Category Archives: Sports

Lady Flame are 10-0, 3-0 in Region play.

PICKENS — On Monday, September 10, the Pickens varsity

Lady Flame

volleyball team had an away match at Wren, where they defeated the Hurricanes 3-0 by scores of 7, 16, 12.

The Lady Flame, as a team served 96 percent, led by Kaylee Gillespie, Sydney Bolding and Ali Pace, 19, 17, and 12 respectively.  Bolding led in the team in kills with 13, followed by Lexi Wierzbicki with 9 and Abigail Durham with seven.

Gillespie recorded 23 assists in the match. Wierzbicki recorded 14 digs, while Bailee Earnhardt had eight, Savannah Noblitt had 6 and Durham had 5. The PHS JV’s also defeated Wren


Blue Flame dominate in all phases against Berea

PICKENS — The threat of Hurricane Florence shook the high school football world last week, leading many Upstate schools to move their Friday night games to Thursday.

The Pickens Blue Flame had a big night planned, with Berea scheduled to visit Bill Isaacs Field for Homecoming and all the festivities that go along with it.

But Florence put a halt to that and forced the decision to be made to play on Thursday and reschedule Homecoming for later in the season.

Despite the disruption of routine, coach Chad Smith’s Big Blue Machine was ready and put a 44-13 hurting on the Bulldogs in front of a sparse crowd.

The victory was as dominating as the score indicated, with Pickens in such control that the coaches on both sides agreed to keep the game clock running without stopping the entire second half.

“It was an odd day and an odd situation, but our kids did what they were supposed to do,” Smith said. “We still have plenty of stuff to work on. I was very happy with our competitive style, and we got the job done.”

Pickens rolled up 461 yards of offense, while the Blue Flame defense clobbered the Berea offense, allowing a measly 56 yards, most of which came on the Bulldogs’ last possession.

The victory was a much-needed one for Smith’s team entering this week’s bye week, making preparation for region play much smoother over the next two weeks.

“If you went into a two-week stretch off a loss, it wouldn’t be nearly as  much fun,” he said. “I hope after this one tonight we will get a little bit of time to rest and get healthy and then prepare for region play, which in South Carolina is basically your season.”

Another big advantage to the lopsided win was a chance to let everyone see some playing time. Pickens substituted freely most of the second half.

“We had a lot of kids play and we had the running clock in the second half,” Smith said. “We handled it well. I am proud of them. It takes some guts to be on a team and not start when you are a junior or senior.

“To be able to get those kids in the game and let them compete was big for us tonight. They executed well. I was proud of them.”

The game started with the Blue Flame taking the opening kick and going right to work. Starting at the 39 after a nice 34-yard return by Andrew Pittman, Pickens rolled over the Bulldogs for a five-play, 61-yard drive that seemed easy. Pickens’ dynamic duo of Jarod Barton and Brady Batson was on display immediately, as the pair picked up 23 yards each on

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Creating Confidence

Short week doesn’t slow Red Devils

By Clay Counts
Special to The Courier

GREENVILLE — Hurricane Florence threw a monkey wrench into last week’s high school football schedule, forcing teams into Thursday night games.

But a short week of practice apparently had no lasting ill effects on the Liberty football team, as the Red Devils made a trip across county lines to take on Carolina High School and overcame a tough first quarter to come away with a 38-28 road win.

After taking a big victory over St. Joseph’s the previous week, the Devils looked to grow with a newfound balanced offensive attack striking both on the ground and through the air, and Liberty did just that to improve to 3-2 heading into an off week to prepare for the region schedule.

Liberty kicked off to start Thursday’s game at Carolina and quickly forced a fumble after only three plays to take an early advantage.

The offensive line showed its ability to control the line of scrimmage, with the Red Devils marching down the field on the legs of Clay Lollis — who finished the game with 182 yards on 36 carries — all the way inside the 5-yard line. An eight-yard jet-sweep shovel pass from Carter Smith to Jeremy Cason for a score gave Liberty a 6-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.

