Fox Foxes football
|12 - 1||7 - 0||5 - 1||.923||598||248|
|2012-08-31||@||Temple||W||64 - 14|
|2012-09-06||@||Geary||W||50 - 0|
|2012-09-14||vs||Alex||W||34 - 30|
|2012-09-21||@||Cyril||W||54 - 8|
|2012-09-28||vs||Macomb||W||46 - 0|
|2012-10-05||@||Paoli||W||70 - 24|
|2012-10-12||vs||Central Marlow||W||50 - 22|
|2012-10-18||vs||Waurika||W||50 - 14|
|2012-10-26||@||Okla. Christian Aca.||W||48 - 24|
|2012-11-02||vs||Allen||W||52 - 6|
|2012-11-09||vs||Merritt||W||28 - 22|
|2012-11-16||vs||Keota||W||52 - 32|
|2012-11-23||@||Pond Creek-Hunter||L||0 - 52|
|Rush Yds||Rush Yds Game||Pass Yds||Pass Yds/Game||Yards Total||Yards/Game||Pts Total||Pts/Game|
|Rush Yds Allow||Allow Rush/Game||Pass Yds Allow||Allow Pass/Game||Yds Total Allow||Yds Allow/Game||Allow Pts||Allow Pts/Game|
|Player Name||Number||Year||Height||Weight||Position (main)|
Fox football News
NewsOK articles about Fox football, or articles mentioning current or former Fox football players.
Fox High School Varsity Boys Football
A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed the game day experience: Orb Whaley, 87, of Tulsa played football at Antlers High School and Southeastern State. Before a long management career with Western Auto, Whaley was involved in one of the most unusual plays in college football. While returning a second-half kick, Whaley was tackled by East Central lineman Doc Garner at the 50-yard...
Tributes: Former Southeastern player, Douglass basketball standout die
BY SCOTT MUNN | Aug 18, 2014A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed the game day experience: Orb Whaley, 87, of Tulsa played football at Antlers High School and Southeastern State. Before a long management career with Western Auto, Whaley was involved in one of the most unusual plays in college football. While returning a second-half kick, Whaley was tackled by East Central lineman Doc Garner at the 50-yard line. Problem was, Garner made the stop after charging in from the ECU bench. East Central was given a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Whaley added an interception later in the third quarter that set up a Southeastern touchdown as the then-Savages rolled to a 26-2 victory. Whaley sandwiched his football career between stints in World War II and the Korean War. Raymond Mitchell, 83, was a principal at several Oklahoma City elementary schools. The former Douglass High School basketball standout was also a physical education teacher and spent fall Friday nights as a football official. He also refereed prep basketball games. Angela Spigner, 44, of Oklahoma City was a cheerleader at Fox High School. Kelly Johnson, 50, was a mat maid at Altus High School. Garland Waldroop, 74, of Minot, N.D., owned a construction business. The former Oklahoma resident built Sooner International Raceway north of Altus in 1983. Beula Combs, 88, of Tahlequah was scorebook keeper at Little League baseball games. Larry Cotter, 73, of Oklahoma City was a body builder. He also enjoyed drag racing and snow skiing. Laura Marble Arledge, 45, of Norman played tennis at Chickasha High School and Austin College. The attorney was a supporter of Norman High School athletics; she was named Fan of the Year for the 2012-13 school year. Gene Hatfield, 67, of Oklahoma City played football and baseball at Crooked Oak High School. The Vietnam veteran was an OU and tennis fan. Steven Smola, 74, of Oklahoma City played football at Kingfisher High School. Showed award-winning sheep as a youngster. A railroad company owner by trade. William Kern, 93, of Lawton played adult league softball for Fairmont Foods. A member of the Lawton Bowling Club. Joe Pete Pellerin Jr., 72, of Wilson played football for Mt. Saint Joseph Academy in his native Rutland, Vt. Dr. Harold Stout, 80, of Norman played football, basketball and ran track at Waurika High School. The physician was involved with the Waurika Rattlesnake Hunt. Also hunted bear in Alaska. Claudette Trigg Theimer, 81, of Oklahoma City was a cheerleader at Northeast High School. Weldon Roberson, 70, of Wichita Falls, Texas, lettered four years in football, basketball and track at Ryan High School. Bob Graves, 72, of Poteau worked in the banking industry and coached Little League baseball. Steve Robinson, 65, worked the chains at Owasso Rams football games. A golf enthusiast. Bud Mulkey, 82, Durant worked as machinist — which came in handy with his hobby of building and racing stock cars. Billy Little, 68, of Yukon was a manager for Southwestern Bell. Off time was spent working with Little League sports either as an official, director or coach. Allen Cowdery, 71, of Tulsa was an attorney who coached and officiated soccer. Sue Moore Corder, 70, of Midwest City played basketball at Mason High School.
Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops rode onto the field in the Sooner Schooner following OU’s practice Friday, wearing a cowboy hat and delivering ice cream to his players. The Sooners wrapped up fall camp Friday, and will begin their regular, in-season practice schedule on Monday when classes start. OU opens the 2014 season at home Aug. 30 against Louisiana Tech. SAVAGE MORE COMFORTABLE...
Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops, ice cream man
BY JASON KERSEY AND RYAN ABER | Aug 15, 2014Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops rode onto the field in the Sooner Schooner following OU’s practice Friday, wearing a cowboy hat and delivering ice cream to his players. The Sooners wrapped up fall camp Friday, and will begin their regular, in-season practice schedule on Monday when classes start. OU opens the 2014 season at home Aug. 30 against Louisiana Tech. SAVAGE MORE COMFORTABLE Oklahoma senior guard Dionte Savage didn’t play much most of last season after transferring from Arizona Western Community College, but he started the Sooners’ Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama and performed well. Savage’s start came because the Sooners’ left guard most of the season, Adam Shead, was injured and unable to play. Savage said he’s going with the first team at left guard currently, but has worked on both sides of the line throughout the preseason. “I focused on my technique, on my steps,” Savage said. “That was my weakness last year. That’s what I’ve really been working on, and I got better at that. I’m looking forward to seeing how it pays off in the season.” STOOPS: BACKS IMPRESSIVE SO FAR Stoops wouldn’t say this week if any running backs are standing out, but did say he’s been impressed by the group as a whole. The Sooners are trying to replace running backs Brennan Clay, Roy Finch and Damien Williams, all of whom were seniors in 2013. “They’re all doing well,” Stoops said. “They’ve all stayed healthy. They look good, they’re much bigger, other than Damien Williams. Bigger than what we’re used to with Brennan Clay and Roy Finch, they’re just more physical players. “They’ve been really solid. Really good. Daniel (Brooks) even adds a nice complement with his great speed.” Sophomore Keith Ford and redshirt freshman Alex Ross are the only two running backs with any college football game experience, although it is very limited. True freshman Samaje Perine is also in the mix. Five-star signee Joe Mixon was expected to compete for the job, but hasn’t practiced with the team while he faces a misdemeanor charge stemming from a late-night altercation with a female OU student in late July. OU-LOUISIANA TECH PPV DETAILS RELEASED Fox Sports Oklahoma announced the participating cable and satellite broadcasters that will carry the pay-per-view broadcast of Oklahoma's season opener against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 30. In Oklahoma City, Cox Communications will carry the game on channels 610 and 611 The game wasn't selected for broadcast otherwise that weekend. Ron Thulin, Dave Lapham and Chad McKee will call the game, with the broadcast beginning at 5 p.m. for the 6 p.m. kickoff. After the game, the broadcast will feature postgame analysis and live broadcasts of the postgame press conferences. The pay-per-view will be available on cable primarily in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. Viewers outside Oklahoma can purchase a live stream of the broadcast on SoonerSports.tv for $54.99 or can purchase a package that also includes an annual subscription for $109.99. The purchased stream can be viewed on iPhone, iPad and Android devices with the use of the SoonerSports2Go app. Cable customers can order the broadcast from their set-top devices or by calling their cable provider. QUOTABLE Freshman fullback Dimitri Flowers, on what surprised him during two-a-days: “I wasn’t ready for how hot it was going to be, honestly. It was rough. … In high school, our two-a-days would be in shorts and a shirt and then in pads. … It’s different. It’s a grind.”
Media notes: OU will make three or four appearances on ESPN's “Big Monday” basketball package; OSU left offAug 11, 2014
The OU men’s basketball team will make three or four appearances on ESPN’s “Big Monday” package. OSU was left off the “Big Monday” schedule for the first time in several years.
Media notes: OU will make three or four appearances on ESPN's “Big Monday” basketball package; OSU left off
BY MEL BRACHT | Aug 11, 2014The OU men’s basketball team will make three or four appearances on ESPN’s “Big Monday” package. OSU was left off the “Big Monday” schedule for the first time in several years. OU, ranked 19th in the ESPN.com preseason rankings, will play at No. 17 Texas on Jan. 5, play at No. 10 Kansas on Jan. 19 and host No. 16 Iowa State on Feb. 9. ESPN’s March 2 game either will be OU at Iowa State or Baylor at Texas. The game not selected will air on ESPNU. Tipoff is 8 p.m. for all the games. Kansas leads the way with four appearances. Besides the OU game on Jan. 19, the Jayhawks will host Iowa State on Feb. 2, play at West Virginia on Feb. 16 and play at No. 23 Kansas State on Feb. 23. PGA ratings jump An estimated 30.9 million viewers watched CBS Sports’ two-day coverage of the 2014 PGA Championship, up 30 percent from last year and up 42 percent from 2012 when Rory McIlroy won his first PGA Championship. The 30.9 million was most viewers to watch all or part of the network’s weekend coverage in five years (2009; 35.7 million). KWTV-9 received a 9.4 rating for Sunday’s final round, boosted by the third-place finish by former OSU golfer Rickie Fowler. KWTV’s rating was up 65 percent from last year (5.7). Short takes Yukon High School football broadcasts are moving to KZLS-AM 1640 this season. Tony Sellars returns as the play-by-play voice and also will also host the “Coaches Show” at 7 p.m. Tuesdays, starting Aug. 26. Travis Horn is back as color commentator. Former OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young is the new Yukon coach. All coaches’ shows and game broadcasts also will stream at kzlsam.com. Texas Rangers radio broadcaster Eric Nadel will be featured in a 30-minute special that premieres at 6 p.m. Tuesday on Fox Sports Southwest. “Spotlight: Eric Nadel, the Road to Cooperstown” will include highlights from this year’s National Baseball Hall of Fame awards ceremony in which Nadel received the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting. Hosted by John Rhadigan, the program reflects back on Nadel’s career with the Rangers that began in 1979. SEC Network, operated by ESPN, will debut at 5 p.m. Thursday with a three-hour “SEC Now,” which will visit every SEC school and the 21 sports within the SEC. The following 14 days will feature all 14 schools with an array of events and specials, including team previews, greatest games and SEC features leading into the network’s first college football game on Aug. 28, Texas A&M at South Carolina. Randy Heritage, a 1994 Putnam North High School and 1999 OU graduate, has been hired as a segment producer for the SEC Network. Heritage said he will produce “SEC in 60,” providing highlights of SEC football games. Heritage, 38, has been a senior producer at Winnercom in Tulsa. As an associate producer, he received an Emmy for a “SportsCentury” documentary on Dick Vermeil.
Oklahoma City Thunder TV analyst candidates: A look at the contenders, longshots to replace Grant LongAug 10, 2014
Who will replace Grant Long as the Thunder TV analyst alongside play-by-play man Brian Davis? Here’s our list of contenders, longshots, and some outside of the box names for your entertainment: THE CONTENDERS Stacey King Background: Lawton native, All-American at OU and NBA first-round draft pick. Played a decade of NBA ball, winning three championship with the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s....
Oklahoma City Thunder TV analyst candidates: A look at the contenders, longshots to replace Grant Long
By Erik Horne | Aug 10, 2014Who will replace Grant Long as the Thunder TV analyst alongside play-by-play man Brian Davis? Here’s our list of contenders, longshots, and some outside of the box names for your entertainment: THE CONTENDERS Stacey King Background: Lawton native, All-American at OU and NBA first-round draft pick. Played a decade of NBA ball, winning three championship with the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s. Got into broadcasting in 2006, and has worked as the lead color commentator for the Bulls since 2008, earning popularity with a Gus Johnson-esque arsenal of catch phrases. Nancy Lieberman Background: Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer with broadcast experience on ESPN, ABC, FOX and NBC. Currently pre- and post-game TV analyst for Thunder LIVE on Fox Sports, as well as assistant general manager for D-League Texas Legends. Desmond Mason Background: Former Oklahoma State (1996-2000) and Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-2009) player. Mason has roots with the Thunder dating back to his days as a first-round pick of the Seattle SuperSonics in 2000. Spent two seasons in OKC with New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, who were displaced following Hurricane Katrina. Retired since 2009, has delved into art career. Gerry Vaillancourt Background: Served in variety of radio and television analyst roles for the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans for more than two decades before being let go in April. Voice of the Hornets during team’s temporary move to Oklahoma City in 2005. Played college basketball at Gardner-Webb University, and has collegiate and high school coaching experience. INTRIGUING LONGSHOTS Ryan Humphrey Background: Tulsa Washington alumnus spent part of college career at OU before earning All-American honors at Notre Dame. Pro career spans 11 years from NBA to overseas. Trying his hand in sports talk in Tulsa. Fits Thunder bill of former player as color commentator. Royal Ivey Background: Former University of Texas guard and 10-year NBA veteran. Knows Thunder well after multiple stints with the team (2010-12, 2013-14). Last played for Guangdong Southern Tigers of China in 2013-14 following 10-day contract with Thunder. Jim Ross Background: Unabashed Sooners supporter has decades of behind-the-mic experience from World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE Hall of Famer has gotten back into commentary with boxing work for Fox Sports 1. Kurt Thomas Background: Dallas native and TCU All-American played for nine teams in 18 NBA seasons. Appeared in 42 games for Seattle SuperSonics in 2007-08 before midseason trade to San Antonio Spurs. Deal that sent Thomas from Phoenix to Seattle in 2007 included a 2008 first-rounder, which turned into Serge Ibaka. OUTSIDE THE BOX/FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT Sherri Coale Background: Healdton native and Sooners women’s basketball coach has roots in Oklahoma and decades of basketball knowledge. Played collegiately at Oklahoma Christian. Guided OU to 15 NCAA Tournament and three Final Four appearances in 18 seasons. Polished in front of the camera and on the radio. Mick Cornett Background: Oklahoma City mayor has a long resume of TV experience and started his career in sports journalism. Played a key role in bringing the Thunder to Oklahoma City. 2014 Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Ashley and Courtney Paris Background: Former Sooner stars have long professed their desire to get into sports journalism and basketball commentary. Courtney currently suits up for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, and both sisters still reside in Oklahoma. Jim Traber Background: Oklahoma sports radio personality on The Sports Animal 98.1 deemed “The Ultimate.” Former Oklahoma State baseball and football player. Experience as color analyst with MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks. By Erik Horne
Media notes: Tulsa Union, Broken Arrow to make four appearances each on Cox high school football schedule
Cox schedule includes telecasts during first four weeks of the playoffs
Media notes: Tulsa Union, Broken Arrow to make four appearances each on Cox high school football schedule
Aug 6, 2014Cox announces high school football schedule Tulsa Union and Broken Arrow will make four appearances each in the Cox Communications high school football telecast package. The schedule for the The Cox Channel (channels 3 and 703) includes the Tulsa Union-Jenks game, generally considered the state’s biggest rivalry game, on Sept. 12. Southmoore, Owasso, Bixby, Jenks and Norman North are scheduled to make two appearances each. Several dates will be filled later in the season. Cox has scheduled two games for both Oct. 16 and Oct. 24. On Oct. 16, Norman North at Edmond North will air in Oklahoma City and Owasso at Tulsa Union will air in Tulsa. The other game will air on delay. On Oct. 24, Cox will air either Bixby at Tulsa Washington or Jenks at Broken Arrow. The other game will air on delay. All the games also will be streamed live at www.coxhshub.com. The Cox schedule includes playoff games on Nov. 14, Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 and state championship games the weekend of Dec. 5-6. Oklahoma City area announcers will be Steve Marshall, analyst Rod Thompson and sideline reporter Kaycee Boles. Tulsa area announcers will be Nathan Thompson, analyst Rod Thompson and sideline reporter Mike Ziegenhorn. The Cox HS Hub Game of the Week schedule also was released. Those games will be webcast at www.coxhshub.com. Steve Marshall and Josh Helmer will share play-by-play duties with analyst Mike Whaley. Cox Channel 3/703 schedule (All games start at 7 p.m.) Sept. 4, Edmond Memorial at Southmoore. Sept. 5, Owasso at Broken Arrow. Sept. 11, Bixby at East Central. Sept. 12, Tulsa Union at Jenks. Sept. 18, Norman at Moore. Sept. 19, Broken Arrow at Tulsa Union. Sept. 26, Owasso at Norman North. Oct. 3, Bishop McGuinness at Deer Creek. Oct. 9, Tulsa Union at Southmoore. Oct. 10, Open. Oct. 16, Norman North at Edmond North. Oct. 16, Owasso at Tulsa Union. Oct. 24, Bixby at Tulsa Washington. Oct. 24, Jenks at Broken Arrow. Oct. 30, Broken Arrow at Edmond Santa Fe. Oct. 31, Carl Albert at Guthrie. Nov. 7, Open. Cox HS Hub Game of the Week Sept. 5, Lindsey at Purcell. Sept. 12, Mooreland at Cashion. Sept. 19, Yukon at Deer Creek. Sept. 28, Newcastle at Cache. Oct. 3, Tuttle at Bristow. Oct. 10, Fredrick at Washington or TBA. Oct. 16, Nowata at Vian. Oct. 24, Kellyville at Lincoln Christian. Oct. 31, Altus at Duncan. Nov. 7, TBA. Short takes Westmoore High School football games and OU baseball and softball games and will air on the Tyler Media’s new The Franchise 2, KEBC-AM 1560 and FM 92.9. Program director Buddy Wiley said select OU baseball and softball games also will air on The Franchise 107.7. WWLS-FM 98.1, The Sports Animal, has received rights to air the Westwood One NFL and NCAA football broadcasts. WWLS will air NFL primetime games on Sunday, Thursday and Monday. WWLS also will also air Sunday doubleheader games and all playoff games. Program director Dax Davis said the station also will carry NCAA football games from Westwood One. Sideline reporter Erin Andrews is joining Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on Fox’s No.1 NFL broadcast team. The trio’s first game will be San Francisco at Dallas at 3:25 p.m. Sept. 7. Other Fox teams include Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch and Pam Oliver; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber and Jennifer Hale; Thom Brennaman, David Diehl and Laura Okmin; and Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa. Dick Stockton and reporter Kristina Pink will work with analysts Donovan McNabb, Brady Quinn and Kirk Morrison, who will alternate. By Mel Bracht
Jul 22, 2014
George Brewer died Monday at the age of 85. Brewer was a halfback on Bud Wilkinson’s great OU teams of the late 1940s. We put together a quick story for the Tuesday Oklahoman, but we were super busy down in Dallas with Big 12 Media Days. I regretted that we didn’t have more time to […]
Oklahoma football: A tribute to George Brewer
