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Salamanca rallies for thrilling shootout victory over Fredonia

Sam Wilson, Salamanca Press

FREDONIA — At the midpoint of the high school football regular season, the Salamanca football team faced a test to see just how far it’s come since Week 1.

Rolling into Fredonia’s Orange Bowl at 2-1 to face the undefeated Hillbillies, the Warriors also had a chance to avenge their lone regular season loss from last season: a 42-19 setback at home against the eventual 2021 division champions. And on Friday night, the Warriors returned the favor, giving Fredonia its first loss in a Section 6 Class C South thriller.


The Warriors rallied out of a 10-point deficit in the first half to knock off Fredonia in a 40-30 shootout.

Salamanca made its impact on the ground with 300 rushing yards to Fredonia’s 49, while the Hillbillies threw for 309 yards to Salamanca’s 101.

“That game had a feel of four quarters the entire way,” Salamanca coach Chad Bartoszek said. “That game had a feel. Fredonia's a great team over there. It wasn't going to be won on our first touchdown or their first touchdown. It's hard not to get emotionally high, and it's even harder not to let the lows get to you. It just felt like that was one of those last-possession games. A lot of that is just a credit to who Fredonia is and our offense was clicking a little bit today.”

TRAILING 17-7 midway through the second quarter, Salamanca responded to a Fredonia field goal with a nine-play, 67 yard drive that included a 23-yard run on fourth and 12 from its own 31. Lined up for a punt, Jaxson Ross fielded the snap, took a step to the right for a roll-out punt and saw a clear path, taking off down the Warriors’ sideline. Jesse Stahlman’s 3-yard run cut the lead to 17-14 and the Warriors made a fourth-down stop at their own 6-yard line with under a minute to play in the half to keep it a one-score game.