Three games, three blowout victories.
The Houston High School football team did it again Friday night, beating Salem 32-6 in the first South Central Association conference game of the season for both teams.
As has been the case in all three of their outings this season, the Tigers overwhelmed their namesakes from Dent County using a lethal combination of a strong running game and staunch defensive play bolstered by contributions from numerous players.
Houston began the game with possession of the ball and finished a sustained drive with a 38-yard touchdown run by senior Dakota James with 7:20 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers scored again with 3:39 to go in the period when senior Anthony Carroll ran 13 yards for a TD on a double-handoff play.
Salem stopped 2-point conversion runs after both scores, so Houston’s lead was at 12-0.
With 36 seconds left in the quarter, the host Tigers got their only points of the contest on a 51-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Kaiden Dubois. After a flubbed point-after kick, Houston was ahead 12-6 going into the second quarter.
Midway through the second period, the visiting Tigers’ running game produced andother lengthy possession that concluded with touchdown run by James on a fourth down play from Salem’s 6-yard line. This time, HHS quarterback Wyatt Hughes ran for 2 points and the advantage grew to 20-6.
The two teams exchanged interceptions a short time later. With 6:10 to go in the period, Salem senior defensive back Caleb Ingram caught a Hughes pass at the host Tigers’ 18-yard line. Then on the next play, HHS junior lineman Keaton Goetz picked off a pass from Dubois and the visiting Tigers had the ball back at the Salem 17.
A few plays later, James scored again on a 3-yard run. After another failed conversion run, Houston was on top 26-6 and the score remained the same at halftime.
The visiting Tigers scored the only points in the second half by finishing another long drive with a 2-yard run by James at the 2:07 mark of the third quarter.
Houston’s defense kept the pressure on and forced Salem to turn the ball over on downs twice in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers have outscored the opposition 127-20 so far this season. Last year, they snapped a 40-year losing streak to Salem, and now have a 2-game win streak over their long-time conference rivals.
Houston (3-0, 1-0 SCA) will host Cabool in the season’s first home game next Friday. The night will feature Homecoming activities prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff.