Matt McCarthy had another impressive performance and Fredonia's defense did enough Friday night as the Hillbillies (3-0) upended Salamanca (2-1), 35-22, in Class C South football action at the Orange Bowl.
"Matt McCarthy came through again this week," Fredonia head coach Mike Marshall said. "He did the same thing last week. He ran the ball four times in the first quarter and scored three times. He's just a breakaway player. He's so hard to bring down and he just keeps on going. His motor just keeps on running."
McCarthy scored on runs of 31, 99 and 84 yards, and finished with 273 yards on 12 carries.
OBSERVER?Photo by Sean?Pecuch
Fredonia’s Matt McCarthy runs for one of his three touchdowns during Friday’s Class C?South high school football game against Salamanca. The junior rushed for 273 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 31 yards, 99 yards and 84 yards.
"He's fast, he's strong, he runs hard and he's tough to stop," Salamanca head coach Jason Marsh said of McCarthy. "And when you've got (John) Piper running and Weston Ley, I mean they have a lot of weapons and we knew that coming in. We didn't exactly make all of the plays we needed to, but I can't take anything away from Fredonia because they're a heck of a ball club and they made plays."
Ley had 66 yards on nine carries, including a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter while Piper finished 5 of 9 passing for 79 yards, 61 of which came on a touchdown pass to Nick Johnston on the Hillbillies' second drive of the game.
"That was nice," Marshall said of Piper's 61-yard touchdown to Nick Johnston. "When he's hot, he can throw a real nice ball."
McCarthy got the Hillbillies on the scoreboard first after his 31-yard scamper with 10:15 left in the first quarter, but it was his 99-yard touchdown that was his most important, as it came with the Hillbillies up 14-6 late in the first half.
After a Brandon Fish punt pinned Fredonia at its own 1-yard line, and a false start penalty backed the Hillbillies up even farther, McCarthy took the handoff through the Warriors' line for the game-changing, 99-yard score.
"It was definitely tough," Marsh said of McCarthy's touchdown late in the second quarter. "It's football. You've got to make plays and it was just an instance where we didn't make the play and they did and it killed us. It hurt, it really did. We had the momentum, we had them pinned down deep (in their own territory) and we thought if we could keep them there and get out of the half only down a score and get the ball at the half, we were feeling good."
Salamanca's offense did enough to keep the game within striking distance early, but Fredonia's defense bent more than it broke.
"They did the same type of thing, basically, that they did last week against Falconer," Marshall said. "One of my assistant coaches said in the third quarter that one of our problems is we score too fast. After three or four plays of offense, your defense is on the field for 15 or 20 plays. But the biggest thing is, we were able to keep them out of the end zone."
The Hillbillies allowed Cyrus Spruce to score on runs of 1, 12 and 29 yards while teammate Tyler Siperek led the Warriors with 161 yards on 28 touches.
"I do like the fact that we were able to move the ball," Marsh said. "I thought up front, our offensive line did a pretty good job. We opened up some holes and the running backs did a good job. We didn't capitalize on a couple of plays that we had that we needed to."
Salamanca finished with 351 yards on 48 carries.
"They're a tough team," Marshall added. "Anytime a team can just march the ball down the field - and that's what they did - three or four yards a carry and mix up their offense well, it's scary getting down there in the red zone. But we had some good red-zone defense."
On the season, Fredonia has outscored its opponents 132-36, but Marshall was happy to see his team have to play in a game that wasn't completely over by halftime.
"One of the things is we haven't been tested on," Marshall said. "Because we have been ahead early in Silver Creek and in the Falconer game, one of the things I wanted to see was our second-half ability to hang in the game and stop our opponent when we needed to."
The Hillbillies did that Friday night, but in the end, the night belonged to McCarthy and the Hillbillies' running game, which amassed 366 yards on 29 rushes.
"It was a surprise," Marshall said of McCarthy's performance this season. "He started in June when we had a little mini camp and I was happy with the way he stepped up and became a leader of the team. And then he came to all of the summer passing league stuff and then conditioning came and really impressed me there. But I've been surprised with what he's been able to do in the backfield."
NOTES: Dakota Gardner and Anthony Swierk each had 11 tackles to lead the Hillbillies' defense ... Brett Seekings had nine tackles in the win ... McCarthy had an interception to add to his offensive exploits.