Salamanca sets sights on the top with new exciting style
BIG 30 FOOTBALL PREVIEW NO. 10 - By SPENCER BATES, Olean Times Herald
The Salamanca Football team has checked off program goals with each passing season and according to head coach Chad Bartoszek, his squad have now set its sights on a sectional crown.
Last season the Warriors finished with a 4-1 league record and found themselves one step away from an appearance at Highmark Stadium for the sectional final. However, they fell short against Lackawanna which brought the season to what Bartoszek described as a “bittersweet” end.
“Although (the sectional semifinal) didn’t turn out the way we wanted to, we had a really good season,” he said. “We created an identity throughout the course of the year with Jesse Stahlman and Tayoni Galante. We were downhill, we were physical, but we sprinkled in big plays when we needed them … The season was another step in the right direction. We won a home playoff game, we went to Lackawanna and we were right there. I was proud of [our team].
Pictured are 21 members of the 2023 Salamanca football team. Last season the Warriors went 7-3 overall (4-1 league) with a loss in the sectional semifinal. Front row (from left): Maddox Isaac, Jaxson Ross, Kyle Lecceardone, Arlen Newark, Cory Holleran, Kruz Coustenis, Dakota Colts, Colton Taylor. Back row: Dekkyn Krantz, Lucus Brown, Payton Bradley, Warrick Kyler, Keegan Hardy, Jacob Johnson-Drain, Tayoni Galante, Carmine Hoag, Carson Mohr, Camden Farmer, Joshua Auman, Cameron Mcgraw, Zachary Trietley.
Entering his fifth year in charge, Bartoszek could not discuss last year’s success without mentioning star player Jesse Stahlman, who unfortunately picked up an injury right before sectionals. Stahlman’s fast and aggressive style was a benefit to the Warriors in more ways than one and played a central role in the identity they formed last season.
“He was our identity and I think the rest of the team found their roles around him,” Bartoszek said. “The reason we started to really produce is our quarterbacks and receivers, they started to realize that he was taking up a lot of attention and we started to hit some big passes. He’s an all-state linebacker, first team, we haven’t had one of those in a long time and he deserved it. But he didn’t get to finish it out, which was sad and unfortunate.”
Bartoszek is happy with the numbers he has this season and said that it is a result of the successful product that the previous years have delivered.
“We’re probably an above average roster in terms of just numbers,” he said. “At the varsity level, we’re going to be sound. The players returning are ready to take the next step … We ended last year telling that group that they reestablished the bar … These guys are ready to take the next step. That’s been the theme here.”
As for the gaps that have been left behind by Stahlman, Big 30 All-Star lineman Jaxon Tarr and others, Bartoszek has replacements lined up that he is confident in. He knows things will be different compared to the previous campaign, but still expects a well-constructed offense to emerge.
“We have skilled guys to fill the positions, they are just going to be different,” he said. “One thing we do have this year (is) skill guys on the outside. We have speed, guys who can make plays. I would like to get the ball in their hands in different ways and take the pressure off any one player and use the entire field. That leads to more possessions, more first downs and just a more complete offense.”
Included in the returners, Bartoszek has looked towards captain and tight end Tayoni Galante and quarterback Maddox Isaac, who will be leading the offense yet again this year, to emerge as leaders amongst others.
“Tayoni was a captain last year as a junior and he’s a returning captain this year,” Bartoszek said. “He’s arguably one of the best players in the Big 30 at this point … Maddox’s first reps came as a freshman and then last year took a huge step. Big numbers, big leadership, and huge plays. He’s really coming into his own and becoming a big time quarterback … Lucus Brown, Carmine Hoag, Arlen Newark, these guys are ready to roll.”
While last year’s identity was firmly set around the rushing prowess of Stahlman, this season it is about dynamism. Bartoszek wants his team to strive towards another level of speed and be able to bound over hurdles that may be in their way.
“You talk about identity, I think fast, speed, hit, aggressive. Those are some key words,” he said. “I would love to see, you know, the next level of speed … And that can lead to mistakes, but we have to overcome them and just play loose, play fast and hopefully it makes for exciting football.”
As a graduate of SHS, Bartoszek’s role as head coach comes with a different perspective on the game. Now with children in the district, he also coaches at the youth level. This has allowed him to get to know nearly every football hopeful in the area and work with nearly every coach. The entire Salamanca football community is now working in a synchronicity that Bartoszek has never seen before. This is what gives him hope for the future.
