September 9, 2004

Tigers Drop Football Season Opener 43-7 To Salisbury

The 2004 football year got off to a disappointing start Friday, September 3 as Salisbury handed Scotland County a 43-7 defeat in both teams’ season opener.

Scotland County jumped on top 7-0 early in the first period. The Tigers fumbled the opening kickoff giving Salisbury the ball near their own end zone.

But the tide quickly turned when defensive tackle Kevin Moffett nearly sacked Salisbury quarterback A.J. Stock. The Qb’s arm was in motion to pass and the ball came out, fluttering directly into the hands of defensive end Greg Neagle. The SCR-I senior took off the other way rumbling 92 yards for the touchdown.

Tim Robinson kicked the extra point to put SCR-I on top 7-0 with 10:43 left in the first period.

That proved to be the highlight of the night for Scotland County as the Panthers scored the next 43 points of the game to take the easy win.

Salisbury evened the score at 7-7 on a 27-yard pass play from Stock to Jordan Green. Chris Whitley made the PAT to tie the game with 5:45 left in the opening quarter. The key play on the series was a fake punt on fourth down and long which Salisbury converted to keep the drive alive.

The Tigers went three and out on the next series, something they did far too often in the first half.

Salisbury marched down the field after the SCR-I punt, but the Tigers held the Panthers on fourth and goal and got the ball back just before the end of the first period.

The Tigers went backwards on the next possession, and faced with fourth and 17 punted the ball away again.

The Scotland County defense looked like it had held, but on third down and long Stock connected with Collin Hayword for a long pass play before safety Matt Wickert saved a touchdown with a tackle at the three-yard line. Two plays later Green punched the ball in from one yard out. Whitley made the PAT kick and Salisbury led 14-7 with 6:30 remaining in the first half.

Scotland County picked up its only first down of the first half with 5:04 left on the clock. The momentum was short lived as the Tigers turned the ball over to Salisbury with a fumble. Once again the Tigers defense looked like it had done the job, pinning Salisbury with a third and 20 situation. But once again the Panthers converted the key play as Stock connected with Haywood on a 24-yard pass play to move the chains. Running back Marcus White then broke a 34-yard run down to the six yard line. Two plays later Stock hit Scott Humphrey with a five-yard pass for the touchdown. The PAT was good making the score 21-7 with just 28 seconds left in the half.

Those few ticks proved to be enough time for the home team to add a few more points.

Whitely’s kickoff sailed to the right corner just shy of the goal line. Returner B.J. Houghton was forced to field the kick and was immediately hemmed in by Panther defenders who tackled him in the end zone for a safety to make the halftime score 23-7.

The Panthers racked up 169 yards on the ground and 127 yards via the pass to total 16 first downs in the first half. Scotland County was held to just 21 yards of total offense and one first down as the Panthers maintained a 2 to 1 advantage on time of possession.

The second half opened as a defensive struggle. The Tigers held Salisbury on its first two possessions forcing punts. Unfortunately SCR-I did little with its opportunities, turning the ball back over to Salisbury with a pair of fumbles.

The second turnover came on the punt return, giving the Panthers the ball just 14-yards from pay dirt. The home team took advantage of the miscue as Stock hit Hayward with a 15-yard touchdown pass. The PAT kick was good making the score 30-7 with 7:01 left in the third quarter.

Scotland County moved the chains on the next possession as quarterback Marcus Shalley hit back-to-back pass plays to Wickert and Kyler Hess. But the drive stalled and SCR-I was forced to punt.

The Tigers defense once again headed back onto the field. The squad was beginning to wear down as Salisbury marched down field. Humphrey capped the drive with a 14-yard TD run. The PAT was good and Salisbury led 37-7 with 48.1 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Tigers threw two interceptions in the waning minutes of the contest. Whitley, a freshman running back for the Panthers, broke an 11-yard touchdown run in the final minutes of the game to cap off the scoring for both squads and make the end margin 43-7 in favor of the home team.

The Salisbury defense limited SCR-I to less than 50 yards rushing. Tim Robinson carried the ball 11 times for just 30 yards. Houghton got two carries for four yards as the ground game never got on track.

Shalley completed 4-14 pass attempts for 26 yards and was intercepted once. Wickert made two receptions and Hess and Snyder had the other grabs. The Tigers were limited to four first downs in the game.

Salisbury neared 250 yards of rushing on the evening led by Humphrey with 104 yards and White with 82. Green chipped in with 42 yards. Stock completed 7-12 passes for 141 yards. Salisbury racked up 20 first downs but was penalized 12 times for 85 yards.

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