Generations of Salamanca football players, coaches, teachers and alumni are invited to make one last trip to see the Warriors on the old Veterans Memorial Park field this Friday.
The Warriors play host to Franklinville/Ellicottville in the regular season finale. It’ll be the penultimate game on the old grass field, as the Warriors are set to host a playoff game next week, but the last regular season game there. When the Warriors return in 2021, it’ll be on an all-new turf as part of a major renovation.
It’s also Homecoming and Senior Night for the Warriors, who are set to graduate 11 seniors. Anticipating a big crowd, the school will open the back gate off of Front Ave for additional parking.
Dubbed “Pack the Park,” Salamanca will invite all alumni to take the field during halftime for photos via drone overhead.
Plans are also in the works for a special game night program featuring photos from old yearbooks commemorating the Warriors’ history on the Vets Park field. Other promotions including a kicking contest for who can make the longest field goal.
While the Warriors’ playoff seeding is essentially sealed at fourth — sitting a game behind Randolph and Clymer/Sherman/Panama but with losses against both for the head-to-head tiebreaker — it’ll be a chance to compete with one of the best small school teams in the state. The first-place Titans (6-0), coached by former Salamanca coach Jason Marsh, sat second in the state in Class D as of last week’s New York State Sports Writers Association football rankings.
Warriors coach Chad Bartoszek, the former F/E coach, hopes a big crowd gives his team a boost, and hopes they can compete better than they did against two other strong teams, Portville and Clymer/Sherman/Panama.
“We are celebrating it as the last game, the last regular season game,” Bartoszek said. “We're supposed to get a lot of alumni back and I think having that home game, it'll bring back quite a few of the alumni.
“This particular team, we just want to improve from what we did against some of the other good teams. We've got to have a good showing and compete out there. We didn't really compete real well against Portville and CSP. We've got to show a little bit of that fight. Hopefully some of that other motivation will help us out a little bit.”