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Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014

No quit in Greyhounds

Thursday, October 30, 2008

(Photo)
ALONG FOR THE RIDE: Salem quarterback Kyle Berry drags a pair of Cross County defenders with him in the Greyhounds' Oct. 24 game with the T-Birds. Photo/Mullins
It's not hard to guess what the Cross County T-Birds were expecting to find when they arrived in Fulton County to take on the Salem Greyhounds in 3-2A Conference play Oct. 24.

Undoubtedly, after catching a glimpse of Salem's 1-7 overall, 1-5 conference record, the T-Birds were expecting to find a pack of Greyhounds just going through the motions, ready for the season to end.

While that's probably what the T-Birds expected, that's not what they found when they pulled into Greyhound Stadium.

Instead, they found a pack of Greyhounds that were fired up and ready to play their hearts out.

And though Cross County (6-2, 6-1) won the game 27-0, Salem battled every step of the way, never giving an inch to the speedy T-Birds in the game. Had it not been for two or three big plays sprinkled throughout the contest, the Hounds might have been able to steal this one late.

For just a peek into Salem's never-say-die attitude, consider that a couple of key components, fullback Skylar Jones and wideout Colin Young were forced to view the game from the sidelines after suffering injuries against Marked Tree the week before.

If this wasn't bad enough for the thin Greyhounds, Salem had a pair of its defensive starters helped off the field, on back-to-back snaps, on Cross County's first series from scrimmage.

But instead of throwing in the towel, the Greyhounds rolled up their sleeves and hit the turf.

Greyhound quarterback Kyle Berry had a huge night for Salem, rushing for 98 yards on 18 carries. With Jones out at fullback, Dylan Smith stepped into the role and racked up 44 yards on six carries against the T-Birds.

Cross County's All-State running back, Michael Bowles, proved to be the difference in the game, as he rushed for all four T-Bird touchdowns in the game.

Bowles' first TD run came on the T-Birds' first possession of the game, as he ran in from two yards out on first-and-goal at the 8:08 mark of the first quarter. Chris Hansen's PAT gave Cross County a 7-0 lead.

Salem managed to move the ball fairly well on most of its drives, but the Greyhounds just couldn't get into position to score.

Smith ripped off a nice 32-yard carry on Salem's second series of the night, but the drive stalled near midfield when the Hounds were stopped on a fake punt attempt on fourth-and-25 at the Cross County 41.

Clint Pleasant was sharp as usual in his punting chores, pinning the T-Birds deep in their own territory all night long when called on.

Right before the half, with the T-Birds at the Salem 11-yard line, Smith and Tommy Lamar came up big by stopping Cross County quarterback Cody Nickles short of the goal line on third down.

But instead of trying a field goal, the T-Birds went for a touchdown and Bowles came through, running in from five yards out at the 3:46 mark of the second. Hansen's PAT gave Cross County a 14-0 lead at intermission, with Salem still very much in good shape.

On Salem's first series of the third quarter, Berry hit wideout Jason Huff with a big 38-yard pass that pushed the ball onto Cross County's side of the field.

Cross County held at their own 40, forcing Salem to punt.

Pleasant boomed a high-arching punt that the T-Birds recovered at their own 13.

Then the Greyhound defense stepped to the forefront, as Jordan King sacked Nickles on third-and-3, forcing Cross County to punt.

But on the T-Birds' next series, after Pleasant had again pinned Cross County deep, Bowles uncorked a 90-yard touchdown run for his third TD of the night.

Michael Beck broke through and blocked the extra-point attempt, but the T-Birds had extended their lead to 20-0 with three minutes left in the third.

Cross County wrapped things up with a 15-play, 85-yard drive that chewed up almost seven minutes off the fourth-quarter clock.

Bowles carried the ball in from nine yards out on first-and-goal to set the final score at 27-0, Cross County.



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