Tigers Fall to Panthers

HARD RUNNING - Saluda qarterback Noal Bell picks  up yardage in Friday’s game against Abbeville. (SHS photo by Dean Roesner)

Abbeville Wins Again, 31-13

  2-A’s top ranked Abbeville claimed a hard fought, 31-13, win over Saluda Fri., Oct. 19, at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Mathews Field.
  The two teams had met in the Upperstate Championship game at Abbeville the last three years, and the Panthers won and went on to win the state title each year.
  Saluda was happy to finally get Abbeville at home, but the Tigers had to play the game without four starters. While playing defense last week, Saluda’s second, third and fourth leading receivers, Dallan Wright, Keenan Brooks and Zaye Bryant., who have 53 receptions and ten touchdowns between then, were suspended from the game by the High School League for being involved in a fight in last week’s Fox Creek game.
  Another defense starter, Cade Gentry, broke his leg in the game. Gentry’s season ended last year, too, when he broke the other leg.
  Despite the absences, the Tigers were not intimidated by the powerful Panthers, who were averaging 48.8 points per.
  Saluda’s offense managed only 23-yards in offense in the first quarter, while Abbeville put up two scores.
  Dylan Beauford kicked a 36-yard field goal with 7:02 to go in the first quarter, giving Abbeville a 3-0 lead.
  On their next possession, the Panthers marched 58-yards in nine plays. JaBryan Sanders scored the game’s first touchdown on a four-yard run. Beauford missed the kick and Abbeville led 9-0 with just 1.3 go on in the opening period.
 Behind the passing and running of quarterback Noah Bell, the Tigers drove 65-yards to the Abbeville 15-yard-line after the kick-off, but Francisco missed a 32-yard field goal on fourth down. It was his first miss of the year.
  Taking over at the 20, Abbeville’s powerful running game was put on full display. After losing four-yards on first down, Panthers rattled off first downs on five straights runs. The touchdown came on a 10-yard run by Cortney Jackson. The Panthers try for two was successful, when quarterback JD Moore passed to Jackson, making the score 17-0 with 4:31 to in the half.
   Beauford’s end zone kick again forced the Tigers to start from the 20.
  Like in the previous Tiger march, Bell was  the catalyst behind a good drive, but this one was successful. Bell passed three-yards for the touchdown to Raquon Hartley. Yepez kicked the PAT, and the Tigers cut the led to 17-7 with 45.3 to go in the first half.
  Saluda’s hopes of getting back into the game took a severe hit, when it only took Abbeville 20 seconds to up the lead with 24-7 as the second half got underway.
  Yepez’ line-drive kick was bobbled by Sanders at the six, then he picked it up and ran 73-yards before finally getting tackled at the Saluda 21-yard-line.
  On first down, Jackson found an opening, jumped a Saluda tackler, and scampered into the end zone. An official threw a flag, because hurdling  a tackler is illegal in high school football. After the officials huddled together, the flag was waved off and the Panthers were awarded the score. Beauford’s kick was good and there was till 11:40 to go in the quarter.
  Again, Beauford showed his tremendous worth when he kicked into the end zone. Again, the Tigers to put together an impressive drive, but needing 80-yards, the Tigers only got 79.
  Saluda’s bad luck prevailed twice inside the ten-yard-line. Abbeville was flagged for interference in the end zone, but the walk off was only a half the distance penalty and did not result in an automatic first down.
  On third down, Bell ran two yards to the one, but his helmet came off, meaning he had to leave the field for a play. Williams went in at quarterback and was stopped short of the goal line.
  Abbeville was able to move out to the 47, where they were forced to punt for the only time in the gane. The Tigers missed a golden opportunity, when the snap sailed over the punter’s head. Unfortunately, the Tigers had a return on and nobody rushed. The played resulted in a 12-yard punt, but Saluda was unable to capitalize, when Bell was stopped on a fourth down run at the Saluda 46 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
  The Panthers only needed six plays to take advantage of the failed gamble. Dominick Washington scored on a three-yard run. Beauford gave Abbeville at 31-7 lead with 9:35 to go in the game.
  Later, the Tiger defense came through, holding Abbeville on a fourth down run at the Saluda 31.
  From the 29-yard-line, Saluda moved in for the score in five plays. On successive plays Bell threw 21-yards to Hartley, 15 to Williams, and nine more to Hartley. After a three-yard gain by Jeremiah Stevens., Bell threw 21-yards to Williams for the score. The Tigers run for two failed and the score was 31-13 with 3:15 to go in the game. It stayed that way.
  Abbeville rushed for 371-yards, but the 31 points were the fewest they have scored in a game this year.
  The Tigers certainly missed their three game-breaking receivers, but receiver is one Saluda’s deepest positions.
  Even with three new pass catcher starters, Bell completed 21 of 34 passes for 212-yards and two scores. Williams caught ten passes for 112-yards.
  Like last week, Bell was also the Tigers’ leading rusher, gaining 81-yards on 13 carries.
  Friday, Saluda ends the regular season by travelling to Batesburg-Leesville to take on the arch-rival Panthers.
  The game will determine who finishes third in the region, as both teams enter the game with a 2-2 region record.
  Both team have lost to Abbeville (55-7, B&L; 31-13 Saluda) and Ninety Six (35-12, B&L; 35-31, Saluda) and beaten Silver Bluff (33-19, B&L; 10-0, Saluda), and Fox Creek (36-13, B&L; 41-0, Saluda).
  A big crowd should be on hand for the 7:30 p.m. kick-off.

SPS STUDENTS OF THE MONTH - Here are the September students of the month at Saluda Primary School! 4k: Lynslee Gantt, Kanavia Holloway, Miriam Francisco Feliciano. 5k: Erik Vasquez Hernandez, Kalie Gomez, Ashleigh Summer, Luis Yanez Acosta, Austin Clamp, Julia Chapman, Diana Rosales Valdez. 1st- Kerri Rogers, Zy’Mea Mathis, Frank Juarez Garcia, Bryan Mendez-Gonzalez, Emmanuel Gomez, Marco Torres-Aguilera, Vianey Lopez Ortiz. 2nd- Javier Alvarado, Karen Hermenegildo Alvarez, Tanya Lopez Gomez, Anthony Perez-Perez, Jonathan Rivera Lucas, Rachel Smith.