Salem – Salem is back into the VHSL Class 4 state semifinal, following a similar path as a smaller area power in Appomattox. Both teams reeled off a trip of state titles from 2015 thru 2017. And after an early playoff exit last season, they are right back in the title mix.
The Spartans claimed the Class 4 Region D title last Friday night with a win over highly touted E. C. Glass. Coach Don Holter took over for the retiring Stephen Magenbauer, and his team hasn’t missed a beat. Salem’s lone loss was to West Virginia power Martinsburg, who has won seven state titles this decade and has a win streak that’s reached 52 games at the conclusion of the 2019 regular season. Salem welcomes Dulles Tuscarora to town on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are 12-1 on the year. Salem says the Spartans schedule, which includes playing in-town Class five school Patrick Henry helps to get the Spartans ready.
“Patrick Henry does some things formationally that challenge you with two backs and one back and tight ends and switching out different thngs and trying to unbalance you. Tuscarora has good speed and they try to out flank you and out number you and you have to get the numbers right,” coach Holder said.
“Our down lineman are going to have to play big, play where the gaps are. Linebackers are going to have to fit, every one is going to have to work together to get a stop, that’s what we’re going for,” Salem linebacker Bobby Pinello said.
Kickoff of this Class 4 state semifinal matchup is set for 2 p.m. at Salem Stadium.