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Local Football

G-Eye™: GCHS Student Austin Ratliff Signs with GSC

The Gilmer County High School Senior Austin Ratliff signed with Glenville State College on February 04, 2015, the National Signing Day.

Austin has played Football, Baseball, and Basketball at GCHS, but he is planning to play football at GSC.

Football:

                  Rushing 371 carries for 2,656 yds or 7.16yds per carry and 34 TDs

                  Receiving 73 receptions for 963 yds or 13.19yds per catch and 7 TDs

                  Passing 86/172 completions/attempts for 1,133 yds or 13.17yds per completion and 12 TDs with only 8 interceptions

Austin only missed two games during his 4 years and they were due to sickness and not injury.

Otherwise, he started every game on varsity.

Austin made All-LKC his junior year along with All-State as a receiver.

He also made the All-LKC Player of the Year as a senior along with being named captain of the 2nd team All-State.


Basketball:

Austin has averaged 6.3pts per game as a freshman, 9.8pts per game as a sophomore 2nd team All-LKC, 13.1pts per game 1st team All-LKC/Hon.

He was mentioned All-State, and as a Senior thus far 17.9pts per game 6.3 rebounds per game 4.5 assists per game and 4.0 steals per game.

Austin has started every game of his high school career so far as varsity point guard.


Baseball:

                Batting Avg.  348

                RBIs 53

                Stolen Bases 69

                Scored 124 runs

                SLG %  431

                on base %  473

                played 413 innings with only 11 errors or fielding % of 882

Austin has started every game of his high school career so far as a varsity player in various positions.

 

The Gilmer Free Press

Harvey Inks with Glenville State

Man Football’s Gage Harvey is a Glenville State Pioneer.

The Man High School tight end signed with Division II Glenville State College on Thursday.

Harvey helped lead the Man Hillbillies to the Class A playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

Man finished 6-5 this past season, falling 21-16 to Tug Valley in a first-round Class A playoff game at Mingo Central’s Buck Harless Stadium.

The Gilmer Free Press
Man High School’s Gage Harvey is tackled after making a catch in a 28-0
homecoming win over Fayetteville during the 2014 season.
He signed with Glenville State last Thursday.


Not counting the playoff game, Harvey had five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown during the season for Man. Harvey is an excellent blocker and helped Man’s running game tremendously.

The Pioneers will open up Spring practice on March 23 to prepare for the Annual Blue/White Spring Game.

Glenville State plays in the Mountain East Conference.

Back on November 15, Glenville State defeated the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets, 30-7, in the regular season finale to finish the 2014 grid campaign at 5-6 overall and 5-5 in the MEC.

The Glenville State Pioneer football team and head coach David Hutchison announced the signings of 23 new football players on National Signing Day on Wednesday. Those players are as follows:

•  Chandler Carrera – Charlottesville, VA

•  Jonathan Peterson – Point Pleasent, WV

•  Eric Rivera-Mejia – Falls Church, VA

•  Deonte White – Baltimore, MD

•  Antonio Williams Jr. – Pineville, NC

•  Thomas Bales III – Lake Gibson, FL

•  Noah Zentz – Haymarket, VA

•  Austin Ratliff – Glenville, WV

•  Jonathan Burkes

•  Tyrell Davis – Charleston, WV

•  Gage Harvey – Man, WV

•  Anthony Mayes – Summersville, WV

•  DeShawn McLaughlin – Norflok, VA

•  Anthony Milord – Pembroke Pine, FL

•  Keshann Cuffee – Chesapeake, VA

•  Antoine Hunt Jr. – Chesapeake, VA

•  Clifford St. Louis – Naples, FL

•  Prince Thomas – Lake Gibson, FL

•  Kquadre Corbin – Virginia Beach, VA

•  Samuel Thomas – Woodbridge, VA

•  Colton Campbell – Hyattsville, MD

•  Barry Deaton – Independence, KY

•  Christia Nelson – Woodbridge, VA

~~  Paul Adkins ~~

Falls Church High’s Eric Rivera Signs with Glenville State College

Student accepts a four-year college scholarship Wednesday to college in West Virginia

Eric Rivera didn’t grow up tossing the ball around. He wasn’t wearing a jersey as a young child, he wasn’t being taught a three-point stance or a run block. He didn’t have the team experience. However that all changed after he came to his future high school’s Activities Fair. He stepped into the Falls Church High School gymnasium that night, with coaches lined left and right. He walked around the room and listened to all the different teams and clubs he could get involved with. He also met the head football coach, Said Aziz, who still remembers that day he saw this tall eighth grade student walk up to his table.

The Gilmer Free Press
Eric Rivera and his father at Eric’s signing ceremony, with Coach Said Aziz.


That day started a long journey of growth, of friendships, of hard work, and of success. Eric was immediately a strong member of the program. He was a standout—he hustled day in and day out, a leader by example. He became a critical part of the team—playing on the offensive and defensive lines. Eric Rivera was a star defensive end and tackle.

In his junior year, in a game against Edison HS, he made a dive for a fumbled ball and landed on his elbow—dislocating his shoulder. Surgery was required. Eric was surrounded by support despite such a difficult time. He had the surgery the night of the Bell Game, just a few weeks later and the road to recovery was already being laid.

Eric not only recovered but again became a leader. As a football player (and also as a wrestler—Eric competed in the 220 heavyweight class), Eric was right back out there making plays. He was also a leader in the pre-season work. He broke the school record in the weight room for best hang clear—hitting 280 pounds.

Eric’s work did not go unnoticed. Colleges started visiting. His parents were proud—Eric would be the first in his family to go on to college. On February 4th—the National Signing Day—Eric signed his four year scholarship paperwork with Glenville State in West Virginia. His father was present with him, along with head football coach Said Aziz and the rest of the Jaguar football coaches and head wrestling coach Dustin Payne. Each coach had kind words to share and look forward to what this incredible student-athlete will continue to do at the collegiate level. The Falls Church High School staff are extremely proud of him and wish this Jaguar all the best as he continues his success in college.

~~  Falls Church Patch ~~

Gary Henderson Named to the 2014 Don Hansen Football Super Region One Team‏

Glenville State’s senior defensive end Gary Henderson has been named to the 2014 Don Hansen Football Gazette Super Region One Second Team Defense.

Henderson was named to the MEC All-Conference First Team Defense back on November 18th 2014 and was named to the 2014 Daktronics, Inc., All-Super Region One Defensive Second Team back on December, 3rd 2014. He led Glenville State in tackles with 99 total tackles on the year, which ranks him second in the MEC in Tackles. He ranked seventh in the MEC in Tackles for Loss and finished first in the MEC in sacks with 10.5 on the year.

The Gilmer Free Press


Gray also ranks third in GSC’s History in Single Season Sacks.

The Don Hansen team carries out the legacy of long-time small college football advocate Don Hansen, who passed away at age 75 on Aug. 29, 2010. Hansen, from Brookfield, Ill., started and published Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette for three decades, selecting NCAA Division II All-America teams for the first time in 1988. Don Hansen’s Football Gazette began selecting Division II All-Region squads in 2003.

The first-team and second-team All-Region selections advance to a national ballot from which the 2013 Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-America team will be named later this month.

Super Region 1 is compiled of universities from four conferences including the PSAC, MEC, NE10 and the CIAA. A total of 39 teams and 133 players are represented on this team.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Football Gazette Super Region 1 Chair Rich Herman, Sports Information Director at Clarion University at 814.393.2651.

MEC’s 2015 Football Schedule

The Gilmer Free Press

The Mountain East Conference today released the 2015 football schedule, highlighted by a 10-game, Thursday night “Game of the Week” package.

The 2015 slate features an 11-team, 10-game, round-robin schedule for the third-consecutive season.

“We are excited about the 2015 football schedule, and particularly pleased about the opportunities aThursdaynight package provides for our members,“ said MEC Commissioner Reid Amos. “We strongly believe that having a consistent presenceon Thursdaynight will greatly enhance our league’s profile while creating excitement on our campuses.“

A total of 13 games will be played on Thursday night throughout the 11-week schedule. Every team in the MEC will play on Thursday at least once during the season and the league will have competition on Thursday night in 10 of the 11 weeks.

The season will start the first week of September with Notre Dame traveling to Charleston and West Virginia State at Fairmont State on Thursday, September 03, 2015.

The regular season ends on Saturday, November 14, with NCAA Playoffs beginning the following week.

2015 Mountain East Conference
Composite FootballSchedule
Week 1 (September 05)
Notre Dame at Charleston (Thurs, September 03)
WV State at Fairmont State(Thurs., September 03)
Glenville State at Urbana
Shepherd at WV Wesleyan
Concord at West Liberty
Week 7 (October 17)
Urbana at WV Wesleyan
WV State at Shepherd
Concord at Notre Dame
West Liberty at UVa-Wise
Fairmont State at Charleston
Week 2 (September 12)
WV Wesleyan at Glenville State(Thurs, September10)
Urbana at WV State
Charleston at Shepherd
UVa-Wise at Notre Dame
Fairmont State at Concord
Week 8 (October 24)
Notre Dame at West Liberty (Thurs, October 22)
Glenville State at WV State
Charleston at Urbana
UVa-Wise at Fairmont State
Shepherd at Concord
Week 3 (September 19)
West Liberty at Fairmont State (Thurs, September 17)
Glenville State at Charleston
WV State at WV Wesleyan
Concord at Urbana
Shepherd at UVa-Wise
Week 9 (October 31)
WV Wesleyan at Charleston (Thurs, October 29)
Urbana at UVa-Wise
Concord at Glenville State
West Liberty at Shepherd
Fairmont State at Notre Dame
Week 4 (September 26)
Urbana at West Liberty (Thurs, September 24)
WV Wesleyan at Concord
Charleston at WV State
UVa-Wise at Glenville State
Notre Dame at Shepherd
Week 10 (November 07)
Shepherd at Fairmont State (Thurs, November 05)
Glenville State at West Liberty (Thurs, November 05)
WV State at Concord
UVa-Wise at WV Wesleyan
Notre Dame at Urbana
Week 5 (October 03)
Concord at Charleston (Thurs, October 01)
Glenville at Notre Dame
WV State at UVa-Wise
West Liberty at WV Wesleyan
Fairmont State at Urbana
Week 11 (November 14)
Fairmont State at Glenville State (Thurs, November 12)
Charleston at UVa-Wise (Thurs, November 12)
Urbana at Shepherd
WV Wesleyan at Notre Dame
West Liberty at WV State
Week 6 (October 10)
WV Wesleyan at Fairmont State (Thurs, October 08)
Charleston at West Liberty
UVa-Wise at Concord
Notre Dame at WV State
Shepherd at Glenville State

Sports News   141215

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  WVSSAC Cheer Titles

The WVSSAC crowned three state cheer champions Saturday in Charleston.

The Wheeling Park cheer squad took first place in Class AAA.

It was the Patriots first championship since 1989.

It edged out Brooke High School for the crown.

The squad from Robert C. Byrd High School in Clarksburg claimed the Class AA title for the third straight year.

Clay-Battelle High School of Monongalia County took home the Class A championship plaque.

Two dozen teams were in Saturday’s competition.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Class AAA All-State Football Teams


FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB – Kentre Grier, South Charleston, 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, jr.

RB – Alex Childers, Cabell Midland, 5-10, 185, sr.

RB – Deonte Glover, Musselman, 5-10, 190, sr.

RB – Kashuan Haley, Capital, 6-0, 185, sr. (Captain)

OL – Savion Brown, Capital, 6-3, 285, jr

OL – Scott Dixon, University, 6-0, 278, sr.

OL – Zach Postin, Cabell Midland, 6-1, 270, sr.

OL – David Smith, George Washington, 6-5, 295, sr.

OL – Trevor Stacy, Spring Valley, 6-5, 290, sr.

WR – Fred Crozier, South Charleston, 5-10, 175, jr.

WR – Christian Johnson, Jefferson, 6-2, 180, jr.

Util – Tyler Brown, Spring Valley, 6-2, 205, sr.

K – Cason Kessinger, Huntington, 5-10, 170, so.


FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL – Jonathan Burkes, Capital, 6-3, 245, sr.

DL – Max Chefren, Parkersburg, 6-2, 195, sr.

DL – Jon Peterson, Point Pleasant, 6-3, 210, sr.

LB – Theo Blackston, Wheeling Park, 6-1, 232, sr.

LB – Ryan Gatrell, Huntington, 6-3, 215, jr.

LB – Isaiah Honesty, Martinsburg, 6-1, 180, sr. (Captain)

LB – Troy Lilly, Woodrow Wilson, 6-2, 215, jr.

LB – Michael Ramsey, University, 5-7, 160, sr.

DB – Tyrell Davis, Capital, 5-7, 150, sr.

DB – Marcus Lofton, Buckhannon-Upshur, 5-10, 170, jr.

DB – Cody Mitchell, Point Pleasant, 6-3, 215, jr.

Util – Michael Grove, Wheeling Park, 6-2, 190, sr.

P – Aden Yates, Point Pleasant, 6-2, 191, sr.


SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

QB – Andrew King, Jefferson, 6-2, 185, sr.

RB – Trey Boyd, Martinsburg, 5-10, 190, sr.

RB – Josiah Nuse, Preston, 5-7, 162, sr.

RB – Chase Gump, John Marshall, 6-0, 210, jr.

OL – Bub DeWitt, Preston, 6-0, 320, sr.

OL – Josh Fraley, Huntington, 6-0, 265, sr.

OL – Henry Gompers, Wheeling Park, 6-1, 212, sr.

OL – Alex Hurst, Capital, 6-0, 275, sr.

OL – Kyle DeGrave, Musselman, 6-2, 230, sr.

WR – Thomas Cole, Brooke, 6-4, 218, jr.

WR – Brandon Ford, Hurricane, 6-2, 171, sr.

Util – Jeremy Eckels, University, 6-0, 190, sr. (Captain)

K – Evan Staley, Hampshire, 6-0, 155, jr.


SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DL – Reese Donahue, Cabell Midland, 6-5, 230, jr.

DL – Chase Heck, Martinsburg, 6-3, 225, sr.

DL – Shamar Ingram, Huntington, 5-10, 255, sr.

DL – Stone Wolfley, Morgantown, 6-4, 200, sr.

LB – Eric Brown, Martinsburg, 5-10, 180, sr.

LB – A.D. Cunningham, South Charleston, 6-0, 210, sr. (Captain)

LB – Ross Harvey, Lewis County, 5-10, 215, sr.

LB – Maverick Wolfley, Morgantown, 6-2, 210, so.

DB – Brandon Moneypenny, Lewis County, 6-0, 160, sr.

DB – Austin Skrzyneki, John Marshall, 6-1, 175, jr.

DB – Clark Wilson, Huntington, 5-10, 180, sr.

Util – Garrett Gilkeson, Parkersburg South, 6-3, 180, jr.

P – Jordan Kinney, Capital, 6-4, 175, sr.


