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Friday, May 6, 2016

Hounds crush Marked Tree

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Total domination is rarely achieved in high school football, but that is what happened as Salem rolled over Marked Tree, 48-6, in the Greyhounds' homecoming game on Sept. 21.

The Hounds received the opening kickoff and returned the ball to their own 39 yard line. Seven plays and three minutes later, Salem started the scoring. Junior quarterback Dillon Turner put up the first of many points on the day by throwing a 39 yard touchdown pass to Heath Goodman.

Turner would finish the night with five touchdowns, three passing and two rushing. He went five of eight for 115 yards through the air, and added 120 yards on just six carries.

Salem Head Coach Cody Curtis said Turner had a good game, but he wasn't doing it alone.

"He played really well. But he would be the first to tell you, he cant do anything without the offensive line," Curtis said. "The game is won in the trenches. He had a great game though, They did a heck of a job blocking and he did a heck of a job."

Turner said he thought he played well.

"I think I did alright. We didn't throw the ball as much as I would've liked, but a victory is a victory," Turner said.

Throughout most of the game, the Indian's offense had about as much success as it's defense had trying to stop the Hounds' first drive. Marked Tree started their first possession at their own 32, but turned the ball over on downs.

Salem's next possession started at their own 17 yard line with 5:42 left in the first quarter. The Hounds' second possession would leave a bitter taste in Salem's mouth, as tight end Marcus Cagel plowed down the field for a 36 yard catch, but fumbled at the end of the run.

After the fumble the Indians took over at their own 17 yard line with just over two minutes left in the quarter. Marked Tree was able to move the ball effectively on this drive, but penalties ultimately stopped forward progress and forced a punt on fourth-and-long.

The first quarter ended with a score of 7-0. Third down was Salem's friend in the first quarter, as the Hounds were four for four on third down, and Turner's touchdown pass to Goodman was on a third down.

The second quarter felt like a different game than the first, as the Greyhounds took their 7-0 lead and turned it into a 35-0 lead by half time.

Salem's first drive of the second quarter saw the Hounds fail to convert a third and 15, but a quarterback sneak by Turner on fourth and one kept the drive alive. Turner would make his presence felt on the scoreboard at the end of the drive with a 48-yard touchdown run on third and four that put the Hounds up 13-0 with 9:09 left in the half.

On the ensuing kickoff, Marked Tree's all-state running back, Darius Ivey, evaded Salem tacklers all the way to Salem's 33. A personal foul on the Hounds let the Indians start their drive just 28 yards from the end zone.

Ivey led the Indians with over 100 rushing yards, but Salem's homecoming king, senior Justus Sparks, said the Hounds wanted to make sure Ivey didn't beat them by himself.

"When you're against a running back like Darius Ivey, he's the guy you want to go after. As soon as we saw he had the ball, we had 11 hats on him," Sparks said.

Curtis said the team had a game plan in place to stop Ivey.

"He's a great running back. He was all-state last year, and he may have that again this year, who knows. But he was in our pre-game Monday morning. We (said) stop 24 (Ivey), we stop Marked Tree," Curtis said.

Marked Tree's offense was still unable to move the ball consistently, and the Indian's turned the ball over on downs after gaining just three yards.

On the third play of Salem's drive, Turner broke free on a 50-yard run to get the Hounds back in scoring range. Three plays later, Turner threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time to senior Blake Hensley. Salem's success on third down was once again evident, as the scoring play came on a third-and-10.

With 4:46 left in the half and down 19-0, the Indians took the ball from their own 49 yard line after another good kick return by Ivey. On second-and-25, Salem senior Nathan King intercepted a Hail Mary pass to give the ball back to the Greyhounds.

On the first play of the drive, Turner threw a bullet to junior Layne Kirkland. Kirkland made a few Indians miss, and out ran everyone else to the end zone for a 46 yard touchdown. After a successful two point conversion, the Hounds went up 27-0 with 3:40 left in the half.

With just 1:27 left in the half, seniors David Tarpley and Hunter Medling combined to get a sack on fourth down, giving the Hounds one more chance to score before half time. The Greyhounds' offense took full advantage of the chance, as Turner scrambled into the end zone from 20 yards out for his second rushing touchdown of the day, and his fifth total touchdown of the half.

The Greyhounds took a 35-0 lead into the locker room, and never looked back. Salem only scored once in the third quarter, and once in the fourth. Salem's huge lead at halftime led to a running clock in the second half.

The score at the third quarter was a three yard touchdown run by senior running back J.J. Gray. After a botched snap on the extra point, holder Dillon Turner was forced to make a desperation throw to the end zone, a pass that was tipped twice and appeared to be caught, but hit the ground before a Greyhound came down with the pass. The Hounds took a 41-0 lead into the fourth quarter.

With 9:43 left in the game, the Hounds recovered a fumbled snap to take possession at their own 43. On the first play of the drive, Turner ran the ball 18 yards. Hensley followed with 11 yards on the second play. On the third and final play of the drive, Dakota Reynolds galloped 16 yards into the end zone for Salem's final score of the game.

Ivey set up the Indian's first and only score of the game with a 36-yard run late in the fourth quarter. The Indians finally got on the score board with 25 seconds left in the game, but failed on a two-point conversion attempt.

The Hounds moved to 4-0 after beating the Indians. Curtis called it a good team effort.

"We executed very well. I'm very proud of the kids. We're right about where we need to be at this point in the season. We're just trying to get everything polished up and get better every game. Hopefully at the end of the year, we're running on all cylinders and doing everything almost to perfection," Curtis said.

This season, the Greyhounds have played two home games and two away games. They beat the Indians and the Mountain View Yellow Jackets at home, by a total score of 104-6. But in the two away games, Salem needed the final drive of the game to pull out a one-point win at Yellville-Summit and a six-point win at Mayflower.

Curtis cited several reasons for the differences at home and on the road.

"Mayflower and Yellville are just better opponents. Also it's hard to go on a bus and travel all that way, but I hate saying that because it sounds like an excuse," Curtis said. "I think we've preformed well every game, but our kids really get jacked up from our fans; we have great fans here."

Salem's next test will be a road game against the 2-2 Augusta Red Devils. Curtis said the Hounds have several things they need to do in order to hand Augusta its third straight home loss.

"They have a lot of speed. We need to try to contain them. They're not going to be a bad team, they're gonna bring a fight and they're gonna be aggressive," Curtis said. "We have to be tougher than them, and it starts with our offensive and defensive lines. We have one of the biggest, deepest, and toughest lines, and our second group isn't missing a beat."

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