Sneak Peak: Frank W. Cox (5-0) hosts Salem (4-1)

Who’s playing?

Frank W. Cox (5-0) hosts Salem (4-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.

The undefeated Falcons are off to their best start since going 5-0 in 1991, riding high off an impressive 20-0 road shutout victory Monday against Bayside.

Salem blanked Green Run 14-0 last Thursday in a game that was scheduled a day early due to the rain storm, and has won four straight after opening the season with a 31-14 loss to Ocean Lakes.

The Sun Devils enjoy an extra couple of rest days, while the Falcons will play their second game in five nights.

What do you need to know?

Salem has to prepare for a Cox team that has found multiple ways to win this season. Falcons quarterback Cole Johnson is one of the state’s most versatile play-callers, able to beat defenses with his arm and legs. Against Bayside, Cox pounded the ball with senior running back Matt DeMasi, who finished with 152 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

The Falcons will have their hands full with both the Sun Devils’ offensive and defensive lines. Senior running back Malik Butts is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound force in the Salem backfield who is versatile enough to lineup anywhere on the field.

“The game will probably be won in the trenches,” Falcons coach Bill Stachelski said. “Their defensive line gave us fits last year. The one thing about Salem is they’re always aggressive. We have to neutralize a very aggressive defensive line.”

“It’s gut-check time,” Stachelski added. “It will be a nice match of wits Friday night.”

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