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Salamanca rolls to 3-0 with 41-12 win over A-L

By Sam Wilson | Sports Editor, Salamanca Press

In his first full varsity game, Maddox Isaac didn’t play much like a freshman quarterback, and gave Salamanca a balanced offensive attack Friday night.

Isaac, playing in place of injured senior starter Hayden Hoag, threw three first-half touchdowns — including two to sophomore Lucus Brown — and, combined with a power rushing game from running backs Jesse Stahlman and J.T. Aumun, sparked a 41-12 Class C South victory over Allegany-Limestone at Veterans Memorial Park.

Brown, in his first game of the season, took his first catch for 59 yards on a deep throw by Isaac, giving Salamanca some breathing room after a first-quarter A-L touchdown briefly cut the Warriors’ lead to 7-6.

Salamanca (3-0, 2-0) showed no signs of emotional hangover after a thrilling 14-13, last-minute victory over Southwestern the week before.

“After last week's high, the biggest challenge was just the mental aspect, ‘how are we going to respond?’ Then when you get to an actual reality of a game, you do have a freshman quarterback,” Coach Chad Bartoszek said. “Allegany came with a defensive game plan to stop us on the run, they were everywhere and they did a nice job of just really bringing pressure. They were faster, more lateral than I thought they were going to be and we didn't have a lot of luck (running) outside or inside, we had to really pound it up in there.

“But the difference maker was obviously being able to throw the ball. Lucus Brown was back and Maddox was able to find open receivers. Having Lucus back just adds another complete dimension to these teams who really do want to stop our run game. I'm real happy we were able to show that side.”

Stahlman had 22 rushes for 151 yards and a touchdown, including 37- and 34-yard carries. Aumun had two TD runs, including a 44-yard burst in the fourth quarter.

Isaac went 7-of-10 passing for 201 yards, including four passes to Brown for 130 yards. Cole Hedlund had a touchdown catch and an interception for the Warriors.

Bartoszek praised Isaac for remaining poised under pressure and finding open receivers.

“I was really proud of how he handled some of the pressures, a couple of those touchdowns he got it pretty good,” Bartoszek said. “Allegany was bringing a lot of pressure, seven guys, so even on the touchdowns he was getting hit and the way he handled that was just amazing for a freshman. We don't want to put too much on him, we try to scheme up, we didn't run him as much as we probably would have Hayden, or a senior quarterback, but he can throw and he can read the field. Some of those touchdowns — or one touchdown and a third down (completion) — were his third read, which is pretty impressive for a freshman.”

Wearing a knee brace, Hoag dressed for the game in case of emergency after practicing late in the week but Salamanca’s coaching staff held him out to give the injury more rest.

“He wants to play, he was itching to play, he actually did practice Wednesday-Thursday, just not quite enough,” Bartoszek said. “We need to see a little more lateral movement, cuts, just to make sure. It's still tender, still braced.”

Four players returned to Salamanca’s lineup after missing the first two games due to COVID-related quarantine.

A-L quarterback Mike Frederick had a touchdown run and pass (to Andrew Giardini). A poor Salamanca punt snap put A-L in great field position, the Salamanca 14-yard line, for A-L’s first score. But after that, Salamanca didn’t allow another score until late in the fourth quarter.