Andrew Webb

Andrew Webb has always wanted to make a difference. A move from Clinton High School, where he served four years has head football coach, to Saluda, where he serves as offensive coordinator under head coach Stewart Young, has given him an opportunity to make that difference.

A lifelong Red Devil has found success as a Tiger.

Saluda (11-3) faces Barnwell on Friday night at Charles W. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Benedict College in Columbia for the state championship in Class 2A.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Webb said. “I’m coaching a real fun group of guys to coach. They have really worked hard to get better.”

The Tigers have put a lot of old frustrations to bed. A 32-28 victory over Abbeville was the first Panther playoff loss since 2014. Three times Abbeville eliminated Saluda en route to state championships. The Panthers won their regular-season meeting, 48-20, and led, 21-3, at one point last Friday night.

“In the earlier game, we knew we could compete with them and that we hadn’t played our best. Last week our guys kept playing hard on offense and defense, and we came back and won the game.”

Another playoff victory was against Southside Christian, 56-42, which had defeated the Tigers three straight times.

“Those were great hurdles to leap,” Webb said. “If we play our best, we can beat anybody.”

Webb played at Clinton High and Presbyterian College. He spent 14 years on the Red Devil staff as assistant under Andy B. Young and Scott King before taking over as head coach. After a 2-8 record in 2018, he and Clinton parted ways.

“It’s certainly been fun just coaching football,” he said. “For me and (wife) Mindy and our two boys, it’s really been fun as a family, too.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel weird at first being away from Clinton, but the biggest thing about Saluda is it just puts back in perspective what we are here to do, which is coaching and teaching young people. It’s special just to experience having those new relationships build. It puts everything back in focus.”

Offense, Webb’s specialty, has been quite a climate change. Saluda’s is led by one of the seven finalists for Mr. Football in the state, quarterback Noah Bell, who has passed for more than 3,600 yards, throwing 44 touchdown passes. Clinton football has always been run-oriented.

“The way we play offense in Saluda is very different from what we did in Clinton,” Webb said. “It’s not any better. There are lots of different ways to win. It’s a matter of doing what’s best for the talent you’ve got.”

That he has in Saluda, and more proof will be on display Friday night.