A win over Salem’s football team on Friday night held special meaning for Marty Merckling and his son, Casey, a junior. Both saw victory over the Dent County team: Dad in 1979 as a senior — the last time the Tigers won over Salem — and his son who contributed to breaking the 40-game losing streak.

As fireworks lit the sky over Tiger Stadium, father and son celebrated the milestone: Both had experienced victory over the Salem Tigers. Dad on the team that won the SCA championship, district title and became a state semi-finalist in 1979 and son who help break the 40-year drought since his dad last won.

It was special night.

Senior Marty Merckling

The elder Merckling’s team won over Salem, 35-20, in October 1979. The squad was ranked second in class 2A, and the win pushed the Tigers to 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the SCA.

A newspaper account at the time said Merckling “did everything but sell popcorn and take tickets.” He scored twice. He blocked a punt. He nabbed an interception.

Casey plays both offense and defense, starting as center and works the defensive line. When the time clock expired Friday, Houston had finally broken the curse. The Tigers won over Salem, 20-13.

The account of Houston’s last win against Salem. | HOUSTON HERALD ARCHIVES

Extensive coverage of the Houston victory in this week’s print edition.

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