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Salem eyes key road test
Seminoles looking to put together complete game at Madison

CONYERS - Just think what good shape Salem would be in if it started games better.

Since scoring 14 points in the first half of the season-opening win over Heritage, the Seminoles were held scoreless in the first half against Rockdale, went down 21-0 to Loganville and trailed 28-14 at halftime and last week were held scoreless in the first 24 minutes against Monroe Area.

Despite the slow starts, Salem rallied to win two of those three games (it lost 47-35 to Loganville) and is 3-1 heading into Friday's game at Madison County.

"Well, I just think for some reason we've been a little bit of a slow start football team and we've talked about it, we addressed the issue this week," Salem coach Chad Estes said. "I don't know exactly what the answer is, other than the fact that we're gonna work on it. Sometimes (early points allowed) just sneaks up and happens."

Estes was more concerned with his team securing the football. The Seminoles didn't have a single turnover through the season's first three weeks, but lost two fumbles in the first half against Monroe Area.

But like it's previous three games, Salem put points on the board in the second half.

"The one thing that hadn't happened is, we hadn't turned the ball over," Estes said. "I thought Monroe had a great plan. I think it took a little while to adjust to it. Our first two drives, we're moving the ball, but of course, turned it over. With the second half, we felt good about what we did. We scored 21 points."

Putting two strong halves together is something Estes and his coaching staff are stressing during the week of practice, which was put on hold Tuesday because Rockdale County schools were closed due to inclement weather.

Today, the Seminoles get back to work.

"One thing we haven't done yet offensively is play a complete game," Estes said. "We should continue to get better (and) try to put four quarters together offensively and defensively. Because of the weather we had to miss a day of practice, but our kids are resilient. It puts us a day behind, but I'm sure our coaches and kids are going to do a good job (today)."

Madison County, which checks in with a surprising 3-1 record after ending a 2-8 2008 season on a seven game losing streak, should be a great test for Salem.

It doesn't get any easier after Friday as the Seminoles play Clarke Central and Cedar Shoals following a bye week.

"With Madison beating Cedar last week, they're 3-1. It's a big game," Estes said. "We're going to have our hands full."

Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at kurt.aschermann@rockdalecitizen.com.