Salem RB Zavion Wood high steps his way through the Lake Taylor defense (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruit757)
A halftime lead didn’t hold for Lake Taylor
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Coming into the game, we said that Lake Taylor’s defense likely held the keys to a win for the Titans.
Lake Taylor knows how to score and their defense had been brilliant against the run. The Salem Spartans came in with their run game as their calling card. It set up a battle royale in Norfolk.
In the first half, Lake Taylor managed only two Jeff Foster field goals. The Titans’ defense stifled Salem for the first 24 minutes of regulation, surrendering only one first down and 29 total yards.
Halftime adjustments put Salem in the driver’s seat for all but a few minutes of the second half. The Spartans traded scores with Lake Taylor in the third quarter with Salem taking a 7-6 lead, falling behind 12-7, then regaining the lead at 14-12 before adding two more scores in the fourth.
Lake Taylor had one more late push that brought the score to 28-20 when Camauri Hunter snagged a six-yard touchdown catch and caught the two-point conversion with 1:31 left in the game. Lake Taylor successfully grabbed two onside kicks earlier in the game, only to have them negated by penalties. The third try failed and Salem would hold on for the 28-20 win.
“My hat goes off to Salem High School as well as our players at Lake Taylor High School, to the parents, to the fans, to the school, and for all our city’s support. We came up short today,” said Lake Taylor head coach Hank Sawyer. “We lost a couple of players that we needed on the field. Tarreon Washington-Jacobs and Chuck Fisher, both starting running backs and linebackers, they went out of the game in the third quarter. Salem is a good team, and you gotta bring your “A” game.”
Foster, the senior quarterback, carried the Titans’ offense on his back throughout. He not only booted the pair of first-half field goals, but he also went to the air in the second half after primary running backs Tarreon Washington-Jacobs and Chuck Fisher left the game with injuries. Foster finished 17 for 31 passing for 268 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
“It was my last game. I just wanted to do everything I could,” Foster stated in the press conference after the loss. The seniors at the interview table were obviously devastated and Sawyer did what he could to console them.
On the Salem side, it was Zavion Wood who led the Spartan rushing attack that wore on Lake Taylor. 182 of his 202 rushing yards came in the second half. Wood averaged almost 12 yards per carry and scored three rushing touchdowns. The only damage done in the passing game was the 67-yard Daron Wilson touchdown pass in the third quarter that pushed Salem into the lead for good. Wilson finished 2 for 6 passing for 83 yards.
Salem’s win gives them ten state championships in football. It was the first for head coach Don Holter.
FINAL: Salem 28, Lake Taylor 20
– Andy Hilton
Salem 0 0 14 14 – 28
Lake Taylor 0 6 6 8 – 20
LT – FG Foster 27
LT – FG Foster 31
Sal – Wood 56 run (Cross kick)
LT – Speight 21 pass from Foster (run failed)
Sal – Logan 65 pass from Wilson (Cross kick)
Sal – Wood 34 run (Cross kick)
Sal – Wood 49 run (Cross kick)
LT – Hunter 6 pass from Foster (Hunter pass from Foster)
Sal – LT
First Downs 10 – 12
Rushes-yards 27-222 – 30-68
Passing Yards 81 – 250
C-A-I 2-5-0 – 16-24-1
Penalties 3-35 – 6-45
Fumbles-lost 2-0 – 2-0
Punts 2-34 – 2-35.5
Salem: Wood 16-181, Leftwich 11-41
Lake Taylor: Fisher 9-24, Foster 13-22, Washington-Jacobs 6-16, Eden 2-6
Salem: Wilson 2-5-0-81
Lake Taylor: Foster 16-24-1-246
Salem: Logan 2-81
Lake Taylor: Hunter 6-126, Speight 4-76, Fisher 2-35, Washington 1-9, Washington-Jacobs 1-4