Tidbits - November 2 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

  On paper, there is no way Carolina has a chance against Georgia Saturday.
  The Bulldogs, since their narrow win over Notre Dame in game two, have blown away every team they have played since. We’ve also have found out how good Notre Dame is.
  Look how impressive Mississippi State has looked since Georgia beat them 31-3.
  Every year, unbeatable teams get beaten. You can’t convince me Syracuse is better than Clemson, yet the Orangemen beat the Tigers this year.
  The last time Georgia was ranked Number 2 in the country and played Carolina, the Bulldogs won 14-7, and the Gamecocks fumbled twice, I think, inside the Georgia five-yard-line. But, that game was played at Williams-Brice.
  Do I really think the Gamecocks actually have a chance? Not a snowball’s chance in Hades!
  The Gamecocks have nothing to lose (except the game). There is no pressure. They are bowl eligible, thanks to their ugly win over Vanderbilt.
  I’m still waiting for Jake Bentley to a have a great passing game. Maybe, this will be the game. If he does, and the Gamecocks can find a way to slow down the Bulldog running game, the game could be closer than 40 points.
  I hope the Gamecocks can keep it respectable, and the players are told about that time a few years ago when Number One Alabama came to Williams-Brice and left with a 35-21 licking.
  Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp are great friends, and they both played for the Bulldogs.
  Many think Georgia got rid of Mark Richt, because they did not want Carolina to hire Kirby Smart, after Steve Spurrier abdicated.
  Both coaches have been impressive. Who has done a better job?
  Smart inherited a 10-win team, and Muschamp inherited a 3-9 squad. Make your own assessment.

NO BETTER

  I’ve been of fan of Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson throughout his career. His option offense is unstoppable, except when he faces Clemson.
  Clemson’s Brent Venables is the best defensive coordinator in college football.
  It is so hard for most teams to play against the option attack just once  a year, but Venables, since he’s been a Clemson, is unphased.
  Carolina has never, never, never, ever been able to stop the option. Remember, The Citadel two years ago? I’m currently dreading the Gamecocks playing Wofford, more than I dread them playing Florida.
  We’ll see if Muschamp’s staff handles the option better.
  It doesn’t matter how many Tiger defenders graduate each year, Clemson is always great the next season. Venables  gets paid well and he deserves it. I don’t know how long the Tigers can keep him from getting a head coaching job.
  I was shocked when I turned on the Clemson game and saw the downpour Saturday night. We didn’t get a drop here.
  It bought back  bad memories of the Hall of Fame Bowl in 1979 in Birmingham. It was cold, wet and the game was at night.
  It was one of the most miserable games I’ve ever attended. I sat through it all. What else could I do? I was in Birmingham, Alabama?
  I’ve vowed that day I would never sit through those conditions again, and I haven’t.

 HALL OF FAMERS

  I enjoyed seeing all the Hall of Famers and their families and friends Friday at the Saluda High-Fox Creek game.
  As a Saluda County native, I saw the athletes inducted, Marion Frye, Ray Hesse, Johnny Springs and Titania Watson, play, and Boyce Todd was my high school principal.
  Mrs. Dora Helen Connelly, who I’ve known a long time, played at Hollywood High before I was born.
  In her biography, Mrs. Dora Helen recalled every player on the Hollywood girls basketball team was sick the day of the 1947 state championship game in Columbia. On the bus on the way, legendary coach Mac Quattlebaum had all the players suck lemons.
  It must have worked. They won!
  Marion Frye was a Hollywood High student who played football for Saluda High. In those days, if your school did not have a football team, you could play for another school located within the same district.
  Marion lettered in two sports at Hollywood, basketball and baseball, and two at Saluda, football and track, during the same year!
  Mooney Player often talked of the many miles Marion drove to practice and his dedication to the team.
  Marion could no longer wear his state championship football letter jacket from 1962 to the induction, but his wife Judy could and did!
  Ray Hesse DID wear his letter jacket and his Saluda High jersey.
  In high school he was a multidimensional quarterback, good runner and good passer, but he was one of the best hand-off “fakers” I’ve ever seen.
  I was standing in the end zone in 1963 and saw Ray fake a hand-off to John Robert Crawford and throw a touchdown pass to Jim Brown. His fake was too convincing, however, because the referees blew the play dead, thinking John Robert had the ball.
  The Tigers fans and players got fired up after this “injustice” and Saluda rallied to beat the Rebels 20-13 en route to their second straight state title.
  The late Johnny Springs also had a part in two state championships, only his were on the basketball court. Only 300 or so Saluda fans got to see him play at home, because he played in the 400-seat “Cracker Box” gym.
  He and Melvin Daniel were the best one-two punch I’ve ever seen in high school basketball. Both averaged over 20 points a game.
  Titania Watson’s accomplishments in track were unbelievable.
  Her senior year, she won the state championship in the shot put and the 100 meter. Those two events do not go together.
  To win the shot, you have to have tremendous strength. To win the 100, you have to have tremendous speed. One athlete winning both events is unheard of, but Titania did it.
  Boyce Todd loved the Saluda school system. He started as an Ag Teacher in the late 1940’s. He was the first to start the Young Farmers Chapter.
  If I remember correctly, he also taught adults. I’m pretty sure through the Young Farmers he taught my father how to weld.
  He was a great principal at Saluda High, and by the time I came back to work at the Sentinel, he was superintendent and I’d drop by his office practically every week on my rounds. I greatly enjoyed those visits.
  Congratulations to this year’s Hall of Fame class. All inductees are richly deserving.

THEY DID IT!

  Congratulations to the Saluda Tigers for winning their second straight region championship Friday night.
  As I mentioned last week, this has only  been accomplished previously at Saluda High twice, in 1962-63 and 1955-56.
  With their 37-7 win over Fox Creek, the Tigers continued their underclassmen scoring trend. The Tigers have scored 293 points this year, and 281 of those have been scored by underclassmen.
  The Tigers, 9-1, are a number one seed in the play-offs, and play number four seed Central of Pageland at home Friday.
  Do not be fooled by this “number four” stuff.  Central is in a league that features four really good teams. Central finished fourth, but has a 7-3 record.
  The Tigers need a big home crowd cheering them on Friday.

SPEAKING OF YOUTH

  Saluda Middle School hosted Lexington Middle School in their final game of the season last Wednesday.
  The Wildcats won 30-24, but the interesting part of this story is Lexington had a quarterback named Brooks Bentley. That’s right, Jake’s little brother played in Saluda last Wednesday.
  Little did Brooks know he and Jake were playing before related stadium bleachers Wednesday and Saturday!

ALL IN A NAME

  Tom Thier dropped by the office last, and I told him I had never seen a last name like his.
  He said the odd spelling of his name had caused a few problems in this high tech world.
  A few years ago, he turned in a report to his supervisor, who immediately flipped the report back to him, saying, “You don’t even know how to spell your own name.”
  Tom looked and discovered spell check had changed his last name to “Their.”