P.O. Box 668
Saluda, SC 29138
Phone 864 445-2527
Fax 864 445-8679
BY RALPH SHEALY
As I lifelong Gamecock fan, I have been shocked many times.
I was at the point of nausea when I witnessed Carolina lose to Furman, The Citadel and Appalachian State.
I attended three quarters of Clemson’s 63-17 history maker, and Florida’s 54-17 win in the “Blackout” game, when that coach I used to hate said, “We liked the blackout. Our receivers could see the football better.”
All those games were in the “Chicken Curse” days, when nothing really surprised me.
I thought we were over that.
Only one other game in my Gamecock lifetime came close to the total annihilation of a dream season as was inflicted by Texas A&M last Thursday.
I wrote about this years ago.
In 1974 Carolina head football coach Paul Dietzel declared the Gamecocks were about the enter their “golden age of football.”
Of course, hearing this, every fan got excited. After all, Dietzel had coached LSU to the national championship in 1958, beating of all teams, Clemson.
Paul had been a great athletic director. The Coliseum, The Roost, Sarge Frye Field and the first upper deck at the football stadium were built under his administration. He sold the old stadium seats to SHS.)
Plus, he coached the Gamecocks to the ACC championship in 1969. We were ready to turn the corner.
I was working at Wing Publications at the time and one of my coworkers lived in Olympia. The editorial staff, all Gamecock fans, decided we would tailgate at the house, then walk to the stadium to see Carolina’s “golden days” begin.
Dietzel had been bragging about his new defense. I believe it was the Wide Tackle 6, which featured gaps between the front linemen.
Duke was the opponent, and Blue Devil backs ran through the gaps, and ran through the gaps, then ran through gaps. I believe they set the school rushing records that night.
The defense was treated to the “boo birds,’ and even though the game ended up relatively close with a late score, 20-14, the fans left early, heartbroken by what they thought they had, but didn’t.
That night, Dietzel announced he would resign at the end of the season. The “Golden Age” Gamecocks finished 4-6.
A little ironic note, the Duke coach that night was Mike McGee, who was the Carolina AD who hired Spurrier.
If you read my column last week, you saw I predicted Carolina would have its best team ever. I’m not the only one. One of the SEC Network commentators picked the Gamecocks to win the national championship.
It was another one of those “on paper” situations, where papers don’t win football games, players do.
I fully expected Carolina to beat Texas A&M the way Texas A&M beat Carolina.
We know I can’t watch, so I recorded the game and watched “The Fault In Our Stars,” a tearjerker, which was very appropriate. By the time, the movie was over, Carolina was already out of the game.
Thanks to the Gamecocks, it took Texas A&M just one game to forget Johnny Football. Quarterback Kenny Hill set the school record for passing yardage and is now mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Carolina has created a few of those over the years.
The Gamecocks were supposed to have a great rushing attack, but when you’re getting blown out, you don’t run the ball much.
Thursday night, I did something I have never done before. I erased the game without watching a single play. I’ll have to take your word for it.
I was so excited when I saw Gov. Rick Perry introduce the James Butler Bonham Trophy on Channel 10 Wednesday night.
It was a thrill to hear a man who may run for President say, “Bonham and Travis were both from Saluda County.”
I heard Perry mention Saluda County on the radio Thursday morning.
From what happened Thursday, I wonder if that trophy will come back to S.C. any time soon.
Let’s tell it like it is, Steve Spurrier and his staff got out-coached.
I’ve become a bigger fan of Kevin Sumlin. He won the last two years with players he didn’t recruit, including Manziel, but this was his team and they were awesome .... at least, that’s what I heard.
I hope he doesn’t become another of those few coaches Spurrier can’t beat - Bobby and Tommy Bowden and Bobby Petrino to name the very few.
Perhaps this year, Carolina would have been better off opening against Krovney Tech, giving the young players some game experience against lesser talent.
Maybe, Texas A&M is the best team Carolina will play this year, although that team in Athens looks pretty good.
Some major improvements need to be made quickly, because East Carolina is also a throwing team.
With Carolina getting their butts soundly whipped, social media lit up from some fans of the friendly rivals.
Some Carolina and Clemson fans never learn. Here’s the rule, “Don’t rub it in until AFTER your team has played and won.”
Of course, it is best not to rub it in at all.
My preacher Paul Cheezem, a Clemson graduate, said it best in the pulpit Sunday, “What goes around on Thursday night, comes around on Saturday night.”
Although Clemson played much better against Georgia than Carolina played against Texas A&M, the Tigers still lost by the same 24 points, and had Georgia’s last touchdown not be called back, would have given up the identical 52 points.
What a game Todd Gurley played against Clemson!
The Tigers played well for three quarters against the Bulldogs, then Gurley was turned loose.
Now, he has two weeks to rest up for Carolina.
One consolation is Georgia usually doesn’t play well at Williams-Brice.
After S.C, State this weekend, Clemson has to go to Florida State.
Our two teams may be facing a rough start!
But as the old song goes, “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”
It is intersting that Texas A&M and Georgia were so impressive, Herb Herbstreit has picked them to be two of the teams in the “Final Four.”
Danny Bledsoe has always said the “Chicken Curse” came to Saluda High when we bought part of Carolina Stadium.
Friday, Saluda’s outstanding, sophomore running back Malik Brooks scored on a 49-yard run on his third carry of the season, and on his fifth carry of the year, he broke his arm.
The Tigers are very young, and Malik, even though he is only a 10th grader, has experience and was expected to have a tremendous year. All of the Tiger faithful wish him well.
Saluda’s 47-20 win looks like a blowout, but it wasn’t. The Tigers got two pick sixes, and one of those came late in the game.
I was impressed by the effort of both teams. Both had balanced offensive attacks, and the defenses came up with some big plays.
I was so saddened to learn of the passing of Elouese Miller over the weekend.
She and my mother were members of the Saluda High Class of 1949 and they have been friends ever since, and were co-workers for many years at Saluda High.
Like her, her late husband Kenneth was much loved. She and her daughter would join him when they sang at churches around the county.
Elouese Miller was a great lady with a wonderful personality. She will be greatly missed.
I appreciate the concern and support that has been shown since the legal notices have been published about my home and office.
As you can determine, it’s all about business, or lack thereof in this terrible economy our county has been struggling through for years.
I’ll elaborate more after the situation is settled this week.
Let me repeat, this is about buildings. The newspaper will go on.
|Site Content © Saluda Standard-Sentinel 2008. Site design by Hwynet Communications.|