SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – A late touchdown run by Salem’s Elijah Rothwell propelled the Quakers to a 34-28 win against East Palestine on Friday.
Rothwell scored from two yards out with just 1:18 left, and the Salem defense intercepted a pass in the end zone as time expired.
A Mitch Davidson TD pass put Salem ahead 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. He connected with Zach Bezon on a 3-yard pass.
East Palestine QB Parker Sherry answered with a TD run on 3rd-and-inches early in the second quarter to tie the game. Later in the second, on 2nd-and-inches, Sherry dove into the end zone for a 14-7 Bulldogs lead.
Read more: Week one high school football stories
Salem’s Jack Madison recovered an East Palestine fumble with 3:52 left in half. It lead to a 4-yard TD pass from Davidson to Turner Johnson to tie the contest.
“Self-inflicted wounds was what got us and that’s unacceptable,” Quakers coach Ron Johnson said of the difficulties the Quakers had in the first half. “We made the commitment at half time to trust ourselves and do what we did.”
East Palestine took a 20-14 lead midway through the third quarter on a 4-yard pass from Sherry to Dominic Posey. But Salem answered with a 3-yard TD run by Eli Rothwell with 4:13 left in the third.
To start the fourth, on 3rd-and-15, Davidson connected with Chase Ackerman for a 54-yard TD pass to put Salem ahead 28-20.
East Palestine’s Sherry then connected with Dominic Posey on a 16-yard TD pass with 5:22 left. The two hooked up once again for a successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 28. The drive went 14 plays and 86 yards.
That lead to Rothwell’s game-winning TD run, which capped an eight-play, 74-yard drive.
“They are a good football team,” Johnson explained. “They have maybe the best player in this part of the state in Parker Sherry. We just had to keep our head above water and keep fighting.”
“I told that they should all be tired because they played a heck of a ball game,” Bulldogs coach Tony Foster remarked. “They should be proud of their efforts.”
“A lot of times it comes down to a few plays and in those turning point plays they made more of them than we did. We had some missed tackles, we had some dropped balls, and missed assignments,” Foster explained.
East Palestine will host Perry in week two. Salem will host United.
PHOTOS: Salem 34, East Palestine 28
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