Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2013
SALISBURY — There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but with Salisbury’s 42-12 CCC win against West Davidson secured with two minutes to go, P.A. man Windsor Eagle called for the Thunder Dance.
The Hornet faithful haven’t forgotten how to spin and gyrate, even in a 2-8 season, and for a few, loud minutes, it was like old times at Ludwig Stadium.
Certainly Salisbury’s defense played like a vintage SHS defense, creating general havoc and seven turnovers. Jordan Oglesby had a pick and a fumble recovery. Cameron McLendon, Darius Jackson , Dejarve Eller and Levoid Stratton also produced interceptions.
“Our defense played lights out,” SHS receiver Ryan Jones said. “This just shows that we haven’t quit. We played the second-toughest schedule in North Carolina, but we didn’t quit.”
In a rebuilding year, Salisbury went an ugly 0-6 playing non-conference 3As and 4As. But CCC play has been a different story – two wins and a pair of one-point losses.
West Davidson (4-6, 0-4) was bigger than the Hornets upfront, and that explains why 11 Salisbury plays produced negative yards. The Hornets would get zero, and then they’d be stoned for minus-2, but then they’d gain 20 or 30.
“We had some kids on the wall who played real well and we did stop them a lot,” West Davidson coach Bryan Lingerfelt said. “But sometimes it comes down to 40 times. Theirs are better than ours.”
Salisbury got it done with guys like 112-pound back Tony Krider who took it right up the gut once to move the chains on fourth-and-2.
Krider squirted through a crease for the 39-yard score that made it 14-0.
“Coach said if I was patient, if I waited, the hole would open up, and it opened for me,” Krider said.
Later, the little guy back-pedaled for six more on a pass from Riley Myers.
Tim Rhodes also scored two TDs for the Hornets. Willie Clark had 117 rushing yards and a TD. Stephen Mazur kicked five PATs and made a TD-saving tackle on a kickoff. Stratton, a defensive lineman, rumbled 85 yards for a pick-6. He needed an oxygen tent at the end of his journey, but he made it.
“We made a whole lot of mistakes tonight,” Oglesby said. “But we always came back from those mistakes and picked up the intensity.”
SHS coach Ryan Crowder compared the Hornets’ CCC adventures to Rocky movies.
“It’s like Rocky gets beat up on for a while, but then Rocky starts to punch back, and the other guy acts like he doesn’t know what’s going on,” Crowder said. “We’ve been that guy who doesn’t know what’s going on once people started to fight back. What we talked about tonight was when we get hit, let’s hit them back twice.”
Crowder didn’t specify if the Hornets were Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang or Ivan Drago, but the relevant point is that they did fight back.
“We kept fighting,” Crowder said. “They scored to make it 14-6, so we hit back and made it 22-6. We responded better tonight.”
When West Davidson scored late in the first half on a 20-yard pass from Graham Shoaf to Justin Bennett, a play that threatened to change momentum, Salisbury had the right answer.
Clark’s 30-yard scoring run for the first points of the second half was a massive play and was keyed by a block by Jones.
“They had big linemen, but we were able to bounce some runs outside,” Jones said. “I got a good cutback block on that one.”
When Rhodes plowed into the end zone with 7:13 left, it was 35-12, and it was time to call down the thunder.
“Hats off to Salisbury,” Lingerfelt said. “They played inspired football.”