By Rob Calhoun
Charleston finished the season on a high note Friday night, winning its last four football games after a 14-13 win over host Salem.
For the second straight week, the Trojans relied on a last-second play to secure the victory. This time, though, it was a defensive play – Chet Shrader deflecting a pass intended for a receiver on a two-point conversion after Salem had scored with 20 seconds left in the game.
“The team has done a great job this last month,” Charleston coach Jerry Payne said. They’ve shown great improvement. It would have been easy to hang their head and give up after an 0 and 5 start, but they had determination and drive to keep getting better and to take on the challenge to finish the season 4 and 0. The future looks good for Trojans football.”
The first three quarters of the game had been a defensive struggle.
Both teams were able to move the ball, but the defenses were able to come up with some big stops. The only score though three quarters came in the second quarter when Charleston’s Cody Bell scored on a three-yard run.
The Trojans defense bent but did not break for most of the game. Charleston stopped Salem three times in the red zone and came up with two fumbles. With less than five minutes to go in the game, however, the fireworks started.
After being shut out for most of the game, Salem engineered an 11-play, 84-yard drive that took over five minutes. It resulted in the Wildcats getting their first score on a four-yard run from Kason Sullens to tie the score.
Salem’s momentum did not last long.
Charleston’s first play from scrimmage after the score was a quick-strike touchdown. Jeremiah Hayes, lined up on the left side of the formation in the wide receiver position, went in motion before taking a shovel pass from Brett Spour. He then ran around the right end, saw an opening after a block by Aidan Archibald, and raced 61 yards to the end zone to give the Trojans a seven-point lead.
The Wildcats took over with 4 1/2 minutes remain in the game, slowly marching down the field. Sullens scored his second touchdown of the game on a run from one yard out with 24 seconds left to make it 14-13.
Wildcats’ coach Kevin Greene decided to go for a two-point conversion rather than settle for a tie.
Quarterback Samuel Greene rolled out left and looked for his big tight end, Noah Nix. Aiden Burnett played solid on defense so Greene had to try to get it over his head to Nix. Shrader got his hand on the ball, which fell to the turf to enable Charleston to earn the win.
Hayes just missed again eclipsing 200 total yards by rushing for 95 yards on 15 carries – 6.3 per-cary average – and catching four passes for 91 yards.
Salem’s Samuel Greene gained 161 yard on 19 carries, an average of nearly eight yards per carry, while Sullens carried 16 times for 69 yards.
The Trojans finish the year 4-5. Salem ends its season 2-7.
Charleston graduates only three seniors: Hayes, Owen Gerdes and Alex Stout.
|Time of Poss.||21:31||26:29|
|Avg. Drive Start||27||27|