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Category Archives: Sports

Tigers cruise in win over Citadel

By Eric Sprott

Courtesy The Journal

esprott@upstatetoday.com

CLEMSON — The atmosphere was a bit unusual in and around Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but the Clemson football team managed to deliver a few hours of normalcy with the performance it turned in against the Citadel.

Led by an impressive, if brief, showing by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the top-ranked Tigers

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‘I expect us to win’

Blue Flame eager to take field after offseason of hard work

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

bnimmons@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — For Pickens High School head football coach Chad Smith, last season’s failures were certainly a disappointment following a playoff berth two years ago.

The Blue Flame were beset by injuries in 2019, including the early-season loss of standout running back Brady Batson, and finished just 2-8 on the year. Now entering his fourth season at the helm of his alma mater, nothing has changed about Smith’s expectations for his team, and with two

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INTO THE UNKNOWN

Devils entering uncertain season with two-week COVID-19 delay

By Clay Counts
Special to The Courier

claycounts21@yahoo.com

LIBERTY — The offseason has been a long and stressful one for high school football coaches, players and fans around the state and nation, but the long wait is finally coming to a close for most South Carolina teams, with season openers set for this Friday night.

The Liberty Red Devils, however, will have to wait at least a couple more weeks after some members of the team tested positive for COVID-19 recently.

School District of Pickens County spokesman John Eby announced last Friday that all football activities at LHS had been suspended for two weeks due to the positive cases on the team. Eby said all close contacts of the positive cases had been notified, and games are being rescheduled as necessary in accordance with the South Carolina High School League.

Liberty is entering the pandemic-shortened 2020 season coming off a 3-8 finish a year ago, although the Red

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fresh start

Easley seeks improvement entering 2020 season with third coach in as many years

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

ejolley@thepccourier.com

EASLEY — Although many people are resistant to change, it isn’t always a bad thing.

And Easley High School football fans can take solace in that fact as the Green Wave head into the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with their third head coach in as many seasons.

After Caleb King announced his surprise resignation following his only season at the program’s helm, former Byrnes offensive coordinator Jordan Durrah was announced as the Green Wave’s new head coach in February.

A former state championship-winning coach in North Carolina, King moved back to the Tar Heel State, where he is now an assistant coach at Rose High School. That move opened the door for Easley administrators to bring Durrah back to the school after he previously served as a Green Wave assistant during the Chad Smith era.

“I’ve always felt it was a special place,” Durrah said of Easley. “I think it’s got a strong community. We have strong people in administration and we have strong leaders in the district and

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‘Tough Sledding’

Lions tasked with keeping up success amid pandemic and other challenges

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

bnimmons@thepccourier.com

CENTRAL — The Daniel Lions have seen plenty of ups and downs during the tenure of head coach Jeff Fruster.

After the Lions managed to go just 8-13 in his first two seasons at the helm, Fruster has taken Daniel to a combined 22-3 record, an Upper State championship appearance and a region title since 2018.

Now, Fruster faces what could possibly be his biggest challenge yet — replacing star quarterback Tyler Venables and nine other starters after the longest, strangest offseason he has ever seen due to the COVID-19 virus.

Set to kick off the season this Friday at rival Seneca, the Lions are taking COVID-19 very seriously and following all the various suggestions recommended by the S.C. High School League, according to Fruster. He also said the team had yet to see a positive case as of last week and commended the attitude shown by his players to the necessary changes.

“I told the kids way back in the summer that we’re going to have to remain very flexible this year, and I think the kids have done a very good job with that,” Fruster said. “I know it’s not ideal and it goes against the very nature of everything they’ve done in this sport, but they have had a positive attitude if this is what it takes to play.”

Despite the challenges with COVID-19, the Lions have plenty to look forward to this season. Daniel boasts its

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Almost Go Time

High school football teams around the county are putting in the final preparations before the pandemic-shortened 2020 season officially kicks off next week. Above, Daniel quarterback Trent Pearman rolls out under pressure from defender Griffin Batt at practice last week. At left, a group of Pickens linemen wait for a signal at practice on Monday. All four county teams will open the season Sept. 25, with Daniel visiting Seneca, Easley hosting Westside, Liberty taking on West-Oak at home and Pickens entertaining Walhalla. To read more about the local teams ahead of the season, check back next week for the Courier’s Football Frenzy season preview.

Bru Nimmons/Courier

 

Tigers open with big win at Wake Forest

By Eric Sprott

Courtesy The Journal

esprott@upstatetoday.com

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. — On Saturday night, Clemson’s veteran offensive leaders performed to their typical standards, and some tantalizing young talent — particularly on the defensive side — lived up to the billing as the Tigers opened their season at Wake Forest with a decisive 37-13 victory at Truist Field.

If for no other reason than simply being able to get onto the field in the midst of a pandemic, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Sunday evening the win was one he’ll never forget as his top-ranked Tigers (1-0, 1-0 ACC) turned in a strong performance.

“It was a very special win for us, and as I told the team,

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Lady Blue Flame open 2020 season with win

PICKENS — The Pickens High School Lady Blue Flame volleyball team started the 2020 season at home with an easy victory against region foe Walhalla, 25-8, 25-8, 25-17.

Since high school athletics were never a sure thing this fall during the COVID-19 era, Lady Blue Flame coach Rikki Owens said the team was blessed to take the court against the Lady Razorbacks.

“We were so excited and grateful to be able to have the opportunity to play and be out on the court again,” she said. “The girls are fired up and are not taking anything for

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All Systems Go

No. 1 Tigers set to kick off season on Saturday

By Eric Sprott

Courtesy The Journal

esprott@upstatetoday.com

CLEMSON — The Clemson football team has won the ACC championship each of the last five years, and with preseason first-team All-Americans Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne back to lead the way this season, the media that covers the conference sees little reason why the Tigers won’t make it six in a row.

The conference announced the results of its preseason media poll on Friday, and the top-ranked Tigers — who will kick off the season this Saturday — were predicted to finish first by 132 of the media panel’s 134 voters. The

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New cycling event coming next year

Public meeting planned for next week at mill

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — A new cycling event is coming to the Jocassee Gorges next year, and organizers expect the inaugural event will draw 1,000 cyclists to the area.

The Gran Fondo Hincapie-Jocassee is set for March 6, 2021, according to a release from Hincapie

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