SPECIAL MENTION

Zac Accord, Logan

Mateo Arroyo, South Charleston

Matt Berlo, Martinsburg

Dylan Brewer, Martinsburg

Corey Burdette, Parkersburg

Garrett Cain, Morgantown

Ryan Carson, Lewis County

Khalil Chase, Capital

Dalton Cline, Greenbrier East

Gerardo Deleonardis, St. Albans

Brady Elkins, Cabell Midland

Dylan Gump, Lewis County

John Hathaway, Winfield

Ethan Highlander, Hurricane

Caperton Humphrey, Cabell Midland

Nathan Jefferson, Cabell Midland

Chase Lewellyn, Buckhannon-Upshur

Deamonte Lindsay, Martinsburg

Tristan Lucas, University

Dylan Lunsford, Point Pleasant

Brandon Mallett, Buckhannon-Upshur

Jake Martin, Ripley

Dane Mills, Parkersburg South

Brandon Morrison, Huntington

Craye Nehler, Jefferson

Elliott O’Brien, Wheeling Park

Brent Osborne, Woodrow Wilson

Jay Palmer, Princeton

Derrek Pitts, South Charleston

Tyrhee Pratt, Capital

Rayquawn Raimo, South Charleston

Will Ransom, Jefferson

Tommy Ricker, Wheeling Park

Caleb Riggleman, Elkins

Corey Romans, Huntington

Cody Rine, Brooke

Cameron Shrout, Preston

Seth Stewart, Point Pleasant

Dylan Tinsley, Hurricane

Carter Walburn, Martinsburg

Alex Whorton, John Marshall

Luke Williams, Parkersburg South


HONORABLE MENTION

Clayton Anderson, George Washington

Dylan Anderson, Morgantown

Elijah Bell, Wheeling Park

Delonte Berry, Jefferson

Madison Blake, George Washington

Micah Boles, Parkersburg South

Darius Booker, Riverside

Mason Brubeck, Spring Valley

Chris Camp, Cabell Midland

Beu Collis, Martinsburg

Kegan Davis, Musselman

Jordan Dean, Buckhannon-Upshur

Dorian Etheridge, Capital

Cameron Fisher, John Marshall

Dan Fox, Parkersburg

Dillon Gaudet, Buckhannon-Upshur

Antonio Gray, Oak Hill

Jacob Grigsby, St. Albans

Riley Gunter, Lewis County

Noah Hancock, Woodrow Wilson

Jon Hardy, Shady Spring

Billy Honaker, Greenbrier East

Austin Hughes, Lewis County

Dionne Jackson, Huntington

Demetrius Jalepes, Spring Mills

Morgan Kelley, Elkins

Isaac Kemper, Lewis County

C.J. King, Morgantown

Bradley Knotts, Ripley

John Lively, Shady Spring

Matt Minard, University

Noah Morgan, Point Pleasant

Cody McDaniel, Point Pleasant

Silas Nazario, Capital

Chase Padlow, John Marshall

Cole Payne, Buckhannon-Upshur

C.J. Perkins, South Charleston

Zach Rhodes, Hampshire

Kody Riggs, Spring Valley

Terron Robison, South Charleston

Brendan Schwendeman, Parkersburg South

Deonte Scruggs, Oak Hill

Tyler Shaffer, Capital

Austin Shockey, Hampshire

Casey Shrout, Preston

Devonte Tolliver, Logan

Trevor Tucker, Ripley

Aaron Walker, Brooke

Ty Walker, Greenbrier East

Connor Watts, Hurricane

R.J. Wilson, Washington

Isaac Withrow, Winfield

Chris Worley, Woodrow Wilson


►  Class AA All-State Football Teams


FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB - Gage Shaffer, Frankfort, Sr.

RB - Ben D’Annunzio, Robert C. Byrd, Sr.

RB - Shaun Dotson, Herbert Hoover, Sr.

RB - Dylan Tonkery, Bridgeport, Jr.

OL - Steve Cook, Wyoming East, Sr.

OL - Kyle Hickman, Ravenswood, Sr.

OL - Trenton Mahan, Herbert Hoover, Sr.

OL - Zach Holt, Mingo Central, Sr.

OL - Connor Nelson, Bridgeport, Sr.

WR - Nick Davisson, Fairmont Senior, Jr.

WR - Cody Stiltner, Wayne, Jr.

Utility - Justin Cogar, Westside, Sr. (Captain)

K - Tyler Harrison, Mingo Central, Sr.


FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL - Justin Noble, Robert C. Byrd, Sr.

DL - Isaac Crow, Ravenswood, Sr.

DL - Michael Gray, Bridgeport, Sr.

LB - Jonathan Culicerto, Wyoming East, Sr.

LB - Mason Hodge, Wayne, Sr.

LB - Wil Mayes, Nicholas County, Sr.

LB - Brady Watson, Frankfort, Sr.

LB - Mitchell Winkie, Bridgeport, Sr.

DB - Dante Bonamico, Bridgeport, Jr. (Captain)

DB - Grant Ferguson, Wayne, Sr.

DB - D.J. Stewart, Bluefield, Sr.

Utility - Rhys Jelich, Ravenswood, Sr.

P - Stevie Hammond, Mingo Central, Jr.


SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

QB - Hunter Wright, Liberty (Raleigh), Jr.

RB - Nik Walker, Wyoming East, Sr.

RB - Christian Whittaker, Liberty (Raleigh), Jr.

RB - Logan Robey, Liberty (Harrison), Sr.

OL - Chase Adams, Sissonville, Jr.

OL - Iden Blizzard, Keyser, Sr.

OL - Trent Lloyd, Frankfort, Sr.

OL - Tyler Green, Independence, Sr.

OL - Alex Ashley, Roane County, Sr.

WR - Justin Kennada, Westside, Sr.

WR - Jacob Dingess, Chapmanville, Jr.

Utility - William Larch, Weir, Sr. (Captain)

K - Nick Strogen, Bridgeport, Sr.


SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DL - Joe Harold, Fairmont Senior, Sr.

DL - Juwan Jones-Wright, Robert C. Byrd, Jr.

DL - Noah Markley, Bridgeport, Jr.

LB - Jared Wilkinson, Sissonville, Jr.

LB - Corey Coppola, Bluefield, Sr. (Captain)

LB - Caleb Simms, Nicholas County, Sr.

LB - Kahir Hicks, Weir, Sr.

LB - Caleb Lester, Mingo Central, So.

DB - Noah Bible, Frankfort, Jr.

DB - Houston Hill, Sissonville, Sr.

DB - Nate Moses, Grafton, Sr.

Utility - Logan Queen, Wayne, Jr.

P - Walker Rose, Webster County, So.


SPECIAL MENTION

Jake Abbott - Fairmont Senior

Jayden Allender - Ritchie County

Alex Banko - Robert C. Byrd

Timmy Biser - Keyser

Stefan Buser - Frankfort

Garrett Crites - Keyser

Tryston Crone - Scott

Kameron Davis - Weir

Tanner Dillon - Chapmanville

Skyler Dillow - Bluefield

Clay Ellis - Mingo Central

Trevor Holt - Berkeley Springs

Brendon Honaker - Liberty (Raleigh)

Triston Hager - Herbert Hoover

Cody Howie - River View

Connor Jelich - Ravenswood

Chase Justice - Mingo Central

Jarrod Kellar - Lincoln

Colin Kelly - Wayne

Justin Lucas - Robert C. Byrd

Marlin Marrs - Mount View

Gavin Mauzy - Frankfort

Cody May - Roane County

TreShaun McDowell - Liberty (Raleigh)

Steven Perry - Wayne

Carlos Reed - Bluefield

Casey Saunders - Wyoming East

Tyler Shafer - Sissonville

Tripp Shiflet - James Monroe

Dominic Smith - Fairmont Senior

Tucker Watts - Wayne

John Wilfong - Bridgeport

Brody Withers - Grafton


HONORABLE MENTION

Zach Ahart - Clay County

Tanner Ashenfelter - Frankfort

Kyler Atkins - Wayne

Tyree Baker - River View

Evan Beasley - James Monroe

Alex Berry - Chapmanville

Rayce Bolin - Ritchie County

Zach Bombardiere - Bridgeport

Chance Brown - Sissonville

Joe Clark - Berkeley Springs

Steve Cole - Clay County

Larry Cook - Westside

Colton Coomes - Wyoming East

Jake Delaney - East Fairmont

Bryson Dennison - Braxton County

Ben Finchum - Braxton County

Markus Guy - Independence

Elias Grant - Robert C. Byrd

Levi Haines - Berkeley Springs

Trent Hamilton - Frankfort

Tyler Harrison - Mingo Central

Brandon Hartz - Bridgeport

Josh Jarvis - Nicholas County

Ben Johnson - Ravenswood

Jacob Kessel - Frankfort

J.K. Kreyenbuhl - Liberty (Harrison)

Seth Logsdon - Frankfort

Jordan Masterson - Bluefield

John Reed McClure - Scott

Tate Mayes - Nicholas County

Reed McNeer - James Monroe

Matt Peery - Ravenswood

Gaje Nichols - Roane County

Dakota Price - Oak Glen

Travis Pomp - Philip Barbour

Noah Redmond - North Marion

JoJo Rice - Weir

Chase Riley - Lincoln

Bryce Robinson - Westside

Cody Rodeheaver - Keyser

Chase Rose - Webster County

Josh Smith - Summers County

Austin Swiger - Liberty (Harrison)

Cole Weaver - Keyser

Austin Weis – Independence


►  Class A All-State Football Teams


FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB – Jesse Padlow, Bishop Donahue, sr.

RB – Jeremy Pratt, St. Marys, sr. (Captain)

RB – Santino Cava, Notre Dame, sr.

RB – Jordan Tucker, Buffalo, sr.

OL – D.J. Kerns, Williamstown, sr.

OL – Chad Burns, Pocahontas County, sr.

OL – Bernie Northrup, St. Marys, sr.

OL – Dustin Mills, Tug Valley, jr.

OL – Ted Cassell, East Hardy, jr.

WR – Tanner Bragg, Clay-Battelle, sr.

WR – Brett Moore, Bishop Donahue, sr.

Util – Jarret Hockenberry, Clay-Battelle, jr.

K – Kade Kiselica, Williamstown, sr.


FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL – Marquis Frazier, Greenbrier West, sr.

DL – C.J. Huff, Bishop Donahue, sr.

DL – Trevor Hoosier. Williamstown, so.

LB – Wil Schoonover, Moorefield, jr.

LB – Wyatt Ford, Doddridge County, sr.

LB – Jeremy Dillon, Tug Valley, fr.

LB – Matt Vucelik, Bishop Donahue, sr.

LB – Corey Stewart, St. Marys, sr.

DB – Ryan Church, Meadow Bridge, sr.

DB – Jared Nutter, Wahama, jr.

DB – Cannon Brummage, Clay-Battelle, sr.

Util – Dakota Watson, Williamstown, sr. (Captain)

P – Jacoby Steele, Clay-Battelle, sr.


SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

QB – Kaileb Sheets, Wahama, jr.

RB – Tyler Anderson, Magnolia, jr.

RB – Jace Reed, Tyler Consolidated, so.

RB – Henry Baron-Houchins, Valley (Fayette), jr.

OL – Dan Shafer, Notre Dame, sr.

OL – Devon Yeager, Doddridge County, sr.

OL – Jason Allen, St. Marys, sr.

OL – Peter Hartzell, Wheeling Central, sr.

OL – Cody Loudermilk, Greenbrier West, sr.

WR – Tyler Grimmett, Man, so.

WR – Dylan Lucas, Buffalo, so.

Util – Austin Ratliff, Gilmer County, sr. (Captain)

K – Adam McMunn, Notre Dame, sr.


SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DL – James Childers, South Harrison, jr.

DL – Carter Seckman, Magnolia, jr.

DL – Demitrius Serevicz, Wahama, sr.

DL – Luke Cooper, Paden City, jr.

LB – Colby Shriver, Clay-Battelle, sr. (captain), sr.

LB – Shane Harless, Meadow Bridge, jr.

LB – Jacob Hanshaw, Buffalo, so.

LB – Jared Bills, St. Marys, sr.

DB – Timothy Heavener, Pendleton County, sr.

DB – Tyler Conley, Tug Valley, jr.

DB – Trenton Tallman, Williamstown, so.

Util – Jordan Tincher, Greenbrier West

P – Garrett Wilkins, South Harrison, sr.


SPECIAL MENTION

Jordan Baker, Tyler Consolidated

Jake Boice, Parkersburg Catholic

Michael Callaway, Tucker County

Tracy Conliffe, Valley-Fayette

Logan Crouse, Van

Anthony Dean, Gilmer County

Dylan Dunkle, Pendleton County

Benny Duplaga, Wheeling Central

Bret Fetty, St. Marys

Spencer Harlow, Notre Dame

Zach Heasley, Paden City

Jesse Hesson, Wahama

John Thomas Keffer, Man

Zach Liller, Moorefield

Sal Lopez, Notre Dame

Philip Lucas, Tug Valley

Derek Martin, Cameron

Ethyn Miller, Calhoun County

Josh Miller, Bishop Donahue

Neil Mullins, Man

Hunter Neely, Williamstown

Caleb Nice, Magnolia

Peyton Richmond, Meadow Bridge

Nick Rush, South Harrison

Tim Shepherd, Doddridge County

Tyler Smith, East Hardy

Trey Sheets, Valley Wetzel

Wyatt Tennant, Clay-Battelle

Brett Tharp, East Hardy

Dakota Vetter, Moorefield


HONORABLE MENTION

Brandon Angalich, Wheeling Central

Austin Baisden, Tug Valley

Braden Barnhart, St. Marys

Braden Barr, Clay-Battelle

Mike Beck, Williamstown

Brandon Buntura, Buffalo

Will Broadwater, South Harrison

Gaje Brown, Notre Dame

Aaron Cole, Moorefield

Aaron Copley, Tug Valley

Derek Coryell, Greenbrier West

Brandon Cross, Paden City

Andrew Cunningham, Bishop Donahue

Jacob Easton, Buffalo

Troy Farrell, Fayetteville

Jordan Grimmett, Greenbrier West

Braden Harrah, Sherman

Seth Harmon, Valley Fayette

Christian Hushion, Parkersburg Catholic

Chad Hundley, Tug Valley

Dalton Irvine, Pocahontas County

Daniel Kisamore, Tucker County

Greg Lail, Van

P.J. Lanham, Tygarts Valley

Kale Lloyd, Valley Wetzel

Nate Martin, Madonna

Christian McCoy, Man

Billy Joe McDermitt, Wahama

Corey McDonald, East Hardy

Bryce Mefford, Williamstown

Hunter Miller, East Hardy

Jordan Miller, Notre Dame

Seth Moore, Calhoun County

Addison O’Brien, St. Marys

Nick Priem, Magnolia

Alex Riedel, Bishop Donahue

Hunter Riffle, Doddridge County

Nick Roedersheimer, Parkersburg Catholic

Logan Routt, Cameron

Tanner Six, Clay-Battelle

Bryce Strawderman, East Hardy



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Trickett ‘in limbo’ for Liberty Bowl after concussion

Clint Trickett’s prospects for starting his final game at West Virginia haven’t improved.

Coach Dana Holgorsen said Thursday that the senior quarterback remains “in limbo right now” from a concussion suffered against Kansas State on November 20. That leaves Trickett’s availability to the discretion of doctors as the Mountaineers prepare to face Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl on December 29.

“He gave it everything he’s got this year … but I don’t know if he’ll be able to get it done or not,” said Holgorsen, stressing that Trickett would remain the starter if healthy.

