SALEM 7, SOUTHSIDE 28
After opening the season with a couple of foes that prefer to just line up and run the ball right down the middle of the field (Thayer and Westside), the Salem Greyhounds faced a completely different breed of foe week three in the Southside Southerners.
Instead of running the football 80 percent of the time like Salem's first two opponents of 2007, the Southerners are a squad that favors to throw the ball downfield 80 percent of the time.
Different style of offense or not, unfortunately for the Greyhounds, the end result was largely the same, as the Southerners knocked off Salem 28-7 in non-conference action Sept. 14 at Stewart Field in Southside, keeping the Hounds winless on the young season.
Much as it was at home a week earlier against Westside, Salem's defense was handcuffed in its first road trip of the year in Southside (2-1) with Darrell Johnson and Ethan Pierce still caring for injuries suffered in week one.
The Southerners started the points flowing by scoring on their first possession of the evening.
Using a six-play, 64-yard drive, a march aided nicely by a pair of long runs from Richard Hughes, Southside crossed the goal line at the 9:50 point of the first quarter. Hughes' 1-yard TD on third-and-goal, coupled with the successful point-after kick by David Landers, pushed Southside on top 7-0 right out of the gate.
Switching gears a bit, Salem lined up in more of a traditional offense set, instead of the Spread formation it used the first two weeks of 2007, the same no-huddle Spread that Southside lines up in.
The Hounds' first drive stalled out at its own 27, but Jason Huff got off a nice punt that pushed Southside back to its own 20.
But being 80 yards from the end zone didn't hamper Southside much on its next possession.
Southerner quarterback Dean Rawlings hit wideout Justin Moser for a 23-yard pass to get the wheels rolling, but a big fourth-down play was the difference maker on this drive.
Looking at a fourth-and-11 from the Salem 30-yard line, Rawlings connected with Brad Welch on a big 20-yard gainer that gave Southside a first down at the 10.
Then, on the next snap, Rawlings finished the deal with a TD strike to Moser at the 4:09 mark of the first. Landers hit the PAT and Southside extended its advantage to 14-0.
But Salem, too, is capable of putting together a sustained scoring drive, as it did starting late in the first.
Blake Hurst ripped off a couple of big gainers on two carries deep in the first, and Salem quarterback Skylar Jones found wideout Adam Montgomery for a 14-yard strike that moved the ball to the Southerner 21-yard line.
After a couple of carries apiece by Hurst and Corey Tyler, the Hounds found themselves in excellent shape early in the second, with a fourth-and-goal from the 1 1/2-yard line.
Jones capped the 12-play drive with a QB sneak for Salem's first score of the game. Huff knocked down the PAT to pull the Greyhounds within seven, down 14-7 with 10:12 left until the half.
As it turns out, that would be the only time Salem could find the end zone for the game.
Southside, however, still had a bullet left to fire before the break.
Rawlings scampered across the goal line from four yards out on second-and-1 on the Southerners' last series of the first half. Landers hit his third PAT of the game and with 7:52 left until the half, Southside had extended its advantage to 21-7.
Salem had time for one more shot at points, and the Greyhounds got a nifty runback from Kyle Berry on the ensuing kickoff to start in excellent shape, with the ball at the Greyhound 48.
Salem trucked the pigskin all the way to the Southside 15-yard line with a shade over two minutes left in the first half.
On fourth-and-12, Salem elected to try a 25-yard field goal, but the kick missed its mark, sending the teams to the break with the Southerners in control of a 21-7 lead.
The Southerners tacked on one final score in the third quarter, thanks in part to a big special teams play for Southside.
Salem's first series of the second half bottled up deep in Greyhound territory and Salem was forced to punt.
Southside's Brad Welch found a hole and managed to get his hands on the punt, blocking it to give the Southerners the ball at the Salem 19.
Less than a minute later, Donnie Norman ran in from five yards out for a Southside TD. Landers' point-after finished the game with Southside winning 28-7 in Salem's last non-conference contest of the season.
The Greyhounds open 2-3A Conference play by hosting the Perryville Mustangs Sept. 21 at Greyhound Stadium.