Salem was at the Habersham Central two-yard line, leading by 11 points and about three minutes away from winning its second consecutive game and getting above the .500 mark for the first time in 2011. But it all slipped away rather quickly for the Seminoles as Habersham recovered a fumble on the goal line and scored two touchdowns to shock Salem, 42-39 at Raider Stadium in Mt. Airy.
The Raiders, led by senior quarterback Kevin Ellison drove down the field to cut the Seminoles lead to 39-35, then recovered an on-sides kick and drove the field for the winning score as Ellison's touchdown pass left Salem at 1-2 and searching for answers.
"Very disappointed, we blew it," said Salem second-year coach John Starr. "We just really dominated the whole second half, total domination. The last three minutes, we go down to score to win it, first and goal on the two, we fumble the football. You got to be able to finish the job."
Jahaad Coleman scored three touchdowns for Salem, none bigger than a 90-yard kick off return for a touchdown that helped completely erase and early 21-7 deficit and put the Seminoles up 22-21. A field goal and another two touchdowns put the visitors up 39-28 before the lead evaporated.
"You got to be football sharp, we're not there yet," said Starr. "We have made some great plays, but we aided them a little bit too much, we've been doing that a little too much. We should be mature enough now where we should play hard every snap and not taking anything for granted."
Habersham improved to 2-1 with the win, though the much-improved Raiders could easily be 3-0 after blowing a big lead at Cedar Shoals last weekend. The Raiders travel to Clarke Central September 16, while Salem hosts Apalachee.