|High School Football:
Salem Takes Their Revenge Out On Pitman
Friday, September 21, 2001
By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Staff Writer
"We wore them out" and that was the truth. Coach Lindenmuth's assessment was pretty evident to any one who attended the game. The Salem offense sputtered in the early stage of the game, and don't get me wrong they had reason to. The Pitman Panthers' defense came up big early. In the first series they made their presence felt. Pitman's linebacker Jim Foulke picked a Walter Carter fumble out of the air and strolled 32-yards for the first score of the game that was just 54 seconds old.
To their credit Salem, coming off a 47-0 loss to Gloucester, could have hung their heads but they chose not to. On the very next possession Salem established their running came by giving Korry Parker the ball. He just marched down the field on a 12 play drive that saw Salem go for the first down on a fourth and one from the Pitman 2-yard line. Salem's Roy Johnson picks it with the quarterback sneak and on the next play scores.
Not to be out done, the Panthers took possession of the ball and proceed to run at will on the Salem defense. Ken Kocher was running like a man who was late for work. He wasn't flashy and he did what he had to do to get the job done. Pitman took the lead with a one yard plunge by Ron Redrow but the PAT was blocked giving Pitman a 13-7 lead.
Salem's next possession was frustrated by the fact that the Pitman defense seemed to know where every running play was going and was there to stop it. It came down to a fourth and one. Freshman sensation Corey Smith took the hand off and sprinted right and was stopped in his tracks by group of guys who seemed to be putting the signatures on a masterpiece of a defensive game. The defense won the battle of turnovers, forcing Salem into two lost fumbles and an interception. The half ended with the score being 13-7 Pitman.
The second half started with Pitman getting the ball and pretty much picking up where they left off, moving the ball effectively. The drive stalled and Chris Rose came in to attempt a 47-yard field goal. He hit the ball with a lot of authority but missed it wide left. Then you could kind of feel something in the air. Salem took control of the ball, and the game. The Salem offensive line started pounded the Panthers up front people and Corey Smith and Raheem Moore took turns picking up yards at will. Coach Lindenmuth took the fight to Pitman by keeping the ball between the tackles and letting his "Studs" up front go to work. Once again though, the Panther "D" stiffens and Salem losed the ball on downs after going for it on fourth and four at the Pitman 27-yard line.
Even though Salem didn't score you could tell that this wasn't the team that showed up in the first half. The mood on the sideline was not what you would usually hear from a high school team that was losing. The guys were into the game, just waiting for the chance to get it going. Well that chance came on their very next possession. Raheem Moore seemed to have decided to take the most direct route to the end zone. He consistently challenged would be tacklers and often got up before the guys that hit him. With Moore and the offensive line pounding out room for back Corey Smith showed his appreciation by running through holes that were created. Not only by great blocks, but Smith's ability to change direction. Smith and the rest of the Salem offense efforts were rewarded with a 7 yard touchdown. Smith also got to score the 2 point conversion giving the Rams a 15-13 lead. A lead they would not give back.
After having an effective game, Ken Kocher fumbles the kick-off and the Rams recover on the Panthers 32-yard line. Two plays later Corey Smith took it to the house from 29 yards out on a run that makes me wonder, is this guy really a freshman? Anthony Spence scores the 2 point conversion making the score 23-13. With time growing short, Pitman went for it until the end doing what ever was needed to move the ball. But on this night, it just seemed that the momentum shift in the second half was too much. Pitman has a good team and will be there in the end, but on this night the Rams, players, coaches and fans would be the ones celebrating.