Salem's Randy Sayers (11) played in the 2019 game against Clayton and helped the Rams win their first victory of the season last week. New Jersey Advanced Media
Mike Hughes has never seen his players quit.
Of course there is an opportunity to do so this season, because the Salem men’s football team is losing more and more-16 consecutive losses to be precise, and it can be traced back to 21 consecutive losses last year. But along the way, even if the Rams lost three games and could not rest, they continued to go all out until the final whistle.
On Friday, Salem's persistence paid off. He defeated Gloucester Catholic 1-0, which was the first game of the season.
"It feels good to finally win," Hughes said. "They did a great job pushing and continuing to show up and try their best. We had a few games that could have been won, but there were very few weird accidents or weird things after that. I want to say that there were four or five evenly matched games. In the game, we had a battle with a good team. It took us so long to get our first victory of the season, which is a bit strange, so everyone is very excited."
Junior midfielder Randy Sayers scored the only goal in the first half with a pass from senior defender Colin Roy. Sayers scored four of Salem's 11 goals this season.
"Randy has always been an important part of our offense. This is definitely the weakness of our team," Hughes said. "But he played as a center and he would do his best. He took some shots in the net and also had some assists.
"(Roy) was about 50 years old and had a good pass on their back. Randy was able to get it and put it in the net. It was a beautiful send; he pierced the needle."
The veteran defense took over from there, with senior central defender Donovan Federenko flanking Roy and senior Owen Talavera. Hughes attributed these players to their leadership not only in the victory but throughout the season.
Junior goalkeeper Alex Gomez came up with some big saves when he had to close the door.
"He played very well," Hughes said. "He is very aggressive and he is not afraid to come out (and challenge). This is one thing he has to grow up. Initially, Colin Roy was our goalkeeper. In the seventh game of the season, I swapped He and Alex. Alex has been growing up all season and learning on the job. The Gloucester Catholics don't shoot many goals, but he has more than 10 saves in a few games."
Salem will find out on Tuesday whether it will be included in the first group of South Jersey playoffs. If not, the Rams will end their season against Buena on Thursday.
Either way, they ensure that this will not be a battle without victory. Perhaps the most impressive part of this victory is that Salem has only 11 players, so everyone has to play the entire game. Only Hughes and his brother and assistant coach Josiah are on the bench.
Hughes said: "The other difficult thing is that we lost Evan Biddle. He is a junior and a very good midfielder." "He was playing against Clayton. Concussion, we almost won this game. He is the man who has had a huge impact on our team. Another defender, Dorian Asturrizaga, has a sprained ankle. So (Friday) we happened to happen. There are 11 people and no substitutes. Everyone present must show up and perform."
Strong performance: Four of the five teams from the South Jersey Times report area were selected for the coaching tournament, and they won the first round. Fifth place, No. 13 seed Shalik, frightened fourth seed St. Augustine before his heartbreaking defeat 3-2 in the last minute.
The third seed Washingtontown defeated 14th seed Paul VI 3-2, winning for the 11th time in a row. The Militia will host No. 6 seed Kingsway in the quarterfinals on Monday. He defeated No. 11 seed Cherokee 3-0.
The two strong teams of Gloucestershire fought in two games in 2019. Kingsway won 3-0 in the regular season and Washington Township won 1-0 in the divisional quarterfinals.
No. 7 seed West Deptford eliminated defending champion No. 10 seed Moorestown and will face No. 15 seed Middle Township, who stunned No. 2 seed Shawnee in a penalty shootout.
The eighth seed Clearview is another local who has advanced because the Trail Blazers are among the best in the ninth seed Egg Harbor and played a game with the number one seed Cinnaminson.
The semi-finals are scheduled to be held on Wednesday, and the finals are scheduled to be held on Saturday, both at DeCou Fields in Cherry Hill.
Get hot at the right time: Millville won four consecutive games in the last seven games into the final week of the regular season, six of which were won. The only minor issue during that time was the 2-1 loss to the Atlantic Point League Champion Egg Harbor.
Junior Sean McCarthy scored two goals during the winning streak, and this year has six goals to share the team lead with freshman Tren Stevenson. The Thunder's total score is 11-4.
Glassboro is another popular team, with a 7-7-1 record of four wins and one loss in the past five games. Last week, the Bulldogs defeated Woodston 2-1 in overtime, behind the goals of Ryan Carter and Atakan Ozdemir.
Carter, a senior midfielder, has scored 11 goals while remaining unbeaten. He and sophomore forward Ozdemir have led the team with 13 goals this season, and sophomore forward Emile Khan Kiir has 13 assists.
Division champion: Pittman won the three-county conference classic division championship for the fifth consecutive time last week. Gateway won the colonial patriot championship, and Sterling won colonial freedom.
In the Olympics, Shawnee won the first place in the US Olympic team, and Cherry Hillsey won the Olympic national championship. Egg Harbor needs to beat Vineland this week to share the American Atlantic Point crown with Hammonton.
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