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Friday, May 6, 2016

No rain on Hounds' parade

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It wasn't the most picturesque season-opener.

Early on, there was plenty of sloppy play, a ton of penalties, loads of missed opportunities and even a weather delay.

But in the end, all that put together didn't matter one single bit to the Salem Greyhounds or their heavy-duty fans.

Because in the end, the Hounds opened the 2009 season with a huge 14-8 victory over the Class 4A Westside Warriors Sept. 4 at Greyhound Stadium.

The Greyhounds struck for the game-winning score quicker than the bundles of lightning that delayed the contest for almost two-and-a-half hours.

With the game deadlocked at 8-all, Salem (1-0) quarterback Ty Berry ripped off a thrilling 78-yard touchdown run with 8:47 left in the fourth quarter to put the Hounds on top to stay.

Then with the lead on its side, Salem turned things over to the defense. And the Hounds defense was more than ready to handle things. Westside's one-two punch at running back, Tyler Hibbs and Jordan Fowler, were both shaken up and missed chunks of the game after feeling the wrath of the Salem defense.

Dylan Smith recovered a fumble on the Warriors' next possession and on Westside's last series of the game, Adam Beard snuffed out a screen pass, jarring the football free to allow Salem to run the clock out on its 14-8 victory.

The way the game started, it was hard to tell if either team would be able to hang onto the football long enough to score.

The Warriors (0-1) tried an ill-fated hook-and-ladder on their first snap of the game and when the ball was bobbled and hit the ground, the Hounds pounced on it deep in Westside territory.

But on their first snap of the game, the Greyhounds muffed a handoff and Westside recovered the ball at the Warriors' 18-yard line.

And the sloppy execution continued on the very next snap, as the Warriors couldn't pull off a lateral pass and Dustin Ray scooped up the miscue at the Westside 22-yard line.

Three snaps into the game, three turnovers in the game.

Salem finally broke this trend, but was still forced to punt on the ensuing series.

Jason Huff was magnificent in the contest and his punts were a huge difference-maker in Salem's win. His first punt of the night pinned the Warriors back at their own 4-yard line.

Despite this poor field position, however, the Warriors did put together a nice scoring march, going 96 yards in 14 plays. Tyler Hibbs crossed the goal line from eight yards out with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter for the first points of the evening. Hibbs then ran the two-point conversion in to stake Westside to an 8-0 lead.

Then the skies opened up, lightning filled the night skies and the game was delayed for two-and-a-half hours with Westside holding that 8-0 lead.

When play finally resumed, the Greyhounds found the scoreboard for the first time in 2009 deep into the second quarter.

Huff set up the scoring drive with an impressive punt return, winding his way through traffic and taking the ball all the way to the Westside 26-yard line.

On fourth-and-goal from the 4, Berry rolled out and hit Huff with a TD pass with 3:17 left until intermission. Berry then toted the two-point conversion in to knot things at 8-all.

That's how things stayed until Berry twisted his way 78 yards on first-and-10 from the Greyhounds' own 22-yard line, scoring the game-winning TD on an unusual season-opening night for the Greyhounds.



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