If not, West Virginia will turn back to sophomore Skyler Howard, who threw three touchdowns during a 37-24 win at Iowa State in the regular-season finale.

Trickett has thrown for 3,285 yards this season while completing more than 67% of his passes. He has tossed 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

“He had two concussions toward the end of the year and anytime you deal with concussions, it is immediately 100% out of the coaches’ hands,” Holgorsen said. “He’s being evaluated by the doctors. We gave him a couple weeks off to rest and he’ll be re-evaluated when we get back.”

Reporters weren’t aware of a second concussion, and Holgorsen suggested he might have mispoke.

“I don’t know the definition of a concussion,” he said. “That’s for the doctors to figure out. Whether you get you bell rung, you’re dinged or you’re concussed, I don’t know.”



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Herd took part in Kick-off for Kids toy drive

The Thundering Herd has plenty of smiles on football fans faces this season. Last Saturday they put a few smiles on the faces of kids in the Huntington.

“We have the opportunity to put some smiles on kids faces, who normally, during Christmas don’t get a whole lot,” says coach Doc Holliday.

The goal is to fill the tractor-trailer; Marshall usually packs with football equipment, with toys.

“We filled that thing up (a year ago) and our kids did an amazing job and our fans bought in to it,” said Holliday.

Members of the Thundering Herd football team will be on hand Saturday to accept donations along with 93.7 The Dawg radio personality Julie Reeves, who will be broadcasting live.

Fans were asked to bring an unwrapped toy to the Barboursville Wal-Mart, off the I-64 Exit 20, on Saturday from 11 AM to 3 PM last Saturday.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NFL Fame Results - Week 15

(SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14)


Final Score: Pittsburgh 27, Atlanta 20

Le’Veon Bell scored twice and set the Steelers franchise record for yards from scrimmage as Pittsburgh went into Atlanta and beat the Falcons 27-20 on Sunday. Bell didn’t find much running room against an uncharacteristically stingy Atlanta front, but he did reach the end zone twice among 20 carries for 47 yards. He also made five catches for 72 yards and broke Barry Foster’s single-season Steelers record for yards from scrimmage with 2,042. Ben Roethlisberger completed 27- of-35 passes for 360 yards, 123 of those going to his favorite target, Antonio Brown. Brown extended his streak of at least five catches and 50 yards to 30 games. With the win, the Steelers (9-5) kept pace in the tight AFC North race. Cincinnati, which blanked Johnny Manziel and the Browns on Sunday, maintained its half-game lead ahead of Pittsburgh and Baltimore, which took down Jacksonville. Matt Ryan threw for 310 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Falcons (5-9), who remain alive in the lowly NFC South. Harry Douglas filled in admirably for an injured Julio Jones, making 10 catches for 131 yards. Jones, who was coming off a career-high 259 yards against Green Bay last Monday, was unable to play through a hip pointer injury he suffered late in a loss to the Packers.


Final Score: Baltimore 20, Jacksonville 12

Joe Flacco threw for 221 yards with a touchdown and the Baltimore defense kept Jacksonville out of the end zone, as the Ravens strengthened their playoff hopes with a 20-12 victory over the Jaguars on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens (9-5) also scored on a blocked punt and picked up their second straight win to remain in contention for the AFC North title. Baltimore trails first-place Cincinnati by one-half game after the Bengals blanked the Browns on Sunday to reach 9-4-1. Pittsburgh also kept pace in the tight race and improved to 9-5 with a win over Atlanta on Sunday. Josh Scobee kicked four field goals to account for the entire offensive output for Jacksonville (2-12), which has lost two in a row. Blake Bortles threw for 210 yards with an interception for the Jaguars. He was also sacked eight times by a swarming Baltimore defense that limited Jacksonville to 248 total yards.


Final Score: Buffalo 21, Green Bay 13

Marcus Thigpen had a punt return for a touchdown and Dan Carpenter hit four field goals as the Buffalo Bills pulled off a 21-13 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Kyle Orton went just 14-for-27 for 158 yards with an interception, while Fred Jackson added 71 yards on 20 carries for the Bills (8-6), who have won three of their last four games and also finished 4-0 against the NFC North this season. Buffalo was able to keep pace in the hunt for a wild card spot, and got some help thanks to losses by Miami and Houston. Pittsburgh and Baltimore currently hold the wild card spots with nine wins apiece. Aaron Rodgers had his worst game of the year, as he was a paltry 17-for-42 for 185 yards with two interceptions, along with a fumble on his final possession that turned into a safety. The Packers (10-4) had a five-game winning streak stopped and now sit tied with Detroit for first place in the NFC North as the Lions defeated the Vikings on Sunday. The Lions currently hold the tiebreaker thanks to a Week 3 win over the Packers, but the two will meet in Green Bay on the final week of the season.


Final Score: Carolina 19, Tampa Bay 17

The Carolina Panthers won for the first time in seven games last week, were without Cam Newton due to a car accident this week, but somehow sit atop the much-maligned NFC South. Derek Anderson filled in for Newton and threw for 277 yards and a touchdown as the Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-17 on Sunday. Newton suffered two transverse process fractures in his lower back in a two- car accident Tuesday afternoon near the team’s stadium. He was released from the hospital on Wednesday morning and will be re-evaluated next week. Anderson, who also started for Newton in the Panthers’ Week 1 win at Tampa Bay, completed 25- of-40 passes. Greg Olsen caught 10 balls for 110 yards and Kelvin Benjamin added 104 yards on eight receptions for Carolina (5-8-1), which is percentage points ahead of the New Orleans Saints (5-8) for first place in the division. The Saints visit the Chicago Bears on Monday night. The Atlanta Falcons came into Sunday tied with the Saints for first place, but they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-20. Josh McCown completed 13-of-28 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Buccaneers (2-12), who have dropped four straight games. Doug Martin carried the ball 14 times for 96 yards and Vincent Jackson hauled in six passes for 70 yards in defeat.


Final Score: Cincinnati 30, Cleveland 0

There were plenty of money signs flashed in Sunday’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. Not one was made by the player associated with the gesture, Johnny Manziel. The Cleveland rookie quarterback’s first career NFL start was a dud as the Browns were shut out 30-0 by the AFC North-leading Bengals. Jeremy Hill had 148 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and Giovani Bernard amassed 79 yards on the ground for the Bengals (9-4-1), who produced points on each of their first four drives and remain a half-game ahead of Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the division standings. Andy Dalton completed 14-of-24 passes for 117 yards with one interception for Cincinnati, which won its fourth straight road game to tie a club record for the most consecutive wins away from home within a season. The Browns (7-7), in an effort to keep their fading playoff hopes alive, switched from Brian Hoyer to Manziel to spark the offense. However, the quarterback change didn’t have the impact coach Mike Pettine was hoping on Sunday. Manziel was 10-of-18 for 80 yards with two first-half interceptions. A handful of Cincinnati players flashed the former Heisman Trophy winner’s signature money sign to the FirstEnergy Stadium crowd. Cleveland, which has lost three in a row, totaled only 107 yards on offense and had six three-and-outs.


Final Score: Indianapolis 17, Houston 10

The Indianapolis Colts captured their second straight AFC South crown with a 17-10 win over the Houston Texans. Indianapolis’ defense held the Texans to 289 total yards and forced a couple of turnovers, including an interception late that ended Houston’s last chance to make a comeback. Andrew Luck was held under 200 yards passing for the second time this season for the Colts (10-4), who only had 278 yards of offense themselves. Luck did connect with Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Allen on second-quarter touchdown passes, while finishing 18-of-34 for 187 yards and an interception. Dan Herron led the Colts with 60 yards on the ground. T.Y. Hilton added 50 receiving yards on four catches. Houston (7-7) lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with a leg injury in the second quarter, forcing rookie Tom Savage into duty. Savage completed 10-of-19 passes for 127 yards and an interception in his NFL debut. Arian Foster ran for 99 yards on 26 carries for the Texans, while DeAndre Hopkins caught five passes for 77 yards.


Final Score: Kansas City 31, Oakland 13

Knile Davis scored two touchdowns and the Kansas City Chiefs avenged a Week 12 loss with a 31-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Davis caught a 70-yard touchdown pass and also had a 3-yard rushing score, while Travis Kelce caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown for the Chiefs (8-6), who ended a three-game skid which began with a 24-20 loss to the Raiders on Nov. 20. Alex Smith completed 18- of-30 passes for a season-high 297 yards and two touchdowns, Jamaal Charles carried the ball 12 times for 52 yards and Dwayne Bowe and Albert Wilson each finished with three catches for 69 yards in the win. Derek Carr threw for 222 yards and a score on 27-of-56 passing, James Jones caught a short TD pass and Sebastian Janikowski made two field goals for Oakland (2-12), which has dropped two of its last three games.


Final Score: New England 41, Miami 13

Whatever adjustments the New England Patriots made at halftime sure worked. Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes during a 24-point third quarter, as New England clinched its sixth straight AFC East title with a 41-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. LeGarrette Blount also ran for a score during the dominant stanza, as the Patriots turned a tenuous one-point lead into a laugher. Brady finished the game 21-of-35 passing for 287 yards with the two scores and an interception. Rob Gronkowski, held without a reception in the first half, caught three passes for 96 yards with a score for New England (11-3), which gained a split of the season series with Miami. The Dolphins (7-7) saw their already slim playoff hopes dashed further with a second straight loss. Ryan Tannehill completed 29-of-47 passes for 346 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Miami, which had beaten New England in the season opener 33-20. The Dolphins outscored the Patriots 23-0 in the second half of that game and had the tables turned to a tune of 27-0 in the final 30 minutes of this one.


Final Score: NY Giants 24, Washington 13

Odell Beckham Jr. caught three touchdown passes from Eli Manning as the New York Giants rallied for a 24-13 victory over the Washington Redskins, who saw another change at quarterback come to no avail. Robert Griffin III replaced an injured Colt McCoy after one possession and gave the Redskins a brief spark, putting together a pair of scoring drives that gave Washington a 13-10 edge late in the third quarter. Beckham then hauled in two touchdowns from Manning in yet another dazzling display for the rookie receiver, who finished with 12 receptions totaling 143 yards. Nine of those grabs came in the second half, enabling New York (5-9) to deal the reeling Redskins (3-11) a sixth straight loss. Griffin completed 18-of-27 attempts for 236 yards and a touchdown in place of McCoy, who aggravated a previous neck strain on Washington’s opening series. The embattled quarterback also had a rushing touchdown overturned late in the first half, with a replay review determining that he fumbled prior to crossing the goal line. Manning ended with 250 yards on 23-of-34 passing in the Giants’ second consecutive win following a seven-game losing skid.


Final Score: Denver 22, San Diego 10

Peyton Manning got plenty of support from his Broncos teammates as Denver wrapped up another AFC West title with a 22-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers. Manning briefly exited the game late in the first half and produced a modest 233 yards with a touchdown, but five Connor Barth field goals and a strong defensive effort helped Denver (11-3) sew up its fourth straight division crown. The Broncos limited San Diego to 288 total yards, with the Chargers failing to mount a sustained rushing attack with top back Ryan Mathews out with an ankle injury. Philip Rivers finished 24-of-41 for 232 yards and a touchdown to Antonio Gates, but threw two late interceptions. Reliable kicker Nick Novak also missed a pair of field goal tries in a costly loss that now has San Diego (8-6) on the outside of the AFC playoff picture. Demaryius Thomas also stepped up for the Broncos, recording 123 yards and a touchdown on six catches, with C.J. Anderson adding 85 rushing yards on a workmanlike 29 carries.


Final Score: NY Jets 16, Tennessee 11

Chris Ivory scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:09 remaining in the fourth quarter to lift the New York Jets to a 16-11 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The Titans made it interesting and nearly came up with another Music City Miracle on the game’s last play. Delanie Walker took the final lateral to the Jets’ 9-yard line. Geno Smith completed 16-of-28 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown for the Jets (3-11), who snapped a three-game losing streak. Quarterback Jake Locker made his first start for the Titans (2-12) since Week 5, but left the game late in the second quarter with a left shoulder injury. Locker started because rookie Zach Mettenberger re-injured his right shoulder last week. Charlie Whitehurst replaced Locker and was 10-of-24 for 203 yards in his first action since Week 7. Tennessee has dropped eight in a row, the club’s longest skid since the 1994 Houston Oilers lost 11 straight.


Final Score: Detroit 16, Minnesota 14

Matt Prater hit a late field goal to give the Detroit Lions a 16-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in a tough NFC North matchup. Matthew Stafford went 17-for-28 for 153 yards and a touchdown, while Joique Bell totaled 103 combined yards for the Lions (10-4), who moved into a tie with Green Bay for first place in the NFC North thanks to their third win in a row. The Packers lost to the Bills earlier on Sunday, and the Lions currently hold the tiebreaker thanks to a win at home against the Packers in Week 3. Detroit and Green Bay both play on the road next week before they meet up in Green Bay on the final week of the season. Teddy Bridgewater went 31-for-41 for 315 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for the Vikings (6-8), who had won their previous two coming into the game.


Final Score: Seattle 17, San Francisco 7

The Seattle Seahawks rode their defense to beat the San Francisco 49ers again as the bitter rivals continue heading in opposite directions. Marshawn Lynch ran for 91 yards and a touchdown and the Seahawks stifled the 49ers in the second half, eliminating them from playoff contention with a 17-7 victory on Sunday. Seattle (10-4) allowed 178 yards to San Francisco (7-7) in the first half, but clamped down and limited the 49ers to a meager 67 over the final 30 minutes. The Seahawks outscored the 49ers 14-0 in the second half. The Seahawks, winners of four in a row, clash with Arizona in Glendale next Sunday night with first place in the NFC West on the line. Russell Wilson was 12-of-24 for 168 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Jermaine Kearse caught five passes for 78 yards for Seattle, which has beaten San Francisco four straight times at home and recorded its first season sweep in the series since 2007. Colin Kaepernick completed 11-of-19 passes for 141 yards for the 49ers, who lost running backs Frank Gore (concussion) and Carlos Hyde (ankle) along with linebacker Chris Borland (ankle) to injury.


Final Score: Dallas 38, Philadelphia 27

Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys moved into the driver’s seat in the NFC East after knocking off the Philadelphia Eagles 38-27 on Sunday night. The slugfest had all the elements of a heavyweight bout, with the Cowboys jumping out to a 21-0 lead and the Eagles countering with 24 straight points. Lincoln Financial Field was quickly quieted, however, as Dallas (10-4) dealt the knockout blow with 17 of the final 20 points to seize control in the two-team race atop the standings. Bryant caught all three of Tony Romo’s touchdown passes and finished with 114 yards on six catches. The Eagles (9-5) have dropped consecutive games for the first time all season after losing to the Seahawks at home last week. They turned it over four times and only held the ball for 18 minutes.


(THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11)


Final Score: Arizona 12, St. Louis 6

Chandler Catanzaro made four field goals as the Arizona Cardinals moved closer to clinching a playoff spot despite not scoring a touchdown in a 12-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday. The Cardinals (11-3) now own the league’s best record and can secure a postseason berth this Sunday as long as the Dallas-Philadelphia game doesn’t end in a tie. Arizona can also clinch with a Detroit loss against Minnesota and a Green Bay win or tie in Buffalo. Arizona, however, suffered another injury at quarterback at the hands of the St. Louis defense as Drew Stanton left the game with a right knee injury in the third quarter. He was carted off to the locker room and did not return. Stanton, who was 12-of-20 for 109 yards before exiting, started his fifth straight game after Carson Palmer tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a 31-14 win over the Rams on Nov. 9. Ryan Lindley took over for Stanton and completed four of his 10 passes for 30 yards. Larry Fitzgerald (31 years, 102 days old) became the youngest player in NFL history to compile 900 career receptions after finishing with seven catches for 30 yards. Arizona’s 11 wins ties a franchise record which was also set in 1925 and 1948.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Lady Pioneers Drop Road Game at Livingstone

The GSC Lady Pioneer women’s basketball team dropped a road game to non-conference opponent Livingstone College, a member of the CIAA Conference, on Saturday night 87-73.

In the first half of action both teams would battle back and fourth early, however with about five minutes to go till halftime Livingstone would make a run and go up by seven points at halftime, 35-28.

In the second half the Lady Pioneers would battle back and take a one point lead, 43-42, with 15:56 left to play. But after that lead Livingstone would bounce back and they would build a 12 points lead, 70-58 with less than seven minutes left in the game.

The Lady Pioneers would try and battle back but the deficit would be too great as Livingstone would go on to defeat Glenville State, 87-73.

The Lady Pioneers ended up shooting only 28% from the floor while Livingstone shot 41% for the game.

Glenville State had four players score in double figures with Keyanna Tate scoring 16 points and grabbing four rebounds. Katrina Salins and Angenay Williams both finished with 12 points each and freshman Kayla Tibbs chipped in with 11 points.

Paige Tuttle dished out a team high four assists while Briauna Nix pulled down a team high five rebounds.

Livingstone College was lead by Kyra Crosby as she scored a game high 25 points and grabbed a game high 15 rebounds for a double-double on the night.

The Lady Pioneers (2-4,(2-2)) retune to the court Saturday, December 20, 2014 when Winston Salem State travels to Glenville. Tip-off is set for 2:00 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
Glenville State vs. Livingstone College
12.13.14 5:00 PM at New Trent Gym

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
VISITORS: Glenville State 2-7

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Katrina Salins…... *  4-11   4-11   0-0    2  0  2   2  12  0  1  0  1  20
02 Paige Tuttle…..... *  1-5    0-2    2-2    0  2  2   1   4  4  4  0  0  25
04 Keyanna Tate…..... *  4-9    0-3    8-13   3  1  4   2  16  1  2  2  3  18
20 Briauna Nix…...... *  3-6    0-0    0-0    1  4  5   1   6  1  1  0  0  23
22 Angenay Williams…. *  3-14   1-8    5-6    2  0  2   4  12  1  4  0  1  28
03 Tayana Stewart…...    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   3
10 Skyy Lewis….......    1-1    0-0    0-0    1  2  3   2   2  0  1  0  1  13
12 Kayla Tibbs…......    4-10   3-7    0-0    1  3  4   0  11  0  2  0  1  11
13 Chanice Lee…......    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2
21 Kristin DesRocher…    0-3    0-2    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  1  0  0   9
24 Madison Martin…...    0-2    0-2    0-0    1  1  2   2   0  1  1  0  2  14
25 Briana Smythe…....    1-2    0-0    0-1    2  3  5   5   2  0  2  0  3   9
32 Brittany Jackson….    2-14   1-8    3-4    0  2  2   3   8  0  3  0  2  16
34 La’Shaughn Jones….    0-1    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   3   0  0  1  0  2   8
   TEAM….............                         5  3  8             1
   Totals…...........   23-80   9-44  18-26  19 22 41  25  73  8 24  2 16 199

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-35 28.6%   2nd Half: 13-45 28.9%   Game: 28.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-17 11.8%   2nd Half:  7-27 25.9%   Game: 20.5%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-10 60.0%   2nd Half: 12-16 75.0%   Game: 69.2%    5

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
HOME TEAM: Livingstone College 8-0

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 WALKER,Labrea….... *  6-12   2-4    3-3    2  4  6   2  17  1  3  0  2  34
05 CROSBY,Kyra…...... * 10-19   0-0    5-10   6  9 15   2  25  0  5  1  2  35
12 CURTIS,Amber…..... *  2-12   0-3    2-2    2  4  6   2   6  1  6  0  0  24
21 FOSTER,Wende…..... *  1-3    0-0    0-0    2  3  5   1   2  0  1  2  0  13
23 YORK,Cierra…...... *  5-11   0-0    2-4    1  3  4   2  12  4  4  0  1  33
14 SEARCY,Kyala….....    1-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   2  0  0  0  0   1
22 ROBERTS,Precious….    2-6    0-1    3-4    1  4  5   3   7  2  5  1  3  30
25 MALONE,Jamara…....    3-5    0-0    2-4    3  2  5   3   8  0  1  0  0  11
32 DANIELS,Taylor…...    0-4    0-0    0-0    4  4  8   1   0  0  2  0  0   9
43 Alexis Fowler…....    2-4    0-0    4-4    1  3  4   2   8  0  1  1  0  11
   TEAM….............                         3  4  7
   Totals…...........   32-77   2-8   21-31  25 41 66  18  87  8 28  5  8 201

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-39 30.8%   2nd Half: 20-38 52.6%   Game: 41.6%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-4  25.0%   2nd Half:  1-4  25.0%   Game: 25.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 10-14 71.4%   2nd Half: 11-17 64.7%   Game: 67.7%    9

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Technical fouls: Glenville State-None. Livingstone College-None.

Attendance: 180

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Glenville State…............   28   45  -   73
Livingstone College…........   35   52  -   87



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Stepney enjoys first double-double in 82-48 romp over IPFW

Averee Fields matched her career-high with 23 points and point guard Linda Stepney recorded her first double-double as the No. 23 West Virginia women buried IPFW 82-48 on Saturday.

West Virginia (8-1) forced 23 turnovers resulting in 31 points and recorded a season-high 18 steals, its fifth consecutive game with double-digit steals.

Bria Holmes added 17 points and four steals and freshman Teana Muldrow scored 13 for West Virginia, which improved to 7-0 at home this season and has won 15 consecutive at the WVU Coliseum overall.
Stepney handed out a career-high 11 assists scored 13 points without committing a turnover.
“She could have scored more,” said coach Mike Carey. “She could score 13 or 15 points night in and night out if she wanted to. She played extremely well and she has been playing extremely well for us.”

The Mountaineers led 18-3 at the outset and 47-28 at the half. IPFW (4-6), which got no closer than 12 after the break, was led by Keanna Gary’s 12 points.

Fields knocked down a career-best 11 field goals, grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, handed out four assists and made three steals.

WVU shot 50% while holding the Mastodons to 36%.

West Virginia takes a week break before facing Marshall for the annual Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic next Saturday, December 20 at 4 PM at the Charleston Civic Center.



<The Gilmer Free Press

►  No. 22 WVU rallies to top Marshall

Jonathan Holton scored 14 points, including 11 in the second half, to help No. 22 West Virginia sneak past rival Marshall 69-66 on Sunday.

Holton scored eight of his points at the free throw line for the Mountaineers (9-1) while pulling down six rebounds. Jevon Carter also had 14 points and six boards.

Juwan Staten led West Virginia with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

The Thundering Herd (3-6) lost their sixth straight game despite getting a game-high 18 points from Justin Edmonds, who shot 4-of-6 from 3-point range and added six assists and six rebounds.

Marshall outshot West Virginia 50 percent to 38.6 percent, but the Herd lost the turnover battle 24-15 and allowed the Mountaineers to score 33 points off those miscues.

“These moral victories have to stop. We have to start putting W’s in the column and I think this team will grow to that,“ Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said.

The Herd held a persistent lead in the second half that ballooned to as much eight with 11:28 remaining, but the Mountaineers’ 8-0 run allowed them to tie the game at 49-49 with 8:27 left.

With under six minutes to go, Gary Browne’s five straight points gave the Mountaineers their first lead since early in the second half, and they never trailed the rest of the game.

“I might not be a great shooter, I might not be a great passer, I might not be a great whatever, but…I make winning plays,“ the senior Browne said. “Since I’ve been here freshman year, I’ve been making big plays.“

West Virginia struggled making free throws, shooting just 64.7 percent from the line, but its defense prevented the Herd from retaking the lead. Although Marshall shot 10-of-18 in the second half, it only made two shots from the floor over the final 10 minutes of the game.

The game between these in-state rivals started getting chippy at the under eight-minute media timeout of the first half. Staten and Marshall’s Cheikh Sane each received technical fouls.

After the technicals were called, the Mountaineers went cold from the field, only making two more shots before the half. The second one was key, though, as Carter’s jumper beat the buzzer to tie the game at 27-27 after the first 20 minutes.

WVU shot 0-for-7 from long distance in the first half and was just 36.7 percent overall. Staten led the Mountaineers with eight points, and Edmonds paced all scorers with nine at the half.

Game Notes

West Virginia improved to 32-11 in the Capital Classic rivalry ... The Mountaineers have made a 3-point shot in 498 consecutive games ... West Virginia outrebounded Marshall 36-26 ... The Mountaineers next take the court on Saturday against NC State at Madison Square Garden… The Thundering Herd take on King College on Tuesday.


►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Sunday, December 14)


Final Score: (4) Louisville 68, UNC-Wilmington 57

The apprentice gave the master a scare, but Rick Pitino’s fourth-ranked Louisville Cardinals pulled away down the stretch and came away with a 68-57 win over UNC-Wilmington on Sunday. Kevin Keatts, an assistant under Pitino for three years before taking over at UNCW this season, had the Seahawks within two points with under seven minutes to play before the undefeated Cardinals answered with a game-sealing 10-2 run. Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier each poured in 19 points for Louisville (9-0), which atoned for its 1-for-13 showing from 3-point range by outscoring the Seahawks in the paint by a wide 46-26 margin. Harrell also pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds, while Freddie Jackson and Jordan Talley led UNCW (3-3) with 16 and 13 points, respectively.


Final Score: (7) Villanova 85, Temple 62

Josh Hart and Darrun Hilliard each scored 20 points as No. 7 Villanova routed Temple, 85-62, in a Philadelphia Big 5 matchup on Sunday. JayVaughn Pinkston netted 12 points and Daniel Ochefu finished with 10 points and five rebounds for the Wildcats (10-0), who have won eight of their last 11 games against Temple at the Pavilion. Quenton DeCosey finished with 18 points, Will Cummings scored 14 and Obi Enechionyia chipped in with 10 points and three blocks for the Owls (6-4), who were coming off a 76-64 win over Towson on Wednesday.


Final Score: (14) Iowa State 88, Southern 78

Georges Niang and Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 18 points apiece and No. 14 Iowa State downed Southern 88-76 at Hilton Coliseum on Sunday. All five Iowa State starters scored in double figures, with Monte Morris giving 15, Naz Long 13 and Dustin Hogue 10 for the Cyclones (8-1), who have won five straight since a loss to Maryland on Nov. 25. Tre Lynch had 22 points and five assists and Adrian Rodgers gave 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Jaguars (2-8), who have dropped their past two.


Final Score: Tennessee 67, (15) Butler 55

Josh Richardson and Kevin Punter combined for more than half of Tennessee’s points and the Volunteers rallied to knock off No. 15 Butler, 67-55, on Sunday. Richardson scored 20 points and Punter had 18 for the Vols (4-3), who had lost eight straight games against ranked opponents. All 10 players that took the court for Tennessee scored a point. Kellen Dunham led Butler (8-2) with 16 points and Kameron Woods pulled down 16 boards in the setback.


Final Score: (17) Washington 81, Eastern Washington 77

Robert Upshaw made a putback jumper to put 17th-ranked Washington ahead with 1:27 remaining in the game and the Huskies held on to beat Eastern Washington 81-77 on Sunday. Upshaw finished with a career-high 21 points, nine rebounds and six blocks for the Huskies (8-0), who rallied from a 14-point deficit to remain unbeaten. Nigel Williams-Goss had 19 points and Andrew Andrews scored 18 with seven rebounds for Washington, which is off to its best start since opening the 2005-06 season with 11 straight wins. Tyler Harvey led the Eagles (8-2) with 21 points, followed by Drew Brandon with 16 and nine rebounds.


Final Score: (22) West Virginia 69, Marshall 66

Jonathan Holton scored 14 points, including 11 in the second half, to help No. 22 West Virginia sneak past rival Marshall 69-66 on Sunday. Holton scored eight of his points at the free throw line for the Mountaineers (9-1) while pulling down six rebounds. Jevon Carter also had 14 points and six boards. Juwan Staten led West Virginia with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The Thundering Herd (3-6) lost their sixth straight game despite getting a game-high 18 points from Justin Edmonds, who shot 4-of-6 from 3-point range and added six assists and six rebounds.


Final Score: (24) St. John’s 74, Fordham 53

Rysheed Jordan and D’Angelo Harrison each delivered big scoring efforts to lead 24th-ranked St. John’s to a 74-53 rout of Fordham at Madison Square Garden. Jordan finished with 24 points on 9- of-13 shooting and Harrison went 8-of-11 from the field in a 22-point effort, with the duo producing the majority of the Red Storm’s offensive output. St. John’s (8-1), which entered this week’s Top 25 for the first time since 2011, has won four straight since a narrow loss to No. 9 Gonzaga on Nov. 28. Eric Paschall paced Fordham (3-5) with 14 points, with Christian Sengfelder and Mandell Thomas each netting 11 in the loss.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Sunday, December 14)


Final Score: Chicago 93, Miami 75

Mike Dunleavy scored 19 of his 22 points in the third quarter and the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat 93-75 on Sunday. Jimmy Butler added 17 points and Taj Gibson scored 15 with nine rebounds for the Central Division-leading Bulls, who have won three in a row and six of their last eight games. Derrick Rose had 14 points two days after pouring in a season-high 31 in a win over Portland, the first time the oft-injured former MVP topped 30 since March 12, 2012. Former Bull Luol Deng led Miami with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Dwyane Wade also scored 17. After holding the Heat under 30 percent shooting for a seven-point lead at halftime, the Bulls pulled away with a big third quarter. Dunleavy’s 19 points came on eight shots, including a trio of 3s. He missed just once from the field and made both of his free throws.


Final Score: Golden State 128, New Orleans 122 (OT)

The Golden State Warriors overcame a late fourth-quarter deficit and got hot in overtime to extend their franchise- record winning streak. Stephen Curry had 34 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as the Warriors beat the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans 128-122 for their 16th straight win. The Warriors became the ninth team in NBA history to begin a season 21-2. Klay Thompson netted 29 points, while Draymond Green added 11 points and 13 rebounds for Golden State, which has also won 10 consecutive games on the road. Tyreke Evans posted 34 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Jrue Holiday tallied 30 points, nine helpers and five steals for the Pelicans, who were without Davis due to a chest contusion suffered Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.


Final Score: Washington 93, Utah 84

Bradley Beal’s 22 points and seven rebounds helped the Washington Wizards erase a halftime deficit and top the Utah Jazz, 93-84, on Sunday. Beal scored 13 points during the second half after the Wizards trailed 42-37 at the break. John Wall stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds, five steals and three blocks for Washington, which has won four straight. Alec Burks finished with 19 points for the Jazz, who have lost 11 of their last 12 games. Enes Kanter chipped in 10 points and 11 boards for Utah.


