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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Greyhounds crush Augusta; Salem improves to 5-0 with 41-6 win

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Running back J.J. Gray takes the ball downfield, leaving several Red Devils in his wake. Photo by Christy Springstun of unforgettablemomentsbychristy.com, go to her website to see more of her work.
It was The Tale of Two Halves, very different halves, as the Salem Greyhounds soared to a 41-6 victory over the Augusta Red Devils, at Augusta, on Friday, Sept. 28.

Augusta took the opening kickoff and picked up a first down, before quarterback L.J. Driver threw a pass which Lane Kirkland picked off and took for 70 yards before being brought down on the two yard line. J.J. Gray completed the charge, busting into the end zone on the next play. Kirkland then made the point--after kick, and Salem was up seven to nothing with just three minutes gone in the first quarter.

Augusta responded with a 15 yard kick return. But facing a third and four, Blake Hensley made a strong tackle, allowing just a one yard gain and forcing a punt.

Salem and Augusta both failed to advance the ball, but Salem got a drive going as the first quarter wound down. Gray picked 10 yards and Agustus Freeman gained 15 yards and six yards in successive carries. When an incomplete pass brought up fourth down, Hounds' Coach Cody Curtis decided to go for it. Good decision. Quarterback Dillon Turner hit Hensley on a pass that went for a 12 yard gain. Salem moved the ball to Augusta's 25 as the first quarter ended, with the Hounds holding on to their 7 -0 lead.

A Gray run moved the ball to the nine, but the scoring threat ended when Turner overthrew Hensley in the end zone.

As the second quarter unfolded, Augusta picked up a first down, then stalled. The ball went back to Salem with 8:23 left in the half, but a Turner pass was intercepted, and Augusta began just 28 yards from Salem's end zone. But, after allowing an 11 yard pass play, the Hounds' defense got tough stopping three runs, and it appeared they had held when a fourth-and-six pass was incomplete. A face mask penalty gave Augusta new life, however, moving the ball to the three. Montarius Wesson then ran the ball in for the Red Devils' first six points. A two-point conversion failed, making the score Salem 7, Augusta 6, with 5:15 left in the half.

Salem began at its 26 and got its running game going as Freeman gained 14 yards up the middle, and Hensley got loose for a long run, which was called back because of a Salem holding call. But the Hounds weren't through. Four runs produced 28 yards, and Freeman added 28 more, moving the ball to Augusta's 18. A big loss on a running play moved the ball back, and a fourth and long pass into the end zone failed to connect.

Augusta got the ball back with just 18 seconds left, and time ran out leaving Salem up 7-6 at the half.

Who knows what Greyhounds' coaches said during the break, but the Hounds returned to the field a different team, and the change showed up right away. It took just three plays, big runs by Nathan King, Freeman, and Gray for Salem to find the end zone, Kirkland's point after kick was good, and the score was 14-6.

After holding Augusta, Salem moved the ball quickly again, with Freeman, Salem's workhorse in the game, taking it in for a TD. Kirkland added his third point--after kick and, still early in the third quarter, it was suddenly Salem 21, Augusta 6.

Augusta went no where on their next chance, and Salem was soon on the move again. A Turner run took the ball to the 28 yard line, a reverse which ended up in Hensley's hands gained 15 and a Turner to Heath Goodman pass was good for 16 yards and six more points. Kirkland hit again on the PAT, and the score soared to 28-6.

Salem continued to shine on defense, as Goodman grabbed an interception and, with 1:16 left in the third quarter, Justus Sparks added six more points with a seven yard run. Kirkland's fourth extra point kick was good, and a third quarter barrage of 28 unanswered points put the Hounds in the drivers seat, 35 to 6.

Salem added a final touchdown with 7:48 left in the fourth quarter, when Freeman romped in from 20 yards out. The point after was no good, but the six additional points made it 41-6, and the 35-point lead triggered the "Mercy Rule." Play continued with the clock running non-stop, leading to the final score of 41-6.

With the win, Salem moves to a record of 5-0 on the season. The Hounds now prepare for next week's game, a road trip to Cedar Ridge.

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