Tidbits - October 28, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


YES, IT WAS
  My sister Dibbie titled her Facebook picture post for Friday night’s Saluda High festivities as “Oh, What a Night!”
  It really was.
  So many people came in support of the Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor recipients, it was almost like a reunion. No matter where you walked behind the stands before the game, you ran into a long lost friend.
  Family members came to be with Wayne Grice, Charles Long, Luke Brown, Lindsay Hawkins and Tracy Palmore, but the induction of band director legend Steve O’Kelley also brought out many of his former state championship band members from all over the state and some from out of state.
  I’ve never taken pictures of the refereeing crew, but Friday night I did,  because the head ref in the game was Wally Bledsoe, a Saluda High graduate and former Tiger football player. Since becoming a high school official, this was his first trip home.
  It was also Senior Night, when senior football, girls tennis, cross country and volleyball players, trainers, cheerleaders, band and ROTC members were recognized.
  All of the festivities and reunions would not have been as special had the football team not cooperated with a win. Boy, did the Tigers cooperate, beating Columbia 65-12.
  The Tigers tied the school record for most points scored in a game, 65, matching the points Saluda scored against Strom Thurmond in 1973. So, the record held up for 48 years.
  The Tigers have had ample opportunities to break the record all year. The Tigers six wins are by scores of 52-20, 43-6, 52-19, 43-0, 46-26 and 65-12, but look at these halftime scores in those games, 24-0, 30-0, 46-0, 43-0, 39-14, 52-6. Obviously, the Tigers hit the brakes in the second half of many of those games, and could have easily scored over 65 points in many of them.
  The record that Tigers set Friday that amazed me was not the point total, but the number of players who scored them - 12. A dozen different players score points in the game.
  That has never happened before. The 2019 State Championship team set the school record for most points scored in a season, but the most players to score in one game was seven.
  The sheet I use to record my stats has eight spots for points scored. I didn’t realize what the Tigers accomplished until I started recording the totals and ran out of space for scoring.
  The great thing is five of the 12 players who scored were seniors ... on Senior Night. Also, great is seven of the players who scored are NOT seniors!
  At halftime I had the honor of presenting Wayne Grice his Ring of Honor plaque. Wayne and I have been sitting in the press box Thursday and Fridays for home Jayvee and varsity games for around 40 years, he on the scoreboard or clock, me on the mic. We also go to all the away games together, along with Danny Bledsoe.
  I’ve known the other Ring of Honor recipient Charles Long since his brother Nicky and I started first grade in Mrs. Riser’s room in 1957, and we’d go to each others’ homes for visits. I can tell many stories about Charles as a kid and as an adult. Did you know he has been run over and struck by lightning, and lived to tote the chains?
  Hall of Famer Luke Brown and I were teammates on the Saluda High basketball team. He was a freshman and I was a senior. What is remarkable about Luke’s freshman year is he broke his neck in a varsity football game, and did not take the rest of the year off. In fact he joined the basketball team a few weeks into the season, while wearing a neck brace.
  I’ve known Lindsay Hawkins since she was a little girl. Her parents, Lee and Linda Hawkins, were good friends of mine. It was not mentioned in the Hall of Fame material, but Lindsay is the only person from Saluda to be featured in a “Parade Magazine” article. It was when she was at the Naval Academy. I’ve still got the article ... somewhere.
  For 14 years, I announced the halftime performances of Steve O’Kelley’s mighty Marching Tigers. With state championships in football and boys basketball, Saluda High was known for its sports, but in the late 80s and early 90s, it became a band school, as state championships were won in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993.
  For four years, I announced Tracy Palmore’s name at football games. He was a great athlete, also excelling in basketball and baseball. Tracy’s been out of high school for 25 years, but he came to the ceremony on crutches, having hurt his knee playing basketball.
  Yes, Friday, October 22, was quite a night at Saluda High. It will be an evening long remembered by many.

GOTTA LAUGH
  Fans just have to laugh at the performances of Carolina and Clemson’s football teams this year.
  Both have been plagued by poor quarterback play and terrible offenses.
  Carolina may have the worst offense in the country. At halftime of the Texas A&M game, the Gamecocks had 11-yards in total offense. 11!
  Someone tweeted, “I only have 11 fewer offensive yards than South Carolina. They played a half of football. I never left the couch.”
  After the game, someone posted Kent State had 336 yards in offense against Texas A&M.
  Carolina is off this Saturday, and another tweeter posted, “Gamecocks open as a three point underdog to the bye week.”
  Clemson did not escape unscathed. After quarterback DJ Uiagalelei threw a pick six on a shuffle pass, someone posted, “Clemson becomes the first college program to bench someone with a national television commercial following the play.”
  Another posted, “College athletes started getting paid and Dabo turned into Gene Chizik (former Auburn coach who got fired two years after winning a national title.)”
  I know Clemson’s Tony Elliott is a good offensive coordinator, but I see no hope for Carolina’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
  They have turned last year’s 1200-yard rusher Kevin Harris into someone who has gained less than 250-yards in seven games this year. That’s on the coaches and they need to look for another job.