Berry Tramel | Jul 22, 2014[img url=http://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/3/2014/07/george-brewer.jpeg]2874321[/img] George Brewer died Monday at the age of 85. Brewer was a halfback on Bud Wilkinson’s great OU teams of the late 1940s. We put together a quick story for the Tuesday Oklahoman, but we were super busy down in Dallas with Big 12 Media Days. I regretted that we didn’t have more time to do a better story about Brewer, who had been one of the few players remaining from the ’40s-era Sooners. Then I received an email from Kyle McCord, Brewer’s grandson. McCord and Curtis Fitzpatrick of the Sports Animal and Fox-25 are good friends, and I asked Curtis to have Kyle email some information about his grandfather. Kyle did more than that. I don’t know if he meant to, but he wrote a great tribute to George Brewer. It was so good, I thought I would share it with you: “My grandpa, George W. Brewer, Jr., was the patriarch of my family for many years and is literally why I grew up in Oklahoma and have been a Sooner fan since birth. My first memories are going to Norman as a 5-year-old with him and watching the ’85 Sooners. I haven’t missed many home games since and he even gifted me his seats as a wedding present eight years ago. “George has deteriorated in health these past few years, suffering from early dementia and Parkinson’s. His passing, while sad, is truly a blessing. “George was the middle of three brothers. Robert (two years older) was the best athlete of all and after one semester at Texas Tech, went to serve in World War II. He was shot down and was missing in action for four years until eventually his body was recovered. “His younger brother, Charlie, was the Texas player of the year in 1951 and went on to start at QB for Texas (’54-’57). Charlie’s son, Robert, played QB for Texas in ’81-’82, upsetting Bear Bryant in the Cotton Bowl. Robert’s son, Michael, was a four-time state champion at Lake Travis in Austin, and just left Texas Tech as QB and is competing at Virginia Tech this fall. (I was the disappointment you could say, but I did start in the same backfield as Wes Welker for two years at Heritage Hall and threw him his first few TDs, haha). “George Brewer graduated from Lubbock High (The Westerners) in spring 1945 (Texas high schools only went to grade 11 at the time). Enrolled at Texas Tech (to follow in his brother’s footsteps) in fall 1945 and ran track that following spring, winning the 100-yard dash in the Border Conference with a time of 9.7 seconds. He wanted to go to Notre Dame, but his Southern Baptist mother wouldn’t let him. “Caught the eye of Eddie Chiles, a Sooner booster from Texas. He flew him into OKC and was picked up by Bud Wilkinson. Not knowing who Bud was, he asked ‘what position do you play?’ only to be embarrassed upon finding out the answer. (He loved telling that story). “George got to campus and participated in a team practice. He ran for two touchdowns and passed for another. The Daily Oklahoman had an article the next day titled ‘Texas Gridder Catches Fire at OU Drill.’ He was one of (if not the first) OU running back recruited by Bud from the state of Texas. “He was 16 that fall and played with all the returning vets from World War II (Darrell Royal, Buddy Burris, Jack Mitchell, Dee Andros, Jim Owens, Wade Walker, etc….). Royal took him under his wing and remained one of his best friends until his death a few years ago. “George’s first game was against Army at Yankee stadium in 1946. It was the first time an Oklahoma team had traveled to an away game by airplane. They flew two DC3′s and had to stop in Pittsburgh to refuel. The team saw the play ‘Oklahoma’ on Broadway after the game and were introduced on stage. “Started in 1947 and was a part of the first pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game in OU history. He had 135 yards on 22 carries along with Buddy Jones’ 115 yards on 19 carries again K-State. OU went 7-2-1 with a controversial loss to Texas. “1948, broke his leg in a scrimmage after getting hit by a teammate. Due to X-ray technology, he didn’t know it was broken for a week. He played against Santa Clara and scored the first touchdown, but couldn’t play much after that. He played as a backup to Junior Thomas in the ’49 season. “Between 1948 and 1949, OU was 21-1 which springboarded Bud’s first 31-game win streak. “Drafted by Detroit Lions in 1950 but went to work for his dad back in Lubbock. “Entered the Air Force and served as the Air Provost Marshall in Chun Chon Korea during the Korean War. “Worked for Conoco Oil and Lion Oil in Liberal, Kan., between 1953-1969. Returned to OKC in 1969 and worked in real estate and uranium exploration. “He as served on the Oklahoma chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He is also a lifetime member of the Varsity O-Club and served on the Board of OU Ex-Lettermen. “He would have been 86 on Aug. 14 and was proud to have been the ‘voice’ these past 20 years for the original ‘Bud’s Gang.’ “Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Barbara. Daughters Pam Jaax (husband, Mike) of Kansas City, Debbie McCord (husband, Ron) of OKC, and Becky Brewer of OKC. He had seven grandkids whom he proudly bragged about all graduating from seven different universities. (I am the third, and only OU grad). He also leaves behind five great-grandchildren. “Services are set for 2 p.m. Friday at All Souls Episcopal church in northwest Oklahoma City.”
Jun 27, 2014
DENVER (AP) — Never mind that there were dozens of TV sets at the bar, many turned to pro wrestling, poker and bowling to provide background noise early one weekend morning. Jon Forget walked in, asked the bartender to change one set to soccer and got laughed out of the joint.Fast forward almost two decades and there's no room to sit at the bar Forget runs these days. His concept for a soccer...
Soccer gets boost in US from young, informed fans
EDDIE PELLS, Associated Press | Jun 27, 2014DENVER (AP) — Never mind that there were dozens of TV sets at the bar, many turned to pro wrestling, poker and bowling to provide background noise early one weekend morning. Jon Forget walked in, asked the bartender to change one set to soccer and got laughed out of the joint. Fast forward almost two decades and there's no room to sit at the bar Forget runs these days. His concept for a soccer pub near downtown Denver is taking off, and a new generation of American-born soccer fans piled in by the hundreds Thursday to watch the U.S. advance to the World Cup knockout round despite a 1-0 loss to Germany. Forget's success at the 3-year-old Three Lions pub is a microcosm of what's happening around America during the World Cup. Social media numbers are strong, TV ratings are setting records and, other than Brazil, no country's fans have bought more tickets to the games than those from the United States. All this in a country that long fought against soccer's global intrigue, even though the number of American kids playing the game has been rising slowly for decades. "Over the past 25-30 years, you've seen people come over here from around the world and they know the game and they start influencing Americans," Forget said. "This generation has the proper training, a lot more have played at a high level. They understand the game. It's not boring to them." In fact, just the opposite. Merritt Paulson, who owns the MLS Portland Timbers franchise that regularly sells out its 21,000-seat stadium, calls the burgeoning group of 20-something soccer fans, many of whom took their high school passion into recreational adult leagues, the "on-demand generation." "They want what they want, when they want it and how they want it," Paulson said. "It's that shorter attention span. The fact that soccer games are two hours, start to finish, win, lose or draw, with very condensed action, fits very well into the psychographics of those folks." In the U.S., soccer is a youth-driven sport; about 70 percent of "core" soccer players — those who play 26 or more times a year — are ages 6-17, according to the most recent numbers from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. These days, instead of leaving the game after high school, that age group is graduating into the most vocal segment of fans. Of the 3.1 million tweets about the U.S. vs. Ghana game earlier this month, 53 percent of them came from people 18-34, according to Nielsen Social. And 69 percent of people checking in on their Facebook accounts from host cities in Brazil were in that age group. Networks and sponsors covet younger viewers, which helps explain ESPN's decision to go all-in on World Cup telecasts; every game has been televised live since 1998. The U.S.-Portugal game last Sunday drew 24.7 million viewers — the most ESPN has ever garnered for an event not involving American football. Tapping into a populous that has become more ethnically diverse, the number of U.S networks televising soccer grew from 11 to 21 and programming hours rose from 2,600 to 3,890 over the last four years — a 43 percent increase that matched the increase in TV advertising spending (from $266 million to $378 million), according to Nielsen. NBC Sports televises Premier League games, Fox has the UEFA Champions League and takes over the World Cup telecasts starting in 2018. All in all, it's a much different landscape from three decades ago, when the only regular soccer programming in America was the reliable PBS stalwart, "Soccer Made In Germany." "For decades, there was this wariness about soccer within U.S. culture and wariness that affected people at the top," said Jay Coakley, a professor who examines sports' role in society. "Now, that wariness is disappearing. People at the top are seeing soccer as a means of marketing their own interests." Video games, fantasy leagues, highlight shows, the steady stream of Ronaldo, Messi and other stars, both on the field and in advertisements, keep the sport in touch with the American mainstream in a way it hasn't been before. "Walking down the street now, you see kids wearing Manchester United jerseys and Chelsea Football Club jerseys and Barcelona, and I didn't even know what those were as a kid," said Mike Helfand, a 42-year-old Chicago attorney who has traveled the globe watching U.S. teams play. Though America's major league, the MLS, has work to do to bring its level up to the European leagues, the league's steady expansion, improving talent level and fan-friendly pricing will keep the sport on the radar after the World Cup ends. Since 2010, the number of adults attending a big-time soccer match in the United States has increased by 87 percent. The farther the U.S. goes in this year's World Cup, the higher than number could rise over the next four years. All of which has Forget looking to expand his soccer-pub business. "I've had people come to the pub because a friend dragged them down here," he said. "They'll spend two hours watching a game and they'll walk out the door and say, 'I'm coming back next week.' It can be a defining moment for people. It's very, very different than what we've been used to here in America." ___ Associated Press writer Leanne Italie in New York and AP Sports Writer Anne Peterson in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.
Jun 27, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — Youth soccer has been popular in the U.S. for more than a generation, and that may be driving high viewer ratings for World Cup games involving the U.S. Here's a look at five people who grew up playing and loving soccer in America, from a woman who played on a boys' team as a kid and now coaches boys' soccer, to a man who named his dogs after World Cup players.___MIKE HELFANDThe...
Growing up soccer: 5 stories from American fans
LEANNE ITALIE, Associated Press | Jun 27, 2014NEW YORK (AP) — Youth soccer has been popular in the U.S. for more than a generation, and that may be driving high viewer ratings for World Cup games involving the U.S. Here's a look at five people who grew up playing and loving soccer in America, from a woman who played on a boys' team as a kid and now coaches boys' soccer, to a man who named his dogs after World Cup players. ___ MIKE HELFAND The 42-year-old Chicago attorney has two soccer-playing sons, 8 and 10, and coaches youth leagues. His own parents signed him up when he was 5. "They're not very sports-minded people. It's just what you did. Every kid I knew played soccer and baseball," he said. "For me and a lot in my generation, we stumbled into it and fell in love by accident." While he doesn't own a jersey or paint his face, Helfand has seen the U.S. team play in person 16 times, traveling as far away as Australia and Ireland. He's amazed how far the sport has come in the United States. "Walking down the street now, you see kids wearing Manchester United jerseys and Chelsea Football Club jerseys and Barcelona, and I didn't even know what those were as a kid. I didn't know who the best players were in Europe," Helfand said. He loved the go-go nature of the game compared to other sports. "I was a hyper child and the idea of playing in the infield much less the outfield in baseball, and just standing there waiting for something to happen or waiting for your turn to bat, never really appealed to me," he said. ___ SARAH CURETON Cureton, 30, of Bealeton, Virginia, started playing when she was 4, introduced to the game by her older brother. Now, she's a rare female coach of a varsity boys' soccer team, at Patriot High School in Nokesville, Virginia. "I was in gymnastics when my brother was in soccer and his team used to let me play with them. I hated wearing leotards," she said. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Cureton often played on boys' teams. There was no all-girls soccer team, but the two or three girls who made the boys' teams faced resistance. "Boys were very threatened by it. It would be a lot of teasing. It was, 'You must be a boy.' It never affected me. I just wanted to play soccer," she said. Cureton went to George Mason University on a soccer scholarship but stopped playing competitively after college, partly due to injuries. "I had nine concussions between 14 and 21. If there were concussion baseline tests now I would have never played in college," she said. ___ CIRO GARCIA Garcia, 52, was 16 when he moved to New York City from Bogota, Colombia. "Oh my god, playing soccer is all we did. We'd play soccer waiting for the bus. We'd play soccer in the classrooms, in the hallways. We'd come home and play in the rain," he said. But in the U.S., the soccer-crazed teen from Colombia could barely find a game. "In the Bronx there was a park near where we lived where some Europeans played. Me and my brother used to play there a lot. Everybody was playing football and basketball and baseball," Garcia said. "I lost a little bit of the drive to play when we came here." After high school, he joined the U.S. Army and played some, then became an aviation mechanic for United Airlines, which hosted employee soccer tournaments. Garcia, now an engineer for a San Francisco water treatment plant, spent 18 years coaching boys' soccer, including at his now 20-year-old son's high school. "When I started coaching here in the United States, I didn't understand why the parents didn't want to let the kids play every day," he said. "We never got tired. We never burned out." The game is "a natural high," said Garcia, who still plays but has bad knees from the sport. "Soccer is like life. It's running through my blood. I want to play it. Getting old really stinks." ___ BEN FOX Ben Fox, 28, sells solar panels in San Francisco but grew up in the small Vermont town of Peru. He started soccer when he was 4 and played until knee injuries took him out in college. "We skied in the winter and pretty much everyone played soccer in the summer," he said. "But soccer was all I wanted to do all the time." His dad is English but wasn't a rabid soccer fan, thinking his son should study more and play soccer less. Fox's family used to breed English springer spaniel dogs. "The first litter, I named all the dogs after members of the 1994 World Cup teams, like Dunga, who was the captain of Brazil at the time," he said. His mom, an American and the parent who schlepped him to games, named her favorite dog Mia Hamm. ___ ROSS COULTER The 46-year-old co-owner of a public relations firm in Dallas played soccer from age 7 through college. His three kids gave him a USA team jersey for Father's Day. "My dad had no idea about soccer. I had a friend at school who started playing and I came home one day and said I wanted to sign up," he recalled. The Dallas Tornado and other North American Soccer League teams were promoting the sport when Coulter was growing up. Many players had come from England, Brazil and other soccer-centric countries for one last chance to play. "I just idolized those old guys. They're the ones who really lit the fire and just made us love the sport. Guys like Kenny Cooper and Mike Renshaw and Pele," he said. "When I was a kid, you had two different groups of friends. You had the ones who played soccer and then everybody else." Coulter coached boys' teams before he became a dad, was a ref in college and has coached his kids. His oldest played from age 4 but gave it up when she started high school. "My jaw sort of dropped," he admits. ___ Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie
“There is a place in you that you must keep inviolate, a place that you must keep clean," said the late Maya Angelou. "A place where you say to any intruder, ‘Back up, don’t you know I’m a child of God.'”
Choosing love over violence
Sherry Young, Deseret News | Jun 26, 2014Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the thoughtful quote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Those are beautiful thoughts and it seems like a pretty straightforward statement. However, because so many of us are of a different mind and can get twisted in our thinking, a case can be made as to what it means to live well and what it means to be honorable, useful, compassionate and how to make a difference. For instance, two articles from the USA Today caught my eye a few weeks ago. The first one, “Crips in Utah: Gang culture invades an unlikely turf" by Kevin Johnson, shows choices people make can cause them to change and then to justify their actions. Johnson’s article told how Tongans who were attracted to Christianity moved from the Pacific Islands to Southern California. Then to avoid the Crips gang culture for their young people, the well-meaning people came to Utah. The shooting of Siale Angilau by a U.S. marshal as he charged the witness, who was testifying against him, focused attention to a problem. The police knew Angilau “as ‘a ringleader’ in a group that specialized in violent ‘takeovers’ of area convenience stores, restaurants and other small businesses.” Angilau’s uncle, Hema Katoa, saw a different side of him and his brother claiming while they “began making choices beyond our control … they maintained close ties with the family.” Johnson continued, “Simultaneous allegiances to the gang, family and their religious faiths, authorities said, are common among TCG members — qualities that seem to shatter the profile of the typical gang member.” Another young man was caught in a drive-by firebombing and had religious literature in his pocket, Ron Stallworth, a founder of the states gang task force, stated in the article. These are tragic examples of young people with conflicted lives who then make errant choices. It is the same mindset that allows people to cheat on their spouses, business partners or in other ways take advantage of others. The second article, “Why mass killers need to explain their plan” by James Alan Fox, discussed the recent killings in Santa Barbara, California. It is a typical tale of a disturbed loner who ranted about his frustrating adolescence and his troubled life. Fox wrote: “He apparently wanted us to know that he was the good guy, not the evil one, who was ready to exact retribution for the injustices he had endured and ultimately to win one for, quite literally, the little guy.” This is sad and dangerous thinking that killing others can justify an existence. The next day Maya Angelou died. One would need to be from Mars not to know what an extraordinary woman she was. She rose from poverty, a broken home and a hardscrabble existence to finally triumph through her courage and her abilities. She wrote of her life in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and wrote other books as well as essays and poetry. What causes a well-liked high school football player from a caring family to put one face to his family and another to the world? What is it that helps a person challenge mental illness and work to overcome it and ask for help or conversely fall into a black hole? What causes a woman like Maya Angelou to overcome all? Perhaps a look at a few of Angelou’s quotes can help us to see we can choose our path and we can choose well: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” “I know for sure that love saves me and that it is here to save us all.” “There is a place in you that you must keep inviolate, a place that you must keep clean. A place where you say to any intruder, ‘Back up, don’t you know I’m a child of God.'” Clear-thinking minds will be literal in heeding Emerson and Angelou’s words; an errant one will rationalize and walk the selfish path.
