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SALISBURY — The Salisbury team of the past three weeks would not have fared well against Lake Norman’s juggernaut offense.
However, the Hornets upgraded their weaponry Friday night and put together the most efficient offensive performance of the first month of the season. It wasn’t enough to overcome Lake Norman quarterback Josh Ladowski (209 yards passing, 159 rushing), but progress was found in the details.
Three lost fumbles were the difference for the Hornets (0-4). The Wildcats (2-2) scored 21 points off the Salisbury miscues. Ladowski, who already surpassed 1,000 yards and is a UNC baseball commit, ran for three touchdowns and threw for two.
“I love that kid,” Lake Norman coach Rob McNeely said of Ladowski. “He’s going 100 miles an hour no matter what.”
After scoring one touchdown in the first three games, Hornet quarterback Riley Myers threw for 218 yards to keep pace with Salisbury’s acrobatic guests.
“We moved the ball real well tonight whenever we didn’t kill ourselves with penalties or turning it over,” Salisbury coach Ryan Crowder said. “There’s a lot of positives to pull out of it with the negatives.”
Corey Joyner led LN in receiving with 115 yards on six catches. Joyner caught a 75-yard touchdown pass one play after the Wildcats recovered a third-quarter fumble to make it 34-17.
Salisbury’s Tim Rhodes ran for 60 yards and caught a pass for 60 yards.
“The offensive line was doing really good tonight,” Rhodes said. “We did a lot better than the last few weeks.”
Salisbury trailed 27-3 early in the second quarter after the Wildcats scored on four of their first five possessions.
Rhodes found the end zone on a 13-yard score and Myers found Tony Krider past the pylons for his first touchdown pass of the season. Salisbury had life trailing 27-17 at halftime.
“Defensively, we kind of lost focus with their shifts and motions,” McNeely said.
Antwuan Payne got an interception for Salisbury with LN in the red zone to keep the Hornets in contention in the third quarter. Myers had run for a first-down past the LN 30-yard line but was stripped of the ball as Salisbury lost possession. Joyner’s TD catch came on the next play as he pulled in a high fly down the sideline in single coverage from Ladowski and sprinted to paydirt.
Dae’Shaude White ran for a five-yard touchdown run and Ryan Jones scored on a 38-yard pass from Myers with 6:39 left to pull within 41-30. The Wildcats only needed three plays and 1:03 to score again and ice the game on a Ladowski run.

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