‘Hounds set school record making it to State Final Four
by Bobby Stapleton
After reaching the third round of the State Football Playoffs for only the second time, the Greyhounds matched up against a familiar foe, conference rival Earle.
Earle had won the conference and had the home field advantage, but Salem was coming into the game on a hot streak.
After winning the toss and deferring until the second half, the Greyhound defense took the field first. Earle wasted no time in lighting up the scoreboard, using a six play, 82 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown with a second over two minutes gone in the game.
Salem started their first drive on their own 33 yard line and back-to-back runs by Jordan Turner picked up a fresh set of downs and more, setting Salem up at the Earle 40. After trading out penalties on second down and needing only five more yards to move the sticks, Salem went back to Turner who went left side all the way down to the 11 yard line. From there, the Greyhounds stalled out and Paul Goetzmann booted a 27 yard field goal to put Salem on the board.
Earle increased their lead on their next series, going up 14-3 with 2:21 left in the first quarter. After stalling out on their second series, the Greyhounds had to punt the ball back over to Earle who used a five play drive that covered 85 yards for their third TD of the game, going up 20-3 with 8:21 left before half.
Salem had trouble getting untracked on their third series and went three and out. With things looking bleak, the defense stepped up and changed the outlook. Holding Earle to six yards on three plays, Salem forced the Bulldogs into a punting situation. A bobbled snap by Earle was the break Salem needed and a tackle in the backfield, before they could get the punt away, gave Salem the ball only 20 yards from paydirt.
One play, one score. QB Harrison Henley hit Austin Goodson with the pass for the touchdown. Goetzmann split the uprights and Salem was right back in it, only trailing 10-20.
Earle used up pretty much all the time left in the first half on their next drive, scoring their fourth TD with 37 seconds left. Once again, just when things were looking bleak for Salem, a big play comes through. Goodson took the ensuing kickoff and went 80 yards on the return to keep in the game, trailing 17-28 at the half.
Salem got the ball to open the third, but stalled out at the Earle 23 yard line, turning the ball over on downs. Earle got the momentum going on their next play, which was a 77 yard touchdown then added the two point conversion, going up 36-17 with 6:44 left in the third. The Greyhounds started their next drive on their own 32. With Goodson and Turner churning up the yards and getting Salem all the way down to the Earle 39. With a mix or pass plays and the ground game keeping the defense guessing, Salem got down to the four yard line on a run by Turner. Back-to-back QB keepers by Henley got Salem into the endzone with 2:15 left in the quarter. With Goetzmann nailing the PAT, Salem only trailed 24-36.
Salem looked to have things going their way after recovering the onside kick on Earle’s side of the 50. With a draw play to Turner on second down and Eli Hale busting through the line for a first down at the Earle 36, Salem was looking to close the gap on the scoreboard. On second and 15, Henley hit Ethan Sanders with a pass that picked up 11. Two plays later, Salem turned the ball over to Earle on a fumble on the second play of the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs did not waste time and punched the ball in for a touchdown, going up 42-24 with 6:32 left in the game.
After forcing Salem to turn the ball over on downs on the Greyhound’s next possession, Earle scored once again with 2:53 left, going up 50-24.
Salem started their next drive on their own 20 and with three straight runs by Peyton Barker that moved the ball down to the Earle 30, a facemask penalty against the Bulldogs moved the ball even closer to the endzone for the Greyhounds. After moving down to the five yard line for a fresh set of downs, Turner bulled his way over the goal line for a touchdown with :11 left on the clock. Goetzmann provided the PAT to set the final score of 50-31, with Earle advancing to the next round.
Salem Football continues
After a defeat at Earle in the third round of the State Playoffs sent Salem into the offseason and onto the hardwood for basketball, a surprising turn of events has reversed the course for the Greyhounds.
Earle self-reported the use of an ineligible player during this season to the AAA and declared the season and all games a forfeit. With the sudden change of events, the AAA has slotted the Greyhounds in as the team in the semi-finals of the State Playoffs and they will be taking on Foreman with only one win separating them from a trip to War Memorial Stadium for the Championship game.
With the announcement coming mid-week, the AAA actually stepped up and did the right and fair thing, they postponed the games for a week to allow Salem to get back into football mode and prepare for the game. Salem will travel to Foreman for the 7 p.m. matchup this Friday night.
Good luck Coach Wiggins and the Greyhounds!

by Bobby Stapleton
It’s a good thing gas prices have fallen.
The Arkansas Activities Association has awarded the post season sites for the majority of sports, and it looks like patrons in area coverage school systems will become road warriors.
In basketball, after Calico Rock, I.C.C, and Mammoth Spring get past the Senior Districts, which will be at ICC, it will be time to gas up the vehicle. The Regionals will be at Hillcrest from February 25 to February 28. The State Tournament will be held March 3 through 7 at Nashville, Arkansas.
For Salem, the District will be held at Tuckerman, the Regional Tournament will be held at Buffalo Island Central from February 25 to 28. The State Tournament will be March 3 through 7 at Pangburn.
For Melbourne, after hosting the District Tournament, the Regional Tournament will be February 25 through 28 at Rose Bud. The State Tournament will be held at Cassatot River in Cove, Arkansas, March 3 through 7.