Category Archives: Sports

Feeling the Frustration

Pickens drops third game by one score

By Rocky Nimmons

PICKENS — Frustration.

That one word best sums up the Pickens Blue Flame’s season thus far in 2018. Pickens is now 1-3, but the Blue Flame players, coaches and fans know it should be better.

The Blue Flame have lost three one-score games by a combined 14 points. In all of those losses, Pickens was in the contest until the final whistle was blown.

Friday’s game at Bill Isaacs Field was the culmination of the frustration. as the Big Blue fell to the undefeated Travelers Rest Devil Dogs by a single point, 20-19.

The Flame were hoping to end TR’s win streak, but the loss held no more anguish for the Pickens than the first two in 2018 did.

“It is pretty tough, but I wouldn’t say it was any worse than the loss to Pendleton or Easley,” Pickens coach Chad Smith said. “We are right there, but we just have to make plays. There were about 15 plays in this game that if we made them, we win the game.

“Some of them were on us as a coaching staff for not have the correct people in at certain times. Some of it was on the kids. We will get it fixed.”

Turnovers were the biggest issue. The Blue Flame fumbled the ball away five times, with the Devildogs recovering three.

“We turned the ball over, and we can’t turn the ball over, and they were sloppy turnovers,” Smith said. “Give Travelers Rest credit. They take a lot of pride in forcing turnovers, but some of these tonight were not forced. We have to take care of the ball, we have to take care of the penalties and we have to take care of our execution. That is 100 percent on us. If we take care of those things, we will be a difficult team to beat.”

Despite the mistakes, the Flame played hard, like they always do — especially defensive coordinator Eric Houston’s unit. The defense allowed TR only 278 yards of offense all

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‘Just try us’

Tigers’ secondary remains confident after shaky game

By Alex Maminakis
Courtesy The Journal

CLEMSON — It’s not often that Clemson’s defense gets gashed for 500 yards.

But Texas A&M and quarterback Kellen Mond raided the second-ranked Tigers through the air on Saturday at Kyle Field, racking up 430 passing yards and 501 total.

Most importantly for the Tigers (2-0), they were able to hold off the Aggies and escape Texas with a 28-26 win, but Clemson recognized its defense didn’t live up to its standard last weekend against a tough test.

“We didn’t finish on defense. We have to play four quarters,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said Sunday on his weekly teleconference. “There were a lot of positives, but I was really disappointed with the 430 yards passing, and most of that comes in the

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Ride to the Rock scheduled this month

PICKENS — The Pickens Rotary Club will host the annual Ride to the Rock cycling event on Sept. 22

The ride will begin in Pickens and challenge riders with three routes to choose from: 40k, 60K and 100K rides.

The 2018 rides will leave from the Pickens Amphitheater, located at 114 W. Main St., and travel north to S.C. Highway 11 with beautiful views of Table Rock Mountain. The Metric Century (100K) also climbs U.S. Highway 178 to the Continental Divide before returning to Pickens. The rides are fully supported with a SAG (support and gear) vehicle and rest stops. Day of ride registration begins at 8 a.m. at the amphitheater,

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Payne named EHS baseball coach

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — There’s a new head man for the Easley High School baseball team, and he’s a familiar face for the Green Wave faithful.

Gill Payne was named as Easley’s new head baseball coach on Aug. 30. Payne was already serving the school as its athletic director and took over the baseball job following the sudden departure of coach Josh Warner a few weeks ago.

The Green Wave were in dire need of a coach as the school year approached and were lucky to already have the more-than-capable Payne on staff.

Payne has an extensive baseball background, with 18 years at the NCAA Division II, NAIA, NJCAA and high school levels. He was a Major League Baseball associate scout

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Lady Blue Flame volleyball defeats Eastside and Easley

PICKENS — The 7-0 Pickens High School Lady Blue Flame varsity volleyball team defeated Eastside at Pickens High School on Sept. 4. In the first meeting of the year, the scores were very close: 28-26, 28-26.

Lady Flame

“Playing at home made a big difference,” Pickens head coach Rikki Owens said of the victory over Eastside. “That, plus we are improving at every level.”

Pickens started strong and finished strong against Eastside. Owens said she felt she had some new leaders emerge during the contest and that she was excited to see that happening.

Sydney Bolding led in kills with 13, while Olivia Dow recorded 12. Lexi Wierzbicki finished with eight kills.

“Dow and her left swing were unstoppable,” Owens said. “She was on fire, down the lines, hitting corners. We have two left-handed hitters. When they are on, no one can block them.”

Wierzbick and Dow led blocks with three and two, respectively.

Kaylee Gillespie led in serves with 28, four aces and only one error. Jewell Porterfield served at 100 percent. Gillespie recorded 27 assists, while Bailee Earnhardt followed with 11. Wierzbicki led with 12 digs.