May 31, 2014
The Oklahoma High School Sports Express ends its eight-plus year run Sunday night with its final episode at 10:30 p.m. on Fox.
Collected Wisdom: Van Shea Iven, owner and host of the Oklahoma High School Sports Express
INTERVIEWED BY JACOB UNRUH | May 31, 2014Van Shea Iven’s career started with a harmless phone call. Following his freshman year at Oklahoma State, Iven called the KFOR sports department looking to help cover the summer’s All-State games. What happened next was a comical but key moment in the development of high school sports television coverage in Oklahoma. Bob Barry Jr. answered the phone and then asked Robert Allen — while Iven could plainly hear him — if a kid can come help him that week or if he needs to get rid of him. “I heard the whole thing,” said Iven, a Pond Creek native. “Luckily, Robert hem-hawed around and told him to have me there at 9 the next morning.” That started a long tenure with the station before Iven left to start the Oklahoma High School Sports Express, which ends its eight-plus year run Sunday night with its final episode at 10:30 p.m. on Fox. Iven has accepted a position with the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association and he recently sat down with The Oklahoman to talk about his childhood, career and love for high school sports. I had a great high school experience. We only had football, basketball, baseball and track, but in Pond Creek you did all four, which was fun. You might go to a track meet all day and then leave there at 4 and go play a baseball game in the evening, which was great. I had no idea if I wanted to be a newspaper writer, if I wanted to be a coach, if I wanted to be a sports information director. I never thought about TV, that wasn’t even an option, and I kind of stumbled into it. I had no clue that’s what I wanted to do. Still to this day don’t know if that’s what I wanted to do. I don’t know whether to thank Robert Allen and Bob Barry Jr., or to cuss them. Bob Sr., to get a chance to work with him was fantastic and he was so good to me, just like a second dad. To get a chance to work with “Mr. Sports “in Oklahoma as far as television is concerned and then Bob Barry Jr., it was fantastic. My favorite thing was always high school because I had such a good experience playing high school sports. I realized when the Hornets came here I could see the writing on the wall. I didn’t know it was going to turn into a full-time franchise, but there were rumblings. I could see where high school was going to get left out. I had some coaches and athletic directors and parents always say you should do something like this, so I kind of got the ball rolling and talked to some people. I was at Channel 4 for 17 years. I loved it. I could have stayed there 17 more. I could still be there today and not have any problems with it. But I wish I would have started the Express 10 years earlier. The reason I started the show also was for the smaller schools and the smaller sports. To a slowpitch softball player’s parents in Hinton, them winning a state title in slowpitch softball is every bit as important as it is to the Jenks quarterback’s parents for him to win a state championship. When you get to the smaller schools and show up for a game, the mayor may be taking tickets at the gate, the bank president may be flipping burgers in the concession stand and a farmer may be on the PA. Then when you go to the coffee shop on Monday morning, Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning and Thursday morning that’s all the talk. Everybody’s involved and everybody’s a part of it. You don’t have to be Kevin Durant to play high school basketball. Anybody can go out and if you’re in the right situation, you don’t have to be a great player. An average player can play a huge role in high school basketball or any sport in high school. It’s neat to have people come up and say they enjoy my show or something, but it’s also neat for me to get a chance (to do the show) because I know for this cross country kid at Plainview or this soccer player at Santa Fe South or this swimmer from Kingfisher this is probably their only chance to be on TV. If I still wasn’t married or didn’t have a newborn, the Express would be starting Season 18 in August and I would be loving it. I still love it. I’ve got the last show Sunday night and I’m putting as much effort into it as I did the first show in 2006. I’ve had a chance to follow thousands of kids and get a chance to follow their careers, get them on TV and make them feel important, but now my job is more to make a 7-month-old feel important. It sounds probably a little stupid, but if it’s just rocking him to sleep or taking him outside to grab a leaf on a tree, that’s pretty cool to me.
May 28, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) — Concerned that too little is known about the effects of head injuries in young athletes, President Barack Obama is bringing representatives of professional sports leagues, coaches, parents, youth sports players, researchers and others to the White House to help educate the public about youth sports concussions.Tackling the issue at a White House summit Thursday, Obama also...
Obama to tackle youth sports concussion issue
DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press | May 28, 2014WASHINGTON (AP) — Concerned that too little is known about the effects of head injuries in young athletes, President Barack Obama is bringing representatives of professional sports leagues, coaches, parents, youth sports players, researchers and others to the White House to help educate the public about youth sports concussions. Tackling the issue at a White House summit Thursday, Obama also will highlight pledges of money and other support from the NFL, the National Institutes of Health, the Pop Warner Little Scholars and others to do the research, promote safety and speed development of materials designed to provide better protection. Obama comes to the issue through his well-documented love of sports, and as the father of two daughters active in sports. The president thinks sports are also a good way to keep kids healthy and out of trouble, but he raised some eyebrows last year by saying he would "have to think long and hard" before letting a son, if he had one, play football because of the risk of head injuries. "He, as a parent, is concerned about the safety of his own daughters," said White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri, one of several officials who previewed the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit for reporters. In a report last fall, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council called for a national system to track sports-related concussions and begin answering questions about the risks of youth sports, such as how often do the youngest athletes suffer concussions or which sports have the highest rates. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a blow to the head. Concussions also can be caused by body blows that cause the brain to bounce around or twist inside the skull. Nearly 250,000 kids visit hospital emergency rooms each year with brain injuries caused by sports or other recreational activity, the White House said. The pledges Obama will announce Thursday are designed to start gathering the needed data. Among the largest commitments, the NCAA and the Defense Department are launching a $30 million effort to produce research on concussion risks, treatment and management. Concussions and other types of brain injuries are an issue for U.S. service members too. Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, was to participate in the summit. The National Football League is committing $25 million over the next three years to promote youth sports safety. The NIH is undertaking a new research effort on the chronic effects of repetitive concussions, work supported by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health through an initial investment of $16 million from the NFL. With a $10 million investment from Steve Tisch, UCLA will launch a program named for the New York Giants co-owner to target sports concussion prevention, outreach, research and treatment for athletes of all ages, but especially youth. The money will also support planning for a national system to determine the incidence of youth sports concussions. The Institute of Medicine report had called for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish and oversee such a system. Pop Warner Little Scholars, a private youth league, will participate in a research project that tracks concussions and concussion trends in high school sports. After Obama opens the summit with remarks, Fox Sports reporter Pam Oliver was scheduled to moderate a panel discussion that includes Odierno. In the afternoon, Obama planned to participate in sports drills on the South Lawn with kids from local YMCA programs. Obama said in a 2013 interview with the New Republic that football may need to change to prevent injuries. "I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football," Obama said. "And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much." The NFL has agreed to pay $765 million to settle concussion claims from thousands of former players whose complaints range from headaches to Alzheimer's disease. That settlement is still awaiting a judge's approval, while a group of former professional hockey players have filed a class-action lawsuit of their own against the National Hockey League for head injuries sustained on the ice. ___ Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dsupervilleap
ATLANTA (AP) — For all the wrangling between the tea party and establishment conservatives in this midterm election year, key players from both sides are lining up behind one candidate in Georgia's Republican Senate primary runoff.Tea party favorite Karen Handel announced Wednesday that she's backing U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston over businessman David Perdue in a July 22 runoff. Some of her notable...
Rare alliance of tea party and Chamber in Georgia
BILL BARROW, Associated Press | May 28, 2014ATLANTA (AP) — For all the wrangling between the tea party and establishment conservatives in this midterm election year, key players from both sides are lining up behind one candidate in Georgia's Republican Senate primary runoff. Tea party favorite Karen Handel announced Wednesday that she's backing U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston over businessman David Perdue in a July 22 runoff. Some of her notable backers had already committed to Kingston in the runoff. Her announcement came the same day that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an establishment titan that spent almost $1 million supporting Kingston in the initial primary campaign, announced another statewide ad buy for Kingston. The spot features Georgia Bulldogs football hero and 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker. Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, finished third in a May 20 primary for one of the nation's most closely watched Senate races. The Republican nominee will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in a Nov. 4 general election that will help determine which party controls the Senate for the final two years of President Barack Obama's administration. The GOP needs six more senators to claim a majority and cannot afford to lose the seat opened by the retirement of Saxby Chambliss. Kingston welcomed his former rival, saying she'll help him "unite the conservative family." Handel was sharply critical of Kingston, an 11-term congressman, and Perdue, a former corporate CEO, leading up to the first round of voting. "It's the career politicians and the out-of-touch elitists who have gotten us into this mess," she said at one debate. Her most personal exchanges came with Perdue, who suggested she wasn't qualified for the Senate because she has only a high school diploma. But she still lambasted GOP incumbents like Kingston. "Republicans had control of the House, Senate and White House" during part of the second Bush administration, she said while campaigning. "What did we do? Nothing. We did nothing." Handel said Wednesday that her criticisms were "in the past." She called Kingston a "consistent, effective conservative" who is "fiercely dedicated to the conservative principles that are the foundation of the Republican Party and that I want to see return to Washington." Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey said via email that voters still prefer an outsider. "This just goes to show the clear choice he is giving voters," Dickey wrote. Handel's decision is the latest in a string of developments that allow Kingston to pitch himself as a unifying conservative, but it also highlights the narrowing gap between the archconservative activists and the established powers they have sharply criticized. Handel said she still believes that Washington needs new blood, though she also said, "Hitting the ground with some political experience is important." She noted that Kingston won 74 percent of the Senate primary vote in the 1st Congressional District he's represented for two decades. "That speaks volumes," Handel said. Kingston's endorsement list puts the chamber, which has promised to spend lavishly to quash the tea party influence in the midterms, alongside several notable conservatives. National Tea Party Express leader Julianne Thompson and RedState.com editor Erick Erickson, both Georgia residents, initially supported Handel but now back Kingston. The congressman already had an endorsement from Fox News broadcaster Sean Hannity. That could force Kingston into a tight spot on certain issues in the Senate. The U.S. Chamber supported a Democratic-led overhaul of immigration law and a bipartisan deal to reopen government last fall and raise the nation's borrowing limit. In the House, Kingston sided with tea party interests in opposing both efforts. Kingston said Wednesday that he sees no conflict. "We are going bring together people who want to reform government, people who want to cut spending, people who want a strong national security," he said. ___ Follow Bill Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP .
May 10, 2014
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — John Elway returned from that five-touchdown loss to Seattle in the Super Bowl and decided the Denver Broncos, as much as anything, needed an attitude adjustment.So, he went about beefing up his offensive line and injecting some nastiness into his defense.He turned to veterans and youngsters alike.The Broncos boss started his makeover in free agency and continued right...
Elway, AFC champs continue roster makeover
ARNIE STAPLETON, Associated Press | May 10, 2014ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — John Elway returned from that five-touchdown loss to Seattle in the Super Bowl and decided the Denver Broncos, as much as anything, needed an attitude adjustment. So, he went about beefing up his offensive line and injecting some nastiness into his defense. He turned to veterans and youngsters alike. The Broncos boss started his makeover in free agency and continued right through the three-day NFL draft that concluded Saturday with the selections of LSU middle linebacker Lamin Barrow, Boise State center Matt Paradis and Oklahoma outside linebacker Corey Nelson. On defense, Elway added thumpers DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward in free agency and selected Ohio State's edgy cornerback Bradley Roby in the first round of the draft, Barrow in the fifth and Nelson in the seventh. He shuffled an O-line that was manhandled by the swarming Seahawks, adding centers Will Montgomery in free agency and Paradis in the sixth round. The Broncos also moved Orlando Franklin from right tackle to left guard and spent a third-round pick on Michigan's Michael Schofield, who declared his intent Saturday to win the starting job at right tackle. However it all shakes out, Peyton Manning should have a lot more muscle in front of him this season as the Broncos try to give him more room to operate and add balance to their pass-heavy offense with a better ground game. What should also help in that regard is the addition of second-round pick Cody Latimer of Indiana, whom Elway called the best-blocking wide receiver in this year's draft. Coach John Fox lauded the speed Denver added to its roster with these half-dozen picks, but just as important was the pluck the new guys bring to the Broncos, Elway said. "Defensively, you throw Bradley in there, you throw Barrow in there with Corey, they understand that mentality and that switch," Elway said. "And then you know the other thing is Cody brings that on the offensive side and that was one thing that we're really excited about is the way he blocks and the physicality he plays with in the game as a wide receiver, which you don't see a whole lot of. "So, if there's anything that we got out of that draft it is the physical mentality, and, as John said, a lot of speed." Elway picked up a fifth-round draft pick next year — when he expects to also have as many as four compensatory picks — by trading his fourth-rounder to Chicago on Saturday. Yet, he and Fox grew restless when there was a run on linebackers with Barrow in his sights late in the fifth round. Fox "made about 18 laps around the room," Elway said. "That was the most nervous time of the draft." Barrow mostly played weakside linebacker in college but his versatility will allow him to compete with Nate Irving for the starting middle linebacker job in Denver, where free agents Paris Lenon and Wesley Woodyard weren't retained after sharing snaps at that position in 2013. Nelson missed the last half of his senior season with a partially torn chest muscle but said that won't be an issue: "My (pectoral) is 100 percent, it's good to go," he said. "It was supposed to be a six-month injury, but it only took me 3½ months." Paradis was raised in the tiny mountain town of Council, Idaho, walked on at Boise State as a defensive lineman in 2009 and finished as a two-time All-Mountain West center. He called his winding journey from eight-man high school football to NFL draft pick "pretty surreal." Among the 15 undrafted free agents the Broncos signed following the draft was Fresno State receiver/returner Isaiah Burse, who could fill Trindon Holliday's vacated role. Two intriguing college free agents are from up the road at Colorado State: running back Kapri Bibbs, who led the NCAA with 31 touchdowns last season in his only season at Fort Collins, and star Rams outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett. An undrafted player has made the Broncos' opening day roster for 10 straight seasons. "We're going to keep the best players," Fox said. "It doesn't really matter what their draft status is or where they came from, just how they perform." ___ Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL ___ Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
DENVER — What's a prediction without an apology?Sorry, Seattle. I stink at predicting Super Bowls. No Red Hook for me.But predicting the regular season? Straight cash, homie.Last year, I missed the Broncos' final record by one. When the NFL released its schedule, I had the Broncos going 14-2. They finished 13-3. The culprit was San Diego's Thursday-night upset at Denver. You rascal, Philip...
The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Paul Klee column
Paul Klee, Associated Press | Apr 24, 2014DENVER — What's a prediction without an apology? Sorry, Seattle. I stink at predicting Super Bowls. No Red Hook for me. But predicting the regular season? Straight cash, homie. Last year, I missed the Broncos' final record by one. When the NFL released its schedule, I had the Broncos going 14-2. They finished 13-3. The culprit was San Diego's Thursday-night upset at Denver. You rascal, Philip Rivers. This edition of Predicting the Broncos Schedule is dead on. Just in case: can we buy a mulligan? Week 1: Broncos vs. Colts Date: Sept. 7 (6:30 p.m., NBC) If there's an Andrew Luck banner flapping outside Sports Authority Field, the NFL has some 'splainin' to do. There won't be a Flacco Flag Fiasco, but there will be another reunion. Can't see Peyton Manning losing to the Colts again. Can you? Prediction: Broncos 37, Colts 20 (Record: 1-0) Week 2: Broncos vs. Kansas City Date: Sept. 14 (2:25 p.m., CBS) We had the Chiefs pegged in 2013. Andy Reid's new club was a cute story — and a product of a Charmin early schedule. Once again, the Broncos should worry about the Chiefs winning the AFC West like Manning should worry about bankruptcy. Prediction: Broncos 30, Chiefs 24 (Record: 2-0) Week 3: Broncos at Seattle Date: Sept. 21 (2:25 p.m., CBS) Note to self: Don't pick against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. The 12s will send hate mail and harassing phone calls for months. Hey, I lived in the great state of Washington for four memorable years. You deserved a title, Seattle. One question, though: Is the nickname "12s" a nod to the number of 'Hawk fans pre-Pete Carroll? Prediction: Seahawks 43, Broncos 8 (Record: 2-1) Week 4: Bye Week 5: Broncos vs. Cardinals Date: Oct. 5 (2:05 p.m., Fox) Last season the Broncos got a sneak peek at the site of the Super Bowl with an early season game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. In Week 5, we can ask a similar question: can they return to University of Phoenix Stadium on Feb. 1, 2015? Prediction: Broncos 33, Cardinals 16 (Record: 3-1) Week: 6: Broncos at New York Jets Date: Oct. 12 (11 a.m., CBS) If Peyton Manning had considered Eric Decker an indispensable part in the Broncos' offense, Jesse's hubby would still be breaking hearts in Colorado. Instead, the Big Heartthrob is in the Big Apple, where I suspect he will prove the doubters wrong. Prediction: Broncos 27, Jets 6 (Record: 4-1) Week 7: Broncos vs. 49ers Date: Oct. 19 (6:30 p.m., NBC) The West is best. No other division is predicted to win more games than the NFC West (35.5 wins), according to the folks in Las Vegas. Only the Broncos are expected to win as many games as the Niners and Seahawks (11). The loser: East Coast bias. Prediction: Niners 17, Broncos 16 (Record: 4-2) Week 8: Broncos vs. San Diego Date: Oct. 23 (6:25 p.m., CBS) Ex-Charger Shaun Phillips is now an ex-Bronco. Considering the cold, hard cash awarded DeMarcus Ware ($20 million guaranteed), the ex-Cowboy better outproduce the 12 sacks scored by Phillips in his one season with the Broncos. Prediction: Broncos 27, Chargers 21 (Record: 5-2) Week 9: Broncos at New England Date: Nov. 2 (2:25 p.m., CBS) It must be nice to be the Patriots. Once again, Las Vegas believes the Pats own an easy road to the playoffs. The predicted win totals for the AFC East foreshadow another division title: New England (10 wins), Dolphins (7.5), Bills (6.5), Jets (6.5). Prediction: Broncos 37, Patriots 36 (Record: 6-2) Week 10: Broncos at Oakland Date: Nov. 9 (2:05 p.m., CBS) Peyton Manning's performance at Oakland was the finest display of quarterbacking I've seen: 266 yards and four touchdowns — in the first half. But it was just the Raiders, you say? Oakland players fought with coaches on the sideline. They cared. Prediction: Broncos 37, Raiders 17 (Record: 7-2) Week 11: Broncos at St. Louis Date: Nov. 16 (11 a.m., CBS) The Rams nabbed reliable middle linebacker James Laurinaitis in the 2009 draft. Nice pick, St. Louis. He's started every game the past five seasons. The Broncos had 10 picks in 2009. How many are still here? Only special teams whiz David Bruton Jr. Prediction: Broncos 42, Rams 14 (Record: 8-2) Week 12: Broncos vs. Miami Date: Nov. 23 (2:25 p.m., CBS) Familiar faces line the Broncos' 2014 schedule like a high school reunion. Welcome back, Knowshon Moreno. Here's a fun game: gather your buddies for a friendly wager. Who scores more fantasy points on Nov. 23, Moreno or Montee Ball? Prediction: Broncos 35, Dolphins 24 (Record: 9-2) Week 13: Broncos at Kansas City Date: Nov. 30 (6:30 p.m., NBC) Did Emmanuel Sanders do the Chiefs wrong? Kansas City sure thinks so. Before the Broncos signed the wide receiver, the Chiefs thought they had a deal. "There was no handshake," Sanders said. There won't be during his first game in Kansas City, either. Prediction: Broncos 28, Chiefs 24 (Record: 10-2) Week 14: Broncos vs. Buffalo Date: Dec. 7 (2:05 p.m., CBS) Still stinging from the Smackdown in the Swamp? Super Bowl losses leave a mark. Ask the Bills, who own the NFL record for consecutive defeats in the Big One (four). They can't trump the Broncos, who own the most Super Bowl losses, period (five). Prediction: Broncos 45, Bills 17 (Record: 11-2) Week 15: Broncos at San Diego Date: Dec. 14 (2:05 p.m., CBS) The sunshine of San Diego has hosted three Super Bowls, the most recent in 2003. Hey, Chargers: time to renovate those digs? Sites of the next three Big Games: Glendale (Ariz.) in 2015, Santa Clara (Calif.) in 2016 and Houston in 2017. Prediction: Chargers 21, Broncos 20 (Record: 11-3) Week 16: Broncos at Bengals Date: Dec. 22 (6:30 p.m., ESPN) Peyton Manning is super for a football team. He's awful for print deadlines. Denver has five games in prime time - vs. Indianapolis, vs. San Francisco, vs. San Diego, at Kansas City, at Cincinnati - and all five opponents figure to be in the playoff hunt. Prediction: Broncos 28, Bengals 24 (Record: 12-3) Week 17: Broncos vs. Oakland Date: Dec. 28 (2:25 p.m., CBS) There's one player who makes the Raiders relevant again: Johnny Football is made for silver and black. Do us all a favor and make it happen, NFL. Prediction: Broncos 38, Raiders 17 (Record: 13-3) - Twitter: @Klee_Gazette ——— ©2014 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Visit The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) at www.gazette.com Distributed by MCT Information Services _____ Topics: t000007079,t000007065,t000007115,t000046469,t000003194,t000003183,c000212563,g000065596,g000362661,g000066164,g000224911,g000065634,g000065594,g000224461,g000223557
Mark Few coached Gonzaga into an NCAA Tournament sensation. A perennial Cinderella. He’s still at Gonzaga 15 years later. Shaka Smart coached Virginia Commonwealth to the 2011 Final Four. Smart remains at VCU. Phil Martelli coached Saint Joseph’s to a No.
