Defending Champs Youthful

Defending Champions Will Be Youthful

  The 2019 Saluda High Tigers won the school’s first  state championship since 1963 last season.
  The old saying, “to the victors belong the spoils” didn’t come true, however. COVID-19 cancelled the state championship banquet, and the ring ceremony was moved to the SHS parking lot, with the players remaining in their vehicles until their names were called.
  The pandemic has also forced a delay in the 2020 season, with the Tigers first game scheduled for Fri., Sept. 25, against Eau Claire at the stadium at Keenan High School.
  This year’s Saluda team will be a stark contrast with the senior laden title squad. The 2019 team had 21 seniors, while 2020 boasts only seven, and not all of them start.
  Coach Stewart Young’s team has some good talent, and most of them will return next season,
  At quarterback, gone is four year starter Noah Bell, who threw for over 4000 yards and 49 touchdowns, and rushed for 549 yards and 16 scores. In his place is sophomore Jonah McCary, who threw one pass last season and rushed twice for four yards.
  Running back will have the top statistical returner, junior Montrevious Baker, who rushed for 970 yards and caught 34 passes. Tyleke Mathis, who rushed for 163 yards, averaging 8.2 yard a touch, will also see action.
  Gone from wide receiver are Dallan Wright, 85 catches and 25 touchdowns; Zaye Bryant, 50 catches; Jervon Whitt, 49 catches and 17 scores and Keenan Brooks, 17 catches.
  Don’t cry for the Tigers, though. They’ll have talent this year, as well. Jabari Baker, with 25 catches last year, is the top returner. Also seeing action will be Mathis, Ja Stevens, all underclassmen, and this year’s pleasant surprise, senior Rod Rolland. Dallan’s brother, Zion Wright, will also play a lot.
  The line has plenty of players who will see action, most of them underclassmen
  The center will be junior Matt Coates.
  The guard starters will come from a group including Aydan Gantt, Bernard Werts, Jabori Brown, all sophomores, and senior David Warren.
  Starting at tackle will be sophomore Gage Rinehart and senior Kyle Fisher. Also seeing action will be Matt Sheaffer, Melvin Minick, and Jeremiah Burton, all sophomores, and Warren.
  “This is the biggest line we’ve had, and we’ll have most of them for two more years,” Young said.
  On defense, lettermen Naim Butler and Warren will move to inside linebacker, replacing all-state linebackers Jacob McCary and Reagan Cherry, who rarely came off the field last season.. Outside linebackers will be Jabari Baker and Rolland.
  The defensive line will feature returnee Alkamus Johnson at nose guard, Werts at tackle, Jaquavious Moore and Hayden Stoudemayer at the ends. Also expected to play are Minick (6-3, 280), Jabori Brown, Rinehart and Gantt.
  The defensive  backs all have experience, Ja Stevens, Darius Cleveland and Tyleke Mathis. Luke McGinnis will start a safety, backed by Austin Summer.
  Sam Espinoza will handle all the kicking duties. Freshman Harrison Herlong succeeds his brother Matthew as the snapper, and on placekicks, Jonah McCary succeeds his brother Jacob as the holder.
  Diego Licea is the backup kicker.
  Along with the changes made by COVID-19, the Tigers are also in a new region. Newberry drops downs to 2A, and the other teams, Gray Collegiate, Eau Claire and Batesburg-Leesville have been in previous conferences with the Tigers. The only new opponent is Columbia.
  Young expects Newberry to be really good.
  “They were like us this year last season, with a lot of young players. They aren’t young anymore.”
  Gray Collegiate and B&L will also be outstanding.
  With the shortened schedule, only two teams from each conference qualify for the play-offs, unlike the normal four. Young said there will be one at-large team from the upperstate and lowerstate.
  “Our goal is to make the play-offs,” Young said.
  Young said he can’t predict how the season will go, or even if it will be completed.
  “If a player gets COVID on a region team we are about to play, the game will be postponed, and we’ll have to call one of our non-conference opponents at the end of the season and tell them we’ll have to replace them with our postponed region game.”
  Like never before, this will be a wait and see season, and like last year for the Tigers, it will be memorable!


Home Game Guidelines

Fan Information:

  Middle School start time 5:00 pm.; JV start time 6:00 pm.; Varsity start time 7:30 pm.
  Gates will open 1 hour before the game’s scheduled kickoff time.
  Stadium capacity is 1,000.
  Ticket information for middle school and JV games   - Admission is $5.00 for kindergarten and older. Tickets may be purchased at the gates on game day. See the gate information below for entering. Please remain 6 ft apart if there is a line.
  Ticket information for varsity games -
  Admission is $7.00 for kindergarten and older. Visiting fans should purchase advance tickets at your school from the athletic director. Home fans will have the opportunity to purchase advance tickets throughout the week as follows:
   ~ Players, teachers, and students can purchase tickets on Monday and Tuesday at SHS.
  ~ Community members can purchase tickets at SHS, Crouch Hardware and The Added Touch on Wednesday and Thursdays.
  ~ Tickets will not be sold at any of the locations on Friday. If any tickets are leftover within the allowed capacity, they will be sold at the gates on Friday night. See the gate information for entering.
  Gate information - Visitors should report to gate 1. Home fans should report to gates 2 and 3. Anyone that needs handicap access should report to gate 4 prior to the start of the game.
  Other requirements -
  ~ SCHSL requires all fans and event staff to wear masks at all times and remain 6 feet apart at all times. Single-home family members may sit together.
  ~ Lines and one-way traffic flow patterns will be marked in the stadium. All aisle seats will be marked as a restricted area to limit close contact with the flow of traffic.
  ~ The end zone fence line opposite the scoreboard is available for standing during the event. However, individuals must remain 6 feet apart.
  ~  Attendees in seventh grade or lower are required to attend the games with a parent or guardian and must stay with that parent or guardian for the duration of the event.
  ~ Congregating prior, during or after this event is not permitted.  Parents and fans will not be allowed on the field. Only authorized personnel will be allowed inside the fence or near the field for the duration of the event.
   ~ It is expected that all spectators will move directly to their vehicles and depart the campus upon conclusion of this event.

Eau Claire Ticket Information

  Eau Claire is using online tickets for Friday’s varsity football game. Please see the instructions below to purchase your ticket. Due to Covid-19, there is a limited capacity for the game. 
  The game will be played at Keenan High School located at 361 Pisgah Church Rd, Columbia SC 29203 starting at 7:30. Face masks and social distancing are required. The clear bag policy is also in effect.
  1. Go to
  2. Click on the calendar tab near the top of the page.
  3. Find the event listed and click buy tickets.