CONYERS - A difficult season ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Salem football team Friday. The Seminoles missed a potential go-ahead field goal with less than a second left in the fourth quarter, then gave up a winning touchdown in overtime of a 20-17 loss to Loganville in the season finale for both schools.
Salem, which after the first month of the season was 2-2, including a split of its first two Region 8-AAAAA games, lost five of its last six games to finish 2-7 overall and 2-6 against league foes.
Loganville, which had its postseason hopes dashed with consecutive losses to Heritage and Gainesville the past two weeks, pulled even at 5-5 and 4-4 in region play with the victory.
Salem had erased a 14-0 deficit with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns - one each by Tyriano Green and Quintavious Byrd, while Byrd’s catch on the two-point conversion attempt made it 14-14 with three minutes left in the game.
The host Seminoles drove down the field again and were set up for the go-ahead field goal, but Will Thomas’ 35-yard attempt with one-half of a second to play was wide right.
Thomas made amends in overtime, booting a 30-yarder to put Salem up 17-14. Loganville didn’t need a three-point attempt, instead using a third down play to score the winning touchdown on a sweep.
Salem wasted two other chances to put points on the scoreboard, getting a pair of first-and-goal opportunities early in the game, but coming away with nothing.
“That kind of night,” said Salem coach John Starr, whose team was playing its first overtime game since a 21-20 victory over Cedar Shoals in October, 2008. “Offensively I felt we had several opportunities to put away (points and didn’t). We made great effort again, our kids played hard all night long. I just hope that we got some carry over (to 2014). If they just continue to play hard things will be fine for them.”
After starting 1-4 in a series that began in 2002, Loganville has defeated Salem in four of the last five meetings.