Charlestown got off to a sluggish start Friday, picked it up somewhat, then started the second half with a long scoring drive.
When it was over, it was the fourth win in a row for the Pirates, 35-0 over Salem.
It was another defensive gem for Charlestown (4-2, 4-1 MSC) — its second straight shutout. The Pirates held Salem (3-3, 3-2) to just 66 yards rushing. There were also seven sacks.
“We’ve got a good defense and they’re getting better,” Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins said. “Eventually, it will get to the point where they are giving the offense more opportunities — and better chances to move the ball.”
The first quarter had a common theme between both teams — three and out as neither team could move the ball.
The Pirates got a big break when Salem got the ball deep in Pirate territory after a Pirate punt traveled only 12 yards. The defense rose to the occasion as Cody Johnson and Drexler Meadors sacked Jordan McNeely for a 6-yard loss on third and 15 from the 29.
After going three and out on their next series, the Lions forced Charlestown to punt. However, Eli Daniel got off a beauty that rolled dead at the 2. After a couple of first downs, Charlestown’s Matt Myers recovered a fumble at the Salem 32.
Two plays later, quarterback Darren Taylor passed to Daniel for a 23 yard gain to the 5. Taylor scored on the next play and the Pirates were on the board.
After another three and out by the Lions, the Pirate offense got serious with a 67-yard, 12-play drive that ended with Taylor throwing to Hunter Crace who made a one-handed grab over the middle to take it in from 17 yards out. Myers then ran for the 2-point conversion to make it 14-0 shortly before halftime.
If that drive didn’t give a shot of confidence to the Charlestown offense, the next one did. The Pirates opened the second half going 73 yards in 13 plays. Again it was Taylor to Crace, this time the scoring toss came from 6 yards out.
Charlestown added another score late in the third quarter as Tyler Combs intercepted a McNeely pass to return it 51 yards for a touchdown. Following yet another Salem punt, Antonyo Gaddie broke loose for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Salem did have a chance to score in the final moments, but when Brent Garriott was thrown for a 3-yard loss on third and goal from the two, the Lions’ decided not to snap the ball on fourth down.
Taylor finished with 85 yards on 15 carries and completed 5-of-10 passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
“Darren and Matt (Myers) both ran the ball hard tonight,” Hawkins said. Then Antonyo came in and did a good job. We moved some players around tonight trying to do some different things and to get the best players on the field.”
McNeely completed 8-of-13 passes for 53 yards with the one interception.
Charlestown will host Corydon Central next Friday.
“It will be a showdown,” Hawkins said.
CHARLESTOWN 35, SALEM 0
Salem 0 0 0 0— 0
Charlestown 0 14 14 7—35
C — Darren Taylor 5 run (kick filed), 7:06.
C — Hunter Crace 17 pass from Taylor (Matt Myers run), :57.
C — Crace 6 pass from Taylor (Martinez kick), 6:59.
C — Tyler Combs 51 interception return (Martinez kick), :14.
C — Antonyo Gaddie 46 run (Martinez kick), 10:35.
Salem (7-15-55-1): McNeely 7-15-55-1.
Charlestown 6-12-77-0): Taylor 5-10-67-0, Tristen Chester 1-2-10-0.
Salem (33-56): Jordan McNeely 16-27, Andrew Maudlin 5-24, Colin Badger 4-5, Hunter Bingham 1-3, Storm Thomas 1-2, Austin Jerrell 2-minus 2, Brent Garriott 4-minus 3.
Charlestown (34-216): Taylor 15-85, Myers 12-71, Gaddie 5-62, Alex Smith 1-0, Chester 1-minus 2.
Salem: Kody Kramer 4-41, Badger 1-10, Jerrell 1-4, Thomas 1-0.
Charlestown: Eli Daniel 2-40, Crace 3-27, Smith 1-10.