Cougars Fall at Salem
There was no shiny trophy, no mythical title, or even a first-place standing in the conference ranks on the line Oct. 3 when the Salem Greyhounds hosted the Rector Cougars in a 3-2A battle at Greyhound Stadium.
The Hounds (1-4, 1-1) got three first half touchdowns from running back Spencer Love and took full advantage of three costly Rector (0-4, 0-2) turnovers in the first two quarters of play to build a big lead and never look back, as Salem took the contest, 38-8.
The Greyhounds drove the ball all the way to the Cougars' 1-yard line on their first possession of the night, but a fumble on the goal line snuffed out potential points and gave the football to Rector.
The Cougars were also generous and fumbled the ball back to Salem three snaps later at the Rector 19.
This time, Salem punched the ball in from eight yards out a carry by Love on first-and-goal at the 7:57 mark of the first. Damion Potts caught quarterback Brent Haskins' 2-point conversion pass and the home team led 8-0.
Rector's next series ended with a blocked punt, but Salem didn't have much luck advancing the ball and the first quarter ended with the Hounds on top by eight points.
Early in the second, the Cougars rolled the dice and tried to convert a fourth-and-2 deep in their own territory, but Salem held and took control of the pigskin at the 31-yard line.
Love then crossed the goal line for the second time - from 11 yards out - to boost the Greyhounds to a 14-0 cushion with 8:39 left to play in the half.
Rector fumbled the ball away on its next series and Jeremy Newton jumped on it for the Hounds.
Four plays later, Love continued his impressive first half with his third rushing TD, this one on first-and-goal from the 10. Haskins toted the 2-point try in to extend Salem's lead to 22-0 at the 7:42 mark of the second.
Just a shade over a minute later, the Greyhounds hit paydirt once again.
The Cougars coughed up the football on its own side of the field for the third time and Drake Raines nabbed it for Salem.
Dominick Feher broke loose for a 19-yard touchdown scamper with 6:32 showing on the clock. Haskins lofted the 2-point pass to Love to give Salem a 30-0 lead.
Things didn't get any better for the Cougars in the waning moments of the half.
Rector once again went for it on fourth down and once again the Cougars were stopped short, giving the football back to Salem.
With 14 ticks left before intermission, Haskins hit Brandon Layne on a 26-yard TD pass for the Greyhounds' fourth score of the second quarter. Newton carried the 2-point try across the goal line and Salem held a 38-0 advantage at the half.
The Cougars were able to find points on a lengthy drive that started in the third quarter.
The drive was aided by a roughing-the-kicker penalty on Salem on fourth-and-6, as well as a roughing-the-passer call on the Greyhounds, allowing the Cougars to keep moving down the field.
On third-and-goal from the 3 with 8:02 left in the game, Garrett Buck pushed the football across the goal line to get Rector on the scoreboard. The 2-point pass from quarterback Lawson Ford to Chase Jackson was good, wrapping up the scoring with Salem on top 38-8.
Rector will play host to East Poinsett County beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10. Though slated for RHS Homecoming, the threat of rain has forced organizers to move the evening's festivities back one week to Friday, Oct. 17, when the Midland Mustangs visit Paul Temerian Field.