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GOOD CATCH - Saluda senior tight end Ty Bell (22) hauls in a pass from Tyrell Abney in the first quarter of Saluda’s 55-18 win over Gray Collegiate Friday night. (Photo by Trey Fingerlin)

Saluda Claims
Region Title

  Led by Malik Brooks, the Saluda Tigers claimed their first region championship since 2003 by besting Gray Collegiate 55-18 Fri., Nov. 4, at the Bettis Herlong Stadium at Matthews Field.
  On Senior Night, Brooks had the best game of his illustrious career, rushing 16 times for 287 yards and five touchdowns. He fell just 24-yards short of the school single-game rushing record, 311 yards,  held by Tom Blease, who was at the game. Blease set his record in 1962.
  Despite the score, Gray Collegiate was no pushover. The War Eagles piled up nearly 400-yards in offense on the Tigers, but the Saluda defense stiffened in the red zone, preventing more scores.
  Like Fox Creek did last week, Gray Collegiate got the opening kick-off and drove in for a score. The 70-yard drive stalled at the Saluda eight and Eric Anderson came on to kick a 25-yard field goal. The War Eagles led 3-0 with 7:42 to go in the first quarter.
  And, like last week’s game at Fox Creek, the Tigers immediately responded after the kick-off, driving 64-yards in seven plays. The touchdown came on a 14-yard run by Brooks. Dylan Strickland kicked the PAT to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead with 4:51 left in the opener.
  Saluda started the its next drive at the War Eagle 34, after the Tiger defense force Gray to punt from its own five.
  After throwing an incompletion on first down, quarterback Noah Bell passed to Brooks for a three-yard gain on second down, On third and seven, Bell faked the hand-off to Brooks, found an opening and powered his way into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown run. Strickland upped Saluda’s lead to 14-3 and that’s how the first quarter scoring ended.
  In the second quarter, Gray Collegiate’s outstanding quarterback Bryce Fields led the War Eagles to another score. On third and 20 at the Saluda 27, Fields avoided four tackles and found Brandon Carroway in the end zone for the score. Gray faked the PAT kick and Fields threw for the successful two-point play, cutting Saluda’s lead to 14-11 with 8:55 to go in the first half.
  The Tigers came back. A 35-yard pass from Bell to Tyrell Abney set up Brooks’ 12-yard touchdown run. Strickland was true on the kick and the Tigers led 21-11.
  CJ Bosket intercepted Fields’ pass on the third play Gray’s next possession.
  With the ball at the Saluda 20, Ny’kell Rolland got the ball on the jet sweep, and 54-yards later was tackled at the War Eagle 26. The drive got bogged down by Saluda penalties, and Strickland came on and kicked a 30-yard field goal, making the score 24-11 with 4:10 to go in the half. It stayed that way.
  The Tigers received the opening kick-off of the second half. On first down, Brooks broke 51-yards to the Gray Collegiate 14. Abney gained 11-yards to the three on the next play, and Brooks scored from there on the third play of the drive. Strickland’s kick gave the Tigers some  breathing room at 31-11, but it didn’t last long.
  Behind Fields, who ran for 27-yards and passed for 48 on the 82-yard drive, the War Eagles made the score 31-18 on a ten yard run by Josh Doctor and Anderson’s kick. The clock showed 8:44 to go in the third quarter.
  After the kick-off, the Tigers started at their 41. A penalty against the War Eagles moved the ball to the Gray Collegiate 45. Brooks got five yards on first down, then sprinted 40-yards for the score on the next play. Strickland hit the kick and Saluda led 38-18 with 7:20 to go in the quarter.
  The Tigers held Gray to three downs and punt on the next possession, and Abney returned Anderson’s kick 64-yards for the score. The play was called back on a penalty, but it didn’t matter.
  Brooks sprinted for 34-yards on first down. This was followed by a 13-yard run by Abney, and a 14-yard touchdown run by Kendarius Graham. Strickland’s kick was good and the Tigers led 45-18 with 3:56 to go in the third.
  The War Eagles did not give up. Fields led a drive that began in the third quarter, and made it to the Saluda five, where the War Eagles faced fourth and one. The Tiger defense came through, throwing Doctor for a two-yard loss.
  Brooks gained four-yards on first down, and on the next carry broke into the open and ran down the sideline for an 89-yard scoring run, the longest of his career. Strickland finished the night seven for seven on PATs, and Saluda led 52-18 with 8:59 to go in the game.
  The Tigers held on Gray Collegiate’s next possession and got the ball at the 29 after the punt. The drive stalled at the War Eagle 24, and back-up kicker, sophomore Francisco Yepez came in a kicked a 40-yard field goal, making the score 55-18.
  On Gray Collegiate’s next possession, Jeremiah Stevens intercepted Fields’ pass, after a 44-yard pass put the ball at the Saluda 34.
  Behind Hallman at quarterback, Saluda moved to the Gray Collegiate seven, where Hallman took a knee twice to run out the clock, and the Tigers celebrated the championship.
  The Tigers finished the night with 516-yards rushing. Along with Brooks’ 287, the Tigers got 71 from Rolland, 59 from Abney, and 54 from Bell. Bell and Abney combined to pass for 65 yards.
  After losing the season’s opener to Strom Thurmond, the Tigers have won nine straight to complete the regular season 9-1 and 5-0 in the league. In region games Saluda averaged 54 points per game.
  Last year’s Tiger team set the record for most points scored in a season, 429. It took that 10-3 team 13-games to reach the mark.
  Friday, the 2016 Tigers broke that record, scoring 435 in ten games. After scoring just seven points in the opener, the Tigers average 47.3 points a game in the next nine contests.
  Due to another week of make-up games caused by the effects of Hurricane Matthew, the state play-offs will not begin until Fri., Nov. 18.
  The Tigers will host Landrum, fourth place finisher from Region 1-2A. If the Tigers win, they will also host a second round game.

