Tidbits - November 15 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



ROAD TRIP

  It’s been three years since Saluda had to travel in the opening rounds of the state play-offs.
  There are four regions in the upper state, and the locations of the schools are well spread out.
  Friday, Saluda travelled to Gaffney to play Blacksburg in the opening round.
  Wayne Grice and I made the trip, as the third regular member of our traveling entourage, Danny Bledsoe, travelled to Boston to see his other Tigers play.
  Any time Saluda plays in the Spartanburg area, we make plans to eat the famous Beacon.
  The last time we ate there, five years ago, we travelled to Inman afterwards and found out how good Deebo Samuel was, as he was the star of the Chapman team. He was REALLY good against the Tigers.
  I always order the chili cheeseburger aplenty, which is a chili cheeseburger topped by fries and onion rings, literally.
  I can never eat it all.
  Although the legendary J.C. died several years ago, The Beacon still has a man at the front of the line who says, “Call it!,” which means, “What do you want?”
  As we were finishing, Wayne said he was surprised there weren’t any other Saluda people. Then, Charles Long, Dave, Brad and Jess Werts and Ty Bell walked in.
  We represented!
  During the week, Wayne had heard there was a lot of construction on I-85, so we decided to take U.S. 29 all the way to Gaffney. We got to pass through historic Cowpens, but didn’t get to see the famous Gaffney Peach water tower.
  It was no problem finding the historic old Reservation stadium.
  I had read earlier in the week that a fake tombstone for “House of Cards” President Frank Underwood had been placed in a Gaffney cemetery.
  I’ve watched the series on Netflix since it began, and I think it’s neat the producers of the series actually came to the home of a fictional character to erect a tombstone.
  I would have loved to have seen it, but it was dark when we got to Gaffney and I saw no cemeteries. Night and cemeteries don’t mix for me.
  The old Gaffney High School Stadium is huge on the home side, but there was not a lot of seating on the visitors side. Wayne and I decided to sit on big, concrete home side, on the top row in front of the press box. That would pay some dividends later.
 I could tell from  the home side that Saluda, 90 miles away,  had more fans in the seats than Blacksburg, just up the road. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, no school has better fans than Saluda.
  I heard stories of the stadium being full when rivals came to town, and I don’t mean just the stands. There is a bank around one end of the stadium, and it was filled too, like Death Valley.
  Gaffney High has a new stadium now, and this old in located at what is now the middle schools.
  “This is an awfully big stadium for a middle school,” Hoyt Edwards, who sat with us on that side with is son Jarod, said.
  I understand Coach Stewart Young and assistant Wayne Bell played in the stadium when they were members of the Union High team.
  The Tigers were stunned on the first series of the game, when Blacksburg scored on the fourth play, but the Tigers took control after that.
  I got a little concerned  when Coach Young started substituting in the third quarter, and Blacksburg got two quick scores. The lead was cut to 22 points, and there was a team from this state that blew a 17 points lead on Saturday.
  Unlike that team on Saturday, the Tigers responded and ran their offense, which included throwing the ball, and added two more touchdowns.
  The Spartanburg Herald-Journal had a good story on the game. Blacksburg had hosted the opening round of the play-offs the previous two years and won both games.
  “We didn’t win any prize drawing Saluda in the first round,” Wildcat coach Andrew Chisholm said.
  I’ve been very fortunate in my 41-years covering the Tigers to have only been rained on twice on away games (I’m in the pressbox at home).
  Friday made number three, and it was the worst ever. The other two times, the rainfall was brief.
  Friday it rained on several occasions, including the entire fourth quarter. It was not a heavy rain, but just enough to be aggravating, and just enough to make writing on paper difficult.
  The pressbox had a roof overhang, so I stood up the entire fourth quarter on the concrete behind the seats and got as close to the pressbox wall as I could get. I managed write to enough through the drops that I could translate the next morning when I wrote my story.
  I’m happy to report that despite the wet cold weather, I did not freeze. I had on enough clothes fcr several people.
  Hoyt told us what  nightmare the construction on I-85 was, so we came back to Spartanburg on 29 again.
  When we got into town I told Wayne to look for the South Church Street sign, and that would take us back to the interstate on 221. I’ve had relatives living in Spartanburg for nearly 60 years, so I know the city pretty well.
  We found the South Church Street sign, but we were on Main Street and were not allowed to turn left. Why?
  We went down a black and were able to turn left, then left again, then right.
  Near the I-26 exit we stopped at a Circle K. While we were in there a lady wearing a Newberry shirt saw us and asked about our game, and told us about their loss to Southside.
  I said, “You know, Phil Strickland’s son lives in Saluda.”
  “I know,” she said. “He’s my son, too!”
  The lady was Phil’s wife! Soon, Phil’s sister came in.
  Wayne had played in a church softball league with Phil years ago, and I had known him since he coached at Ridge Spring-Monetta.
  Of course, we had to mention the new grandson she and Phil share with Kyle and Tammie Martin of Saluda, since their son Tommy is married to the former Colby Martin.
  How funny! Four people talking about Newberry and Saluda football in a Spartanburg convenience store (actually Roebuck).
  Let’s not forget Phil was a longtime coach at Gaffney and coached in that stadium we had just left.
  We got home around 12:30.
  Friday, we go on a long road trip again,  Buford in Lancaster County.
  I’ve been to Gaffney before, but I have never been to Buford ... that I know of. I dated a young lady from Lancaster for awhile in the 70s and went to Lancaster a good bit, so I may have gone through Buford and didn’t realize it.
  I’ll let you if I recognize anything.....