Final Score: LA Lakers 100, Minnesota 94

Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, then won the game for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant scored 26, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with about a minute remaining and the Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-94 on Sunday in an historic game for the veteran guard. Bryant passed Jordan for third place on the points list with a pair of free throws in the second quarter. Later, his deep 3 over Andrew Wiggins with 1:02 left came as the shot clock was winding down, giving the Lakers a 97-94 lead. He ended his 1,269th NBA game with 32,310 points and trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone in NBA history. Jordan scored 32,292 points in 1,072 career games for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, averaging 30.1 per game.


Final Score: Oklahoma City 112, Phoenix 88

The Oklahoma City Thunder remained hot with their main cogs back in the lineup. Russell Westbrook had 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and the Thunder routed the Phoenix Suns 112-88 on Sunday night. Kevin Durant posted 23 points and eight boards for the Thunder, who are 6-1 since he returned from offseason foot surgery, winning the last six. Gerald Green tallied 15 points and seven boards to lead Phoenix, which has lost five straight games.


Final Score: Toronto 95, New York 90 (OT)

Kyle Lowry totaled 21 points, 11 assists and six steals as the Toronto Raptors outlasted the New York Knicks in overtime, 95-90, in a seesaw battle at Madison Square Garden. The matchup between the Atlantic Division leaders and the five-win Knicks was surprisingly tight as neither team led by more than seven points. There were 12 leads changes and 21 ties, but Toronto controlled play in overtime as New York missed its first seven shots. Terrence Ross finished with 22 points, while Lou Williams and Patrick Patterson contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively off the bench for Toronto, which improved to 5-3 without star guard DeMar DeRozan. Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks with 34 points, but New York failed to build off Friday’s victory over the Celtics.


Final Score: San Antonio 99, Denver 91

Kawhi Leonard returned to lead a balanced San Antonio offense with 18 points and the Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets 99-91 on Sunday. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili each added 15 points as six Spurs scored at least 10 in the win. The reigning NBA champs bounced back from Friday’s overtime loss to the lowly Lakers to avoid what would have been their second 1-3 four-game stretch this season. They played without guard Tony Parker, who sat with a hamstring strain. But Leonard returned after missing two games with a bruised right hand and set career highs with six blocks and five steals to go along with four assists in a good all-around effort. Arron Afflalo poured in a season-high 31 points to lead the Nuggets, who have lost six of their last seven. Wilson Chandler added 14 points and Timofey Mozgov scored 11 with 13 rebounds.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  White Sox add Melky Cabrera

The Chicago White Sox and outfielder Melky Cabrera have reportedly agreed to a three-year contract.

According to MLB.com and Chicago radio station 670-AM, the deal, pending a physical, is worth between $42 million and $43.5 million.

Cabrera spent the past two seasons with Toronto. He hit .279 with three homers and 30 RBI in 88 games with the Blue Jays in 2013, then followed with a strong 2014 campaign in which he batted .301 with 16 homers, 35 doubles and 73 RBI in 139 games.

The 30-year-old Dominican native played his first five seasons with the New York Yankees, winning a World Series title in 2009, then spent 2010 with Atlanta, 2011 with Kansas City and 2012 with the San Francisco Giants.

Cabrera was the All-Star Game MVP in 2012 and posted a .346 average with 11 homers and 60 RBI in 113 games with the Giants until he was suspended 50 games for a violation of baseball’s drug policy.

In 1,211 big league games over 10 seasons, Cabrera owns a .286 batting average with 88 homers, 236 doubles and 520 RBI.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Sunday, December 14)


Final Score: Toronto 4, Los Angeles 3 (SO)

Joffrey Lupul notched the lone goal of the shootout to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. Lupul skated up the middle, dipped his shoulder and wristed a shot over the glove of Jonathan Quick to lead off the shootout. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles’ final shooter, tried to go up high, but James Reimer got a piece of the shot with his glove to seal the win. Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson each finished with a goal and an assist and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Maple Leafs, who won their fifth straight game. Reimer made 33 saves and stopped all three Kings in the shootout. Justin Williams had a goal and an assist, Marian Gaborik and Dwight King each lit the lamp and Alec Martinez supplied two helpers for the Kings, who have lost four of their last five games. Quick stopped 28 shots in defeat.


Final Score: Chicago 2, Calgary 1

Brandon Saad scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:03 remaining in the third period as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Sunday night. Johnny Gaudreau, who set up Jiri Hudler for the lone Calgary goal, lost control of the puck when he fell down just inside the Chicago zone, triggering a counter rush for the Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews dished to Saad and he beat Jonas Hiller over the glove on a breakaway. Antti Raanta made 23 saves for the Blackhawks, who bounced back from Saturday’s road loss to the New York Islanders that snapped their winning streak at eight games. Hiller stopped 26 shots for Calgary, which was winless on a four-game road trip and has lost five straight overall.


Final Score: NY Rangers 2, Edmonton 0

Henrik Lundqvist faced only 16 shots in his fifth shutout of the season as the New York Rangers matched a season-high with their third win in a row, a 2-0 whitewash of the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. Dan Girardi’s goal 16:04 into the game stood up as the winner and Carl Hagelin added an empty-netter in the final minute for the Rangers. New York went 2-0 for the weekend after trouncing Vancouver 5-1 on Saturday night to open a four-game road trip. Lundqvist made five saves in the first and second period and stopped six shots in the third to wrap up his 55th career shutout. The Oilers have dropped four games in a row and 15 of their last 16 (1-11-4). Ben Scrivens made 20 saves but Edmonton’s offense remained stuck in a slump. The Oilers have now scored two goals or fewer in seven consecutive games. They were shut out for the fourth time this season.

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2014


National Football League
New Orleans at Chicago, 8:30 PM - ESPN


National Basketball Association
Boston at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - CSN-New England, Philadelphia, DSS
LA Lakers at Indiana, 7:00 PM - Time Warner, FS-Indiana, DSS
Charlotte at Cleveland, 7:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Ohio, NBA TV, DSS
Chicago at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, SportSouth, DSS
Orlando at Toronto, 7:30 PM - FS-Florida, TSN2, DSS
Milwaukee at Phoenix, 9:00 PM - FS-Wisconsin, Arizona, DSS
San Antonio at Portland, 10:00 PM - FS-Southwest, CSN-Northwest, DSS
Detroit at LA Clippers, 10:30 PM - FS-Detroit, Prime Ticket, DSS


National Hockey League
Ottawa at Buffalo, 7:00 PM - RDS, TSN5, MSG-Buffalo, DSS
New Jersey at NY Islanders, 7:00 PM - MSG, MSG+, DSS
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM - TVA, ROOT-Pittsburgh, NBCSN


College Basketball
Elon at Duke, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Appalachian State at Georgia Tech, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Georgia Southern at South Florida, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
UT Martin at Illinois-Chicago, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
NC Central at Memphis, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Texas Southern at Gonzaga, 9:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest
Grambling State at Oregon State, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network


Women’s College Basketball
Miss Valley State at Miss State, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+


International Soccer
Empoli FC vs. Torino FC, 12:55 PM - beIN Sport
Everton vs. QPR, 2:55 PM - NBCSN
AC ChievoVerona vs. FC Internazionale Milano, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport

Sports News   141206

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  Bridgeport retains Class AA title

Dylan Tonkery ran for 315 yards to set a Class AA Super Six rushing record and Bridgeport won its second straight state championship by beating Frankfort 43-7 on Friday night in a steady rain.

“I can’t say enough,” said Bridgeport coach Josh Nicewarner, whose team finished 13-1. “Week to week, we’ve just gotten better and we grew. Our defense has been just unbelievable and these guys are so worthy of the state championship.”

Tonkery finished with three touchdowns on 25 carries, averaging 12.6 yards per rush. The previous Class AA rushing record was set in 2008 by Grafton’s Damon Waters who put up 287 yards against Magnolia.

“(Tonkery) had a lot of help too,” Nicewarner said. “Dylan is a phenomenal running back, but tonight he had 10 other guys out there working for him. Certainly, it’s a great individual honor for him, but we’ll take that state championship any day.”

Tonkery scored on the game’s first play with a 73-yard run, and Frankfort (13-1) never recovered.

“I just got to the outside on that opening play and it was good blocking. I got open space and I just started running,” Tonkery said. “I didn’t really focus (on the record) at all. I was just trying to get the win—I was just running the ball and I didn’t even know about the record until the fourth quarter.”

The Indians had won seven previous football titles but never in back-to-back seasons.

“It’s pretty special. It’s the first time we’ve ever done it and it just means so much to everybody,” Tonkery said. “Especially for the seniors—this was their last game and knowing that they went out with a win is awesome.”

Bridgeport outgained Frankfort 426-148. The Falcons had just 52 rushing yards on 21 carries, playing in their first state championship game.

“I’m very proud of our football team for finishing the season like we did to get to the title game,” said Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman. “But my hat goes off to Bridgeport. They have a very good football team with a lot of team speed and a lot of strength. They beat us fair and square. It was a long night for us, but we were still proud to be here and proud of what we accomplished.”

Bridgeport led 29-0 at the half, erupting for 22 points in the second quarter. Frankfort scored first in the second half on a 54-yard pass from Gage Shaffer to Jacob Kessel—a bizarre play where Bridgeport’s Luke Southern appeared to make the interception before the ball popped up and Kessel made the touchdown catch.

“I was hoping we could maybe score another touchdown or two,” Whiteman said. “But they controlled us the whole night. They earned it, they deserved it and they have a very good football team.”

Bridgeport limited Frankfort quarterback Gage Shaffer, and Maryland commitment,to just 8-of-21 passing for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Besides Tonkery, Dante Bonamico added 89 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries for the Indians, who improved to 8-1 in state championship games..

“These guys answered the call,” Nicewarner said. “These guys executed so well, our backs ran well and read well. But our defense, again, certainly won us this championship.”



The Gilmer Free Press

►  The Manning Awards is presented annually to the nation’s top quarterback

Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato has been named one of the 10 finalists for the annual Manning Award.

The Manning Award is presented annually in January to college football’s top quarterback by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Prior to the 2004 season, the Manning Award was created by the Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.

The award is presented after the bowl season as it is the only college football quarterback award that includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting. The winner is selected by a panel of media covering college football, and each of the Mannings.

Cato leads the Herd into is second straight appearance in the Conference USA title game this Saturday versus Louisiana Tech.

Cato owns the NCAA’s FBS record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, at 44. He ranks among the top 10 quarterbacks in major-college history in passing yards (13,490) and total offense (14,276) and his 126 touchdown passes rank No. 5 in FBS history. He threw for a school-record seven touchdowns in last week’s overtime loss to Western Kentucky.

Cato was named MVP of the Herd’s Military Bowl victory over Maryland last December and has won MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors in Conference USA in past seasons. He ranks No. 2 in C-USA history in all passing and total offense categories to former Houston star Case Keenum, and this season surpassed former Herd greats Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich on the school’s career charts.

Cato is the only QB in Herd history to pass for at least 30 touchdowns in three seasons.

He is joined on the Manning Award finalists’ list by Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, TCU’s Trevone Boykin, Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson, UCLA’s Brett Hundley, USC’s Cody Kessler, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Baylor’s Bryce Petty, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, Alabama’s Blake Sims and Florida State’s Jameis Winston.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Football Game Results

(Friday, December 05)


Final Score: (3) Oregon 51, (8) Arizona 13

Oregon wasn’t going to let Arizona ruin its national title dreams for a second straight season. The Ducks were 9-1 going into last year’s meeting in Arizona, which the Wildcats won 42-16. Oregon followed that up with a 31-24 home loss to a then-unranked Arizona squad back in October. Since then, the third-ranked Ducks have won eight straight games, including a 51-13 rout of the eighth-ranked Wildcats in the Pac-12 championship game at Levi’s Stadium. Marcus Mariota, the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, accounted for five touchdowns on Friday and the Ducks assuredly locked up a spot in the first College Football Playoff. Oregon (12-1, 8-1 Pac-12) entered the game No. 2 in the CFP rankings.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rodgers stands alone

Name your quarterback.

Old timers swear by Johnny Unitas and those whose wheelhouse is the 1970s might wax nostalgic about Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach or Fran Tarkenton. For me Joe Montana is the best of all-time and others love the pure passing skills of Dan Marino or the all-around talent of John Elway.

The numbers say Peyton Manning is the best regular-season quarterback ever and Tom Brady belongs in any G.O.A.T (Greatest of All-Time) conversation.

No matter who you like, however, understand no man that has ever walked planet Earth has ever played football’s most important position at a higher level than Aaron Rodgers is right now.

The presumptive 2014 MVP leads the league with a 118.6 passer rating and has thrown for 32 scores against just three INTs, captaining a team that scores 31.7 points per game, the best mark in pro football.

He’s even better at home, throwing for 20 touchdowns without an interception at Lambeau Field.

A-Rod and the Packers took another step toward what would be a franchise- record fourth consecutive NFC North title in Week 13 when they outlasted the New England Patriots, 26-21, in a game that could have foreshadowed Super Bowl XLIX.

Rodgers was 24-of-38 in the game for 368 yards and has now thrown 360 consecutive passes with 31 touchdowns since his last interception at home, which was over two calendar years ago, as he outdueled Brady and Co.

His next test is against Atlanta on “Monday Night Football” and Falcons coach Mike Smith understands what he and his charges are up against.

“It’s a big challenge for us this week with Aaron Rodgers,“ Smith admitted. “No doubt, he’s playing the best of any quarterback in the NFL right now. He’s got a number of weapons he can get it to.

“He’s played extremely well at home. I don’t think he’s thrown an interception at home this season, and I don’t even want to talk about how many points they’ve scored.“

The answer to that is 40.9 points while more than doubling foes 245 to 106 at Lambeau.

“I don’t know that there’s been a quarterback that’s had a stretch like he’s had in the history of the NFL,“ Smith continued.

Rodgers finished November with 1,233 yards passing with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions for an NFL-best 128.1 passer rating. And more importantly a 4-0 record.

“No disrespect to any quarterback in the NFL, but right now he’s at a level that is much higher than anybody else,“ Smith said. “When you look at his pure statistics, they’re phenomenal.“

The key to Green Bay at home has been blitzing people out of the starting blocks. The Packers have outscored their opponents by an amazing 79-0 margin in the first quarter of their last five home contests. That number expands to 151-23 at halftime and 14 of those 23 points were scored by the powerful Patriots last week.

And Rodgers has been the very definition of greatness, a player who makes everyone around him better. In his case, the All-Pro even elevates teammates he’s not on the field with by putting them in desirous situations.

Packers opponents have been looking up and finding the score 14-0, or in the case of the Pats 13-0, minutes into the game and that has enabled a flawed Green Bay defense to excel as teams become more one-dimensional.

Despite some talent issues on the defensive side Green Bay has allowed just 17.3 ppg in its current four-game winning streak.

One NFC scout described Rodgers’ greatness to me like this: “The Packers are the only team in football who you actually want to run their offense.“

What did he mean?

With other quarterbacks, you strive to get them off their spots and disrupt things as much as possible. With Rodgers, you are hoping things don’t break down and descend into sandlot football because if he extends the play, his arm talent and accuracy down the football field are awe-inspiring.

