Houston coach David Williams and sophomore Adam Neugebauer watch from the sidelines in the season opener.

Houston coach David Williams wasn’t necessarily upset that his team lost. After all, Salem has defeated the Tigers for three consecutive decades. It was his team’s effort that had the first-year coach flustered.

Williams said he saw several of his players give up in the second quarter as Salem stretched a 7-0 advantage into a 31-point lead.

“I wasn’t very pleased with execution and sometimes the effort of some of them,” Williams said following the 45-0 loss Friday night at Tiger Stadium. “We’ve got some playing hard, but we have some that aren’t. We’re going to address that this week.”

It will be evident in the Tigers’ lineup. Williams said he expects to make some personnel changes to address the lack of effort.

“When things started to go south on us a little bit, we had some guys that didn’t play very hard,” he said. “I told them at halftime that wasn’t going to be tolerated. It can’t be if we’re going to be any good.”

The 2010 season has been a struggle for the Tigers (0-2, 0-2 SCA). One week after crumbling in the fourth quarter of a loss at Cabool, a forgettable second quarter led to a lopsided loss in the home opener.

Salem (1-1, 1-1 SCA) had three rushing touchdowns and a field goal during a 12-minute stretch before halftime that led to the team’s 30 consecutive victory at Houston. The Tigers last defeated Salem during the 1979 season.

Behind its wishbone offense, Salem ran the ball on 40 of its 43 plays en route to 399 total yards. All but 54 came on the ground, led by quarterback Ryan Smith’s 104 yards on just four carries.

Johnny Boyd and Ben Adams had two touchdowns apiece for Salem, which rebounded from a season-opening 20-14 loss to Thayer.

The Tigers struggled mightily to generate offense. They managed just six first downs — one of those via penalty — and 117 total yards. Kyle Jones led Houston with 54 rushing yards on 17 carries. Jacob Case had 29 yards on 14 rushes.

Jones misfired on 16 of his 19 pass attempts and is 8-for-35 passing through the first two games.

“A lot of it goes to fundamentals — footwork and stuff,” Williams said. “He still struggles with his drops and getting his feet set to throw. He’s just not very accurate when he does that. A lot of the throws were just off target. Some of them were passes that weren’t caught, so it’s not all Kyle.”

Salem’s first two scores were aided by Houston miscues.

A bad snap on a first-quarter punt attempt was recovered by Salem at the Tigers’ 4-yard line. One play later, Boyd scored to make it 7-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Salem recovered a fumble and went ahead 14-0 on Boyd’s 16-yard score.

Things quickly unraveled from there. Adams had rushing scores of 35 and 13 yards and Kevin Presley connected on a 20-yard field goal to give Salem a commanding 31-0 lead in the waning moments of the second quarter.

Adams’ second score was set up by a 43-yard pass from Smith to Presley. Smith connected on all three of his pass attempts for 43, 7 and 4 yards.

But a majority of Salem’s damage was done on the ground. Salem averaged 8.6 yards per rush.

“We just broke down on defense — totally at times,” Williams said. “They attacked us where they thought they’d have the most success, and we had some guys not doing what they were supposed to do. It got pretty ugly there.”

Sammy Ibrahim had a 10-yard rushing score in the third quarter. Junior Rictor scored from 54 yards away in the fourth to complete Salem’s scoring.

Williams has little time to get his team’s mistakes corrected. The Tigers host perennial power Mountain Grove on Friday.

“We’ve gotta get kids playing hard and doing what we ask. You’ve got an assignment, and you’ve got to do it. We didn’t do it,” he said. “There will probably be some changes by Friday.”

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply Cancel reply