Tigers Crush Rebels

UNTOUCHED - Saluda senior running back Montrevious Baker (22) runs into the endzone untouched in the Tigers 52-20 romp over Strom Thurmond Fri. night at the Rebel Field. Also pictured are Jonah McCary (15), Quron Abney (72) and Jeremiah Burton (11). (SHS photo by Dean Roesner)

60th Anniversary

52-20 Smackdown

  On the 60th anniversary of their first meeting, Saluda crushed 3-A Strom Thurmond 52-20 Fri., Aug. 20, at the Rebel Field.
  The Tigers took control of the game early, taking the opening kick-off and driving 75-yards for the score in 13 plays. The touchdown came on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Jonah McCary to wide receiver Tyleke Mathis. Sam Espinoza kicked his first of six extra points.
  The Rebels got a good kick-off return, but fumbled on their first play of the game and the Tigers recovered at the ST 18-yard. The Tigers took three plays to go in for the score, with the touchdown coming on a six-yard McCary run. Espinoza completed the first quarter scoring at 14-0.
  Early in the second quarter, the Tiger fell a few inches short of going up by three TDs, when Mathis was tackled
 inches from the goal line one fourth and goal at the two. Espinoza made a 31-yard field goal on fourth down, but the Rebels were flagged for offsides on the play. Saluda elected to go for the score.
  The Rebels ran one play from their one, before the referees cleared the field because of lightning in the area.
  When play resumed, ST moved out to the Rebel 27, where a third down fumble was recovered by the Tigers at the Rebel 28.
  On first down McCary and wide receiver Javarious Stevens teamed up for a spectacular touchdown throw and catch. Espinoza made it 21-0 with 5:28 to go in the half.
  The Tigers’ last threat of the half ended when Espinoza kicked a 25-yard field goal with 7.3 ticks left.
 The Rebels, who finished the first half with only 22-yards in total offense, put together a scoring drive to start the second half. The drive covered 65-yards in eight plays. The touchdown came on a 20-yard run on fourth and short. The PAT cut Saluda’s lead to 24-7.
  It appeared the Rebel defense was fired up by the score, forcing Saluda punt after three plays following the kick-off, but ST was flagged for roughing the kicker, paving the way for another Tigers scoring march. The touchdown came on a five-yard run by Montrevious Baker. Espinoza made it 31-7.
  The Rebels responded after the kick-off with a 72-yard drive. After quarterback Quon Edmond scored from the one, his pass for the two point play was no good. The third quarter ended with Saluda leading 31-14.
  That changed quickly, thanks to Zion Wright, the not so little brother of Dallan Wright, a receiver hero of the 2019 state championship team.
  On the first play of the fourth quarter, McCary lofted a pass to Wright, who used his height to catch the pass, then he turned and completed the 63-yard scoring play. Espinoza’s kick gave Saluda a 38-13 lead with 11:49 to go in the game.
  A little over a minute later, the score rose to 45-13 when Wright stepped in front of a Rebel pass and returned it 35-yards for the score.
  On their next possession, he Rebels fumbled for the fourth time in the game. This one brought the Saluda crowd to its feet, as freshman defensive lineman JT Lott stripped the ball out of the ST backs hands and rambled to the Rebel six-yard line. On second down at the two, Darrion Butler scored on a run. Diego Licea kicked Saluda’s 52nd point, the second highest total scored against Thurmond in the 60-year history. Only the 1973 team scored more in its 65-0 win.
  The Rebels got another score on a 69-yard run by Gregory Bryant II. Nate Nordeen’s kick completed the scoring at 52-20.
  The Tiger offense was lead by McCary, who completed his last ten passes of the game to finish 15-18-1 with three touchdown passes.
  Mathis hauled in ten passes for 100 yards, and senior running back Baker gained 68-yards on 17 carries.
  The Tiger defense was outstanding, forcing five turnovers. Most of the Rebels offensive yardage came against the Tiger reserves.
  Friday, the Tigers have their home opener, when they host old rival Ridge Spring-Monetta.
  The Trojans will come into the game fired up, as they claimed their first victory over Batesburg-Leesville in school history in the opener, winning 19-14.
  Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m.

State Coach Of The Year

Saluda High School’s Jeanette Ergle Wilder was named the state girls basketball Coach of the Year at the S.C. Athletic Coaches Association’s recent banquet. Helping her display her Coach of the Year ring is her basketball coach at Saluda High Patsy Rhodes. Wilder led this year’s Lady Tigers to the first girls basketball state championship in school history.