SALEM — There’s no quit in the Salem High football team.
Not with double zeroes on the scoreboard clock, and not even with visiting Dracut in victory formation.
The Witches got the ball back with no time showing on the clock at Bertram Field last night, as the stadium clock was behind the official time being kept on the field. Senior Aaron Palmer then plunged in from three yards out for this third touchdown of the game with 14 seconds to go.
While Dracut recovered the onside kick and finished a 34-27 win, the final quarter was emblematic of the way Salem (2-8) wants to finish the season.
“There were still 30 seconds to play and to me and our kids, that’s a lifetime,” said Salem coach Scott Connolly. “I decided to call our timeouts there and we were able to make it a one-score game.”
The Middes (3-7) took a couple of knees and lost the ball when a snap over QB Tyler Bassett’s head was recovered by Salem at the 3-yard line. At that point, Dracut had built a 34-20 lead on the back of big plays by their signal caller, who accounted for nearly 300 all-purpose yards.
Salem had trouble offensively in the first half but found some traction in the running game in the final 22 minutes. The Witches gained 170 of their 230 total yards in the second half, with Palmer leading the way with 74 yards on the ground.
Quarterback Austin Connolly ran for 69 yards, threw for 65 and caught a touchdown pass from senior Shakir White on a 13-yard reverse pass for Salem’s first points in the third quarter.
“We needed to get something,” said Connolly. “Unfortunately for us, it took us a little too long to get going on offense.”
Austin Connolly’s TD grab cut Salem’s deficit to 21-7, as Dracut held a 14-0 advantage at halftime despite outgaining Salem, 240-60, at that point.