High school football: Hornets force turnovers, beat Lexington

Published 9:20 am Saturday, October 14, 2023



Staff report

LEXINGTON — Salisbury’s football team stayed undefeated with a 44-13 win on Lexington’s turf field on Friday.

Lexington is better than 44-13 sounds and it was a tougher Central Carolina Conference game than the score sounds like.

The Hornets were still in a competitive struggle until they scored in the final seconds of the first half to open a 28-0 lead.

Salisbury’s six touchdowns came on the ground, four by Jamal Rule to boost his season total to 25, and two by QB Mike Geter when the Yellow Jackets were expecting Rule, who had 33 carries, to get the ball again.

Hank Webb kicked a field goal and three PATs. Rule tacked on a 2-point conversion after his first touchdown.

Salisbury (9-0, 5-0) piled up 304 rushing yards, with Rule getting more than 200, but Lexington stuffed more plays than most of the Hornets’ opponents.

End Jaden Warren had a terrific game to lead Salisbury’s defense, which came up with four turnovers.

The Yellow Jackets (5-3, 3-1) held their own for long stretches of the game, but they were crushed by those takeaways.

Lexington got the ball first and surged for 12 yards on its first snap. But the second shotgun snap sailed high, creating a race for a loose football. A diving Warren won that race, and the Hornets had the ball at the Lexington 16. After a handful of plays, Rule owned his first TD, and his 2-point conversion made it 8-0 less than two minutes into the game.

Lexington’s second possession consumed most of the first quarter, as the Yellow Jackets launched a penalty-aided drive that carried 80 yards from the Lexington 10 to the Salisbury 10. On first and goal at the 10, Lexington QB Ty Williams was trying to shake a tackler. He was hit and fumbled at the 6. The Hornets made the recovery on what proved to be the pivotal play of the game.

Warren had a sack on a third-and-long in the second quarter to force a punt, and the Hornets moved the ball 59 yards to score. That drive was mostly Rule, pounding between the tackles and trucking defensive backs. His second TD finished the march, and the Hornets led 14-0 with 11:18 left in the half.

Geter plays safety on defense. His interception was the next key play. He returned the ball to the Lexington 27. That led to a 3-yard scoring run by Geter for a 21-0 lead with 8:19 left.

Lexington was knocking on the door at the Salisbury 6, looking for a momentum-changing score before halftime, but a penalty pushed the Yellow Jackets back to the 11. When the Hornets had back-to-back pass plays well defended, Lexington was stopped on downs with 2:46 left in the half.

That’s when the Hornets put together a backbreaking scoring drive against the clock and the Yellow Jackets.

With the Hornets facing a second-and-20 at the Lexington 48, Deuce Walker had a 17-yard run to keep things moving. Geter hit a big pass play inside the 5, and Rule got his third touchdown with about 18 seconds left in the half. That made it 28-0.

Salisbury scored on its opening possession of the second half  when a 26-yard catch-and-run by Walker set up a 4-yard, walk-in TD by Geter for a 34-0 lead.

Lexington finally got on the board on the ground in the final minute of the third quarter for 34-7.

Webb’s 24-yard field goal made it 37-7 with 8:32 left.

After Williams threw a TD pass for 37-13 — Lexington became the first team to score twice against Salisbury this season — the Hornets got their final score on another short scoring run by Rule.

Lexington goes to North Rowan next. After an open week, the Hornets will try for an undefeated regular season and another CCC crown when they take on North’s Cavaliers. North (7-1) hammered West Davidson 48-6 on Friday to stay perfect in the CCC.