by Brian Hoffman
The Salem High football team will be back on the road this week to play E.C. Glass in the Region 4D championship game. The game will be played on Saturday at 5 pm at Lynchburg City Stadium.
This is the game local fans have been anticipating since the playoff seedings were announced. Glass is the top-seed in the region and Salem came in third thanks to a regular season ending loss to Patrick Henry. However, the Spartans regrouped and in their two playoff games they shut out Western Albemarle at Salem Stadium, 42-0, then bussed to Mineral, Virginia last Friday to beat second seeded Louisa County, 54-37 in a shootout.
Despite a fast start, Salem had a hard time shaking the Lions. The Spartans scored on their first six possessions and led 39-13 at the half, only to have Louisa drive the field to start the second half, then turn an interception into another quick score and cut the lead to 39-29.
Salem answered on a TD run by Jayveon Jones, set up by a 36 yard run by Peyton Lewis that took the ball inside the 10. Jones scored on fourth and inches and, after an encroachment penalty on the Lions moved the ball to the one on the conversion attempt, Jones crossed the goal line again for two points and Salem led 47-29 at the end of the third quarter.
Louisa scored again early in the fourth period. A personal foul on Salem set the Lions up at the Salem 39 and a pass interference call against the Spartans kept their drive alive as they cut the lead to 10 again, 47-37, with a two point conversion.
Salem finally put it away with a late TD to make the final score 54-37. The Spartans picked up a first down on fourth and two, setting up an 18 yard run by Lewis for his fourth touchdown of the night to seal the win.
“It was a tough atmosphere to play in,” said Salem coach Don Holter. “Our kids are pretty disciplined but between that announcer and the canon it was a pretty bizarre surrounding.”
Lewis finished with 182 yards rushing on 18 attempts with three touchdown runs, and he also caught a 25 yard pass for a score. Jones had 73 yards rushing on 17 attempts and two touchdowns.
DaRon Wilson was nine for 15 passing for 119 yards and three TDs. Josiah Moyer had three receptions and the other receptions were distributed among a collection of receivers and kicker Wesley Cross, who caught a pass to keep a drive alive after a fumbled snap on a field goal attempt. Salem ended up scoring on a TD pass to Jaelyn Allen on that drive. Ryan Coe also had a touchdown reception.
On defense, Coe had eight tackles to lead the team while Allen had seven and three Spartans had six, Chris Martin, Chris Cole and Jonathan Vernon.
With the win Salem is now 10-2 on the season while Glass is 11-1, having lost only to Heritage. The Hilltoppers have won their last eight games in a row and, although they have no common opponents with Salem, the Spartan coaches are very familiar with Glass.
“They’re big and athletic, a typical Glass team,” said Holter.
The winner of Saturday’s game will play the winner of the Region C championship game between Loudoun County and Kettle Run in the state semifinal the weekend of December 3.