Salem slugs North Harrison 38-0
Wade Bell, Sports Writer
Week one of the 2021 season wasn’t kind to the North Harrison Cougars Friday night against visiting Salem. The Lions muscled their way through the Cougars’ defense all night and came away with a 38-0 shutout win in a Mid-Southern Conference matchup.
“Coming out in pre-game warmup, I looked at them in uniform, and I had watched them on film all week, I knew this was probably the best Salem team we’ve faced,” said North Harrison coach Mark Williamson. “In uniform, they looked really good.”
The Cougars had first possession but failed to get to midfield before having to give the ball up. North Harrison kicker Landon McIntire made it difficult for the Lions, however, punting the ball all the way back to the one-yard line.
Salem running back Porter Howey had something to say about that, however, and on the first play of the possession ran 89 yards down to the North Harrison 12-yard line. Four plays later, the Lions were on the board first as Salem quarterback Kaleb Tucker kept the ball for the first touchdown on a one-yard run. Jonny Tally got the point after, and Salem had a 7-0 lead.
The next 17 minutes saw neither team score. It wasn’t until the final 15 seconds that Salem put six more on the board when Tucker threw to Grant Mahuron for 10 yards to score. Tally added the extra point for a 14-0 Salem lead at halftime.
Salem put 17 on the board in the third quarter. Cayden Colon caught a batted ball on a throw by Colt Beach and went 10 yards for the touchdown. Minutes later, the Cougars coughed up the ball again that led to another Salem score when Tally kicked in a 27-yard field goal. Salem scored again late in the period when Tucker threw to Trevon Smedley for 49 yards. Smedley scored again in the fourth quarter from 24 yards, and the Lions got the 38-0 win.
“Hat’s off to them,” Williamson said. “I think they’ve got a great football team over there.”
Porter Howey had a solid game for the Lions, carrying the ball 15 times for a total of 194 yards rushing, and Danny Bowling had nine carries for 24 yards. The Lions completed 4-of-9 passes for 72 yards in the air.
“He’s one of the players I’m talking about,” Williamson said. “They’ve got really good players. They’ve got seven, eight, nine defensive starters back. I knew they were going to be a load on defense, and they were.”
Nick Gunter finished with 19 yards on 12 carries for the Cougars. North Harrison also struggled in passing, completing 3-of-8 for 16 yards.
“We’re not young,” said the North Harrison coach. “We’re experienced. I know we’re putting in a new offense. It was poor on everybody, me, all of the coaches, the varsity; nobody did a good job tonight. It was tough all night.”
Williamson said the team will need to sharpen its axes.
“Our slogan for the last nine years has been ‘Chop wood’,” he said. “That means when the tough get going, you go grab an ax. If they don’t grab an ax, then it’s going to be like this the rest of the year. I think they will.”
Salem 7 7 17 7 – 38
North Harrison 0 0 0 0 – 0
Salem-Kaleb Tucker, 1 yd run (Jonny Tally kick); Salem-Grant Mahuron from Tucker, 10 yds pass (Tally kick); Salem-Cayden Colon,10 yd interception (Tally kick); Salem-Jonny Tally, 27 yd FG; Salem-Trevon Smedley from Tucker, 49 yd pass (Tally kick); Salem-Smedley, 22 yds (Tally kick).