Tidbits - November 3, 2016

  • Print

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



ROAD TRIP

  Danny Bledsoe, Wayne Grice and I set out Friday at 4:30 for only our third Saluda High football road trip of the year.
  Just as we were leaving town, Danny’s phone rang and he soon motioned to Wayne to pull off the road.
  On the phone was Danny’s sister Patti Waters, who was already halfway to North  Augusta. Her son Slayter, Saluda’s senior linebacker, had discovered he had left his Number 4 game jersey at home, and Patti wanted to know if we would go look in his truck to see if the jersey was there.
  We headed back in the opposite direction to go by the high school to see if Danny could located Slayter’s jersey.
  About at the school, Patti called to say the jersey was not in his Daddy’s truck Slayter had driven to school, but in Slayter’s truck, which was at their house on Hickory Grove.
  Wayne headed on out the Columbia Hwy., took a left onto Long Road, crossed Five Points, then turned onto Hickory Grove Road. We pulled into the Waters’ driveway. Uncle Danny got out and searched his nephew’s truck. There was no jersey.
  Danny informed Patti, and at 5 p.m. we left town again.
  We hadn’t set a place to eat as we usually do on road trips.
  Wilson Senn, who keeps the stats and writes up the games for Newberry High, messaged me on Facebook that we should eat at the Sno-Cap Drive-in, an institution on North Augusta, like the Beacon on Spartanburg and the Dixie Drive-in in Greenwood.
  I didn’t know where the Sno-Cap was and we probably didn’t have time to look.
  We had gotten several different directions to the game, and Wayne said he thought taking 1-20 and getting off on Exit 1 was the best bet.
  There were a couple of places to eat near I-20, but we decided to drive on and eat at the stadium if we couldn’t find another place.
  We took the exit and followed the directions, and guess what came into view about a mile from the stadium. The Sno-Cap!
  We still had plenty time before kick-off, so we pulled in. Wilson was right. The food was great.
  We had been told the seating at the Lions Memorial Stadium was limited, so we needed to get their early. Patti promised to save us seats on the 50-yard line in appreciation of our treasure hunt.
  I was expecting a dump, but Lions Memorial is a beautiful stadium, one the prettiest I’ve seen in awhile.  It doesn’t have a huge capacity, but it was enough.
  When we got to our seats, Patti was wearing a purple Number 4 jersey, and was the only person from Saluda wearing that number. The team had located a Number 35 for Slayter.
  Later, Slayter made a tremendous block, springing Tyrell Abney on a long punt return.
  “We’re the only people who know who he is,” Patti said.
  Saluda returns home Friday, and if the Tigers win they will host the first couple of weeks of the play-offs if they continue to win. Slayter has his purple home jersey. He may been number 35, if we make to the Upper State Championship game!
  Following the road adventure, I figured I could relax when the game started. I thought Saluda would have an easy time with Fox Creek, just like the Tigers had with the first three league foes.
  I figured wrong! The Predators took it to the Tigers in the first quarter, but didn’t have enough horses to hang with the Tigers the rest of the way.
  Fox Creek has some talented players, and the Tigers needed that first quarter challenge.
  Friday’s opponent Gray Collegiate appears be another team that can put points on the board, and it’s the first team Saluda has played that relies primarily on the pass.
  This Tiger team has been fun to watch.
  Last year’s team set school records for most points scored. After nine games, that team had scored 271 points. This year’s team has scored 380!
  Because Saluda has had so many blow-outs, star players like Malik Brooks do not have the stats they had last year. Malik has not played in 12 quarters, because his team has had such big leads. That amounts to three games!
  BEST LINE: I don’t know who said it, but when freshman quarterback Noah Bell completed a pass to his senior brother Ty, someone behind me said, “Ding, Dong.  Bell to Bell.”
  That’s a good one!

CONGRATULATIONS!

