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Quakers work over Minerva

Salem’s Jackson Johnson (11) celebrates his first career touchdown with Bradlee Kitts (13) on Friday against Minerva at Sebo Stadium. (Salem News/Gary Leininger)

SALEM — It’s down to two to hopefully make eight for the Salem Quakers– as in win its last two games to make the final eight in its Division IV playoff region and qualify for the postseason.

The Quakers took another step toward that goal Friday night as they rolled to a 42-13 Eastern Buckeye Conference win over Minerva at Sebo Stadium.

“After (the loss to Alliance) last week, we know we’re in the playoffs, it just started this week,” explained Salem head coach Ron Johnson. “We know if we continue to win, we’re going to get to continue to play.”

The triumph was Salem’s sixth of the season as the Quakers are now 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the EBC and have two more regular-season games left– both at home against Akron Kenmore-Garfield and West Branch — in hopes of landing one of the eight playoff spots in D4 Region 13. The Quakers were eighth in the region heading into Friday night’s game.

With the loss, young Minerva is now 1-7 overall and 1-4 in the EBC. “They (the Quakers’) varsity offense and defense is just fast,” said Minerva head coach Mark Hundley. “They are fast and they use that aggressively and it was just more than we could handle. We’re not there yet.”

Salem has now enjoyed three straight winning seasons under Johnson and five straight .500 or better campaigns since 2015. The Quakers made it five consecutive wins over Minerva on Friday by using a great balanced offensive attack, spearheaded by freshman quarterback Jackson Johnson who made quite a varsity debut under center. Johnson passed for 169 yards on 14-of-16 completions with four passing touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown for good measure.

“It was fun,” smiled Jackson Johnson who was very cool under pressure for a freshman. “After the first (series) it was just like playing in another junior high or freshman game, just like the same thing I’ve been doing,” he added.

“I didn’t realize that’s what he did, that’s outstanding,” said Ron Johnson of his son’s sterling performance. “But I’m proud of our whole football team,” added the Salem coach.

Salem built a 36-0 lead by halftime and piled up 14 first downs and 302 yards offense by the break to two first downs and 15 yards total offense for the Lions. For the game, Salem finished with 404 yards offense to 157 for the Lions.

“We came out of the gates and played very well,” praised Ron Johnson. “We did a lot of things very, very well.”

Jackson Johnson, making his first start at quarterback, threw four first-half touchdown passes of 19 yards to Jax Booth, two yards to Anthony DiMuzio, 19 yards to Niko Walter, who started the first seven games at quarterback but played wide receiver and safety Friday night, and 23 yards to running back Cade Campolito, who also rushed for 132 yards in the first half. Johnson also scored on a 13-yard keeper in the first half.

“The wide receivers played good, the O line played good and we ran the ball hard,” praised Jackson Johnson of his teammates.

It all added up to a commanding 36-0 Salem lead at halftime and a running clock to start the second half. Ron Johnson played his second and third-teamers in the final 24 minutes.

“I was happy with the way we played on special teams, the way we played on offense and defense,” said the Salem head coach. “When you hold a high school football team to 15 yards in a half, that was a very good performance by our defense and we took the ball away from them (twice).”

Tyson Swiger and Joey Watson had fumble recoveries on defense for the Quakers and Steven Place recovered a Salem fumble for Minerva.

Minerva took the opening possession of the second half and drove 58 yards to score on a five-yard run around right end by running back Steven Place. Kicker Nick Chaddock added the PAT, making it 36-7 at the 7:09 mark of the third quarter which stopped the running clock.

The Lions scored again on their next possession when Place took a handoff, reversed field and raced 31 yards to the end zone. The PAT kick failed and the Lions pulled within 36-13 at the 1:06 mark of the third quarter.

“I think we’ve gotten better,” said Minerva’s Hundley. “I was hoping we were even better than we are, so I know we have work to do.” Salem closed the scoring in the game when backup quarterback Logan Blissenbach raced around right end to score from 63 yards out with 3:42 left, making it 42-13. The conversion run failed.

NOTES:

• Salem won last year’s meeting with Minerva by nearly an identical 42-14 final.

• Salem entertains Akron Garfield-Kenmore Friday night in an independent contest. The Quakers defeated the Golden Rams 44-20 last season.

“I’m very pleased with our team but we still have to get better next week because there are things we can improve on,” closed Ron Johnson.

MINERVA: 0-0-13-0–13

SALEM: 22-14-0-6–42

SCORING

S–Jackson Johnson 13 run (Cade Campolito run)

S–Jax Booth 19 pass from Jackson Johnson (run failed)

S–Anthony DiMuzio 2 pass from Jackson Johnson (Cade Campolito run)

S–Niko Walter 19 pass from Jackson Johnson (Cade Campolito run)

S–Cade Campolito 23 pass from Jackson Johnson (run Failed)

M–Steven Place 5 run (Nick Chaddock kick)

M–Steven Place 31 run (kick failed)

S–Logan Blissenbach, 63 run (run failed)

——

M S

First downs 9 17

Total Yards 157 404

Rushes-yards 32-113 32-238

Passing 44 180

Comp-Att-Int 3-10-0 14-16-0

Punts 5-32 3-40

Fumbles-Lost 5-2 0-0

Penalties-Yards 7-60 5-35

——

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING–Salem, Cade Campolito, 7-132, Jackson Johnson, 3-15, Logan Blissenbach, 3-71, Jason Austin 3-9, Damon Wolfe 4-5; Minerva, Steven Place 5-42, Jimmy Common, 4-8, Anthony Fletcher, 4-14, Erik Murray 1-17, Chance Martineau, 4-8, Logan Williams, 1-8, Khail Louive 5-10.

PASSING–Salem, Jackson Johnson, 14-16-169-4-0, Logan Blissenbach, 2-3-11-0-0; Minerva, Brayden Costea, 2-9-43-0-0

RECEIVING–Salem, Blaize Exline, 3-30.Brock Young, 219, Cade Campolito, 2-28, Jax Booth, 2-27, Anthony DiMuzio, 2-18, Niko Walter, 2-35, Austin Sinkovich, 1-5, Corey Risen, 1-6, Bradlee Kitts, 1-9; Minerva, Garrison Markins, 1-39, Steven Place, 1-4.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES–Salem, Tyson Swiger, Joey Watson; Minerva, Steven Place

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