Honoring our WKA Senior Knights! Pictured left to right are Coach Daniel Dorn, Ben Buzhardt, Coach Michael Kinard, Hunter Black, Head Coach Zach Matthews, Chris Fincher, Coach Dennis Gibson, Hunter DuBose, Lane Bedenbaugh, and Coach Devin Bedenbaugh.

W.W. King Hosts Patrick Henry In Semi-finals

By: Gerald Doolittle
  Batesburg-Leesville, S.C. -  This week the dream season will continue for the W.W. King Academy Knights in the SCISA Division Two 8-Man Semi-finals.   They will carry a perfect 9-0 record into a home battle with the Patrick Henry Academy Patriots, who will bring a 6-3 record into the game.
  This will be the second time Patrick Henry has had to make the long ride to W.W. King this season.  The two schools opened the season back in August where the Knights took a 28-8 win over the Patriots.
  In that game, the Knights took advantage of three Patriot fumbles and a dominating defense in the second half.   The Knights defense also had three quarterback sacks in the game.
  Also in that game, Lane Bedenbaugh started the season with 103 yards rushing for two touchdowns.  For the season he has rushed for 1486 yards for 19 touchdowns.  He also has 231 receiving yards for 2 touchdowns and 11 returns for another 410 yards for 2 touchdowns.
   Quarterback Jackson Parrish started the season completing 8 of 12 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown, and ran the ball for 46 yards and a touchdown.  For the season he has completed 39 of 66 passes for 572 yards and 12 touchdowns, and rushed for 673 yards for 13 touchdowns.
  Behind Bedenbaugh and Parrish the two main rushers have been Chris Fincher and Bryan Doolittle, with 298 and 179 yards, with Fincher scoring 4 touchdowns and Doolittle with 1.  Hunter Black, Joe Sauls and Wil Parrish have rushed for 75,46 and 45 yards.
  Hunter DuBose has been the leading receiver with 15 catches for 210 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Fincher has 8 catches for 92 yards and 1 touchdown.  Jackson Parrish has 43 yards on 7 catches and Truman Caughman has 36 yards on 5 catches for 2 touchdowns.
  Wil Parrish and Hunter Black lead the defense with 78 and 65 tackles.  Black is in the top five statewide with 15 quarterback sacks.  Bedenbaugh has 62 tackles, 3 interceptions and 8 pass rejections.  Fincher comes in with 60 tackles and 2 interceptions
  Ben Buzhardt has recorded 59 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, and a safety.  Reagan Pugh and DuBose have recorded 49 and 45 tackles followed by Jackson Parrish with 42.
  All Knight fans are urged to come out in full force to fire the Knights on to the Championship game in Sumter against the Andrew Jackson vs Richard Winn winner.   The title game will be played at Wilson Hall on November 18th.