Region Champs

ON THE WAY- Saluda’s Jay Baker picks up good yardage on this play in the  Tigers’ 37-7 win over Fox Creek Friday. Baker was injured soon after the play and did not return to the game. (Photo by Trey Fingerlin)

Tigers Win Region Again!

Behind a ball-hawking defense, the Saluda Tigers earned their second region championship in a row with a 37-7 win over Fox Creek Fri., Oct. 27, at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field.
  The defense forced five turnovers and held the Predators to just 74-yards in total offense, 39 of those coming in the fourth quarter against the back-ups.
  Raquon Hartley got the turnover barrage going when he intercepted a Predator pass on the fourth play of the game. The Tigers took over at the Fox Creek 22.
  After the five-yard penalty was walked off against Fox Creek, Noah Bell threw nine-yards to Jake Baker on first down, then Baker ran the final eight-yards for the score on the next play. Francisco Yepez’ kick gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 10:03 to go in the first quarter.
  Midway in the period, Ashton Parkman’s 40-yard punt pinned the Predators at their own one-yard-line. On fourth down at the two, the Fox Creek punter stepped out of  the back of the end zone for Saluda’s fifth safety of the year, making the score 9-0 with 4:54 to go in the quarter.
  The safety kick-off from the 20 was returned by Demond Johnson to the Fox Creek 33. After back-to-back holding penalties against the Tigers, Bell threw to Baker for 16-yards to move the ball to the 22, but the leading receiver was injured on the play and did not return to the game.
  On second down at the 20, Bell broke into the clear on a run and scored. Yepez’s kick gave the Tigers a 16-0 lead with 2:39 remaining.
  The Tiger defenders recovered a Predator fumble on the third play after the kick-off, but on the Tigers’ first offensive play, freshman Madison Williams fumbled it back at the end of a 15-yard pass from Bell.
  Recovering at their own six, the Predators earned a first down, but on the fourth play of the second quarter, Saluda’s O’Syruis Springs intercepted a pass at the Fox Creek 28. This turnover did not lead to points, however, as Yepez missed a 27-yard-field goal attempt on fourth down at the ten.
  On their second possession of the second quarter, the Tigers moved 67-yards for the score in seven plays. A 19-yard run by Kentavius Burton keyed the drive. The touchdown came on a 27-yard pass from Bell to sophomore Keenan Brooks, who replaced the injured Baker. Yepez closed out Saluda’s first half scoring with the PAT.
  Saluda’s Sam Padgett recovered a Predator fumble at the 49 as time was running out, but the Tigers ran out the clock with the 23-0 lead.
  An interception by CJ Bosket set up Saluda’s only score of the third quarter. With the ball at the Predator 38, Bell gained 28-yards on third down to the Fox Creek ten. On third down at the one, Bell scored his second TD of the game. Yepez upped Saluda’s lead to 30-0 with 3:50 to go in the quarter.
  As time was expiring in the quarter, the Tigers started at drive at the Fox Creek 47 after a punt. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Bell threw 24-yards to Brooks for the finals score of the night. Brooks had only one reception coming into the game. After Yepez’ kick made it 37-0 with 11:29 to go, Coach Stewart Young turned the rest of the game over to the reserves.
  Aided by 30-yards in penalties against the Tigers, Fox Creek got on the scoreboard after an 80-yard drive with 3:59 to go in the game. The touchdown came on a nine-yard run by Ryan Chavous. Jackson Wray kicked the extra point.
  The Tigers were on the Fox Creek 15 yard line as time was running out, but chose to take a knee on three straight plays.
  With the win, the Tigers raised their record to 9-1, and have won nine straight after their opening game loss to Strom Thurmond.
  In winning their second straight region championship, the Tigers join  the 1962-1963 and 1955 -1956 Tigers as the only Saluda teams to win back-to-back conference titles.
  The Tigers begin their post-season play at home Friday against Central of Pageland.
  Fans are again reminded, seasons’ tickets are not valid at play-off games.

  Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m.

Tigers’ Brown Gets Big Honor

  Saluda’s Kalijiha Brown has been named the 2A Upstate Lineman of the Year  on the Palmetto Champions All-Star football team.
  The team, which is picked by the SC Football Coaches Association, includes a back, lineman and coach for each classification. The Palmetto Champions team will be honored Nov. 30 at a banquet at Seawells in Columbia. A Lineman, Back, Specialty Team Player, and Coach of the Year will be announced at the banquet.
  Last year, the Tigers’ Malik Brooks was named the Upstate Back of the Year.

WKA Knights celebrate Senior Night.  Pictured topto bottom are Jackson Parrish, Head Coach Zach Matthews, Carter Welsh, and Truman Caughman.

Knights Play Through Adversity Into Playoffs

By: Gerald Doolittle

  Batesburg-Leesville, S.C. -The W.W. King Academy Knights of Coach Zach Matthews have played themselves into the SCISA 8-Man Division Two Playoffs despite having to play through injuries to key players all season.
  The season started with a sixteen- man roster that gave Coach Matthews and staff hopes of another winning season and a possible trip to the finals.   Those hopes took a major blow in the season opener when two impact players went down with season ending knee injuries within a couple minutes of each other in the first quarter.  A couple weeks later another team member went down with a broken collarbone. 
  After getting off to a 1-6 start the Knights closed the regular season winning 3 of 4 to finish the regular season at 4-7.   With a third- place finish in region play, the Knights will play at Patrick in the first round of the playoffs.
  Jackson Parrish (Sr.) has been the offensive spark for the Knights in 2017.   On offense, he has rushed for 1202 yards on 189 carries for 18 touchdowns.   From his quarterback position he has completed 58 of 118 passes for 768 yards and 8 touchdowns.  He also has 23 returns for 606 yards and a touchdown.
  Sam Mitchell (Fr.) has rushed for 321 yards on 92 carries for 2 touchdowns.   He also has 9 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown and two returns for 36 yards.
  Bryan Doolittle (Jr.) has rushed for 308 yards on 95 carries for 2 touchdowns.  He also has 13 receptions for 106 yards and 97 yards in returns.  Isaiah Brock (Jr.) has rushed for 260 yards on 49 carries for 2 touchdowns.
  Truman Caughman (Sr.) has 21 pass receptions for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns.    Joe Sauls (So.) follows with 13 receptions for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Carter Welsh (Sr.) has 2 receptions for 50 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  Jackson Parrish, Garrett Doolittle (8th) and Reagan Pugh (Jr.) have led the defense.  Parrish has 135 tackles, 1 interception, 6 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries.  Doolittle has 101 tackles, 1 interception, 2 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries.   Pugh has 91 tackles, 4 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries.
  Welsh has recorded 69 tackles, 1 interception, 2 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries.  Joe Sauls leads in fumble recoveries with 4 followed by Isaiah Brock and Mitchell with 3 each.
  Rounding out the Knights roster with quality playing time is Quinten Miller (Fr.), Travis Long (Fr.) and River Guy (Jr.).
  Coach Matthews and staff hope to have all the underclassmen back in 2018 with good health and a strong desire to bring the Knights back into contention for a winning season.