By Brian Hoffman
The Salem High football team will be off to Mineral, VA Friday night for a date with the Louisa County Lions. The Spartans are hoping to keep the roars at a minimum in this Region 4D semifinal game.
The Spartans have one common opponent with the Lions, and that would be Western Albemarle. Compared scores don’t tell you much as Louisa beat Western Albemarle 56-0 on October 14 and Salem beat the Warriors 42-0 last Friday in the Region 4D first round. It could have been worse, as Salem led 35-0 at the half before taking their foot off the gas with a running clock in the second half.
Louisa is undefeated on the season at 11-0 and they’ve scored 45 points or more in 10 of the 11 wins, including games of 61 points against Huguenot, 62 against Fluvanna County, 63 against Charlottesville and 69 against Albemarle. They haven’t lost since this point in the playoffs last year, when their season ended with a region semifinal thumping in Salem, 55-7.
“That score doesn’t indicate how good they were,” said Salem coach Don Holter of the Lions. “They were a good football team last year and they’re better this year. They run multiple sets and they have great size.”
Salem will make the two and a half hour trip to Mineral on Friday for a 7 pm game after playing Thursday last week due to impending inclement weather. The Spartans come in at 9-2, and they didn’t appear to be feeling any ill effects from their regular season ending loss to Patrick Henry. In fact, Salem got that taste out of their mouths early with a DaRon Wilson to Josiah Moyer touchdown pass just four minutes into the game. That drive included a fourth down pass out of punt formation from Chris Martin to Jaelyn Allen to keep the drive alive.
Salem’s Chris Cole picked off a pass and took it 45 yards for a score with just over a minute left in the quarter to widen the lead, and the Spartans poured it on in the second period. Jayveon Jones scored on a one yard run on fourth down, then Jones scored on another run and Wilson hit Moyer for a second TD hookup just before the half. Salem scored a final TD in the second half when Moyer picked off a pass and took it to the house for Salem’s second “Pick Six” of the game. And that doesn’t even count two potential touchdowns by Peyton Lewis who returned punts for apparent scores, only to be called back by illegal blocks both times.
Jones finished with 75 yards rushing on 11 carries while Lewis had a slow night with 58 yards on six attempts. Peyton has 1,246 yards rushing on the season on 107 carries, an average of 11.6 yards per carry for the season.
Wilson was five for eight passing for 77 yards with two to Moyer, both for TDs, and two to Jonathan Vernon. Allen and Cole had the other receptions.
On defense Allen had 10 tackles to lead the Spartans. Isaiah Barlow and Cole had eight each while Ryan Coe and Jay’on Green had six each. Coe had two tackles for losses, and Cole and Moyer both had the “pick sixes.”
This Friday’s winner will play the winner of the other semifinal game, as E.C. Glass plays host to Amherst County in Lynchburg. If Glass wins they’ll host the Region 4D final next week but if Salem and Amherst can pull off wins Salem would be host for that game.