There Will Be Respect On Both Sidelines In Class D
When Franklinville/Ellicottville and Salamanca take the field tonight with the Section VI Class D championship on the line, their head coaches may both feel like they are on the wrong sideline.
Second-year Warriors head coach Chad Bartoszek was the head man for the Titans for the first five years of their merger after leading Ellicottville for the final season of its independent existence.
Marsh, on the other hand, was the head coach of the Warriors for nine years through 2014 before eventually being hired to replace Bartoszek when he left for his alma mater.
The two have known each other for years because when Marsh took over the Salamanca program in 2005, Bartoszek was one of his first assistant coaches.
“I knew Chad was a good coach. He always does everything with a lot of energy and has a great passion for the game,” Marsh said Wednesday night. “He was definitely somebody you wanted to have around your program.”
The pair worked together for “three or four years,” according to Bartoszek before he took a job in the Portville school district.
“Schematically, things are similar. I’m sure we are probably using similar language in our play calling,” Bartoszek said Wednesday evening. “He has a couple of different things he likes to do and I do, too. We’re pretty close on quite a few things.”
Undoubtedly, they’ve rooted for each other week in and week out the past two seasons — except when they were playing each other.
Tonight they’ll have their own teams’ interests at heart.
Salamanca, a two-time Section VI Class B champion (1982, ’84) and seven-time Class C champion (’86, ’90, ’93, ’96, ’98, ’99, 2001) is looking for its first Class D title.
“Chad went in there and he’s changed the culture of the program,” Marsh said. “He definitely was the right person for the job down there. The kids are buying in to what he’s putting out.”
Franklinville/Ellicottville, on the other hand, has one sectional crown as a merged program — that came in 2015 when the Titans beat Frewsburg 34-7.
Since then, Franklinville/Ellicottville has lost three finals, including a 22-0 defeat at the hands of eventual New York State Public High School Athletic Association champion Clymer/Sherman/Panama in 2019.
“The seniors, for some of them, it’s the last football game they’ll ever play. They’re looking forward to sealing the deal this year,” Marsh said. “We came up short last year. They want to make amends on that. They want to go out and get a win this year.”
“I have a ton of respect for that program and I really respect those kids. They work their tails off,” Bartoszek said. “Even last year when they played C/S/P we were rooting for them just because of the relationships. (But) this is the year that we’re looking to take a step.”
The Warriors made it into tonight’s final by upsetting No. 2 seed Portville 6-0 in a cold, snowy, sloppy game on Mother’s Day in Portville.
“I do think it was building,” Bartoszek said of his team’s momentum. “I felt confident in our ability to compete with Portville the first time we played. Even going into halftime I was very happy with where we were at.”
The Panthers had beaten Salamanca 54-14 on April 23.
“It didn’t feel like a 54-14 game,” Bartoszek said. “We saw a lot of good things. They outplayed us and they deserved that score, but going into last week the kids weren’t shying away from it.”
Franklinville/Ellicottville has won five straight game since a season-opening nonleague loss to Akron. That streak began with a 7-0 shutout of Salamanca on April 9 and includes last week’s 34-8 semifinal win over Randolph.
In addition to the head coaches, there are many familiar faces on both sidelines.
Bartoszek has several Salamanca-raised assistant coaches on his staff, including Aaron Hill, Dustin Ross, Paul Furlong, Paul Haley, Travis Happoldt, Ray Haley, Seth Hostuttler and Jerry Parisi.
“I couldn’t do anything without these guys. It’s a great staff. They are supportive of all the things that we’ve changed and evolved over the last couple of years,” Bartoszek said. “They are just all in. They are committed and it’s starting to resonate. The kids are really seeing it.”
Likewise, Marsh’s staff includes longtime assistants Chris Mendell, Mark Blecha, Scott Palmatier, Joe Myers, Justin Tatlow, Bill Delity and Allan Dunlap.
“The amount of experience with that coaching staff is unparalleled. We have guys who have been coaching football well over 20 years. You take that experience and add it together, it’s just fantastic to work with,” Marsh said. “Any one of these guys could be a head coach anywhere else or within our program.”
Even the players at Franklinville/Ellicottville are familiar to Bartoszek, who coached this year’s seniors as sophomores during his final year with the Titans.
That said, he wants his current players to walk off the field as sectional champions tonight, much like he did in 1996 and 1998 as a Warrior himself.
“Part of the reason to want to coach in Salamana and come back here was just to help these kids and this program have an opportunity like this,” Bartoszek said. ” We’re working hard … our kids and our community are rallying around that. These kids are building confidence. For me, it’s mostly pride.”
Matt, Spielman, Post-Journal