Quakers hope to keep momentum going
SALEM-The Salem Quakers have started the process of moving on from last year’s winless season, and look to continue the success Friday as they continue their rivalry with United at Reilly Stadium.
“We just want to match their intensity level,” Salem coach Ron Johnson said. “Our goal is to play emotional, and play for a full 48 minutes. That’s what it takes to beat a team like United.”
The Quakers (1-0) led throughout the entire game last Friday, dominating the first half, and staying consistent enough to hold on for the 27-25 victory over Liberty.
Despite a strong second half from the Leopards, the Quakers continued applying pressure both on defense and offense.
“We maintained the game in the second half,” Johnson said. “We didn’t really lose momentum, we never let it get out of hand. They made some plays and we didn’t finish drives, but we never did anything to shoot us in the foot where it would get out of control again.”
United (0-1) played the same game of catch-up in its game with Malvern last week. Despite a strong second half, the Eagles fell short 34-28. United coach Mike Ward looks forward to improving on mental mistakes from week one.
“There were a lot of assignment errors and defensive errors, two of the basics you don’t do,” Ward said. “We have done a lot to correct them. Plus there were a little bit of nerves going into it. Malvern is indeed a great team.”
As Salem continues to build on its intensity, one United player is of much concern is quarterback Garrett Beech.
“He’s an outstanding player,” Johnson said. “He always finds a way to win. He’s got a track record of success, and that’s our number one concern.”
Ward also expressed support for Beech.
“He has been out there every night,” Ward said. “He has been an inspiring player to us. We look to him for the plays.”
Even the players are gearing up for a big night, as senior Marcus Crittenden feels that, despite United’s loss last week, United should not be taken lightly.
“We should not underestimate them because they are a big team,” Crittenden said. “They do have playmakers.”
As the rivalry continues, both sides look forward to what could be a promising week two matchup.
“This game has all the making of a great high school football game,” Johnson said. “The weather is going to be perfect, neighboring communities, big rivalry game, we’re playing home again after a big win last week, and it should just parlay into a very special night for these young men.”
Although the game will take place in Salem, Ward feels as though Friday’s game will feel like home for both teams.
“We’re 11 miles apart,” Ward said. “We live out here in the country, and we feel like we’re going into town. It is quite a rivalry. We may be playing in Salem, but both teams are like home teams.”