WARDSVILLE — Nothing could go wrong for the Blair Oaks Falcons in the first quarter.
Blair Oaks scored five touchdowns in the opening 12 minutes and didn't allow the Salem Tigers to move the chains until the final play of the first quarter.
"It was awesome," Blair Oaks coach Ted LePage said after the Falcons routed the Tigers 48-0 on Friday in the Class 3 District 5 semifinals at the Falcon Athletic Complex. "We came out, executed our game plan. Coaches did a great job of preparation.
"We knew they had a bunch of different things they could do, so we had to be able to go out and have an adjustment for everything they did."
Blair Oaks received the opening kick and only needed six plays to reach the end zone. On fourth-and-4, Dylan Hair completed a pass to Jake Closser, who made his way across the goal line for a 23-yard score.
Zach Herigon added the extra point to put Blair Oaks ahead 7-0 just 2:02 into the game.
"Our players know we're going to go for it on certain occasions," LePage said, "and they expect we're going to get it."
Salem had its first of six three-and-outs on its opening possession. Following a short punt, Hair scored on a 25-yard keeper to make the score 14-0 with 7:20 to play in the opening quarter.
A high snap on a punt attempt set up a short field for the Falcons their next time out, and Hair scored again on a 6-yard run. Jayden Purdy followed with a 75-yard touchdown run — Blair Oaks' longest run of the season — to extend the lead to 28-0 with 3:16 to go in the first quarter.
Blair Oaks went for it on fourth down again on its next drive, and Hair completed a 9-yard touchdown pass on a slant to Carson Prenger, making the score 34-0 with just more than a minute left in the opening quarter.
The Blair Oaks defense stopped a Salem drive that lasted more than seven minutes in the second quarter at the Falcons' 16-yard line. Blair Oaks answered with two completions to Reid Dudenhoeffer and a 23-yard touchdown run to the left by Closser in the final minute of the second quarter, giving the Falcons a 41-0 halftime lead.
Blair Oaks' final score came on its first possession of the second half. Riley Lentz carried the ball each time on a four-play, 70-yard drive, finishing it with a 5-yard touchdown run. Herigon added his sixth PAT to make the score 48-0 with 6:41 left in the third.
The Falcons finished with 21 carries for 284 yards in the win.
"I think our run game is getting better than where we were at to start the year," LePage said. "Dylan, adding him into the mix has really created a mismatch. People are starting to spread out, trying to stop our passing attack, and we can use Dylan in between the tackles."
Salem held the ball for the last 7:30 of the game with a running clock. Wil Libbert intercepted a pass deep in Falcons' territory on the final play of the game.
"Our No. 2 defense did a really good job," LePage said, as the Falcons secured their fourth shutout of the season, all coming in the last six games. Blair Oaks is allowing just 7.6 points per game.
Salem (7-4) was held to 80 total yards of offense. Caden Camden led the Tigers with 17 carries for 62 yards.
Lentz had five carries for 76 yards, while Purdy had 75 yards rushing and Hair added 50 yards on the ground.
Hair was also 6-of-11 passing for 112 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Dudenhoeffer caught two of those passes for a team-high 61 yards.
Sam Luebbering recovered a fumble in the second quarter for the Falcons' other defensive takeaway.
Blair Oaks (11-0), ranked No. 1 in Class 3 with the top seed in the district, will host second-seeded Buffalo for the district championship next Friday. The Bison (9-2) won their semifinal matchup 49-28 against sixth-seeded Logan-Rogersville on Friday.