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Friday, May 6, 2016

Dragons end Salem's undefeated season

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Photo by Christy Springstun of unforgettablemomentsbychristy.com Salem senior tight end Marcus Cagel creates some room and runs downfield against the Junction City Dragons on Nov. 23.
After 11 straight wins, a conference championship and countless unforgettable moments, the Salem Greyhounds ran out of magic against the Junction City Dragons. The Dragons handed Salem their first loss in over a year by knocking the Hounds out of the playoffs 34-6 on Friday, Nov. 23.

The Dragons came into the game ranked as the number one team in the state in class 2A, Salem was ranked second.

Salem took the opening kickoff from their own 30 yard line. The Hounds moved the ball up field, and even got a 21-yard run by junior Augustus Freeman on fourth and one. But, as they would do many times against the Dragons, the Hounds beat themselves. After nine successful plays, a fumble inside the red zone gave Junction City the ball on their own 15 yard line with 8:06 left in the first quarter.

The Dragons wasted little time getting a lead on Salem. On the second play of the drive, Junction City quarterback Shaquille Hunter tossed a bomb to a wide open receiver. 74 yards later, Salem senior Nathan King ran down and pushed the Dragons' receiver out of bounds at the five yard line. Salem's defense held the Dragons for three plays inside the five, but Hunter connected for his first touchdown of the game. After a successful extra point attempt, the Dragons led 7-0.

Salem's second drive was so similar to the first drive it seemed like a flash back. On the seventh play of the drive, junior quarterback Dillon Turner threw his first of several interceptions.

Junction City started their second drive from their own 28 yard line. The Dragons only needed four plays to get back in the end zone, when Hunter threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time a 34-yard pass.

Trailing 14-0, Salem took possession at their own 29 yard line with 2:56 left in the first quarter. Salem's offense successfully moved the ball for for eight plays but, on the second play of the second quarter, the Hounds turned the ball over on downs to give Junction City the ball at their own 29 yard line.

Salem's defense held the Dragons that drive, but their offense stalled again. With 6:30 left in the half, Junction City got on the score board again with another long pass from Hunter. After blocking the extra point attempt, Salem was down 20-0.

After stopping two more Salem drives, King intercepted a Junction City pass, but the half ended with Salem behind 20-0.

Junior Layne Kirkland picked off a pass from Hunter to end the Dragons' first drive of the second half. Salem took over at their own 35 yard line, but momentum was soon erased by another interception off a pass intended for senior tight end Marcus Cagel, and Junction City took possession after just one play by the Greyhounds' offense.

On the first play of Junction City's next possession, Hunter scooted 28 yards into the end zone to put the Dragons ahead 27-0.

On the second play of Salem's next possession, Junction City junior Jarkell Brown picked off his second pass of the game to give the Dragons possession.

The fourth quarter ended with a score of 27-0.

With 10:17 left in the game, senior Blake Hensley finally got the Hounds on the scoreboard with a ten yard run.

Salem's hopes of a comeback continued to grow on Junction City's next possession. After just four plays, the Hounds' defense forced a turnover on downs.

Two plays later, the Dragons stuck a fork in the Greyhounds by applying pressure to Turner on a pass play. As he was getting sacked, Turner fumbled, and Junction City senior Dorian Evans put up the final points of the game a few minutes later on a touchdown run.

Statistics show the Greyhounds were able to move the ball effectively, despite the final score. They had nearly 250 yards of total offense. But four interceptions by Turner and three fumbles by the Greyhounds' offense gave the game away.

Look for a Salem season wrap up next week in The News.

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