Tidbits - September 6 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



WELL, I NEVER!

  I’ve been covering Saluda High football for 41 years, and the last two games, I’ve seen things I have never seen before..
  The first was Fulton Winn’s touchdown catch against Ridge Spring-Monetta that has been replayed all over the country (more on that later), and last Friday I saw Saluda score 49 points and only earn five first downs in the game. That just doesn’t happen ... but, it did!
  I can only recall one other game when Saluda had so few first downs, but still won the game.
  I looked the score up on the record book, and I believe the game was in 1990 when Saluda beat Newberry 9-7.
  The Tigers got a safety and returned a fumble for a touchdown for the nine points. Saluda had earned either one or two first downs in the game. I can’t remember which, but it was one of those.
  Things weRe different in Friday’s game against another Newberry County school, Mid-Carolina.
  The Tigers returned three fumbles for scores, and had a punt return for a touchdown. That’s 28 points right there.
  The other three scores came on touchdown passes of  72, 82 and 86 yards. Teams are awarded a first down for offensive touchdowns that cover more than ten yards. So, the three TD passes resulted in three first downs.
  I can’t go back in the record books beyond the 41 years I’ve kept stats, but I find it hard to imagine there has ever been another game where Saluda had three touchdown passes over 70 yards in the same game.
  Saluda only had the ball for nine plays in the first half, but led 42-7!
  Saluda and Mid-Carolina fans will long remember this game.
  I’d like to point out that Tiger quarterback Noah Bell is a junior, and the receivers who caught those long passes, Zaye Bryant, Dallan Wright, and Madison Williams are also underclassmen.
  If you haven’t seen the Tigers play, you can figure the long touchdown pass plays, and the 76-yard punt return by CJ Bosket, show Saluda is blessed with plenty of speed this year.
  The Saluda-Mid-Carolina game was unusual,  but nothing compares to the game Saluda native Wally Bledsoe reported on Facebook. Wally is a high school referee, by the way.
    Here is what he wrote:
    “Heard a wild and probably the strangest finish ever in a football game happened tonight at the Manning - Lakewood game. Manning was up 26-25 with less than 2 seconds to play. The QB was supposed to take a knee. He didn't and during the play the horn sounded.
  Unlike in basketball, the horn doesn't stop the play. The QB ran backwards towards and into his own end zone and finally slid down in what one can only imagine was an act of celebration.
  Unfortunately, it was a safety thus propelling Lakewood to a 27-26 victory.
  You really can't make this stuff up. It makes football fun each and every Friday night!”
  Wow. Can you imagine? How must that player feel?
  In case you think this is too unbelievable, I found a write-up of the game on the “Sumter Daily Item” website, and it happened just like Wally said.
  I’m sure coaches around the state this week will be explaining to their players what to do when the horn sounds.
  Coaches assume things.
  I’ve written several times over the years my experience as a little league coach.
  The pitcher we were facing was wild, so I told our next batter, “Let him get a strike on you.”
  He stepped up to the plate, and the pitcher threw a ball three feet over his head, but my player swung!
  I was infuriated, “What are you doing?’ I yelled.
  “You  told me to let him get a strike on me,” he said.
  Of course, I meant “let him get a called strike on you,” but I didn’t say that.
  For the rest of my coaching career, I made sure I said the right thing.
  Fulton Winn had quite a week.
  Saluda fans were well aware of Fulton’s accomplishment of catching a touchdown pass against RSM.
  Monday, WIS-TV did a great story on Fulton, who has autism. This story was repeated on most of the Raycom Network stations.
  Next came Channel 12 in Augusta. This segment on Fulton was directed by Saluda High graduate Lauren Jones White, and it went to CBS affiliates all over the country.
  I found clips of it on the internet from stations in Pittsburgh and Phoenix. On Twitter, “CBS Sunday Morning” ran a link to the story.
  Rick Henry of WIS found out that Fulton has always watched his high school scoreboard show, and Rick featured a segment on Fulton and gave him a shout out Friday night.
  Fulton was quoted in one of the pieces, saying, “It was the greatest moment in my life.”
 He can probably change that now to the greatest week in his life.

OPENING WEEK

  I love college football, but opening week is usually cupcakes on parade.
  There were a few good games, but not many. The big surprise was 25th ranked LSU blasting 8th ranked Miami.
  Carolina and Clemson had relaxing games, with wins over Coastal and Furman.
  Clemson did what it usually does with Division 2 opponents - put them away early.
  I didn’t find out what station the game was on  until it was almost over. For future use, I know the ACC games are on Channel 63.
  Coastal is now a Division 1 school, but not a strong opponent right row. Carolina, historically, struggles against teams like this. Remember, the miracle finish to defeat Louisiana Tech last year?
  I was pleased the Gamecocks did not get off to a slow start.
  With the score 28-3 at halftime, I actually watched the second half! Yes, I recorded the first half, and watched another game live.
  I’m pretty sure I won’t be watching the second half of the Georgia game live next week!
  I liked the new Gamecock offense. It used all the weapons, and Jake Bentley looked poised.
  Clemson has a “terrible” problem. The Tigers have two very good quarterbacks, and Dabo didn’t act like a jackass when he was asked about it, unlike the coach at his alma mater.
  We’ll find out a lot about Carolina Saturday, when the Gamecocks host Georgia.
  Historically, Carolina plays Georgia well at home. They don’t always beat the  Bulldogs at home, but it is usually a good game.
  I don’t think Carolina will be intimidated. Both teams have big play makers that can change things in a matter of seconds.
  Clemson’s trip to College Station is drawing ESPN’s Gameday, and Columbia will host the SEC Gameday show. That’s pretty good coverage.
  I guess the fact Jimbo Fisher is the new head coach of Texas A&M is the reason ESPN is heading that way. He was 4-4 against Clemson when he was at Florida State. Texas A&M is not supposed to be that great this year.
  We’ll see.
  The season is only a week old and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Texas’ Tom Herman are already getting “hate tweets.”
  Michigan is loved by the media. How else can you explain how Michigan gets beaten by Carolina in a bowl, finished with a 8-5 record  to Carolina’s 9-4, and gets ranked to start the season and the Gamecocks do not.
  Notre Dame is another team the media loves, so the Notre Dame-Michigan on opening day got a lot of hype.
  The Irish won and Harbaugh began to get the social media  hate.
  Tom Herman began getting criticism while the Texas-Maryland game was still going on!
  One sportscaster had picked Texas to make the “Final Four,” yet the Longhorns lost to Maryland for the second year in a row.
  Gamecock fans may have heard the rumor that Herman was the favorite to replace Steve Spurrier, but when the Gamecocks lost to The Citadel, Herman told  Ray Tanner, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
  That loss to the Bulldogs may have been one of the best things ever to happen to the Gamecocks.