The fourth-seeded Salem High School football team’s season came to a close Friday, Nov. 8 as the Tigers were shut out by top-seeded Blair Oaks 48-0 in the semifinals of the Missouri Class 3 District 5 Tournament at Wardsville.
In the other District 5 semifinal game Friday second-seeded Buffalo whipped sixth-seeded Logan-Rogersville 49-28. Defending Class 2 state champion Blair Oaks (11-0), ranked No. 1 in the last Missouri Media Class 3 regular-season state poll, will host Buffalo (9-2) in the district championship game Nov. 15.
Salem ends the season with a 7-4 record.
The mighty Blair Oaks Falcons, who haven’t lost a game since 2017, scored on all five of their offensive possessions in the first quarter to take command.
Falcon first-period TDs came on a 28-yard pass from freshman quarterback Dylan Hair to junior wideout Jake Closser, a 25-yard run by Hair, a six-yard run by Hair, a 75-yard run by junior running back Jayden Purdy and a nine-yard pass from Hair to junior wideout Carson Prenger. Straight-away place-kicker Zach Herigon hit four-of-five of those extra-point kicks to make it 34-0.
Salem’s offense was in control of the ball most of the second quarter but could not get into the endzone.
Early in the second period Salem fumbled the ball on a pitch and Blair Oaks’ all-state senior linebacker Sam Luebbering recovered at the Falcon 37 yardline. One play later Salem senior defensive end Carter Chilton got his hands on a Hair pass at the line of scrimmage for an interception, and the Tigers would then drive 14 plays to the Blair Oaks 17 yardline before falling short on a fourth-and-five situation late in the half.
However, Blair Oaks wasn’t finished with his first-half scoring, quickly going 83 yards on five plays for a touchdown, as Hair hit sophomore Reid Dudenhoeffer with passes of 18 and 43 yards to get to the Tiger 23. From there Closser scored on a 23-yard run with :41 left. Harigon’s PAT made the halftime score 41-0.
There was a running clock throughout the quick second half.
Blair Oaks scored the lone second-half TD after fielding a punt and handing the ball off four times to senior running back Riley Lentz. Lentz broke off a 56-yard run to get to the Tiger eight yardline. Two plays later he scored on a five-yard run.