The Salem Greyhounds spotted the Earle Bulldogs a 14-point first quarter lead, came back to tie the game in the third quarter, and ultimately fell behind for good in a 36-22 defeat in Earle Nov. 1.
A batch of turnovers plagued the Greyhounds throughout the game and kept Salem from finding any consistency on the offensive side of the ball.
The Bulldogs started the game with good field position at midfield and wasted little time in striking with a 7-play, 50-yard scoring drive at the 9:14 mark of the first quarter.
Earle capped the 11-yard touchdown run with a two-point conversion for an early 8-0 lead.
Salem got their hands on the ball for their first series from scrimmage at their own 46, and three plays later were forced to punt at midfield.
A penalty on the punt return by Earle had the Bulldogs placed deep in their own end of the field at the 5-yard line.
The Bulldogs moved the ball to the Greyhound 42 before being forced to punt themselves.
The Greyhounds ran one play from scrimmage, and on second-and-5 from their own 28, a Bulldog linebacker broke through the line and wrapped up Greyhound quarterback Luke Barker.
Barker tried to escape the grasp of the Earle defender and lost the ball in the struggle, allowing a Bulldog to swipe the ball off the ground and run for a 23-yard touchdown at the 4:35 mark of the first.
This was the first of six costly turnovers on the evening for the Greyhounds as the Bulldogs took a 14-0 lead.
Salem reached the scoreboard for the first time in the second quarter, finishing a drive that started just before the end of the first quarter.
Aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on the Bulldogs that moved the ball to the 15, Barker rolled out on third-and-10 and hit senior wideout Robert Nelson on a 15-yard TD strike at the 9:34 mark of the second. Junior Woody Harlow knocked in the PAT to give the Greyhounds a little momentum, trailing 14-7.
A key factor in the Greyhounds' success this year has been their defense, and it came up big once again as senior defensive back Brian Holcomb picked off a Bulldog pass and ran it back to the Earle 44 with 2:30 until the half.
The Greyhounds were unable to take advantage of this as Barker had a pass of his own intercepted with less than a minute before halftime, leaving the score at 14-7 with Earle on top at intermission.
The Greyhounds came out strong in the third quarter starting with the ball on Earle's side of the field.
A successful play on fourth-and-1 from the Earle 31 kept the Greyhound drive going.
A couple of plays later, Barker tossed a 6-yard TD pass to sophomore Kyle Estes to knot the contest at 14-all.
The Bulldogs struck back quickly on their first touch on offense in the second half as a touchdown on second-and-goal moved Earle back in front 22-14 at the 4:44 mark of the third.
The Greyhound offense could not hang onto the ball, and the second of three Salem turnovers in the third quarter led to more points for Earle which led 28-14 after three.
The Greyhounds fashioned a long drive just inside the fourth quarter that took the ball to the Earle 5-yard line.
On fourth-and-1 from the 5, the Bulldog defense held fast and denied Salem any more ground, taking over on downs.
The Bulldogs immediately went on a long drive of their own, this one a 95-yard scoring drive that was aided by a couple of Greyhound penalties.
This drive ended as the Bulldogs crossed the Salem goal line with 6:40 left in the game to take a big 36-14 lead.
Salem answered back with an 11-yard touchdown run by junior Rick Cowart at the 4:25 mark, but it was not enough to prevent a 36-22 win for the Bulldogs.
The Greyhounds fall to 5-4 on the year, 5-3 in 3AA Conference play as they prepare to host Palestine-Wheatley in a critical game Nov. 8.