LOU AND STEVE RETURN

  Well, I rewound my Carolina-Florida tape without watching a play.
  I know what happened through social media. Carolina led 31-14 with four minutes to go in third quarter, and lost 35-31.
  Muschamp may deny it, but it appears the Gamecocks played not to lose when they got the lead, rather than playing to win., How else do you explain a team that had moved the ball all over the field the first three quarters only gaining 23-yards in the fourth?
  Lou Holtz was notorious for that. Carolina led Ohio State 28-0 in the Outback Bowl and Charlie Strong’s “prevent” defense allowed the Buckeyes to come back and tie the game.
  Carolina eventually won on a game ending field goal.
  In Spurrier’s next to the last season, Lorenzo Ward’s defense allowed Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri to all overcome 14 point Carolina fourth quarter leads and win the games.
  With so many injured defensive players, Carolina needed to offense to win the game. The coaches, not players, failed.
  Gamecock fans are used to it.
  I certainly don’t believe in calling for Will’s head. He has to be given time to recruit and build depth. Quality programs like Clemson can overcome injuries, because they are loaded with quality substitutes. Carolina does not have that luxury.

THANK YOU, TONY!

  Thank goodness Tony Black announced his write-in candidacy for Saluda Commissioner of Public Works in this paper.
  Tony was elected with 23 write-in votes, but there were 83 votes cast!
  Here’s who received vote and their totals:
  Almastine Butler 1; Bailey Harris Jr 1; Bejemin 1; Bob Horne 1; Britney Spears 1; Chris Crouch 1; Christine West 1; Cory Combs 1; Craig McMillan 1; Don Hancock 1; Donald Kneece 1; Douglas McMillan 1; Earl Forrest 1; Ed Riley 1; Edwin Riley 6; Harold Moyer 1; Jeffery Jordan 1; Jerry Pow 2; Jim 1; Jim Allen 1; John Lorik 1; Johnny Corley 1; Joseph Chapman 2; Lauren Yonce 1; Mich Kneece 1; Mickey Mouse 1; Mitch Kneece 1 Mitchell Kneece 3; Na 1; Niki 1; None 2; Obey Combs 1; Paul Roesner 2; Richard Logan 2; Robert Shorter 1; Roger Harmon 1; Rosalyn Marla Coleman-Dillingslea 1; Ross Kellis 1; Russell Altman 1; Same 1; Samelia Abney 1; Scott E Green 1; Thomas Shaw 1; Timothy Taylor 1; Tony Black 23; Tony Lake 1; Warran Butler 1; William Pugh 1; Zeb Shorter 1
  Had Tony not announced the CPW would be in a mess.
  The next highest vote getter was Ed or Edwin Riley with seven combined votes, but Edwin can’t be a commissioner because he works for the commission.
  After Edwin, I guess the Kneece family get the nod. Michell Kneece got one vote a Mich, one as Mitch and three as Mitchell. His brother Donald got one vote, and their nephew Robbie Shorter got one vote as Robert and one as Zeb. They could rule by committee.
  Can you imagine someone from Saluda flying out to LA, knocking on Britney Spears door and telling her she’d been elected to the Saluda Commission of Public Works.
  Would she accept? It’s “her perogative!”