Tidbits - September 8, 2022


  “Were number one!” used to be a cheer at football games back when I was in high school.
  It didn’t matter if your team had a losing record  or was getting beat 30-0, you still yelled “We’re number one!”
  The fact is, not many teams can actually say, “We’re number one!”
  In South Carolina high school football only one team in each of the five classifications can make that claim. Last week, Saluda High was top ranked in 2A.
  Such a distinction comes with mixed emotions.
  When I texted Tiger Coach Stewart Young about the recognition, his response was “rat poison.”
  Beating the number one team gives opponents an extra incentive.
  The Tigers were tied for third two weeks ago, but opponents don’t get nearly as fired up to beat “tied for third.”
  As far as I can remember, the last time Saluda was ranked number one during the regular season was 1980. (If I’m wrong, I’m sure Keith Lester, with his great memory, will straighten me out.)
  Coach Melvin Bouknight’s team shut-out top ranked Batesburg-Leesville in the second game of the year and earned the top spot.
  The next week, the Tigers met Strom Thurmond’s Ira Hillary, who had one of the greatest games ever played against Saluda. The Rebels won 34-0, and the Tiger reign lasted only one week.
  I wouldn’t dare write about the Thurmond defeat, if this newspaper didn’t come out until after Saluda met Ninety Six on Friday, September 2. Hopefully, the Tigers remained number one. If not, Coach Young was right, “rat poison.”
  Regardless of what happened against Ninety Six,  being ranked number one is quite a honor earned by your team. You have earned the respect of sportswriters from throughout the state.
  We all know Saluda ended the 2019 season as the top ranked team in 2A by winning the state championship. Few remember the Tigers dropped completely out of the 2A top ten by losing their final two regular season games. There are no polls during the play-offs. Basically, unranked Saluda won the state championship by beating four number one seeds in a row. A remarkable run.
  Prior to 1980, you have to go back to 1973 for the last time the Tigers were ranked number one. Saluda was a 3-A school then.
  Along with being ranked number one in 3-A for most of the year, Saluda was also ranked as high as fourth in the state’s overall Top Ten. The overall top team included teams from all classifications. It’s no longer done, except by MaxPreps, which had the Tigers ranked 27th in the state last week.
  Old-timers will remember, the 11-0 Tiger team lost 14-13 to Clinton in the Upperstate Championship game. Despite being titleless, the 1973 team will long be remembered as one of the best in school history.
  I don’t recall where Saluda’s previous state champions, 1941, 1962, 1963 were ranked during the regular season. The ‘63 team lost twice before the play-offs, but the 1941 and 1962 teams were undefeated, so they probably were ranked number one in class A and B..
  Abe Fennell, sports editor of The State in 1941, declared Saluda the best team in S.C. that year, using a formula of “who beat who.”

  I got home from the Saluda Jayvee game Thursday, September 1, and turned all three of my TVs in my den to college football games.
  So,  begins my favorite time of the year.
  I had to get back to working on the paper, so I retired to my bedroom where I only have two TVs. Disappointing, I know.
  I faced a conundrum Saturday, September 3, when I was forced to watch the Carolina-Georgia State game, because it’s on a streaming channel I don’t have the capability of recording.
  As you know, I don’t watch Carolina sports live. I record then and watch later, if they win.
  Now, I don’t know how the Carolina-Georgia State game came out, because of our Friday deadline. The possibility always exists that I get disgusted with the Gamecock performance and turned the channel. It’s happened many times before.
  With my multiple TVs set up, some remarkable coincidences have happened.
  Thursday morning, I was watching one of my “murder shows” on one TV in my bedroom. The murder victim was described as  being such a good person, he was like “Leave it to Beaver.”
  I looked up at my other TV and what was playing on MeTV? “Leave it to Beaver,” of course.
  At least three times, something about celebrity scrolls by on Instagram and I look at the TV and there the celebrity is on the program that made them famous.
  Of course, if I only had one TV, none of these ”miracles” would have happened.

  It was another sad week in Saluda County. It seems this has become a regular occurrence.
  Lois Berry was the mother of my classmate Linda Berry Rago. Her son Robert married my cousin Lisa Winn, and her late husband, Karl, was the longtime Saluda County Democratic Party chairman. Seeing all this you’ll see had I contact with Mrs. Lois a good bit, and I enjoyed every minute. She had a great personality.
  Mildred Wilson Griffith was another sweet lady, who visited the Standard-Sentinel office a good bit. Her son, Darron, was the longtime director of Saluda County’s DSS office. She was proud of Darron and his family.
  Paul Riddle was a fine man. He’d drop by our office to put ads in about his pecan business. He was also Saluda County’s chief deputy coroner for many years and a loyal member of the Circle Fire Department..  I always enjoyed talking to Paul.
  Albert Perry was another regular visitor to our office, usually putting information about his church, Pleasant Hill.
  He was proud to be a grandson of Saluda County’s legendary “Sleeping Preacher,” Major Perry.
  If you don’t know the story, the Sleeping Preacher would go to sleep and preach wonderful sermons, quoting scripture word for word, even though he did not know how to read.