Salem Hills put on a near-perfect performance for its home fans destroying Payson 58-7 Friday night in Region 8 prep football action.
Salem Hills ditched their normal home blue jerseys for a military-themed look and then proceeded to assault the visiting Lions with an array of offensive weapons both on the ground and through the air.
The Skyhawks scored early and often posting 30 first half points and were sharp in all phases of the game.
After holding Payson, Salem Hills’ Austin Hallows hauled in a 3-yard pass from Jarret Elmer to crack the scoreboard. Bruce Butler connected on the first of eight extra points to put the Skyhawks out in front.
Payson was forced to punt again and Salem Hills went to work again. Skyhawk lineman James Cardon-Leota’s devastating downfield block sparked a 42-yard run by Jordan Ware, which then set up Elmer’s second touchdown throwing, this time an 11-yard connection with Dustin Simons.
Salem Hills’ special teams got in the act as Reed Johnson returned a punt 41 yards. That was immediately followed by a 54-yard scamper by Sam Hughes down to the 1-yard line. Ware then took it across on the very first play of the second quarter and Salem Hills moved out in front 21-0.
Payson couldn’t move the ball and Salem Hills scored again as Elmer found Hallows behind Lion defenders for a 45-yard touchdown.
The Skyhawk defense then got a score of their own when Derek Rolfe, Nate Tarter and Derek Burton converged to sack Lion quarterback Ryan Wride and Salem Hills led 30-0.
The lone Payson highlight of the first half was when the Lion defense did manage to stop Salem Hills right before half from scoring one final time.
That defensive stop and another one in the Salem Hills’ first possession of the second half gave the Lions some momentum and Wride found Jarrett Christensen open along the sideline. Christensen did some nice footwork along the sideline for a 75-yard score to cut the Skyhawk lead to 30-7.
But Salem Hills then took total control with two third quarter scores. Elmer and Ware connected on a 43-yard pass play and Hughes scampered for 83 yards. The two successful extra points by Butler put the Skyhawks out in front 44-7 and the mercy rule and continuous clock went into effect.
Salem Hills tacked on two more scores in the final stanza as Koby Carter ran it in from 15 yards out and Austin Biggs broke loose on a 65-yard run to paydirt.
Besides the special uniforms worn by Salem Hills, the program hosted a dinner for veterans and serving in the military before the game.
Salem Hills (4-0, 1-0) will take on Highland, also undefeated in Salt Lake next week in a nonleague tilt. Meanwhile Payson (2-2, 0-1) will host Maple Mountain, also 2-2 overall and 0-1 in Region 8 play.