Updated: Nov 5, 2022
SALEM (N.J.) - After a small bump in the road in the middle of the season, Salem is back in the Central Jersey Group 1 final again.
The Rams cruised past Glassboro, 42-22, on Saturday afternoon.
Salem's Jahki Coates rushed for four touchdowns and threw a touchdown in a 42-22 win over Glassboro on Saturday afternoon. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network
The game started off in favor of Glassboro with the Bulldogs capping off an almost eight-minute drive with a Ziaire Tate touchdown.
Salem would respond back with a one-yard touchdown courtesy of quarterback Jahki Coates.
The Bulldogs and Rams traded touchdowns again before Salem ran away with the game in the second half behind Coates' two rushing scores and a touchdown through the air. Ramaji Bundy caught a touchdown pass and also rush for a touchdown of his own to put the final nail in the coffin.
Glassboro's head coach Tim Hagerty reminded his guys to refrain from hanging their heads after the loss. He also had high praise for Salem and the effort they put out for the win in the second half.
"I have to really tip my hat to Salem here," Hagerty said. "They outplayed us in the second half and they're a really good team. To say anything else about them would just be a flat out lie."
Salem head coach Montrey Wright credited his team's mental toughness in the win.
"Our mental toughness has been our biggest strength all year," he said. "Glassboro came out and led us in the second half, but it's a 48-minute game and we came out and gave it our all for all 48 minutes.
If we can execute our offense then we can really be successful. We have the depth and talent, but to compete and beat teams along the line, we really have to make sure we execute."
Coates' mid-season absence affected Salem during its three-game losing skid during the backend of the regular season. The senior stepped away from the field to take care of personal matters and came back stronger than ever.
"As a 17-year old athlete, putting all of the pressure on me for a losing streak is a lot," Coates said. "Being the quarterback that's something I have to deal with and accept. As the alpha wolf of the pack of wolves, seeing my pack hurt really got to me. After everyone that reached out to me during my hiatus really showed that people love me and support me, I felt great to come back and now I feel like a winner."
The Rams will host Paulsboro in the Central Jersey Group 1 final. Salem fell to the Red Raiders on October 8. Wright's group also defeated Paulsboro, 13-12, on a game-winning field goal in last season's sectional final.
After all, history tends to repeat itself.
"It's hard to beat a team twice," Coates said. "The same thing happened last year where they beat us the first time in the regular season and now we get to face off in the sectional final again."