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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Jaguars top Hounds in season finale

Thursday, November 13, 2008

TAKEAWAY: The Salem defense forces a McCrory fumble Nov. 7 in the Greyhounds' final game of 2008. Photo/Mullins
There was plenty on the line at Greyhound Stadium Nov. 6 as the McCrory Jaguars came to town to tangle with Salem.

The Greyhounds were primed to send their six seniors off into the sunset on a winning note, while also ending the 2008 season with a win to build on for next year.

The Jaguars were primed to secure the fourth spot in the 3-2A Conference, and a win would do just that, while also sending McCrory to the Class 2A State playoffs.

And on a chilly evening in Salem, it was the Jaguars that had their way, earning a berth in the state playoffs by beating the Greyhounds 49-6.

Both teams had turnover problems in the game, with McCrory (7-3, 5-3) giving up the football three times, while Salem (1-9, 1-7) fumbled the ball away four times on the night.

But two of Salem's turnovers came in the first quarter and helped the Jaguars sprint out to a big lead that they would not relinquish.

McCrory started the game off with an eight-play, 77-yard scoring march on its first series of the contest.

On first-and-goal from the 1, McCrory's quarterback plunged into the end zone at the 9:04 mark of the first to get the Jaguars going. The PAT gave McCrory a 7-0 lead.

After the squads swapped punts on their next possessions, Salem's second series of the quarter was less than favorable for the home team. McCrory defensive back Jadrien Holiday picked off a Greyhound pass to set up the Jaguars' next score, which came on a quarterback keeper with 3:32 left in the first quarter. Jordan King blocked the extra-point try, but the Jaguars had extended their advantage to 13-0.

Then things got worse for the Hounds.

Salem fumbled the ensuing kick and McCrory recovered it deep in Greyhound territory.

The Greyhound defense held strong on the first three snaps of the series and Shane Travelstead wrapped up McCrory running back Boyd Williams on third down, giving the Jaguars fourth-and-1 from the 13.

But on fourth down, Holiday reeled in a 13-yard touchdown pass to push McCrory ahead further. Chris Smith caught the 2-point conversion to give the Jaguars a 21-0 lead after one.

It wasn't like the Greyhounds were at 100-percent health-wise entering week 10 of the season, as several Salem starters have been missing action with injuries the past three weeks of play.

One of those, fullback Skylar Jones, gave it a go against McCrory, but his time on the field turned out to be limited.

On Salem's last series of the first quarter, Jones carried the ball three times for 49 yards and looked to be a major weapon for Salem in the game. But on his last carry, Jones re-injured his leg and had to be helped off the field and he did not return.

Salem missed a 41-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter and then McCrory went 76 yards in four plays for its next touchdown of the game, staking the Jaguars to a 28-0 lead with 10:14 left until the half.

Kyle Berry did recover a McCrory fumble mid-way into the second quarter, but one snap later, the Jaguars had the football back thanks to Salem's third turnover of the first half.

But Salem's defense forced McCrory to punt, giving the Hounds the ball at their own 29-yard line.

Dylan Smith (seven carries, seven yards) and Nick Gaskins (six carries, 29 yards) helped the Greyhounds reach midfield and a big roughing-the-passer penalty on McCrory pushed the ball to the Jaguar 30-yard line.

But Salem's offense hit a rough spot then and a quarterback sack on third down saw the Hounds looking at fourth-and-14 from the 34.

Then Head Coach Sammy Weir dug into his bag and called for a fake punt on fourth down. And the Hounds pulled it off brilliantly. Punter Clint Pleasant took the snap and hit Jason Huff (four catches, 85 yards) for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:53 left until intermission. The 2-point try was stopped, but Salem had hit the scoreboard and trailed 28-6 at the half.

But that would be as close as the Greyhounds could get to catching the speedy Jaguars.

McCrory scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and added one more in the fourth, to wrap up a 49-6 victory over Salem.

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