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Noles hold off Bulldoggs

The Salem Seminoles were able to hold on for a 22-20 win on Friday night, but the win seemed more like an escape than a victory.

The Bulldoggs had a chance to tie it with 6:35 to play after Chad Platt ran 84 yards for the score, but a two-point conversion failed and they carried on the longest losing streak in the state.

Winder-Barrow suffered its 27th straight defeat, a streak of ineptitude dating back to 2009 when the Bulldoggs earned their last win, 48-41 over Monroe Area, on Oct. 9.

The Salem Seminoles almost gave them another victory, as the home team couldn't get any momentum going, struggled on offense and had to fight to get Winder-Barrow's offense off the field.

"I don't think we played our best game," Salem coach John Starr said. "Combination of all the injuries we had this week and the homecoming festivities, I'm just glad to get out with the win."

Early on, Salem (2-2) took control of the game thanks to senior Damian Gordon. Gordon, who was playing quarterback, safety and punt returner, scored all three of the Salem Seminoles touchdowns.

After putting Salem ahead 14-0 in the first quarter, he did it again, breaking a 14-14 tie, with 4:09 to go in the third.

Following a poor offensive possession, Salem's Zeiyid Cooper recovered a fumble by Platt at the Salem Seminoles 46-yard line. The Salem Seminoles then marched 54 yards, capped by Gordon's 11-yard run before they held on the rest of the way.

Although Gordon was 0-for-6 passing, he amassed 101 yards on five carries, and had another 46 yard TD run taken away due to a holding call.

"Damian played good again," Starr said. "Damian has played pretty good the last few weeks. We just got to get it going as a team."

Salem snapped a two-game losing streak, despite being outgained on offense 211-208 and committing six penalties for 50 yards, compared to five for 30 by the Bulldogs, thanks, in part to key plays by Gordon.

Two of those key plays came in the first half.

Salem had just half the number of first downs as Winder-Barrow and was outgained 110-92 in the first half, but still managed to hold onto a one-touchdown lead.

Gordon led the Salem Seminoles on both sides of the ball, coming up with both of their scores in the first two quarters.

The senior quarterback stepped up big on Salem's third-and-10 from the Winder-Barrow 47-yard line and held on to the ball on the left side of his line running down the right sideline for a 7-0 lead with 8:39 left in the first quarter.

On Winder-Barrow's ensuing possession, it marched down the field going from the Bulldoggs' 27-yard line to their 44 before going for a deep pass on second-and-18.

As Winder-Barrow's quarterback Christian Hodge went to throw down field, he was nailed by a Salem rusher, enabling Gordon to slip in the passing lane and come up with an interception. Gordon returned the pick 63 yards with 4:40 to go in the second quarter for a 14-0 Salem lead.

Salem will look to shake off the injuries that plagued it heading into Friday night's game, in which four starters at multiple positions weren't able to take the field, when it hosts Flowery Branch this coming week.

"I'm just glad to get through the game," Starr said. "Hopefully we'll get some people back next week, help us get some stuff going."