Wichita State's Gregg Marshall: Mid-majors keeping great coaches
Berry Tramel | Apr 17, 2014Mark Few coached Gonzaga into an NCAA Tournament sensation. A perennial Cinderella. He’s still at Gonzaga 15 years later. Shaka Smart coached Virginia Commonwealth to the 2011 Final Four. Smart remains at VCU. Phil Martelli coached Saint Joseph’s to a No. 1 seed in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. He’s still at Saint Joe’s. Brad Stevens coached Butler to back-to-back Final Fours. He didn’t leave Butler until the Boston Celtics came calling. So maybe it’s not so surprising that Gregg Marshall remains the coach at Wichita State. Marshall took the Shockers to the 2013 Final Four, then coached WSU to a No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament and 35 straight wins, before a last-second loss to Kentucky in the Midwest Regional quarterfinals. Marshall was in town Monday night for the Devon College Basketball Awards. He was honored as the national coach of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Marshall was a guest during my radio segment on The Sports Animal, and I asked him about the relatively new trend of highly-successful coaches at mid-major schools staying put rather than chasing bigger money at more higher-profile leagues. “I can’t speak for those other gentlemen,” he said of Few and Smart, “but I’ve got a family. My wife Lynn was a college basketball player. She’s deeply invested into our program as well as the community. “I’ve got a son who’s a junior in high school at Trinity Academy in Wichita, and a daughter who will be in the ninth grade next year. So I’ve got 11th- and 8th-graders. “We’re very happy. We’ve got a wonderful administration that has given us everything we need to be successful.” To be sure, all kinds of mid-major coaches still jump to the big conferences. OU’s last two coaching hires (Lon Kruger from Nevada-Las Vegas, Jeff Capel from VCU) came the mid-major ranks, though UNLV is in many ways a different kind of mid-major. OSU’s last hire (Travis Ford from Massachusetts) came from the mid-major ranks. Kansas State hired Bruce Weber from Southern Illinois. Wake Forest just hired Danny Manning from Tulsa. Boston College just hired Jim Christian from Ohio. Georgia Tech hired Brian Gregory from Dayton. Clemson hired Brad Brownell from North Carolina-Wilmington. Miami hired George Larranga from George Mason. Nebraska hired Tim Miles from Colorado State. Ohio State hired Thad Matta from Xavier. Iowa hired Fran McCaffery from Siena. Illinois hired John Groce from Illinois. Penn State hired Pat Chambers from Boston U. UCLA hired Steve Alford from New Mexico. Arizona hired Sean Miller from Xavier. Oregon hired Dana Altman from Creighton. Colorado hired Tad Boyle from Northern Colorado. Washington hired Lorenzo Romar from Saint Louis. Southern Cal hired Andy Enfield from Florida Gulf Coast. Florida hired Billy Donovan from Marshall. Alabama hired Anthony Grant from VCU. Georgia hired Mark Fox from Nevada. Texas A&M hired Billy Kennedy from Murray State. Vanderbilt hired Kevin Stallings from Illinois State. That’s just the way it’s done in college basketball. Most major conference schools use the mid-majors as their marketplace. It’s the natural order. But some coaches – Stevens, Few, Smart, Marshall – have defied convention, not just with their success, but with their stability. The truth is, it’s easier to get to the Final Four from a Wichita State than it is a Kansas State or a Minnesota or an Auburn or a Washington. Big money does not equate to big success. “We’ve got great players that allow us to coach ‘em, they do things well on and off the court,” Marshall said. “They’re really fantastic ambassadors for any university. But especially in the realm of college basketball, they handle their business like professionals on and off the court. They’re a joy to coach. “And what we’ve done with that combination is with my staff, we’ve worked to the point we can go to the Final Four. We’re two possessions away, two years ago (2013), from playing for a national championship. We go 35-0 and get a No. 1 seed this year, so we feel like we’re a player in the college basketball scene. We’re relevant. “Me personally, I’m not a jumper. There’s a lot of goodwill that Wichita State has built up, and the community of Wichita, with me personally. So it’s going to take one heck of an offer. I’m sure Shaka and Coach Few and those guys feel the same way.” What Few has done at Gonzaga, and what Marshall is doing at Wichita State, is win with veteran players. While Kentucky and other national powers have to reload virtually every year as their starts declare for the NBA, Wichita State takes the court with experienced players. “You look at Arizona today (Monday),” Marshall said. “They lose Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson (to the NBA draft). They probably anticipated that, but it doesn’t make it any easier. You’re continually having to replace really, really good players. The better players you get, the quicker you’re going to have to replace them, it seems. “That’s leveled the playing field a little bit and given us an opportunity to get guys that can be 23-year-old redshirt seniors. We redshirt players every year. We’ve got a couple of guys coming from prep school this year. They’ll be a little older. When you’re 22, 23, competing against 18-, 19-years olds, there’s certainly an advantage in that.” And while Wichita State had a senior star in Cleanthony Early, the Shockers also sported younger players who will just get better. “If you’ve seen guys like Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton, Darius Carter, if you’ve seen those guys plays, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Those guys can play with anybody in the country. “I’ve just got to get them directed in the right path, and everyone being on the same page, just give them a little bit of structure, but they know how to win. It makes it very comforting for a coach to have a backcourt of Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker, two rising juniors.” Some school could hire away Gregg Marshall from such a plum situation. But it better be a good job. His salary jumps to $1.76 million this month, an enormous amount for a non-football school. A power-conference university could give Marshall a hefty raise. But could it give him the kind of relevancy that he talked about at Wichita State? In other words, Marshall might go to Kentucky, but he’s not going to LSU. Marshall might go to Michigan State, but he’s not going to Iowa. Marshall might go to Kansas, but he’s not going to Iowa State.
Feb 22, 2014
MACON, Ga. (AP) — Just in time for his entry into the Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas is moving up to the broadcasting big leagues.Thomas will join Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as players inducted into the Hall this summer. He said Saturday he's completing details on an agreement to work this season as a studio baseball analyst for Fox Sports 1, based in Los Angeles. The network has not announced...
Thomas headed to 'big leagues' as baseball analyst
CHARLES ODUM, Associated Press | Feb 22, 2014MACON, Ga. (AP) — Just in time for his entry into the Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas is moving up to the broadcasting big leagues. Thomas will join Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as players inducted into the Hall this summer. He said Saturday he's completing details on an agreement to work this season as a studio baseball analyst for Fox Sports 1, based in Los Angeles. The network has not announced Thomas' new role. He has worked the past three seasons on local broadcasts for Comcast in Chicago. He said he expects to continue to have a role with Comcast this year. "I've been doing pregame and postgame the last three years in Chicago," Thomas said. "I've stayed involved that way. This is more a call to the big leagues. I've been doing local the last three years, and getting a call as well as the Hall of Fame was great." Thomas said his year has been a whirlwind. On Saturday, the Columbus native was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. "It's great to see a career fulfilled in this way," he said. "It was a great career and acknowledgement means everything." He said he has no sympathy for those excluded from baseball's Hall because they took shortcuts with performance-enhancing drugs. He won AL MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and finished his 19-year career with a .301 batting average, 521 homers and 1,704 RBIs. Thomas said if he'd taken the same shortcuts as some of his peers, his career could have been even greater. "No doubt about it. I'll be honest, I lost a lot," he said. "I probably lost another two MVPs. I lost probably another 150 home runs or so, if you think about it. I could have had one of those historical careers, but I'm proud of what I did. "I'm not a sore loser because I had so much fun in the major leagues. I know a lot of guys had great talent against me. I know guys made decisions a lot of them are regretting right now, but I've never been one who was all upset with them because they made the decisions. They made them for their families," he continued. "But I've already told a couple guys, don't come crying now, though. Once you crossed that line, don't come back crying when something is found out, and a lot of guys did that. That's the only thing that upset me, because guys knew what they were doing." Thomas said his election into the baseball Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility is proof that he made the right decisions. "Guys got caught. They feel like they didn't do anything wrong because there were so many guys doing it," Thomas said. "But I'm like, hey, you guys have that talent. There are four or five guys we know who were Hall of Famers who didn't need to cheat and they did, because of the money. They wanted the money. They wanted the big dollars. "I'm sorry. I lost a lot of money not doing it, you know? That's just the way it is," he said. "That's why opportunity keeps coming my way now." He said his greatest reward is peace of mind. "I sleep better every day of the week," he said. "I don't have to worry about my phone ringing and somebody going, 'We found out you did this and that.' It's great to go home and sleep at night. From day one I've told people that." Thomas has been consistently candid in his comments about players he said used PEDs. He said he'll also be candid — but mostly positive — as a TV analyst. Thomas, who spent most of his career with the White Sox, said that will include analysis about his former team. "I can't cut Chicago any slack if they're not playing well," he said. "I've got to call it like I see it. But we'll have fun. I'll be more of a positive guy, 80 percent of the time. Every now and then I might need to say something to get a guy jump-started." Also inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame were former Auburn and NFL running back James Brooks, former Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins, former college and NFL football coach and Georgia Tech athletic director Homer Rice, LPGA star Hollis Stacy, high school football coach Jim Hughes, Georgia and NFL defensive back Scott Woerner and college basketball star Chester Webb.
Winters guided the Bronchos to three conference championships and one NAIA Tournament appearance.
Tributes: Former UCO basketball coach Mark Winters dies at age 85
BY SCOTT MUNN, Assistant Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 3, 2014A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed a game day experience: *Mark Winters, 85, spent 16 years as men's head basketball coach at the University of Central Oklahoma. He guided the Bronchos to a 239-185 record with three Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference championships and one NAIA Tournament appearance over the 1962-78 seasons. Winters was inducted into the UCO Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. He also spent time as a basketball coach at the high school level and at Eastern Oklahoma Junior College. Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at first Presbyterian Church in Edmond. *Leland Crissman, 86, of Duncan was a pitcher in the Cleveland Indians organization. The right-hander spent the 1947 season with the Ardmore Indians of the Sooner State League, tying for the team lead with 11 wins. Crissman threw for the Indians' farm teams in Midland, Texas (1948) and Spartanburg, S.C. (1949), before returning to Oklahoma for one more season of pro ball. He played parts of the 1950 season with the Chickasha Chiefs of the Sooner State League and the Oklahoma City Indians of the Texas League. After his playing days, he coached American Legion baseball and worked for Haliburton Services. *Stillwater resident Joan Bauer Wittner was a New York native who coached at the elementary and high school levels. She and husband Bob moved to Oklahoma in 1982 (Bob accepted a position at Oklahoma State), and Joan continued her involvement in athletics. She was a youth soccer coach; officiated youth and adult sports; and worked as a coach and volunteer coordinator for Special Olympics. Joan was a Donna Nigh Award recipient for her service as a volunteer. She died recently at age 73. *Vern Benson, 89, of Granite Quarry, N.C., spent the 1959 and 1960 baseball seasons as manager of the Tulsa Oilers. Benson guided the St. Louis Cardinals farm team to a 153-135 record and two third-place finishes in the Texas League. He then served as an assistant coach for several big league teams, including the Cardinals' 1964 world champions. In an unusual twist to Benson's career, he spent one game as manager of a bad Atlanta Braves team, in 1977. He replaced Braves owner and television magnate Ted Turner, who managed one game while regular skipper, Dave Bristol, was on a reported scouting assignment. National League president Chub Feeney told Turner rules prohibited managers from having ownership in a team. So Benson, the Braves' third-base coach, took over for Turner until Bristol returned to finish out a 61-101 season. *Archie Franz, 88, played basketball for Corn High School. He became a farmer and rancher in the area, supplementing his income by refereeing basketball games. *Seth Martin, 15, played basketball for the Cement junior high and high school teams. A devoted fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant. *Racine, Wis., native Virgil Carlson had a successful tryout with the old Milwaukee Braves — but any thoughts of playing pro baseball were dashed later that week, when he was drafted into the Navy. He was a Broken Arrow resident at the time of death at age 74. *Stanley Hardrick played football at Central High School in Oklahoma City and Cameron University in Lawton. Hardrick was a 240-pound all-district and All-Capital Conference lineman for Central, which clinched its league championship in 1966 with an 18-16 victory over Southeast. The title was the Cardinals' first of any kind since 1947. After college, Hardrick went on to become a supervisor for the City of Oklahoma City. *Tulsa native Linda Ishmael Smith, 78, was an all-conference basketball player at Jenks. She worked in speech therapy in Oklahoma, Illinois, Virginia and Wisconsin before retiring to Sarasota, Fla. *Dwight Ward, 57, of Maysville owned the D&L Tackle Shop. He also donated time to the Pauls Valley rodeo arena, helping build bleachers. *Wes Burton, 58, of Tulsa was a professional golfer and teaching pro in New York, Florida and Argentina. He spent 30 years playing on either the South American Tour or the Champions Tour. Burton qualified for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open with a record-low 64. *Yvonne Blount Chesnutt, 94, of Oklahoma City played tennis for Central High School, finishing as state runner-up in May 1937. ... Norman Schulz, 76, was a Lone Wolf native who played college football at Southwestern State. ... Patti Baker Crosby, 67, of Edmond was a Cushing High School cheerleader. ... Mary Penner, 57, of Wayne played high school basketball at Lexington. ... Jack Staiger, 83, of Tulsa owned the Staiger Tennis Center for 20 years. *Glen Richardson, 95, of Edmond was a golfer who played at Wichita State. ... Charlene Thorpe Black, 74, of Courtney coached youth softball and was an avid Ringling Blue Devils fan. ... Kevin Weedle, 58, of Denton, Texas, was a record-setting basketball player at Chattanooga High School. ... Sue Parker Wild, 66, of Fox assisted husband Ed in training bird dogs for field trials competition. *Paul Seiter, 74, played baseball and football at Moore High School. ... Elinor Russell Lehman, 91, of Commerce was a cheerleader and football queen at Kingfisher High School. ... John Hudspeth, 78, of Shawnee played baseball at Durant High School and then freshman football at OU. ... Delbert Kauk, 89, of Clinton played sandlot baseball in the 1940s for Johnniesville in western Oklahoma. BY SCOTT MUNN
SUPER BOWL — Wes Welker was an Oklahoma legend before playing a down at Texas Tech. Now he's got former presidents rooting for him to finally win a Super Bowl.
