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High School Football:
It ain't over...

Friday, September 20, 2002

By Graig White
SJSports Staff Writer

Truer words were never spoken; Pitman never trailed in the game until it was over. With triple zeros on the clock, Cameron Smith crossed the goal line and snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat. Salem once again left Pitman with a thrilling fourth quarter comeback and the knowledge that no matter how rough the situation may look it ain't over until it's over.

Pitman started the scoring with a 37-yard touchdown reception by Dustin Darrow in the first quarter. Darrow had a kind of day that most kids just dream about catching 5 passes for 147 yards. Can't wait to see what this guy does for an encore. Pitman's offense seemed to have a rhythm that keep the Salem defense one step behind. With that being said, the half ended with Salem trailing by that one touchdown.

The second half began with Pitman coming out and moving the ball well, but you got the sense that Salem had been taken their best punch and was ready to have a go. Their drive was highlighted by a 29-yard catch by Darrow and to make matters worst, tack on a personal foul penalty. Defensive coordinator Kemp Carr didn't panic as the Rams "D" stiffened and is rewarded with the second missed field goal attempt.

Salem's first possession began with the ball on their own 20-yard line. The Rams executed a one play drive with Lamont Robinson taking the hand off from Smith. Eighty yards later he was in the Pitman endzone. The extra point attempt was stopped and Salem still trailed 7-6. The Panthers, not to be out done, got their offensive act together and put together a drive that is very well thought out and executed. Darrow and Larson once again hook up for 43 yards. The Panthers took the ball to the Rams 15 yard line where it is fourth and inches. Larson with the quarterback keeper kept the drive alive. Chris Thomas would make a heck of a play on a tipped ball for another Panther's touchdown. The extra point conversion was successful and the score is now 14-6.

In the fourth quarter with Salem's backs to the wall, they realized that it's now or never. The Rams went for the first down on a 4th and 3 and made it. Cameron Smith breaks out for a 34 yard run and it's Smith who caps the drive with a 1-yard TD run. William Barnes scores the 2 point conversion untouched as he cruised into the Panther endzone. The score in now tied 14-14. And here is where you can tell that the pressure was starting to get to some of these young men.

For a little over three quarters, there where no turnovers. Pitman, who pretty much had air supremacy, started missing on some of their opportunities. William Barnes would then come up with the first of his 2 interceptions. Salem had the ball and is forced to punt by a Panther's defense that played with a lot of pride. The punt was fumbled and the Rams had the ball on the Pitman 28 yard line. The next play sees Lamont Robinson go around the left end and he fumbles. Pitman would recover the ball on their own 23 with 1:09 left in the game. Pitman went for the knockout as Larson dropped back to pass and Barnes picked off his pass on a one-handed interception. It was an effort that may get him a college scholarship. Barnes returned the ball to the Panther 25 with 58 seconds remaining in the game. The team that wanted it most was about to get the chance to prove everyone in attendance who they were and as time expired Smith crossed the goal line that that winning team for the third game in a row was Salem High School.

Photos by Art Redd

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