Tigers beat B&L

ON THE WAY - Saluda’s Malik Brooks breaks into the clear for the first of his four touchdowns in the Tigers’ exciting 29-26 win at Batesburg-Leesville. (SHS photo by Dean Roesner)

 Saluda Wins 29-26 Thriller

  In a game that featured a little bit of everything, Saluda edged Batesburg-Leesville 29-26 Friday, spoiling the Panther Homecoming.
  After decades of B&L dominance, the win marks the fourth time in the last six seasons the Tigers have defeated the Panthers.
  To say the Tigers got off to a bad start would be an understatement, as they allowed Panthers to score 18 first quarter points.
  Before a large crowd in the stadium and many more watching the live broadcast on WACH 57, the game began with a 100-yard kick-off return by B&L’s Jalik Oakman. The PAT kick failed and the Panthers led 6-0 with only 14 second gone in the game.
  Saluda responded with a 65-yard scoring drive after the kick-off. Quarterback Tyrell Abney and running back Malik Brooks were the only ball carriers in the drive. The touchdown came on a 27-yard run by Brooks. Francisco Yepez’ kick gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead with 8:37 to go in the first quarter.
  The Panther’s fumbled on their first play from scrimmage in the game and Saluda recovered at the Panther 46. Abney gained 15-yards on first down, but on the third play of the drive, Abney fumbled and B&L’s Devaros Pugh scooped up the ball and rambled 65-yards for the score. The try for two failed and the Panthers led 12-7 with 6:45 to go opening period.
  In the “it’s mine, you take it” first quarter, the Panthers fumbled a Saluda punt and the Tigers recovered at the B&L 19. With third down at the Panther 16, Abney threw right into the hands of B&L’s Tristan Wheeler and he returned the ball to the 50-yard-line.
  The Panthers drove to the 18, where quarterback Bishop Cannon threw to Montez Merritt for the score. The conversion with 1.4 seconds failed and B&L showed how you can earn just two first downs in a quarter and still score 18 points.
  The Tigers put together a good drive after the kick-off, and drove to the Panther 22, where Yepez came on to kick a 38-yard field goal with 6:43 remaining in the first half.
  Later in the quarter, the Tigers had another good drive stopped when Brooks was stuffed short of the first down on fourth down at the Panther 17.
  The Tigers turned that failure into success on B&L’s first play from scrimmage, when CJ Bosket intercepted Cannon’s pass on first down and returned it to the Panther 12.
  On first down, Saluda used a modern version of the old Statue of Liberty play. Quarterback Noah Bell handed the ball off to Malcolm Wiggins and he made it to the one-yard -line. It took Bosket two tries to score from there, with 33.3 seconds to go in the half. Yepez cut B&L’s lead to 18-17.
  A nine-yard Panther punt as time was running out in the third period set up Saluda’s go ahead score. With the ball at the Panther 29, Bell connected with Brooks with a 21-yard gain to the eight. A half-the-distance penalty against the Panthers put the ball at the four, and Brooks scored on first down. Yepez’ kick was no good, and Saluda lead 23-18 with 2:00 to go in the quarter.
  It didn’t last.
  The Panthers suddenly found an offense and marched 83-yards in 12-plays to regain the lead on the second play of the fourth  quarter. The touchdown came on a two yard run by Tyreek Tolen. Pugh ran the two point play and B&L led 26-23 with 11:32 to go in the game.
  On B&L’s next possession, freshman defensive back Cade Gentry came up with  a big play when he intercepted Cannon’s pass in the end zone.
  Later, a 22-yard Panther punt gave Saluda a first down at the Panther 48-yard-line. On first down, Abney threw to Brooks who weaved his way through the Panther defense for his fourth touchdown of the night. The PAT attempt failed on a high snap and Saluda led 29-26 with 3:35 to go in the game.
  After the kick-off, B&L drove to the Saluda 40-yard-ine, where sophomore linebacker Bubba Robinson came up with the game clincher, intercepting Cannon’s pass and returning it to the Panther 41. Behind the running of Brooks, the Tigers were able to run out the clock.
  The win is more remarkable in the fact the Tigers lost starting linebacker Slayter Waters early in the game, and another starting linebacker Jonathan Griffith on the last play of the first half. Neither returned.
  Abney was injured early in the third quarter, and didn’t return until the fourth quarter to throw the game winning pass.
  Along with being a linebacker, Waters is also the Tigers’ long-snapper for punts and placekicks. Bell replaced Abney at quarterback, and, believe it not, Waters as long snapper, something has father Wayne did when he played for Carolina.
  Brooks had an outstanding game, rushing 28 for 136-yards and three scores, and catching three passes for 74 yards and another touchdown. Abney gained 82-yards on 15 carries.
  Brooks is now Saluda High’s all-time leading rusher and touchdown scorer. He now has 3236 yards rushing in his career and has scored 45 touchdowns, The old marks were held by Antwan Dozier (2001-03), with 3222 yards and 44 TDS.
  The Tigers complete their pre-region schedule that has seen  them play an arch-rival every week, when they travel to Ninety Six Friday.
  The Wildcats won their first game of the season last Friday when they scored late to beat Mid-Carolina 30-26.
  Records mean little in this game, however, as the Wildcats have defeated Saluda every year since 1997.