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Daniel varsity volleyball picks up pair of shutout victories

CENTRAL ­­— The Daniel Lions volleyball team looked great over the past week, defeating the rival Seneca Bobcats and region foe Palmetto.

The Lions shut out the Bobcats 3-0 on Thursday night. The two teams played close in the first two sets, with Daniel outscoring the Bobcats 25-21 and 25-23. However, the Lions pulled away in the final set for a 25-16 win to take the match.

The Lion offense was led by senior Emerald Withers and junior Natalie Swaney, who both had eight kills in the contest. Swaney also contributed to the defensive effort, tallying 10 digs, while Withers tallied nine digs of her own. Senior libero Kate Brownell

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Pickens JVs play well

In pool play last Saturday, the Pickens High School Lady Blue Flame junior varsity volleyball team, pictured above, defeated Riverside and Blythewood, but lost to Lexington, which placed them in the silver bracket. They were defeated by Dorman in the silver bracket. “The ladies played hard, and we are very proud of them,” coach Pamela Clarkson said. “We competed against some top 5A schools. The future is looking good for PHS.” Pickens’ Madison Gentry, pictured at right, was named to the All-Tournament Team.


Venables, Lions explode for big

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

SENECA — The Daniel Lions scored early and often in an explosive 51-14 win over the rival Seneca Bobcats on Friday night.

“I challenged these kids to get off the bus and play well,” Daniel coach Jeff Fruster said. “All summer we challenged them to get off to good starts, and that is exactly what we did tonight.”

The Lion offense jumped on Seneca from the get-go, scoring 38 points in the first half, with the star being junior quarterback Tyler Venables. Venables scored his team’s first four touchdowns of the game on the ground to make his impressive season thus far all the more exceptional.

“It was very fun, (and) we’ve got a lot momentum in our hands,” Venables said. “I didn’t do great in the passing game tonight, but the offensive line did a great job of giving me some gaps to run through.”

The Lions’ new offensive staff is hitting its groove right now and putting up numbers that fans haven’t seen in years. In fact, the Lions’ 50-plus points in each of the last two games marks the first time Daniel has scored 50-plus in consecutive weeks since their 2013 state runner-up season.

“The kids believe in them,” Fruster said of his new offensive staff, led by coordinator Page Wofford. “This staff has shown they have a lot of prowess the last couple of weeks. But we knew what we were getting when we hired them. It’s just good to see our offense pick up some momentum.”

The defense was also stellar on the night, as the Lions allowed almost nothing through the air, with Seneca only getting 36 passing yards and throwing three interceptions. The Seneca run game was also held in check outside a 74-yard scoring burst by Bobcat running back Jeremiah Mackey.

“It’s like I said before the game, you can’t stop Mackey,” Fruster said. “The best you can hope for is to contain him, and I thought we did a good job of that.”

Daniel received the opening kickoff and Venables started his impressive game with two

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Easley exits bye week looking for more consistency

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

EASLEY — As odd as it may be, the Easley High School football team’s open date was taken care of before August ended Friday night.

The open date in years past has rolled around after the non-region schedule was over for teams in September, but after playing in Week 0, the Green Wave had an off week in Week 2.

Heading into this week’s home game with Wren, both sides of the ball have questions to answer for Easley.

Offensively, the first question would be: What is the identity of the offense? In the first game against Pickens, Easley only attempted nine passes with a three-year starter in Weston Black. Black did go to the air a little more against Daniel in the second game, hooking up several times with senior Ethan Boyles.

The Green Wave (1-1) would like to be balanced with the pass and run, and with the

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Liberty has no answer for tough Pickens run game

By Clay Counts
Special to The Courier

LIBERTY — Riding high after a big win over Berea, the Liberty Red Devils hosted county rival Pickens on Friday night hoping to keep the momentum.

But licking their wounds after a tough loss the Pendleton the previous week, the Blue Flame used their steady, hard-nosed power run game to chip away at Liberty in an 18-0 win.

After receiving the opening kick, Pickens came out of the gate clicking on all cylinders, beginning with an 18-play drive that spanned 63 yards and ate nearly 10 minutes off the clock. The drive above all exemplified the no-frills, fight-for-every-inch gameplay the Red Devils would have to struggle against on the night. Pickens converted on two fourth downs and had only one play that went for more than nine yards on the opening drive.

The Red Devil defense ultimately prevailed on the possession, though, after stalling the Blue Flame offense at the 16-yard line and forcing a missed field goal.

Liberty’s bend-but-don’t-break defensive strategy caused Pickens to leave a lot of points on the field and proved successful in keeping the Red Devils in the fight.

Another highlight of the opening half for Liberty was an impressive goal line stand, with a touchdown-saving tackle by senior linebacker Jack Brissey forcing a turnover on downs at the Red Devils’ 1-yard line.

The ensuing offensive drive held some promise, but was ultimately driven backward, ending in a Red Devil safety to give Pickens a 2-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Blue Flame offense stretched its lead to 5-0 at halftime with a 45-yard Collier

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