Salem cracks Potters

Salem’s Cade Campolito pulls away from East Liverpool defenders Aidan Watkins (44), Cory Weyand (27) and Howard Williams (10) on Friday. (Special to the Journal/Gary Leininger)

SALEM — One of the oldest football rivalries in Ohio and the longest running in Columbiana County took center stage at Reilly Stadium Friday night when East Liverpool traveled to Salem. The two schools have been playing one another for over 100 years.

The Quakers, who have had the best of the series in recent years, continued that trend with a 28-14 win over the Potters.

It marked the Quakers’ fifth straight victory over East Liverpool which hung in the game despite missing seven starters because of injuries.

Salem head coach Ron Johnson said the Quakers didn’t play as well as he had hoped but they found a way to win.

“We didn’t play very well at all on either side of the ball,” said Johnson. “But I’d much rather win ugly than lose pretty playing a great game, no question.”

With the win, the Quakers improved to 3-0, while East Liverpool is now 1-2.

“They (the Quakers) are well coached and a very good football team with athletes,” said East Liverpool head coach Josh Ludwig. “I thought we had some breakdowns in coverage, but I think up front we played really well and our secondary played well, but a couple of those breakdowns will really hurt you against a team like this.”

Salem used an opportunistic defense which picked off four East Liverpool passes and stopped Potter marches three times inside the Salem 20.

The Quakers also used a fine passing performance by Salem junior quarterback Turner Johnson who threw three touchdown passes, including two to Salem senior wideout Luke Weingart.

“Last year I also had two (touchdown receptions in a game) against Carrollton,” smiled Luke Weingart. “I was wide open (on one) just waiting for the ball,” he added. “All my teammates have really helped me. We want to go undefeated.”

Johnson tossed three touchdown passes on the night of 65, 34 and 20 yards with Weingart catching the latter two aerials. Weingart led the Quakers with seven catches for 81 yards.

East Liverpool was led by running back Derek Carter who led all rushers with 104 yards on 16 carries.

As it did in last week’s win over United, Salem scored on its opening drive of the game against East Liverpool, marching 83 yards and capping the drive when junior Johnson hit receiver Josh Lehwald with a 65-yard scoring pass. Running back Cade Campolito added the conversion run and the Quakers led 8-0 at the 6:00 mark of the first quarter.

East Liverpool trimmed the Quakers’ lead to 8-7 in the second quarter when Nick Woodward cradled in a Salem punt and raced 63 yards around the right side to score. Dominik Vallera added the PAT kick.

Salem ballhawk Niko Walter set up Salem’s second score when he picked off an East Liverpool pass and returned it to the Potters’ 45 with 3:20 left before half. The Quakers capitalized when on third and 10, Johnson rolled right and found Weingart all alone in the middle of the end zone with a 34-yard scoring strike with 1:33 showing before half.

The conversion run failed but the Quakers took a 14-7 lead into the locker room.

The Quakers picking off passes during the game were Niko Walter, Turner Johnson, Zach Murray and Tyson Swiger.

“The thing is we had players make plays tonight, like making four interceptions,” said Johnson. “We need to play better as a team but players made plays tonight. It doesn’t always go according to plan but when you have as much invested as our guys have, they are going to find a way to win and that is comforting.”

A third quarter interception by Salem’s Swiger stopped a Potter drive at the Quakers’ 15 and his return to the Potter 24 set up a Salem third-quarter score. Cade Campolito took a pitch from Johnson on third and seven and raced 21 yards around the right side to score and put Salem up 20-7 with 5:21 showing. The conversion run failed.

East Liverpool came right back when Tim Neal picked off a Salem pass and returned it to the Quakers’ 20. A few plays later, Potter backup quarterback Nate Davis, who entered the game in the second half after an injury to the Potters’ starter, connected with Woodyard on a 23-yard scoring pass. Vallera added the PAT and the Potters closed within 20-14 of Salem with 11:26 left in the fourth quarter.

“From the beginning of the week we have six or seven starters down,” said Ludwig. “But I thought my (No.) II’s played really well, we kept fighting and came back in the second half with a backup quarterback and Nate Davis stepped in there and he’s going to be a very good ballplayer.”

But Salem sealed the game away minutes later when Walter picked off a Potter pass and returned it to the East Liverpool 20. Johnson then found Weingart with a 20-yard scoring strike. The Quakers made it 28-14 when Cooper Stockman hauled in a Johnson conversion pass with 10:15 left.

Johnson said the Quakers will get back to work and improve on things Monday.

“This ought to humble us to the point where we know we have a lot of work to do,” he said. “When our guys see it on film they’ll realize they dodged a real bullet tonight.”

East Liverpool’s Ludwig said the Potters will get back to work as well.

“I congratulate our young kids for not giving up and we’re going to keep fighting. It’s a 10-week season,” he closed.

Salem notes

¯ Salem’s new Hall of Fame inductees were announced at the game. They include Terry Metts (Joe Kelley Spirit of Salem Award), Martha Willaman Siskowic (Class of 1925, basketball), Tom Fisher (Class of 1970, football, basketball), Tim Cope (Class of 1976, basketball, track), Marty Hergenrother (Class of 1982, basketball), Abigail Hill Berkman (Class of 1997, soccer) and the 1984-85 varsity boys’ basketball team which was the outright Mahoning Valley Conference champion.

¯ Salem won last year’s meeting, 17-6.

¯ East Liverpool’s last win in the series occurred in 2013 when the Potters, who finished 5-5 that season, defeated the Quakers, 20-14 at Patterson Field.

¯ Salem opens Eastern Buckeye Conference action Friday night when it hosts the Carrollton Warriors.

¯ East Liverpool will also play next Friday when in entertains another Columbiana County rival Beaver Local in a Buckeye 8 battle.

E. LIVERPOOL: 0-7-0-7–14

SALEM: 8-6-6-8– 28

SCORING

S — Josh Lehwald, 65 pass from Turner Johnson, 6:00 1st (Cade Campolito run)

E — Nick Woodyard, 63 punt return, 8:14 2nd (Dominik Vallera kick)

S– Luke Weingart, 34 pass from Turner Johnson, 1:33 2nd (Run failed)

S– Cade Campolito, 21 run, 5:21 3rd (run failed)

E — Nick Woodyard, 23 pass from Nate Davis, 11:26 4th

(Dominik Vallera kick)

S — Luke Weingart, 20 pass from Turner Johnson, 10:15 4th (Cooper

Stockman pass from Turner Johnson)

——

ELO S

First downs 10 17

Total Yards 220 305

Rushes-yards 24-107 41-124

Passing 113 170

Comp-Att-Int 14-23-4 11-17-2

Punts 4-32 5-31

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0

Penalties-Yards 3-30 11-90

——

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING–East Liverpool, Peyton Reed 5-7, Derek Carter 16-104, Nick Woodyard 1-4; Salem, Cade Campolito 17-82, Turner Johnson 9-27, Brock Baddeley 9-10.

PASSING–East Liverpool, Peyton Reed 11-15-51-1; Salem, Turner Johnson 11-17-170-2.

RECEIVING–East Liverpool, Troy Croskey 1-25, Tim Neal 4-17, Nick Woodyard 6-33, Howard Williams 1-5, Logan Bennett 0-00; Salem, Josh Lehwald 2-73, Luke Weingart 7-81, Niko Walter 2-11, Cooper Stockman 1-3.

INTERCEPTIONS–Salem, Niko Walter, Zach Murray, Tyson Swiger, Turner Johnson; East Liverpool, Nick Woodyard, Tim Neal.