So you take the lesser of two evils, say a 7-yard slant to Jordy Nelson instead of watching your coverage break down as Rodgers eludes the pass rush with his eyes downfield, searching for the kill shot.

“When you watch the tape, it’s even more impressive,“ Smith said. “(Rodgers has) got a great grasp of how to attack defenses. He’s extending plays. If he can extend the play and when the play gets off schedule, he can make the throws. He’s been very accurate.“

Elite is the term most often used today to describe the great quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL whether its Manning, Brady or Drew Brees with perhaps Andrew Luck the latest to join the group.

It’s time to coin a new adjective for Rodgers, though. “Elite” just isn’t good enough.


►  Packers plan to stay perfect at home

Let’s face it, the Atlanta Falcons are lucky to be playing meaningful football in December.

But the schedule doesn’t shape up as all that fortunate down the stretch.

The 5-7 Falcons are tied atop the dismal NFC South division with New Orleans in advance of their trip north to face the powerful Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on “Monday Night Football.“

And win or loss in Titletown, Atlanta will remain in control of its own destiny because of a perfect 4-0 record inside the division along with a looming Week 16 matchup at the Saints.

If you look ahead, however, you can see things figure to get far stickier for the Falcons starting in Week 14. While Atlanta has to battle the Packers, who are 6-0 at home this season, New Orleans is hosting a Carolina team that has lost six straight a day earlier.

Looker further the Saints will face opponents who currently have a 15-32-1 mark the rest of the way. Conversely, the Falcons face three teams with playoff aspirations (The Pack, Pittsburgh and New Orleans) before finishing off with the Panthers.

Both the Saints and Atlanta are attempting to avoid joining the 2010 Seattle Seahawks as being the only NFL teams to win a division with a sub-.500 record.

The Falcons have won three of four overall, including a big 29-18 win over the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals in Week 13 action at the Georgia Dome.

Matt Bryant connected on all five of his field-goal attempts in that one and Matt Ryan finished with a season-high 361 yards on 30-of-41 passing with scoring throws to Julio Jones and Levine Toilolo.

Jones led all receivers thanks to 189 yards on 10 receptions, Harry Douglas added 116 yards on nine grabs, and Steven Jackson contributed 101 yards on 18 carries.

Arizona signal caller Drew Stanton was picked off twice by the much-maligned Atlanta defense, once by Josh Wilson and another by Dwight Lowery.

The Packers, meanwhile, took another step toward what would be a franchise- record fourth consecutive division title when they outlasted the New England Patriots, 26-21, in a game that could have foreshadowed Super Bowl XLIX.

MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns and kept two NFL-record streaks alive as he outdueled Tom Brady and the Pats. Rodgers was 24-of-38 and has now thrown 360 consecutive passes with 31 touchdowns since his last interception at home, which was over two calendar years ago.

Eddie Lacy rushed 21 times for 98 yards and caught two passes for another 17, stretching his Green Bay running back record to four consecutive games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage.

Davante Adams had six receptions for 121 yards and Randall Cobb made seven catches for 85 as the Packers ran their winning streak to four games since their bye week.

“We’ve been great at home,“ said Rodgers. “The fans have been excellent with the noise and we’ve got a good advantage with it. We’ve just got to keep rolling.“

Green Bay leads its all-time series with Atlanta by a 14-12 margin, including a 22-21 win at Lambeau last season while Rodgers was out with a broken collarbone.

On Monday nights the Falcons have been dismal historically, compiling a 10-26 mark. The Packers are also underwater but much better at 28-31-1.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Rodgers has thrown for 20 touchdowns without an interception at home this season. Overall, the All-Pro leads the NFL with a 118.6 passer rating and has thrown for 32 scores against just three INTs, captaining a team that scores 31.7 points per game, the best mark in the league.

In his four previous career meetings against the Falcons Rodgers has always crossed the 300-yard barrier throwing the ball and has nine TDs against just one INT.

“It’s a big challenge for us this week with Aaron Rodgers,“ Falcons coach Mike Smith admitted. “No doubt, he’s playing the best of any quarterback in the NFL right now. He’s got a number of weapons he can get it to.

“He’s played extremely well at home. I don’t think he’s thrown an interception at home this season, and I don’t even want to talk about how many points they’ve scored.“

The answer to that is 40.9 points while outscoring foes 245 to 106 at Lambeau.

“I don’t know that there’s been a quarterback that’s had a stretch like he’s had in the history of the NFL,“ Smith continued.

Rodgers finished November with 1,233 yards passing with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions for an NFL-best 128.1 passer rating. And more importantly a 4-0 record.

“No disrespect to any quarterback in the NFL, but right now he’s at a level that is much higher than anybody else,“ Smith said. “When you look at his pure statistics, they’re phenomenal.“

The key to Green Bay at home has been blitzing people out of the starting blocks. The Packers have outscored their opponents by an amazing 79-0 margin in the first quarter of their last five home contests. That number expands to 151-23 at halftime and 14 of those 23 points were scored by the powerful Patriots last week.

Foes have been looking up and finding the score 14-0, or in the case of the Pats 13-0, and that has enabled a flawed Packers defense to excel as teams become more one-dimensional.

Despite some talent issues on the defensive side Green Bay has allowed just 17.3 ppg in its current four-game winning streak.

“When you watch the tape, it’s even more impressive,“ Smith said. “(Rodgers has) got a great grasp of how to attack defenses. He’s extending plays. If he can extend the play and when the play gets off schedule, he can make the throws. He’s been very accurate. His quarterback rating is off the charts.“

You would think the only way Atlanta can beat the Packers is in a shootout and Ryan isn’t too shabby himself, currently second in the NFL with 3,427 passing yards, slightly ahead of Rodgers’ 3,325. The veteran also has 21 TD passes versus 10 interceptions and a solid 93.7 passer rating.

Jones, meanwhile, is one of the best receivers in the game as evidenced last week when he torched the highly-regarded Patrick Peterson time and time again. The Falcons could also get a boost from the potential return of Jones’ regular running mate, Roddy White, who sat out last week with an ankle problem.

“Roddy was close to playing (last week),“ Smith said. “He worked with our athletic performance guys late in the week. We felt that it was in the best interest long term for him to not play in the game this past week. We anticipate, with the extra day, that he’ll be ready to go this week.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Rarely is a division leader favored by double digits over another division leader but that’s the story here and it’s hard to imagine a team with so many issues on defense like the Falcons solving Rodgers at Lambeau.

“We have some big goals, and we’re getting into December football now with a chance with everything right in front of us,“ A-Rod said.

Expect the Packers to keep rolling here.

Predicted outcome: Packers 34, Falcons 20


►  RB Williams out for Panthers

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams will not play in Sunday’s game at New Orleans after breaking a bone in his right hand during the team’s most recent contest.

Williams was able to finish out the Panthers’ 31-13 loss at Minnesota, but did not practice at all this week. The nine-year veteran will miss his seventh game this season, during which Williams has rushed for a career-low 219 yards on 63 attempts.

Tight end Greg Olsen, Carolina’s leader with 61 receptions this season, is listed as questionable for Sunday’s matchup with a sore knee. He did practice on a limited basis both Thursday and Friday, however.

The Panthers are expected to get defensive tackle Star Lotulelei back for this weekend’s tilt. The 2013 first-round pick, who has missed Carolina’s last two games with a sprained ankle, is listed as probable.

►  Bucs release OC Tedford from contract

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced that the team has released offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford from his contractual obligations in order to allow him to pursue other opportunities.

Tedford, in his first year as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator under head coach Lovie Smith, left the team to have a heart procedure during the preseason, and was on an indefinite medical leave of absence since late September.

“Throughout these difficult circumstances, our primary concern was for Jeff’s health and well-being,“ said Smith. “After speaking with Jeff in recent days, it became obvious that a mutual decision to release him from his contract was the best way forward. We wish Jeff continued success in the next phase of his career.“

In a statement, Tedford said, “My wife and I want to thank the entire Buccaneers organization—from the Glazer family, to head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht—for all the faith and confidence they expressed in me. I will always be grateful to them for the opportunity to participate in the offseason program, the draft, free agency, training camp, the preseason and the beginning of the regular season. I have built friendships here with administration, coaches and players that will last a lifetime.“

Prior to joining an NFL coaching staff for the first time this season, Tedford spent 11 seasons as the head coach of California and left as the winningest coach in school history. He posted a record of 82-57 from 2002-12, with the Golden Bears earning eight bowl bids.


►  Bears’ Marshall still in hospital, out indefinitely

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall remains in a local hospital one day after injuring his ribs and lung in Thursday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Bears announced that Marshall fractured two ribs as the result of a hit from Cowboys safety Barry Church during the second quarter of Chicago’s 41-28 loss. According to the team, the lung injury is what is keeping the Pro Bowl wideout hospitalized, and he has already been ruled out for the Bears’ next game against New Orleans on December 15.

There’s a strong possibility that Marshall’s season is over, since Chicago was officially eliminated from playoff contention with Thursday’s loss.

Marshall was transported to the hospital shortly after being helped off the field and taken to the locker room following the collision. He later sent out a Twitter message stating: “Thanks for the Prayers. .. I’m Good.“

The five-time Pro Bowl selection had three catches for 61 yards prior to exiting Thursday’s game. On the season, Marshall has recorded 61 receptions totaling 721 yards and is tied for the team lead with eight touchdown catches.


►  Rams sign P Hekker to contract extension

The St. Louis Rams signed punter Johnny Hekker to a six-year extension through the 2020 season on Friday.

ESPN.com reported that Hekker’s deal is worth $18 million and contains $9 million in guaranteed money, the largest ever given to a kicker or punter.

Hekker, 24, was set to become a restricted free agent after the 2014 season. The undrafted Oregon State product signed with the Rams prior to the 2012 campaign.

In 2013, Hekker earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors after setting an NFL single-season record for net punting average at 44.2 yards. His career net average is 42.1 yards.

This season, Hekker owns a 45.7 yards per punt gross average and a net average of 41.4 yards. In his three-year career, Hekker also has completed 5-of-6 passes with a touchdown.


►  Broncos’ TE Thomas questionable vs. Bills

Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, while running backs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman were ruled out.

Thomas, who leads the NFL with 12 receiving touchdowns, was out of the lineup the past two weeks due to a sprained left ankle and was a limited participant in practice this week.

Ball will miss a third straight game with a groin injury that has kept the second-year Wisconsin product out of Denver’s lineup for seven games already this season.

Hillman, meanwhile, suffered a foot injury during a 41-17 win over Oakland on November 9 and has been out for the previous three weeks.

Neither running back practiced at all this week.

Cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder) and wide receiver Cody Latimer (concussion) were also ruled out, while tight end Jacob Tamme (ribs), safety Quinton Carter (knee), defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (elbow) and defensive end Quanterus Smith (ribs) were listed as questionable.


►  Cards’ Ellington out vs. Chiefs

Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington will miss Sunday’s Week 14 game against Kansas City with an injured hip.

Ellington left Arizona’s Week 13 loss to Atlanta with a hip pointer, and was unable to practice in the week leading up to the game with the Chiefs.

In 12 games this season, Ellington has totaled 660 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while adding 46 catches for 395 yards and two touchdowns.

Running backs Stepfan Taylor, Robert Hughes, Marion Grice and the recently- signed Michael Bush will fill in for Ellington.

Also listed as out for the Cardinals are safety Tyrann Mathieu (thumb), guard Paul Fanaika (ankle) and defensive end Ed Stinson (toe).

After missing Arizona’s last two games with a knee injury, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is expected to be a game-time decision, though he was a full participant in Friday’s practice.

Linebacker Larry Foote (foot) and tackle Jared Veldheer (ankle) are also considered questionable for Sunday’s game. Linebackers Lorenzo Alexander (knee) and Kenny Demens (hamstring) are probable.


►  Lions’ RB Bush probable vs. Tampa Bay

Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush is listed as probably for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.

Bush has missed the past three games with an ankle injury, but he was a full participant all week.

Receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle), running back Theo Riddick (toe), and offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Larry Warford, both listed with knee injuries, are also probable.


►  Colts CB Davis out against Browns with concussion

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis is one of four players ruled out for Sunday’s game against Cleveland.

Davis suffered a concussion in Sunday’s 49-27 win over Washington and was absent from practice all week while following the league’s concussion protocol.

The six-year veteran has totaled 32 tackles, three interceptions and one forced fumble over 12 starts this season.

Offensive tackle Xavier Nixon (foot), linebacker Andy Studebaker (hamstring) and guard Hugh Thornton (knee) will also not play on Sunday.

Safety Mike Adams (back), cornerback Jalil Brown (ankle) and return specialist Josh Cribbs (knee) were all listed as questionable.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Murray Christmas

Thursday night of Week 14 was the beginning salvo for most fantasy league playoffs and Dallas running back DeMarco Murray burst out of the gate with an explosive performance.

Murray rushed 32 times for 179 yards and a touchdown and also caught nine balls for 49 yards. All told that amounted to almost 35 points in my fantasy league.

The Dallas star running back has always had this type of talent but until 2014 had never put it all together as a professional.

Murray was a stud running back out of Oklahoma where he ran and caught the ball with equal skill. In his final season, for example, he rushed for 1,214 yards, caught 71 balls for 594 yards and scored 20 times.

However, he arrived in “Big D” with little hype as a third-round selection, primarily due to injury concerns.

Things didn’t really jell for him right away.

That’s because the Cowboys were extremely pass-oriented. They had Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin and the running game was just something to do while the receivers and Romo recovered from the last play.

During Murray’s first three seasons, the Cowboys threw the ball 62% of the time and ran it just 38%.

He also continued to deal with injuries. He played just 37 of 48 games from 2011-13 and missed multiple games in each season.

So fantasy owners could be excused for not drafting Murray in the first round this preseason even after he had rushed for more than 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013.

But under the direction of new offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, the Cowboys have become a run-first team. With the help of a much-improved offensive line that is comprised of three first-round selections, including the last two top Dallas picks, they have rushed the ball 400 times and passed it on only 390 occasions.

That’s a dramatic shift.

And it’s one that has helped turn Murray from a second-round fantasy selection last August (fantasyfootballcalculator.com ADP 14.9) into a top-three star who could easily be the league’s fantasy MVP.

Through 13 games, Murray is averaging 123.5 ypg on the ground, another 30.2 yards receiving and has already matched last season’s rushing touchdown total (9). He’s scored a position-high 257 fantasy points. He’s closing in on the magical 2,000-yard rushing total for the season and most importantly, he’s still healthy.

Murray has put his fantasy owners in a great position to advance to the next round of the playoffs and possibly two weeks from now lead the team to the fantasy championship.

It could be a very Murray Christmas.


►  Alfred Morris: Jekyll and Hyde

The real life benching for the struggling Robert Griffin III likely didn’t hurt any fantasy owners’ playoff hopes. Let’s face it, if RGIII was a fantasy team’s starting quarterback, those teams likely aren’t making many playoff appearances.

However, Jay Gruden’s decision to send a healthy Griffin to the sidelines does still have a negative impact on fantasy owners.

It has been clear in 2014 that Alfred Morris is far more effective with Griffin as his quarterback than anyone else.

