Tidbits - November 5, 2020

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

EXPERIENCE
  Last year’s Saluda team with its 22 seniors would have won the game with Newberry Friday.
  This year’s team with its seven seniors couldn’t quite pull it off, and fell 13-8.
  Such a young team needs to play games to get the experience, but this year is an anomaly. Instead of three or four scrimmages and five non-region games, all teams in the state began with conference games, and most had a couple of non-conference games at the end of the year.
Saluda’s non-conference games were with Blacksburg and Ninety Six. When the original game with Newberry on the second game of the year had to be cancelled, it replaced Blacksburg.  Saluda’s only non-region game of the year will be at Ninety Six Friday.
  With the normal five non-conference games, you could say by the sixth game, the sophomores no longer play like sophomores, because they have five games under their belts.
  But, this year, the sophomores are still sophomores.
  With no playoffs for the Tigers in 2020, we all can’t wait until next year.
  The current Tiger team has 11 juniors, 20 sophomores, and nine freshmen. Most of them had a lot of playing time this season.
  Saluda will be back in the play-off picture next year.
  The last five seasons, Saluda has played 20 play-off games, five in the state championship play-offs last year.
  Let’s put that into historic perspective.
  In 1973, Saluda lost 14-13 to Clinton in the Upperstate Championship game.
  It would be 20 years before the Tigers would return to the playoffs. In 1993 Saluda lost 15-14 to Mayo in the first round on a last second field goal by a player who had never, ever attempted a field goal in his life!
  We skip to 1997 for the next playoff appearance. Coach Donnie Woolsey’s team won Saluda High’s first conference championship since 1973. This team played two playoff games.
  The 1999 team made it to the second round.
  From 2000 to 2013, Saluda made 12 appearances.
  So, from 1973 to 2013, 40 years, the Tigers played in 18 play-off games, and from 2015-2019 they played in 20.
  I know the 2020 Tigers are disappointed they are not in the play-offs, but the program has earned a rest, and your fans are proud of your effort.


MAKES NO SENSE
  So, Carolina beats 15th ranked Auburn 30-22.
  The next week, the Gamecocks go to LSU and get humiliated 52-24.
  The next week, Auburn beats LSU 48-11, by throwing the ball just like the other two teams that beat the Tigers.
  How hard is that to figure out? It must be hard, because the Gamecock coaches only called eight pass plays in the first half against LSU and were down 31-10.
  Now, let’s me be clear. I fully realize the Gamecock passing attack is hampered by the fact the Carolina receivers are below average. Who’s fault is that?
  Saluda High’s receivers from last year were more explosive that any receiver Carolina has, other than Shi Smith.
  Again, I know Muschamp is not going anywhere, but I am sick and tired of the “no offense offense” he’s run every year.
  Mike Bobo is doing a better as offensive coordinator, but he has got to get some receivers.
  So much for the mediocre Gamecock program.
  Did anyone really think Clemson was going to lose to Boston College when the Tigers were down 28-10?
  That we just a momentary lapse by the Tigers, and because they are so much better than BC, they took command and out-scored he Eagles 24-0 the rest of the game.
  Now, the Tigers get to go to Notre Dame to play the Irish without Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. Are the Tigers in trouble? Nope!
  Trevor hinted last week he may come back for his senior year. If he does, the other two top ranked quarterbacks, neither of whom whose names I can pronounce, should transfer. They didn’t come to Clemson to be bench warmers.


SADNESS
  Seems like in these COVID times, sadnesses are magnified.
  Last week, my dear friend from the Saluda High Class of 1969, Caryon Matthews, died.
  We had a group in high school that hung around together, went out on adventures to haunted houses, or rose picking for the junior-senior, or eating at the Panorama, etc. We called ourselves The Bunch.
  I can’t remember exactly what I did, but at the end of our senior year I gave each member of the group something with plastic grapes, labeled “The Bunch.”
  A few days later, Caryon presented me a trophy she made out of boxes, covered with aluminum foil, with a large bunch of plastic grapes. On the front of the box was labeled, “The King of the Bunch.” I was touched. It’s been 51 years, but I still have the trophy Caryon made.
  I got to know John Hipp when he came to Saluda to be pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church. His family was related to the Saluda County Hipps.
  John was active in the community while he was here. We were fellow Civitan members and actors with The Saluda Players. Ironically, in the play “The Diviners” I played a preacher and John played a foul mouthed mechanic.
  John’s wife Carol was a popular teacher at Saluda Elementary and even after John got a new appointment, Carol continued to teach in Saluda for several years.
  John eventually became a District Superintendent in the S.C. United Methodist Conference.
  Like Caryon, he succumbed to heart issues.
  I got to know Jim Lander when he was elected the State Senator to serve Saluda County. He lived in Newberry, but he visited our county on a regular basis, and was always willing to do everything he could for our county. He was a fine man.
  Jim Griffith lived longer away from Saluda County than he lived here, but this was always home. He was a fine athlete when he attended Saluda High in the 50s, and he would fill me in occasionally on stories from those days. His wife was the former Betty Davis, whose mother Maymie was the second wife for former owner the Standard-Sentinel Eulie Johnson.
  And finally, COVID-19 took lives of  two popular Saluda men, Melvin Minick, Sr., 48, and Reginald “Red Man” Graham, 57. They didn’t fit the mold of “elderly.”
  There is currently another former Saludan in their age group who is in ICU and on a ventilator from COVID. This is not something that will disappear on election day. Just ask these families if they think this disease is a hoax.