Please don't think that all you have to do in order to beat the Salem Greyhounds is simply show up, flex your muscles, then push, shove and bully your way to victory.
Because that won't work.
The Salem Greyhounds are more than happy to stand their ground, and seem to be immune to intimidation tactics.
Matter of fact, they're probably going to push right back.
Keeping their cool -- and keeping their heads -- in a game that had more than its fair share of personal fouls, the Hounds went about their business and ripped the Marked Tree Indians 40-14 Oct. 14 at Greyhound Stadium.
The victory keeps the undefeated Greyhounds (7-0, 4-0) rolling with momentum into their huge showdown with unbeaten East Poinsett County (6-0, 5-0) Oct. 21.
Salem's defense was yet again dialed in from the outset against Marked Tree (3-4, 2-4) only allowing the Indians 223 total yards in the contest.
By contrast, Salem had another field day running the football and notching over 359 yards on the ground, led by Augustus Freeman's seven carries for 86 yards.
The first quarter was scoreless, thanks in large part to a J.J. Gray interception of Marked Tree quarterback Jagger McCrary that snuffed out the Indians' last drive of the frame.
Three snaps into the second quarter, the Hounds got on the scoreboard with a 5-yard TD carry from Blake Hensley on first-and-goal. Dillon Turner hit Heath Goodman with the 2-point conversion pass and Salem led 8-0 with 10:39 left in the second.
After a three-and-out by Marked Tree, Salem marched 71 yards in four plays -- a drive highlighted by a gashing 60-yard run from Nick Gaskins (four carries, 78 yards) to paydirt.
Freeman blasted his way in from two yards out at the 7:19 point for Salem's second score of the second quarter. Turner hit Gaskins with the 2-point conversion pass to extend Salem's lead to 16-0.
The Indians' next drive took them all the way to the Salem 1-yard line, but a pair of penalties, coupled with a quarterback sack by Nathan King, left Marked Tree with a fourth-and-goal from the 18.
On fourth down, the Hounds jumped on McCrary, shoving him backwards for another loss and giving Salem the ball back with a shade over two minutes left in the first half.
Salem's last drive of the half ended with a fumble, but King repaid the favor by picking off McCrary and running the ball back 42 yards on the Indians' last snap of the half. King was pushed out of bounds at the Marked Tree 10-yard line as the horn sounded the end of the half, with Salem still up 16-zip.
Marked Tree scored on its first series from scrimmage in the second half, as Thadious Moore ran across the goal line from 16 yards out at the 4:42 mark. Moore was stopped on the 2-point try, keeping the Hounds in front 16-6.
Salem answered right back with a 53-yard scoring drive on its next possession.
Turner (three-of-six, 79 yards passing) hit Marcus Cagle with a 33-yard pass that pushed the ball to the Indians' 17-yard line. After a run by Gray (nine carries, 63 yards), Turner scrambled in from six yards away for another Greyhound score. The 2-point try was stopped, but Salem moved on top 22-6.
Just before the end of the third, Turner tossed a 13-yard TD pass to Jesse James as the Greyhounds continued to roll. The 2-point conversion was short, but the home team led 28-6 after three.
And there was no left-up by the Hounds in the game's last 12 minutes.
Dakota Reynolds picked off a McCrary pass, and Gaskins scored on a 12-yard run with 4:26 remaining in the game to boost Salem's cushion to 34-6.
On the ensuing kick, Salem got the ball back as David Tarpley recovered a short squib for the Greyhounds.
Two plays later, Turner had his second rushing touchdown of the game, this one from eight yards out, and Salem was up 40-6.
Marked Tree did manage another score with five seconds left in the game, with Darius Ivy crossing the end zone from a yard out.
Still, it was way too little, way too late, as the Greyhounds rolled to their seventh straight victory, 40-14.