The two Washington players came into the league together as rookies in 2012 and combined to gain 2,428 rushing yards in their first season. In fact, Morris finished second in the NFL with 1,613 yards on the ground behind only Adrian Peterson, who nearly set the single-season rushing record that year.

Morris was not able to repeat his 100.8 yards per game or 4.8 yards per attempt averages in his second season, but in 2013, he ran for an average of 4.6 yards per carry on his way to 1,275 yards. Despite a lot of questions about his health, Griffin missed only four games in his first two seasons and the duel threat helped his running back to those numbers.

Still, he was not as effective on his own. In the four games without RGIII, Morris did not have a 100-yard game and his yards per carry dropped to 3.9.

With such a small sample and a healthy Griffin coming into 2014, no owner seemed to notice this or care about the dip in production for Morris without Griffin.

Fantasy owners going into a playoff matchup in Week 14 should now take notice.

This season, Griffin has made four starts, and in those games, Morris has rushed for at least 90 yards in each game and averaged 5.46 yards per carry. In the other seven games with Colt McCoy or Kirk Cousins, the running back does not have a single 90-yard rushing day and is averaging 3.55 yards per carry.

Even though Griffin has tried to become a pocket passer, it is obvious defenses cannot concentrate as much on stopping Morris if RGIII is playing. Just the threat of Griffin running makes a difference. Actually, it makes a big difference of nearly two yards per attempt.

It may be hard to do it at this point in the season because of where owners selected Morris in August, but it isn’t crazy to think about benching him for the playoffs. Without the yards this season, he is completely reliant on scoring touchdowns, which he has done in five out of 12 games.

I respect owners who wish to stick by a borderline stud just in case he explodes for a big game in the fantasy playoffs. As long as RGIII is benched those owners should realize Morris must find the end zone in order to help owners make a playoff run.



<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Basketball Game Results

(Friday, December 05)


Final Score: (1) Kentucky 63, (6) Texas 51

Kentucky shot 1-for-12 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 42-31 on its home floor. But Willie Cauley-Stein and the No. 1 Wildcats still found a way past sixth- ranked Texas, 63-51, in their first real test of the season. Cauley-Stein’s best game as a college player couldn’t have come at a better time for the Wildcats, who struggled to score all night but got it done on the defensive end. The 7-footer was dominant on D while also posting a career-high 21 points. He finished with 12 rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots. Dakari Johnson scored 11 points, Karl-Anthony Towns netted 10, and Alex Poythress chipped in eight for the unbeaten Wildcats (8-0). Open looks were at a premium for Texas (7-1), which finished just 14- of-47 from the floor and 4-for-20 from behind the arc. Jonathan Holmes paced the Longhorns with 14 points and Demarcus Holland had 10 with a game-high five assists.


Final Score: (5) Louisville 82, FIU 57

Montrezl Harrell scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead No. 5 Louisville to an 82-57 win over Florida International on Friday. The Cardinals (7-0) used strong defense and a balanced attack to dominate the Panthers. Anton Gill led Louisville with 15 points, including three shots from beyond the arc, and three others—including Wayne Blackshear—added double-digit totals. Louisville collected 21 assists on 32 made shots. Dennis Mavin paced FIU (5-4) with 15 points, but the Panthers could never establish any offense. Louisville forced 25 turnovers and scored 32 points off them. The Cardinals shot 57.1 percent from the floor and dominated down low, blocking nine shots and outscoring FIU 44-26 in the paint.


Final Score: (11) Kansas 71, Florida 65

Wayne Selden Jr. scored a game-high 21 points as No. 11 Kansas stormed from behind for a 71-65 win over Florida in an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game on Friday. Cliff Alexander had 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Frank Mason III and Perry Ellis scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Jayhawks (6-1), who outscored Florida 47-26 in the second half to win their fifth consecutive game. Devin Robinson supplied 13 points and Chris Walker donated 12 points and five boards for the Gators (3-4), who led by as much as 18 points in the second half, but still lost their second game in a row.


Final Score: (22) Oklahoma 82, Missouri 63

Ryan Spangler had a season-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and No. 22 Oklahoma dismantled Missouri, 82-63, in another installment of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Buddy Hield scored 17 points and Isaiah Cousins netted 16 for the Sooners (5-2), who had a week to reflect on their 69-56 loss at No. 2 Wisconsin before returning to the court. Hield and Cousins both made three 3-pointers. Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas added nine points and five blocks. Johnathan Williams III led Missouri (4-4) with 16 points and eight rebounds and Montague Gil-Caesar scored 15 in the setback. The Tigers haven’t been .500 through eight games since the 2005-06 season, which is also the last time they finished a campaign with a losing record.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Unsung Warriors have huge impact

The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA for reasons passing the obvious.

Bold moves and commitment have put the Warriors atop the standings in the NBA. They haven’t lost since the Hoover Administration and are the association’s most lethal two-way threat.

They rank third in scoring and sixth in opponents’ scoring. Doesn’t take an analytics nerd to figure that yields a high margin of victory. The Warriors win by an average of 10.9 ppg. That’s also first.

The Splash Brothers are headed to the All-Star game, deservedly so.

Steph Curry is a statistical freak of nature. He’s sixth in scoring, fifth in assists, eighth in steals, third in free-throw shooting and first in 3- pointers made.

Klay Thompson is 14th in scoring, eighth in 3-point shooting percentage and fourth in made 3-pointers.

Even Curry has emerged into a legitimate NBA defender and Thompson was already considered an elite wing stopper.

So, yes, the Splash Brothers are studs who carry this team offensively. The nickname is still stupid, but the point is they are All-NBA caliber guys.

Their importance is paramount to be clear. It is not singular to the Warriors’ obscene success to this point.

Steve Kerr came into the Warriors’ coaching job as the trendy name this offseason. He brushed aside the courtship of one of his mentors, Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks, to take the Golden State gig.

He’s a west-coast guy and the rosters weren’t comparable, so it made sense. It wasn’t the easiest transition in the history of business transactions. Former coach Mark Jackson resuscitated this franchise, but was shown the door because of some friction with ownership.

Jackson’s players were fiercely loyal to their former coach, but now, it looks like Kerr has been their uncle for eternity. The group plays beautiful team basketball and Kerr made perhaps the biggest, boldest decision he could make from the beginning.

He reinserted Harrison Barnes into the starting lineup in favor of Andre Iguodala. Barnes started as a rookie two seasons ago, then went to the bench when Iguodala was signed in the summer of 2013.

Getting maximum output from Barnes has been crucial to the Warriors’ success. Building him back into the productive player he was as a rookie was a tough task for Kerr.

“I think he needed to play this year,“ Kerr said after Thursday’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. “Last year was a tough year for him. He needed to play and let loose. He’s taken advantage of the minutes.“

Draymond Green is a similar story. He played quite a bit in the last playoffs under Jackson, but now, he’s becoming vital.

And their presence has given Golden State’s biggest asset to date - their ability to switch on defense. With the exception of Andrew Bogut, every player in the starting five, and much of the bench, can switch any pick-and-roll on the floor.

“That’s the strength of our defense really, along with Bogs protecting the rim, the versatility on the wings, the ability to switch and get out on 3- point shooters,“ Kerr said.

Bogut is undervalued, but Kerr’s decision to tweak that starting lineup has been genius. It was a brash decision. Iguodala signed a four-year, $48 million contract in 2013, meaning, a man making a shade over $12 million was demoted for a third-year guy who lost his spot a season prior and a second-round pick in Green.

Its brilliance is how it’s enhanced the second unit. Iguodala isn’t the explosive player he once was, but can still get the opposition’s shirt. Shaun Livingston was signed in the offseason after a career redefining season with Brooklyn in 2013-14. Marreese Speights averages 12.4 ppg in 15.8 minutes per game.

“We have enough scoring coming off the bench, but the fact we can continue to defend even with our starters off the floor, that’s a really big factor for us,“ said Kerr.

And the bench should get enhanced shortly. David Lee has played all of seven minutes for the Warriors this season, but is expected back shortly from a hamstring injury.

Kerr should be committed if he tinkers with that first unit, so where does Lee fit in? We are talking about a two-time All-Star who averaged 18.2 ppg and 9.3 rebounds a night for Golden State last season.

“We need him. We’ll find ways to play,“ noted Kerr. “It may mean a few less minutes for Harrison and Draymond. We have great chemistry and guys are playing for each other. When David comes back, and things change rotation- wise, guys are going to accept it.“

And that demonstrates another beautiful aspect of this Warriors’ team. This is a cohesive group that doesn’t let ego get in the way of a good thing. Sounds simple and obvious enough, but in 2014, how often does that really happen?

“There’s nothing better in the NBA than being on a team like this where you have good guys and you’re winning,“ Kerr said.

For veterans like Iguodala and Lee to be willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the group is too uncommon. Barnes and Green are better players right now and better fits in Kerr’s schemes, which are predicated on versatility.

And good on Kerr for going with what’s best. Iguodala and Lee make a combined $27 million and were integral to the development and success of Golden State. It would be easy to play favorites to the veterans, especially in your first gig and especially considering the potentially fragile nature of the group after what transpired with Jackson.

But Kerr put his horses on display and it’s working. It also doesn’t hurt that Kerr has gone younger during this process.

“We talk about the development of [a franchise] is when your young players develop,“ said TNT’s Reggie Miller. “Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have gotten better each year. That’s why the Warriors franchise is in good hands moving forward.“

It’s in great hands now.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

- Good for the Philadelphia 76ers. No one wants that record of worst start to a season. They play hard, they work hard, so good for them. The all-time worst record of 9-73 is, however, in play.

- Potential Western Conference All-Star guards: Curry, Thompson, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Monta Ellis and Damian Lillard. Frontcourt guys: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki, LaMarcus Aldridge and Zach Randolph. That doesn’t account for the fact that Kevin Durant will probably fare well in the fan vote and Dwight Howard was superb before injury.

- The Los Angeles Lakers are 5-14, but 1-13 within the Western Conference. So, that should show how bad the East is that LA is 4-1 against them.

- You love the Washington Wizards? I do. They’re loaded. Going to be a force in the Eastern Conference, right? The Atlanta Hawks are a game behind them. The always .500, duller than taupe Hawks could be the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference by the end of the weekend.

- Movie moment - I’m a sucker for the Oscars, so it’s cool to me that one of my favorite character actors - J.K. Simmons - is sounding like a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actor. Before you look him up, he was the dad in “Juno,“ the psychiatrist in “Law & Order,“ the hideous white supremacist in “Oz,“ is the yellow peanut M&M and currently is the dean of students for Farmer’s Insurance. What range.

- TV moment - My son was acting up a bit on Thursday night so my girlfriend put on the live screening of “Peter Pan” on NBC. He said, “am I in trouble?“ I was harsh on “The Sound of Music” and I’d never watch that, or “Peter Pan” voluntarily, but I respect those involved. They knew scorn was coming, but did it anyway.


►  NBA Game Results

(Friday, December 05)


Final Score: Charlotte 103, New York 102

Kemba Walker’s layup with 0.3 seconds to play helped the Charlotte Hornets hold off a late New York Knicks surge and end their 10-game losing streak with a thrilling 103-102 victory on Friday. Carmelo Anthony gave the Knicks a 102-101 lead off a wide-open 3 from the left side with 40.7 seconds to play. After each team missed a jump shot, the Hornets took a timeout with four seconds to play after Marvin Williams rebounded Anthony’s miss. Coming out of the timeout, Walker raced up to the top of the arc to receive the inbound pass and darted through the key, laying the ball off the glass and into the net for the deciding basket as the buzzer sounded. Gerald Henderson finished with a season-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting, Al Jefferson had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Lance Stephenson also scored 16 points for Charlotte, which won its first game since Nov. 14 at Phoenix. Anthony had a game-high 32 points, while J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. supplied 14 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench in the Knicks’ seventh straight loss.


Final Score: Oklahoma City 103, Philadelphia 91

Russell Westbrook had 27 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder led wire-to-wire in a 103-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. The Thunder were coming off a loss in New Orleans on Tuesday that spoiled Kevin Durant’s return from offseason foot surgery and ended the team’s first winning streak of the season at two games. The reigning NBA MVP scored 27 points while playing nearly 30 minutes in his season debut. He played 29 minutes against the Sixers, scoring 10 on 3-of-11 shooting as Westbrook, in his third game back after missing 14 with a broken hand, led the way. Thunder coach Scott Brooks agreed Durant looked rusty, but stressed that he was just getting his game legs back, and that the team as it looked Friday has only practiced together three times. Serge Ibaka added 19 points for the Thunder and Jeremy Lamb scored 15 off the bench, including a couple of 3-pointers that thwarted an attempted Sixers rally late in the fourth quarter. The Sixers fell to 1-18, landing right back in the losing column after getting their first win on the road against Minnesota on Wednesday night. The victory kept them from matching the 2009-10 Nets for the worst start to a season in NBA history, but they remain winless (0-11) at home. Robert Covington scored a career-high 21 points off the bench to lead the Sixers. Michael Carter-Williams had 16 points and 14 assists working against Westbrook all night and Nerlens Noel also posted a double- double, scoring 11 with 10 rebounds.


Final Score: Washington 119, Denver 89

Kris Humphries scored 20 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 119-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday. Rasual Butler and Kevin Seraphin each scored 16 points for the Wizards, who have won four straight. John Wall nearly had a triple-double as he scored nine points with eight rebounds and 12 assists. Wilson Chandler scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who have dropped their past two. Ty Lawson gave 14 points and 10 assists in defeat.


Final Score: Boston 113, LA Lakers 96

Tyler Zeller had 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds in the Boston Celtics’ 113-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Jeff Green added 19 points for the Celtics, who have won two in a row since a five-game skid. Jared Sullinger tallied 17 points and 13 boards, Avery Bradley donated 16 points and Rajon Rondo scored 12 points and dished out 16 assists. Kobe Bryant ended with 22 points for the Lakers, who have dropped two straight. Nick Young and Jeremy Lin had 16 and 14 points, respectively.


Final Score: Atlanta 98, Brooklyn 75

DeMarre Carroll scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead Atlanta to a 98-75 win over Brooklyn at Barclays Center Friday. Carroll’s 14 second-quarter points keyed a dominant period for the Hawks that saw them outscore the Nets 36-13. Paul Millsap contributed 17 points and nine rebounds in the winning effort, Atlanta’s fifth straight, and Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder scored 14 and 13 points, respectively. Brook Lopez paced Brooklyn with 20 points and seven boards as the Nets saw their two-game winning streak come to an end. Joe Johnson totaled 12 points with six rebounds and four assists for Brooklyn.


Final Score: Cleveland 105, Toronto 91

LeBron James had 24 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers extended their winning streak to six games with a 105-91 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. The Cavs, led by Kyrie Irving’s season-high 37 points, opened a three-game road trip with a win over Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks on Thursday night. Irving scored 15 in this one, including the bulk of Cleveland’s points in a key third-quarter run after Toronto had gone ahead for the first time. Tristan Thompson added 21 points and 14 rebounds off the bench for the Cavs and Kevin Love scored 15 with 13 boards. Amir Johnson had 27 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors and Kyle Lowry scored 22 with nine assists.


