On the strength of a stout running game, an effective passing game and key plays on defense and special teams, the Houston High School football team dispatched Salem 41-13 in a South Central Association matchup Friday night in Tiger Stadium.

The contest was a defensive battle until the 5:41 mark of the second quarter when the visiting Tigers got on the board with a 71-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kaden DuBois to sophomore running back Joseph Dickson and a point-after kick by senior Jamal Metcalf.

The host Tigers took little time to even things up.

After a short kickoff, Houston began the next possession at the Salem 46-yard line. Senior running back Grayson Mitchell then ran the ball to the 25 and a late hit penalty moved it to the 17.

Moments later, junior wide receiver Jordan Arthur scored a touchdown on a reverse play from 6 yards out. After a successful extra point kick by senior Stone Jackson, the score was knotted a 7-all.

With time running down in the first half, the host Tigers took a lead they would not relinquish.

With 35 seconds showing on the clock and the ball at the Salem 33-yard line, senior quarterback Wyatt Hughes completed a pass in the flat to senior tight end Kayden Crawford and he lateraled the ball to senior running back Brady Brookshire, who took it to the 17. Then with 19 seconds remaining and the ball at the 10, Hughes lofted a perfectly-placed ball to Crawford, who was open in the back-left portion of the end zone, for a touchdown. Jackson made good on another point-after kick and Houston led 14-7 at halftime.

HHS senior running back Grayson Mitchell stiff-arms Salem’s Kaden DuBois before being brought down in the first quarter.

Early in the third period, the host Tigers mounted a sustained drive that resulted in another score.

After a couple of long runs by Mitchell, Houston moved deep into Salem territory. The host Tigers then faced a fourth-and-8 play at the 30-yard line and kept the drive going when Arthur caught a pass from Hughes and was stopped at the 16.

With 7:30 left in the period, Mitchell ran 6 yards into the end zone, and after Jackson booted the point after, Houston held a 21-7 advantage.

The host Tigers’ offense took over again late in the period and on the first play of the fourth quarter Arthur scored on another running play – this time from the 5-yard line – and Jackson kicked another point-after.

The rout was on midway through the period, as Mitchell scored on a 4-yard run.

HHS senior Brady Brookshire runs the ball up the middle during the Tigers’ SCA victory over Salem on Friday night.

With many Houston reserve players getting some minutes on the field, Salem added a touchdown on a 35-yard run by DuBois with 2:22 to go in the game.

But the host Tigers weren’t done yet and scored again when sophomore quarterback Riley Reed ran 31 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown with 1:10 left. After Jackson kicked his fifth extra point in six tries in the contest, the final score was on the board.

The win was Houston’s third straight over Salem and improved the squad’s season record to 2-1, 1-0 in SCA play.

After three consecutive home games, Houston hits the road next Friday for the annual Battle of Texas County at Cabool.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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