Salem keeps playoff hopes alive with win over Kenmore


Niko Walter and Anthony DiMuzio each score twice in the Quakers win

Salem, OHIO (WKBN) – The Salem Quakers came into their game Friday night in a must-win situation.  They entered the contest clinging to the last playoff position at number eight in Region 13 in the most recent computer standings.

The Quakers responded with a 32-18 win over Kenmore at Salem Sebo Stadium that will help solidify their position.  The win improves the Quakers to 7-2 on the year while Kenmore drops to 4-5.

“Since the Alliance Situation, we have been in a playoff mode and every single game we are going to play. And as long as we win, we need to keep playing.  We won last week, we won this week, and we have a big one next week,” Quakers head coach Ron Johnson explained.  “We’ll keep playing as long as they let us.”

“It was great win, but we need to keep winning,” Walter said. “We have our last regular-season game at home next week against West Branch.”

The Quakers set the tone for the game on their first drive as they drove 55-yards with Niko Walter grabbing a 9-yard toss into the left corner of the end zone from quarterback Jackson Johnson.  That score came with 7:44 remaining in the opening quarter.

But the Rams would respond with a touchdown of their own just a minute later.  Jimmy Spaulding would race 14-yards to cut the Rams deficit to 8-6 with 6:33 left in the quarter.

Two possessions later, the Quakers would score again as Anthony DiMuzio would out-muscle the Rams defensive back to haul in a 20-yard pass and grab a 16-6 advantage.  That score came at the 10:45 mark of the second quarter.

“I was just aggressive and went up and got it,” DiMuzio explained the catch over the Rams cornerback. “I went up and got and fortunately came down with it.”

Once again, the Rams would respond as they scored on a 3-yard run by Chale Johnson to cut the Quakers lead down to 16-12.  The touchdown came with 7:19 left in the first half.

The Quakers would distance themselves and put the pressure on the Rams as the clock expired in the first half.  With just 56-second remaining in the first half, the Quakers forced a punt by the Rams that gave them the Quakers the ball at the Rams 48-yard line.

The Quakers would use 5 plays to get the Rams 12 with only 4 seconds remaining before the intermission.  Quakers quarterback Jackson Johnson rolled to his left and threw a pass to the front corner of the end zone.  A Rams defensive back tipped the ball allowing Quaker’s receiver Niko Walter a chance to grab the ball for a touchdown as time expired.  That gave the Quakers a 24-12 halftime advantage.

“I was really fortunate that the guy dropped it and I was just able to make a play on it,” Walter described the play.  “That put us up two scores before half and gave a decent or comfortable lead.”

“We had time, we got the ball back inside the fifty.  We made a good play on first down, and we got down close.  We used our time outs.  With four seconds we used our last timeout and threw the ball and Niko Walter makes a big catch,” Coach Johnson explained the final moments of the half.

On the Rams second possession of the second half, Dwayne Grandison exploded up the middle to race 63-yards to make it 24-18 in favor of the Quakers.  The score came at the 4:45 mark of the third quarter.

The Quakers finally put the pesky Rams away with 6:11 remaining in the game with one last score.  This time it was a 39-yard pass from Johnson to DiMuzio as DiMuzio got behind the Rams secondary.  That made it the final 32-18 score.

The Quakers will host their arch-rival West Branch next Saturday to wrap up the regular season.  Kenmore will also play next Saturday as they will host Akron North to close their season.

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