Tidbits - November 1 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



I DESERVE IT!

  I took Saluda’s last second, 24-21 win over Batesburg-Leesville personally.
  I earned that type of victory.
  Since I started covering Saluda High football for this newspaper in 1977, the Tigers and Panthers have met 43 times. I have seen Saluda win just nine times.
  Since 2011, the Tigers have won six of the last eight meetings. Prior to that streak, B&L’s record against Saluda since 1977 was 32-3! That hurt!
  There were a good many games during that dry spell the Panthers just eked out, but they won.
  In Melvin Bouknight’s second year, the Tigers won 20-0 and were ranked Number 1 in Class AA the following week.
  In 1983, when Heyward Bouknight was coach, Michael Robinson threw a touchdown pass to D.J. Harrison in the final seconds to secure a 20-19 win. It’s been 35 years, but I can still see they play in my mind just like it was yesterday. It was the same end zone that Francisco Yepez kicked his game winning field goal Friday, by the way.
  Saluda paid dearly for that win. It would be 20 years, count ‘em, 20 years before the Tigers would beat the Panthers again.
  Current Superintendent Dr. Harvey Livingston was the head football coach when Saluda broke that losing streak in 2003. The 26-14 win propelled the Tigers to the conference championship. The two teams would meet again in the third round of the state play-offs and B&L won 28-0.
  The talent disparity between the two teams began to level off in 2011, when Tigers were coached by Doug Painter.
  Saluda won 21-7 in 2011 and 27-20 in 2012. B&L won the next two meeting in 2013 and 2014 by scores of 27-26  and 26-25, respectively.
  The Tigers have won the last four under Stewart Young 52-24, 29-26, 27-0 and 24-23.
  It’s easy to see if the Tigers had pulled off those one point losses, the win streak would be eight. In 2013 the Tigers went for a two point play with 56 second to go in the game and it failed. B&L would go on to win the state championship that year.
  The following year, Saluda struggled with the kicking game, and that led to B&L winning 26-25 in overtime. The Tigers only made 12 extra point kicks the entire year.
  To put that into perspective,  the last four seasons the extra points have totaled 49, 75, 43 and 33.
  My brother Jamie has compiled a SHS sports record book, using scores he’s collected from old yearbooks and scores Jay Hendrix, Batesburg-Leesville statistician, has compiled. Jay has B&L-Saluda scores back to 1920.
  To appreciate Saluda’s four game winning streak over Batesburg-Leesville, you have to go back to 1936-1939 to find the last time that was done.
  Bettis Herlong was a star of the 1939 team. He great-grandson David Warren is a member of this year’s team.
  There was a stretch from 1955-60 that Saluda did not lose to B&L, but the 1958 game ended in a 14-14 tie.
  Saluda has now compiled a winning record for four straight years. The last time that was done was during an eight season stretch from 1959-66.
  As a long suffering Saluda fan, I have certainly enjoyed these last four years. Congratulations to Coach Stewart Young, assistant coaches and team. You have made this community proud.

ROCKY TOPPED

  Carolina has a streak of its own against a rival it rarely beats, Tennessee. The Gamecocks have now beaten the Vols three straight years.
  After being dominated by Florida State for years, Clemson now has a winning streak against the Noles.
  How far the Seminoles have fallen. Who would have thought a Seminole team would get beat 59-10?
  You have to understand, this is a team loaded with five-star recruits. FSU always finishes in the Top Ten in recruiting each year.
  I didn’t understand why a football powerhouse rushed to hire Willie Taggert, when it probably could have gotten most any coach in the country.
  Yes, Willie is a FSU alum, but he has a losing overall record. He’s had one great season, ten wins at South Florida, but this was the South Florida team that had to go to overtime to beat Carolina in the Independence Bowl in Muschamp’s first year. Jake Bentley threw for nearly 400 yards against them, for goodness sakes!
  FSU looked absolutely terrible against the Tigers. There was no fight in them, even though they were playing at home.
  When Clemson got up 59-3, you could hear the FSU cheerleaders yelling, “Let’s go Noles!”
  That reminded me of a Carolina game years ago, when I sat in the Alps. There was a guy who sat behind me, who knew very little about football, but he yelled a lot.
  We were getting killed by Florida, and after an early fourth quarter Gator score, he said “Let’s get going, Gamecocks!”
  And I said immediately without thinking, “The only thing we are going to get going is the buses!”
  The guy sitting in front of me gave me the “thumbs up” sign.
  Within minutes you could see the lights come on the buses, and they started moving out of the parking lot to pick up escaping fans.
  The funniest thing to come out of the Clemson-FSU game was the picture of the shirtless man, sitting on the top row, reading a book.
  Through social media we found out the man was 65-year-old Bruce Thyer, a Florida State professor, and the book he was reading was “Dark Places,” by Gillian Flynn (I’ve read it, good book).
  Saturday night, while I was recording the Carolina-Tennessee game, I watch John Wayne’s “McClintock.”
  I haven’t seen this comedy western in years. It reunited Wayne with Maureen O’Hara, who starred with him in one of my favorite movies, “The Quiet Man.”
  While I was watching, I saw on social media notifications Carolina was getting off to it’s typical slow start, trailing at one point in the first half 14-3 to a team that has a terrible offense.
  I just don’t understand it. I don’t know who won the toss Saturday, but Muschamp is one of the few coaches in the country who takes the ball if his team wins the toss.
  By doing this, slow start Jake is either going three plays and punt, or throwing an interception. Defer Muschamp!
  I know he takes the ball thinking Deebo will break one, but how many has he broken this year?
  The Gamecocks came back, and like Saluda, won by a field goal. I like the way Clemson won better.
  If Carolina could get off to a quick start, it’s no telling how many games the Gamecocks could win the rest of the way. Only Clemson is unbeatable.
  It’s on the coaches. They have to figure something out!

MAKING US PROUD

  Gamecock fans have been made proud by the performance of former baseball players Jackie Bradley Jr. and Steve Pearce in the World Series for Boston.
  I started watching all the games, but I only made to the end of Saturday’s game without falling asleep.
  Friday, I fell asleep. When I awoke a couple of hours later, I saw what I thought were video highlights of the game. I grabbed my iPad to see who won, and quickly saw the game was in the 15th inning!
   I started watching again, fell back asleep, and found out the next morning the Dodgers won in the 18th inning. That’s two games, basically.
  Saturday, while watching the movie on one TV, I was watching the World Series on the other. The Red Sox were down 4-0, but came back to win.
  They went into the ninth with a 9-4 lead, and then came closer Craig Kimbrel.
  It brought back memories of his days with the Braves, when you could never relax when he’d pitch the ninth. He got plenty of saves, but he rarely had a one, two, three inning. He’d always walk one or two batters, or give up hits, before striking out the side.
  Saturday, he gave up a two run homer, and another hit, before getting the final out.
  His teammates shook his hand and hugged him. They should have kicked his butt!