Category Archives: Sports

Flame volleyball wins Upper State title

Pickens falls short of state championship

LEXINGTON — Despite a heartbreaking loss in the Class 4A state championship Saturday in Lexington, Pickens High School volleyball coach Rikki Owens said the future continues to be bright for Lady Blue Flame.

“We are blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to coach such amazing young women,” Owens said, noting that this year’s Blue Flame team, in addition to the four stellar seniors, included two juniors, eight sophomores and two freshmen. “The relationships and memories that we have made are well worth the consolation prize. Losing at state does not define who we are and how hard we worked the past six months. We won as a team and we lost as a team, and I could not be prouder of our team. We are a family.”

The Lady Blue Flame fell to a senior-laden North Myrtle Beach Chiefs team in the state championship 19-25, 23-25, 16-25. The match was played on Saturday at River Bluff High School in Lexington. The Chiefs returned nine seniors on a team that defeated the Lady Blue Flame for

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Daniel girls win second state golf title

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

CENTRAL — The Daniel High School girls’ golf team finished last season on top of the world.

The Lions dominated the competition on their way to a Class 4A state championship — a first for the program — but the team undoubtedly faced questions following the graduations of top performers Gillian O’Brien and Emileigh Swords.

Daniel head coach Andy Swords and his girls answered those questions in resounding fashion on Oct. 29, when the team brought home its second consecutive state championship by a margin of nearly 60 strokes.

The Lions, fresh off their fifth consecutive upper state championship, entered state tournament play confident in

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Lions take easy win over Lancaster in first round of playoffs

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

CENTRAL — The Daniel Lions had become accustomed to close games entering their first-round playoff matchup against Lancaster on Friday night, but they made sure they didn’t have to put up with another one as they pummeled the Bruins 38-6 to stay undefeated.

“I’m happy to move from the round of 32 to the round of 16,” Daniel coach Jeff Fruster said. “We told these kids all week that this is the time of new life and second chances. To be able to come out of here with a victory is a very good start for us.”

“It’s a great experience to win in the postseason,” Lions quarterback Tyler Venables added. “I’m really thankful for the effort our guys put in this week and the focus that we had.”

Venables sailed a few passes early before settling into a groove and throwing four touchdown passes on the way to the victory.

“I just calmed down and trusted my receivers,” Venables said. “I knew that they could make plays, so I stopped trying to do too much.”

The Lions got off to the perfect start in the game, as Brenton Benson took the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.

“It’s going to get harder and harder to scheme against people trying to kick it away from our playmakers,” Fruster said.

The Lions had some trouble on the ensuing kickoff, though, allowing Lancaster’s Will Burton to get a big return all the way to the Daniel 34-yard line. The Bruins pounded it from there, with quarterback Sean Truesdale scoring a three-yard touchdown to cap the short drive. The Bruins missed the PAT to keep them behind 7-6 with 8:33 left in the first quarter.

Daniel moved the ball well on their next possession, with Josiah Benson hauling in a big 48-yard snag to get the Lions into Bruin territory. The drive didn’t go much further, though, as Billy Bruce fumbled the ball away to Lancaster.

The Daniel defense came on strong following the turnover, holding the Bruins to minimal gains on first and second down before a sack by Jared Kirksey ended the drive.

The Lions couldn’t be stopped following the stand, driving down the field before adding a 40-yard touchdown pass from Venables to Hack Hamilton.

Daniel easily forced another Bruin punt to get the ball back late in the first. The Lions started off on a tear with Jordan Grayden breaking through for a 30-yard run down to the Lancaster 43. Disaster struck, though, as standout wide receiver Javares Hamilton went down with a serious lower leg injury.

“There’s no update on Javares right now,” Fruster said. “Hopefully we’ll know more a little down the line.”

Despite the loss of Hamilton, the Lions were able to finish the drive following a 29-yard pass from Venables to Benson, leading to a 30-yard Shane Forrester field goal to give Daniel a 17-6 lead going into the second quarter.

The second quarter was all Daniel, starting with an incredible one-handed interception by De’Andre Bradley. Venables went to work, hooking up twice with Brenton Benson, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to increase the Daniel lead to 24-6 with 10:17 left in the second quarter.

After trading punts, the Lions got back on the Bruin side of the field on a 41-yard return by Hack Hamilton. Now on the Lancaster 19, the Lions took just three plays to score on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Venables to Jackson Crosby to give them a 31-6 lead with 3:33 left in the half.

Lancaster was once again forced off the field after a Kirksey and Griffin Batt sack put them behind the chains to give Daniel one more scoring opportunity before the half. The Lions got a big pickup early in the drive on a 21-yard pass from Venables to Josiah Benson. Venables then rifled a 19-yard pass to Crosby for yet another score to give Daniel a 38-6 lead going into halftime.

“Brenton and Jackson did a great job tonight stepping up when we needed them,” Venables said in the wake of the injury to Javares Hamilton. “Javares is a great player and he makes a huge impact on this team. Hopefully we can get him back soon.”

Following the big quarter, a running clock was imposed in the second half and neither team got much movement until the fourth period. There, in the game’s waning minutes, Daniel third-string quarterback Trent Pearman made some big plays.

