Tidbits - December 8, 2016

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



HERE WE GO AGAIN

  Friday, as Saluda was scheduled to meet Liberty in the 2A Upper State quarterfinals, I had mixed emotions on who I wanted the Tigers to meet in the next round should they beat Liberty.
  The two other quarterfinalists were Abbeville and Cheraw. I’m tired of playing Abbeville. In Saluda’s last three trips to the play-offs, they have been eliminated by, you guessed it, Abbeville.
  While I did not want to play Abbeville again, I also didn’t want to ride three hours to and from Cheraw either.
  Through Saluda Athletic Director Jeanette Wilder, I was contacted by Cheraw’s public address announcer Dave West, and we agreed to text the scores of our respective games to each other, and pass the scores on to our crowds.
  It didn’t take many texts to know we’d be heading back to Abbeville.
  Last season, the Tigers finished 10-3 and two of those loses came to the Panthers. Neither game was close.
  Never in my wildest dreams did I believe the two teams that met for the Upper State in 2015 would be meeting again in 2016, and both would be better teams than the year before. Abbeville finished first in 2A in the final regular season poll and the Tigers finished second.
  Last year, you’ll recall 2A had two divisions and two state champs. This year there is only one, so making the semi-finals is even more special.
  The Tiger fans and I have waited a long time for this, back-to-back teams with double digit wins. I’ve waited 53-years! I was 12-years-old the last time it happened.
  Until 1966, Saluda High School was a perennial winner  in football, then we hit a long, long, long dry spell. Winning seasons were few and far between. Until this season, the last back-to-back football winning seasons were 1972 and 1973.
  This is my 40th season of covering SHS football for this newspaper, and I have seen winning seasons in 1980, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2015 and 2016. That’s all folks! Seven winnings seasons out of 40.
  No matter what happens Friday night, watching the 2015 and 2016 Tiger teams has been a joy to me and all the many loyal fans. The Tiger coaches and players have made us all proud and provided us with a lifetime of memories.
  I never thought a team would come around that would top the 429 points the 2015 Tiger scored. After all, they broke a record that had stood for 42 years.
  Then came this year’s team, and they broke the record by 118 points, so far!
  Fans have witnessed the scoring of 547 points. Never would I predict  I’d see a Saluda team average 42 points a game. And remember the Tigers only scored seven points against Thurmond in their season opening loss.
  With all the talk about the offense, we should not forget the Tiger defense has only given up 12.8 points per game. That’s low for high school, and, again, we have to point out Strom Thurmond scored 38 points in the opener. In the 12 straight subsequent wins, the Tiger defense has allowed 10.9 points per game.
  This year’s matchup has a little irony. The game will be played at Abbeville’s Tommie Hite Field, and this year that same Tommie Hite was inducted into the Saluda School District Hall of Fame. Hite, of course, was the coach of the 1941 SHS State Championship team, led by star back Bettis Herlong for whom the Saluda stadium is named. Bettis’ great-grandson Hunter Herlong is a member of the Tiger team.
  Tommie Hite Field has one of the smaller seating capacities around for a high school stadium, particularly on the visitors’ side. It has changed very little since Tommie Hite was the coach.
  It is a shame one of the best programs in all of S.C.  football has such a small stadium.
  It does, however, make for a good home field advantage. Last year, every nook and cranny around the field was occupied. The Saluda High Band had to stand up the entire game.
  What I am telling you is get there early!
  You all know I am superstitious when it comes to sports.
  For years, I’ve worn the same outfits to Saluda games until the Tiger lost.
  This year, I’ve worn the same outfit for 12 straight weeks! Same shirt, same pants, same belt, same purple striped socks, same purple underwear. Don’t worry, I do wash the items between games.
  Everyone knows you can add to the original outfit - sweaters, coats, etc., but you can’t take anything away.
  Friday is going to be the coldest day of the fall. The high is predicted to be 45, with a low of 22 that night.
  My outfit consists of spring and summer weight gray pants, and gray penny loafer type deck shoes. I don’t know if I can button my pants if I wear long-johns, but I am going to do what I can. I don’t know if I can cram two pair of socks into the shoes, but I am going to try.
  I hate cold weather, and I know I’m going to be miserable. I’m going charge up my heated stadium seat and try to remember how to turn it on. I forget every year.
  It was cold this past Friday night, but I was inside the pressbox and had my ceramic heater blasting away.
  I have been spoiled by this unusual season. They Tigers have had ten home games! That has never happened before and probably will never happen again. This means I have been outside only three times this season, at Batesburg-Leesville, Ninety Six and Fox Creek. Fox Creek was the only game in the fall and I over dressed and about burned up.
  That’s not going to happen Friday.
  Old-timers, remember Red Skelton’s character Freddie the Freeloader? Remember laughing when Freddie put on his gloves and his bare fingers popped through?
  I saw a pair of gloves online that had the tips of the fingers cut out. I ordered them, and used them Friday night when I wrote down the stats. They worked great! Holding a pen wasn’t a problem, as is the case with regular gloves.
  Freddie found his holey gloves in the trash. I paid $14 for mine!

THINK ABOUT IT!

  I saw and shared a funny meme on Facebook last week.
  “Home Alone” is one of my all-time favorite movie comedies. No matter how many times I see it, I laugh out loud when the two burglars attempt to invade the house.
  The story revolved around a little boy being accidently left behind at home, while his entire family flies out of town for the holidays.
  In the new version, there are four panels. The first panel contains the name of the movie.
  In the second panel, Kevin realizes he has been left behind and sends a text to his mother, “Mom, you left me at home.”
  In the third panel, Mom replied, “We’re about the board the plane. I’ll be right home to get you.”
  And the final panel says, “The End.”
  How many great movies would today’s technology spoil?
  How many movie and TV plots revolve around simply trying to find a phone?
  Next time you watch “Murder She Wrote,” “Matlock” or “Columbo” think about it.

VOIGT CORLEY

  I was saddened to learn of the passing of Voigt Corley last week.
  Voigt was very active in the Saluda Shrine Club and the leader of many fundraisers that raised money for the Shriner’s Crippled Children’s Hospital. He was also among the Shriners who led the way for the much used Shrine Club on the Johnston Highway to be built.
  He was also a leader in Saluda County aviation industry that was started by the late Les Hembel. Voigt’s helicopters company is still in operation, led by his son Johnny.  The helicopters have been used in many charitable events.
  Voigt was well loved in the community, and will be greatly missed.