Tidbits - October 21, 2021

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


STREAK OVER
  Well, our Zaxby’s Saluda High football unbeaten streak ended Friday, October 15, as the Tigers fell to Gray Collegiate.
  I can’t remember when Wayne Grice, Danny Bledsoe and I first began eating at Zaxby’s before away games, but the ploy carried us in 2019 to a win over Southside Christian in the play-offs, followed by the Upper State Championship victory over Abbeville, and concluding with the State Championship win against Barnwell.
  During last year’s Covid season, we didn’t think we needed Zaxby’s to  beat Eau Claire and Columbia.
  As mentioned last week, we had to use the drive-thru at Newberry’s Zaxby’s, but Saluda won the game!
  This week started off on the negative,  because Danny couldn’t go. He had baby-sitting duty, plus his beloved Clemson was playing Syracuse on TV.
  Wayne and I were happy to see the Zaxby’s on No. 6 was open for indoor dining.
  Negative number two came when I ordered the Southwestern Zalad I’d been wanting. I was told they were out of tortilla chips for the top.
  I said that was okay, then he asked what salad dressing I wanted.
  I said, “I thought it had its own salad dressing.”
  He said it did, but they were out. I said, “Give me a fried Cobb salad.”
  Negative number three came, when I went to get my tea, and  the little handles on the tea cannisters both said “unsweetened tea,” and I guessed wrong.
  You know what they say about three strikes?
  Wayne knew the way to the field, but, you know how you still look at the navigation on you phone? We ended up on a dirt road!
  We made it back to pavement, and my phone suddenly told me, “Hazard ahead,” and there was! Apparently, this feature came with IOS 15 update.
  We made it to the Midlands Recreation Complex in plenty of time for me to find a seat on the top row of one of two bleachers on the visitor’s side, so I could stand up the entire game to keep my stats.
  The football field does not  belong to Gray Collegiate, it belongs to Lexington County Recreation Department.  
  The football field is designed for youth football.
  Imagine going out to the Saluda County Recreation Complex, and putting two small bleachers on both sides of the soccer field, and putting up a little league scoreboard. The extra point kicks at Midlands were a challenge for the ball boys, because a few yards behind the goal posts was a miniature Grand Canyon.
  Gray is a school, and the bleachers are fine for them. Saluda, however, is a community that supports its high school football team well, home and away. Like going to little league games, many Saluda fans brought chairs.
  The game between the Tigers and War Eagles was a good one. Lest we forget, Gray Collegiate’s only loss was 38-35 to 5-A’s number five team, Gaffney.
  The game was 6-3 at the half, and Saluda only trailed 13-6 with just over two minutes to go in the game.
  This is a team I hope the Tigers meet again in the play-offs. Remember  in the state championship year, the Tigers lost to Southside Christian and Abbeville in the regular season, but beat those two teams in the play-offs.
  On the way home Friday, I watched the end of the Clemson-Syracuse game on my phone. Two games this year, Boston College and Syracuse, the Tigers have had a lot of luck to come out a winner. A win is a win. That easy schedule we thought Clemson had at the beginning of the season has turned out to be tough, as opponents are better than originally thought.
  As Carolina’s offense made an appearance in the first quarter, then disappeared, I began to look back on another State Fair disaster. The year was 1982. The opponent was Furman. Richard Bell was the first-year coach. Carolina lost and Bell was fired at the end of the season.
  That was as mad as I’ve ever been at a Carolina game. I remember walking out of the stadium, and throwing my program as far as I could across the parking lot.
  Saturday, Carolina was on the verge of being humiliated by one of the worst teams in America, until the hero quarterback Zeb came in and led a last minute rally for the win. I don’t think Shane Beamer would have been fired if the Gamecocks had lost to the Commodores, but many would have called for his head. How quickly the tide turns, especially if your team has shown no improvement after seven games.
  Carolina’s chance of getting another win are slim.