Tidbits - December 1, 2016

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

GOOD, BAD, UGLY

  Carolina-Clemson?
  If you’ve seen Saluda High play this year, then you should understand this year’s Carolina-Clemson game.
  Of their 11 wins, nine of Saluda’s victories have  been  by blowouts. Most of those teams, particularly Ridge Spring-Monetta, Mid-Carolina, Keenan, Fox Creek and Gray Collegiate, had some talented players, but not as many as the Tigers.
  Carolina has some talented players, but not nearly as many as Clemson. Four years ago, Carolina and Clemson’s roles were reversed.
  Clemson caught up and passed the Gamecocks. Now, Carolina has got to win some recruiting battles.
  Fans can see what Will Muschamp and staff can do. Just look at Rico Dowdle, Jake Bentley, Bryan Edwards and the four other freshmen who started.
  First year coaches don’t normally do exceptionally well recruiting in their initial year, but Muschamp and staff recognized and signed some talent.
  They most assuredly need to sign a bunch of offensive and defensive linemen. The Gamecocks got killed in the trenches. They are not going to return to greatness until they recruit quality linemen like Clemson.
  Clemson’s defensive line did not slow down after Vic Beasley graduated. Carolina’s defensive line fell off the face of the earth when Clowney and company departed. When you get manhandled by Western Carolina, you’re not going to have any luck against the number four team in the country.
  It’s called recruiting, or lack thereof.
  There was a lot of back on fourth on social media after the game. I didn’t read any of it. I had enough of Trump and Hillary to last me till the end of the year or time.  I don’t need to read the orange and garnet version.
  Blowouts can be good. They don’t go away in the minds of the losers.
  I was at Williams-Brice in 1975 for the Carolina-Clemson game.
  The Gamecocks were up 49-20 as time was running out and faced a fourth and goal at the Clemson 17-yard-line.
  Quarterback Jeff Grantz dropped back and threw a touchdown pass and Carolina won 56-20.
  Clemson players, coaches and fans were incensed that Carolina would throw a pass up 49-20.
  It didn’t help that the Coach Jim Carlen said, “What were we supposed to do? Punt?”
  Clemson won eight of the next ten games, and I guarantee that 56-20 game was an incentive.
  Carolina will be a little closer to Clemson in talent next year, and the players will remember getting humiliated.
  Like Steve Spurrier, Will Muschamp said, basically, the Clemson game was just another game. I wonder if he thinks that now?!!
  Even though Saluda has scored 514 points this year, the Tigers have not tried to run up the score. In five of their games, the referees at some point kept the clock running, which kept the score down.
  Teams that run up scores, a la Spurrier in his Florida days, throw the ball a lot.
  This year’s Tigers have thrown for just over 1000-yards in 12 games. That’s not running up the score material. The Tigers have the capabilities to throw for yardage if they wanted to.
  I wouldn’t be surprised to see next year’s team sling it all over the place.
  I’ll be honest. I was concerned about last Friday’s opponent, Andrew Jackson.
  It seems like only yesterday, but the last time the Volunteers came to Saluda was 1997. The Tigers, like this year, were region champions. Andrew Jackson won 31-0 in the second round of the play-offs.
  Apparently, since 1997 AJ had  18 straight seasons of losing records. Last year, the Volunteers were winless, but this year they entered the Saluda game 9-2.
  That sounds like a team of destiny, doesn’t it?
  When I picked up my Thanksgiving ham from the Grices, I asked Highpocket Rowe if his grandson Nick Long, who coaches at Ninety Six, had given a scouting report on Andrew Jackson, the team that beat Ninety Six in the first round.
  Highpocket called Nick while I was there, and the report was simple - look out for number 12 and number 5.
  Everybody in the Saluda stands Friday can tell you all about numbers 12 and 5, particularly number 12. He was outstanding.
  The Tigers have not had an entire game challenge since the B&L game, and I was concerned how they would handle it. They handled to the tune of 28-12, although the game wasn’t decided until there were three minutes left.
  Friday will mark the fourth team on this year’s schedule the Tigers have never previously played. Like Fox Creek and Gray Collegiate, I had to look up Liberty’s mascot. The Tigers will be playing the Red Devils.
  I know Liberty is in Pickens County, but that’s about it. We’ll find out soon enough. They’ve made to the third round, so they are good.
  Come out and support this Tiger team.
  Some of you may have read this on Facebook, but Andrew Jackson is coached by former Carolina offensive lineman C.J. Frye, whose father is Carolina’s legendary track coach Curtis Frye.
  Andrew Jackson’s primary school color is orange.
  “Sure is lot of orange out here,” I commented to the coach when I went to get the starting line-up.
  “I know,” he said, “that’s why I wear blue (the secondary color) as much as possible.”
  He said he got teased when he wore orange, although I can’t imagine many people teasing a former SEC offensive lineman!
  It was good to see WIS-TV choose the Saluda-Andrew Jackson game as the High School Game of the Week.
  Before I left for the game, I sent a text to Channel 10’s Joe Gorchow, letting him know the history of the Saluda home stands.
  Most of you know the Saluda home stands were once part of Williams-Brice Stadium. When the first upper deck was added to what was then Carolina Stadium, the stands on that side of the field (press box side) were removed.
   Bettis Herlong came up with the idea to buy the stands that had been removed and transport them to Saluda. The Booster Club agreed to raise the $22,000 (I think) cost.
  Half of the stands were put up on the visitors side for the 1972 season. The other half as added in 1973, and the home stands were moved to that side.
  Bettis wanted to buy the stands to increase the seating capacity at Matthews Field, so Saluda High could  bid on hosting play-off games, which were played at neutral sites back then.
  Ironically, within a year, the high school league started letting teams host playoff games, with the state championship being the only neutral site game.
  I saw Joe at the game and told him about my tweet to him. He later retweeted it, so a few more people now know about the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field.



BOBBY RUFF

  The county lost another community leader with the passing of Bobby Ruff last week.
  Bobby loved Saluda County and was active in local business, community activities and his church, Salem Baptist. He was also a retired Lt. Colonel in the National Guard.
  Bobby was the one who ordered all the printing for the Hollywood Ruritan Club’s farm machinery sale each year, and he would always call me the week before the sale to remind me to put the announcement in the paper.
  After Bobby was injured in a fall around the time of the sale, nobody knew to call me about the announcement and I forgot to put it in the paper! Charles Nichols has called me since!
  Bobby’s wife Kay and the late Joann Keeler worked together for many years at Dr. Sawyer’s office, and when Kay would come into the Sentinel office, the place was soon filled with laughter as they shared memories. Joann’s husband Marty and Bobby would laugh right along with them when they all got together.
  Bobby was a fine man who will surely be missed.
  My sympathy to the family.