P.O. Box 668
Saluda, SC 29138
Phone 864 445-2527
Fax 864 445-8679
Email sentinel@saludasc.com



  I saw Tom Blease after the Saluda - Batesburg-Leesville game Friday and told him. “What a great year this has been for us to get inducted into the Hall of Fame!”
  A Hall of Fame induction is big, but for the 2015 Tigers to go 8-2 in the regular season and beat arch-rivals Strom Thurmond and Batesburg-Leesville along the way, the honor has been made even more special for me.
  The 2015 team is one of my personal favorites.
  I first began paying attention to Saluda High football in 1962. Prior to that I was playing football with my friends with a football made out crushed together paper cups, on many various spots around the outskirts of the field. The actual game was incidental.
  In 1962 Tom was the star of a team that was loaded with great athletes and won the Class A State Championship with a 12-0-1 record. This team was fun to watch and I had two first cousins, Larry Thompson and Russell Shealy, on the team, so I needed to pay attention.
  Larry and Russell were also on the 1963 team that won the title. This team was fun, too, except they actually lost two games, one to York, a team the would meet again and beat in the state championship game.
  Then we skip ten years to 1973.
  I was an adult when I watched the great ‘73 team. I had two first cousins on that one, too, Bobby and Danny Thompson. This team went 11-1, losing the Upper State Championship game to Clinton 14-13.
  Was this team fun to watch? Is beating Thurmond 65-0, Ninety Six 56-0 and Batesburg-Leesville 33-0 fun? Oh, yes!
  Then we have to skip 23-years to 1997. That’s how long it took for Saluda to win another conference championship.
  The 1997 team was special to me because my father was dying during that season. You don’t think football can help you through trying times? You’re wrong.
  The day we found out Daddy’s cancer had spread to his brain,  Saluda beat Abbeville 19-18 on a rain drenched Panther field to win their first region title since 1973. The 1997 team, by the way, was picked to finish last in the region in pre-season polls.
  It took only six more years to find another of my favorites, the 2003 Tigers. This team also won the Region title, and became the first team since 1973 to beat Strom Thurmond and Batesburg-Leesville in the same season. This team was also picked near the bottom in the pre-season.
  My favorite non-winning team was the 2006 Saluda Tigers that finished 5-6. The was the one and only team in my 53-years of watching that relied almost exclusively on the pass. Ryan Nichols threw for over 1700 yards and 20 touchdowns, and Trevor Deloach caught 64 passes, including 14 in one game!
  Then we have the 2015 Tigers. I’m not saying this is my favorite of my now seven favorites, but it’s close.
  None of the prior six favorites averaged 36 points a game, but the 2015 team has. Only one Saluda team ever has scored more than the 34 points against Thurmond that the Tigers scored this year, and that was the 65 scored in 1973.
  No Saluda team EVER has scored 52 points against Batesburg-Leesville like this team did Friday. The 42 points against B&L  in 1962 are the most I have been able to find against the Panthers.
  They’ve averaged 250 yards a game rushing and 150 passing, and they’ve beaten three conference champions - 1-A McCormick, 3-A Midland Valley and 2-A Strom Thurmond, and six play-off teams.
  I congratulate Coach Stewart Young, his staff and the 2015 Tigers. You have given this community something to shout about, and we’re not through yet.
  This team had to beat Batesburg-Leesville to make the play-offs, and they responded beautifully.
  I wrote earlier this year how I have been touched by players and cheerleaders standing in front of the band and singing the Alma Mater at the end of the games, win or lose.
  They got beat 48-20 at Abbeville and the band didn’t make the trip, but the players and cheerleaders sang anyway. They may have lost the game by 28 points, but singing the Alma Mater without music made them winners, for sure.
  They haven’t lost since!


  I did not watch the Duke-Miami game, but soon after it concluded I started getting notifications on my phone about the “miracle” Miami kick-off return, and, of course, I watched the replay.
  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see a miracle. I saw one the Miami players lateral a ball when his knee was clearly touching the ground. He was down. Game over.
  I also saw a good many other infractions, like blocks in the back, along the way.
  I can understand how refs could miss some of those on the field, with all the confusion, but how did the guy in the replay booth miss them, too?
  The ACC admitted the refs and replay guy missed four infractions that would have made the touchdown invalid. They suspended the on field crew and replay guy for two games, but they couldn’t change the outcome of the game.
  Of course, Duke could have eliminated any controversy by simply making a tackle, but they didn’t.
  That one screw-up by the refs could keep Duke out of the ACC championship game, and that is a shame.
  I apologize to the fans at the Saluda-B&L game. I try my best not to be an obnoxious public address announcer.
  Friday, when offsetting penalties was called, I announced, “That’s the fourth time that has happened tonight.”
  Well, it was, but I don’t think I needed to tell you all.
  As my grandmother used to say, “In all my borne days,” I have never seen four offsetting penalties called in one game.
  I’ve also never seen defensive holding called on a running play, but that’s what happened Friday.
  B&L’s great tailback Terrance Wilson scored on a 52-yard run, but a flag was thrown where you normally see offensive holding called. The play was coming back, I thought.  
  Wrong! It was called on Saluda.
  The call did not effect the outcome of the game, but it was puzzling to me, none the less.


  Clemson is a lot like Saluda in that the orange Tigers have been fun to watch this year.
  The Tigers have had two close games, Louisville and Notre Dame, and those were by far the best teams they’ve played.
  Saturday will tell the tale, when Clemson meets Florida State.
  I have not been impressed by the Seminoles this year, but they always give Clemson a good game.
  If the Tigers win, the “Final Four” will be looking good.
  I’m not being a Gamecock pessimist, but I can’t imagine Carolina’s awful defense stopping the DeShaun and company.
  Carolina made another novice quarterback look like a Heisman winner in the Texas A&M game.
  Saturday, the Gamecocks play Tennessee and the quarterback who led the 14 point fourth quarter comeback last year. Carolina, literally,  gave Tennessee wins the last two years.
  Maybe, they can return the favor.