Salisbury fires on all cylinders against North, completes seventh shutout this year
Published 12:02 am Saturday, October 30, 2021
By Dave Shaw
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — Salisbury’s rocket ship ride of a season reached new heights Friday night.
The Hornets applied the finishing touch to an unblemished CCC campaign by trouncing visiting North Rowan 60-0, before a raucous, full-throated crowd.
“Our kids played with a lot of passion tonight,” said fifth-year coach Brian Hinson, moments after defending state champion Salisbury (9-0, 6-0) procured its fourth consecutive shutout and seventh of the year. “It was a rivalry game, a conference-championship game and one we really wanted. It shows we’re a really good football team.”
The game stats elucidate as much. SHS scored touchdowns on seven of its nine possessions, added a fumble recovery in the end zone and launched the onslaught with an opening-minute safety.
“Ah, we were all right,” Georgia-bound linebacker Jalon Walker downplayed after scoring his first three touchdowns of the season. “We’re still a team that’s learning from its mistakes, week-in and week-out. We have a bright future as long as we put in the work.”
North (6-3, 4-2) managed only two first downs and 15 net yards in the second half, much of which was played with a running clock. Of course, the Cavs arrived with swords held high and a three-game winning streak, but quickly disintegrated — falling behind 18-0 in the game’s first 3:05.
“We got beat, man,” North coach Nygel Pearson said with a post-game chuckle. “They’re a good team and they were better tonight. A lot better.”
Salisbury launched its assault with a safety just 49 seconds into the match, when North punter Daniel Montes-Medrano fielded a low snap in the end zone and inadvertently lowered his knee to the turf. Four plays later, Salisbury quarterback Mike Geter scored on a 12-yard sweep to the right side.
“That was our game plan, to come out with a strong running game,” Geter said after rushing for four touchdowns and passing for another. “Everything else just developed as we went along.”
Geter completed 6 of 8 passes for 102 yards and bumped and bruised his way for 63 on the ground. His TD pass — a 1-yard strike to Walker on a left-side rollout — gave the Hornets a 32-0 lead just before halftime. “Mike told me I was his first choice on that play,” Walker said with a coltish smile.
“He was,” Geter confirmed. “I knew he’d be open and knew he’d get in the end zone.”
Walker recovered a first-quarter fumble in the end zone, snared a touchdown pass in the second and gave Salisbury a 46-0 lead midway through the third, when he rumbled 43 yards on a fake punt play.
“I’ve been hoping to do something like that all year,” he said. “My goal is to score a touchdown every time I touch the ball.”
Running back Jymikaah Wells (11 carries, 107 yards) and Geter closed the scoring with fourth-period TD’s. The rest was up to the Salisbury defense, which pinned the Cavs in their own territory throughout the second half. North’s deepest penetration was to the Salisbury 7-yard line in the second quarter. But on fourth-and-6, freshman QB Jeremiah Alford — pressured by Salisbury’s Anthony Dodd and Jaden Gaither — misfired on a pass to Amari McArthur.
“We’ve got a strong, fast, physical defense,” said Gaither, who registered one of Salisbury’s five quarterback sacks. “And we work very hard. It’s basically the same team that went to the states last season. We know how to work with each other.”
The victory was Salisbury’s 16th straight, dating to last spring. The Hornets outgained North, 284-149, and forced both of the game’s turnovers.
“We have high expectations,” Walker concluded. “Especially to put goose eggs on the board. Nobody in the end zone, that’s what we like. And while the shutouts are nice, winning is even better.”
NOTES: The NCHSAA will announce first-round playoff pairings on Saturday. … Sophomore Jae’mias Morrow was North’s most productive runner, gaining 87 yards on 18 carries. Alford completed 5 of 17 pass attempts for 56 yards. McArthur made three receptions for 42 yards, boosting his season totals to 41 for 949. … Salisbury finished its regular season with 518 points scored and 27 allowed. It hasn’t lost since March 19 against North Davidson. … Receiver Deuce Walker, Jalon’s kid brother, was injured on an incomplete pass with 7:56 remaining. He was helped to his feet and took a couple of steps before falling back down. Hinson was vague when asked about his status for next week’s playoff opener. … Jalon Walker — the all-Solar System defender — was selected to play in the Under Armour All-America game Jan. 2 in Orlando, Fla. The event features the country’s top 50 seniors.