In the past four games, since opening play in the 3AA Conference, the Salem Greyhounds have witnessed more speed than is found at a NASCAR race.
Marked Tree, Parkin and Turrell are all teams loaded with more speed and quickness than a lot of football teams have in a lifetime.
But the Greyhounds may have run up against the swiftest of the bunch in the Hughes Blue Devils.
This blazing speed of Hughes was on ample display Oct. 3 as the Blue Devils jumped on the visiting Greyhounds and sprinted away with a 34-7 victory.
Going into the matchup with Hughes, Greyhound Head Coach Wayne Guiltner knew full well what to expect from the Blue Devils.
"In this conference, it's Hughes and then everybody else trying to catch them," he said. "They want to get outside your containment and then turn on their speed. We've got to play smart to try and neutralize that. We can't afford to get down early and then play catch up."
Unfortunately for the Greyhounds, a slow start is exactly what happened as they fell into a hole early, as Hughes' lightning strike ability led to a pair of big scores to begin the contest.
The Greyhounds were partly responsible for Hughes' quick start as they gave the Blue Devils a gift by fumbling the ball away on their third play from scrimmage, a gift that Hughes cashed in for six points.
In one play, the Blue Devils posted a 30-yard TD to take a 6-0 lead at the 10:48 mark of the first.
Less than 11 seconds later, the Blue Devils' lead stood at 13-0 thanks to another Greyhound miscue, as Salem fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and Hughes translated that into their second score of the next.
As the Greyhounds found out, Hughes was just getting warmed up.
Aydele Ogunsakin ripped off an 80-yard touchdown scamper for Hughes' third score of the first period. The two-point conversion pushed Salem further into the void, down 21-0.
"They've got the two best backs in our conference, and probably two of the better ones in the state," Guiltner commented.
Yet another Salem glitch ended up on the Hughes' side of the scoreboard in the first quarter.
After the Greyhounds were stopped on third down, Salem was forced to punt the ball back to Hughes.
Things didn't work out quite that easy as a botched snap was recovered by the Blue Devils at the Greyhound 5-yard line.
One scant play later, the Blue Devils punched the ball in for a 28-0 lead.
"They're ranked number 10 in the state for a reason," Guiltner said. "They're that good."
Blue Devil quarterback Johnny Payton logged the last score of the game for Hughes on a 53-yard TD to pad Hughes' lead to 34-0.
The Greyhounds did regroup and play better in the second half, especially on the defensive side of the ball as they forced six Blue Devil turnovers, converting one into a score as Wes James ran into the end zone form 4 yards out to get the Greyhounds on the board.
The Hounds missed a couple more opportunities at scoring late, and the Blue Devils came away with a 34-7 win, leaving Salem at 2-3 overall, and 2-2 in 3AA play, as they return home Oct. 10 to host Walnut Ridge in only their second home game of the year.
"They played good defense. We got into their red zone four times and just came away with one score, so we had some opportunites," Guiltner said. "We played tough. I'm dissapointed that the score really didn't reflect how hard we played."