Week 1 NRV Game

Week 1 NRV Game 150 150 SWVA High School Sports

Salem beats Christiansburg 35-13 in opener for Blue Demons

Christiansburg H.S., Christiansburg, VA –
It’s not opening up a season in a pandemic with limited practices and reps. Couple that with taking on the Salem Spartans, after they have a game under their belt and this is your first go … doesn’t bode well for most anyone.
Those are the cards Christiansburg drew. C-burg Coach Wilkens talked about some first game issues. “A lot of people say the biggest growth is from game one to game two. In the first half we had some run fits and that hurt us. We were just a pinch away from certain plays that really hurt, made the score look worse than it was. I was really proud of our kids.” The Spartans scored touchdowns on three of their four first quarter drives. Salem not only scores more times than not, but they eat up big chunks of clock. when one door closes another opens. Holter was and is especially proud of his line, “They are tough and gritty, take a lot of pride in what they do. We have two brand new tackles this year – OL 78 Phillip Dehaven, and OL 79 Andy Lutes, just a Sophomore, on the other side.

Salem’s O-line is oft referred to as ‘The Mules’

Then we have two veteran guards and the center – 55 Alex Haley, 52 Brady Torian, and 63 Will Clemons in there. They kind of lead the way, make the calls, instill what it means to be a ‘mule’ in them. Got (TE 14) Jake Massey at tightend. All five of those guys will get after you.” And get after you they do.

Salem FB 28 Cam Leftwich bulls his way forward

First Half
Salem is like facing a train on the tracks. Once they get their machine going they are hard to slow down. Having said that, Christiansburg has good personnel, good size, and a good balance of speed and skill guys. But you can’t get behind the Spartans and have to play catch up and expect to win.

Christiansburg’s defense is stout. DB 8 Casey Graham and LB 9 Drew Lloyd

Coach Wilkens talked about what Salem is known for, “You ask anybody what Salem does well, … they don’t beat themselves. We made them drive the length of the field every possession, but we weren’t able to get off the field when we needed to.”
Salem took the opening kickoff and marched the ball 69-yards for the games first points. The Blue Demons worked the visitors into a fourth down situation once at Christiansburg’s thirty seven, but QB 11 Chauncey Logan found his FB 28 Cam Leftwich rolling across the middle for the first down pick up.

FB 28 Cam Leftwich is a weapon as a pass catcher for the Spartans as well. Blue Demon DB 8 Casey Graham readies to make the tackle

Three other times the Blue Demons got the Spartans into third downs, but couldn’t get off the field. Salem RB 42 Zavione Wood is the man who is going to get the ball most of the time. The Senior runs hard and can break it long if he gets a crease.

Salem RB 42 Zavione Wood darts through a hole in the Blue Demon defense

Wood finished the day with 215 yards on 25 carries and scored once. Salem Coach Holter was happy with his ball club and has some new faces on his O-line, “They just went to work… did a great job in their prep, maturity, and discipline. Things we discuss every day. Three days to get ready for a team like Christiansburg and I’m proud of them.”
The C-burg defense forced a fumble by RB 42 Wood on Salem’s second possession, and that jump started their offense. Two runs by the Blue Demons, two yards by QB 7 M.J. Hunter and then ten more from RB 42 Kenyon Johnson-Buchannon and C-burg was sitting pretty on the Salem thirty seven.

Blue Demon RB 42 Kenyon Johnson-Buchannon totes the rock for Christiansburg

Coach Alex Wilkens wasted little time and went for the quick strike. QB 7 Hunter hit WR 2 Travis Altizer right down the middle of the middle of the field on a go route. WR 2 Altizer hauled it in. After a few penalties, the ensuing extra point was blocked, but the game was close at 7-6 with 11:54 in the second. “We have been very fortunate to have number 7 for four years. We are excited about him. He’s a good ball player, gutsy…makes big plays,” Coach Wilkens remarked.

