CONYERS -- Like most football teams after playing its season opener, Salem had plenty to work on heading into week two. The Seminoles fell 34-14 to local rival Heritage last weekend, as several factors went into the three-possession defeat.
On the defensive side of the ball, Salem let the Patriots -- namely Quami Stanley (196 rushing yards) and Dominic Craft, who had a miraculous 47-yard touchdown run late in the game -- run for 350 yards.
"We got to do a better job tackling," said Seminoles coach John Starr, in his second season at the Conyers school. "I felt like we hustled well (but) we still got to wrap up. We got to continue to just get to the ball."
On offense, the Seminoles were sloppy with the football early, turning it over twice in the first half, including a first-quarter fumble that was scooped up by Heritage defensive back Robert Boddie for a touchdown.
"We're not good enough to overcome penalties and that stuff right now. We got to be mentally sharp," Starr said. "We just got to be consistent, keep the effort up there. I think the effort's there...just to stay focused for 48 minutes."
Salem can perhaps empathize with tonight's opponent as the Seminoles travel northeast to Danielsville to play Madison County at 7:30 p.m. The Red Raiders got coach Randall Owens' eighth season off to a slow start in week one, falling 56-7 and allowing over 500 yards of total offense by Flowery Branch, one of the Region 8-AAAA's top teams.
"It's really on us trying to get better as a team, trying to get ourselves right," added Starr.
While Salem leads the all-time series, which started in 2004, 5-2, all but two of the games have been decided by seven points or less. That includes last season's 14-9 win for Salem.