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JOHN CLAYTON


ARTICLES BY JOHN CLAYTON

FCA makes pitch for full-time staffer, announces Jamboree lineup
AUG 2, 2013

Area football coaches offered their thoughts on the upcoming football season while promoting the value of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in their lives and to their respective programs Thursday night at an FCA fundraiser held at the Cannon Centre.

Funds raised from the event and the FCA Football Jamboree on Jan.  are to be used to help pay for a full-time position that would serve Greer, Blue Ridge, Eastside, Riverside and Wade Hampton high schools in addition to Greer Middle College.

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Autofocus: 2013 Toyota Prius V delivers MPG, surprising utility
DEC 27, 2012

The 2013 Prius V offers the gas mileage – 48 mpg highway, 51 mpg city and 50 mpg combined.

When people think about the Toyota Prius they think two things: First and foremost, gas mileage. Second, what exactly is the plural of Prius? Priuses? Prii?

The 2013 Prius V offers the gas mileage – 48 mpg highway, 51 mpg city and 50 mpg combined. But it also offers copious amounts of interior space and more utility than any of its Prius predecessors.

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Autofocus: Taurus is a big name in large sedans
DEC 15, 2012

If you like tech toys and a quiet ride, the Taurus Limited may just be the ticket for you.

It’s not exactly your father’s Ford Taurus, but he probably wouldn’t mind having one either.

One of Ford’s more recognizable sedan nameplates returned in 2010 and has undergone a mid-generation facelift for 2013. The Taurus shares Ford’s D3 platform with the Lincoln MKS, so there are as many similarities as differences with the luxury nameplate as there are differences.

The tested Taurus Limited was striking from the outset, arriving on a cloudy day that at first disguised the brilliant “Kodiak Brown” paintjob that first appeared black under the clouds but then sparkled a rich brown in the sunlight. I never thought I would be so excited about brown.

The Limited model is a step below the performance-minded SHO version, but came with a ton of options around the 3.5-liter V6 flex-fuel engine. It also came with all-wheel-drive. There are also SE and SEL levels that start in the $27,000 range with base turbo-charged 4-cylinder engines.

If you like tech toys and a quiet ride, the Taurus Limited may just be the ticket for you. There is no shortage of gadgetry, but a notable shortage of road noise inside the cabin, particularly at highway speeds.

The knock on the sedan has been that the interior, while luxurious, is too confining for the driver and front-seat passenger given the Taurus’ large-sedan status. Despite being a big guy, I had no problem with the front-seat confines – probably because I enjoy a cockpit feel when behind the wheel.

And behind the wheel, that feel was powerful (288 horsepower), if not particularly nimble. Variable valve timing has helped fuel efficiency to the tune of 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for the V6.

The buyer should know that the Taurus drives like the large sedan that it is – a legitimate cruiser but hardly a bull in a china shop.

TAURUS PLUSSES

Smooth ride

Highway fuel economy

High tech toys, including navigation system and backup camera

Abundant trunk space

TAURUS MINUSES

Annoying blind spots

Drives “big”

Gets pricey quickly with options 

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IN FOCUS: Korn's football dream revived by AFL offer
NOV 14, 2012

Willy Korn gets a shot at professional football, signing with the Arena Football League's Arizona Rattlers.

Willy Korn’s mercurial path through the world of football has yet another twist.

This past week, the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers were assigned Korn’s rights as a free agent. After a phone interview with Rattlers’ Head Coach and General Manager Kevin Guy, the former Byrnes/Clemson/almost Marshall/North Greenville quarterback was offered his first professional contract.

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Daniel puts end to Blue Ridge's return to playoffs
NOV 9, 2012

CENTRAL -- Blue Ridge's 24-plus hour reprieve from a long offseason ended tonight with a 49-17 loss at Daniel.

The Tigers, placed back in the playoffs Thursday evening after the S.C. High School League ruled that an ineligible Lower Richland player competed in the Diamond Hornets' win last week at Blue Ridge, had turned in unifoms and equipment and had only a short morning practice as preparation for one of preseason favorites for the Class 3A state championship.