Wes Welker: The Oklahoma City everyman with the big helmet is still something Super
BY BERRY TRAMEL | Feb 2, 2014EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — When Wes Welker made his Denver Broncos debut last Sept. 5, he caught nine passes from Peyton Manning and scored two touchdowns. When long-time Denver tackle Ryan Clady suffered a season-ending injury on Sept. 15, the Broncos needed a new offensive captain. It voted for Welker, who had played all of two games with the franchise. When former President Bill Clinton was interviewed Friday night in Brooklyn at the Thunder-Nets NBA game and asked for a Super Bowl pick, he mentioned two players. Peyton Manning and Wes Welker. As Super Bowl XLVIII arrives Sunday night, with the Broncos playing the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium for world supremacy, Welker is 32 years old and bigger in status than ever before. Not stature; he's still the same 5-foot-9 Everyman who leaves you wondering how he's carved an all-star career in a behemoth sport. But the little guy who long ago became an Oklahoma City folk hero still is going strong. Still an NFL lightning rod, be it his beard or his Old Spice commercials or his oversized helmet or his one-sided feud (not Welker's side) with Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “Very fortunate, very blessed to have this opportunity again,” Welker said of his third Super Bowl, “and that's all you really ask for.” Well, a victory would be nice, too. A Super Bowl championship and maybe the Pro Football Hall of Fame, that's all that's missing from Welker's career. He's got 841 NFL receptions, 24th-best in league history. But two Super Bowl disappointments with the Patriots have kept Welker from the ultimate prize. You never know the future. This could be Welker's final chance. “Whatever happens, happens,” Welker said. “You can't sit there and think in your mind, this or that or whatever. Whatever happens, happens and you just go out there and try to play the best you can. It's a lot of hard work, and you have to have some luck along the way to get to this point ... You don't take these moments for granted that's for sure.” Welker suffered two concussions this season and has missed three games. That led to the new helmet that caused him much grief but has kept his head relatively secure. Welker caused a stir at Super Bowl Media Day after he was asked if he would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion: “What do you think? I mean, you want to be out there. The Super Bowl, this is what you dream about. You're going to be there, I don't care what it takes, you're going to be out there in this game.” That's the same kind of ornery spirit Oklahomans have seen since Welker was a high school star at Heritage Hall in the 1990s. Despite his size, Welker was a do-everything player. In 2000, historian Ray Soldan, a half-century follower of high school football for the Oklahoman declared Welker the best Oklahoma prep player ever. At the time, Welker had yet to catch a pass even for Texas Tech. Welker's story has been oft-told. He got the last scholarship at Tech and became a star. He went undrafted by the NFL, then was cut by the San Diego Chargers. He hooked on with the Miami Dolphins, played three seasons, then was traded to the Patriots when Miami worried about paying Welker too much. “A lot of times, just coming into the league, especially on draft day, you just want a job,” Welker said. “Then as you get a job, you want to accomplish things, you want to go to the playoffs, you want to go to the Super Bowl and then you want to win a Super Bowl. So, coming from humble beginnings to get to this point is definitely a blessing.” All along, Welker has maintained his Oklahoma City roots. His family still lives in OKC. Last summer, Wes Welker Sports Bar & Grill opened in the Quail Springs area of north OKC. Welker's foundation for several years as provided grants to schools and youth programs in financial need. Welker can (and did, during Super Bowl) talk Thunder basketball; he's shown up at a variety of NBA arenas with Thunder apparel. He gave a shout-out to LifeChurch during Super Bowl Media Day. His favorite band is Oklahoma's Kings of Leon. “That's home for me,” Welker said. “That's where I grew up. I definitely have a big respect for my hometown and being from there. I just love it there.” But he doesn't plan on returning anytime soon. Too much football still to be played. Some players like to cap their careers on top. Welker was asked if a Super Bowl title might make him consider retirement. “Of course, it would be a good way to end it, but I am still having fun,” Welker said. “I am still enjoying the game. I feel good, and as long as I am out there having fun, I will continue to play.” And it's not like the Broncos don't want him. That captaincy thing was no small deal. “I don't care who you are, coming to a new team, new teammates, that doesn't happen very easily,” Denver coach John Fox said. “It says a lot to the kind of guy he is, both on and off the field. I think he is an unbelievable competitor and very gritty, and that became obvious to his teammates very early on — how he goes about his business on and off the field and preparation. He has been a tremendous addition, and we are sure glad to have him.” Oklahoma City feels the same way. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
In honor of Super Bowl XLVIII, 48 people who could have an impact on America's biggest ballgame
48 people who could have an impact on Super Bowl XLVIII
BY BERRY TRAMEL | Feb 1, 2014In honor of Super Bowl XLVIII, 48 people who could have an impact on America's biggest ballgame: 1. Peyton Manning: America's quarterback is playing in his brother Eli's home stadium, needing a win to match Eli with two Super Bowl wins. 2. Richard Sherman: The Mouth That Bored during Super Bowl week remains the NFL's best cornerback, even if he hasn't said so since arriving in Greater New York. 3. Wes Welker: How big is the Oklahoma City folk hero? President Bill Clinton, unprompted, mentioned Welker's Super Bowl quest during an ESPN interview. 4. Pat Bowlen: The Broncos owner grew up in Wisconsin but has two degrees from OU (business 1965, law 1968). He bought the Broncos in 1984. 5. Russell Wilson: The Seattle quarterback counts two alma maters — he graduated from North Carolina State, then transferred to Wisconsin and says he cherishes both schools. 6. Troy Aikman: Quarterbacked the Cowboys in three Super Bowls. Now calling his fourth Super Bowl as Joe Buck's sidekick. 7. Earl Thomas: The NFL's best safety didn't win the Thorpe Award, like fellow Longhorns Michael Huff and Alvin Ross in 2005-06, but Thomas has become the best of Texas' defensive backs. 8. Demaryius Thomas: The mother and grandmother of the Bronco receiver have been in prison on drug convictions since he was 11. 9. Queen Latifah: Just down the road from her hometown of East Orange, N.J., the hip-hop pioneer and Oscar-nominated actress and talk-show host will sing “America the Beautiful” for the second time at a Super Bowl. Saints-Colts was the first. 10. Pete Carroll: The Seahawk coach has the best winning percentage in franchise history (.594); Carroll also is second in New England Patriot winning percentage (.562), trailing only Bill Belichick. 11. Marshawn Lynch: Seattle's little-talking tailback has become the NFL's most physical tailback, running harder than even Adrian Peterson. 12. John Elway: Perhaps the NFL's greatest quarterback has become a huge success as the Broncos' executive VP of football operations. He recruited Peyton Manning to Denver. 13. Joe Buck: His dad, the great Jack Buck, called Super Bowl IV for CBS. Now Joe Buck calls his fourth Super Bowl for FOX. 14. Percy Harvin: The first-year Seahawk scatback has been injured and barely played (one regular-season catch, three postseason catches), but he's been cleared for the Super Bowl and could be a game-breaker. 15. John Fox: The Denver coach missed four games this season because of a heart procedure but joined Don Shula, Dick Vermeil, Mike Holmgren, Dan Reeves and Bill Parcells as the only coaches to take two franchises to Super Bowls. 16. Michael Robinson: The Seahawk fullback, once a Penn State quarterback, was cut by Seattle after his liver and kidneys started shutting down in August. But Robinson recovered and was brought back by the Seahawks in October. 17. Ken Norton Jr.: The Seahawks' linebacker coach, who was on the Southern Cal staff with Pete Carroll, is the only player in NFL history to play on three consecutive Super Bowl champs — '92 and '93 Cowboys, '94 49ers. 18. Matt Prater: The Bronco kicker set an NFL record for longest field with a 64-yarder on Dec. 9 in Denver, but the Super Bowl will be played at virtual sea level. 19. Russell Okung: Seattle's nice-guy left tackle out of OSU has lived up to the promise of the No. 6 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. 20. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: The Bronco cornerback was an Arizona Cardinal rookie five years ago when he was beaten by Santonio Holmes for the Super Bowl-winning TD pass. 21. Max Unger: The all-pro Seahawk center sports a beard that would shame James Harden's, but Unger vows it's coming off after the Super Bowl. 22. Zane Beadles: The Bronco guard is growing quite the beard himself and says he might not shave after the game. 23. Olivia Manning: Archie gets most of the spotlight for his boys, but don't forget the mother of Eli and Peyton. Her sons have quarterbacked five of the last eight Super Bowls. 24. Kam Chancellor: The Seahawk safety is the intimidator of Seattle's Legion of Boom secondary. 25. Knowshon Moreno: The Bronco tailback became famous for crying during the national anthem before a game this season. He might cry again; this Super Bowl is in the shadow of New York, where at a young age Moreno was in and out of homeless shelters with his father. 26. Tom Cable: The Seahawks' offensive line coach spent two-plus seasons as the Raiders' head coach. He was fired after going 8-8 in 2010; Oakland hasn't had a winning season since 2002. 27. Michael Bennett: The Seahawk defensive end, the brother of NFL tight end Marcellus Bennett, was undrafted out of Texas A&M, signed by Seattle and waived. But after nine sacks with Tampa Bay last season, Bennett returned to the Seahawks and has 8 1/2 sacks this year. 28. Michael Balzary: Better known as Flea, bass player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who will perform at halftime. Flea has asked his fans if they want him to flash the audience during the show. 29. Adam Gase: The 35-year-old Bronco offensive coordinator didn't play college football. As a Michigan State student, he worked on Nick Saban's staff, then followed Saban to LSU. 30. Golden Tate: The Notre Dame alum is Russell Wilson's favorite target, with 64 catches for 898 yards. 31. Paul Allen: The Seahawks chairman, co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates, also owns the NBA Trail Blazers and voted against the Seattle SuperSonics' move to Oklahoma City. 32. Julius Thomas: The Bronco tight end played in two NCAA Tournaments for Portland State, losing to Kansas in 2008 and Xavier in 2009. 33. Steven Hauschka: The Seahawk kicker has a degree from Middlebury College in neuroscience and kicked for the Broncos in four 2010 games. 34. Renee Fleming: A different kind of soprano in New Jersey, the American opera star will sing the national anthem. But the Super Bowl is not her biggest stage. She sang on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Concert. 35. Paris Lenon: The Bronco linebacker played in the short-lasting XFL in 2001. 36. John Schneider: The youngish Seahawk general manager was hired in January 2010 — by Carroll, a rare case of a head coach picking the GM. 37. Champ Bailey: In his 15th season, the Bronco cornerback finally makes a Super Bowl. 38. Jack Del Rio: The Bronco defensive coordinator was interim coach during John Fox's absence; Denver went 3-1 with Del Rio at the helm. He's done it before. Del Rio went 68-71 in nine seasons coaching the Jaguars. 39. Cliff Avril: The Seahawk defensive end forced five fumbles this season, but that's nothing. He forced six in 2011, recovering three. 40. Dave Logan: The 25-year Broncos' radio voice has been a Colorado force for half a century. A high school star in suburban Denver, then a Big Eight basketball and football player at CU in the 1970s. He played nine years in the NFL. He has a daily radio show. And he's coached high school football for 20 years, winning 5A titles at three Denver-area schools. 41. Orlando Franklin: The Bronco offensive tackle gained fame when his jersey was photographed being worn by loose-cannon Toronto mayor Rob Ford. 42. Warren Moon: The Seahawks' radio analyst was a University of Washington quarterback before he played 23 pro seasons — six in Canada, 17 in the NFL, including two with Seattle. 43. Bruno Mars: The Hawaiian-born pop star will team with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and has not asked his fans if they want him to flash the audience. 44. Terrance Knighton: The defensive tackle signed with Denver as a free agent last March and has become a team leader — he famously huddled the defense in the locker room after the Broncos' late-season loss to San Diego. 45. Sherman Smith: The 59-year-old Seahawks' running back coach was Seattle's leading rusher its first four years in the NFL (1976-79). He also grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, going to North High School, across town from Cardinal Mooney, a couple of years ahead of Ron Stoops Jr. 46. Manny Ramirez: The Bronco center joins Avril and Lenon as members of the 2008 Detroit Lions, who went 0-16. 47. Britton Colquitt: The Bronco punter is the son of Craig Colquitt, the nephew of Jimmy Colquitt and brother of Dustin Colquitt, NFL punters all, past or present. But you might not even see him. Britton Colquitt has punted once total in Denver's last three games. 48. Doug Baldwin: The Seahawks' big-play receiver — 15.6 yards per reception — was an undrafted free agent out of Stanford.
For 15 years, Wes Welker has played football for teams in Lubbock, Texas; suburban Boston and now Denver. But Welker’s favorite basketball team is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 1999 Heritage Hall High School graduate loves the Thunder and during Super Bowl week was asked about the Thunder and the hot stretch of OKC superstar Kevin Durant.
Super Bowl 48: Wes Welker talks Kevin Durant
Berry Tramel | Jan 31, 2014For 15 years, Wes Welker has played football for teams in Lubbock, Texas; suburban Boston and now Denver. But Welker’s favorite basketball team is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 1999 Heritage Hall High School graduate loves the Thunder and during Super Bowl week was asked about the Thunder and the hot stretch of OKC superstar Kevin Durant. “It’s been pretty phenomenal just watching him out there,” Welker said. “They had (Russell) Westbrook go down, and so your key players have got to step up, and he’s definitely stepped up in a major way. It’s been really fun to watch and he’s great for Oklahoma City, not just as a player, but as a person. They definitely appreciate him there.” Can Welker, who has had his share of hot streaks, relate to the “zone” in which Durant seems to be in? “Yeah, I think every athlete at some point or another has been in the zone like that,” Welker said. “Just having to carry over from game to game like he has is pretty incredible. I look forward to him keeping that going throughout the year.” I wrote about Welker for the Friday Oklahoman. You can read that column here. But Welker had a lot to say about a variety of subjects. I’m going to write more about Welker for the Sunday paper, but there’s plenty of stuff that won’t make, either, so I thought I would share it. On his Super Bowl experience being an advantage. Welker has played in two Super Bowls. The entire Seahawk roster has played in a combined zero: “Maybe a little bit. Just trying to give some guys insight of what this week is like, the media obligations and the traveling to practice and not being at the facility through the week and different things like that. It’s definitely different and something that you kind of have to get used to.” On the Seahawks’ defense biggest strength: “Their whole defense is a big strength. That’s why they’re the No. 1 defense. Obviously their back end and defensive backfield is definitely up there. They do a great job across the board of playing pretty sound defense and staying on top of it. So we’re definitely going to have our hands full.” On the Bronco receivers, five of whom caught at least 10 touchdown passes this season: “I think everybody has their own opinion and everything, but this is one of the best groups I’ve ever played with. It’s the NFL. There’s a lot of good receiving groups. Every team is going to have good receiving groups in the NFL.” On his many concussions: “I think they do a good job of the protocols and different things like that these days. But we’re football players, we’re competitors and you want to be out there playing. You want to be out there on the field and giving your best for your team. It’s kind of a tough issue sometimes and you just go out there and deal with it and try to keep yourself safe, but at the same time, given the chance to go compete, you go compete.” On what Welker does the Saturday night before a big game: “I think basically just relaxing and going over my gameplan and being on to of all that. Making sure that I’m just ready to go. Make sure I’m getting my massages and stretched out and ready to go for Sunday.” On if he’s slept the night before previous Super Bowls: “Yeah, I have. I think just knowing the past, going through the week and preparation and everything else, you’re ready to get some sleep and make sure you’re ready to go for Sunday.” On his plans for Sunday morning: “My plan for Sunday morning is just like any other game. Just focusing and getting ready for the game and treating it like any other regular season game.” On his pre-game rituals: Welker said he likes to arrive at the stadium early, four hours before kickoff. Listen to the Kings of Leon and get his mind ready for the game. On how he’s handled Super Bowl hoopla, which for Welker has meant five straight days, Sunday through Thursday, of media sessions: “You try to make it as normal as possible. Just try and focus on the game, focus on the week and the gameplan and just getting ready for it. You deal with it how you can.” On Denver coach John Fox: “He’s one of those guys, he’s very inspirational, a very motivational type guy. The energy he brings to the team and everything like that. The guy can talk to anybody. You sit down at lunch and he can just sit there and talk and talk and talk. I mean, he’s that way with everyone. Just a great man, a great individual. I’m glad he’s our coach and our leader.” On Fox’s heart problems, which kept him away from the Broncos for four games this season: “I wouldn’t say he was different at all. He came back feeling healthier than he was before. So obviously, he’s our guy and he brings that energy and at the time we were just worried about his health and making sure that he was all good. We just told him, we’ll take care of everything on our end and you just get right and get back when you’re ready.” On playing with Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady: “It’s kind of by design. There’s just not too many quarterbacks I’d actually play with. So, when it came down to it, it was two options. This has been a good one.” On what people don’t know about Manning: “He’s actually a very genuine person. A great teammate, he loves hanging out with the guys and being around the guys, camaraderie and everything else. He enjoys it. It makes you enjoy it as well.” On his relationship with Brady: “We just text after the game and stuff like that, but he’s a good friend of mine and we wish nothing but the best for each other.” On if it was bitter or sweet to beat the Patriots in the AFC title game: “I think a little bit of both. Obviously playing there and everything like that, you make a lot of relationships and a lot of friends and you wish the best for them. But, at the same time you’re excited about the opportunity you have in front of you.” On the impact of the weather, which doesn’t figure to be as severe as previously feared: “I feel good about it. I played in this for six years so I have a good idea of what to expect and what to be ready for, different things like that. It really didn’t feel too bad out there just walking over here to this boat and things like that. I’m looking forward to it, this is what football is supposed to be.” On throwing the ball in bad weather: “I’ve seen a lot of games where they’ve been able to throw for a lot of yards in bad weather. I don’t see that being a problem for us. I just see us going out there and executing our plays and not worrying about the weather or anything else. Just have the mindset that we’re going to move the ball and score touchdowns.” On his most memorable cold weather game: “Really there are so many to choose from. I remember we played the Jets one time in 2007 later in the year, low scoring game. It was tough. We had another one in Buffalo where we had 70 mile per hour winds. They had to take a rope and pull the field goal post back upright so that we could kick extra points and field goals and different things like that. I remember the receivers, we would just rotate and we would be throwing each other jackets. There would only be one receiver in the game because we really couldn’t throw the ball. Just basically, ‘Here you take my jacket, now you get over here and get warm, I’ll go in this play.’ We would rotate three of us the whole game.”
Jan 28, 2014
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Knowshon Moreno still cherishes the weekly phone calls and texts from his high school coach.After all, they've helped the Denver Broncos running back through some tough times and celebrated great moments in the years since he graduated from New Jersey's Middletown South High School. There have been plenty of both for Moreno, who is back home this week and preparing for...
