Don’t let Northside’s 42-7 loss to Hidden Valley last Friday night fool you. When Salem and Northside play, you can throw the records out the window.
The Spartans will play at Northside this Friday and there’s nothing the Vikings would like more than to upset their bordering rival to the south. This has been a long and storied rivalry going back to the first year of Salem High in 1977. Up until last year’s spring COVID season the Vikings were one of only two schools to have played the Spartans every year since SHS opened. The other is Blacksburg, and that streak is alive as Salem even played the Bruins in the spring.
Northside won the first seven years of this rivalry, beating the Spartans in a close game on the last night of the regular season to win the Roanoke Valley District in 1977. However, Willis White stopped that streak in 1984 and since then Salem has gone 30-6-1 against the Vikings through the 2019 season.
“Northside has a good football team,” said Salem coach Don Holter. “They have good size and good athletes, and they space the field and put their athletes in space. The Hidden Valley game was closer than the score looked. I think Northside gave up three scores on defense, and they had some people out. This won’t be easy by any means.”
Salem is coming off a 46-20 win over William Fleming in Roanoke last Friday. It was the first win of the season for the Spartans, who lost their opener to Martinsburg of West Virginia then had a home game with Franklin County postponed due to COVID concerns at the Rocky Mount school. That will be made up on Tuesday, October 19.
The Colonels gave Salem all they could handle last Friday. The Spartans led just 20-13 at the half as Chauncey Logan, Jr. scored on a 46 yard catch and run from DaRon Wilson between Wesley Cross field goals of 20 and 38 yards. It was 13-13 when Cam Leftwich bulled his way over from the one late in the half.
The two teams traded scores to start the second half, with Leftwich scoring on an eight yard run, only to have Fleming answer on a 92 yard pass play.
“We had them pinned inside the 20 and that play gave them life,” said Holter. “Our secondary still needs some work.”
Salem took control at that point. Wilson scored on a six yard run to make it 33-20, then Peyton Lewis recovered a Fleming fumble in the end zone for a 39-20 lead, as the extra point attempt was blocked. Leftwich put some icing on the cake with his third TD on a one yard run in the final period.
“I saw us get better Friday night but we still have a long way to go,” said Holter. “The effort was top notch, and sometimes great effort overcomes a lack of execution. We gave it a champions’ effort.”
Leftwich finished with 64 yards rushing on 20 attempts while Jayveon Jones had 50 yards on 10 carries. Wilson was five for 13 passing for 143 yards and DaRon rushed six times for 48. Jake Massey had two catches for 53 yards, including a 39 yarder that set up a score. Leftwich had two catches for 28 yards and Logan and Chase Greer had one reception each.
On defense Greer led with eight tackles, and that’s not necessarily a good thing when a defensive back leads the team in tackles.Cameron Martindale, Jamien Lingenfelter and Lewis all had five tackles and Carson Williams and Stacey Williams had four each. Lewis had two sacks, three tackles for losses, a hurry and a touchdown on the fumble recovery in a big night on defense for the sophomore.
Salem’s junior varsity team also won last week, defeating Fleming 32-26 in overtime. The Spartan jayvees will host Northside at Salem Stadium tonight.