Prep Football: Salisbury 48, East Davidson 6
By Mike London
SALISBURY — East Davidson executed its gameplan precisely for 10 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, there were still 38 minutes left for them to be imperfect, and they were swamped 48-6 by Salisbury’s speed in a CCC regular-season finale played on a dreary, damp, dismal Friday.
With Max Allen, Dominique Dismuke and Justin Ruffin all surpassing 100 rushing yards, the Hornets (9-2, 4-1) finished as CCC runner-up. Thomasville clinched an outright title with a 42-12 flogging of Lexington.
Salisbury principal/public address announcer/weatherman Windsor Eagle informed the shivering crowd at Ludwig Stadium that it was 41 degrees Fahrenheit, with 88 percent humidity and a 7-mile per hour breeze from the north.
The less than ideal weather conditions apparently got in the Hornets’ heads early.
“We did kind of let the elements get to us some,” star linebacker Kavari Hillie admitted. “Visors were fogging up and stuff with the weather, but we can’t let any team hold the ball on us the way they did on that first possession.”
As bundled-up Salisbury fans looked on in disbelief, East Davidson accepted the opening kickoff and trudged 65 methodical yards on 16 physical plays for the game’s first score. They moved the chains five times on that 10-minute march, converting on fourth-and-2 at the Salisbury 33 and again on fourth-and-1 from the 19. Soph fullback Nathan Campbell crunched in from the 1 for the TD.
Keion Adams batted down the PAT kick, but the Hornets trailed.
“It was a shaky start for us,” Salisbury cornerback B.J. Woods said. “But it seems like we always start a little shaky. I wasn’t that worried.”
Salisbury’s offense, yet to touch the ball, with the first quarter winding to a close, was slightly more concerned.
“We were kinda nervous watching East Davidson keep the ball that long,” Dismuke said. “We were getting a little anxious to get on the field.”
Things kept spinning East Davidson’s way. Salisbury was pinned on its 9-yard line on the ensuing kickoff and the Hornet’s first offensive possession was short and not all that sweet.
“We run three plays and two of them are busts,” Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. “They were throwing some things at us offensively and defensively that we hadn’t seen them do a lot. Credit them. Bryan Lingerfelt is one of the best technical coaches around.”
When Michael Mazur punted to the Salisbury 43, East Davidson was already in four-down territory and ready for another grinding march. The Golden Eagles (4-7, 2-3) pushed to the Salisbury 30, but that’s where Adams blew up a play for a 4-yard loss. That forced a punt, and that’s where the tide started to turn.
“Everyone just needed to wake up a little bit,” said Dismuke, who scored the 45th TD of his career.
On its second possession, Salisbury got its potent running game going. Ruffin peeled off 15 yards, then Allen got 16 and 11 on two carries. The Hornets cruised 90 yards, with QB Brian Bauk getting the TD on a 9-yard run. Mazur’s PAT put the Hornets ahead to stay.
“We’ve got really good backs,” senior center Montana Harmon said. “We started staying on our blocks better and that gave the backs a chance to create. They’re very good at that.”
Salisbury then surprised the Golden Eagles with a perfectly executed onsides kick. Woods pounced on the football.
“We saw on film their front guys bailed early, and we knew we’d try an onsides kick, we just didn’t know when,” Pinyan said. “It was a little bit risky right there, leading just 7-6, but we didn’t want them keeping the ball 10 minutes again.’
Woods’ recovery turned momentum for good. Ruffin broke a 20-yard scoring run before halftime, and Bauk’s conversion pass to Ben Ritchie made it 15-6.
The second half was total domination by the Hornets on both sides of the ball.
Hillie led a swarming defense, and all the starting backfield members — Ruffin, Dismuke, Bauk and Allen — produced TD runs in a 26-0 third quarter.
Backup halfback Braylon Dailey accounted for the final TD as the Hornets piled up a season-high 466 rushing yards.
“It was a good Senior Night,” Hillie said. “It took us that first series to warm up, but we got the bad taste out of our mouth from last week.”
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