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Community celebrates Saluda's first state championship in 56 years

(WRDW)
Published: Dec. 6, 2019 at 11:53 PM EST
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Friday, December 6, 2019

News 12 at 11 o'clock

COLUMBIA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- Two local teams squared off tonight for the 2A state championship in South Carolina, but this was about so much more than the players on the field.

Saluda beat Barnwell to win the school's first state championship since 1963. It's a moment fans have been waiting for more than half a century.

"Tiger nation man, we're champions," said Dominique Smith, a Saluda fan. "Time for the parade."

It's a moment Smith wanted to share with his family.

"It was worth every moment. I brought my boys here with me," he said. "It's a legendary, historic moment for the town of Saluda."

Smith grew up in Saluda. He moved to Thomson when he was in middle school, but never let go of his tiger roots.

"From Saluda, man. Born and raised," he said. "Die hard. Die hard."

Smith came back to Saluda to finish high school. He now coaches pee wee football, and coached a lot of the players on the field tonight. He said watching his former players grow and win together is something he'll never forget.

"It was an unbelievable moment," he said. "It was surreal just to see those guys make it happen."

He said the program has been knocking on the door for years, and they finally kicked it down.

"Four, five years in a row we've been falling short," he said. "But we finally did it, man."

He said the win sends a message to all young football players in Saluda.

"Know that it can be done. Coming from a little town of Saluda, it can be done," he said.

Now, Smith's ready to get back home and celebrate.

"We're ready for the parade, Saluda," he said with a big smile.

Copyright 2019 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved

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