CONYERS - After starting the season 0-2, Salem has found its way by winning five of the last six games.
As a result, the Seminoles (5-3) are making a serious bid at a trip to the state playoffs. Good thing, too, considering the end of the regular season is quickly approaching.
"We were a very young football team at the beginning of the season who was searching for an identity," Salem coach Chad Estes said.
Interestingly, the Seminoles have scored 21 points in four straight games.
"I didn't realize that," Estes said, "but I would take 21 points this Friday."
Whether it will take three touchdowns to overcome the Raiders (5-4) is hard to tell. Habersham Central is limiting opponents to 14.7 points per game, but three opponents have scored more than 21 points against the Raiders.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles are allowing 13.8 points per game. In last week's 21-0 win over Winder-Barrow, Salem held the Bulldoggs to 70 total yards.
"We are going to have to win the battle of field position," Estes said. "Our special teams will have to play well. Both teams have good defenses and the team that can generate the most offense will have the advantage."
Against Winder, the Seminoles rushed for 353 yards - 300 coming from running backs Bradley Moon and Corey Nedd.
Despite the ground attack, penalties (13 for 75 yards) plagued the 'Noles all night, something that cannot happen against the Raiders.
Salem is tied with Apalachee for third in Region 8-AAAA. A win against Habersham is critical, since Salem and Apalachee meet next week.
Regarding the trek to Mount Airy, Estes noted it is a concern since it's a long road trip for his players.
"(But with a win) it is one step closer to qualifying for the state playoffs," he said.
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: Salem at Habersham Central
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Raider Stadium in Mount Airy
Series: Salem leads 3-1
Last meeting: Salem won 19-15 in 2005