Carolina answered with a quick score of its own, however, then added another quick touchdown less than 20 seconds later after a Liberty fumble to stretch its lead to 14-6. Another lost fumble cost the Red Devils again on their ensuing possession, as Carolina tacked on another score to take a 20-6 lead into the second quarter. The Trojans put three touchdowns on the board in a little more than three and a half minutes of game time in the opening quarter.

Liberty coach Kyle Stewart said the short week and uncertainty about when

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Looking for a spark

Wave drop region opener at Westside

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

ANDERSON — It was a familiar story Thursday night for the Easley football team against region rival Westside.

Playing a night early due to the threat of heavy rains from Hurricane Florence, the Green Wave hung in there early, but a late score to end the first half gave Westside needed momentum and the Rams pulled away for a 42-14 win in the region opener.

“We had a good start,” Easley coach John Windham said. “We’re losing the field position battle. We’ve got to get to where we’re not giving them the short field and us having the long field. I felt like that happened a lot tonight. We’ve got to do a better job at trying to win the field position battle.”

The Rams (1-3, 1-0) scored first when senior tailback Paul Johnson rumbled in from eight yards out.

On the next-to-last play of the first quarter, special teams came up big for the Green Wave as Jeremy Harried blocked a punt and Dawson Wilson recovered the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Malaki Aleman’s kick made it 7-7 with 11 seconds left in the quarter.

Westside only punted one more time in the game.

Easley had a chance to keep its momentum rolling moments later when Harried broke away for a 70-yard go-ahead touchdown run, but the play was nullified by an illegal block penalty, and the Wave soon lost control of the game.

The Rams took advantage of field position midway through the second quarter. Traye Carson’s punt return to the Easley 28 set up the score four plays later, as Johnson scored from a yard out with 4:32 left in the half.

Then the Rams drove it 58 yards to score again just before halftime. A big play was a 30-yard run by Johnson on first and 23. Carson took the direct snap around the left side from 19 yards out with 51 seconds left in the half to make it 21-7.

“That was a big swing,” Windham said. “Here again I think they had two short fields where they only had to go 30 yards to score. They got in that heavy package and were able to stay in it. I think a lot of that had to do with a short field. They didn’t have to drive it down. They’ve got

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Perfect Storm

Weather cancellation gives Lions extra time to get healthy, prepare for region

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

CENTRAL — The Daniel Lions were prepared to make a long road trip to Ridge View High School to face their greatest test of the season on Friday night.

However, Hurricane Florence had different plans for the Lions.

In the midst of rescheduling all around the Upstate, Daniel was faced with

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Etienne, Tigers’ ground game shine in victory over Eagles

By Eric Sprott
Courtesy The Journal

CLEMSON — Coming off a game in which its ground game was virtually nonexistent the previous week, the Clemson coaching staff was intent on the Tigers pounding the ball Saturday afternoon against Georgia Southern.

And with Travis Etienne leading the charge, consider it mission accomplished in second-ranked Clemson’s 38-7 win over the visiting Eagles at Memorial Stadium.

The Tigers’ sophomore running back had a career day, rushing 16 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns, helping pace a Clemson rushing attack that piled up 309 yards on 46 carries — good for 6.7 yards per carry — to provide excellent balance with 286 passing yards on the day.

All totaled, Clemson (3-0) finished with 595 yards of total offense, much to the delight of co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott.

“That was definitely something we talked about,” Scott said of the rushing attack, adding the team’s goal was to top 250 yards on the ground. “To be our best, we have to be balanced, and we have to run it. It’s definitely something for us to build on.”

The previous week at Texas A&M, Clemson running backs carried the ball 13 times for just 70 yards — the team finished with 115 yards on 32 totes — and the Tigers had rushed for only 364 yards through two games entering Saturday.

But Etienne in particular helped Clemson enjoy a breakout ground performance against the Eagles (2-1) in what was his second career 100-yard performance, and his first since going for 113 yards against Boston College on Sept. 23, 2017. His 162 yards marked the top yardage total by a Clemson running back since Wayne Gallman went for 187 yards against North Carolina in the 2015 ACC Championship Game.

