Tigers Beat Indians

SPECTACULAR CATCH - Saluda senior wide receiver Jarmarcus Mobley made a remarkable catch of a touchdown pass in the Tigers’ 33-21 win over Gilbert Fri., Sept. 23. It was Mobley’s second touchdown from a pass thrown by running back Brayden Williams. (SHS photo by Dean Roesner)

Tigers Win Ranked
Teams Battle, 33-21

  In a battle of Top Ten teams, Saluda’s top ranked 2A Tigers took an exciting 33-21 win over 3A’s 8th ranked Gilbert Fri., Sept. 23, at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Mathews Field.
  Although the Tigers claimed a 12-point win, the game was in doubt until Tyleke Mathis broke a 71-yard scoring run with 1:27 to go in the game.
  For the second straight game, Mathis’ speed proved to be a game changer as he scored on two long runs out of the Wildcat, but his biggest play may have been when he recovered a Tiger fumble in the end zone for a score. A recovery by Gilbert could have turned the game around.
  Saluda won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Tiger defense held the powerful ground game and forced a punt on the Indians’ opening possession of the game.
  The punt put the ball at the Tiger 42. Saluda came out on first down in the bucket formation the Tigers often use on extra point tries. Quarterback Jonah McCary thew a lateral pass to freshman running back Brayden Williams and he, in turn, threw to a wide open Jamarcus Mobley for a 58-yard scoring play. A bad snap foiled the extra point attempt and Saluda led 6-0 with 9:58 to go in the first quarter.
  The Tigers next possession resulted in another bad snap causing Sam Espinoza’s punt to be blocked. Gilbert took over at midfield.
  Saluda was plagued by penalties at inopportune moments throughout the game. On this Indian possession at 15-yarders against the Tigers put the ball at the Saluda 17.
  Gilbert moved to the Saluda nine and faced fourth and two. The Indians called on  6-2, 229-lb running back Jaden Allen-Hendrix, who not only got the first down, but got the score, too. David Augustin’s kick gave Gilbert a 7-6 lead with 2:44 to go in the opening period.
  An interception of a McCary pass at the Indian 30 set up Gilbert’s next score. The 70-yard drive ended with a 9-yard scoring pass from quarterback Chance Jennings to Connor Gooding. Augustin kicked the extra point and Gilbert led 14-6 with 9:49 to go in the half.
  The Tigers came right back mixing the run and pass on a 75-yard scoring march. With the ball at the one, McCary fumbled as he was hit at the goal line and fumbled. Fortunately for the Tigers, the alert Mathis fell on the ball near the back of the endzone for the score. Espinoza cut the Gilbert lead to 14-13 with 6:15 left.
  Saluda forced a punt on Gilbert’s next possession. From the Saluda 40, the Tigers moved to the Indian 29, where Williams, who was the starting quarterback on last year’s middle school team, took to the air again on the halfback option pass and thew to Mobley in the end zone, who made a spectacular catch for the touchdown. Espinoza’s kick at the 3:19 mark gave the Tigers a 20-14 lead that they took into the halftime locker room,.
  In the second half, Espinoza got off a tremendous 48-yard punt that went out of bounds at the Gilbert one-yard-line. At the 15, the Indians attempted to pass their way out of trouble, but Saluda’s Zion Wright intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown.
  Unfortunately, the Tigers were flagged on the play, wiping the touchdown out.
  Two plays later, McCary thew to Mathis for a 24-yard touchdown. Again, a Tiger penalty wiped out the score, and the threat eventually died.
 Neither team scored in the quarter. Other than the Tiger penalties, the highlight of the quarter was Espinoza’s punting that pinned the Indians at the one, three, and 14-yard-lines.
  The fourth quarter continued the scoreless trend. Then 20 points were scored in the final 2:49 seconds of the game.
  Midway in the final stanza, a Gilbert punt gave the Tigers the ball at their own 25. Saluda stayed on the ground behind he running of Williams, Brunson and McCary, moving to the Indian 38-yard-line. Mathis lined up in the Wildcat formation, took the snap, found a hole around the end and sped down the sideline for the touchdown with 2:49 to go in the game. Espinoza gave Saluda a 27-14 lead.
  The Saluda side of the stadium drew a sigh of relief, but it only lasted 11 seconds.
  On the first play after kick-off, Jennings threw to Hendrix down the middle and the big man ran 59-yards untouched for the score. Augustin cut Saluda’s lead to 27-21 with 2:38 still to go.
  Gilbert’s onside kick attempt was unsuccessful, and the Tigers got the ball at their own 46. Again, a penalty against the Tigers set the ball all the way back to the Saluda 29.
  For the second time in the game, Mathis lined up in the Wildcat, took the snap and took off down the sideline again. This time the touchdown run covered 71-yards. Another bad snap foiled the extra point try and Saluda led 33-21 with 1:27 to go in the game.
  Past history showed there was still plenty of time for the Indians to do something, however, Wright shut down any threat with his second interception of the game.