“The game of football is special to me, it wouldn’t matter where I was. I love it,” he said. “The biggest difference for me at my age from 10 years ago, is having two kids in the district. So I’m coaching the little leagues and I’m coaching (varsity). I basically know every football player in Salamanca, which is an awesome opportunity. I want this place to have a football product that they can be proud of. I want these kids to experience success. That comes from a lot of the program building that goes on from not just myself, but our high school staff and our youth coaches. Our youth coaches are connecting with us at a level I haven’t seen in my coaching past.
“We are all in line and we work together, we coach together, our kids are all together. So program wide, we’re all in sync and that community is leading to a certain identity, a certain program, a certain, hopefully, success level that continues.”
Bartoszek thinks the Warriors’ checklist of goals is nearing its completion. In his eyes, there is only one way to get to the top, take “the next step.”
“The (goal, our) first year was a winning record. The next year’s [was to] make playoffs, then a home playoff (game) and then win a playoff. We’ve done those in sequential order. So the next step is sectional finals. I don’t like setting the bar too high, I think that’s where we’re at. We all know things have to go well, injuries can already take place, but that’s where we’re at. And that’s the challenge we’re putting on ourselves.
“Realistically, it’s a long season. So in the back of your mind, you’re going day by day, but we’ve been talking about it for years now. Let’s get it done.”
THE RETURNING starters:
Cory Holleran, junior, 5-9, 160, wide receiver/defensive back
Maddox Isaac, junior, 5-10, 160, quarterback/defensive back
Carmine Hoag, senior, 6-1, 180, wide receiver/defensive back
Arlen Newark, senior, 5-9, 155, wide receiver/cornerback
Joshua Auman, senior, 5-11, 180, running back/cornerback
Cameron Mcgraw, senior, 5-10, 175, center/linebacker
Carson Mohr, senior, 5-11, 185, offensive line/defensive line
Dekkyn Krantz, senior, 5-10, 190, offensive line/defensive line
Keegan Hardy, senior, 6-2, 225, offensive line/defensive line
Tayoni Galante, senior, 6-1, 190, tight end/linebacker
ALSO LETTERING were:
Jaxson Ross, senior, 6-0, 215, quarterback/defensive end
Camden Farmer, senior, 5-10, 175, offensive line/linebacker
Seth Stahlman, senior, 5-10, 180, offensive line/defensive line
THE PLAYERS, by position:
Quarterbacks: Isaac, Ross
Running Backs: Auman, Zachary Trietley (jr., 6-0, 185),
Ends/Receivers: Hoag, Newark, Lucus Brown (sr., 6-0, 185), Holleran, Kyle Lecceardone (jr., 5-9, 155), Jake Herrick (jr., 5-9, 125), Dakota Colts (jr., 5-8, 145), Corey Bish (jr., 6-0, 165), Galante, Payton Bradley (so., 6-2, 180), Kruz Coustenis (jr., 5-10, 170), Colton Taylor (jr., 5-10, 160)
Guards/Tackles: Hardy, Krantz, Mohr, Stahlman, Farmer, Warrick Kyler (jr., 6-5, 285), Jacob Johnson-Drain (jr., 6-3, 260), Vann John (jr., 6-2, 250), Trente Ellis (jr., 5-9, 175), Brayden Wilson (so., 6-0, 175)
Centers: Mcgraw, Coustenis
Kickers: Newark, Ross
Ends: Ross, Kyler, Coustenis, Wilson, Bradley
Down Linemen/Tackles: Hardy, Krantz, Kyler, Mohr, Johnson-Drain, John, Ellis
Linebackers: Galante, Trietley, Auman, Hoag, Mcgraw, Farmer
Defensive Backs: Newark, Brown, Lecceardone, Isaac, Holleran, Herrick, Colts, Bish, Taylor
1 — Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.
8 — at Chautauqua Lake, 7 p.m.
16 — Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
22 — at Silver Creek, 7 p.m.
29 — Fredonia, 7 p.m.
7 — at Clymer/Sherman/Panama, 1:30 p.m.
13 — Southwestern, 7 p.m.
20 — at Portville, 7 p.m.