While they're generally regarded as friendly folks, it may be awhile before the citizens of Walnut Ridge welcome Phillip Taylor and Chad Willett back into their fair city.
Especially after the way the duo treated the homestanding Bobcats in a 3AA Conference matchup Oct. 8.
The dynamic one-two punch of Taylor and Willett had their way with the Walnut Ridge defense, as the Salem Greyhounds rolled over the Bobcats 41-2.
And while the high-octane Greyhound offense was clicking along, Salem's defense looked equally impressive, holding Walnut Ridge to just a safety on the night.
"Our defense continues to play well," said Greyhound Head Coach Wayne Guiltner. "And our offense put up some big numbers against Walnut Ridge."
Taylor got the Hounds on the board less than two minutes into the opening quarter, as he weaved his way into the end zone on a 52-yard touchdown run. For the game, Taylor toted the ball 14 times for 123 yards rushing. John Arrington booted the PAT, giving Salem a quick 7-0 lead.
Far from done, Taylor hit the end zone seven minutes later on a 2-yard TD run. Arrington's extra-point made it 14-0, Salem.
Willett got in on the scoring act midway into the second quarter, as he hit wideout Mike Innis for a 53-yard touchdown at the 9:20 mark, boosting Salem's advantage to 21-0.
"We've managed to keep our skill players on offense healthy this year, so far," Guiltner said. "That's been huge for us. We couldn't do that last year."
The Bobcats dented the scoreboard for the only time of the game with 6:32 left until intermission, when they wrapped up Willett for a safety.
Getting some revenge, Willett (nine-of-16, 143 yards passing) then hit Taylor with a 22-yard bomb just before the half to make the score Salem 28, Walnut Ridge 2.
The Willett-to-Taylor combo struck once more on the game, as the quarterback hit the tailback on a 5-yard scoring pass out of the backfield at the 6:44 mark of the third.
Up 35-2 in the fourth, Wes James found the end zone from a yard out to put the caps on Salem's 39-point rout, keeping Walnut Ridge (0-6, 0-4) winless on the year.
The Hounds (5-1, 3-0) now face a critical three-game stretch of Cross County, Earle and East Poinsett County that should help to determine their post-season fate.
This trio of games begins Oct. 22, giving the Greyhounds an off week with no game Oct. 15, thanks to Rector's canceling of its season.
"I'd rather play a game than have an off week," said Guiltner. "But we're not taking any days off. We'll continue to do the same things this week as we normally do. We're going to take the guys to Mountain Home Friday night (Oct. 15) to see that new movie, "Friday Night Lights."