Salamanca rolls to 4-1 with 41-8 win over Fredonia
By VINNY PEZZIMENTI Special to the Press
All Salamanca football coach Chad Bartoszek could do was shake his head and smile.
Shake his head because non-football related injuries knocked out two of his top playmakers before Friday’s meeting with Fredonia. Smile because the Warriors easily overcome the bumps and bruises for a 41-8 Section 6, Class C South triumph over the Hillbillies at Veterans Memorial Park.
“I told (the players) I wanted to be mad after the game because of some of the stuff we went through this week,” Bartoszek said of injuries that sidelined wideouts Lucas Brown and Arlen Newark, who had combined for 18 receptions and nine touchdowns.
“But they’re kids. I’m just so proud of how they responded. There’s no doubt they’re playing at a high level.”
The Warriors (4-1) ripped off their fourth straight victory and stayed atop the C South standings at 4-0. They’ve scored over 40 in three of those games, and their margin of victory is 25.5 points per contest.
In all, Salamanca has outscored foes 148-46.
Against Fredonia (1-4, 0-4), facing its own slew of injuries, the Warriors jumped out to a 20-0 halftime edge and led 35-0 before sending in the backups.
“This was a big league game for us,” Bartoszek said. “I know Fredonia is going through some injuries. We all understand and respect what’s going on there. But it’s still Fredonia, and we still needed to win this one.”
The Hillbillies were without starting quarterback Davion White, top rusher Sam Atzrott and No. 1 receiver Jameson Quinn. The trio had accounted for 14 touchdowns.
With the Warriors struggling to run the ball against Fredonia’s big and physical front, the quarterback duo of Maddox Isaac and Jaxson Ross made sure Salamanca didn’t miss a beat on offense. The two combined for three rushing touchdowns and two more through the air.
When Isaac twice went out with minor injuries, Ross kept the offense moving. The results again validated Bartoszek’s call to rotate the junior Isaac and senior Ross.
“They’re both capable,” Bartoszek said. “I feel comfortable with both of them. Both of them play both ways (offense and defense), so it’s a benefit. It hasn’t affected our rhythm yet. The setup right now is that these two guys come (to play) week after week. They’re leaders and we want to make sure that we’re highlighting them.”
Isaac (4 of 6 passing for 121 yards and 59 rushing yards) started the scoring for Salamanca with a 42-yard rush. Ross (2 of 3 passing for 39 yards and 45 rushing yards) followed on the next series with a 15-yard TD pass to Payton Bradley and added a two-yard score on the ground before halftime.
Isaac accounted for a pair of scores in the third quarter – a 50-yard pass to Cory Holleran and a 15-yard run.
Salamanca’s final touchdown came on Joshua Auman’s 46-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“They have a good team,” Fredonia coach Greg Sherlock said of the Warriors. “You’re not going to hold them down forever. If you don’t score it becomes lopsided real quick.”
He added: “Salamanca’s kids come hard. We knew that.”
Fredonia’s touchdown came on a 77-yard run from Luca Gullo, who had 164 yards on 23 carries.
Lineman Warrick Kyler had an interception on a tipped pass, which led to Salamanca’s first touchdown. The Warriors also recovered two fumbles.
Salamanca quarterback Jaxson Ross dives into the end zone for touchdown in Friday’s Class C South game against Fredonia at Veterans Memorial Park. (P-J photo by Tim Frank)
Greater challenges await Salamanca over the final three weeks of the regular season. It starts with unbeaten Clymer/Sherman/Panama in a non-leaguer and follows with league clashes against Southwestern and Portville. The Trojans are also unbeaten in Class C games and the Panthers are close behind.
“You don’t want to look ahead,” Bartoszek said. “But CSP, Southwestern and Portville are playing at a really high level. This is the exciting part. We’ve all got to find our best football, and we’ve got to get healthy, for sure.”