  Congratulation to Coach Zach Matthews and the King Academy Knights for their remarkable turnaround this year.
  Last year, injuries and a small in numbers roster caused the Knights to cancel the season after several games.
  This year, the Knights are 9-0 and conference champions!
  I asked Zach at the Gentry golf tournament is there was any chance the State Championship game, should the Knights make it, be played at Saluda High’s Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field like it was several years ago.
  This week’s Knight write-up answered that question. If the King makes it to the finals, that game will be played November 18, which is the same day Saluda opens the state play-offs at home. The play-offs have been delayed two weeks  because of the games that had to be rescheduled to do Hurricane Andrew. On normal years, the state play-offs would have begun Friday.
  Congratulations to the Saluda High Marching Tiger Band for finishing Number 8 in the state marching championships Saturday at Batesburg-Leesville.
  A few weeks ago, I had a gentlemen drop by the office and say, “You need to write something about the band,  because every time I drive by the school they are practicing.”
  So true.
  Football players practice many hours. We all know that and appreciate the effort.,
  But the band members and cheerleaders also practice many hours in the same heat of summer. We don’t give them enough credit.
  Congratulations to the Saluda High girls tennis team that won the region championship for the first time in school history a couple of weeks ago, and advanced to the second round of the state play-offs with a win over old rival Abbeville Monday.
  Congratulations to Carolina and Clemson’s football teams.
  “Florida State and Tennessee.
  Play our boys, you’ll lose by three.”
  Everybody showed up for church smiling, Sunday.
  Well, almost everyone. Terry Kelley informed me at church he was a Tennessee fan. Sorry.
  What great games! Both came down to the last few seconds.
  Carolina now has a legitimate chance to go to a bowl.
  It makes you wonder if the Carolina record would be any better had Jake Bentley started at the first of the year. He certainly has turned the offense around.
  Clemson should be able to coast in to the ACC title game.



TOO SAD

  What a devastating week it was!
  It began with the passing of Tony Cockrell Monday.
  Tony was a talented contractor, loved by everyone who knew him.
  He had a great sense of humor and equally great faith.
 He used his building skills and faith to make mission trips to third world countries.
  When Celebration Church was being built, Tony came up with the idea of placing a Bible Preacher John Griffith had given him in the floor of the church.
  Now that Bible represents Preacher John and Tony.
  Tuesday morning, the first thing I saw on Facebook was Tony Gaines had died in his sleep.
  Tony was one of the best football players to ever play for Saluda High.
  He was a outstanding defensive end and tight end, and I called out his name many times. He was big and had great speed.
  LaFonde Lindler was 87 and had been in poor health for some time.
  He was a longtime family friend.
  His father, Ben Lindler, owned a country store, out of which he operated a barber shop.
  When I was growing up, you got a crew cut or a flat top. That was the only options.
  You did not move in Mr. Ben’s chair. If you did, he’d grab your head with his big hands and straighten your head up!
  Emory and Sardis were baseball rivals, but LaFonde had allegiance to both communities. He attended Sardis Church, but lived in the Mt. Willing (Emory) precinct. He helped run the elections at the Mt. Willing Precinct, for many years at Calk’s Store, for decades.
  Later he served a term on Saluda County Council.
  I always enjoyed talking to LaFonde.
  At the game Friday, I got he terrible news that my old friend Thad Coleman had died suddenly.
  Thad was always smiling and that is how he usually left you, with a smile on his face. He always had funny things to say.
    For many years, we were opposing coaches in Little League, him for the Tigers and me for the Yankees.
  I watched his children Joe, Kevin and Twjania “grow up” in baseball, and his wife and their mother Shelby sit in he dugout and keep the scorebook.
  Shelby would keep them all straight!
  Thad’s nickname was the “Hole Puncher,” given to him because of all the wells he had drilled in Saluda County with the family’s George Coleman Well Drilling.
  His mother, Dorothy, and later Shelby wrote the “Butler News” for this newspaper for several decades.
  Like Thad, they loved Butler Church, their community and all of Saluda County.
  Mrs. Annie Gibson raised her family next door to Emory Church.
  Her husband James made his mark as an outstanding upholsterer, and all the family has played a vital role in the community.
  Saluda native Elaine Blanton let me know Dr. Tommy Morrow died last week in Gaffney.
  Dr. Morrow served several Baptist Churches in Saluda County. The thing I remember most about him is he often brought his old friend from Sumter, Yankee great Bobby Richardson ,to Saluda.
  My sympathy to all these families.