Tidbits - September 7 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



TALE OF TWO....

  Football is back!
  High school football just finished it’s third week, and college football got underway this past weekend.
  Like many, my eyes were glued to the TV set.
  Carolina was one of the few Power 5  teams that began with year against a quality opponent.
  I’d much rather open with a cream puff, like Clemson did with Kent State. You’re able to get the kinks out.
  Clemson’s new offensive players got to earn some confidence against Kent, and that will help them when they play Auburn this weekend.
  Since Lou Holtz thought playing on Thursday on ESPN to open the college season was great for exposure and recruiting, Carolina has opened with a quality opponent a lot in recent years.
  Thank goodness they didn’t open on Thursday, because I hate Thursday games.
  When did Saluda play last week? On Thursday!
  Early in the week the weather reports called for a complete washout on Friday, so many schools in the state opted to move their games. Mid-Carolina was one of those schools. The Saluda junior varsity and varsity played a doubleheader at the Rebel Field.
  Ever heard of a “trap game?” Well, Saluda almost got trapped.
  It was only after the game, when I had my weekly Facebook Messenger chat with Newberry High stat man and sportswriter Wilson Senn, that I learned Mid-Carolina was on a 13-game losing streak entering the game.
  I would have really been worried had I known,  because three years ago Mid-Carolina came to Saluda with an 18-game losing streak and left with a miracle win.
  Saluda did not need to go into the Rebels’ record book again.
  After getting off to 14-0 start, the Tigers got outplayed until Mid-Carolina took 21-14 lead with 10 minutes to go in the game. The Tigers came to life, the “cream rose to the top,” and the better team rallied to win 28-21.
  I applaud the Rebels for their outstanding play and the Tigers for responding when they were definitely down. They avoided the trap. That’s what teams who have learned how to win in the last couple of years do.
  The Rebels lost their 14th straight, and the prospects for getting a win don’t look good. The Rebels played Chapin and Saluda in the first two games, and have Batesburg-Leesville, Ninety Six, Abbeville, Broome, Clinton, Chapman, Woodruff and Newberry remaining.
  Talk about a killer schedule!!! The only team on Mid-Carolina’s schedule that hasn’t won a state championship in its history is Newberry, and the Bulldogs have been in the title game several times in the last few years.
  The Tigers have this week off, and the next opponent Batesburg-Leesville is definitely not a trap!
  There is something about rescheduled games. I just had a feeling Saluda was going to beat Thurmond in the season’s opener last year, but a storm came up about an hour before kick-off and the game was rescheduled for Saturday morning.
  The Tigers proved they were not a morning team and got blistered by the Rebels. The “fire” does not carry over.
  Later, Saluda’s Friday game with Mid-Carolina was also rained out and rescheduled for Saturday morning. That game was 7-7 at halftime, but Saluda “woke up” to win 42-7.
  The Saluda-Mid-Carolina game shocked me. The Carolina-N.C. State outcome did not.
  For some reason, I felt the Gamecocks were going to win this game for months.
  The Wolfpack have gotten a lot of love in the pre-season, even though they only finished 7-6. One sportswriter predicted they would be in the final play-offs. The reason is they have 18 starters returning from a team that “almost...”
  Truth be known, if N.C. State had a field goal kicker last year, Clemson would not have unfurled a National Championship banner this year.
  The Wolfpack also almost beat Florida State.
  Under the current coach, N.C. State has had a good many “almost” wins,  coupled with losses to rotten teams like Boston College.
  Saturday, against the Gamecocks, the Wolfpack had another “almost” win. With their talent, however, it would not surprise me if the Wolfpack ended up with a great season. Remember, a couple of years ago the Gamecocks beat UNC in the Charlotte opener and the Tar Heels then reeled off 11 straight wins.
  Like in the Saluda-Mid-Carolina game, the losing team had the most offensive yards, but it’s the final score that counts.
  As you all know, I did not watch the game live, but I kept getting notifications on my phone with the score and big play videos. Waiting for the final score is agony.
  My college roommate Mickey Gresham was working and kept texting me, asking for the score, so I passed on what I knew, even though I, too, was not watching.
  I started Saturday watching Clemson and Kent State. I could tell within minutes, this was going to be a major blow-out, so I began searching for a good game.
  Did you know at times on Dish Network Saturday, there were 12 games on at the same time?
  There were not many quality games on a 12 noon, so I settled watching the Missouri-Missouri State game that had absolutely no defense. It was very entertaining.
  I guess because Missouri scored 72 points and had over 800 yards in offense is the reason the Tigers are the early favorites over the Gamecocks, but Missouri State had won five games in two years coming into the contest.
  Carolina and Missouri might be a record setting game,  because neither team stopped the pass in their openers.
  The Auburn-Clemson game should be a classic.
  The weekend’s big games lived up to the hype. Well, almost.
  The Alabama-Florida State game was pretty boring. Most defensive struggles are.
  Alabama appears to be a shoe-in for the “Final Four.”  If Florida State can come up with a quarterback, they have the defense to make it, too. I always hate when players get season ending injuries. The Seminole quarterback Deondre Francois was going to have a outstanding season, before he was lost to a knee injury.
  Sunday’s game were great. While watching the Southern 500 on one TV, I was switching between the Virginia Tech-West Virginia game and the UCLA-Texas A&M game on the other.
  When the Aggies got off to a blistering start and led 38-10 at halftime, I devoted most of my watching to the  Hokies and Mountaineers.
  I turned over to see Texas A&M had upped the lead to 44-10.
  The next time I turned over with was 44-30, and then it became 44-38.
  UCLA scored with 45 second  to go, kicked the extra point and won 45-44, completing a 34 point second half comeback.
  Texas A&M usually wins its first five or six games, before collapsing at the end of the season.
  This inexcusable loss may mean Aggie coach Kevin Sumlin is toast!