“I just feel like a running back is a reflection of his offensive line,” Etienne said. “They did their job, and the receivers really did a great job of blocking to free things up on the outside. It helps the back out a lot.

“I feel like it was just kind of coming to me, and I wasn’t forcing it.”

Etienne opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown plunge in the opening quarter, and he also provided the final score of the afternoon when he broke free for a 40-yard score with 2:03 left to play — his longest run of the season.

“It just finally happened because of me being patient and not forcing it,” Etienne said of breaking off the long scoring run.

The 40-yard touchdown scamper put Etienne over the 1,000-yard mark for his career, and he’s now found the end zone in 13 of his 16 career games as a Tiger.

In addition to the play of Etienne, the performance of Tavien Feaster may have been just as important, even if the “wow” factor may have been missing.

The junior carried 10 times for 32 yards, including a one-yard touchdown, while he also caught a pair of passes for 18 yards. For perspective, Feaster — who missed time during fall camp after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee — came into Saturday with just five carries for 23 yards this season.

With conference play set to begin this Saturday (3:30 p.m., ABC) at Georgia Tech, Clemson needed to get Feaster hot last week, as he’s a key piece of the offense after starting last year and finishing second on the team with 669 yards and seven touchdowns on 107 carries — the same number of carries Etienne had during his freshman campaign.

“He’s a guy that got started a little bit slow coming off a little cleanup on his knee during fall camp,” Scott said of Feaster. “He’s really been working to kind of get back to playing faster and getting in playing shape, and I thought he did. Not only did he have a couple of nice runs, but I thought he caught the ball out of the backfield and made a nice play on our sideline.”

“I felt like Tavien had his best game today,” Etienne added. “There was one play where there was nothing there, but he just blew it up and got those extra 10 yards. I feel like he had a big game.”

Adam Choice had seven carries for 49 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown, on Saturday, while true freshman Lyn-J Dixon carried the ball five times for 26 yards, as Clemson got production from all four of its backs in easily surpassing the 250-yard goal that was set out heading into the game.

“All of our running backs did good things,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We ran the ball like we needed to.”


Hurricane alters football schedule

By Bru Nimmons

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the North and South Carolina coasts, local high school football teams have been forced to make changes to Friday’s scheduled games.

The storm, which led S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster to call for a coastal evacuation, has caused many cancellations in the coastal regions of the state, and even many Upstate teams have moved their games up in order to avoid the torrential rainfall that is expected to come from the storm.

Pickens High School was the first to announce a change early Tuesday morning, as it rescheduled its home game against Berea. The game will be played at 7 p.m. Thursday. Liberty also made plans Tuesday, as it announced  its game at Carolina Academy will also kick of Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Daniel High School will not play this week as their game with Ridge View High was cancelled on Wednesday. The Lions faced the longest odds of getting its game in this week of the four county teams, as the Lions were prepared to travel to Columbia to  face Ridge View High School. However, due to the likely severity of the storm in the Midlands region, the game will not be played.

Finally, Easley High School’s game against Westside High School in Anderson has also been moved to Thursday and will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

To stay up to date with any other changes in this week’s schedule, visit our Facebook page.



Lions get big victory over Westside to stay unbeaten


By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

CENTRAL — The Daniel Lions continued their dominant ways Friday Night, beating the Westside Rams by a final score of 36-14 and getting off to the best start they’ve had under third-year head coach Jeff Fruster.

Many didn’t expect the Lions to be playing this well coming off a 2-9 season, but now Fruster has the Lions clicking and one win away from an undefeated out-of-conference slate.

“We always believed this was just around the corner,” Fruster said. “We believed in one another and what we could do as a family. We play for one another.

“I have to give big ups to my coordinators as well. They are doing a great job game-planning, and every week they seem to put these kids in the best position to be successful. I owe everything I have to these kids and to the coaches.”

“It feels amazing,” junior wideout Hack Hamilton added about the Lions’ unbeaten start. “It feels really good to be 4-0, and I love playing with this team.”

