The Salem High football team will be idle this Friday for the second time in three weeks, and they haven’t even had their bye yet.
The Spartans were scheduled to play at Blacksburg this Friday night but Blacksburg High officials called on Monday and said the Bruins could not play. COVID concerns was the reason but the Bruins are 0-3 and in the midst of an 11 game losing streak going back to the 2019 season. While Salem officials are hesitant to question their motive it stands to reason that Blacksburg might not want to play the defending state champs. Salem beat them last year, 50-0, and Blacksburg’s quarterback was injured and missed the rest of the spring season.
“They’ve had some COVID issues and I’ve heard they’ve had some kids quit,” said Salem High athletic director Drew Barrett. “We offered to play them on Tuesday the week of our bye(Oct 12), but they haven’t gotten back on that. They may forfeit. Their AD told me to go ahead and replace them if we could.”
Salem already had a game postponed with Franklin County, and that will be made up onTuesday, October 19, the week after Salem’s bye and just three days before the Spartans play Cave Spring. Blacksburg is scheduled to play Christiansburg on October 8th, Pulaski County on the 15th, and Hidden Valley on the 22nd, so they have little room to reschedule even if they resume playing.
Meanwhile Barrett was on the phone trying to find a replacement with no success. One logical opponent was Lord Botetourt, as the Cavaliers had a game with Princeton, West Virginia cancelled this week and a replacement game with Bluefield cancelled next week. The Cavaliers used to play Salem every year and Salem coach Don Holter offered to play in Daleville this Friday, giving Lord Botetourt a big pay day on a night when they were scheduled to travel. However, Botetourt wanted no part of the Spartans.
“They said they wanted to take the next two Fridays off to get ready for their district games,” said Barrett, who also made calls to Orange County, Richlands, and several other schools with no success.
Salem has played just three games thus far and the Spartans are 2-1 after shutting out Northside last Friday, 42-0 in Roanoke County. The Spartans scored in every quarter while outgaining the Vikings overall, 240-111.
The Spartans scored all six of their touchdowns on the ground. Cameron Leftwich had runs of 25 and three yards, Jayveon Jones scored on a couple two yard runs, DaRon Wilson had a five yard run and Isaiah Barlow scored on a 36 yard run in the closing minutes. Wesley Cross was perfect on all six extra points.
Statistically, Leftwich led Salem with 104 yards rushing on 16 carries while Jones had 81 on 11.
“He’s running with authority,” said Holter of Jones. “He had 81 yards and 77 were after first contact.”
Wilson, Jamien Lingenfelter, Chauncey Logan, Jr. and Barlow combined for 116 more yards on 14 carries. Wilson was five for 10 passing for 38 yards, with Logan and Jake Massey catching two each.
On defense Noah Collins was all over the field. He had 13 tackles, including seven solos. Nathaniel McClure had 11 tackles, Cameron Martindale had eight and Carson Williams had six tackles and two interceptions.
“It was a champions’ effort,” said Holter. “We still have a long way to go, but I love the effort of this team.”
Salem’s jayvee team beat Northside 56-0 at Salem Stadium last week. The jayvees were scheduled to host Blacksburg tonight but that game has also been cancelled.