The Salem Tigers extended their winning streak over the Houston Tigers to 39 games over the same number of years with a 47-8 victory last Friday night in Houston in the first South Central Association matchup of the season for both teams.
Salem built a 33-0 halftime lead with three rushing touchdowns and two passing scores, including a 70-yard strike with 9:25 to go in the third quarter. The Dent County Tigers then extended the advantage to 40-0 with another running TD midway through the third quarter.
Houston got on the board with 3:56 left in the third when quarterback Dakota Burchett hit wide receiver Connor Wilson with a short pass and Wilson followed a bunch of blockers and ran it down the right sideline for a 51-yard touchdown play. After a two-point conversion run by Burchett, Salem led 40-8.
But the visiting Tigers answered moments later with another rushing touchdown. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.
“That was a butt-whooping,” said HHS head coach Eric Sloan. “They beat us in every aspect of the game and dominated us physically up front and made us like it. It didn’t matter what we tried to do. I don’t know – it seemed like we just went fundamentally brain dead on both sides of the football.”
Burchett completed 10-of-31 passes for 132 yards, and also led Houston (2-1, 0-1 SCA) in rushing with 72 yards on eight carries.
Wilson caught three passes for 65 yards, while sophomore Korbyn Tune pulled in three for 42 yards and junior Ty Franklin caught two for 24 yards.
“We got out of sync real early,” Sloan said. “And then there was a call when one ref called it an incomplete pass and another called it a fumble and all of a sudden it’s their football. That turned the field position real quick and then they went and scored and we’re down 14-0 right off the bat.”
Sophomore Bailey Hurst led Houston in tackling, recording eight solo tackles and five assists at linebacker, while sophomore Rene Lathrom had six tackles and an assist at defensive back.
HHS defensive coordinator Jake Brookshire spent much of the game puzzled by what was happening when Salem had the ball.
“And this was stuff we had practiced all week long,” Sloan said. “We had said we couldn’t give up the counter and they scored on that several times, and we had talked about the screen and they burned us on that pretty bad.
“At times we seemed completely lost.”
Sloan gave Salem (3-0, 1-0 SCA) plenty of credit for discombobulating his team.
“They do some really good things,” he said. “They fire off the ball up front, they’re big and strong like they’ve always been and they did things right. It’s tough to get off the field when they’re constantly moving the chains, and we just kind of sat back and went for a ride.”
Houston was without senior lineman Chris Cichon, who was sidelined with a knee injury for the second straight week. Cichon had an MRI late last week, which showed a bad strain but no tear. Sloan said he should be back for the week six home game against Ava, but Cichon hopes to return in week five at Thayer.
Houston travels to Cabool this Friday.