A week after ripping off 46 unanswered points at home to rout the Parkin Tigers for their first win of the season, the Salem Greyhounds hit the Turrell Rockets with 20 straight second half points to post their first road win of the year, 40-34 Sept. 26.
Trailing 34-20 late in the third, the Greyhounds used a pair of touchdown runs to tie the game, and then recovered an onsides kick to set up the winning score late in the fourth quarter.
The Greyhounds played keep away in the fourth as they held the ball for all but 1:40 of the frame, keeping the explosive Rocket offense on the bench.
Salem posted its second conference victory of the year despite turning the ball over four times in the first half to a Rocket squad low on players (15), but with speed to burn.
"We finally realized they came to play, and we had to respond, which we did," commented Salem Head Coach Wayne Guiltner. "We just came out flat to start the game and it hurt us."
Woody Harlow had a big game on the ground for Salem, toting the ball for two TDs in the first half and two more in the second.
With one second remaining on the first quarter clock, Harlow busted into the end zone for a 4-yard TD run to put Salem on top 6-0.
The Rockets got on track early in the second as Joe Gibson peeled off a 29-yard touchdown scamper. The two-point conversion gave Turrell an 8-6 lead with 10:43 to play in the quarter.
The Greyhounds fired back with a 10-play, 63-yard scoring strike on their next possession.
Harlow capped the drive with a 2-yard run, and Rick Cowart ran the two-point conversion in to give Salem the lead back 14-8 at the 6:15 mark.
A couple of late second quarter scores gave Turrell a boost of momentum before the half.
The Rockets posted a 19-yard TD pass at the 5:28 mark, before taking the ball away from Salem for the fourth time in the half and scoring as time expired to go up 22-14 at intermission.
Harlow picked up in the third quarter where he left off in the first by posting a 1-yard TD run at the 9:24 mark as Salem moved within two points, down 22-20.
The high-octane Rockets responded with a score less than 20 seconds and one play later as Gibson caught a 62-yard TD pass, padding Turrell's lead to 28-20 at the 9:07 mark.
Gibson wasn't finished as he posted another huge play for the Rockets on Turrell's next series from scrimmage.
After the Salem defensive line shoved the Rockets all the way back to their own 9-yard line, including a big sack from Tyler Carl, the Rockets were faced with a second-and-30.
This turned out to be no big deal for the Rockets as Gibson busted loose and flew through the Greyhound defense for a 91-yard touchdown run, extending Turrell's lead to 14, 34-20, with 4:32 left in the third.
"Their speed was really tough for us to contend with," Guiltner said. "It seemed like they were just running around us."
This would be the last big fireworks display for the Rockets as Salem geared up for a late comeback.
Rick Cowart (199 yards) found the end zone for the first time on the night with a 1-yard run with 54 seconds remaining on the third quarter clock. Lynn Harber ran the two-point conversion in, narrowing Turrell's lead to 34-28.
The last period was all Salem as they chewed almost all of the clock by running the ball behind their bulky offensive line.
After a quick three-and-out by Turrell, the Greyhounds moved 65 yards downfield for the tying score.
Harber (77 yards) finished off the 11-play march with a 6-yard TD carry to knot the game at 34-all. The two-point conversion was denied, but the Greyhounds had other ways to get some points in mind.
The Hounds squibbed the ensuing kickoff and Phillip Taylor (seven-for-12, 140 yards passing) grabbed the ball and ran it all the way to the Rocket 37.
Four plays later, Harlow stood in the end zone for his fourth rushing TD of the game as Salem grabbed the lead back for good at 40-34.
Turrell did advance the ball to the Greyhound 15, but on fourth-and-10 with seven seconds left in the game, the Rockets ran out of fuel, leaving the Greyhounds with their first road win of the 2003 season.
"That was key to keep the ball out of their hands in the last quarter," Guiltner said. "They were scoring in one or two plays, and the only way to deal with that is to not let them have the football."
Another key to the greyhound victory according to Guiltner, was special teams play.
"All of our special teams played well, and that's always a plus, especially on the road," he said.
The Greyhounds hit the road once again Oct. 3 as they travel to Hughes for a tilt with the Blue Devils.