The Spartans already have their fans excited after their 49-7 win over Magna Vista last Friday night at Salem Stadium in a benefit game. The Warriors are traditionally strong, having won Group 3A state championships in 2014 and ’15. Last year they were 9-3 and eliminated by a strong Staunton River team.
After trading first quarter touchdowns the Spartans scored 42 unanswered points in Friday’s beneft game before a nice crowd on am unusually cool August night. Salem led 28-7 at the half on a one yard run by De’Angelo Ramsey, a one yard run by Tae Hale, a 45 yard TD pass from Jack Gladden to Viante Tucker and another 30 yard hookup from Gladden to Tucker with just 52 seconds remaining until intermission.
Ramsey had a 19 yard TD run in the third quarter to make it 35-7, and the second team scored twice in the fourth quarter on touchdown runs by Chandler Sutphin and Josh Mutshipule.
Of course, this was just a benefit game. It meant nothing in the whole scheme of things except to reveal things for the Spartans to work on.
“We benefited from big plays but we didn’t establish the run the way we need to,” said Salem coach Stephen Magenbauer. “We have a lot of work to do. Magna Vista didn’t have their number one quarterback and they had some other people out.”
This will be Salem’s third straight season opening game against Amherst, and they split the last two. In 2015 Salem beat the Lancers, 45-12, but last year Amherst opened with a 42-40 win at Salem Stadium, the only home loss for the Spartans since September of 2013. Of course, the Salemites went on to run the table last year for a second straight Group 4A state championship.
Salem has a long history with Amherst, including a win over the Lancers in the very first game in Salem Stadium. The Spartans won 36-19 on August 30, 1985, to open the new digs.
Four times the Lancers have ended the Spartans’ season in the playoffs, in 1994 and 1995 and again in 2006 and 2007. It’s been a great rivalry.
“They’re big up front, about 300 across the board,” said Magenbauer. “They have great size and they always have speed. Their quarterback is back and they like to run the ball.”
Salem’s jayvees will play at Amherst tonight.
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