The Saluda Tigers got revenge of an earlier loss to Southside Christian and defeated the Sabres 56-42 to advance to the AA Upper-State Championship game vs. region foe Abbeville next Friday night. Freshman Tyleke Mathis took the opening kickoff off the bounce and returned it 71 yards to give the Tigers an early 7-0 lead. Adrian Vasquez kicked the extra point to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 11:50 remaining. The lead would be short lived as Southside Christian would score on an 8 yard pass and tie it up with 10:12 remaining in the first quarter. Southside Christian would extend the lead to 14-7 on a 25 yard pass with 5:44 remaining in the opening quarter. Saluda would tie it up on a 73 yard screen to Dallan Wright and Vasquez would add the extra point to tie the score at 14 with 4:36 remaining in the first quarter. Southside Christian would score again on a 39 yard pass to go up 21-14 with 3:11 remaining in the first period however, Montrevious Baker would score from 4 yards out and Vasquez would add the extra point and tie the score at 21 with 10:48 remaining in the first half. Bell would add a touchdown from 4 yards out with 5:19 to go in the first half and the Vazquez PAT would give the Tigers a 28-21 lead. The Sabres would score on a 38 yard pass with 1:04 remaining in the half to make the halftime score 28-28.
After holding the Sabres on their first possession, Bell would add his second touchdown of the evening on a 43 yard run. A Vasquez extra point would give the Tigers a 7 point lead at 35-28 with 7:13 to go in the third period. On a 4th down deep in Sabres territory, Bell not only would pick up the first down, but also his third touchdown of the evening from 4 yards out and the Vasquez extra point would give the Tigers a 42-28 lead with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter. The Sabres would cut the lead to 42-35 on a 13 yard pass but Montrevious Baker would then take the ensuing kickoff and return it 77 yards for the second kickoff returned for a touchdown for the Tigers. Vasquez would give the Tigers a 49-35 lead with his seventh extra point of the evening with 11:31 to go in the game. A Sabres punt pinned the Tigers deep in their own territory, but Bell would connect with Wright for their second touchdown of the evening, this one from 89 yards out, that would take the life out of the Sabres and with the Vasquez extra point a 56-35 lead with 9:42 remaining. The Sabres would score on a 1 yard run with 8:21 remaining in the game, but were unable to put another touchdown on the board and Javarious Stevens would seal the game with an interception on the last play to give the Tigers a 56-42 win and a rematch with Abbeville for the AA Upper-State crown. Bell would finish the night 22-30 for 297 yards and two touchdowns passing and also add 10 carries for 74 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns. Wright would have 7 catches for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns to push him over 1000 receiving yards for the season. Montrevious Baker would lead the Tigers in rushing with 22 carries and 94 yards and 1 touchdown on the evening.
Saluda will travel to Abbeville next Friday with a trip to Benedict College and a State Championship appearance on the line. Kickoff is set for 7:30.