Tidbits - November 25 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


ON HE ROAD AGAIN

We followed our 90-mile trip to Gaffney two weeks ago, with a 100-plus trip to Lancaster last Friday.
  We came home enjoying another lopsided Saluda win.  Like Wayne Grice said, the trip home always seems shorter when you win. Of course, we took a different trip home this week. Later on that.
  Like I wrote last week, I used to go to Lancaster a good bit, but that was 40-years ago.
  I saw my first cousin, Judy Shealy Leopard, last week when she came by with her mother Christine to get a paper, and since she lives in Pageland, which is near Lancaster, I asked her which route she took home.
  She said the best way was taking Hwy. 34 through Newberry. She’s been making that trip for 50 or so years, so she ought to know.
  That was one of  the options my phone gave me, and although Wayne’s truck’s GPS disagreed, that’s the route we took.
  We picked up Danny Bledsoe at his home. Danny’s normal position on our road trips is in the front passenger seat, but since he had the nerve to miss last week’s play-off game by going to Boston to see Clemson play, Wayne said he had to sit in my normal place on the back seat. We didn’t want to change our luck by changing the winning Blacksburg seating arrangement.
  The problem with long trips is I have to leave from work, so I have to put on my clothing layers earlier. I felt like I had spent the afternoon in a sauna when I left work at 3 p.m.
  We all had on so many clothes, Wayne had to keep rolling down the windows to let some cool air it.
  On the way, we noticed a charter bus at a convenience center and wondered if it was one from Saluda, and if it had broken down. I don’t know if one we saw was it, but we found out when we got to the game that one of the buses did break down. It was the one containing the cheerleaders.
  When I heard that, I remembered when Saluda played at Green Sea-Floyds in 1996. My niece Erin was riding down with me. We were going to her grandmother’s house at the beach after the game was over.
  The van carrying the SHS cheerleaders broke down, and Kyle Martin squeezed about half the squad in his small car.
  I saw the predicament Kyle was in when I saw his car in Florence. When I stopped at a stoplight, I opened the door to my van and a bunch of cheerleaders piled in.
  We had too many coats in Wayne’s truck to pick up any additional passengers this time.
  The most interesting site on the trip up was the dam near Great Falls. I had remembered this from my drives to Lancaster those many moons ago.
  Water was being released due to the heavy rainfall last week, I guess, and the water on the other side of the bridge was halfway up the trees, and moving fast.
  I put a picture of the dam on social media, and someone asked where it was and I answered, “CALHOUN Falls.”
  Soon, former Saluda coach Doug Painter commented, “If you’re going through Calhoun Falls to get to Buford, then your GPS is way messed up!”
  I corrected my answer!
  We figured we’d find one of the many eating places in Lancaster to eat supper, but the route we took didn’t take us that way. Wayne had found a place called Jo Jo’s BBQ when he was researching on the internet the day before, but we didn’t know where it was.
  When we made the turn to go to Buford High School, we looked to our right and there was Jo Jo’s BBQ.
  We enjoyed our BBQ sandwiches, and soon found out the stadium was less than a mile away. We turned right, and saw an absolutely beautiful stadium, with artificial turf.
  Once again, Saluda had a great following.
  Before the game began, the Tigers had to run out on the field by themselves. There were no cheerleaders to lead the way, but the band played the “Tiger Rag,” and all was right with the world.
  Then the game began, and what a game the first quarter was. If the other three quarters had been like the first quarter, then Saluda would have won 68-56, and the two teams would have combined for 1400-yards in offense and 60 first downs!
  My brother Jamie said the first quarter reminded him of a game Saluda had a Chapin in the 90’s.
  As the game progressed, Assistant Coach Roger Hazel said, “The first team to punt loses!”
  Saluda was the first team to punt and Chapin won 58-41.
  Buford was the first team to punt in the game Friday and didn’t score another point. Saluda won 38-14.
  The Tigers have had two impressive wins over two good teams. Buford lost its first three games, but was on an eight game winning streak en route to their conference championship. This is the conference with Lee Central, Andrew Jackson and Central of Pageland, who have given the Tigers fits in the play-offs the last couple of years.
  Saluda has now advanced to the third round of the state play-offs a record four years in a row. Saluda has played for six state championships and won three, but the seniors on the 2017 team have accomplished something that has never been done before at the school, advancing to the third round of the play-offs all four years they have been in school.
  Congratulations to Coach Stewart Young, coaches and players. That is something to be very proud.
  Friday will be another road trip, this one to Simpsonville. Saluda’s meetings with Blacksburg and Buford were the first ever, but Friday the Tigers play a team they have already played this year, Southside Christian.
  The Sabres won the first game at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Mathews Field 30-17, but only led 17-10 at the end of the third quarter.
  The Tigers shot themselves in the foot on numerous occasions. Quarterback Noah Bell threw four interceptions in the game. In the Tigers other 11 games, Noah has thrown just two picks.
  What I am getting at is the Tigers can win this game.
  We shall see of the “Road Warriors” can pull it off again.
  We had heard the game may be played on a neutral site because Southside Christian’s stadium did not meet seating requirements for play-off games,
  Coach Stewart Young sent me a picture of the new stands Southside Christian had erected in the end zone!
  I can’t keep stats from the end zone, so I may be doing a lot of walking down the sidelines Friday.
  Don’t worry, I will be well insulated!

SPEAKING OF GPS

  Wayne has GPS in his truck but he had never punched in a destination, until this week
  We listened to the computer generated voice all the way to the stadium
  At one spot in the trip where we knew where we were, but she didn’t, she shouted, “Make an immediate U-turn if possible,” and we all shouted, “Citizens arrest, citizens arrest,” recalling Gomer and Barney.
  After the game, Wayne pulled over and typed in his home address, and the truck led us a different way home.
  This time we went through the part of Lancaster that had all the eating joints, then we headed toward Chester and came home that way. There were more four-lane roads.
  So, on this road trip, we went through Newberry, Winnsboro, Great Falls, Lancaster, Chester, Carlisle, Whitmire and Newberry again.
  I enjoyed everything, except getting home at 1 a.m.

BUZZLESS

  Normally, during Carolina - Clemson week, there is a lot of trash talk between the fans of the two teams, but not this year.
  Carolina fans are keeping their collective mouths shut.
  When you know the team you support is going to get killed, why say anything?
  Carolina’s defense is beat up. Walk-ons played in the secondary against Chattanooga. Clemson is a bit stronger than the Mocs, so Lawrence should shine.
  The Gamecocks cannot stop the run, so expect Etienne to break some records.
  The much maligned Jake Bentley has played pretty well the last few weeks, and the Gamecocks have some talented receivers when they catch the ball.
  The best team Clemson has played may be Texas A&M in the first game, and they had to come from behind to win by two points.
  The Aggies beat Carolina 26-23.
  So, if you use games against Texas A&M as a comparison, the game could be close.
  Carolina may be better than everyone thinks. All of their losses were against teams that were ranked at the time, and they could and should have beaten A&M and Florida.
  Win those games, and the Gamecocks are 8-2 and ranked, and all fans would be trash talking.
  Knowing this, don’t be surprised if Carolina plays well Saturday.
  No one will be more surprised that me!
  I would love to see Jake have a great game against a great team, but I am being a realist. I don’t think the game is going to be close.
  But, I have been wrong  before!