Super Bowl a happy homecoming for Broncos' Moreno
DENNIS WASZAK Jr., Associated Press | Jan 28, 2014JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Knowshon Moreno still cherishes the weekly phone calls and texts from his high school coach. After all, they've helped the Denver Broncos running back through some tough times and celebrated great moments in the years since he graduated from New Jersey's Middletown South High School. There have been plenty of both for Moreno, who is back home this week and preparing for the biggest game of his life. And, of course, he can count on hearing from Steve Antonucci. Just like always. "I told him from the moment he graduated from high school that I didn't care if he carried the football or not," said Antonucci, who won three state titles with Moreno setting records in his backfield. "I told him, 'I'm always going to be here. I'm not just your coach. I'm your friend.' He's always come to me. "He's as much a part of my family as anybody." Moreno, who was in and out of shelters and apartments with his father as a youngster, moved to the town of Belford in New Jersey with his maternal grandmother Mildred McQueen when he was 11. She raised him through his formative years, and did all she could to steer him in a positive direction. By the time he got to high school, Moreno had dealt with more adversity than many adults. It's a journey upon which he reflects before every game, usually during the national anthem, and usually accompanied by tears — a pregame ritual that became a hot topic when TV cameras caught him crying before a game last month. "It made me into the person that I am today," Moreno said Monday. "Just learning from my experiences, going in and out of doing what I was doing, shelters and things like that, that's part of life. Everyone goes through different things. It's how you battle back from that and see the positive in all the negative. "I think I did a good job of that." Moreno graduated from Middletown South as New Jersey's career leader in total touchdowns (128) and scoring (782 points). He also ranked second in state history with 6,268 career yards rushing and established himself as one of the country's most gifted football players. "When I tell you that he was an ultra-competitor, he really was one," Antonucci said. "It didn't matter what game he was playing or what he was doing. He had to win. Just had to. He would compete at chess or volleyball or a bike race, or we'd play golf sometimes and it would become a competition." Moreno followed that up with a terrific career at the University of Georgia, where he rushed for 2,734 yards and 30 touchdowns in two seasons after redshirting as a freshman. "When you watched him playing high school football games, you saw how dominant he was and the way he took games over," Antonucci said. "When he decided to go to Georgia and made that decision, what really stood out to me was he dominated the SEC for two years. When you talk to people about SEC football, they say it's the next-closest thing to the NFL." He was a first-round pick of Denver, going 12th overall in 2009, and considered by many to be the top running back available that year. But the road to stardom in the pros was filled with plenty of potholes, including injuries, a DUI arrest, bouts of ineffectiveness and a bust label that grew increasingly larger. He was benched last season and not active for two months after dealing with fumble issues. Moreno then promised himself he'd not let a second chance slip through his hands — if he got one. "You make mistakes and things happen," Moreno said. "For me, I just wanted to get better. My role was not to be playing on Sundays. Wednesday was my Sunday. Thursday was my Sunday when I was out there on the scout team trying to make the defense better." Sundays became, well, Sundays again this season as he regained the trust of coach John Fox and became a major part of the offense with Peyton Manning. Moreno ran for a career-high 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also setting personal marks with 60 catches for 548 yards. All without losing a single fumble. "I just feel very comfortable with No. 27 standing next to me," Manning said. "He has been through a lot in his life and his football career. He has paid his dues, and I'm happy for him that he has this opportunity to play in his first Super Bowl. And I'm looking forward to playing in it with him next Sunday." Antonucci had no doubts Moreno would turn things around. He had already seen him do it off the field. But to know that Moreno could walk off the field a Super Bowl champion at MetLife Stadium — less than an hour away from where he used to make jaws drop in high school — excited his former coach. "I try to keep finding a word, and maybe I'll look one up later today, to express how proud I am that's even better than 'proud,'" Antonucci said. "I'm as proud as anybody could be. There's no better word right now, but if there was, I would use it. "It's just so satisfying because this whole journey started way back when Knowshon was a freshman and it has finally come to fruition." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org ___ Follow Dennis Waszak at: http://twitter.com/DWAZ73
Jan 28, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are all settled in for Super Bowl week.Next up: media day.And who knows what will be heard — or seen — on Tuesday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.After two days of minimal media appearances, the AFC and NFC champions will face hordes of reporters looking to further break down the matchup between the Broncos' top-ranked offense and...
5 things to know from Monday's Super Bowl scene
DENNIS WASZAK Jr., Associated Press | Jan 28, 2014NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are all settled in for Super Bowl week. Next up: media day. And who knows what will be heard — or seen — on Tuesday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. After two days of minimal media appearances, the AFC and NFC champions will face hordes of reporters looking to further break down the matchup between the Broncos' top-ranked offense and the Seahawks' No. 1 defense. Oh, and there will also be plenty of non-journalist types, celebrities and wacky wardrobes to create the spectacle that has become a media day staple. "We want to enjoy the moment, but you never forget why you're here and we're here to play the biggest game in football," Seahawks tackle Russell Okung said Monday. "That's what we're here for. We stay true to who we are and while we're here, all those distractions won't get in our way." Both teams got their first practices in, with the Broncos working at the New York Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J., and the Seahawks at the Giants' training center in East Rutherford, N.J. "It's been pretty unusual for a trip like this, just getting used to everything," Seattle tight end Zach Miller said. Here's a quick look at a few of the Super Bowl story lines from Monday: NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY REDUX? Jonathan Tisch, a co-owner of the New York Giants and co-chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee, wants the NFL's big game to return to the area every 10 years. This will be the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather site, and Tisch believes it will be a huge success. And not just on the field. Tisch said holding the game in New York and New Jersey is expected to generate $550 million to $600 million for the region. "This is a legacy that will live beyond the game itself," Tisch said. "For years to come, young people, men and women will feel this game was important for the region. And hopefully, when we do all the tallying in the weeks to come, the other 30 owners will say to themselves, if there is a chance to do this again, Super Bowl 48 in New York and New Jersey was a huge success. Let's try to do this once every 10 years." MARIJUANA STUDY: Seattle coach Pete Carroll supports Commissioner Roger Goodell's message last week that the league could consider medicinal marijuana as a treatment if science proved it could benefit players who have sustained concussions. While there are some stigmas attached to marijuana use, Carroll believes the medicinal value should be fully researched. "The world of medicine is trying to do the exact same thing and figure it out," he said, "and they're coming to some conclusions." STEPPING AWAY? Denver quarterback Peyton Manning isn't ready to retire, even if he wins the Super Bowl. But Broncos teammate Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie might be. The 27-year-old cornerback is giving serious consideration to hanging it up after Sunday's game, even though he's in his playing prime. "I had a goal of playing five years," Rodgers-Cromartie said, "and I reached that." He already plans to go back to college, study psychology and become a guidance counselor at his old high school — whenever he does walk away. "I had my fun in this league," he said. NO NAMES, BIG GAMES: For all the megastars and All-Pros in the Super Bowl such as Manning, a handful of hardly household names could have a major impact for their teams. You know, kind of how Washington running back Timmy Smith did in 1987 or Dallas cornerback Larry Brown in 1996. Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is one, signed as a free agent after four mostly nondescript years with Jacksonville. He's coming off a big-time performance in the AFC championship game against New England. That's after the man nicknamed "Pot Roast" for his rotund physique was buried on the Broncos' depth chart in training camp. "It is going to be based on your performance, where you are on the depth chart, how much you are going to play," coach John Fox said. "All of those things, you earn or don't earn. Really, everything Terrance has done, he did (himself)." Other players to watch for on Sunday include Seattle's Jermaine Kearse, Michael Robinson and Malcolm Smith, and Denver's Manny Ramirez and Paris Lenon. WHAT'S THE WEATHER? The forecast for Sunday's game remains a hot topic of conversation because of how chilly it might be. On Monday, the area saw relatively mild temperatures with a high of 44 degrees and partly sunny skies. But then the clouds rolled in and so did a frosty wind, dropping the temperature to 22 by the early evening. That's nothing, though. The forecast for Tuesday is for a high of 20 with wind chills making it feel below zero in the morning. As for Sunday, National Weather Service meteorologist Anthony Gigi said the current forecast calls for temperatures to reach a high of 39 with a low of 27 — with little threat of snow or rain. "It's not going to distract us," Miller said of his Seahawks. "It's not going to be any reason why we don't win on Sunday." ___ AP Pro Football Writers Arnie Stapleton and Barry Wilner, and AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Tom Canavan and Rachel Cohen contributed to this report. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Jan 27, 2014
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is 27 years old, right in his prime as an NFL player.Perfect time to retire.The Denver Broncos cornerback said Monday he's giving serious consideration to hanging it up after the Super Bowl. He's not burned out, not worried about his health.He just figures he's had a good run."I had a goal of playing 5 years, and I reached that," Rodgers-Cromartie said.He's completed...
Broncos' Rodgers-Cromartie might retire at age 27
The Associated Press, Associated Press | Jan 27, 2014Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is 27 years old, right in his prime as an NFL player. Perfect time to retire. The Denver Broncos cornerback said Monday he's giving serious consideration to hanging it up after the Super Bowl. He's not burned out, not worried about his health. He just figures he's had a good run. "I had a goal of playing 5 years, and I reached that," Rodgers-Cromartie said. He's completed six seasons in the NFL, in fact, and could be in line to command plenty of money after making three interceptions in 2013. But Rodgers-Cromartie insisted that depending on how he feels after Sunday's game, he might call it quits. He even knows what he would do instead of football. He'd go back to college and study psychology to become a guidance counselor at his old high school. "I had my fun in this league," he said. Rodgers-Cromartie came out of Football Championship Subdivision Tennessee State and figures he wasn't supposed to make it in the NFL at all from a small school, let alone surpass the average 2 to 3 years that players last in the league. He wasn't a typical lower-division prospect, though, selected by the Cardinals with the 16th overall pick in 2008. Rodgers-Cromartie played three years in Arizona and two in Philadelphia before joining the Broncos. He regularly tells his teammates about his plan. "They always think I am joking about it," he said. Even if he sticks around next season, Rodgers-Cromartie can't imagine repeating the feat of fellow Denver cornerback Champ Bailey, who's in his 15th year in the league. Asked about Bailey's longevity, Rodgers-Cromartie exclaimed a curse word in admiration, then added, "He can have that." ___ GIANTS GUESTS: The Seattle Seahawks are preparing for the Super Bowl against the Broncos at the New York Giants' training facility, which opened in 2009 and is adjacent to MetLife Stadium. When the Giants and Jets were picked to co-host the title game in May 2010, the owners of the teams had hoped they would become the first to play the game in their home stadium. Neither was so lucky. The Broncos are training at the Jets' headquarters in Florham Park, N.J., a half-hour's drive away, which opened in 2008. "It's what we signed up for," Giants co-owner John Mara said. "We certainly would rather be playing the game ourselves, but we knew there was a good chance someone else would be using our facility." Broncos coach John Fox was assured by the NFL that the Jets' outdoor fields would be in good shape despite the cold weather and inordinate amount of snow that has hit the area this month. Because the Broncos have a bubble instead of a permanent indoor venue — that is being built now — Fox says his team might be jealous of the Jets. "Our operations guy tells me that the guys will be complaining that it is so much nicer than ours, so he is not real excited about it," Fox said. "We've heard nothing but great things." The Seahawks have a multi-million dollar training facility in Renton, Wash., complete with a mammoth indoor field. The Giants' complex is similar to Seattle's, and the Seahawks worked indoors Monday. "It's bonus Monday," Carroll said of the extra practice day. Most teams don't work out on Mondays unless they are coming off an off week, which both Super Bowl clubs are. The Giants, who were 7-9 this season in missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, had to clean out the first floor of their facility. They left their four Super Bowl trophies in a glass case on the first floor for the Seahawks to admire. When asked if they were worried leaving any notebooks around with trade secrets, Mara laughed. "If they were looking at our notebooks from this year, there's definitely not a heck of a lot that would help them," he said. Jets owner Woody Johnson said it was bittersweet seeing another team in the game. Mara's response: "It could be worse," a clear reference to NFC East rivals Dallas or Philadelphia using the grounds. ___ QUIET MARSHAWN: Star running back Marshawn Lynch was not one of the 17 Seattle players or coaches assigned to podiums for media day on Tuesday. That's not surprising considering Lynch's reluctance for media attention. Getting Lynch to speak with the media this season has been as difficult as trying to tackle him. He was originally fined $50,000 by the league after the end of the regular season for not speaking to the media. The fine was appealed and put on hold as long as Lynch complied with league policy during the playoffs. But Super Bowl media day is an entirely different environment than the few times Lynch has made himself available in front of his locker at the Seahawks' team facility. Asked how he'd handle it, Seattle fullback Michael Robinson chuckled. "I think I'll probably be there with him," he said. ___ COLEMAN'S FORUM: The Seahawks plan to have backup fullback Derrick Coleman, who lost his hearing when he was 3 years old, sit in the stands on media day. That way Coleman can read the lips of reporters. Had he been placed on a podium, the team felt he would be too far removed from the questioners. The second-year player from UCLA has become an integral part of the NFC champions, and coach Pete Carroll calls Coleman's story "inspirational." Carroll also believes Coleman has not been at a disadvantage because of his lack of hearing. "He does his job impeccably well in all areas and everything that we ask of him," Carroll said. "He's a terrific effort guy. ... He's been a fantastic part of the team and it's been a really cool story. Not because he has issues, because he's made this team and he's made a spot for himself and he's claimed it. The fact that he has a hearing issue is really not even something that we deal with."
Jan 22, 2014
The emails are in, and lots to talk about. The Thunder riding high (this week) and the Thunder struggling (last week). Sugar Bowl leftovers. Mike Gundy. Lots on the table. Let’s get to it. OU FOOTBALL Tom: “Frankly, I am glad for both the kid and the university (Kendal) Thompson is leaving OU. I had season tickets during the era that his dad (and others) was caught up in all of the drugs,...
