Salisbury’s big rushing attack downs West Davidson
By Dennis Davidson
SALISBURY — Senior Night is supposed to be special and fun for all.
It was just that for Salisbury, as 10 different ball carriers rushed for 411 yards and the Hornets steam-rolled past West Davidson, 34-0.
Senior running back Antwond Glenn possibly enjoyed his night the most, as he rambled for 174 yards on 25 carries, scoring three touchdowns. The quarterback combination was also successful, as Marcus Corry, just a junior, picked up 100 yards on 13 attempts and senior DJ Alexander added 91 yards on seven carries.
That’s right, the same 6-3, 235-pound DJ Alexander who plays outstanding linebacker for the Hornets, and had a one-yard pick six to start the game’s scoring. Alexander played quarterback for most of the second half and looked Cam Newton-like on a 43-yard sprint up the middle of the field on one of his runs.
“That was a lot of fun,” said the smiling Alexander, “kind of fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine to play quarterback. I try to use my size and strength to get as many yards as I can. But I know my future (college football) is either linebacker or defensive end.”
“I feel like this is what our kids needed,” said Salisbury head coach Ryan Crowder. “It’s kind of what we expected for a long time, but tonight, we finally put it all together. I thought the defense played real well. Even when they had it down there close, we were able to keep them out of the end zone and I was very proud of that effort.
“On offense, we moved the ball, probably better than at any time this season,” Crowder continued. “After the fumble on the first drive, we didn’t really make any mistakes on offense and was able to move the ball up and down the field and put some points on the board. And it didn’t matter what the score was, we had planned to run a lot of different people in there — trying to find a combination that could score some points.”
West Davidson (2-8 overall and 0-4 in the Central Carolina Conference) appeared overmatched from the start.
Salisbury (3-7, 1-3) took the opening kickoff and drove 74 yards on 11 plays, but on the 12th, Corry fumbled at the 1-yard line and the Green Dragons’ Cason Fowler recovered.
West picked up just one yard before quarterback Carter Beck’s third-down pass was picked off by Alexander at the one-yard line. Alexander took one big step for the touchdown and Matt Woolly’s PAT made it 7-0.
Beck ran for his life for most of the first half and by halftime, the Green Dragons had just 19 yards (all passing) and one first down, compliments of a roughing the passer penalty on Alexander.
Glenn churned out 115 of his yards in the first half, including TD runs of 5 and 6 yards. The Hornets led at the break, 20-0.
The second half resembled the first as on West’s first possession, Salisbury’s Marquis Gaither sacked Beck for a 10-yard loss on third down, forcing another punt.
The Hornets then went on an 87-yard drive in 11 plays that ended with Corry going virtually untouched from 21 yards out with 5:34 left in the third quarter. Salisbury even overcame a holding penalty on first-and-goal at the 6-yard line. Woolly’s extra point made it 27-0.
On the Green Dragons’ next possession, they had a big 52-yard pass play from Beck to Alex Watts, setting West up at the Salisbury 6-yard line. West still couldn’t score, even after another Beck-to-Watts pass put the ball at the 1-yard line on second down.
A false start penalty, a delay of game miscue and two incompletions turned the ball over to Salisbury on downs.
The next play, from his own 11-yard line, is when Alexander, playing QB, went 43 yards to the West 47. He went another 20 yards on the next play and Glenn followed with a 25-yard burst. Glenn’s next carry was for two yards and the final TD of the night, with 2:45 left in the third period.
Salisbury seemed to take their foot off the gas somewhat in the fourth quarter, with two punts on their only two possessions. West drove as far as the Salisbury 30-yard line on one late possession but again, turned the ball over on downs after two straight incompletions.
The last play of the game was a long pass by Beck that was intercepted by Salisbury’s Shaquez Strickland in Hornets’ territory.
West ended up with minus five yards rushing but Beck did complete 12 passes for 121 yards. Watts had 66 of the receiving yards.
Crowder praised the Hornets’ offensive line for a great performance leading to massive amount of rushing yards. Woolly, Brendan Bourque, Marquise and Rondarius Peele, and Robbie Bergstone are the starters on the Salisbury offensive line and Crowder said Irving played a lot as well. All are seniors except Rondarius Peele, who is sophomore.