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Salem Says Perfect With 24-14 Victory Over Hidden Valley

Salem junior running back Devante Payne finds running room as Titans #10 Chad Frazier and #42 Nate Atkins look to close.

Turnovers often are the deciding factors in a high school football game. Nothing could be more telling in Friday night’s River Ridge District showdown for first place between Salem and Hidden Valley, both entering the contest with matching 3-0 district records.

Hidden Valley fell victim to 3 interceptions and 2 fumbles, while the Spartans had neither, as Salem improved to 9-0 overall in the 24-14 win at Dwight Bogle Stadium in front of a packed house.

“We just had too many mistakes,” Hidden Valley Head Coach Scott Weaver pointed out afterward. “We gave up the interception for a touchdown, then missed a pick-six near the end of the first half. It could have been 14-0 us. Instead, we’re down 14-7. We had moved the ball well against them; just missed opportunities tonight.”

Hidden Valley had taken the opening kickoff and driven deep into Salem territory before senior Spartan cornerback Jaelen Daniels stepped in front of a misguided Nic Ratliff pass in the left flat. Daniels raced 82 yards untouched to put Salem up 7-0 after Scott Look’s PAT.

The Titans came right back with the tieing touchdown drive, capped off by Mason Dermott’s 8-yard run and brother Landon’s point-after.

The teams looked ready to go to the halftime break knotted at 7 when Salem receiver Chad Fisher hauled in a short sideline pass from Spartan quarterback Matt Hill, juggling the ball in the process. Fisher turned upfield and rambled to the Hidden Valley four before being brought down with under 30 seconds left.

Hill took it in from there for the game-turner that had Salem up 14-7 over the stunned Titans.

Devonte Payne scored from 2-yards out midway through the third quarter to send Salem ahead 21-7, and Hidden Valley’s Walker Brand responded late in the third with a 3-yard touchdown run that got the Titans to within striking distance.

Salem put the game out of reach with Look’s 23-yard field goal with just over 4 1/2 minutes left. The Spartan defense held the rest of the way.

Hidden Valley outrushed Salem 202-136 for the game with Payne picking up 115 yards to lead the Spartans and Brand gaining 111 to pace the Titans. Hidden Valley led 106-98  yards in the passing game.

“I’m proud of my guys,” Salem Head Coach Steve Magenbauer noted. “We’ve come up with big plays all year and keep finding a way to win. Everyone’s tough week after week in this district.”

by Bill Turner

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