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IN FOCUS: Giraffe Party, 2016, launched at Greer poll
NOV 8, 2012

OK, so now we know poll workers aren't zoologists.

Friend and Greer resident Bob Anderson found that out when a stuffed giraffe belonging to toddler son Bobby was deemed "political propaganda" by a poll worker Tuesday morning as the family waited to vote.

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Forfeit puts Blue Ridge back in the playoffs
NOV 8, 2012

Blue Ridge is back in the Class 3A football playoffs.

Officials from the S.C. High School League contacted members of the Blue Ridge athletic department around 4:30 today  with news that Lower Richland -- the team that defeated the Tigers this past Friday night -- competed with an ineligible player and forfeited the game.

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Greer businessman, former Riverside coach dies
NOV 6, 2012

Ian Muller and his wife, Michelle, had two children, Ian Tyler, 15, and Alicia Marie, 13.

Ian Muller was a resident of Greer for less than six years, but those who knew him will miss his large presence.

Known as “Big Ian” and “The Gentle Giant,” Muller’s size – at 6-foot-8 and over 300 pounds -- was impossible to overlook, but friends and family who knew him best say, so was the size of the heart that stopped beating for him Saturday. He was 41 years old.

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2013 Ford Mustang, an edgy tribute to Pony Heritage
NOV 6, 2012

The 2013 Mustang with the tested 3.7-liter V6 produces 305 horsepower, is coupled with an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission.

I supposed it is somewhat fitting that my first AutoFocus review for  would feature the 2013 Ford Mustang.

No matter what, I've always been a Mustang guy -- the first car I ever bought was a 1966 edition with a 200 Sprint straight-6 and 3-speed stick.

What a difference 48 years or so can make. The 2013 Mustang with the tested 3.7-liter V6 produces 305 horsepower, is coupled with an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission. On the highway, it's rated at 31 miles per gallon. All of that with Mustang's retro styling for under $30,000. Not bad.

Ford started something when its redesigned, previous generation Mustang hit the streets with all the throwback styling of the 1960s with new technology and 21st century muscle.

Chevy  followed suit with a new old-styled Camaro and Dodge re-introduced its Charger and Challenger nameplates with MOPAR power and a retro feel. (If only AMC were still around to give us the 2013 Javelin.)

Camaro has since begun to out-sell Mustangs, which could be the onus behind the 2013 redesign, which gives the coupe an edgier look for the nose and the rear.? It's a bit of a meaner look and some purists may enjoy the previous generation's demeanor a little more.

The tested vehicle came in "Deep Impact Blue," a rich dark blue that may be my new favorite color.

One thing that can't be argued  is the  performance of the 305-hp powerplant. With the accompanying Pony Package ($995), which is part aesthetics and part performance (18-inch wheels and a rear spoiler) along with the optional 6-speed automatic, the V6 is plenty of engine with a lusty rumble underneath. 

An optional performance package for an additional $1,995 is also available. It is designed to give the Mustang more taut handling with stiffer front springs and improved braking. 

With the noted fuel economy (23 city, 31 highway), it's a beauty, though not the more muscular, monstrous V8s that accompany the Shelby and Boss 302 versions.

The interior was comfortable, but provided more of a cockpit-type feel than in previous incarnations. The spartan, old-school steering wheel was at once odd (given the abundance of controls and gadgetry on modern steering wheels) and welcome.

One thing Ford has proven over the past decade by revisiting its pony-car heritage on a literal level, is that history can be fun -- and fast.

2013 FORD MUSTANG V6: ENGINE: 3.7-liter V6

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed Selectronic automatic

HORSEPOWER: 305

FUEL ECONOMY: 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway

COLOR: Deep Impact Blue

BASE PRICE: $26,200

OPTIONS: 6-speed transmision ($1,195), Pony Pakcage ($995), anti-theft ($695). Total - $2,885.

TOTAL PRICE: $29,880

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Cooper named 3A Upper State Coach of the Year
NOV 5, 2012

Wade Cooper coached Blue Ridge to a 9-2 record and a share of the Region II-3A championship.

