Class 1 sixth-ranked Salisbury reeled off 29 unanswered points and returned home from 93-degree heat last Friday with a cool 35-6 football victory over Scotland County of Memphis in the season opener for both schools.
The Panthers are coming off a successful 2012 campaign in which they reached the state semifinals where they fell to eventual state champion Penney-Hamilton and posted a 12-2 record.
Thirteen lettermen returned to the program, and the squad actively took part in several weight training and conditioning workouts during the summer months leading up to Week 1 of the current season.
“Except for one or maybe two guys, we were quite a bit bigger on both sides of the ball than they were, and I think we were in better condition. Our conditioning really made a difference in this game when temperatures were in the 90s on a Friday night,” said Salisbury football coach Kirk Stott. “I was proud of our kids. It was a long, hot 2-hour bus ride to get there and I thought our kids were mentally prepared and braved the elements well.”
The game was tied at 6-6 following the opening period when Salisbury’s defense buckled down and threw the Scotland County Tigers’ offense for a loss of 8 yards en route to taking a 19-6 halftime lead. The Panthers would score a touchdown and a 2-pt. conversion in each of the last two quarters of play.
Daniel Linneman, a 5’11, 154-pound junior running back, led Salisbury’s ground game rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
Junior quarterback Brady Francis ran for 43 yards and sophomore Jordan Clark provided 37 yards more.
“With our injuries and such last year, Daniel got moved around and he did not run the football for us a whole lot. But he continued to work hard every day in practice and did what was asked of him. His work ethic paid off for him in his first game as our starting fullback,” said coach Stott. “Daniel is not a big, brawny player but he runs hard and he runs tough through tackles. He had a nice night for us rushing the football.”
In his varsity debut as starting quarterback, Francis threw for 116 yards completing 8 of 14 passes. Francis also connected with Lathan Keen on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Clark had four receptions totaling 64 yards, and tight end Keegan Wyatt caught three passes for 39 yards.
Salisbury produced a total of 356 yards offensively, while the Rams had 183 (62 yds. rush).
“The main thing I was disappointed in was the penalties. There were quite a few called against both of us,” Stott said. “We had something like 14 and they had maybe 12, and a lot of them killed the momentum that each of us was trying to achieve. We had two touchdowns called back because of penalties.”
Page 2 of 2 - Salisbury hits the road again this Friday as they travel to play Braymer.