Tramel emails: Thunder lineup changes & benefits of Kendal Thompson leaving
Berry Tramel | Jan 22, 2014[img]2325560[/img] The emails are in, and lots to talk about. The Thunder riding high (this week) and the Thunder struggling (last week). Sugar Bowl leftovers. Mike Gundy. Lots on the table. Let’s get to it. OU FOOTBALL Tom: “Frankly, I am glad for both the kid and the university (Kendal) Thompson is leaving OU. I had season tickets during the era that his dad (and others) was caught up in all of the drugs, shootings and alleged rape. It never made sense to me that this was a good fit to bring back the spectacle of that era. I realize that is not fair to the son, but the reality is that what would have been portrayed would have brought back the disgrace of the OU program of a past era. If there was any doubt at all, the comments of Charles Thompson in the middle of the season solidified my opinion.” You’re probably right. It’s probably best for all concerns. I thought Kendal, from all reports, handled everything great. And Charles handled it as well as anyone could. He’s a father first. So that was going to have some sticky points. But it’s probably best that Kendal is moving on. Dan: “Please, could we get a few more stories about the Sugar Bowl, 23 is not quite enough!” OU fans would read 123. Jim: “If I recall, you were the only sports writer to pick OU over Alabama. Congratulations.” I picked Bama 27-17. But on game day, I did write a column about how many double-digit underdogs in BCS games manage to pull the upset. THUNDER UP Chris: “Durant is crazy. Couple of years ago, he used to be a scorer. Has turned into a shooter, too.” I don’t know. I always thought Durant was a primo shooter. I know he’s gotten better, but I think he’s gotten better at degree of difficulty. Just straight shooting, I think Durant was a phenom shooter even at Texas. Steve: “While I know this is what you do, it must be very special to witness what KD is currently doing from up close. After last night’s performance, he is bringing back memories of MJ in his prime. As for the defense, I, too get frustrated with Perk and Thabo’s inability to make offensive contributions with any form of consistency. However, without their defense last night the Thunder are down a game to Portland in the division AND the season series is lost.” It’s an amazing run, no doubt about it. And it’s a very good question. Do we appreciate what we are seeing? Do we appreciate what fell in our lap six years ago? I hope so. I think so. Not to sadden the mood, but it won’t last forever. Jim: “I have watched basketball since I was 12 years old (now 75). Watched the Rochester Royals, at the Edgerton Park arena in Rochester, because we were in a PAL league and we could stay and watch the games after playing. Well, we were just kids with no coaches, etc. Anyway, I have seen some great scorers, Cousy, Wanzer, Wilt, McAdoo and later Kareem (on TV) and others, but Durant tops them all! I am not a big fan of present day pro basketball. I usually only watch the last quarter if any, but the last quarter of this (Warriors) game was something else.” I have no idea who Wanzer is. But I know the Rochester Royals, who moved to Cincinnati, and then to Kansas City, and now are in Sacramento. I had never even thought about the Buffalo/Rochester connection. Upstate New York has had three NBA franchises, all three have scooted out of the region. The Buffalo Braves went to San Diego and became the Clippers. The Syracuse Nationals went to Philadelphia and became the 76ers, after the Warriors from Philly to San Francisco. Kevin: “Why do Rocket fans boo D-Fish when he touches the ball?” The Lakers traded Fisher to Houston two years ago and he declined to report, instead negotiating a buyout of his contract, which allowed him to sign with the Thunder. Fisher wanted no part of the then-rebuilding Rockets. Kent: “The curse of Kelvin Sampson returns. Rockets score 19 points in a half. Looked like OU-Mizzou in the 2003 Big 12 finals in Dallas. No one much remembers that game, but it was wild. The Sooners led 37-18 at halftime and eventually led 46-24 with 15:05 left in the game. And then OU won 49-47. The Sooners scored three points those final 15 minutes, all on foul shots. Missouri’s Rickey Paulding missed a driving shot with four seconds left that would have tied the game. That’s the only game that came to mind when I watched the Rockets’ 19-point second half. Joel: “On the discussion about the starting lineup, there were a couple of comments you made I thought were interesting: 1) Perkins should keep starting, even for minimum minutes, due to team chemistry; and 2) You like Thabo but wish he’d play better. So here’s my question: Why is Brooks so rigid about how he starts the game and the second half? I can understand chemistry (I guess), although it can’t be lost on the players that the Thunder have issues with how they start games and second halves and that can’t help team chemistry. In my opinion, Brooks is a very loyal person, and truly values his players. That’s why they like him. But I’m afraid this is going to wear thin if they don’t win it all. I’m just hoping, for his sake, that he’s not playing the Doug Collins role vs. Phil Jackson and that he’s never able to get them over the top.” The starting lineup has worked. That’s why Brooks sticks with it. It combines offense and defense. It allows some solid offensive players to come off the bench and give the B team a boost. This lineup will wear thin when it doesn’t work. Otherwise, it would be nuts to switch. Mike: “Things are never as good as they seem and never as bad as they seem. Notice the Heat have quietly lost three straight. It’s good to remember that what happens in January stays in January. It’s all practice until April.” Great points. When the Thunder struggles, losing at Salt Lake and Denver and Memphis, or when the Thunder wins four straight and Durant goes crazy, it’s still January. Mike: “If the Thunder don’t get Perkins and Sefolosha off the floor, they are going nowhere. Sefolosha can’t hit the broadside of a barn and Perkins is very consistent in committing fouls. The Thunder will never win a championship if these issues are not corrected. Get rid of those two and try to get Gasol from the Lakers. If the Thunder had a scoring center and would make their offensive game plan to score in the paint when possible, they would be unbeatable. Most good championship caliber teams have a scoring center.” Leading the NBA right now in paint points are 1. Detroit, and 2. Philadelphia. Minnesota is fifth. Memphis is sixth. Sacramento is eighth. New Orleans is 10th. The Thunder is 11th. Miami gets no scoring from the center position. Bosh doesn’t play center and gets most of his points outside. Ibaka scores more inside than does Bosh. In fact, most of the recent NBA champions did NOT have scoring centers. Miami, Dallas, Boston. Only the Lakers. Mitch: “Truth must be told here and that is both Thabo and Perkins are liabilities. Their so-called defensive prowess is overwhelmed by extremely limited offense. With Westbrook out, it shows. Forty percent of the lineup is an offensive backwater. Yes, there is no need to have four or five go-to guys with KD and Westbrook, but that does not mean you want extremely bad offensive players at all times. Perkins’ value is declining faster than the Nellie Johnstone Well #1 at Caney Creek. I’m not saying the solution is easy. But the first step is to identify the problem. I really cannot articulate a great reason for starting Sefolosha. Defense is often hard to measure but results are evident. These two deadwoods are part of the problem and not the solution.” This was written last week, when the Thunder was coming off that loss to the Grizzlies. And it’s been obviously renounced with the Thunder’s recent play. But you know what this kind of thinking represents? Football mentality. The idea that every loss is cataclysmic and is a sign that something is very wrong. It’s not even true in football, with 12 games a year. It’s absolutely nonsense in the NBA, which plays 82 regular-season games. You know what a five-game losing streak in the NBA represents (not that the Thunder ever has a five-game losing streak)? One NFL game. One. The Thunder has plenty of scoring with Durant and Westbrook. Heck, in recent games, the Thunder has had plenty of scoring with just Durant. The Thunder needs Thabo and Perk — or someone like them — for defense, and that’s shown in recent games. Jim: “The Thunder are built to win track meets. Without Westbrook, that option is gone. They have the talent but are not coached to run disciplined plays. Reggie does better when running the second unit because much of that time Durant is out of the lineup. When he plays with Durant, he defers to the detriment of his own skills to score. As much as I like the coach, he will not win with them without all the pieces in place for every game. Too much risk, if I owned the team. San Antonio has less talent but they do what they are coached to do and that solid coaching has them in contention every year. Presti comes out of that franchise. He needs to make a change if he wants to get the most out of what he has.” Let me get this straight. You say OKC won’t win the NBA without Westbrook. I agree. You say the Thunder should can Scotty Brooks so it can hire a coach as good as Gregg Popovich. I agree. The only coach as good as Gregg Popovich that I know of is Gregg Popovich. So if you can talk Pop into coming into OKC, sign me up. MIKE GUNDY Bob: “I read your article on Gundy and Wickline very carefully. How interesting! I am wondering, if on the larger scene at OSU, Gundy has issues with Holder and then that just sifts down? I will be very interested to see how the Cowboys do at football next season. They will lose in Norman for sure. I wish Gundy would admit that the OU game is not just another game for the fan base.” You might be onto something about Gundy/Holder, but I think they have mended fences to some degree. I don’t know that for sure. Frank: “I have read and enjoyed your articles for years and rarely disagree and even then it was just opinion. I have to say, though, lately you have become focused on bashing Gundy from saying things like you don’t fit the profile of someone he would come after to this latest article. He was jealous of Wickline and wanted to fire him. BS, Berry. Fire the best line coach in the country? Don’t buy it. How bout a story on Bob, Mikey and Brent?” I wrote about Mike Stoops and Venables when it happened. Two years ago. Is that the best you’ve got? And by the way, I didn’t bash Gundy this time. I just said he wanted to fire Wickline. Maybe he had good reason. But I know he wanted to fire him. Jerry: “If you do a history on the quarterback selections made by Gundy, you will find that every excellent quarterback, from the beginning of Gundy’s head coaching career, was an afterthought, NOT the initial selection. Everyone one! Can he really pick a winner from the beginning? Many of his initial picks were not just bad, they were awful.” Well, I wouldn’t say they were an afterthought. But it’s often been a circus. The Donovan Woods/Bobby Reid waltz, the Reid/Zac Robinson waltz, the decision to start Alex Cate against Colorado in 2009. The switches of the last two seasons. It hasn’t been smooth. Mike: “Ouch! The article on Wickline hurt my OSU Orange Pride. I hope there is nothing to it. I will be devastated if there are problems with Mike Gundy, his coaching staff and Mike Holder. I want to believe we have turned the corner and there are brighter days ahead. OSU is dear to my heart. In other words, I bleed orange. I am a 1978 alum, therefore I have been through a lot. As they used to say in the Civil War, ‘I have seen the Elephant.’ Maybe, just maybe, OSU can gain some respect for where we have come from and where we want to go.” What are you talking about? Of course OSU has gained some respect. The Cowboys’ national brand is soaring. OSU had a rough end to the 2013 season, but these are not the times that try men’s souls. 0-10-1 tries your soul much more than losing Bedlam or a tight Cotton Bowl. COLLEGE BASKETBALL Tommy: “You are so correct there are few venues like The Phog in collegiate basketball. Many of the old homes had been replaced except for Kansas and Duke. However, I would say both programs thrive in their unique old stadiums. I think it is safe to say as long as Bill Self is coaching, The Phog will remain. I think the appreciation that is so mutual of Bill Self for the history of, and the current status of, KU basketball is just so prevalent. I really think as much as any coach, he has embraced the university in total although he graduated from a rival university in the same league. He has really bought into KU and the fans, alumni, and administration have responded in kind. It is so refreshing even for someone like Cindy Self to be so involved in the community, charitable foundations along with her husband. It is quite a change from the image of the Roy Williams family that really never thought Kansas, Lawrence or KU was quite up to the class of North Carolina. The down home attitude and total class of Bill Self just fits. I hope he never goes pro. It would be such a loss not only to KU but to the game.” Well, there’s a lot there. I never detected that Roy Williams didn’t fit at KU. In fact, I think Jayhawk fans were mortified when he left. I remember what the Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski wrote when Williams departed. Something along the lines of, we thought he was more than a basketball coach. But no doubt, Self has embraced the Jayhawk tradition. Stang: “OSU women’s coach Jim Littell has moved the program into national prominence, but I see no support. Why is there no radio coverage for the program? You can’t get 105 FM in either OKC or Tulsa. Surely this adversely affects recruiting. And very limited TV coverage as well.” It’s a great point. You would think with all the sports radio options in OKC and Tulsa now, OSU could sign a contract with someone that would include women’s hoops. And the television situation is abysmal, too. I thought OSU signed a deal with Fox Sports? It appears to have had little effect. John: “Enjoyed your article on Allen Fieldhouse. I agree it’s a classic venue, however fan support did take a dive when the team was down many years ago. My brother is a KU graduate and I remember going to OSU game at Allen in 1980 on Saturday afternoon when he was a student and I was in high school at John Marshall — it was maybe half filled and OSU won easily behind Leroy Combs and Lorenza Andrews (Self was a year away). KU had Darnell Valentine. Flip side is I also saw OU play there in ‘93 or ‘94 (Jeff Webster was top OU player) and it was filled to capacity and was rocking. Needless to say, KU won easily. It’s a great place. Might sound crazy but I wish OU would retrofit McCasland to about 8,500 capacity. If they did, it wouldn’t be far off from Allen.” Well, OU can’t retrofit the Fieldhouse. It only seated 4,100 in its heyday. So that’s a non-starter. But you’re right. KU had its dips back in the day. Even then, though, Allen Fieldhouse was a great place. Timothy: “Call it the Kansas roll.You are scrapping with them and all of a sudden in a few minutes of time you are down 17. Then they tend to let up in the middle and you can get within eight or nine and then they finish you off. It would have been a leg up on the rest of the conference if we could’ve hit the 3. We have lost two conference games on the road by a total of five points. Kansas usually hits a skid of mediocrity in or about mid-conference season. That doesn’t always mean they lose them, but they can be had.” I don’t know. As far as OSU is concerned, the Cowboys trail KU by two full games, and KU has played the tougher schedule. The Jayhawks already have been to Ames and Norman. If the Cowboys win out, they still need KU to lose somewhere else, just to have a tie. And winning out is very difficult, since OSU plays at Ames, Austin, Norman and Waco. COLLEGE FOOTBALL Ed: “Really enjoyed what you wrote about the flip flops in college football, dating back to the heydays of Harvard and Yale. Right down my alley. I well remember when Santa Clara was a power. Saw us (OU) play them here in 1949. Yep, times and fortunes change. I’m not quite old enough to remember it, but if you dig deep enough, you can see that the University of Chicago once put quite a whipping’ on Texas. Nobody stays on top of the mountain forever. Thanks for a trip down memory lane.” Minnesota is my favorite example. And Kansas State, too. Heck, nobody remembers this, but Florida State didn’t even play football until 1948, and Florida was an afterthought until the ‘80s and not even a national power until Spurrier in the ‘90s. Blake: “Is there anyway OU considers leaving the Big 12 at this point? It sure seems to me the Big 12 needs to be proactive to expand at least two more schools soon if they are to thrive competitively long term.” No. Contracts are much more iron-clad than they used to be. The Big 12 is going to have to pull itself up. Chris: “Bobby Petrino, with his track record and issues, he stills gets another chance. Both at Western Kentucky and Louisville. Why wouldn’t someone, somewhere take a chance on Mark Mangino? Based upon my understanding, while Mangino was not a joy to work with, the allegations were grossly overstated and not established by the majority of players. I also know that he had a horrible relationship with the AD (who is now gone). All of his negatives don’t seem to be worse or as bad as Petrino. They were not NCAA allegations and the man won a ton of games at KANSAS! They won an Orange Bowl for goodness sakes, and yet he seems to be outcast as a leper, yet others with issues similar continue to get opportunities because they win. I’m not a Mangino fan or a Mangino detractor, just curious as to why it seems no one at any level will touch him.” Chris: I just think at that time there was a wave of alleged mistreatment of players. With all the talk about exploitation of players, scandal of player abuse was a hot-button issue. Meanwhile, coaches lying or cheating and screwing around is nothing new. I do think things are relaxing on Mangino. Becoming offensive coordinator at Iowa State is a great step. Steve: “I was lucky enough to be in New Orleans this year for the OU game. I felt we had a good chance to win but probably still less than 50-50. I have been around OU a long time and it seems when even their fans become doubters is when OU will show us who OU football really is. But speaking of history, I would put Alabama, Notre Dame and OU in the all-time top five programs. I was wondering how many times a college football team has beaten both Alabama and Notre Dame in the same year. And for OU this year, neither game was at home.” I know Southern Cal beat both Bama and Notre Dame in 1970 and 1978. Tennessee beat both in 1999 and 2001. PRO FOOTBALL Billy: “Am I the only human being who realizes that (Richard) Sherman was beaten on that play, (Michael) Crabtree got behind him and if Kap (Colin Kaepernick) makes a back corner pass instead of the short underneath pass, the whole scenario changes.” I don’t know. Sherman is so good, he goads QBs into those throws. And if a play requires a perfect pass for completion, better throw it somewhere else. Tiki: “The NFL is rigged. You and I both know holding could be called on half the plays in football, or a nit-picky foul in basketball. There has rarely been a level playing field where big money is involved.” Big money is the very reason games AREN’T rigged. The risk is too great. If it is found that sports organizers have rigged games, the sport goes poof. Maybe an isolated official (Tim Donaghy) or upset ballplayer (Black Sox) rigs a game, but nothing orchestrated. There’s too much money in it already. Ben: “How in the world did OU not sign Wes Welker out of high school? Ranks up there with letting Barry Sanders go. Really, Wes was all-state everything?? No offer from OU?” Sometimes you miss. Tom Brady was a sixth-round draft pick.
By BRETT MARSHALLRead more...Anyone, and everyone — from students, athletes, colleagues, family and friends — would tell you that the Rule of Life for Ray Fox was written by those sports in which he officiated.They were his Bible, and his guidelines for being tough, but always fair and compassionate.Those were some of the memories shared by those who knew Fox best.Fox, 78, died of emphysema...
Well-known official Fox was giant in SW Kansas sports
Brett Marshall, Associated Press | Jan 7, 2014By BRETT MARSHALL Read more... Anyone, and everyone — from students, athletes, colleagues, family and friends — would tell you that the Rule of Life for Ray Fox was written by those sports in which he officiated. They were his Bible, and his guidelines for being tough, but always fair and compassionate. Those were some of the memories shared by those who knew Fox best. Fox, 78, died of emphysema Saturday at St. Catherine Hospital, following a lengthy battle with COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. "As with anything, Dad was fighting the disease all the way to the end," said Fox's son, Scott, who is in the Air Force and resides in Cheyenne, Wyo. "He had been battling it for some time." Longtime friend Kaye Pearce, retired executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, was perhaps as close to Fox as anybody, having grown up with him in Salina. Pearce was a teammate with Fox through junior high, high school and at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina. "People called him Sarge, and it was certainly appropriate because Ray always was going to do things by the book," Pearce said Monday from his home in Pea Ridge, Ark. "We played football and basketball together, and then later I had him involved with us as an official for those sports and track and field. He was just the best. Always fair, always by the rules." If anything, Pearce said Fox strove for consistency. "He was always trying to learn and become better at it," Pearce said. "Then, he was into the teaching of other officials, so he was able to influence another generation of officials in southwest Kansas." Steve Lehning of Sublette got his start in high school officiating in the early 1980s, and his first football game in the black and white-striped uniform was with Fox, Bryce Roderick and Willie Nieman, when Liberal was hosting an opponent from Oklahoma. "I made a call right before halftime and I was the line judge," Lehning recalled. "I thought I made the right call, but being a first-timer, I wasn't so sure. When we went into the dressing room at halftime, I asked Ray if he thought I had made the right call." Lehning said Fox proceeded to get front and center with him and expressly told him that it was Lehning's job to make the call, not for the others to second-guess. "He said, 'you make the call, you believe in the call, and you sell the call," Lehning said of that moment. "From then on, I think I never asked for another opinion. It was a great learning tool for me." Lehning became a regular on Fox's crew, and the memories are many. "He always had the best interest of the kids at heart," Lehning said. "There would be a lot of people out there who might not believe that. He was tough, but he was always fair. He was a pillar in the community of officials. He was a role model to younger officials. He was a good teacher as far as I'm concerned. He was an ambassador for track and was a great influence on young people." Stewart Nelson, who first met Fox when he was a student at Garden City High School, said after graduating from college and returning to his hometown, it was Fox who got him involved with basketball officiating. "Back then, it was a two-man crew," Nelson, whose brother, Mark, also worked on the crew, said. "When you worked with Ray, you knew things were going to stay under control. You always felt comfortable. The game was never going to get away from you." Nelson and Fox donned their basketball stripes and worked together for 23 years, making many trips across southwest Kansas and to state tournaments. "Everybody in western Kansas knew Ray," Nelson said. "They either loved him, or hated him, and that was mostly because they only saw him as an official. I'm sure not everybody thought he was fair. But based upon what we did, the invitations we had to officiate at some big tournaments, I'd say people thought we were pretty successful." Nelson said it wasn't unusual in the later years for Fox to be watching basketball on television. He might see a call, and he would simply get his rule book out and see what was right. "You never wanted to dispute Ray," Nelson said. "He was 99 percent of the time right. More importantly than the games themselves, I'll remember the trips we made. The camaraderie. We always had a good time." Martin Segovia, a former Garden City High School athlete and now athletic director at the school, said Fox was the guy he went to in his first year as the AD to help him with hosting the Garden City Invitational track meet. "He knew his stuff about track," Segovia said. "Nothing escaped him. He was extremely knowledgeable. He had a good mind and had great passion for the sport. He held you accountable, but he always wanted to get the most out of everyone." Fox served as a track starter when Segovia was competing at GCHS in the late 1980s. "With Mr. Fox, you didn't mess around," Segovia said. "He kept you honest. He will be missed by a lot of people. He was a great influence on many young people." And if there's any doubt that Fox's influence was not great, then one only has to look at his three sons — Scott, a Colonel in the Air Force; David of Reno, Nev., who serves as the director of football administration at the University of Nevada-Reno; and Mark, who is the head men's basketball coach at the University of Georgia. "Dad kept up with everything we did and enjoyed our successes and suffered our setbacks," Scott said Monday from the family home in Garden City. "One thing about Dad, if he came to one of our games, he always wore a coat and tie. He was old-school. He taught us to do everything right every time. He always told it like it was, and never shied away from telling it exactly like it was." Scott said in the waning days of his dad's life, Fox worried about his funeral being on a day that a game might be contested. "He wanted to make sure there was no conflicts," Scott said with a laugh. "But that was him. If there was a conflict between his funeral and a game, he'd tell you to go to the game." For Mark, the memories are vivid from the time he was a youngster, when he hopped in the car and rode to basketball games with his dad and the other crew members. "I think the thing that is great about Dad, is that first he played sports, then he coached and then he officiated," Mark said in a telephone interview from Athens, Ga. "He held that role with a unique value in the game. He always knew that players were gonna make mistakes. But he always said that he was getting paid to get it right." Mark recalled times when he would sit in the stands and listen to people insult his dad. "That's the nature of being an official," Mark said. "He just tried to make sure he was being fair. It's a hard, tough job. People would be rooting for their teams and scream at him. But the rides were fun, and I remember the camaraderie of the officials. My dad believed there's a right way to do things. "He believed in an honest day's work and an honest day's effort. He wanted to help young people and to help them be good adults. He cared about everyone else. He never wanted it to be about him. He loved the community and loved southwest Kansas." And while friends like Pearce had the nickname "Sarge" on the tip of their tongue, it was son Scott who perhaps summed up Fox best. "He looked rough on the outside, but the grandkids called him 'Sugar Ray.' He was soft on the inside," Scott said. "He was a great dad from day one." Fox is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ruth Elaine; his three sons; two sisters, Kay Soderberg of Salina and Ann Newton of Tampa, Fla.; four grandchildren, Matthew and Alex Fox of Laramie, Wyo., and Parker and Olivia Fox of Athens. A memorial service was to be held at 5 p.m. today at First United Methodist Church. ------ The Ray Fox profile Born: Salina, Jan. 5, 1935 High School: Salina High School (1953); starred in football, basketball and track. College: Kansas Wesleyan University (1958); starred in football, basketball and track. He is in the KWU Hall of Fame, both as an individual and as a member of the Coyotes football team. Education/Teaching/Coaching Career (Years Approx.) 1959-1963: North Platte (Neb.) High School. Taught civics, economics, social studies. Assistant boys' basketball coach, volunteered with football, track. 1963-1967: Ellsworth High School. Taught civics and economics. Head boys' basketball coach; assistant football and track coach. 1967-1972: Medicine Lodge High School. School counselor and head girls' track coach. 1972-1977: High school counselor. Garden City Community College: assistant football coach to George Walstead, Mo Cotter and Fayne Henson. Helped Wayne Staagard with track. Garden City AAU Junior Olympic Track Team: Started the organization for Garden City/area youth. Coached youth who competed at every level, including several national champions. Officiating: Football, basketball and track starter for more than 30 years. Officiated at the Scott City Invitational, High Plains Tournament, the Dodge City Tournament of Champions and numerous regional and state football and basketball championships. Personal: After retiring from education, Fox started a successful construction business as an independent contractor. He was a master woodworker. ——— ©2014 The Garden City Telegram (Garden City, Kan.) Visit The Garden City Telegram (Garden City, Kan.) at www.gctelegram.com Distributed by MCT Information Services _____ Topics: t000046469,t000003183,t000003277,t000007323,t000003270,t000160437,t000003271,t000007305,t000007339,t000003199,t000002937,t000002934,t000002925,g000065634,g000362661,g000066164
Jan 1, 2014
There are some cities where you can escape New Year’s Eve, if that’s your desire. Which is usually my desire. But New Orleans is not one of them. The Big Easy is a New Year’s Eve kind of town. If you didn’t know it earlier, you knew it at midnight.
