Salisbury tops East Davidson in convincing fashion
THOMASVILLE — Salisbury ran its way to a 34-7 lead before holding off a furious East Davidson rally to open Central Carolina Conference play with a 34-28 win over the Golden Eagles on Friday.
The visiting Hornets amassed 340 yards rushing behind the backfield duo of Willie Clark and Antwond Glenn to survive a 21-point fourth quarter by East.
“Our kids never quit. I’m proud of my coaching staff and we’re coaching our tails off when it’s 34-7,” said East Davidson coach Vance Hanner. “None of the kids gave up, they kept saying let’s go, let’s go.”
Salisbury’s bait-and-switch running game worked wonders on a rainy night that saw the two teams combine for seven fumbles. Clark used a dizzying array of cut back moves and showed outstanding speed to rack up 158 yards on 16 carries. The 5-foot-4 junior running back reached the end zone three times including a 37-yard sprint to the pylon to put the Hornets up 27-7 in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Glenn powered his way between the tackles for 130 yards on 15 carries including a 42-yard scoring run that started with the 5-11 junior bulling his way through East Davidson’s defensive line en route to pay dirt.
After Darius Jackson stripped East Davidson’s David Lomax and raced 52-yards for a fumble return touchdown, Salisbury’s lead ballooned to 34-7 with 8:13 left in the third quarter.
That’s when the Golden Eagles turned what looked like an embarrassing rout into a thrilling ballgame.
After Gage Love blocked a Riley Myers punt with 7:14 remaining in the game, East Davidson took over at Salisbury’s 15-yard line. On the next play, reserve quarterback Marquise McLaughlin, subbing for East Davidson starter Toby Craven, hit Love on a 15-yard scoring strike to make it 34-13.
Salisbury (2-5, 1-0 CCC) started its next drive in East Davidson territory and picked up first down before Avery Deweese recovered a Nick Austin fumble to give the Eagles the ball back with 5:51 left.
McLaughlin then connected with McKagan Barrett for 10 yards across the middle before hitting Barrett again for a 37-yard gain down the near sideline. On 1st-and-10 from the Salisbury 22-yard line, McLaughlin found Skylar Shewcow on a bubble screen that Shewcow turned into a 17-yard gain.
Three plays later, McLaughlin scored from 2 yards out on a quarterback keeper. McLaughlin hit Nick Bolen in the corner for a 2-point conversion and East Davidson cut the lead to 34-21.
Hanner explained the decision to go for two early by saying, “Bolen was wide open on an out route two plays earlier so I felt like we could hit them on that one.”
On the next Salisbury possession, East Davidson forced the Hornets into a three-and-out for the first time all night. The Eagles then reeled off a nine-play, 69-yard drive culminating in McLaughlin hitting Barrett on 14-yard scoring strike with 1:59 to play. East Davidson trailed only 34-28.
The frenzied comeback ended when Salisbury recovered McIntire’s onside kick and Glenn picked up two final first downs for the Hornets to end East’s hope for a miracle comeback.
The Hornets host Lexington, which lost to North Rowan on Friday, next week.