2A Football Playoffs: Salisbury 35, East Burke 6
By Brian Pitts
The East Burke-Salisbury playoff game Friday at Ludwig Stadium was billed as a tossup, and it was indeed a close game for one quarter. But the first-round showdown quickly turned into a smackdown ó and a runaway 35-6 victory for the Hornets.
The first quarter was a big tease for the visiting Cavaliers. They kept the game scoreless by stopping a fourth-and-1 run at the East 27 and by blocking a 25-yard field goal.
From that point on, though, the Hornets were unstoppable on offense and outstanding on defense, exploding in the second quarter for a 20-0 halftime lead. They picked up 22 first downs, ran for 397 yards and didn’t punt until the second half. Their defense permitted just eight first downs, 149 yards, didn’t allow a completion until the third and didn’t give up a third-down conversion until dying seconds.
“Hats off to our kids,”Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. “I don’t know if we’ve played a game that complete. We dominated on offense and defense. We ran pretty much at will.”
Salisbury’s offensive brilliance came from everywhere.
Romar Morris had 146 rushing yards on 19 carries, Ike Whitaker had 89 on 18 carries and QB John Knox had 87 on 17 carries. That trio got plenty of help from another efficient runner, with Dominique Dismuke chipping in 55 yards on six carries.
“Dismuke is probably our best runner between the tackles,” Pinyan said.
“(Dejoun Jones) did a good job of picking up some key blocks. I can’t say enough about our backs.”
Knox, who directed possessions for 11, 14 and 10 plays in the first half, kept the Cavs honest by hitting Riley Gallagher with his first two passes, resulting in 13- and 24-yard plays, the latter for a TD.
“Gallagher made a great catch on our sideline,” Pinyan said. “I thought, ‘Wow, what a great catch.”
The Salisbury defense wreaked havoc all night, with 98 of East’s 149 yards coming on two runs. East’s first play resulted in a 5-yard loss, thanks to Tre Jackson, one of three guys who play the Hornet position.
“All three of our Hornets ó Jackson, Darien Rankin and Justin Franklin ó played sensational on the edge,” Pinyan said.
When it was scoreless, East had first down at the Salisbury 42. Rankin threw a kink in the drive by planting the runner 7 yards back. QB Justin Lall tried to pick on Joseph Figueroa with deep fades, but Figueroa was in perfect position each time.
“Darien’s done that all year. He’s just a tremendous athlete,” Pinyan said.
“Figueroa, that’s a tough little cookie. He never takes a play off.”
Kavari Hillie made a tackle in the backfield when East was inside the Salisbury 10 and threatening to cut into Salisbury’s 14-0 lead.
Figueroa’s pass defense foiled the next play. East faked a 30-yard field goal, but Rankin chased down Lall as he looked to pass and stripped the ball in the process.
“And Kavari’s just a sophomore,” Pinyan said.
Midway through the third quarter, East had more fumbles (five) than first downs (four).
“We’re a better team than what we showed tonight,” East Burke coach Mike Biggerstaff said. “Not to take anything away from coach Pinyan’s team because they were well prepared and played hard.”
Salisbury’s third-round 2A boys soccer match against East Lincoln at Ludwig Stadium has been rescheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.... read more