Tidbits - January 5, 2017

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



ABBEVILLE - SALUDA?

  Alabama and Clemson. Another Abbeville and Saluda?
  Yes. We’ve already seen the Saluda-Abbeville rematch in the Upper State Championship game. Now Clemson and Alabama will meet for the National Championship for the second year in a row.
  Last year, Alabama and Abbeville won. In both cases, they were the better teams.
  This year Abbeville won again, but I don’t believe Abbeville was the better team.
  If Alabama wins the national title again, I’m not sure the Tide is better than Clemson.
  Clemson against Ohio State was like Saluda against its region foes this year.
  Ohio State was Keenan, a team with some good athletes, but not enough.
  Keenan was not the third ranked team in S.C. 2A, however. Ohio State was allegedly the third best team in the United State of America.
  Anybody who watched that Clemson butt whooping of the Buckeyes will disagree.
  Clemson was far superior in every aspect of the game. The Buckeyes have not see anybody like the Tigers and they remain winless against the State of South Carolina.
  Ohio State got in on its name and the reputation of their coach, Urban Meyer. They did not win the Big 10 Championship. Penn State did. The Nittany Lions beat OSU, but the Buckeyes got the bid. Perhaps the selection committee needs to give conference champions the nod.
  I don’t think Penn State is the third best team in America, either.
  The sportscasters were talking about the Big 10 may have surpassed the SEC as the most powerful conference this year. Judging from the performance of Ohio State and media darling Michigan in the bowls, the Big 10 was over rated.
  Looks like the ACC is the league that needs some applause, except for Louisville. I bet the people who voted for the Cardinals’ Lamar Jackson over Clemson’s Deshaun Watson for the Heisman said, “Oops,” after LSU made Jackson look rather mediocre.
  Despite his massive amount of interceptions, Watson is still the best player in the country.
  Last week, I said Watson would be the difference in the Ohio State game. He was. While the Buckeye’s J.T. Barrett gets a lot of love from the press, he isn’t a very good passer.
  Clemson’s defensive line made him look less than average.
  Last year, Alabama had the “greatest defensive front seven in college football history,” and they could not contain Watson.
  This year, Watson has Williams to throw to, and he is the best wide receiver in college football. He missed last year.
  Alabama’s defense is amazing. The Tide does not just intercept passes. They return them for scores.
  Their defense has turned close games around with big plays. Washington was supposed to be the best team the Tide had faced this year. Alabama played around with them for a couple of quarters, and won by 17.
  Clemson will definitely be the best team Alabama has played this year. If the Tide can shut down Clemson’s offense, they deserve their second straight title.
  I don’t think they can. I also don’t think the Tide, with a true freshman quarterback, can win a scoring track meet with the Tigers, although they did accomplish that against Ole Miss.
  Like Saluda, I think Clemson has the better team, but will the orange Tigers prevail, or will experience win out again?
  It’s going to be a great game!


WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR

  My tape of the Carolina-South Florida bowl game was rewound without a watch.
  I don’t waste my time watching losing efforts.
  Apparently, this is a game a 6-6 team gave away against a 10-2 team.
  When you lose two fumbles inside the two and throw a pick six, but have to go to overtime to lose, there is promise for the future when you lose only one starter on offense.
  But, as Will Muschamp said after the game, when you score 39 points, you should win.
  The Gamecock defense has been abysmal for three straight years, and thank goodness Carolina has a coach who knows defense and how to recruit defensive players.
  Florida fired Muschamp, but has played for the SEC championship for two straight years with his players. You add the records of those two Florida teams to Muschamp’s Florida record, and his 28-21 goes to 46-28. That’s not too bad.
  He knows the Gamecocks have got to get some speed on defense. I’m still upset at the previous staff for resting on their laurels, and not carrying on the great recruiting that brought Clowney and company to USC.
  Clemson did not quit after Carolina won five years in a row. The Tigers got better.
  With all their offensive standouts returning next year, the Gamecocks should be explosive. A new offensive line coach should be able to improve a disappointing bunch.
  But will the defense be able to stop anyone? Skai Moore returns after missing this season, but he’s only one person.

INCREDIBLY SAD

  Last week, was one of the saddest I can remember.
  I was about to unlock the front door of the office Tuesday, when Ora Corley drove up, rolled down her car window, and asked if I had heard that Butch Bedenbaugh had died.
  I was floored. I’d known Butch since he was a little boy.
  When I came to work for the Standard-Sentinel in 1976, the building was located just across the street from the Trail Restaurant on North Main (where Cousins’ Antiques is located today).
  Practically every day, we’d cross the street to eat. Butch would wait on the tables, along with his grandmother Myrtice Calk, his mother Mary, and his Aunt Mae Kerby.
  The food was great. The Trail had its own special recipe for Thousand Island dressing, and I had a salad with the dressing every day.
  The fun and fellowship with Butch and his family was what made eating at the Trail special.
  He was a loyal Gamecock fan, and we often talked about those trials and tribulations.
  Butch was a hard working man, and he was finally going to retire from the SCDOT on the week he died. It just doesn’t seem fair.
  Later Tuesday, we learned of death of Carrie Fisher. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, has always been one of my favorite actresses, and I have followed Carrie all her career. She was so talented. Like  Butch, Carrie was 60.
  Wednesday, I got a notification on my phone that Debbie Reynolds had been rushed to the hospital. That night the word came that she had died.
  Legendary daughter and mother died a day apart. It didn’t seem real.
  “Singing in the Rain” has always been one of my favorite movies, so I rented it from Amazon and watched it Thursday night. Debbie was only 19-years-old when she got the part, and had to learn how to dance, so she could go tap to toe with legends Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelley. She practiced so hard her feet bled.
  I admired her for her project later in her life to preserve costumes and props from Hollywood’s greatest movies.
  From acting in Hollywood to acting in Saluda, I was saddened when I learned of the passing of Betty Palmer.
  Betty was one of the original members of The Saluda Players, and was in the second play we ever did, “The Diviners.”
  We had so much fun doing these plays. We were serious during the live performances, but we laughed a lot during practices.
  Betty had such a great sense of humor.
  Then we heard the sad news that Melody Matthews Cockrell had died. She was only 40.
  Many of us watched Melody grow up as she waited on tables at her father John’s Matthews Barbecue.
  Later in the week, I learned of the death of Joye Johnson.
  Joye was one of the many first cousins of my grandmother Eugenia Shealy on the Grigsby side of the family. She was one of Uncle Jake and Aunt Ada’s daughters.
  Like many of the cousins, she grew up in Emory Church.
  Joye was one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known. She was a wonderful teacher, and a great lover of history.
  One day when I was in the Museum, she walked up to me with a thick family history book. She pointed to a name.
  Through her research she had discovered we were related to both Bonham and Travis through the Smith side of the Grigsby family. We were both excited about that!
  Sunday, when I got home from church I looked on Facebook, and saw Joye’s daughter Gena post that her father, J.C. Johnson, had also died.
  Mercy. A mother and daughter in Hollywood, and a husband and wife in Saluda, die days apart.
  J.C. Johnson was as good a man as you would ever want to meet. He and Joye were a perfect match, and their children Julia, Carson and Gena made them proud.
  I’m sure after over 66 years of marriage, they wanted to go to Heaven together.
  Yes, it was truly a sad, sad week.