Pearman connected with Clay Swinney for 21 yards on third and nine as the Lions were trying to run out the clock. Then, facing a fourth and 12, Pearman had a nice pass down the field to Cameron Spadafina for a 28-yard gain and a first down. The Lions kneeled out the ball from there to cement a 38-6 first-round victory.

The Lions will now advance to the second round against a very stout Westwood team that beat higher-seeded Eastside 70-52 last week.

“They’re a really solid team,” Venables said. “We gotta bring our A-game if we want to move on.”

“They’re going to try to come in here and take our future away from us,” Fruster added. “We’re going to need the fans to pack it out for that one.”


Chapman puts end to Devils’ season with dominant victory

By Zachary Arms
Special to The Courier

INMAN — Despite a strong fourth-quarter performance, the Liberty Red Devils saw their season come to an end as they came up short at unbeaten Chapman, 54-7, in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs on Friday night.

The Devils faced a daunting task against the Panthers, who are now 11-0 on the season as they move on to host Newberry in the second round of the playoffs this Friday night.

Chapman scored early and often in the first two quarters, building a 41-point lead before halftime before eventually running the advantage up to 54-0 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Panthers kicked off the scoring with a 43-yard pass from Mikele Colasurdo to Dashun Mitchell just more than a minute and a half into the game.

Chapman scored twice more in the first quarter, on a 10-yard pass from Colasurdo to Walt Waddell and a 27-yard run from Brandon Jones.

The Panthers added in three more touchdowns in the second quarter — an eight-yard Dante Smith run, a 39-yard pass from Colasurdo to Ben Rollins and a 23-yard pass from Drew Settle to Mitchell.

Chapman’s Carlos Parks had the only score in the third quarter, with a three-yard rushing

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Wave head into offseason with focus on improving

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

EASLEY — It wasn’t the season the Easley Green Wave wanted, as they finished 3-7 and missing the Class 5A playoffs.

For those who were watching, they know that Easley had several close calls and got better week to week. As first-year head coach Caleb King has said, it’s not going to happen overnight. There is no magical fairy dust. Region I-5A is as balanced a region as there is. Laurens didn’t make the playoffs last season and won the region this year.

“Any time you can get better and better, you hope it comes out more on the scoreboard than it did,” King said. “These guys kept getting better each week and kept fighting. They are doing a really good

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Tigers secure spot in ACC championship


RALEIGH, N.C. — Notified just before kick of the opportunity to clinch the Atlantic Division, Clemson secured its spot in the ACC Championship Game with a 55-10 win at N.C. State on Saturday night.

Clemson raced out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter behind two defensive takeaways and stretched the lead to 42-0 at half in cruising to an eighth consecutive win over the Wolfpack.

The Tigers will represent the division in the ACC Championship Game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in Charlotte, N.C., for a fifth straight season. It is the seventh time Clemson will represent the Atlantic Division, which sets an ACC

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Lady Flame play for Upper State crown

PICKENS — During second- and third-round action of the Class 4A state volleyball playoffs last week, the Pickens High School Lady Blue Flame took down Region I foe Wren and then defeated Orangeburg-Wilkinson to reach the Upper State championship.

Pickens defeated Wren for the third time this season in straight sets in second-round action of the state volleyball playoffs Oct. 29 in the Peggy Harden Anthony Gymnasium at Pickens High School. The Region I-4A champion Lady Blue Flame downed Wren 25-14, 25-14, 25-10.

The Lady Blue Flame defeated Orangeburg-Wilkinson in three sets in the third

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Liberty girls cap perfect season

LIBERTY — The 10-and-under Liberty Lady Devils softball team have wrapped up a historic season.

The Lady Devils dominated their opponents throughout the regular season, finishing 12-0 and winning every game by three runs or more.

Still, the Liberty girls faced stiff competition as they went for the Tri-County Championship over the weekend.

The first stop for the Devils was against the Clemson Purple team on Friday. Liberty shellacked the team from Tiger

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12-and-under champs

The Pickens Recreation Department 12-and-under soccer team coached by Milton Aleman was the champion of  the 2019 Palmetto Soccer Tournament. They had to play three tough opponents to come home with the gold — beating a squad from Seneca and two from Walhalla. “The kids played their hearts out,” Aleman said. Pictured, from left, are coach Milton Aleman, coach Jasmine Aleman, Avery Ferreira, Carolina Keith, Jacie Whitlock, Tara Sharpe, Kaylen Kelley, Trinity Fisher, Noah Welborn, Chase Lyday, Colin Gilstrap, Noah Aleman, Anders Fernstrom, Tyler Sexton, David Orzeck and coach Jeremiah Aleman.


Blue Flame drop final game of year

By Rocky Nimmons

PICKENS — The Pickens Blue Flame’s season came to end on Friday night with a 42-20 loss to region foe Palmetto at Bill Isaacs Field in Pickens.

Despite the lopsided loss, the game was much closer than the final score indicated, as the Big Blue never stopped fighting until the final whistle was blown.

“They never quit,” Pickens head coach Chad Smith said. “We have great kids. We just made too many mistakes. That has kind of been the story of the season. We play hard, but made too many mistakes throughout. That is our job as coaches to fix, and we will fix it.”

Statistically, the game appeared much closer than the final score indicated. In total offense, Pickens racked up 338 yards to Palmetto’s 346. In addition, time of possession was squarely on Pickens’ side as the Blue Flame had the ball for 33:02, compared to the

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