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Salamanca finds a strong finish to put away A-L, 28-6

Sam Wilson, Salamanca Press

The statistics suggest a one-sided game, as does the final score.

But Friday night’s 28-6 victory over Allegany-Limestone came with some offensive issues early on for the Salamanca varsity football team. Thankfully for the Warriors, their defense kept them in the game long enough to figure out the other side.

Trailing 6-0 at halftime, A-L tied the game at 6-6 as Anthony DeCapua returned an early third-quarter punt for a touchdown. The Gators even forced a turnover and threatened to take a lead on the ensuing drive, but Salamanca’s Tayoni Galante blocked a field goal attempt and the Warriors rattled off three second-half touchdown drives to seal the game.

“First and foremost it was our defense that held us in (the game),” Salamanca coach Chad Bartoszek said. “Our defensive staff had a gameplan and our guys were really flying to the ball. We didn't give up really any big plays, which is going to be huge for us going forward. We're a tough defense to drive on consistently. We didn't give up any big plays really. Only score was a punt return. That allowed us later in the game to really come back to more of a power style.”

Salamanca running back Jesse Stahlman finished with another strong statline, gaining 124 yards including two second-half touchdowns on 24 carries (5.2 yards per). Quarterback Maddox Isaac and Galante, a tight end, also had touchdown runs. Isaac had seven carries for 66 rushing yards, the bulk of them on a 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

“We were trying to run the ball all day, it just took time,” Bartoszek said. “They had so many bodies in there and towards the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, we just finally started to get a little bit of a push, started to wear them down just a little bit. It doesn't take a lot to break Jesse free or to break Maddox, (who) had a huge run. But you can't do it when they're stuffing every gap, so it was tough sledding. I give those guys credit, they had the kids ready.

“We were in a tough spot in the third quarter. We just turned the ball over 6-6 and they had the ball in our territory and it was just our defense stopped them, Tayoni Galante blocked a field goal and from there on out our guys were pumped up and just had a great few drives.”

Salamanca’s passing game had mixed results as Isaac went 7-of-16 for 74 yards and an interception. Galante again led Salamanca receivers with five catches for 45 yards.

Salamanca held a 341-121 advantage in total yards, including a 267-45 advantage in rushing. But three Warrior turnovers, to two for the Gators, helped keep the game close for most of the night.

“You're not going to be able to maintain success when you're turning the ball over like that,” Bartoszek said. “That's something we've got to fix. We had a fumble or two last game (at Cleveland Hill) and those are just killers. They're drive killers. And once people see that, other teams see that, they start punching and ripping. So that's something we're going to have to practice, keep an eye on.

“The other part was just their defensive gameplan was tough to move the ball on. They had a great plan, coaches did a good job getting them prepped to stop our run game and when they have that many in the box, you'