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Lattimore's future is now discussed in economic terms
NOV 3, 2012

Now that it has all sunk in a little with Gamecock nation and football fans all around the Upstate, people are wondering aloud -- what is Marcus Lattimore's future?

Even the head ball coach himself, Steve Spurrier, said Lattimore is probably the most beloved Gamecock in program history and fans around here started their love affair with him even before he arrived in Columbia when he starred at Byrnes.

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Lower Richland ends Blue Ridge's season
NOV 3, 2012

Lower Richland never looked like an underdog.

The Diamond Hornets (5-6), the No. 3 seed from Region IV-3A, stunned once-beaten Blue Ridge 26-21 tonight, eliminating the host Tigers in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs while notching their first playoff victory since 1995.

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Cooper: 'Kids will be fine.' Blue Ridge at home in playoff game
NOV 2, 2012

LOWER RICHLAND (4-6) at BLUE RIDGE (9-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

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Oh no! Rowe becomes 4th Maryland QB out with injury
OCT 29, 2012

Caleb Rowe is shown in action vs. North Carolina State earlier this season. The former Blue Ridge High and starting quarterback for Maryland, suffered a torn anterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee Saturday and is out for the rest of the season.

Just two days after making his first collegiate start, Maryland and former Blue Ridge quarterback Caleb Rowe was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a torn anterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Rowe becomes the fourth Maryland quarterback to go down with a season-ending injury and leaves the Terps (4-4 overall, 2-2 ACC) with no scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Shawn Petty, a converted linebacker, is expected to start for Maryland this week against Georgia Tech.

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IN FOCUS: Lattimore injury is a cruel reality
OCT 27, 2012

Marcus Lattimore was transported to a Columbia Hospial today after suffering a severe knee injury in a game with Tennessee.

Since the days of leather helmets and noses being used as facemasks, football has been a violent game.

But on some days it can be exceptionally cruel. Saturday was one of those days.

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Greer plays Seneca in first round of playoffs at Dooley Field
OCT 27, 2012

Emmanuel Kelly (6) leads the way for Malek Johnson (2) who intercepted a pass against Blue Ridge Friday night.

Seneca earned an at-large bid into the Class 3A playoffs and a return trip to Greer’s Dooley Field in the opening round. The game is Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

The two teams opened the 2012 season there on Aug. 24 with Seneca escaping with a 46-45 victory thanks to an overtime touchdown and game-deciding 2-point conversion.

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RIVALRY: Pressure on Blue Ridge QB was successful
OCT 27, 2012

Greer linebacker John Hicks picked up some of the spoils of victory tonight. Hicks, Greer's leader in virtuall all defensive categories, holds a stick with Tigers.

Blue Ridge sophomore quarterback Ty Montgomery had turned in a prolific offensive season despite precious little varsity experience.

The Greer defense planned all week to key on the Tigers’ trigger man and the pressure from the Yellow Jackets’ front line played a major role in Greer’s 35-7 victory tonight.

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RIVALRY: Greer, Blue Ridge earn 1-2 seeds in playoffs
OCT 27, 2012

Each of the top three teams in Region II-3A ended up with a single regular-season loss, so Greer, Blue Ridge and Greenville will share the region championship, according to Blue Ridge Head Coach Wade Cooper.

Greer’s 35-7 win over Blue Ridge tonight handed the Yellow Jackets (8-2, 6-1) the top seed from the region thanks to a tie-break of fewest defensive points allowed in games involving Greer, Greenville and Blue Ridge.

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Elder's Plan B turns into something special
OCT 24, 2012

Trey Elder, at a speaking engagement at the Greer TD Club, challenged coaches and individuals to pour themselves into 'whatever you do'.

Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you planned.

Trey Elder, former Byrnes all-state quarterback and S.C. Mr. Football in 2003, was ready to sign, seal and deliver himself to Cincinnati to play for then-coach Brian Kelly.

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Region II-3A playoff formula can be simple or complex
OCT 24, 2012

The Region II-3A football championship has come down to the final week of the season and has several championship scenarios still in play.

Just as it did in the former Peach Blossom 3A Region a year ago, Friday night's game between Greer and Blue Ridge could determine the region champion and top seed from the conference heading into the Class 3A playoffs.

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