SALEM — Coming into last night having won two of its past three games, Salem has been looking better than it has in a long time.
However, Salem came up short last night, falling to Manchester Central 42-29.
After going 0-12 last season, which included a 50-6 loss to Manchester Central, first year head coach Rob Pike has seen a vast improvement in his squad this season.
Before Salem could blink, Jesiah Wade and Manchester Central had built up a 28-0 lead only 17 minutes into the game.
Salem finally got on the board with 4:48 left in the first half on a four-yard run by Jason Martinez. Martinez, who had his third consecutive three touchdown game, scored again — from one-yard out — with eight seconds left in the first half.
After surrendering 36 points in the first half, Salem’s defense stepped it up and held Manchester Central to just six points in the second half. As a result, the Blue Devils almost mounted an incredible comeback.
Down 36-22 after another Martinez touchdown at the end of the third quarter, Salem got the ball back after one of its four takeaways. With just over seven minutes left in the game, wide receiver Jake Poore streaked down the right sideline. Quarterback John Cerretani delivered a perfect touch pass that Poore went up and grabbed, broke a tackle and ran to the end zone.
The Blue Devils turned the ball over five times and fall to 2-5 one week an impressive victory over Merrimack.
Manchester Central 42, Salem 29
Manchester Central (6-2): 14 22 0 6 — 42
Salem (2-5): 0 14 8 7 — 29
MC — Abe Madra 5 pass from Richie Greely (Conversion good), 7:48
MC — Jesiah Wade 66 run (Conversion failed), 4:43
MC — Jorge Gomes 10 pass from Greely (Conversion failed), 9:53
MC — Wade 35 run (Conversion good), 7:17
S — Jason Martinez 4 run (Conversion good), 4:58
MC — Greely 33 pass (Conversion good), 1:05
S — Martinez 1 run (Kick failed), :08
S — Martinez 5 run (Conversion good), :25
MC — 3 run (Conversion failed), 6:16
S — John Cerretani 21 run (Chris Sheikhabdou kick good), :54
RUSHING: (32-192) Jason Martinez 15-95-3, John Cerretani 4-40-1, Zack Liupaka 5-35, Matt Loffredo 6-22, Doug Maroun 1-2, Jake Poore 1-(-2)
PASSING: Cerretani 6-19-91
RECEIVING: Poore 4-46, Trevor Couture 1-31, Loffredo 1-14