Isaac-Galante connection sparks Warriors' win at Cleve Hill
Sam Wilson, Salamanca Press
The Salamanca football team appears to have found a valuable weapon for its young quarterback over the middle: junior tight end Tayoni Galante.
On an afternoon when Cleveland Hill focused heavily on slowing down Warriors tailback Jesse Stahlman, Salamanca found success through the air with sophomore Maddox Isaac connecting with Galante six times for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Isaac’s 180-yard, three-touchdown day on 8-of-11 passing led Salamanca to a 34-8 non-league victory over the Golden Eagles, bouncing back to 1-1 after a loss to Randolph last week.
Salamanca had some near-misses on big plays in a scoreless first quarter, but strong together two touchdown drives in the second to take a 14-0 lead to halftime. Warriors coach Chad Bartoszek credited his team’s response to Cleveland Hill’s blitzing pass defense.
“They were coming. No. 3 (Larry Burgin) in the middle blitzing 8 gaps, it's just hard to block, it's hard to pick up every single time,” he said. “And you've got to be right every time, they've only got to be right every couple plays and you get a tackle for loss. So on our end, we wanted to come in and establish some physicality and it wasn't all there. We took some shots and they were there. There were spaces in the secondary. Our quarterback's capable. So Tayoni Galante is going to be a weapon for us, it was good to see.”
Arlen Newark had Salamanca’s two other catches for a total of 27 yards and a touchdown.
Stahlman, back in the lineup after an elbow injury forced him from last week’s Randolph game in the second half, still finished with a strong stat line: 20 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns. He started to find room for big plays, including a 34-yards touchdown run in the fourth quarter, in the second half.
“All eyes are on him throughout every game,” Bartoszek said. “There's an urge when you've got someone like him to just go, go, go, but the fact of the matter is when they've got eight, nine in the box we're going to have to throw the ball and that does open it up for him and he's a good closer for us. The third, fourth quarter, let's start getting him the ball and moving a little bit. He's just tough to deal with.”
The Warriors’ first win came at the cost of a valued lineman, junior Carson Mohr, who exited in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Bartoszek’s postgame comments immediately turned to concern for Mohr.
“That was needed,” he said of the win. “(But) we lost Carson. His shoulder's been bugging him and that hurt. He's been everything for us so far and it doesn't look good. It looks like he's going to have an injury that's going to last. So that's souring to taste a little bit. But just the way we responded: it was a hot day and we were still dogging a little bit, but it's good to get one.”
Salamanca’s defense held Cleveland Hill without an offensive score: the Eagles’ lone touchdown came on a 16-yard scoop and score fumble recovery by Burgin on a dropped reverse handoff early in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 14-8.
But Salamanca scored on its next three drives to balloon the lead to 34-8. The Warriors never punted: scoring five touchdowns, turning the ball over twice on fumbles and two more times on fourth down stops before running out the clock on the final drive.
“We did some things personnel package-wise to try to match up a little bit better, we sent some pressures off the edge a little bit more,” Cleveland Hill coach Glen Graham said of his defense. “But the biggest thing is just not letting yourself get out-leveraged and learning how to play when they come out with that student body right and left. That's the biggest thing. They're very good at what they do, and we've just got to get better at it.”
Stahlman and Quinton Jones each made a team-high five tackles, with Jones tallying three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Galante grabbed an interception, Arlen Newark recovered a fumble, Jaxon Tarr had a sack and Dekkyn Krantz was credited for a half-sack.
Graham, the longtime Cleveland Hill coach, said he’s glad his team started with two non-league games, giving the Golden Eagles a chance to learn from game film. Their inexperience showed on Saturday.
“They're very good at what they run and we've got just so many young guys running around,” Graham said. “We've got multiple sophomores all over the place, guys who just don't have a lot of varsity experience or football experience. So when we start getting to see counter games, unbalanced formations, things like that, even those things we prepared for in practice, it's different seeing it full speed. They've got a very good team with a lot of returning players and the inexperience just got to us today.”
Salamanca 0 14 13 7 — 34
Cleveland Hill 0 0 8 0 — 8
Salamanca — Tayoni Galante 30 pass from Maddox Isaac (8 plays, 73 yards); Archer Newark kick, 7-0
Salamanca — Arlen Newark 21 pass from Isaac (5 plays, 54 yards); Arc. Newark kick, 14-0
Cleveland Hill — Larry Burgin 16 fumble return; Amarion Spivey pass from Zach Phillips, 14-8
Salamanca — Jesse Stahlman 10 run (4 plays, 63 yards); Arc. Newark, 21-8
Salamanca — Galante 11 pass from Isaac (3 plays, 27 yards after Arl. Newark fumble recovery); kick failed, 27-8
Salamanca — Stahlman 34 run (2 plays, 50 yards); Arc. Newark, 34-8
First Downs 20 6
Rushes-Yards 39-155 35-100
Passing Yards 180 12
Comp-Att-Int 8-11-0 4-7-1
Total Offense 315 112
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-45 9-55
Punts-Avg 0-0 3-27.0
Total Plays 50 42