Time heals all.
At least it sure has done wonders for the McCrory Jaguars' football program.
Five years removed from being unable to field a team for two years (2003-04) because of low numbers, things have turned around big-time at McCrory.
One of the state's highest scoring teams at 47.9 points a game, the Jaguars have been one unstoppable force, beating their opponents by at least 27 points in each game in 2009.
Already with a ticket to the Class 2A playoffs in hand, the Salem Greyhounds traveled to Joe Hart Field in McCrory Nov. 5 looking to end the regular season on a high note with an upset against the 3-2A Conference kings.
Instead, the Hounds were yet another victim at the expense of the speedy Jaguars, with McCrory winning 56-8.
The victory over Salem gives McCrory its first conference title since 1997 and keeps the Jaguars' season mark spotless at 10-0 overall, 8-0 in the conference.
The Greyhounds fell to 5-3 in 3-2A play, 6-3 overall. The good news, however, is that the Greyhounds are in the state playoffs for the first time in almost five years. The Greyhounds travel to Bearden Nov. 13, to tangle with the state's top-ranked Class 2A team in the opening round of the 2009 playoffs. Bearden (10-0) won the 8-2A Conference with an 8-0 record.
It took McCrory just two snaps from scrimmage for its first points against Salem.
Paul Keen used a quarterback keeper to run from the 50 to the Salem 15-yard line and Boyd Williams finished off the two-play drive with a touchdown at the 11:49 mark of the first to give the home team a 7-0 lead.
After Salem went three-and-out on its first series, the Jaguars struck again, this time with a three-play, 60-yard scoring drive. Keen hit Jadrien Holiday with a 36-yard TD pass that was tipped by Salem before falling into Holiday's waiting hands. The PAT gave McCrory a 14-0 lead with 8:40 left in the first.
But the Jaguars were not yet done.
Williams picked off a Salem pass and ran it back 25 yards on the Greyhounds' next possession, staking McCrory to a 21-0 advantage.
The Greyhounds were again forced to punt after three downs and the Jaguars once again took full advantage of that.
Keen hit Holiday with a 23-yard touchdown pass on McCrory's next series, pushing the Jaguars in front 28-0.
Salem fumbled its first snap on the Hounds' next possession and McCrory took over at the Salem 20-yard line. Two snaps later, Jordan Cain crossed the goal line from a yard out to ease the Jaguars on top 35-0 with 2:30 left in the first period.
Salem got a spark from Jason Huff right before the end of the first, as the Greyhound speedster took the ensuing kickoff and ran it 86 yards, all the way to the McCrory 5-yard line.
The Jaguars' defense, as big as it is fast, stiffened and forced the Hounds to try a field goal early in the second quarter. The kick was off the mark and McCrory took the ball back.
The Jaguars drove all the way to the Salem 12-yard line, but Clint Ray picked off a Keen pass attempt near the goal line, to stop the McCrory threat. But Salem couldn't cash this turnover into points and punted on its next series.
It took the Jaguars just two plays to find the end zone once again.
Williams broke free for a 61-yard run, all the way to the Salem 4-yard line. Then Williams carried the ball across the goal line to give McCrory a 42-0 lead with 7:52 remaining until the half.
But that did give the Greyhounds time to fashion a scoring drive of their own.
Huff reeled in a couple passes from Ty Berry to help push the ball onto McCrory's side of the field. Then on fourth-and-7 from the Jaguars' 34, Berry came up big with a 17-yard scramble that moved the chains for the Hounds.
And on fourth-and-23 from the 30, Dustin Ray hit Huff with a touchdown pass that got the Greyhounds on the board. Ray also hit Huff on the 2-point conversion pass. Holiday ran in from a yard out with 11 ticks showing on the clock to give the Jaguars a 49-8 lead at intermission.
On the first play from scrimmage in the third, Aaron Daniel picked off a Salem pass and ran it back to the 18-yard line.
One snap later, Chris Smith logged an 18-yard touchdown that rounded out McCrory's 56-8 victory.