Duce’s big game turns into Salem nightmare
ALLIANCE — Salem ran into a Northeastern Buckeye Conference rushing machine Friday night at Mount Union Stadium as league-leading Alliance rolled to 70-40 win over the Quakers in a football shootout.
The Quakers enjoyed one of their best overall offensive efforts of the season, compiling 491 yards of total offense, including a season-best 224 on the ground. In addition, Salem’s 6-5 senior quarterback Mitch Davidson tossed a personal single-game-best six touchdown passes.
But the Quakers just couldn’t stop Alliance’s potent rushing game, in particular senior running back Duce Johnson who set a Stark County rushing record with 461 yards on 24 carries. He broke the previous Stark rushing mark of 355 yards set by Alliance’s E.J.Lilly.
“He (Duce Johnson) is a good football player and that’s a good football team,” said Salem head coach Ron Johnson of the Aviators. “They have so many weapons, you take one thing away and they come at you with another guy. They are a really good football team.”
“He (Johnson) is one of the best running backs I’ve ever had the pleasure to be around,” lauded Alliance head coach Seth Whiting.
With the loss, the Quakers are now 4-3 overall and 1-3 in NBC action, while first-place Alliance improved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the league.
Alliance scored on 10 of its 11 offensive possessions in the game as the Aviators rang up 682 yards of total offense.
“If you take the Canfield game out we’re averaging about 50 points a game,” added Whiting. “Tonight, when we found out where Duce (Johnson) was at (rushing-wise in the game) I decided to run him again to get him over 400.”
Johnson rushed for 280 yards in the first half as the Aviators sprinted to a 41-20 halftime lead while scoring on all six of their offensive possessions in the opening two quarters. Johnson scored on first-half runs of 64, 28 and 80 yards as Alliance compiled 555 yards offense in the first half alone.
Salem’s Davidson had three first-half scoring tosses of 16 yards to Turner Johnson, three yards to Eli Rothwell and 23 yards to Zach Bezon. Johnson also had a great game rushing, leading the Quakers with 11 carries for 121 yards.
But the Quakers couldn’t stop Alliance on the ground as the Aviators led 27-14 after one quarter and 41-20 at half.
“Offensively we did a lot of good things, and if we hadn’t fallen so far behind we could have stayed with some things,” said Johnson.
Alliance’s other first-half scores included a 4-yard scoring run by Marcus Davis and two scoring passes of 16 and 21 yards from quarterback Howard Frazier to receiver Tyler Johns.
But Salem kept fighting and outscored Alliance 14-7 in the third quarter as Davidson fired scoring tosses of four yards to Chase Ackerman, who had seven catches on the night for 90 yards, and Jake Maenz of 13 yards. The Quakers pulled within 48-34 after three as Alliance’s only score in the quarter was another 80-yard run by Johnson.
“We just kept pounding and we came out and scored to start the third quarter like we said we would to get it to a two-score game,” said Johnson. “We came out on a Friday night for a football game and tennis match broke out.”
But Alliance added insurance touchdowns in the fourth on a 24-yard scoring jaunt by Johnson, a 39-yard scamper by Marcus Davis and closed with a 56-yard dash by Johnson.
Salem scored its final touchdown on a a four-yard pass from Davidson to Ackerman.
“I just know we played hard until the last second,” said Johnson. “All we wanted to do was play one more play and we just kept playing hard. “Good luck to Alliance, they’re a class program they play our kids hard and we wish them the best.”
Salem will look to get back on the winning track next Friday night when it hosts the Minerva.
¯Salem is 2-6 against Alliance since joining the Northeastern Buckeye Conference.
¯The Quakers were ninth in the Division IV Region 13 computer ratings
heading into this weekend’s action.
ALLIANCE: 27-14-7-22– 70
A — Duce Johnson, 64 run (Sam Denny kick)
S– Turner Johnson, 16 pass from Josh Davidson (Braydon Gibson kick)
A– Duce Johnson, 28 run (Sam Denny kick)
S– Eli Rothwell, 3 pass from Mitch Davidson (Braydon Gibson kick)
A– Duce Johnson, 80 run (Kick failed)
A– Tyler Johns, 16 pass from Howard Frazier (Sam Denny kick)
A– Marcus Davis 4 run (Sam Denny kick)
A– Tyler Johns 21 pass from Howard Frazier (Sam Denny kick)
S– Zach Bezon, 23 pass from Mitch Davidson (Kick failed)
A– Duce Johnson, 80 run (Sam Denny kick)
S– Chase Ackerman, 4 pass from Mitch Davidson (Braydon Gibson kick)
S– Jake Maenz, 13 pass from Mitch Davidson (Braydon Gibson kick)
A–Duce Johnson, 24 run (Sam Denny kick)
A– Marcus Davis, 39 run (Sam Denny kick)
S–Chase Ackerman, 4 pass from Mitch Davidson, 7:46 4th (Kick failed)
A– Duce Johnson, 56 run, 6:17 4th (Marcus Davis pass from Howard Frazier)
First downs 24 26
Total Yards 491 682
Rushes-yards 32-224 38-606
Passing 265 72
Comp-Att-Int 19-38-266-2 5-8-72-0
Punts 2-97 1-45
Fumbles-Lost 3-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 9-53 16-160
RUSHING–Salem, Cade Campolito 10-44, Turner Johnson 11-121, Mitch Davidson 2-2, Eli Rothwell, 4-60; Alliance, Duce Johnson 24-461, Howard Frazier 7-95, Marcus Davis 4-50.
PASSING–Salem, Mitch Davidson 9-37-262-6-1; Alliance, Howard Frazier 5-8-72-2-0.
RECEIVING–Salem, Chase Ackerman, 7-90; Turner Johnson 4-25, Jake Maenz
6-92; Eli Rothwell 1-3, Zach Bezon 3-39; Alliance, Tyler Williams 1-15, Tyler Johns 4-56
INTERCEPTIONS–Howard Frazier, Nashawn Gaffney