By Rob Calhoun

Charleston’s fourth-quarter rally fell short in a 28-23 loss to Salem on Senior Night at Trojan Hill.  

The Trojans had fallen behind 28-10 early in the fourth quarter after the Wildcats scored on Cayden Harris’ third touchdown of the game –– a four-yard run with 11:09 left. 

That’s when Charleston’s offense went on two long scoring drives.

The Trojans covered 60 yards on 10 plays on their next possession, capped by a nine-yard pass by Jack Nelson to Chet Shrader to close the gap to 28-17.

Charleston’s Hunter White is tackled by Salem’s Brayden Smith (left) and Brayden Aaron during the Trojans’ 28-24 loss to the Wildcats Friday evening. (Photo/Chet Piotrowski)

Charleston then took over on its 36-yard line after stopping Salem on downs.

This time, Charleston churned out a 15-play drive covering 64 yards that eventually led to a two-yard run by Nate Shrader with 1:07 left in the game to make it 28-23.  Nelson ran the option for a two-point attempt, pitching the ball to Shrader who was stopped short of the goal line.

Charleston lined up for the onside kick. Connor Woodley popped the kick high in the air, hitting a Salem player at the 30-yard line.  The ball was loose on the ground before the Wildcats secured the ball, enabling them to run out the clock and claim the victory.

“We had some really good third-down conversions, and fourth-down conversions, on the last drive,” Charleston coach Jerry Payne said. “We missed some early.”

The Trojans finished the season 2-7. Salem, now 5-4, becomes playoff eligible.

Wyatt Strader caught six passes for 77 yards for the Trojans.

“This is probably the toughest year that I have had to say goodbye to players,” Payne said. “All those years in JFL, all those years watching them play. This group I’ve known since the fourth grade because I was at Jefferson (Elementary). Then when I came back to Charleston this was my first team as freshmen. So I’ve had them all four years. And it makes it very hard to say goodbye to them.”

Harris was the big player on offense for the Wildcats, rushing for two touchdowns and catching two passes for 64 yards and a score. 

211:39SALEMCayden Harris56 yd pass from GreeneTennyson0-7
210:15CHSWyatt Strader45 yd pass from NelsonWoodley7-7
 25:05CHSConnor Woodley31 yd FG10-7
 22:29SALEMBrayden Smith14 yd runTennyson10-14
34:36SALEMCayden Harris7-yard runTennyson10-21
411:09SALEMCayden Harris4 yd run runTennyson10-28
37:35CHSChet Shrader9-yd pass from NelsonWoodley17-28
 41:07CHSNate Shrader2-yd run runrun failed23-28


Charleston: Hunter White 2-52; Jack Nelson 14-41; Nate Shrader 10-28 1 TD; Zayvion Johnson-Mitchell 6-14; Collin Patterson 1-2; Jeremiah Hayes 1-(-1)

Salem: Brayden Smith 16-107 1 TD; Caden Bee 12-66; Cayden Harris 5-28 2 TD; Samuel Greene 7-(-11)


Charleston: Jack Nelson 14-28 137 2 TD

Salem: Samuel Greene 7-17 148 1 TD


Charleston: Wyatt Strader 6-77 1 TD; Chet Shrader 3-31 1 TD; Langdon King 2-19; Luke Nelson 2-8; Nate Shrader 1-2

Salem: Cayden Harris 2-64 1 TD; Caden Bee 3-52; Jacob Koehnke 1-34; Noah Nix 1-29