Flashes hope to boost morale against Salem

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

[10/3/03]St. Aloysius needs a win in the worst way.

After a season-opening win against Greenville-St. Joseph, the Flashes have reeled off four straight losses three of which were decidedly one-sided. Last week’s 40-14 defeat at the hands of region-rival Bogue Chitto hasn’t made things any easier on St. Al coach Jim Taylor.

“Keeping the morale up is a big thing when you’re not having a good season,” Taylor said. “We’re just trying to get each one to make a contribution and keep their heads up and try to have a good time playing the game.”

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Tonight at 7, the Flashes (1-4, 0-3 Region 4-1A) will face a rejuvenated Salem squad for homecoming that finished 0-10 a year ago and spent all of last season in a funk similar to St. Al’s current one.

“It’s easy to motivate a team that’s winning,” Taylor said. “You don’t have to do anything but put the next team on the schedule up there and they’re ready to go after them.

“But it gets harder and harder to motivate them in practice and in games when you’re not winning.

“You would think it would make you work harder, but it has a reverse effect a lot of times in that the average person thinks, What’s the use?'”

Led by a pair of tough tailbacks in senior James Jefferson and sophomore Michael Ellzey, Salem is off to a 2-2 start this year, 2-1 in regional play.

“We’ve got the same kids back, and they grew up a lot after getting whipped last year,” Salem coach Kenneth Murphy said. “They’ve had a different attitude and they’ve worked a lot harder this year.”

Jefferson lead the team’s multiple-back offense with 220 yards rushing in 33 carries. Ellzey is close behind with 138 yards in only 14 carries.

Murphy has begun to narrow down those two as his primary backs after opening up the position earlier in the season.

“Last week we executed real well. We gained over 400 yards on offense,” Murphy said of his team’s 30-20 win over Enterprise Lincoln.

Salem adds a respectable passing attack to complement its ground game.

Sophomore quarterback Teddy Martin, who took his knocks starting the final four games of last season as a freshman, has thrown for 400 yards in four games with five touchdowns and two interceptions on 19-of-39 passing.

“Salem has got three good running backs, that’s not to count the quarterback,” Taylor said. “They do a few things real well. It looks like more of the same medicine that we’ve been getting folks running right at us which may be somewhat of a weak point for us.”