The sports cliche defense wins championships applies to the 1952 Salem Wildcats football team.

While Salem did not have an overpowering offense that season with a 21 points per game average, the defense picked up the slack and carried the squad to a North Egypt Conference championship with a 5-0-1 record. The Wildcats overall record that season was 7-1-1.

The 1952 Salem defense gave up just 63 points that season, an average of only seven points a game. The Wildcats posted three shutouts against Fairfield 34-0, Mt. Carmel 28-0 and Centralia 7-0. Lawrenceville, Flora and Olney were all held to seven points or less.

The only blemishes on the Salem slate were a 7-7 tie in the season opener against Lawrenceville and a 14-7 loss to Mt. Vernon in the last game of the season.

Coach Howard Thurman’s defensive crew was led by All-NEC First Team pick linebacker Ed Boyd and NEC Second Team pick tackle Bill Parkinson. Left end Eddie Wakefield along with tackles Danny Bump and Jim Van Horn received Honorable Mention to the All-NEC squad.

The Wildcats also had their share of strong offensive personnel. Quarterback Bob Stuber was an NEC First Team pick, as he completed 43 of 73 passes for 700 yards. Only three of his passes were intercepted. Hall of Fame fullback Phil “Butch” Newport rushed for 614 yards and caught 15 passes for 340 yards. He led the team with nine touchdowns on his way to an All-NEC First Team season. Halfback Eddie Murray was an All-NEC Second Team pick, as he rushed for 598 yards and six touchdowns.

Some of the personnel to make that offensive unit click were guard Jack Woods and end Winston Tate, both of whom were NEC First Team picks. Center Richard Garner was an NEC Second Team choice.

The 1952 Salem football team accomplished all these achievements despite the fact it had only one player over 200 pounds and that was Harold Morton.