C-burg QB 7 M.J. Hunter quarterbacks the Blue Demon offense

Salem came right back with a 13-play, clock eater. RB 42 Wood capped it off from two yards out to make it 14-6 with K 20 Wes Cross’ point after.
C-burg looked to answer on their next drive. And when RB 42 broke off a 26-yard gain on third and one down to the Salem thirteen, the home team faithful had some hope that this game may come down to a one score difference. But Salem’s defense had other ideas. Three running plays netted four yards and on fourth and six, Hunter’s pass fell incomplete. The Salem defense turned up the pressure and got off the field. 
The Spartans answered that with another drive ending in six points. This time it took eight plays for QB 11 Logan to find WR 2 Shaun Collins in the endzone from the twelve. The Senior bobbled it but then gathered it in. The left footed K 20 Cross nailed the point after and Salem led 21-6 at the break.

Salem WR/DB 2 Shawn Collins high points a TD pass from QB 11 Logan

Third Quarter
Salem’s special teams did the trick at the start of the second half. Christiansburg got the ball to start but couldn’t advance it. The Blue Demon punt was short and WR/DB 2 Collins caught the ‘wounded duck’ seven yards beyond the line of scrimmage and then out ran everyone to the endzone.

Collins catches a short punt and returns it for a TD early in the second half for Salem

With less than two minutes gone in the second half, Salem had increased their lead to 28-6. Coach Holter complimented the Blue Demons.

C-burg Coach Alex Wilkens talks to WR/DB 5 Jaxson Clarke

”That’s a great coaching staff over there. They love what they’re doing and they are great for high school football. Having to play Christiansburg on three days rest. I don’t know if playing a game was an advantage or not but it was fun (Salem beat Blacksburg on Tuesday). You didn’t really get to enjoy that much because it’s time to get ready for a very difficult Christiansburg team who has great size, good speed. What they do with that double wing and gun. You have to keep your eyes disciplined and trained. Takes a little bit to get used to that.”

Fourth Quarter
Both teams added a score in the final stanza. Salem got their touchdown at the 9:34 mark. It was QB 11 Logan to WR 2 Collins again, this time from 29 yards out. Collins is long and fast. Once he gets it in his mitts you better close quickly or he’s going to be ringing up points on you. That made the tally 35-6, Salem.

Salem WR 2 Shawn Collins adds his third TD of the day

This first week of football has many teams in the area playing two games only a few days apart. In football it’s tough to recover and be ready. But the bottom line is everyone is thankful just to be playing.

Hidden Valley’s (0-1) next game is Saturday versus Pulaski County (1-0). Patrick Henry (1-0) will travel down I-81 to take on Blacksburg (0-1) in a rare Sunday game.

Christiansburg added a score late as some backups got some work. RB 1 Christian Cunningham broke off a nice 78-yard run to set up the last score. RB 8 Casey Graham took it in from the seven with a minute left in the game to get us to the final margin, 35-13. Coach Wilkens spoke highly of the Spartans, “We were excited to play Salem game one. They are where we aspire to be.”

Salem Head Coach Don Holter works the sidelines

Salem now stands at 2-0 and is now looking towards a matchup with Patrick Henry (2-0). Christiansburg goes from the pot into the fire as they face a Coach Mark Dixon Pulaski County Cougar team who is also 2-0.          – Cap’n Crunch

Offense: RushingSalem– Wood 25-215, TD, Leftwich 12-43, TD, Williams 3-18, Logan 2-6, Collins 1-5 Christiansburg– Johnson-Buckannon 9-43, Graham 5-21, TD, Hunter 10-24, Lloyd 4-0, Cunningham 1-78 PassingSalem– Logan 8-13, 82, 2TDs  Christiansburg– Hunter 6-13, 64, TD  ReceivingSalem– Collins 2-41, 2TDs, Massey 1-14, Leftwich 2-11, Jordan McDonald 2-9, Jayden McDonald 1-7  Christiansburg– Altizer 1-37, TD, Lloyd 3-26, Thaxton 1-2, Taylor 1-1 PuntingSalem– Logan 2-32  Christiansburg Fetrow 4-27.5


  • S; Cameron 1-yd TD run; Cross PAT
  • C: Hunter to Altizer 37-yd TD pass; Dixon PAT missed
  • S: Wood 2-yd TD run: Cross PAT
  • S: Logan to Collins 12-yds: Cross PAT
  • S: Collins 31-yd punt return for TD: Cross PAT
  • S: Logan to Collins 5-yds: Cross PAT
  • C: Graham 7-yd TD run: Dixon PAT

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