Tigers Beat Mid-Carolina

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ON THE MOVE - Saluda tailback Malik Brooks breaks into the open in the Tigers 42-7 win over Mid-Carolina Saturday at home. Also pictured is Cade Rodgers (58). Photo by Trey Fingerlin)










Tigers Crush Rebels, 42-7







  Following a sluggish first half, Saluda exploded in the second to crush Mid-Carolina 42-7 in their second Saturday morning game in three weeks at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field.







  The first rain-caused Saturday game against Strom Thurmond in the season opener did not turn out well at all, and after Mid-Carolina led 7-0 after one quarter, fans wondered if the Mid-Carolina game would be more of the same. The Tigers calmed the fears by out-scoring the Rebels 42-0 the rest of the way.




  For the second week in a row, Coach Stewart Young and staff got to play many substitutes.




  Mid-Carolina converted Saluda’s only mistake of the game into their only score. Saluda punter Francisco Yepez’ punt was blocked and MC recovered the ball at the Saluda 48.




  Quarterback Corey Stone led the drive, getting a key 16-yard run on third and ten, and later passing ten yards to Iyon Thompson for the score. The kick gave the Rebels a 7-0 leaqd with 2:20 to go in the first quarter.




  Ny’Kel Rolland’s kick-off return gave the Tigers the ball at the 50-yard-line, and from there Saluda marched in for the score in nine plays. The touchdown came on a six-yard run by Malik Brooks on the third play of the second quarter. Yepez’ kick tied the game at seven.




  Saluda reached Rebel territory two more times in the period, but both threats ended with failed fourth down attempts.




  The second half was all Saluda. The Tigers used five different quarterbacks and several formations they haven’t tried this year, including the Saluda version of the Wildcat with Brooks and later Malcom Wiggins lining up at quarterback.




  The Tigers received the opening kick-off and behind the running of Brooks, took the lead. The 58-yard drive took just five plays, culminating with a 29-yard run by Brooks. Dylan Strickland kicked the PAT and Saluda led 14-7 with 10:11 to go in the third quarter.




  The Tiger held after the kickoff and took over at the Saluda 35 following the punt. A 27-yard run by quarterback Tyrell Abney was followed by a 15-yard facemask penalty against the Rebels. On first down at the 23, Abney threw to Raquon Hartley for the score. Strickland’s kick made it 21-7 with 7:14 left in the third.




  The Rebels were three plays and punt after the kick off and the Tigers took over the their 29. On first down freshman quarterback Noah Bell connected with Brooks for a 19-yard gain. It was the first completion of Bell’s varsity career, and Brooks first reception of the year.




  From the Tiger 48, Saluda stayed on the ground. A 12-yard run by Brooks put the ball at the 16. Wiggins came in to replace Brooks in the Wildcat. With the big blockers line up on the right side of the formation, the speedy Wiggins ran left and scampered in for the score. Strickland upped the score to 28-7 and 2:23 still remained in the third quarter.




  Following the kick-off, the Rebels earned their first and only first down of the second half, but the joy didn’t last long as the Tigers CJ Bosket soon intercepted Stone’s pass. A block in the back penalty on the return set the Tigers back to the 44.




  The quarter ran out on Bell’s five yard first down run. On the fourth play of the fourth quarter, Bell hit tight end Caleb McDaniel over the middle for a 26-yard gain to the Rebel 17. Kendarious Graham gained 12 yards to the five, and Brooks came in to score the touchdown on the next play. Strickland made it 35-7 with 9:30 to go in the game.




  As time was running out, Saluda got the ball at the Tiger 44 after a Rebel punt. Tailback Rolland got the ball four straight times and gained nine, 14, 31 and two yards. The last one was a touchdown. Strickland completed the scoring at 42-7 with 2:44 to go. Like last week, the referees did not stop the clock for a large portion of the fourth quarter.




  While the Tiger offense was putting up 35 points in the second half, the defense was holding he Rebels to only one first down and 39-yards in total offense.




  Tiger fans welcomed the return of the Malik Brooks they remembered from last year, when he broke the school’s single season rushing and touchdown records. Held to just 115-yards rushing and no scores in the first two games. Brooks gained 173-yards and scored three times against the Rebels, leading a ground game that totaled 345-yards.




  Abney and Bell combined to pass for 87-yards. Hartley led the receiving with two catches for 32-yards.




  The Tigers, 2-1, have next week off, and will travel to Batesburg-Leesville on Sept. 16.