CHEEKTOWAGA, NY — The Olean Huskies took an hour long bus ride down to Cheektowaga Central Friday night to take on the Warriors. Both teams entered at 8-0 with a chance to play at New Era Field in the Class B Championships next weekend. In a back-and-forth scoring affair, it was the Warriors of Cheektowaga that held on for a 56-35 victory.
“Our offense was phenomenal today, our defense floundered at times, but when the defense caught up with what the offense was doing, we were able to pull away.” Cheektowaga Head Coach Mike Fatta commented on the contest, where his Warriors claimed their ninth victory on the year.
To no one’s surprise, Eric Bartnik was Cheektowaga’s star, passing for exactly 300 yards, going 25 for 36, while leading the team in rushing with 143 rushing yards on 15 carries. The cherry on top, Bartnik wasn’t feeling well whatsoever before the contest. “I had Sonic before the game and ate it a little too fast, and I ended up being pretty sick,” commented Bartnik. Consistently, it seems like Bartnik has a fantastic game almost every week, and praises his teammates each time he performs well. “It was a real team win. We had some great blocks out there, our RB’s had some great runs, receivers made some great catches. So, it was an all-around team effort for this win.”
Bartnik wasn’t wrong, as he had over 400 yards total, utilizing Shaquil Heard for 130 yards on nine receptions, and Stephan Parker for 120 yards on 10 receptions. Running Back Seven Turpin ran for 39 yards on 12 carries, and MG3 (Michael Gray III) had 41 rushing yards on seven carries.
The Warriors’ game was anything but easy, thanks to Olean’s Garrett Boldt, who went 10 for 20 and 143 yard passing, along with 125 yards on 19 carries, as well as Husky Dylan Vincent, who had 29 yards rushing on 15 carries, and catching one pass for 36 yards.
The first quarter started with a bang, as Olean’s Garrett Boldt picked off Bartnik on the second play of the game. Cheektowaga would score first, however, with a 19-yard TD run from Bartnik. This was immediately answered by an 85-yard kickoff return from Boldt.
Cheektowaga’s offense continued with a 7-yard TD run by Seven Turpin and a TD pass from Bartnik to Shaquil Heard. All of this action in the first quarter had the score at 20-7 after 12:00 of play.
Dylan Vincent of Olean and Turpin of Central would trade short-distance rushing touchdowns to start the 2nd quarter. Vincent added another short TD run, answered by another TD pass from Bartnik to Heard. At halftime, it was clear that offense would be the story of the game, with eight scores already at that point. 34-21 Cheektowaga at the half.
In the second two quarters of play, it seemed as though the Warriors, who are normally a second half team, figured out the Huskies game. Olean’s game was dominating, bouncing back and forth between Boldt and Vincent.
In the second half of play, Stephan Parker would score his only TD of the night. Immediately answered by a Boldt to Vincent TD pass and a Boldt TD run to bring the match to a nail-biting 42-35 score at the end of 3. Bartnik gave Central a comfortable lead 5:00 into the quarter with a short run, as the nail in the coffin came from an 80-yard pick-6 from Tyler Summage.
Next week, the second seeded Cheektowaga Warriors will play the 5th seeded Dunkirk Marauders at New Era Field on Saturday night, with an approximate 6:30pm kickoff.