Tidbits - October 31 2019

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

ALMOST PERFECT

  Saluda fans made their way to their second football home, Hite Stadium, Friday and saw what they always see, a well-oiled machine called the Abbeville Panthers.
  The Tiger lost 48-20, and when reading that score, you see a blow-out, but it really wasn’t. There are two 2A teams that have the talent to play with the Panthers, Southside Christian and Saluda, but Abbeville wins those match-ups.
  You know why? Turnovers, and lack thereof.
  Abbeville intercepted four Southside Christian passes in the 14-10 win this year. Saluda turned the ball over four times against the Panthers Friday.
  Saluda proved against Strom Thurmond that you can make four turnovers and still win a game, but that is rare.
  Making turnovers is a normal part of the game, but when the other teams does not make mistakes, your team is dead.
  Saluda has played Abbeville six times since 2015. In those six games, the Panthers have turned the ball over a total of four times.
  Let me repeat. Saluda turned the ball over four times Friday night. Abbeville has turned the ball over four times since 2015 against the Tigers. We all know the Panthers have won four straight 2A state championships. They will win their fifth if Southside Christian or Saluda don’t take them out in the play-offs.
  It could happen.
  Take away Saluda’s four turnovers and you’ve got a close game. The Tigers had 475 yards in total offense against the best 2A team in the state.
  Until Saluda, no team on Abbeville’s schedule had scored more than 14 points in a game, and that was in a 52-14 win over Fox Creek.
  The Tigers scored 20 and had a first and goal at the Panther five-yard-line as time was running out, but failed to score.
  The sixth ranked team in 4A at the time, Hartsville, traveled to Hite Field earlier in the year and lost 31-10. That’s how good this school with only 485 students is.
  There’s no weakness, unless you count the 408 passing yards by the Tigers.
  The Panthers rushed for 447 yards. They have three backs that if you give them a step, they are gone. The Tigers saw two 75-yard touchdown runs by two different backs.
  They rarely pass. They only completed two passes against the Tigers, but they were perfectly thrown. One was a 50-yard touchdown pass.
  Oh, and their kicker has been named the best in 2A. His extra points look like 40-yard field goals, most of his kick-offs got into the end zone, and his punts go so high they draw rain.
  And if you think Abbeville is going to run out of talent any time soon, you should have attended the Saluda-Abbeville jayvee game last Thursday. The Panther Jayvee’s won 54-19, and they are loaded with backs who can fly.
  So much for the Panthers. If they weren’t playing my team, they would be a pleasure to watch.
  The Tigers set school records against the best team in 2A. That says something about Saluda’s offense.
  I was looking back through some old stats and ran across an amazing passing total. In the 2000 season, Saluda quarterback Ken Gary completed 16 passes in 11 games for a total of 270 yards.. You can gather from this Coach Donnie Woolsey liked the running game.
  Friday, Saluda quarterback Noah Bell completed 37  passes in one game.
  Ken only attempted 70 passes in 2000. Noah attempted 57 against the Panthers.
  Thursday, Jayvee quarterback Jonah McCary attempted 36 passes, and wide receiver Austin Summer attempted one.
  In the varsity and jayvee games, Saluda’s quarterbacks completed 56 out of 94 passes for 658 yards!
  That would have been 3.5 seasons for the 2000 team!
  I’ve  been covering Saluda football for this paper since 1977, and I’ve seen so many teams where the forward pass was treated like the plague.
  The Tigers have been fun to watch, and I hope the fun continues Friday when the B&L Panthers come to town.
  The comparative scores against like opponents is very close.
  The Ridge Spring-Monetta - B&L game was called with B&L leading 21-0. That was the fist game of the year when the big storm came through, moving the end of the Saluda-Strom Thurmond game to Saturday  morning. Saluda beat RSM 41-6 in a game the Tigers led 41-0 at halftime.
  B&L lost to Abbeville 30-6 and Saluda lost 48-20.
  The Panthers beat Fox Creek 55-12, Saluda won 50-7.
  B&L beat Ninety Six 39-14, and the Tigers won 43-14.
  The one game that has the most disparity was Silver Bluff, a team the Panther beat 33-7, and the Tigers romped to a 55-0 win.
  This is a big game that will determine second place in the conference. I know there will be a big crowd for Senior Night.

STILL DONE

  Well, Carolina played another game I didn’t have to watch.
  Tennessee was down to their second and third team quarterbacks and had a bunch of injuries and Carolina lost 41-21, after leading 21-17 at the half.
  Something has to be done.
  Muschamp has been there four years, and the team has played three uninspired games against teams they should have beaten, UNC, Missouri and Tennessee. I’m sorry, but that’s on the coaching staff.
  It’s too late for the “We have to get better” excuses. Eight games have been played.
  Someone said Muschamp’s teams are a lot like those of Tommy Bowden at Clemson. They get up for big games, but flop in others.
  Maybe, there’s a Dabo on the Carolina staff, or maybe he’s coaching at Georgia State!
  I don’t see how Carolina can pay a $22 million buy out, so I guess you fans who are not done are stuck. Me? I’ll just keep deleting the recording.
  Clemson fans are now happy to know Alabama is getting the Tiger treatment in the polls. The Tide crushed a sorry Arkansas team, while LSU beat a ranked Auburn squad, so the Tigers of LSU jumped to number one this week.
  Clemson better look out. Even though Appalachian State is ranked, I don’t envision the Gamecocks getting up for that game, or Vanderbilt or Texas A&M.
  I expect the Gamecocks will be fired up against Clemson.

ENOUGH, TOM!

  I’ve got nothing against Tom Steyer, personally, but I am sick of seeing him.
  I wonder when his $36 billion runs out?
  His campaign for president isn’t just on local network TV, but on the cable, satellite and streaming channels, and also on social media.
  I have all the commercial memorized!

DOUG PADGETTE

  I was saddened at the passing of Doug Padgette last week.
  Doug had been away from Saluda County for most of his adult life, but he came home to be buried at Emory Church, where he grew up, a son of Davenport and Gladys Padgette, and the brother of Dr. Bela Herlong.
  His wife, Barbara, was a dear friend of my late aunt, Kay Killingsworth Parris, and they roomed together at Winthrop.
  The only times I saw Doug were when he would come home to visit his parents or Bela. I always enjoyed talking to him.
  He always had a story about growing up in Saluda County, and he told me stories about my family.
  One day he said, ”Did you know your Uncle Ed was in all the major battles in the Pacific during World War II?”
  I didn’t know. I never heard Uncle Ed mention anything about his war experiences, but Doug filled me in.
  Doug had a long, successful engineering career that took him around he Southeast, but he never forgot home.