Salem mounted a 16-7 lead with 3 1/2 minutes to play, then held off a furious final charge by the Northside Vikings, as the Spartans escaped Salem Stadium with the 16-14 win Friday night.
Salem remained undefeated at 4-0, while the Vikings dropped to 2-3 on the season.
The game was a signature game in the trenches for the two foes, as Salem ground out a 7-0 lead at halftime, and increased the margin to 10-0 on a Scott Look field goal from 23-yards out midway through the third quarter.
Later in the third, the Northside offense got untracked as Viking quarterback Dominic Dunnaville capped off a superlative running display with a 12-yard TD dash that cut the Spartan lead to 10-7 after junior Trey Noell’s point-after.
Noell later missed on a potential game-tieing 30-yard field goal early in the final quarter.
Salem looked to put the game away with an 80-yard drive in the fourth, culminated by a Devante Payne 2-yard touchdown dive for the 16-7 advantage.
Dunnaville responded 32 seconds later when he hit fellow-junior Harold Buckner with a 64-yard bomb to close to the final margin. A last-ditch Northside effort in the final minute came up short.
The two teams combined for 74 rushing plays, with the Vikings holding the slim edge in yardage, 176-174.
BILL TURNER game story/photo