High school football: Hornets stay unbeaten

Published 4:00 am Saturday, September 9, 2023

ROXBORO — The Person Rockets were expected to be the biggest challenge Salisbury’s football team had faced.
That certainly proved to be the case on Friday.
Person had rugged backs and presented team size that was different from what the Hornets had seen from overmatched North Davidson, Walkertown and East Rowan.
Person, a 3A school that came in 3-0. put up a fight in the early stages, but 2A power Salisbury had a firm grip on the game by halftime and pulled away for a 31-6 non-conference victory in the first meeting of the programs.
Salisbury’s defense, which pitched a shutout for the last 45 minutes against what had been a prolific offense, had another excellent outing.
Salisbury (4-0) also received big offensive games from the standard trio. Jamal Rule continued his early-season rampage with 30 carries for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Deuce Walker, who plans to announce a college commit on Sunday, had 10 catches for 91 yards. Mike Geter passed for 118 yards and had a rushing touchdown from 18 yards out.
“It was hard for either team to get in a groove,” Salisbury head coach Clayton Trivett told the Roxboro Courier-Times. “Person is a tough team. They’re big and physical and they run hard. Playing 2A, we don’t see a lot of teams that size and we really need to see that, so it was a good game for us. Now we’ve got to clean up the mistakes. Person is a good football team. They’re going to have a good season.”
 Person fumbled right away, and Salisbury cashed in, with Geter bolting down the left sideline past surprised defenders to make it 6-0. An attempt to tack on two points failed.
Person answered,with back Dae’Jon Hodge racing 42 yards to score. The Hornets stuffed the 2-point conversion try, and it was 6-all with 9:14 left in the first quarter.
When Geter was intercepted on a pass that was tipped, Person appeared to be building some momentum, but that’s when the Hornets got a key stop.

“It’s just a new experience for us facing an opponent of that caliber,” Person head coach Carl Smith said. “Their energy level rose in the second quarter and ours didn’t and that was the difference in the game.”

Rule’s 40-yard scoring run put the Hornets ahead 12-6. and the Hornets executed on one of their favorite 2-point conversion plays, with Dashawn Brown making the catch on a fade for a 14-6 lead.

Hank Webb’s 33-yard field goal pushed Salisbury’s lead to 17-6. The combination of penalties and tough defense maintained that 11-point lead until halftime.

The clamp-down from Salisbury’s defense continued in the second half, and the Hornets were able to control the clock and the ball with the work of their offensive line and Rule.
Rule got his second and third TDs to account for all of the second-half scoring. Webb added two PATs.

Person was unable to throw the ball effectively and didn’t convert many third downs. The key for the Hornets was being able to limit the predictable runs on first and second downs to small gains.

Hodge. who ran wild for 200 or more yards in each of Person’s first three games, was held to 61 rushing yards. with most of them on that early breakaway.

Webb missed on another field goal. His 47-yard try had enough distance, but went wide.

Person should get back in the win column next week against winless Cedar Ridge. Salisbury will host Thomasville to start Central Carolina Conference play.

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It was a late night for the Hornets. A storm delayed kickoff for 30 minutes, and there were several stoppages for injuries.