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McKenna’s Late TD Leads Salamanca To 6-0 Upset Of Portville In Class D

PORTVILLE — Salamanca’s defense stood tall from start to finish in Sunday evening’s Section VI Class D football semifinal game.

The Warriors’ offense waited literally until the final minute.

Finally, senior quarterback Lucas McKenna found paydirt — or was that “paymud?” — on a 12-yard run with 54.5 seconds remaining to send Coach Chad Bartoszek’s crew to a 6-0 upset victory over No. 2 Portville in the rain and snow on Mother’s Day.

The win advances No. 3 Salamanca (4-2) into the title game against No. 1 Franklinville/Ellicottville (6-0). Meanwhile, the second-seeded Panthers (5-1), who defeated the same Warriors team, 54-14, a little more than two weeks ago ended their season 5-1.

“I’m just really happy for our kids,” Bartoszek said. “I don’t take a ton of this as my own doing. They’ve worked so hard in this weird season. It’s not like we’ve had a ton of kids. We’ve had varsity practices with 18 or 19 kids most of the year. We’ve called it the ’19 Strong’ most of the time, because the guys have been fighting all year, playing both ways, playing through injuries. … I just really wanted it for them. I felt they deserved it with the way they played. I hope they enjoy it as much as I am.”

Salamanca’s Lucus Brown makes a reception in front of Portville’s Bryce Findlay during the first half of Sunday’s Section VI Class D semifinal in Portville. P-J photo by Tim Frank

Bartoszek had reason to be proud of his team’s effort, as the Warriors contained Portville senior running back Jayden Lassiter — he came into the game with 739 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns — and never allowed him much room at all.

“Our defensive staff made a couple small adjustments,” Bartoszek said. “We’ve got a few dynamic players on the defensive line and we moved them around a little bit. We also put a ‘spy’ on (Lassiter) for most of the game and just layered our defense because he breaks a lot of tackles. He’s as tough as we’ve ever faced.”

As well as the defense played, there was still the very real possibility of overtime, because Salamanca had multiple trips deep into Portville territory earlier in the game come up empty. But with 3:30 remaining, the Warriors found their offensive footing.

Starting from their own 44-yard li