CATTARAUGUS — After showing glimpses in the season opener against Randolph a week ago, Salamanca's new offense — the Lucas McKenna show — showed up in full force in a Week 2 visit to Cattaraugus-Little Valley.
On a brutally windy night, the Warriors amassed 321 yards on the turf at C-LV, pulling away in the second half for a 35-6 victory, the first under new Salamanca coach Chad Bartoszek. McKenna, Salamanca’s junior quarterback, completed 10-of-15 passes for 113 yards and ran 19 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
“He's a warrior for us,” Bartoszek said of McKenna. “He's what we go to when we need (a play). He knows the offense, he's running the show well. He's the one that's making the big play when need one.”
After the third quarter burned Salamanca (1-1) last week against Randolph, this time the Warriors took control for good against the T-Wolves just before halftime and into the third.
After taking a 14-0 lead, Salamanca allowed a 29-yard fourth-down touchdown pass from C-LV’s Nick Burroughs to Sully Higgins. The T-Wolves followed up on the score by recovering an onside kick, a well-placed squib. But on the third play after the onside kick, Salamanca’s Austin Maybee intercepted Burroughs and set up a 44-yard touchdown drive in the final 1:11 of the half, capped by a McKenna throw to running back Isaac Brown for a 22-6 halftime lead.
“We talked about playing a half, two quarters, last week,” Bartoszek said. “I feel like we played three good quarters this week. The second quarter, that wind messed with us a little bit, got away from us, shortened the field. The things that slow you down slowed us down and getting the ball back and scoring before half was a big turning point in our season. I think we (saw) a little bit of adversity and overcame it. These kids want this one. They need this motivation and I'm just happy for them.”
Bartoszek credited his players, and specifically Maybee, for turning the game around after C-LV’s touchdown.
“Austin Maybee made a good read on it and made a big play,” he said. “We can talk all we want as coaches, but the greatest factor on our team, (greatest) influence, is their teammates. A teammate makes a big play and that sparks the team. We talked about it at halftime. They held it together as teammates. Coaches can only talk so much. We had a guy make a play and that's kind of what swung it there.”
Salamanca’s lead running back, Brown, had 70 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and caught two passes, including a touchdown, for 22 yards. Maybee had a team-high 53 receiving yards on three catches, including a touchdown.
“They were blitzing the house, running a cover zero because of the wind,” Bartoszek said. “We knew it was hard to throw.
“We had to switch things up a little bit and (Maybee) caught it when he had to. Those plays are plays we're going to need to make.”
Throwing against, or with, the wind presented some challenges to the Warriors’ passing game.
“It's hard, this has got to be up in the 20s or 30s here,” Bartoszek said, referring to the wind mile-per-hour. “Even running our horizontal screens and stuff was difficult. So we had to kind of fine-tune what we were doing. It was good for us because it was a little bit of a gut-check for our guys.”
For C-LV coach Tim Miller, it was still a step forward after a 54-0 season-opening loss at John F. Kennedy last Saturday. But any “momentum” the T-Wolves gained disappeared in the third quarter, when Salamanca dominated possession thanks to a 13-play drive, then a C-LV three-and-out, followed by a Warrior touchdown drive and fumbled kick return for C-LV.
“We got a little momentum rolling and the kids built a little confidence getting a nice goal line stand there, too,” Miller said. “But we ran three plays in the third quarter. It's hard to capitalize on anything when you run three plays in any quarter of any football game. From last week to this week, I'm extremely pleased with the strides we made. From a score standpoint it doesn't look like it, but we were a way better football team that we were last week. We played better defensively. Once we got our feet under us and figured a few things out on offense, we did better there, but we've still got a long way to go.”
Salamanca's Jarrett McKenna and C-LV's Higgins earned Section 6 Character Athlete of the Game honors.
Burroughs and Hunter Furl had 35 rushing yards each for the T-Wolves (0-2). Burroughs moved from running back to quarterback after an early shoulder injury to starter Justin York.
“Justin banged up his shoulder a little bit, so that made it an easy decision for us, but I think it was something we were going to go to tonight anyway,” Miller said of playing Burroughs at quarterback. “Teams want to just pile everybody in the box because we aren't much of a throwing threat, so if we don't spread 'em out and give ourselves some room to throw the football, we're our own worst enemy. You saw that in the first quarter. When we ran with the quarterback under center, we couldn't get anywhere, they were all packed in there. So spread 'em out, moving 'em around is the way to go.”
Miller sees a few positives in the fact that his team played a competitive half despite putting up very little offense.
“You look at the first half, despite the fact that we barely moved the football, we had a game where we were right in the thick of it,” he said. “That late touchdown really hurt, but we stood toe to toe with them and we battled. We did not do that last week, I did not see that kind of fight from our kids. That's the biggest thing that I'm going to hang my hat on, is that our kids showed up to play tonight. We just now need to show up and play with fewer mistakes.”
Salamanca 14 8 7 6 — 35
Cattaraugus-LV 0 6 0 0 — 6
Salamanca — Isaac Brown 2 run (7 plays, 47 yards); kick blocked, 6-0
Salamanca — Lucas McKenna 19 run (7 plays, 47 yards); Jarrett McKenna pass from Lucas McKenna, 14-0
Catt-LV — Sully Higgins 29 pass from Nick Burroughs (5 plays, 40 yards); run failed, 14-6
Salamanca — Isaac Brown 14 pass from Lucas McKenna (6 plays, 44 yards after Austin Maybee interception); Lucas McKenna ru, 22-6
Salamanca — Maybee 27 pass from Lucas McKenna (5 plays, 46 yards); Aly Hill kick, 29-6
Salamanca — Lucas McKenna 22 run (7 plays, 38 yards after fumble recovery); kick failed, 35-6
First Downs 16 6
Rushes-Yards 39-208 32-94
Passing Yards 113 29
Comp-Att-Int 10-15-0 1-3-1
Total Offense 321 123
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 4-3
Penalties-Yards 8-65 1-5
Punts-Avg 2-21 4-27.5
Total Plays 54 35