ATHENS - Cedar Shoals spent homecoming watching its playoff hopes shatter as Salem (4-3) used 282 rushing yards and a plethora of turnovers to defeat the Jaguars 42-7.
Senior fullback Julian McLean led the Salem rushing attack with 28 carries, 118 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback JoJo Smith added 84 yards and a touchdown.
Salem jumped on the scoreboard on its first possession with a nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. The drive began with six straight carries by McLean for 31 and Smith found room outside for runs of 20 and 17 yards on the next two plays. Bradley Moon capped off the drive with a 11-yard option run to give the Seminoles a 7-0 lead.
On Salem's next possession, Smith fumbled the option pitch at the Jaguars' 26-yard line and the hosts took advantage. Cedar's Rodney Willingham raced 43 yards down the right sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the Seminoles' 31-yard line. Seven plays later, on fourth down, Willingham scored from 3 yards to tie the game at 7-7.
Salem came right back with touchdown runs of 9 and 10 yards by McLean to lead 21-7 at halftime.
Just when it looked as if Cedar Shoals might make it a game in the second half, Dontavious Price returned a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown to make it a 28-7 game.
"They came out and were driving, and it looked like it was going to be 21-14," said Salem coach Chad Estes. "They'd gotten a couple first downs (but) they fumbled and we run it all the way back for a score."
In the second half, Salem padded its lead with two defensive touchdowns, one by defensive back Jarrett Brown, who returned the last of his three interceptions 45 yards for Salem's final score.
"We scored 21 points in the third quarter; it was just over then," Estes said. "The offense really played well. Cedar was a big athleic football team (and) we've had two hard-fought losses the last two weeks. We bounced back from what was really a heart-breaking loss to Clarke last week. It was nice to be on the other end."