SALEM –– Salem’s big plays found the end zone. Most of Houston’s long drives did not.
It added up to another HHS loss in the series.
Ahead by just two points midway through the second quarter, Salem scored 38 unanswered points to pull away for a 52-19 victory Friday night against Houston.
It was the 34th consecutive victory for Salem against HHS.
The Tigers (0-3, 0-1 South Central Association) again had strong offensive numbers. They racked up 344 total yards and had four times as many first downs as Salem. But like the previous two weeks, the stats didn’t lead to a victory.
“We’re moving the ball well. When you’re putting up 344 yards of offense, you’re doing something right,” Tigers coach Billy O’Neil said. “Our kids played hard and never quit. But because of their size and speed, they wore us down.”
Houston had trouble finishing drives. The Tigers made four trips into the red zone without points and another time were stopped on the Salem 30-yard line.
Scott Logan had 75 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown to lead the HHS ground game. Quarterback Nathan Poynter added a career-best 59 yards.
Ty Wilkins had three receptions for 83 yards and a score.
Houston again had issues on special teams. Derek McClain returned the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown –– the second the Tigers have given up this season. Last week, HHS allowed St. James to return the first kickoff to the 10-yard line to set up an easy score.
“It’s such a morale killer right off the bat,” O’Neil said. “We’re going to fix the kickoff. We’re just not going to kick it deep. We’ll squib it and if they start on their 35, that’s fine.”
Trailing 6-0 just 16 seconds into the game, Houston pulled even with a 10-play, 77-yard drive near the end of the first quarter. Scott Logan capped the drive when he took a handoff around the right edge, juked a defender in the secondary and sprinted 39 yards for his second rushing touchdown.
Three plays later, Scott Logan picked off a Dylan Wisdom pass and Houston marched into the red zone. On fourth-and-1, Poynter kept the ball around the left edge and moved past the first down marker. But as he was tackled, the ball was jarred loose and rolled backward. It went out of bounds just inches short of the first down.
The next play, Kyser took a handoff up the middle and romped 88 yards for a touchdown. He also ran in the two-point conversion to make it 14-6.
HHS answered on its next drive. Facing third-and-long, Poynter lobbed a pass down the sideline that was deflected by Salem’s Zak Eplin and landed into the hands of Wilkins. He sprinted 65 yards to the end zone.
It was the second straight week Poynter hit Wilkins over the top of the defense as they crept forward to stop the run.
“I think it shows after three years running the double wing that these kids are grasping and understanding it,” O’Neil said. “I think we’re getting better and moving in the right direction. The kids have confidence in what we’re doing.”
Kyser scored from 39 yards out before the half to make it 22-12 and begin a string of five unanswered scores. He had touchdown runs of 62 and 33 yards in the second half.
Houston trailed 52-12 before Stetson Welch plowed into the end zone with 1 minute, 29 seconds left in the game.
SAL – DMcClain 79 kickoff return (kick failed), 11:44.
HOU – ScLogan 39 run (kick failed), 1:23.
SAL – Kyser 88 run (Kyser run), 8:26.
HOU – Wilkins 65 pass from Poynter (run failed), 6:54.
SAL – Kyser 39 run (Artz pass from Wisdom), 3:58.
SAL – Wisdom 32 run (Eplin run), 9:50.
SAL – Kyser 62 run (Kyser run), 4:05.
SAL – Kyser 33 run (run failed), 8:47.
SAL – DuBois 41 pass from Eplin (Wisdom run), 6:14.
HOU – SWelch 3 run (Kelley kick), 1:29.
RUSHING – Houston, Scott Logan 13-75, Nathan Poynter 19-59, Ty Wilkins 16-30, Stetson Welch 11-26, Matt Knarr 4-26, Tristan Cooper 2-(minus 1). Salem, Zayne Kiser 10-277, Dylan Wisdom, 6-51, Zak Eplin 9-30, Nate Stallings 2-7, Paul McClain 1-3.
PASSING – Houston, Nathan Poynter 11-25-1 134. Ty Wilkins 1-2-0 (minus 5). Salem, Dylan Wisdon, 3-5-1 63, Zak Eplin 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING – Houston, Wilkins 3-82, Austin Schock 4-33, Matt Knarr 1-10, Stetson Welch 1-8, Scott Logan 3-(minus 4). Salem, Triston Dubois, 1-41, Paul McClain 1-19, Jon Arzt, 1-3.
Week 3 scores
Salem 52, Houston 19
Mountain Grove 20, Ava 14
Willow Springs 29, Cabool 21
Liberty 21, Thayer 14
Week 4 games
Cabool at Houston
Salem at Thayer
Ava at Liberty
Willow Springs at Mountain Grove