Prep Football Playoffs: Salisbury 24, Carver 17
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Salisbury hadn’t beaten a team with a winning record all season heading into Friday’s 2A playoff bout with Winston-Salem Carver.
That wasn’t the only record that would be broken at Ludwig Stadium.
Salisbury needed all of Max Allen’s 294 yards rushing Friday night, a school record, in a 24-17 victory against Carver. The Hornets also required Dejoun Jones’ second interception of the year, a jump ball in the end zone with nine seconds left that iced the game and a date at top-seeded Starmount in the second round.
“Max was just unbelievable for the second week in a row,” Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said.
Allen ran off carries of 50, 49 and 48 yards in the second half. Mad Max, playoff edition, was a menacing force not to be reckoned with.
Allen had faith in his defense and the defense believed in him. Both were justified.
“When they have a team that has faith in you and they’re behind you, you’ll do good regardless,” Allen said. “In the playoffs, you’ve got to have your best game.”
Allen’s 50-yard spurt went for a touchdown an made it 17-7 .
Carver QB Madison Mills tossed a fade toward the back corner and Jones, a senior, came down with the ball that was originally intended for Uriah Razzak.
“I knew it was coming because they had been throwing it to that same receiver on the other side,” Jones said.
“[Jones] bailed my tail out,” Pinyan said.
Salisbury, which was beaten on a touchdown pass in the final minute two weeks ago against Thomasville, saw Mills construct a cohesive drive with 2:06 left, but it wouldn’t falter in the clutch this time.
With 21 seconds to play, Mills found Razzak in the flat for a 13-yard gain to move to the Salisbury 11. After a quick run up to the line, an expected ball spike turned into a roll of the dice.
“I believe that Madison saw an opportunity,” Carver coach Melvin Palmer said. “I think he had a great idea, unfortunately, it wasn’t executed the way we would have liked.”
Allen broke the previous single-game mark of 250 yards from Romar Morris and Dario Hamilton. Salisbury ran for 533 yards total.
Mills finished with 204 yards with 20 completions on 38 attempts in his final game.
“Every time you snap in this bracket, you better be ready to go,” Pinyan said. “There aren’t candy canes in here.”
Dominique Dismuke finished with 110 yards on the ground and Justin Ruffin had 86. The Hornet defense stifled the Carver run game as the Yellow Jackets finished with 58 yards on the ground.
Salisbury overcame three first-half fumbles, including one on its first play from scrimmage. Carver recovered and took over at the Salisbury 20, but went four-and-out. On a muffed punt in the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets got their first score of the game on a 43-yard reception by Anthony Pinson to cut it to 10-7.
“Mills made a lot of plays for them,” Pinyan said. “We were fortunate to beat a real good football team tonight. This could have been a third or fourth round game.”
A Michael Mazur 26-yard field goal started the scoring with 20 seconds left in the first quarter.
A 48-yard burst from Allen put the Hornets at the Carver 17 with 32 seconds to play. A 9-yard rush from Allen followed and Salisbury (10-2) called timeout with 5.2 seconds left and Salisbury with the ball 8 yards from the end zone. Justin Ruffin got the ball on the next play and was stopped at the 3 as the half ran out.
“We felt like we had a play that could get us 7 or 8 yards,” Pinyan said. “It was one of those deals where we thought getting that touchdown was more important than the field goal.”
Allen’s 49-yard run came on 3rd-and-17 on the first drive of the second half and put the Hornets in Carver territory. One play later, Brian Bauk kept it and ran outside for a 30-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
Mills threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Razzak in the third quarter to make it 17-14 with 5:37 left in the period.
Allen’s 48-yard run to the Carver 7 helped produce another score in the fourth quarter.
Bauk punched it in on a 1-yard dive on fourth-and-goal. Mazur’s extra point made it 24-14.
Damien Quiterio-Morrison added a 31-yard field goal with 7:53 left to cap the scoring. Mazur pinned Carver (6-5) at its 6 with a 32-yard punt.
“I’m just happy we survived,” Pinyan said. “This was a lot of fun.”
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