The Salem Wildcats opened region play by outlasting the Sacred Heart Crusaders 26-19 Friday night at home.
The Wildcats got on the board first on their opening drive of the game. Adryane James had a 67 yard run to highlight the drive before punching it in from seven yards out to put Salem ahead 6-0.
Sacred Heart scored in the second quarter to take a 7-6 lead, but on the ensuing kickoff Allax Moss returned the ball 76 yards to the ten yard line.
The return put Salem in prime position to regain the upper hand and they did so as James scored from five yards out putting the Wildcats ahead 12-7 going into the half.
Salem quarterback Tyson Rushing threw a 36 yard touchdown pass to Riley Rials midway through the third quarter putting increasing the Wildcat lead to 20-7.
Sacred Heart cut into the lead with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter making the score 20-13.
However, Salem increased its lead following a quarterback sneak with 5:00 to go in the game to go up 26-13.
The Crusaders a touchdown with two minutes to go in the game making the score 26-19.
But the Wildcats secured the onside kick and ran out the clock preserving the win.
James led the Wildcats with 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Tyson Rushing completed 6-of-8 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Riley Rials was Salem's leading receiver catching three passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
The Wildcats will travel to Stringer next week.