Tigers Win 21-14

TWO ON TWO - Saluda’s Tyleke Mathis (2) breaks one of his long touchdown runs in the Tigers’ exciting 21-14 win over Emerald Fri., Sept. 9. Mathis is being pursues by the Vikings Kareem Goode II (2). (SHS photo by Dean Roesner)

Tigers Edge
Emerald 21-14

  Saluda overcame a 14-0 first half deficit and went on to claim a hard fought 21-14 win  over Emerald Fri, Sept. 9, at Frank Hill Stadium in Greenwood.
  The Vikings proved to be a talented team, and  had a 14-0 lead with only 4:53 to go in the second quarter, but from that point on the game belonged to Saluda.
  In the first quarter, Saluda’s defense put up a great goal-line stand. The drive was set-up by a long punt return to the Saluda 27. On the fifth play of the drive the Vikings had first and goal at the Tiger four-yard-line. A three-yard gain on first down put the ball on the one, but that was followed by a three yard-loss on third down and a one yard loss on fourth.
  From the five, the Tigers could only gain five yards. On fourth down at the ten, Saluda punter Sam Espinoza got off a 58-yard punt, putting the Vikings at their own 32.
  On second down, quarterback Key Holloway hit wide receiver Jaiden Turner for a 65-yard gain to the Saluda one-yard-line. On second down, Jaylen Foster scored. The kick was blocked and Emerald led 6-0  with 2:19 to go in the first quarter.
  A Saluda drive to the Ninety Six 29, died on a fourth down incompletion in the second quarter. Aided by 20-yards in penalties against Saluda, Emerald drove 71-yards in seven plays. Foster scored the touchdown on a four-yard run, then stayed on to run the two-point conversion, giving Emerald a 14-0 lead with 4:43 to go in the first half.
  Then, Tiger senior Tyleke Mathis took over. Mathis took the Emerald kick-off at his 28, got to the sideline, then made a couple of brilliant cuts en route to the 72-yard return touch down.  On the clock was 4:37 to go, when Sam Espinoza’s kick cut Emerald’s lead to 14-7.
  For the second time this season, Espinoza’s pooch kick-off failed to be covered by the opposing team. Saluda’s Drew Arant recovered the ball at the Ninety Six 25.
  Brayden Williams gained six on first down, then the Tigers were rewarded another of their 12 penalties on the next play, moving the ball back to the 33. Saluda quarterback Jonah McCary was intercepted in the end zone on second down.
  Emerald was three plays and punt on their possession. The punt put the ball at the Saluda 31. Williams gained  to the 35 on second down.  The McCary found Mathis one the sideline and the speedster ran untouched for the 65-yard score. Espinoza tied the game at 14-14, and that’s where the halftime score stood.
  The second half belonged to two fine defenses.
  McCary was intercepted for the second time as time was running out in the third quarter. Twenty yards in penalties on one play against Saluda, put the ball at the Tiger 28. The Saluda defense had another great stand, holding Emerald to only two yards gained. The fourth down pass felt incompleted.
  Saluda took over at the Tiger 27. Williams gained two-yards on first down, and on the next play the speedy freshman scampered 51-yards to the Emerald 25.
  KenMane Brunson spelled William and gained six-yards on first down, and bolted 16-yaards on the next play to the Emerald one-foot line. McCary scored on he next play. Espinoza gave Saluda a 21-14 lad with 11:48 to go in the game.
  The Vikings had three more chances to tie the score, but Saluda’s defense held on fourth down all three times, including with 47 seconds to go in the game. A big sack of Holloway set up a fourth and 13, and his pass on fourth down was incomplete.
  McCary took a knee to run out the clock.
  Saluda had more penalty yards, 115, than is had passing, 101, and almost as much as rushing, 135. On the other, Emerald had only five penalties for 45 yards.
  The Tigers also had three turnovers to the Vikings’ none an still managed to pull out the victory.
  Williams led the rushing with 101 yards on 17 carries. Emerald’s defense had McCary running for his life for most of the game. He finished with ten completions in 24 attempts for 101 yards, two interceptions and one touchdown.
  Mathis led the receiving with four catches for 82-yards and a score.
  Emerald gambled on fourth down five times against the Tigers and failed all four times.
  The 2A top ranked Tigers raised their record to 4-0 in handing 3A Emerald its first loss of the year.
  The Tigers have this week off. They’ll complete their pre-conference season against unbeaten, and 3A sixth ranked Gilbert. The Indians won their first games by lopsided scores.