September 8, 2005

Big Plays Spark Salisbury Past SCR-I in Season Opener

The first football game of the 2005 campaign proved to be a contest of big plays. Unfortunately for Scotland County, it was Salisbury that benefited greatly from game changers in a 27-7 victory Friday night in Memphis.

Early on it looked like the key plays might be favoring the Tigers. Salisbury took the opening kickoff and quickly marched downfield. But the Panthers fumbled into the endzone, causing a touchback and giving SCR-I the ball on the 20-yard line.

The Tigers didnít take advantage of the turnover immediately. The two teams actually traded punts to eat up much of the first period.

The Tigers put the first points of the game on the board on the teamís second possession of the contest. SCR-I took advantage of a pass interference call to get the ball to midfield. The ground game took over from there. Three different backs picked up first downs as Grant Blomme, B.J. Houghton and Eric Glass each had good runs to put the ball in scoring position.

The Tigers got into the endzone when Marcus Shalley connected with G. Blomme on a screen play that covered 28 yards. Zach McBee made the extra point kick to make the score 7-0 with 4:20 left in the period.

The Panthers wasted little time regaining the momentum. Just over a minute later Scott Humphrey made an acrobatic catch leaping into the air to steal the Curtis Hayward pass away from the Tigers defender. He was able to keep his feet and outran the SCR-I defense for a 64-yard touchdown. The PAT kick was no good, leaving the Tigers clinging to a 7-6 advantage.

The two teams traded punts on the next three possessions before Salisbury came up with big play #2. Again it was Humphrey who came up with the heroics. The Panthers tailback took the pitch around the right side. When he ran out of running room, he cut the play back to the middle and sprinted through the defense for a 68-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed leaving Salisbury with its first lead, 12-7 with 6:08 remaining in the first half.

The momentum remained with the visiting team as SCR-I fumbled on its next possession giving the Panthers the ball in scoring position.

Salisbury took advantage of the miscue when Hayward hit Quinton Sears with a 12-yard touchdown pass. The two-point attempt failed making the score 18-7 with 4:03 left in the first half.

Salisbury had one last shot at a score as time ran down in the opening half but linebacker Andy Cowell intercepted a Hayward pass in scoring position to end the threat.

The second half opened with yet another big play for the Panthers as SCR-I fumbled the kickoff. The Panthers quickly converted as Humphrey found the endzone for the third time on an eight-yard run. The kick was good to make the score 25-7.

The punters did the bulk of the work in the remainder of the third period as both teamsí defenses buckled down.

The special teams provided the final score of the game early in the fourth period. Salisbury pinned SCR-I deep, forcing the Tigers to try to punt from their own endzone. The snap went out of the back of the endzone resulting in a safety. Salisbury made the score 27-7 with 11:49 left in the game.

SCR-I never got the offense rolling in the second half. The team did not complete a pass in the gameís final 24 minutes. Marcus Shalley finished the night completing four of 20 attempts for 60 yards and a touchdown. Grant Blomme caught three passes for 51 yards and the score while Bryce Blomme made the other grab.

Grant Blomme led the team on the ground with nine carries and 51 yards. Houghton ran for 38 yards on 11 attempts. Glass had one run for 19 yards while Shalley carried the ball three times for nine yards.

Humphrey led the Salisbury attack with 185 yards rushing on 18 attempts. He also had a 64-yard TD catch. Hayward completed 7 of 17 passes for 145 yards and two scores. He carried the ball seven times for 41 yards. Sears had two grabs for 54 yards and a TD. Chris Whitley rushed for 61 yards on 12 carries to round out a balanced Salisbury attack.

Houghton led the SCR-I defensive effort with 10 tackles. Casey Parrish and Colby Brown also has strong performances.

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