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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hounds are the real deal

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

David Tarpley gets ready to lower the boom on Cross County's Dylan Hudson, while fellow Greyhound Cody Barnett comes in to provide support in Salem's 53-6 trashing of the T-Birds Oct. 7. Photo/Mullins
Just past the mid-way point of the 2011 football season, it looks like this group of Salem Greyhounds is the real deal.

Those left with any doubts should just ask the Cross County Thunderbirds about this group of Greyhounds.

The T-Birds flew into Greyhound Stadium for a 3-2A Conference matchup with Salem Oct. 7, but by the end of the contest, Cross County was so battered and bruised that its wings could surely flap no more.

Salem pounded Cross County in every phase of the game, hammering the T-Birds 53-6.

The victory, Salem's sixth in a row, keeps the Hounds atop the conference standings with East Poinsett County at 3-0 in 3-2A play.

The only real bummer for Salem on this night was the sight of J.J. Gray, the Greyhounds' leading rusher, being helped into the locker room with an ice pack taped to his knee late in the second quarter.

Gray rushed seven times for 67 yards before exiting the game.

The Hounds' defense was stiff as usual allowed just under 200 yards of total offense in the game to Cross County (2-3, 2-2).

That's really impressive considering that coming into the Salem game, Cross County's Dylan Hudson had been averging almost 170 yards rushing per game.

As has been their mode of operation in the past, the T-Birds opened the game with an onside kick attempt.

Joey Arrington fell on the ball near midfield to give Salem excellent starting field position.

Two snaps later, Augustus Freeman had the first of his three TDs in the game with a 45-yard blast up the middle of the field. Nick Gaskins carried the 2-point conversion in to give the home team a fast 8-0 lead, a shade under 30 seconds into the matchup. Freeman racked up 96 yards on eight carries.

Salem quarterback Dillon Turner (three-for-seven, 42 yards passing) was picked off a couple of times in the first quarter, but Salem maintained an eight-point lead after one.

In the second quarter, the Hounds really got down to business.

On the first snap in the frame, Nathan King blasted into the end zone from eight yards out, giving the Greyhounds a 14-0 advantage.

King paced Salem with 116 yards on eight carries.

Cross County's most productive drive of the game, one covering 66 yards, came next.

Dylan Hudson got the T-Birds on the board with a 13-yard touchdown run at the 10:05 mark of the second. King picked off the 2-point pass attempt, leaving Salem in charge 14-6.

That score wouldn't hold long as Salem ripped off 26 unanswered points the last 10 minutes of the half.

The Hounds' scoring spree started with a 20-yard TD run by Freeman and on the ensuing kickoff, the T-Birds fumbled the football and Salem's Gaskins hopped on it.

Three plays later, Turner hit Heath Goodman with a quick-hitting pass at about the T-Bird 5-yard line. After reeling in the pass, Goodman wheeled and pitched the ball to a streaking Gaskins, who ran the ball in to complete the 16-yard score, boosting Salem's margin to 26-6 with 8:20 remaining until the half.

David Tarpley ended Cross County's next series on offense with an interception of quarterback Tyler Hudson at the Greyhound 39.

Six plays later, Freeman once again found the end zone, this time on an 8-yard run, to keep things rolling for the Greyhounds.

Cross County then turned the football over for the third time in the stanza, and, for the second time, it was Gaskins who recovered the loose football.

This time, Jesse James (six carries, 27 yards rushing) cashed in the Cross County miscue, as he sprinted across the goal line with 3:36 left to send the teams to intermission with Salem controlling a huge 40-6 lead. Justus Sparks ran in the 2-point conversion.

In the third quarter, King posted a 26-yard touchdown run and in the fourth, Sparks, filling in for Turner at QB, sliced off a nifty 35-yard TD run that capped the scoring and put the ice on Salem's 53-6 blowout of Cross County.

Derik Kemp recovered a fumble for Salem late in the game to snuff out the T-Birds' last possession of the night.

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