Salamanca pulls off a snow-filled stunner

PORTVILLE — A lot can change in the span of two weeks.


Back on April 23, the Portville football team ran away with a 54-14 victory over Salamanca, flashing speed all over the field in a dominant second half. But on Sunday, in a Section 6 Class D semifinal and in some crucially different circumstances, the Panthers suffered a stunning upset at the hands of the Warriors, being shut out 6-0.


On a field made increasingly muddier by snow and rain showers, both teams ground to an offensive crawl most of the night. But Salamanca found the drive it needed in the game’s closing minutes.


Using six plays to move 57 yards in just under three minutes of game time, the Warriors punched in the game’s lone touchdown with :54.5 seconds remaining as senior quarterback Lucas McKenna took a shotgun snap to the right of his offensive line, beating the defense to the edge and racing to the end zone.


Second-year Salamanca coach Chad Bartoszek beamed with pride over the win, which sent the Warriors (4-2) to the Section 6 Class D championship game against No. 1 Franklinville/Ellicottville (5-1).


“Just ecstatic for our kids, they played their hearts out tonight,” Bartoszek said. “They gave everything they had and all I just kept thinking was, ‘they’re earning this win tonight.’ You don’t want to use the term ‘deserve,’ but man I was feeling it. They deserved that win. I was so pumped up and I’m just so glad we were able to finally put a drive together offensively because our defense was lights out the whole day, they were everywhere.


(Photo Courtesy, PA Football News - pafootballnews.com)


“Perspective-wise, I want these kids to really start believing. This is who they are. This is who they can be.”


MCKENNA ran for a team-high 68 yards on 14 carries.


Salamanca’s stingy defense took three turnovers from the Panthers as Ezra Stahlman, Amos Whitcomb and Tre Turner each recovered a fumb