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High school football: Salem Hills continues impressive start, rolls past Highland to improve to 5-0

Derek Burton of Salem Hills celebrates making a stop against Highland during a high school football game played in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.
Derek Burton of Salem Hills celebrates making a stop against Highland during a high school football game played in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.
Ravell Call, Deseret News

Box score

SALT LAKE CITY — Salem Hills has never started a season 4-0 and then won its next game.

Granted, this is an extremely small sample size — one time in the school’s history — but that doesn’t change the fact that the Skyhawks improved to 5-0 in 2019 with a convincing 28-14 victory at Highland on Friday night.

“This gives confidence for our community and for the boys. It’s huge,” Salem Hills coach Harry Schwenke said. “We’re a small town and we’ve never been 5-0 before. But our goals are much bigger than one game.”

The Rams (4-1) entered the game with a perfect record identical to Salem Hills’, and they got off to a good start, stopping the Skyhawks on three plays. But they fumbled the punt away, giving Salem Hills a short field — which soon resulted in a touchdown reception by Austin Hallows.

“Our special teams has been a huge positive and negative in every game for us,” Highland coach Brody Benson said. “I take all the responsibility for that; I’m the special teams coordinator. We’ve got to step up there. To stop them and then have that happen was definitely a shot.”

The Rams tied the game early in the second quarter on a Drilon Collaku touchdown, but the Skyhawks took control with a pair of touchdowns that gave them a 21-7 lead going into the half — scoring runs by Jordan Ware and Sam Hughes.

They pushed the lead to 28-7 midway through the third when Jarret Elmer found Reed Johnson for a 76-yard touchdown pass.

“The boys did a good job of matching their physicality,” Schwenke said. “They looked real physical on film and I’m proud of the boys for stepping up. This was a good measuring stick.”

Highland took advantage of a short Salem Hills punt and got the game’s final score on a 28-yard touchdown run by Paul Clark with 6:19 remaining. For the most part, though, the Rams struggled to move the ball over the final two quarters.

“Up front, I don’t think we had the intensity and attitude we had in weeks past,” Benson said. “We didn’t play our best game tonight.”