WKA Varsity Knights Sophomore #55 Reagan Pugh, Senior #11 Hunter Black, and Senior #3 Hunter DuBose Block the Way for Junior #12 Jackson Parrish for a Knight Win Over the Wardlaw Patriots.

Knights Stay Unbeaten
With Win Over Wardlaw

By: Gerald Doolittle

  Batesburg-Leesville, S.C. -Last Friday night the W.W. King Academy Knights traveled to Wardlaw Academy for a battle with the undefeated Patriots and came away with a hard fought 28-14 victory to up their season record to 4-0. 
  The Knights offensive attack was led by running back Lane Bedenbaugh and quarterback Jackson Parrish.   Bedenbaugh rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries, scoring one touchdown in quarter one from six yards out.   He also had 4 receptions for another 105 yards that included a 53 yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.  Bedenbaugh added 3 returns for another 76 yards.
  Parrish completed 9 of 11 passes for 145 yards, with touchdown passes to Truman Caughman (4 yds), Bedenbaugh (53 yds) and Hunter Dubose (11 yds).
  The real key to the Knights win was the defense that forced three Patriot turnovers.  The first came in the second quarter after Wardlaw’s Britt Gossett had scored the tying touchdown.  On the two point conversion attempt Bedenbaugh stepped in to intercept a pass from Gossett to Zach Berry.
  The second Patriot turnover came five minutes later when Chris Fincher fell on a fumble at the Patriot 13 yard line.  That turnover setup the Caughman touchdown.   Wil Parrish had a second half interception for the third Patriot turnover.
  The Knight defense attacked hard all game trying to contain the Patriot running backs and receivers.   Bedenbaugh recorded 12 primary tackles and had the interception and rejected another pass.  Wil Parrish had 12 total tackles and an interception.  Fincher had 7 tackles, a pass rejection and the fumble recovery.  Hunter Black had 3 tackles that included a quarterback drop.  Ben Buzhardt had 7 tackles, a pass rejection and a forced fumble.
  This week Coach Matthews and staff will get back to work to prepare for another good team from Coastal Christian.  The Cougars will bring a 2-1 record into battle.  This will be another home game for the Knights.
  Last Thursday night the W.W. King Middle School team won their first game in two years with a 30-20 win over Laurens Academy.   Coach Devin Bedenbaugh has gotten this group working hard to get themselves ready for good days ahead.
  The young Knights were led on offense by quarterback Tyler List who scored on touchdown runs of 10, 17, 33 and 87 yards.   He rushed 10 times for 171 yards.  Sam Mitchell rushed for 68 yards followed by Garrett Doolittle and John Roy with 8 and 6 yards.
  Doolittle led the defense with 12 tackles followed by Mitchell and Trevor Fulmer with 9 each.  List came away with 8 tackles.
  This week the young Knights will be home to play the Newberry Academy Eagles on Thursday.