ALLIANCE - It was a high roller night at Mount Union Stadium.
Facing a three-touchdown deficit in the first quarter, the Quakers rallied back against Alliance, but the Aviators flew highest with a 60-41 victory over the Quakers.
The Aviators (3-2, 1-1 in the NBC) flew from the beginning, scoring its first two touchdowns courtesy of short drives and long passes. Alliance used a 40-yard pass from senior quarterback Kordelle Phillips to senior wide receiver Ryan Bevington, then a 35-yard run from Phillips. who found speed was their strongsuit.
Salem coach Ron Johnson knew that it was hard telling what Alliance would do next.
"There's no way you can simulate their speed in practice," Johnson said. "They just flat outran us."
The luck of the Quakers (2-3, 0-2) changed in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Matthew Weingart connected with senior wide receiver Dan Rumsey for 62 yards.
Dan Rumsey, who had eight completions for 209 yards and a touchdown, was happy for Weingart, who finished his first full game.
"He's done really good for us," Weingart said. "He was there when we needed him."
Then the shootout began.
Weingart connected with Rumsey two other times for long touchdowns, for 62 and 21 yards.
The Quakers also got help from touchdowns by senior wide receiver Marcus Crittenden, going 13 yards in four carries, senior running back Haedan Panezott, who had 103 yards in 21 carries, and senior wide receiver Mike Popa, who had 46 yards in his three catches.
"We were down 20-0, but then we played solid," Johnson said. "We held the game close, turned over a couple times, we did what we needed to do after the first quarter."
The Aviators answered the Quakers' score, though, not letting Salem get any closer.
Touchdowns from senior tight end J.J. Kukura, who had eight catches for 132 yards, junior wide receiver Joshua Hammerton, who had four catches for 60 yards, senior half back Parrish Martin, who had 46 yards in 10 carries, and senior wide receiver Ryan Bevington, who had 169 yards in eight catches, helped the Aviators' cause.
The game also showcased the throwing ability of both quarterbacks as both posted impressive passing numbers. Weingart went 23-for-40 and threw for 361 yards, while Phillips threw 26-for-34 for 436 yards.
After a three-game road trip, the Quakers will make their way back to Reilly Stadium for their Homecoming game against Minerva next Friday, which Johnson feels will be just as big as this game.
"This is the antithesis of this evening's game," Johnson said. "It's going to be a big one."
Alliance travels to Carrollton next Friday. Both kickoffs are at 7 p.m.