SALAMANCA — Trailing 6-0 after an early turnover cost his team some points, Jarrett McKenna made sure Salamanca would have a lead before its second offensive play of the postseason on Friday night.
Cattaraugus-Little Valley scored on a short field after recovering a fumble on the first play of the game, but McKenna return the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to tie it, 6-6. Three C-LV plays later, with the Timberwolves threatening to score again, McKenna scooped up a fumble and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown and a 12-6 lead. The Warriors never trailed again in a 40-12 Section 6 Class D football first round game.
McKenna earned a hat trick of sorts with a 35-yard touchdown catch from his brother, junior quarterback Lucas McKenna, early in the second quarter for a 20-6 lead. He finished with 78 receiving yards.
“I think we’ve been waiting for those type of plays all year,” Warriors coach Chad Bartoszek said, “not from Jarrett but just from a team member to step up, and we were down. I don’t know why, we had a great week of practice, we had a great warmup and all of a sudden we went flat for the first couple minutes. Then Jarrett singlehandedly said, ‘No, we’re going to stay in this game.’ We took the lead and we didn’t look back. That’s a senior captain really making his mark.”
Lucas McKenna finished the game at 6-for-11 for 160 passing yards and three touchdowns: to his brother Jarrett, Cole Hedlund (53 yards) and Jesse Stahlman (18 yards). Stahlman also had a rushing touchdown.
Nick Burroughs and Hunter Furl scored rushing touchdowns for C-LV, which finishes the season at 1-7. Furl had 11 carries for 113 yards, the longest on a 44-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.
A handful of negative plays, including sacks and bad snaps, pushed C-LV down to just 73 total yards on the game. Bartoszek liked the way his team’s defense adjusted after allowing the Timberwolves to score on the opening drive.
“Our alignment, assignment, we tend to get out of sorts offensively and defensively when we’re not 100 percent focused and all in,” Bartoszek said of his team’s slow start. “For some reason we just hit a lull and we were missing gaps and blitzing to the wrong places and the coaches knew that and reorganized, ‘Just settle in, do your job and good things start to happen.’”
Isaac Brown had a team-high 48 rushing yards on 10 attempts for Salamanca.
In next week’s semifinals, the Warriors will try to play No. 1 Franklinville/Ellicottville (7-0) closer than they did in Week 7, a 49-6 loss. The Warriors (4-4) will be without one of their top linemen, Kody Shinners, due to an ejection early on in Friday's game.
However next week turns out, Salamanca earned a win in its final game at the old Veterans Memorial Park field before renovations start next season.
“We are setting the bar high,” Bartoszek said in assessing this season. “Our expectation level is to compete for championships and these guys have hung in there all season. New coach, new coaching staff, relatively new personnel, big turnover and they’ve hung in there and got us to a 4-4 place.
“We’ve had some really good competition. Some of the best teams in the state are in our class, so there is a disparity game-to-game, but you’ve got to give it up for this group in particular, a small senior class, we only have a handful, and they held it together. So to say I’m proud is an understatement. For them to be able to give us, the community, a win on this field, a little going away present, a big playoff win.”
C-LV 6 0 0 6 — 12
Sala. 12 22 6 0 — 40
C-LV — Hunter Furl 6 run (5 plays, 28 yards), run failed, 6-0
Salamanca — Jarrett McKenna 80 kickoff return, kick blocked, 6-6
Salamanca — J. McKenna 92 fumble return, kick blocked, 6-12
Salamanca — J. McKenna 35 pass from Lucas McKenna (5 plays, 58 yards), J. McKenna pass from L. McKenna, 6-20
Salamanca — Jesse Stahlman 18 run (2 plays, 58 yards), Lucus Brown run, 6-28
Salamanca — Cole Hedlund 53 pass from L. McKenna (1 play, 53 yards), kick blocked, 6-34
Salamanca — J. Stahlman 12 pass from J. McKenna (4 plays, 26 yards), run failed, 6-40
C-LV — Furl 44 run (4 plays, 43 yards), run failed, 12-40
First Downs 6 11
Rushes-Yards 40-64 29-68
Passing Yards 9 160
Comp-Att-Int 1-2-0 6-11-0
Total Offense 73 228
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 5-30 8-47
Punts-Avg 7-28 2-29
Total Plays 42 40