Tidbits - October 14, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


THE BEST?
  Excluding the University of South Carolina, wasn’t Saturday, October 9, one of the greatest Saturdays of college football ever?
  I couldn’t really enjoy it fully, because the rescheduling of the Saluda-Newberry game threw my schedule out of whack.
  My normal routine during football season is going to the game Friday, then getting up Saturday morning and compiling my stats and writing my story of the game. Saturday afternoon, I  begin laying out the paper, which I complete on Sunday afternoon.
  With a Saturday game, however, I had to almost complete the paper Saturday morning and afternoon, then go to the game. I had to wait until Sunday afternoon to write my football story. As I write this Sunday night, I still haven’t haven’t had time to compile my running stats, which has yearly totals after each game.
  That said, I really didn’t have time to appreciate the Saturday afternoon games. With my multiple TV setup, I had Oklahoma-Texas on one set, and Ole Miss-Arkansas on the other. I can’t remember which one finished first, but both ended in dramatic fashion. The Sooners beat the Longhorns 55-48, and Ole Miss beat the Razorbacks 52-51, when Arkansas elected to go for two instead of kicking the tying extra point.
  Sitting in the Newberry stadium,  I watched on my phone the end of the Wake Forest-Syracuse game, that the Demon Deacons won  40-37 in overtime. I’m still amazed that I can say, “I watched the game on my phone.”
  When I got home from Newberry, I watched the end of the Alabama-Texas A&M, with the Aggies kicking the game winning field goal as time expired. There were other close games involving Top 25 teams I would have watched had we not had the game in Newberry.
  Danny Bledsoe, Wayne Grice and I made the pilgrimage to The Berry, with our first stop being Zaxby’s, attempting to continue our unbeaten streak. When we eat at Zaxby’s before a game, Saluda wins.
  Danny had called Zaxby’s the day before to see if the restaurant was open for inside dining. He was told it was. We got there Saturday. It wasn’t.
  So we had a decision to make. We decided to go through the drive-thru, and eat when we got to the stadium.
  Normally, I get a salad, but that is not exactly lap food. We all ordered something we could eat with our hands.
  After we parked, Wayne put down his truck’s tailgate and we spread out our food. Jennifer Gantt took a picture of us and posted it, saying this was the definition of tailgating!
  When we got in the stadium, I showed my age. I’ve  been to the Newberry stadium many times, but I didn’t recall the aluminum board you walk on are only eight inches wide and moved when you walk. I felt like I was walking a tightrope.
  Normally, I get up out of my seat at halftime and go down to the front of the bleachers and take pictures of the crowd. Saturday, I stayed in my seat. The bleachers are built on a bank, and the concrete under the boards is only bout two-feet below the board, but it’s the thought that counts!
    The Tigers played well and earned their fifth blow-out victory. Newberry has a young team, but there are some outstanding athletes on the team.  
  Earlier in the week, my old friend Wilson Senn, the Newberry High sports historian, sent me some history of the match-up between the Tigers and Bulldogs.
  Here are some of them:
Saluda at Newberry:
  **Newberry leads the series 23-15-2 since 1926 (now 23-16-2).
  **Coach Phil Strickland is 17-3 in his career versus Saluda (now 17-4).
  **Coach Strickland is 9-0 in home games versus Saluda (now 9-1)
  **Both teams are 6-5 in Oct. 8 games (except the game was moved to Oct. 9).:
    NHS: Wins: 1927, '37, '71, '76, ''93, 2004/Losses: 1948, '65, '82, '99, 2010
    SHS: Wins: 1937, '48, '54, '71. '99, 2004/Losses: '65, '76, '82, '93, 2010.
  **Newberry High and Saluda tied in their first 1927 meeting, but the Bulldogs won the district title with a 14-6 victory in their second meeting.
  **Newberry and Saluda share a former head coach in their history. Mooney Player was the head coach of the Bulldogs in 1956, while he would coach the Tigers from '57-63.
  The victory over the Bulldogs sets up Friday’s big game with Gray Collegiate. The War Eagle coaching staff was well represented at the Bulldog-Tigers game Saturday.
  Gray is 6-1, with the only loss coming against 5-A’s third ranked team, Gaffney. The Indians eked out a 38-35 win. The War Eagles are obviously loaded.
  This game could unofficially be for the region championship. I’m looking forward to it.