The 1985 Salem Wildcats football team went places the program had never gone before or since at the time of its Hall of Fame induction.

Their 10-1 record is still the most wins in a season in school history as are their 417 points scored, their 3,514 yards rushing and 3,886 yards of total offense. They, along with the 1943 team, are the only Salem football teams to go through the regular season unbeaten, but the 1985 team is the only one to go unbeaten and untied. Coach Chuck Budde’s team achieved another school first with the program’s first playoff victory. Salem rode a potent one-two punch in its backfield to much of its success, as that squad is the only one in school history that featured two 1,000-yard rushers. Running back David Meador led that ground attack with 1,681 yards and 30 touchdowns on his way to being named the North Egypt Conference’s Most Valuable Player. Meador was joined in the backfield by Mark Byars, who rushed for 1,173 yards. Seven times Meador and Byars rushed for 100 or more years in the same game.

Salem’s season began with a 39-6 thumping of Centralia in the annual Shriners Game and its North Egypt Conference season began the following week with a 55-0 romp over Red Hill. The Wildcats followed those wins with league victories over Flora 35-0 and Fairfield 55-6 to set up a pivotal week five contest against Mt. Carmel. Mt. Carmel entered the game with an 11game winning streak over the Wildcats and had won 17 straight NEC games overall, but the Wildcats ended both of those streaks when they trumped the Golden Aces.

There was no letdown the following week, as Budde picked up his 100th career victory when Salem demolished Lawrenceville 55-0 and set up a week seven battle of unbeatens with the Olney Tigers and the NEC championship at stake. The big battle did not live up to its billing, as the Wildcats used 414 yards rushing to steamroll their way to a 35-6 victory giving Salem its first league championship since 1965.

The Wildcats survived their closest call of the regular season and completed their first unbeaten, untied regular season when it downed Benton 35-21.

Salem, which made the postseason field for just the third time in school history, picked up its first playoff victory when it demolished St. Jacob Triad 49-7.

The Wildcats ran into a buzz saw at Roxana in the second round of the playoffs. Salem was unable to contain the Shells’ five-yard touchdown run with 43 seconds left that gave the Shells a 28-24 victory.

Meador was an NEC First Team pick on both offense and defense at linebacker on his way to league MVP honors. Mike Berger was also an NEC First Team pick on both sides of the ball on the offensive and defensive line. Other NEC First Team picks included center Andy Garden, defensive lineman Chuck Bower, defensive back Tom Frazee, Byars at punter and kicker Tim Green.