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Salamanca Upends Springville In Opener On The Road

SPRINGVILLE — In their return to the gridiron for the 2021-22 school year, the Salamanca Warriors didn’t miss a beat from where they left off last season. In fact, they looked just as hungry as before, despite losing a number of good players.

The Warriors pounded the Springville Griffins, 36-8, at Springville High School on Friday night.

Simply put, the Griffins did not have an answer for the combined rushing attack of Salamanca running back Jesse Stahlman and quarterback Hayden Hoag as the new-look Warriors put up a familiar result.

“You don’t know when you lose a lot of players; we lost a pretty good team,” said Salamanca coach Chad Bartoszek. “The guys stepped up today and played tough Warrior football. I told them how proud I was. You just don’t know in week one.”

The Warriors got off to a quick start, specifically in the hands of Stahlman, who took the first handoff of the game 24 yards and immediately into Springville territory. The Warriors did hit a bit of a snag, as Hoag fumbled consecutive snaps to set up a third-and-11 at the Griffins’ 28-yard line, but Stahlman ripped off a 10-yard carry to set up fourth-and-2, which he then also converted on his own. The Warriors got it inside the Griffins’ 5 before Stahlman finished the job and gave the Warriors an early 6-0 lead.

Cross Training Character recipients from Friday night’s Salamanca vs Springville game. Left to right: Springville Head Coach Brian Kader, #10 Thomas Orndorff, #77 Kody Shinners, Salamanca Head Coach Chad Bartoszek.

For as good as the Warriors offense was in the first half, their defense was every bit as good. The Warriors forced punts on Springville’s first two drives while allowing just one first down.

The second quarter began with a punt and would be the quarter during which the Warriors did most of their damage.

On their first drive, Stahlman ripped off 26 yards on two carries, and while the Griffins forced the Warriors into a fourth-and-15, Hoag dropped a dime to receiver Cole Hedlund for a 31-yard score, extending the lead to 12-0. Bartoszek said that he wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from his new quarterback but was pleased with the results by the end of the game.

“You have to see the game in live game speed,” Bartoszek said. “You have to be able to execute. You don’t get that in practice as fast as you want to go, but it was good to see it on the field. He needed that experience; this was his first game at the varsity level.”

The Warriors forced another punt on defense, as they continued to dominate that side of the ball.

On their ensuing possession, Stahlman had a couple nice carries once again, keeping the momentum. On a second-and-10 from the Springville 40, Hoag took a quarterback keeper to the house and found Hedlund on the 2-point conversion to extend the lead to 20-0.

It looked as though Springville would have some life at the end of the first half after a Salamanca fumble set the Griffins up with their first possession inside Salamanca territory.

Despite the lopsided final score, Salamanca lost the turnover battle, which Bartoszek said was something his team needs to be able to clean up.

“We’re going to have to improve,” Bartoszek said. “We had miscues and a couple turnovers, but the mentality is there. We have some ballers.”

The defense held firm once again. The Warriors forced Springville into a fourth-and-15, and the Griffins failed to convert. The Warriors took the ball back with under a minute to go, as Hoag found Hedlund on the sideline for a quick 36-yard gain. After an incomplete pass and a 9-yard rush by Stahlman, Hoag called his own number once again, scoring from 6 yards out, and converting the two points once again, giving the Warriors a commanding 28-0 halftime lead.

All told, at the end of the first half, the Warriors had more touchdowns than Springville had first downs.

“Kody Shinners was just everywhere on the defensive line,” Bartoszek said. “He dominated and couple that with our senior line of Tre Turner and Eion Quiqley and junior Jaxon Tarr. They really set the tone, and Jesse (Stahlman) was dynamite on both sides of the ball.”

The dominance by Salamanca dwindled in the second half. The Warriors did tack on a touchdown after forcing another punt in the third quarter with Hoag hitting another long pass for a touchdown, this time for 30 yards.

The Griffins finally found the scoreboard on their last drive of the game, with just a minute to go on the clock, as Colton Baker punched one in from 4 yards out to break the shutout.

Stahlman led the Warriors on the ground with 14 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown, a majority of which came in the first half, while adding a sack on the defensive side of the ball. Hoag finished the game with seven carries for 73 yards and two scores, while going 4 of 7 for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the air. Hedlund ended the day hauling in three catches for 74 yards.

The Warriors will face the daunting task of the Southwestern Trojans next Friday in West Ellicott. Bartoszek knows that will be a difficult task, but the Warriors are ready to play their game.

“They’re a great program with a great quarterback,” Bartoszek said, “but we’re going to play our game and compete and we’re expecting a battle for sure.”

ANTHONY DOLCE - Jamestown Post Journal

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