Tigers Win 52-19

GAINING - Tiger running back Darrion Butler picks up yardage in Saluda’s 52-19 win over Midland Valley Friday at the Mustang stadium. Also pictured are Tyleke Mathis (2), Drew Arant (12) and Quron Abney (72). (SHS photo by Crystal Baird Canady)

Tigers Break
Mustangs 52-19

  Saluda scored a school record 36 points in the first quarter, and went on to crush 4A Midland Valley 52-19 Fri., Sept. 10, in Graniteville.
  Thanks to a two-point conversion after the first touchdown, the Tigers eclipsed by one point the school record 35 first quarter points scored against Mid-Carolina  in 2018.
  The week off the Tigers had to take due to Covid conditions, didn’t seem to effect the team.
  A 42-yard return of the opening kick-off by Darius Cleveland put the Tigers at the Mustang 37-yard line. On the fourth play of the drive Montrevious Baker scored from the one. Out of the bucket conversion formation, Baker passed to Jaquavious Moore for the two-point play, and Saluda led 8-0 with 11:06 to go in the first quarter.
  The Mustangs were stopped on three plays on their first possession, and their 56-yard punt as returned 40 yards by Tyleke Mathis to the 50-yard-line. A
  15-yard penalty against Midland Valley put the ball at the 35. On first down, quarterback Jonah McCary threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Zion Wright. Sam Espinoza kicked the PAT and Saluda led 15-0 with 9:24 still to go in the first.
 MV once again could not move after the kick-off, and Saluda got the ball at the 48. It took three plays to score. This one came on a 16-yard pass from McCary to Mathis. Espinoza’s kick made it 22-0 with 7:31 remaining.
  Midland Valley’s offense finally got going and moved to the Saluda 39 before running out of downs. Two straight holding penalties against the Tigers didn’t slow the offense down, as Baker broke into the open and ran 70-yards for his second score of the night. Espinoza’s kick upped the lead to 29-0 with 3:03 to go in the quarter.
  The record setting score was set up by an interception at the Mustang 27-yard-line by freshman Jaylen Nick on the second play of MV’s next possession. It took three plays to get the score, the touchdown coming on a 15-yard-pass from McCary to Mathis. Espinoza’s kick broke the scoring record with 50.7 to go in the first.
  In the second quarter, the Tigers began substituting. One of the biggest moves was “retiring” McCary as quarterback after only one quarter. His replacement, freshman Drew Arant, came in and promptly completed three straight passes, moving Saluda to 12-yard-line, where Baker scored his third TD of the night on a run. Espinoza was true on the kick and Saluda led 43-0.
  Espinoza’s pooch kick-off was untouched by the Mustang players and Saluda recovered the ball at the MV 36. Five penalties against the Tigers on the drive didn’t completely stop the scoring machine, as Espinoza came on to kick a 42-yard field goal with plenty to spare and Saluda led 46-0 with 4.48 to go in the half.
  The second quarter play showed the Tigers were not out to embarrass the Mustangs by continuing to play starters and running up the score.
    On the first offensive play of the second half, however, Saluda’s Hayden Stoudemire forced the Mustang quarterback to fumble and the Tigers took over at the MV 31-yard-line. Once again a first down penalty against the Tigers didn’t matter, as running back Darrion Butler broke 36-yards for Saluda’s final score of the game. Diego Licea missed the extra point kick and Saluda led 52-0 with 10:48 to go in the third quarter.
  From that point on, the Tiger offense ran the ball on all but one play and did not snap the ball until it was almost time for a delay of game penalty.
  Against the Saluda reserves, Midland Valley scored a touchdown in the third quarter, and two in the fourth to make the final score 52-19.
  There were few highlights for the Tiger offense in the second half, but as time was running out freshman quarterback Arant completed a 29-yard pass to his cousin, freshman Josh Uhlar. They are the great-grandsons of legendary Saluda High fan and supporter, the late Dave Werts Sr.
  Saluda’s offense was led by McCary, who completed six of seven passes for 113-yards and three touchdowns.In this first three games, McCary has completed 79 percent of his passes. Senior running back Baker, had another good game,  running seven times for 118 yards and three scores.
  It was another impressive performance by Saluda’s defense. Most of the scores by the opponents in the first three games have come against the Tigers reserves.
  For the third straight week, in which the Tigers have outscored opponents 52-20, 43-6 and 52-19, Saluda has been able to play every member of  the team. Offensively, the Tigers used two quarterbacks, six running backs and seven receivers. The 147 points scored in the first three games is a school record.
  Saluda will host Rabun County, Ga., High School Friday, after original foe Ninety Six had to cancel.
  Kick-off at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Mathews Field is 7:30