Truman secures winning season
By Michael Smith The Examiner
Last season quarterback Dean Clemons carried the load and took a beating for a winless Truman football team that struggled to gain first downs, much less score points.
Since Clemons went down with a knee injury midway through the third game this year, Jordan Salima has taken a majority of snaps as a wildcat quarterback, helping to make sure Truman’s 2014 turnaround didn’t stall.
After topping 1,000 rushing yards for the season last week, Salima piled up 220 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries Friday, leading the Patriots to a 34-0 thumping of William Chrisman in the 50th edition of the Wagon Wheel Trophy battle at Independence All-School Stadium.
Chrisman had won four of the last five meetings, but Truman’s win tied the series at 25 wins apiece.
“The most important thing is we didn’t let (the injury) bother us,” Truman senior lineman Nathan Ingle said after the Patriots improved to 5-3. “Dean was big for us, but luckily we had Jordan Salima and he stepped up for us.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said of the turnaround. “It gives you goosebumps every time you’re winning and the clock hits zeroes. You go to school and everyone pats you on the back. It’s a pride thing.”
The 5-foot-7, 160-pound Salima carried nine of 11 plays on Truman’s game-opening 61-yard drive, including a 26-yard jaunt on the third snap. Salima trotted in for the touchdown from 1 yard out, and Devion Hess plunged into the end zone for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead at the 6:22 mark.
When Chrisman (1-7) tried a pass down the sideline with its first snap, Truman defensive back Joe Allen tipped it into Salima’s arms for an interception, and the junior returned 27 yards to the 17. Three plays later Salima scored again from the 1, and Truman had as healthy a lead as it would need.
“He breaks a play early, we put it in the end zone and that gets the ball rolling a bit,” Truman second-year coach Gregg Webb said. “In reality, we did not block things right very much – not as clean as I wanted or what it should have been.”
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