New Orleans travelblog: New Year's Eve
Berry Tramel | Jan 1, 2014[img]2307762[/img] There are some cities where you can escape New Year’s Eve, if that’s your desire. Which is usually my desire. But New Orleans is not one of them. The Big Easy is a New Year’s Eve kind of town. If you didn’t know it earlier, you knew it at midnight. Our room at the Marriott Convention Center looks out on the Mississippi River, though most of the water is blocked by the massive convention center itself. At midnight, we started hearing the small explosions and looked out the window to see fireworks going up all over the Mississippi banks. It was pretty cool. And long-lasting. Fireworks went on until almost 1 a.m. Of course, we long knew it was New Year’s Eve. The hotel lobby told you, as much as anything. Our hotel is filled with high school bands who will play at the Sugar Bowl. I guess a bunch of the musicians are 16 and 17, but they seemed about 14. Around 7 p.m., we went downstairs, and they were everywhere. Hundreds of them, all dressed up like they were going to a ball. Many of them with masquerade masks. Nobody asked me, but seems like a recipe for disaster. A bunch of 15-year-olds out in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve, with not nearly enough chaperones to look after everyone. I guess everything went fine — I’ve heard no reports — but what a potential nightmare. The good news: I guess their curfew was 11 p.m., because that’s about when we walked back into the hotel, and there were again hundreds of teenagers, trying to get on the elevators. We just walked upstairs to the second floor, pushed the down button and caught an empty elevator on its way back down. So outside of enduring a ride up to the 10th floor with frequent stops and hearing a thousand “I love yous” and a bunch of squealing, we made it fine. We stayed away from Bourbon Street, naturally, but photographer Sarah Phipps and videographer Damon Fontenot ventured over and gave us an early-evening report. Jam packed. A wedding party marching down the street. Various OU and Alabama players out and about. Our plan was much better. Johnny Damon (Fontenot) had video work to edit and wasn’t able to make dinner until late. So we hatched a great plan. We wanted to go back to Mulate’s, the great Cajun place down the street. The place that had a two-hour wait on Saturday but we got into Sunday. So I went by around 7 p.m. to put our name in, and lo and behold, there was no wait. So we left with the confidence that we could get back in later. And we walked back over to the Courtyard, a block away, where we spent the first four nights of the trip. Sarah was staying there, so we still had a link to the place. Remember us watching NFL’s Red Zone on Sunday using the Courtyard lobby’s Dish Network? Well, that same television had NBATV, which meant the Thunder-Portland game was on. So we went over and watched virtually the entire game, until the Thunder blew it at the end, and then walked over and met Johnny Damon at Mulate’s. Actually also had dinner with three television guys — Steve McGehee of OKC channel 9, Andrew Carter of Fox 23-Tulsa and Cayden McFarland of Tulsa’s KJRH-channel 2. And Mulate’s was great again. Earlier in the day, we ate lunch at the Ernst Cafe, which opened in 1902 and sits right across the street from Manning’s, a sports bar owned by New Orleans icon Archie Manning. The Ernst Cafe was solid — I had a shrimp po-boy — and neat. Sort of a shotgun neighborhood bar. Looks out onto a pedestrian mall that seems to be a popular destination even for locals. Other than that, the day was all work, including a trip back to the Saints headquarters to interview some Sooners. Uneventful trip. I know, not an exciting New Year’s Eve. Bunch of work, bunch of football, watching some NBA, eating. Hanging out with the Dish. But that’s close to a perfect day for me. As long as I could avoid the New Orleans merriment, it was mission accomplished.
1. Big Bowl: Auburn vs. Florida State, 7:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN. Auburn goes for its state's fifth straight national championship. What is this? Water polo? 2. Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan State, 4 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN. The Rose Bowl once was the bastion of bluebloods. Ohio State or Michigan against Southern Cal. No longer. 3. Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State, 7:30 p.m. Friday, ESPN. Where...
College football: Ranking the January bowl games
BY BERRY TRAMEL | Dec 31, 20131. Big Bowl: Auburn vs. Florida State, 7:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN. Auburn goes for its state's fifth straight national championship. What is this? Water polo? 2. Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan State, 4 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN. The Rose Bowl once was the bastion of bluebloods. Ohio State or Michigan against Southern Cal. No longer. 3. Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State, 7:30 p.m. Friday, ESPN. Where have you gone, Charlie Bauman? 4. Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri, 6:30 p.m. Friday, FOX. Tigers have beaten OSU just once in five games since 2001. 5. Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Alabama, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, ESPN. OU's last five Sugar Bowls have come against Nick Saban twice, Joe Paterno, Shug Jordan and Bear Bryant. 6. Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina, noon Wednesday, ABC. I know it seems like these schools meet every year in Orlando or Tampa, but they've never met. 7. Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU, noon Wednesday, ESPN. Only meeting came in Les Miles' first season, a Capital One Bowl victory for the Hawkeyes. 8. Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. Georgia, 11 a.m. Wednesday, ESPN2. Played last season in the Capital One Bowl, and it wasn't pretty for the Huskers. 9. Fiesta Bowl: Central Florida vs. Baylor, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN. No excitement. Not even a David vs. Goliath. Two Davids in a BCS bowl. 10. BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Houston, noon Saturday, ESPN. Strategic scheduling – only college game of the day, just before the NFL doubleheader. 11. GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Ball State, 8 p.m. Sunday, ESPN. Strategic scheduling – only college game of the day, just after the NFL doubleheader. 12. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Nevada-Las Vegas vs. North Texas, 11 a.m. Wednesday, ESPNU. They could play this game at Highland Park's high school stadium and have plenty of room.
Dec 25, 2013
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Manny Ramirez has arguably the toughest job in pro football. As Peyton Manning's center, he literally works under the most demanding quarterback in the NFL.Not only that, but before this season, the seventh-year journeyman from Texas Tech hadn't played a full year at center since his junior year at Willowridge High School in Houston — way back in 2000.With Ramirez as its...
Ramirez has fended off doubters, d-linemen alike
ARNIE STAPLETON, Associated Press | Dec 25, 2013ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Manny Ramirez has arguably the toughest job in pro football. As Peyton Manning's center, he literally works under the most demanding quarterback in the NFL. Not only that, but before this season, the seventh-year journeyman from Texas Tech hadn't played a full year at center since his junior year at Willowridge High School in Houston — way back in 2000. With Ramirez as its anchor, the Broncos' offensive line has allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL (17), giving Manning time to throw his record 51 TD passes and plowing the way for Knowshon Moreno to top 1,000 yards rushing for the first time. The Broncos (12-3) are 28 points shy of becoming the first 600-point team in history and a win at Oakland (4-11) on Sunday will secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. "Manny's been awesome," Manning said after a Christmas afternoon practice in pads. "That is no easy task to go from guard to center, especially in a sophisticated, fast-moving, always-changing offense. I think it would be one thing if you knew what play was going to be called and you had 40 seconds to process it. But we call one play and change it to the next with five seconds on the play clock and when we change a play, Manny has to make his own calls and he has just gotten better each week." He's got the brawn and backbone to match the brains, too, Manning said. "I know he has played through a lot of injuries. It speaks to his toughness," Manning said. "He is one of the strongest guys on our team, so it's very impressive. I'm not sure people (appreciate it). I think people in this building understand with the sophistication of our offense just how difficult his job is and he's just been outstanding." Ramirez is an unlikely fulcrum for this historic offense, spending all season casting aside doubters and defensive linemen alike. "This summer, I'm hearing all kind of grief about Manny can't do this, Manny can't do that," offensive line coach Dave Magazu said. "Well, I think Manny's proven all those people wrong." Coach John Fox laughs now that nobody seemed to believe him when he kept saying in the offseason that Ramirez was his starting center and that he wasn't just keeping the position warm for J.D. Walton or Dan Koppen or Ryan Lilja or Steve Vallos or even Chris Kuper. Ramirez, whose claim to fame before this season was bench-pressing a school-record 550 pounds in college, didn't listen to the skeptics but he couldn't help but hear them, either. "Truthfully, and unfortunately, that's been my entire life," Ramirez said. "You know, even when I was playing in middle school and high school, I've always had doubters, and that's fine. That's always been motivation for me." He's been proving people wrong since he first starting playing football. "Growing up, where I'm from, people aren't shy to tell you to your face, 'You're not going to make it. You're a Mexican, for one thing. There's not many Mexicans that play in the league anyways. You're not smart enough. If you go to college, you're going to have to go to a juco first and then go to college if you get an opportunity,'" Ramirez said. "I don't know, it's just some dumb stuff people were always saying, trying to put me down for whatever reason it might be. But you've just got to put all that to the side." Ramirez started 11 games at right guard for Denver last year, but free agency was barely 20 minutes old when he got a call from his old college teammate, Louis Vasquez, informing him he'd just signed a four-year, $23.5 million deal with the Broncos to play right guard. "I was shocked, but at the same time I was excited because Louie and I got a bond that's like brothers, so I was happy for him," Ramirez said. "And then my mindset was I've just got to fight for a job." The Broncos had a plan in mind for Ramirez. When Manning began the second chapter of his career in Denver following the series of neck surgeries that affected his famed right arm, he rebuilt his throwing motion from the ground up. No longer does he rely as much on his arm strength so much as he does on proper mechanics, using more of his hips and torso to direct his passes and generate speed. So, it's imperative that he has room to step into his throws. That means, the Broncos needed more height and beef in the middle of their line, and they got it with Vasquez (6-foot-5, 335 pounds) and Zane Beadles (6-4, 305) at guard and Ramirez (6-3, 320) at center. "That's helped us become a little more powerful on the run and a little stouter on the pass," Fox said. "So, those are areas you try to get better at physically. And then mentally is the thing that Manny's done a great job with. "He's got a quarterback behind him that's a pretty demanding guy and changes and does things on the fly, so you've got to be a sharp guy and you've got to earn his trust and he has and done an excellent job." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org ___ Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
The Oklahoman's final high school football rankings Class 6A Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Jenks, 14-0 (1) 2. Tulsa Union, 11-3 (2) 3. Broken Arrow, 10-3 (4) 4. Westmoore, 10-3 (5) 5. Lawton, 11-1 (3) 6. Midwest City, 9-3 (6) 7. Edmond North, 7-5 (7) 8. Mustang, 7-5 (8) 9. Tulsa Washington, 7-4 (9) 10. Edmond Memorial, 7-4 (10) Dropped out: None Class 5A Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Guthrie,...
The Oklahoman's final high school football rankings
By Scott Wright | Dec 23, 2013The Oklahoman's final high school football rankings Class 6A Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Jenks, 14-0 (1) 2. Tulsa Union, 11-3 (2) 3. Broken Arrow, 10-3 (4) 4. Westmoore, 10-3 (5) 5. Lawton, 11-1 (3) 6. Midwest City, 9-3 (6) 7. Edmond North, 7-5 (7) 8. Mustang, 7-5 (8) 9. Tulsa Washington, 7-4 (9) 10. Edmond Memorial, 7-4 (10) Dropped out: None Class 5A Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Guthrie, 14-0 (1) 2. McAlester, 13-1 (2) 3. Shawnee, 9-3 (5) 4. Carl Albert, 9-3 (3) 5. Lawton MacArthur, 10-3 (4) 6. Collinsville, 10-3 (6) 7. McGuinness, 7-5 (7) 8. Pryor, 8-4 (8) 9. Ardmore, 8-3 (9) 10. Del City, 7-4 (10) Dropped out: None Class 4A Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Anadarko, 14-0 (1) 2. Wagoner, 12-1 (2) 3. Poteau, 13-1 (3) 4. Douglass, 12-1 (4) 5. Woodward, 8-4 (5) 6. Catoosa, 8-4 (8) 7. Clinton, 8-4 (4) 8. Oologah, 8-4 (7) 9. Sallisaw, 8-3 (9) 10. Cascia Hall, 9-2 (10) Dropped out: None Class 3A Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Kingfisher, 15-0 (2) 2. Blanchard, 13-1 (1) 3. Seminole, 13-1 (3) 4. Plainview, 13-1 (6) 5. Locust Grove, 12-1 (7) 6. Hilldale, 10-3 (8) 7. Metro Christian, 11-1 (4) 8. Beggs, 10-3 (NR) 9. Jones, 7-5 (10) 10. Lincoln Christian, 8-5 (NR) Dropped out: Victory Christian, 11-1 (5), Checotah, 10-2 (9) Class 2A Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Davis, 15-0 (2) 2. Millwood, 14-1 (1) 3. Meeker, 12-1 (6) 4. Adair, 11-2 (7) 5. Vian, 13-1 (3) 6. Hartshorne, 11-3 (8) 7. Hennessey, 11-2 (4) 8. Commerce, 11-1 (5) 9. Nowata, 10-2 (10) 10. Christian Heritage, 8-4 (NR) Dropped out: Lindsay, 8-3 (9) Class A Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Hollis, 14-0 (2) 2. Ringling, 12-2 (1) 3. Talihina, 13-1 (7) 4. Kiefer, 11-2 (9) 5. Apache, 11-3 (NR) 6. Minco, 10-2 (4) 7. Morrison, 11-2 (8) 8. Wynnewood, 10-2 (3) 9. Thomas, 10-2 (5) 10. Cashion, 10-3 (10) Dropped out: Okeene, 10-2 (6) Class B Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Laverne, 14-0 (1) 2. Pond Creek-Hunter, 12-2 (3) 3. Rejoice Christian, 11-1 (4) 4. Alex, 12-1 (5) 5. Wetumka, 11-1 (2) 6. Fox, 10-2 (6) 7. Davenport, 9-3 (7) 8. Keota, 9-3 (8) 9. Coyle, 8-2 (9) 10. Merritt, 8-3 (10) Dropped out: None Class C Rank, Team, Record (Prev.) 1. Cherokee, 12-0 (1) 2. Tipton, 11-1 (2) 3. Shattuck, 10-2 (3) 4. Sharon-Mutual, 11-2 (5) 5. Thackerville, 10-1 (4) 6. Bluejacket, 9-2 (6) 7. Balko, 8-3 (7) 8. Arkoma, 8-4 (8) 9. Timberlake, 6-5 (9) 10. Sasakwa, 7-4 (10) Dropped out: None
Dec 18, 2013
The Yellowjackets, who lost to Blanchard in last season's Class 3A state championship game, have been thinking about getting another shot at the Lions since last December.
High school football: Kingfisher has anticipated rematch with Blanchard
BY SCOTT WRIGHT | Dec 18, 2013KINGFISHER — The OSSAA's decision to play the Class 3A championship football game two days early was a welcome change in Kingfisher. The second-ranked Yellowjackets are playing in their third title game in four years, and Thursday night's showdown with No. 1 Blanchard couldn't have arrived quickly enough. The rematch of last year's title game, which Blanchard won 28-21, has been lingering in the back of the Yellowjackets' minds all year. “We feel like we've been preparing for this game since December of last year,” said Kingfisher defensive end Gatlin Squires. “They've hit us in the mouth a couple times over the last two years, and we want to hit them in the mouth.” Kingfisher and Blanchard will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, to be broadcast on Fox Sports Oklahoma. Last year, Kingfisher was the favorite heading into the game. The loss — along with the attitude of the current senior class — has led to some changes for the Yellowjackets this season. “It's not that we didn't have fun with those guys last year, because we did. But every senior class is different, and this year has been a lot of fun,” Kingfisher coach Jeff Myers said. The environment has impacted the coaching staff's approach to everything from practice to Thursday's title game. “We've tried to approach this week as a reward, and tried to be more relaxed,” Myers said. “Coaches have a tendency to get a little uptight and obviously, the players feed off the coaches.” Kingfisher is averaging 47.6 points per game, but it's the defense, which has given up just 7.0 per game, that'll be in the spotlight Thursday, trying to stop Blanchard's 3,000-yard back Braden Stringer. Seeking the school's second state title — and first since 2003 — Myers, his staff and his players are trying to remember to enjoy the journey, too. “Each week it gets more and more fun,” Squires said. “Last year, even though we didn't win, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life. This is our last game, and we're really going to miss it. “But we know how to be serious when it comes to getting things done, and we're working as hard as ever so we can come out with the gold ball.”