I CALLED HIM TYSHUN

  Carolina’s Deebo Samuel scored three touchdowns against N.C. State.
  Did you know he also scored five touchdowns against Saluda High during his high school career at Chapman?
  In 2012 at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field, SHS and CHS engaged in a record breaking game that  Chapman won 55-47, coming back from a 21 point deficit..
  Tyshun Samuel, as his name was listed in the program, caught two touchdown passes in that game.
  The next year in Inman, it was Saluda that staged an 18-point comeback, but Chapman eventually won 28-24.
  In that game, Deebo scored on touchdown passes of ten and 85 yards, and on a ten yard run.
  It was that game that I saw how special Samuel was.
  When the Panthers got off to a 21-3 lead, it was because Deebo was the featured offensive threat.
  For some reason, the Panther coaches took the ball out of Deebo’s hands and used other players, and Saluda came back to take a 24-21 lead.
  The Chapman coaches decided to once again feature Deebo, and the Panthers clawed out the win.
  That game put Deebo in my Saluda opponent “hall of fame,” right up there  with Thurmond’s Ira Hillary, who also went on to have a pretty stellar career at Carolina.

REMEMBERING?

  We had a great revival at Emory last week.
  Rev. Rodney Powell was the preacher and he did a wonderful job.
  He had outstanding sermons that he laced with jokes.
  I laughed out loud at one of his jokes Tuesday night, but Wednesday morning I could not remember a key line in the joke.
  I saw Thomas Shealy at Punk’s when I took the papers by Wednesday morning, and he remembered the line.
  Sunday  morning at church, Wayne Fulmer and I were talking about the joke and neither one us could remember the line. Thomas came out of his Sunday School class and I asked him again.
  This time I put the line in the notes app of my phone.
  With all that I feel I have to share the joke with you, but guess what? I forgot the line again, but I went to my phone...
  A pastor was preaching a revival, and after the first service, a little old lady came up to him and said, “You’re something else.”
  “Why, thank you,” he said, not really knowing what she meant.
  The rest of the week she said the same thing to him after each service.
  After the final night of revival, he had to know.
  “You’ve been telling me ‘You’re something else,’ after each service. Just what do you mean?’
 “I said ‘You’re something else,’” she said, “because you’re sure not a preacher!”

WILMOT CAMERON

  I was saddened to learn of the passing of Wilmot Cameron.
  His son Dennis was in our office just a few weeks ago and told me they were moving his Dad to an assisted living facility near where Dennis and his wife Evelyn live in Clover.
  Wilmot suffered a stroke Saturday.
  For many years, he was one Saluda’s radio and TV salesmen and repairmen.
  I think we got the first TV my family ever owned from him.
  His first store was on the first floor of what is now the Wills Nationwide Agency. Mr. Motte Yarbrough’s law office was upstairs.
  I had a ‘56 Cadillac when I was in college. The radio didn’t work, so I went to a lot of trouble to remove the radio from the car and took it to Wilmot.
  The first thing he said was, “Where’s the other part?”
  “What?,” I said.
  Sure enough, in the far right corner under the dash was the second part of the radio. You have never seen so many tubes!
  He fixed the radio.
  In the last couple of years, we have lost Baxter Shealy and Wilmot Cameron, two men who brought entertainment into our lives with televisions, radios, stereos and VCRs.
  What joy we had because of them!
  You can buy all those things in variety stores now, but back then the TV stores  were where dreams came true.
  Wilmot Cameron will be greatly missed.