Tidbits - September 16, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


RECORDS
  I’ve been covering Saluda High football for this newspaper since 1977. That’s 44-years and 45 seasons.
  There had not been many record setting years until Coach Stewart Young’s team began their deep into the play-off run, beginning in 2015.
  The 2015 made it to the Upperstate Championship for the first time since 1973. Ironically, that 2015 team broke the 1973 team’s most points scored in a season record. The ‘73 team’s record stood for 42-years, The 2015 team’s lasted only one season, eclipsed by the 2016 squad.
  The 2019 state championship team broke the 2016 team’s points scoring record.
  What I am getting at is none of those high scoring teams, nor any teams in Saluda High history have scored as many points in the first three games of the season than the current Tigers.
  In the first three games, Saluda has won by scores of 52-20, 43-6 and 52-19, an average of 49 points per game.
  Strom Thurmond is a 3A school and has not lost since falling to the Tigers. Ridge Spring-Monetta was ranked tenth in 1A when they lost to Saluda, which is their only loss.
  Midland Valley was not a very good football team, but the Graniteville school is 4A, two classes above the Tigers.
  In the game with Mustangs, the Tigers broke the school record by scoring 36 points in first quarter. There have been over 15 SHS seasons in the past in which the football team didn’t score 30 points in a GAME the entire season.
  Like the teams since 2015, the 2021 Tiger team is fun to watch.
  Not fun to watch is the South Carolina Gamecocks, at least not to me.
  As you well know, I don’t watch Carolina games in any sport live. I record them, and watch them later ... if the Gamecocks win. I started this is in 2010 when the Gamecock baseball team won the College World Series.
  The opening game this year with Eastern Illinois was on ESPN+ or SEC+. I can watch both those channels on my Roku or Firestick, but I have no way of recording them. I had to watch in live action.
  It was okay. Carolina won 46-0.
  Saturday, the East Carolina game was on recordable ESPNU, and I started watching. The Pirates, on the first play of the game, used an option pass and scored from 75-yards out.
  “Good-bye, suckers!” I hit the record button, and I did not know Carolina had won until my watch told me.
  Parker White kicked a 36-yard-field goal as time expired. Someone on Twitter pointed out that former Gamecock Ryan Succop of the Buccaneers kicked 36-yard field goal in the final seconds to beat the Cowboys Thursday.
  Another trivia goodie is there are only two colleges with the Gamecock mascot, Carolina and Jacksonville State, and both of them won their games Saturday on the last play.
  Jacksonville State beat Florida State, a real shocker.
  The ESPN+ app features many small school games. Saturday I watched PC win 68-3, which was a comedown after their 84-42 win the week before, when their quarterback threw 10, count ‘em, 10 touchdown passes.
  Blue Hose coach Kevin Kelley was on the national broadcasted Dan Patrick radio show last week, not because of the big win, but because of his coaching philosophy. He doesn’t believe in punting, and every kick-off is a onside kick.
  Crazy? Kelly won nine state championships and 88 percent of his games at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. PC is his first college job.
  He said many college athletic directors are afraid of hiring a coach who doesn’t punt. If it doesn’t workout, it the AD’s head that will roll first.
  I thoroughly enjoyed watching. The Blue House would run a trick play, and follow that with another trick play. They make ESPN+ worth it!


REFLECTIONS
  It seems during these pandemic times, each week is filled with sadness.  
  I remember talking with Elon Maffett when his sons were little leaguers, and Eland Chapman when he’d bring in one of his “letters to the editor,” or Wyman Adams when he’d get his seed forms printed.
  I remember Heyward Trotter and his horses, and the fact he was the one who graded the fields at the Recreation Complex.
  Then there’s Junior Pad-gett, who gave his life to the Lord late in life, and he was proud to tell everyone, the Lord led him to write poetry, something he had never done in his life. He said each rhyme was led by God.
  The evil Covid took him at the age of 93, but I know he is rejoicing with the Lord in iambic pentameter.
  I miss all I have known.