus and Haley, our linebackers, did the bulk of the tackling," he went on, "while Mike Whitcher got two sacks and Knaus one to put good pressure on while Don John shut off the middle. It worked on the adjustments the kids made and the way they went to the ball."
Salamanca enters its Division VII slate Saturday at 2 p.m. at Pioneer, a club that many feel is one of the ones to beat.