Friday, September 10, 2010
Salem Pounds Central 45-19
"I can't remember this drastic of a turnaround from one week to the next week" remarked Salem football coach Jack Gati after tonight's game.
Neither can I, coach. Last week Salem (my preseason #1 team in the state) got blown out on their own field 48-21 to Bishop Guertin. But it was a totally different team out there tonight, as the Blue Devils dominate a good Manchester Central team 45-19.
The Jacques & Fedrick Show
Salem's dynamic backfield duo of senior Max Jacques and junior Jerickson Fedrick was unstoppable this evening. Jacques ran for 154 yards and 3 touchdowns while Fedrick amassed 137 yards and 3 TD's.
Last week vs. BG Fedrick ran for just 21 yards on 10 carries. He was a completely different back tonight. The highlight of his night was a 50 yard TD run late in the first quarter that made it 14-0 Salem.
Jacques meanwhile made one of the best runs I've ever seen by a high school player. It came with 9:46 left in the 3rd quarter. And it as a 61 yard touchdown run. Jacques started off running left, trying to bounce it to the outside and get to the sideline. He was then met by a slew of central defenders. He was nearly taken down for what would have bee only a 10 yard gain, but he kept battling for yardage and hist feet just kept on moving. He broke a few more tackles and then brought the ball to the complete opposite side of the field, now on the right sideline. He got a block downfield, cut it back inside and went in for the score. It was a jaw-dropping play. He got some good blocks by his linemen. And Central could have done a bettewr job of tackling on the play. But Jacques flat out made a heck of a run. One you do NOT see every week. The score made it 30-0. If the game was still in any doubt, this TD erased that doubt and gave Salem the win.
"I was just trying to make a play for my team" explained Jacques after the game. "I just REALLY wanted to get a touchdown on that play."
Central couldn't stop the run all game long.
Domination From the Beginning
Salem set the tone for the rest of the game on their very first drive. They drove 70 yards on about 10 plays, ending with a 5 yard TD run by Jacques. All Salem did was run the ball right up the gut the entire drive. And Central couldn't stop it. The longest run on the drive was only 13 yards - they didn't have any huge gains. But every play was 8 yards here, 10 yards there and they just kept moving the chains. They went up 7-0. The Blue Devil defense then kept the momentum on their side as Connor Woefel sacked Little Green QB Jared Chandler on a big 4th down and 4 play. Salem got the ball back and that's when Fedrick went for his 50 yard TD run and just like that it was 14-0. Then came another sack of Chandler, this one by Donald Needham and Salem got the ball back again very quickly. Salem went up 24-0 at the half and Jacques' 61 yard TD run was the icing on the cake early in the 3rd. Game over.
Salem Defense Was Much Better This Week
After allowing 48 points and well over 300 yards to BG last week, Salem held a talented central offense to just 19 points. And they basically held them to zero, because once it was 31-0 it was essentially over. In addition to Woefel and Needham, Coach Gati also got strong defensive play from Matt Cannone, Fedrick, Richard LaRhette, Joe Dipalma and Andrew Ivas. Cannone, who typically just plays QB and not defense, had a big interception late in the 2nd quarter and a 30 yard return afterwards that led to Jacques' second TD run of the game to make it 24-0.
Bright Spots for Central
Khari "KK" Halliburton ran for 131 yards and Junior Brown caught 5 passes for 99 yards and 2 TD's. They both played well in the loss. But again, many of those yards came after the game had been decided.
I do give Central credit for continuing to battle hard and make plays even after going down by so many points. Chandler was having a nightmare of a game. He was getting sacked, missing passes and was struggling to move his team downfield and get on the scoreboard. But he kept his head up, and made an outstanding play late in the 3rd quarter. Just 6 minutes after throwing his first TD pass of the game, he threw another one. This time he came THIS close to getting sacked once again. He had a Salem linemen bearing down on him when he threw a laser downfield and hit a wide open Brown running in stride down the field. Brown went untouched for the 73 yard TD. It was a night to forget for Chandler, but that's a play that I'm sure he'll remember.
Do-it-all man Sam Graham also made some nice plays offensively for Central, pretty much carrying the offense to their third TD of the game late. He had 2 catches for 13 yards and 5 rushes for 30 yards and a TD, with virtually all of that production coming on that drive. Salem did have their second string defense in there at that point, but I give credit to Graham for fighting hard until the very end and leaving it all on the field.