Defense is the focus at Salem’s camp


Salem is seeking their second back-to-back trip to the post-season in school history

Salem Quakers High School Football

Credit: Sefa Kart/iStock/Getty Images Plus

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – The Quakers have made the post-season in three of the last five years (2015, 17, 19). Now, they’ll try to accomplish a feat which they’ve only been able to do in program history once – go back-to-back (2009, 10).

“Our kids have done an outstanding job of lifting throughout the shutdown,” says coach Ron Johnson. “They’ve made big gains. The offense and defense were installed with Power-points and Zoom meetings. Once we got to mini-camp in July, we hit the ground running and we’re in full-stride as we near the opening of fall camp.”

2019 Record: 8-3 (4-2), 3rd place in EBC
Head Coach: Ron Johnson, 8th season at Salem (110-111 overall)

2019 Stats
Scoring Offense: 26.5 (24th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 18.0 (17th in Area)
Total Offense: 347.9
Rushing Offense: 165.4
Passing Offense: 182.5

Returning Starters
Offense: 7
Defense: 2

What you need to know about Salem’s offense
-Salem’s offense last year was a balanced attack as they had a pair of quarterbacks (Jackson Johnson & Niko Walter) both throw for over 900-yards and a pair of runners (Cade Campolito & Niko Walter) gain over 700-yards on the ground.

Coach Johnson points out, “We’ll need to effectively run the football. Losing Cade Campolito (880 yards rushing) as a three-year starter at tailback leaves a big void. Juniors Jason Austin and Damon Wolfe are strong candidates to replace Cade.”

Jackson Johnson completed 74% of his 124 passes a year ago for 1004 yards as a freshman. Johnson connected on 14 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. The team’s leading receiver returns in senior Jax Booth. He caught 42 passes for 451 yards and 7 touchdowns. Carson Stockman also will be back as a key lineman up front for the Quakers.

What you need to know about Salem’s defense
-“With only two returning starters,” indicates Johnson. “It will be critical that our kids mature quickly. We have great competition for all open positions which should be beneficial.”

The team lost 7 of their top 9 tacklers from a year ago including the likes of Cade Campolito (147 tackles), Joey Watson (85 tackles), Zach Murray (85 tackles, 3 blocked kicks), Zarek Ross (75 tackles), Niko Walter (57 tackles, 2 INTs), Anthony DiMuzio (48 tackles), and Tyson Swiger (3 QB sacks). Cornerback Jax Booth returns after compiling a junior campaign with 2 fumble recoveries and 86 defensive stops.

Salem’s Key Player(s)
-Salem’s defensive unit finished with 6 of their 11 games of holding the opposition to 22-points or less. It’ll be huge to have their revamped defense live up to the standard that the 2019 eleven set.

2020 Schedule
Aug. 28 – Crestview
Sept. 4 – at Beaver Local
Sept. 11 – East Liverpool
Sept. 18 – Firestone
Sept. 25 – Alliance
Oct. 2 – at Minerva
Oct. 9 – Marlington
Oct. 16 – Carrollton
Oct. 23 – at Canton South
Oct. 31 – at West Branch

The Big game on the schedule
August 28 – vs. Crestview (at home)
…The new season can’t get here soon enough. Coach Johnson and his staff pride themselves on getting the best out of their players. Same will be expected this year when they open play against a veteran-Crestview bunch. Last year, Salem got the best of the Rebels by 4 on the road (16-12).

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