Hamilton had a solid game Friday night, coming up with a miraculous 42-yard catch and run at the end of the first half before taking the opening kickoff of the second half 96 yards for a touchdown.

“Coach told me to find a hole and hit it,” Hamilton said. “I did just that, and it really fired the crowd up in the second half.”

Fruster said Hamilton was “due” for his performance.

“I told him all week it was time for a breakout, and he delivered tonight,” Fruster said.

Junior quarterback Tyler Venables also had another stellar game, scoring three first-half rushing touchdowns while also moving the Lions down the

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Snowball Effect

Costly penalties, miscues help Wren blast Green Wave

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

EASLEY — Wren scored 34 first-half points Friday night en route to a 48-7 win over Easley.

For the Green Wave (1-2), it was a case of several defensive busts in the secondary, another game of failing to stop teams on third and long, several costly penalties and some kicking-game mistakes.

Easley held Wren (3-0) on the opening drive as a fake-punt pass fell incomplete at the Hurricane 40.

Quarterback Weston Black hit Ethan Boyles on a nice sliding catch for 20-yard on third and five on Easley’s first possession, but the drive stalled, and Malaki Aleman tried a 28-yard field goal. Former Green Wave Anthony Goodwin was credited with the block, and the Wren standout recovered the ball and returned it 23 yards to the 27.

“It was frustrating,” Easley coach John Windham said. “We should have gotten points on the board there, we felt like. Looked like the guy came over in the A gap and blocked it. That was disappointing that we couldn’t get on the board there.”

Making matters worse for Easley, the next time the offense stepped on the field the Green Wave already trailed 14-0 thanks to penalties, third-down mistakes and special team miscues.

Safety Chase Turmon had a tackle for a three-yard loss on Wren’s next possession, but the Wave were hit with a personal foul penalty. Then, on third and 12 at the 41, quarterback Tyrell Jackson found Noah Black for 21. The first

score came on third and 12, as Jackson hit Luke Bryant all alone on the left side.

“Third and really extra long, but that is something that we’ve got to get corrected,” Windham said. “We’ve got to find a way to get off the field,

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Liberty finds success on offense for win against St. Joseph’s

By Clay Counts
Special to The Courier

LIBERTY — After struggling through a hard-fought loss against county rival Pickens, the Liberty Red Devils turned their focus to ironing out a few kinks ahead of another non-region tune-up game last Friday against the St. Joseph Knights.

With one last non-region battle planned this week before the heart of the schedule begins with region play, the Devils showed their progression from previous weeks against St. Joseph’s Friday night, putting together their most balanced and sharp game for a 32-16 win.

St. Joseph’s received the opening kick and drove the ball quickly down the field to gain an early 7-0 lead on the Red Devils.

The Knights’ run game appeared to be a struggle for Liberty early on, but quick adjustments by the coaching staff kept St. Joseph’s at bay most of the game.

Not to be outdone, the Red Devil offense brought out its most balanced attack of the season on its opening drive, rushing for 57 yards and going 4-for-4 through the air, with the final Carter Smith pass to Jeremy Cason ending in a six-yard touchdown. An unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt left Liberty down 7-6 with 2:10 remaining in the first quarter.

In a quick turn of events, the opening play of the Knights’ following drive was intercepted by Liberty’s Dale Gantt and returned all the way to the 1-yard line.

Clay Lollis, who led the team with 78 yards on 22 totes, punched in a touchdown on the following play to give Liberty a 12-7 lead.

The second quarter started with a successful drive for St. Joseph’s, ending with a 24-yard K.D. Boyd touchdown run. The PAT put the Knights ahead 14-12.

The following drive for Liberty showed some hope, but quickly stalled, forcing a punt.

St. Joseph’s took over with good field position at its own 46-yard line. The drive stalled after a third-down tackle for loss by Liberty senior Jack Brissey. The Knights attempted to convert on fourth down, but were stopped behind the line of scrimmage in a joint effort from Brissey and Hunter Powell.

With the ball on their own 41-yard line with only 37 seconds until halftime, the Red Devils pass game led by Smith drove the field, finding the end zone on another six-yard

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