Final Score: San Antonio 107, Memphis 101

One streak had to end and the San Antonio Spurs got the best of the Memphis Grizzlies again. Tim Duncan had his first triple double of the season with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Spurs defeated the Grizzlies 107-101 to snap Memphis’ 22-game regular season home winning streak on Friday night. San Antonio has beaten the Grizzlies nine straight times, including the postseason. The Spurs raced out to a 13-2 start in this one and never trailed by less than four the rest of the way, but that was with 21 seconds left when the game was already decided. Manu Ginobili tallied 17 points and seven assists and Danny Green added 16 points for the Spurs, who have won nine of their last 10 games. Marc Gasol, who was a game-time decision with a right knee bruise, posted 28 points, 12 boards and four blocks. The bruise was in the same knee that he tore his MCL last season and missed two months. Memphis went 10-13 during his absence. Mike Conley provided 23 points and 10 helpers, while Tayshaun Prince supplied 20 points off the bench for Memphis, which has lost two straight after coming into its last game Wednesday night with just two defeats on the season. The Grizzlies had their five-game winning streak snapped Wednesday against Houston when they committed 21 turnovers and were outrebounded 52-39 by a Rockets squad that played without Dwight Howard.


Final Score: Houston 114, Minnesota 112 (OT)

James Harden fouling out late in regulation opened the door for an unlikely hero. Seldom-used rookie Nick Johnson muscled past fellow rookie Zach LaVine and got a layup to go with 0.8 seconds left as the Houston Rockets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-112 in overtime on Friday. Harden scored 38 points on 17 shots in 36 1/2 minutes before picking up his sixth foul with 1:20 remaining in regulation. On the ensuing Minnesota possession, Andrew Wiggins had a putback dunk to give the Wolves a 105-101 lead. Donatas Motiejunas scored the final four points in regulation with a righty hook and a pair of free throws to force OT. It was tied at 112 late in the extra session when Jason Terry, who scored 19 points, drove and dished to a cutting Johnson. The first-year pro out of Arizona had missed his previous four shots before bullying his way to the basket for the game-winner. Thaddeus Young’s last-second jumper from near the foul line fell well short.


Final Score: Phoenix 118, Dallas 106

Goran Dragic had 28 points and 13 assists in the Phoenix Suns’ 118-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Markieff Morris added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who never looked back after scoring 40 points in the first quarter. Eric Bledsoe tallied 19 points and seven assists. Monta Ellis ended with 33 points for the Mavericks, who had a five-game winning streak snapped. Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons each had 15 points, with Chandler also pulling down 18 boards.


Final Score: Milwaukee 109, Miami 85

Kendall Marshall scored 20 points and the Milwaukee Bucks took control in the second half to beat the Miami Heat 109-85 on Friday night. Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton each scored 14 points for the Bucks, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 28 points for the Heat and Chris Bosh had 21 in their third straight loss. Jerryd Bayless scored 11 of his 12 points in the third quarter for the Bucks, who turned a tight game into a nine-point lead going into the fourth with a 13-2 run that came mostly at the foul line. Bayless hit six of Milwaukee’s nine free throws during the spurt, which made it 80-71. The Bucks then outscored Miami 29-14 in the fourth, leading by double-digits all the way after Middleton’s jumper to open the quarter. They shot better than 64 percent in the quarter and over 56 for the game.


Final Score: Orlando 98, Utah 93

Tobias Harris had 22 points and seven rebounds as the Orlando Magic defeated the Utah Jazz 98-93 on Friday night. Victor Oladipo posted 20 points and six assists for the Magic, who had dropped six of their last seven games coming in. Orlando starting center Nik Vucevic didn’t play due to back spasms. Derrick Favors provided 21 points and 13 boards, while Trey Burke added 13 points and 11 helpers for Utah, which has lost eight in a row.


Final Score: Sacramento 102, Indiana 101 (OT)

The Sacramento Kings finally won a game without DeMarcus Cousins. It wound up being a lot tougher than expected. Carl Landry’s go-ahead layup with 0.8 seconds left in overtime lifted the Kings to a 102-101 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night. Sacramento led by as many as 17 in regulation, but the Pacers closed the fourth on a 10-2 run to force the extra session and a C.J. Watson 3-pointer preceded his floater in the paint to stake Indiana to a 101-100 edge with 1:03 remaining in overtime. After Darren Collison and David West traded missed jumpers, Rudy Gay took the clock down and rose up for a contested jumper along the right baseline. Landry hauled in the misfire for an offensive rebound and laid the ball in to put the Kings in front. West’s desperation turnaround heave at the horn ricocheted off the backboard. Cousins, who sat out a fourth straight game with a viral infection, was released from a hospital Wednesday after receiving treatment for the illness. The Kings had been 0-16 without their big man in his career coming in. Gay netted 27 points, while Collison added 20 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals for Sacramento, which snapped a four-game losing streak. West posted 16 points and eight boards, Rodney Stuckey supplied 14 points and four swipes and Watson added 14 points for the Pacers, who have dropped four in a row and five of their last six.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Nats’ Werth to serve jail time for reckless driving

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was found guilty of reckless driving and was sentenced to 10 days in jail Friday, according to multiple reports.

Werth also had his driver’s license suspended for six months and was fined $1,000. The incident occurred on the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County, Virginia on July 6, with Werth clocked at 105 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Werth’s attorney stated that he will appeal the judge’s sentence. According to Washington television station WRC, it is likely that Werth will only have to serve half of his given sentence.

Werth, who signed a seven-year contract with the Nationals on December 5, 2010, compiled a .292 batting average with 16 home runs and 82 RBI over 147 games last season.

The Illinois native was a member of the 2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies and owns a career batting average of .276 with 186 home runs and 659 RBI. Werth also has posted a .246 batting average, 14 homers and 27 RBI in 53 postseason appearances.


►  Dodgers claim Lavarnway from Boston

The Los Angeles Dodgers have claimed catcher Ryan Lavarnway from the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox designated Lavarnway for assignment late last month after signing Pablo Sandoval and former Dodger Hanley Ramirez as free agents.

Lavarnway appeared in 97 games for the Red Sox from 2011-14, batting .201 with five homers and 34 runs batted in. The 27-year-old southern California native was hitless in 10 at-bats for Boston in 2014 and hit .285 in 67 minor league games while battling a strained left wrist.

The Dodgers also designated catcher Drew Butera for assignment on Friday.

Butera played in 61 games for Los Angeles last season and batted .188 with three homers and 14 RBI. He is a career .183 hitter in 251 games with the Dodgers and Minnesota Twins.


►  Padres add veteran IF Barmes

The San Diego Padres have finalized a one- year contract with free agent infielder Clint Barmes that includes a club option for the 2016 season.

Barmes joins the Padres after spending the past three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 35-year-old appeared in 48 games as a utility player in 2014, finishing the year with a .245 average and seven RBI.

Highly regarded for his defensive abilities, Barmes owns a career .246 average with 86 home runs and 399 RBI over 12 major league seasons. The Indiana native played eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies from 2003-10 before spending the following campaign with the Houston Astros.

Barmes is expected to split time with the left-handed hitting Alexi Amarista at shortstop for San Diego, which did not tender former starter Everth Cabrera a contract at this week’s deadline.


►  Rays select Kevin Cash as new manager

The Tampa Bay Rays have named Kevin Cash as their new manager.

Cash spent parts of eight seasons as a catcher in the majors, retiring after the 2011 season. He joined the Toronto Blue Jays as an advance scout in 2012 and was the bullpen coach with the Cleveland Indians for the past two seasons.

“Kevin is passionate, genuine and dedicated, and those attributes will resonate throughout our clubhouse,“ said Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman in a statement Friday. “As a catcher, a scout and a coach, he has always been a student of the game, and his communication and tireless work will put our club in a position to win, night in and night out.“

Cash, a Tampa native who will turn 37 years old on Saturday, will be the youngest active manager in the majors. He played 13 games for the Devil Rays in 2005 and will become the first former player to manage for the franchise.

“We are proud to introduce Kevin as our manager,“ said Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg on Friday. “His energy and dynamic personality will fit seamlessly with our clubhouse. We are fortunate to have such a talented individual, and Tampa Bay native, to lead our club as we strive to achieve new heights as a team and organization.“

The Rays interviewed nine candidates in an effort to find a replacement for Joe Maddon, who opted out of his contract in October soon after long-time executive Andrew Friedman left for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Maddon quickly found a new job with the Chicago Cubs. He had guided the Rays to a record of 754-705 with two division titles, four postseason berths and the 2008 World Series during his nine-year tenure.

Cash also played for Toronto, Boston, the Yankees and Houston in a big league career that ended with a batting average of .183 and 12 home runs in 246 games. He played for World Series winning teams with Boston in 2007 and the Yankees in 2009.

The other finalists for the position were longtime major league outfielder Raul Ibanez and former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu.


►  Yanks deal for Gregorius as Jeter replacement

When former Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers acquired Didi Gregorius from the Cincinnati Reds back in 2012 he said the shortstop reminded him of a young Derek Jeter.

Gregorius will now be the one who will replace Jeter, as the New York Yankees obtained the slick-fielding shortstop from the Diamondbacks as part of a three-team deal that also includes the Detroit Tigers.

The Yankees sent right-hander Shane Greene to Detroit in the swap, with the Diamondbacks receiving lefty Robbie Ray and minor league infielder Domingo Leyba from the Tigers.

Known more for his glove than his bat, Gregorius hit just .226 with a .290 on- base percentage in 80 games for the Diamondbacks last season. For his career, the 24-year-old Gregorius owns a modest .243 average in 191 games with the Reds and D-backs, and has hit 13 home runs over 647 at-bats in the majors.

Greene pitched well in his first big league season a year ago, going 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) for the Yankees. He also struck out 81 batters in 78 2/3 innings.

Ray, rated the No. 2 overall prospect in the Tigers’ system by MLB.com, was just 1-4 with an 8.16 ERA in nine games (6 starts) in the majors last season. He compiled a 7-6 record with a 4.22 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) at Triple-A Toledo.

The 23-year-old Ray was considered one of the key pieces that came to Detroit in last offseason’s trade that sent pitcher Doug Fister to Washington.

Leyva was ranked as the Tigers’ fifth-best prospect by Baseball America entering this season. The 19-year-old switch-hitter split the 2014 campaign between Short-Season A Connecticut and Low-A West Michigan, hitting .323 with 18 doubles, two homers and 24 RBI over a combined 67 games.


►  Dempster retires as a Cub

The Chicago Cubs have announced that right- hander Ryan Dempster has signed with the team to retire and join the front office as a special assistant to president Theo Epstein.

A two-time All-Star, Dempster missed all of last season, citing health and family issues. He last pitched in 2013 and won a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox that year.

Dempster struggled that season, though, as he pitched to a 4.57 ERA and allowed 249 baserunners in 171 innings. He also did not make a start during the Red Sox’ World Series run.

The 37-year-old spent nine of his 16 major league seasons with the Cubs from 2004-12. Dempster won a career-high 17 games with Chicago in 2008, when he returned to a starting role after working as the Cubs’ closer the previous three years.

Dempster retires with a career mark of 132-133 with 87 saves and a 4.35 ERA over 579 games (351 starts). The British Columbia native also pitched for the Florida Marlins, Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers in addition to the Cubs and Red Sox.


►  Yankees closing in on Gregorius deal

When former Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers acquired Didi Gregorius from the Cincinnati Reds back in 2012 he said the shortstop reminded him of a young Derek Jeter.

Gregorius now appears to be the one who will replace Jeter, as the New York Yankees are reportedly close to obtaining the slick-fielding shortstop from the Diamondbacks as part of a three-team deal with the Detroit Tigers.

WFAN Radio in New York, as well as Fox Sports, indicated that New York will send right-hander Shane Greene to Detroit, while the Tigers will ship lefty Robbie Ray and perhaps another player to the Diamondbacks to complete the deal.

Known more for his glove than his bat, Gregorius hit just .226 with a .290 on- base percentage in 80 games last season for the Diamondbacks. For his career, the 24-year-old Gregorius is only a .243 hitter in 191 games with the Reds and D-backs.

Greene pitched well in his first big league season a year ago, going 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) for the Yankees. He also struck out 81 batters in 78 2/3 innings.

Ray, meanwhile, appeared in nine games (6 starts) for the Tigers last season and was 1-4 with an 8.16 ERA. He was also traded last winter from Washington in the deal that sent Doug Fister to Detroit.


►  Baseball world set to converge on San Diego

Get ready for a ton of baseball rumors, wild trade scenarios and free agent signings, because the giant schmoozefest known as Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings gets underway next week at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego, California.

Unlike the sleepy meetings a year ago, this latest edition of the get together figures to be action packed as most of the major A-list free agents are still on the market.

Of course, the biggest fish out there is left-hander Jon Lester, who will likely have at least four teams to choose from this week. The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have all apparently made offers and are just waiting.

There was a belief that Lester would sign somewhere before the start of the meetings, but is now seems as if he is going to milk it and drive his price even higher.

And who knows, maybe the omnipresent “mystery” team will jump into the fray.

Boston always seemed like a longshot to get him back. The thought all along was that he would wind up in Chicago with former general manager Theo Epstein, but let’s face it, if the Dodgers want him, they are going to get him.

And if that does play out that could make things real interesting. For one, everyone who missed out on Lester will go hard after righties Max Scherzer and James Shields, and two, the Dodgers will likely make Zack Greinke available in that scenario.

Remember, Greinke can opt out of his contract after this season. If the Dodgers were to land Lester, Greinke is as good as gone. Heck, even if the Dodgers don’t get Lester there is a solid chance Greinke goes on the market.

This much is certain, though, Andrew Friedman, who left Tampa Bay to run the Dodgers’ baseball operations, will be a busy man next week. Between the Lester stuff, a potential Greinke deal and trying to rid himself of one of his outfielders, Friedman won’t have a lot of time to enjoy the beautiful San Diego weather.

But then again, he lives in Los Angeles, so that’s probably not a big deal.

Friedman may have the most attractive bat out there in Matt Kemp. Baltimore has already had talks with the Dodgers and there figures to be others in the mix, like Seattle. It’s no secret that the Mariners, who just signed Nelson Cruz earlier in the week, would love to add another bat and they have the young pitching to get a deal done.

Kemp is so much more attractive to teams in a deal than say Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes because he still has five years remaining on his deal. Yes, he’s also owed $107 million, but Upton and Cespedes can both become free agents after the 2015 campaign.

One team to keep an eye on this week is the San Diego Padres. The Padres were willing to go close to $100 million for Pablo Sandoval, so they are willing to spend some money and are looking for a big bat.

The reliever market appears quiet at the moment. Lefty setup man Andrew Miller seems to getting the most attention and could have a deal in place by the end of the weekend. It looks as if the New York Yankees would rather give him four years than their own free agent David Robertson, who has been linked to Houston.

In a sign of the times, 28 years ago today the Philadelphia Phillies made Pete Rose the highest paid player in baseball, signing him to a deal that paid him just over $900,000 for the 1979 season.

Keep that in mind this week when you hear that third baseman Chase Headley has just inked a deal that guarantees him close to $17 million a year.

But, remember this, when it comes to the Winter Meetings believe nothing. There are going to be a-million-and-one rumors over the next week, and chances are none of them will come true.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Friday, December 05)


Final Score: Anaheim 5, Minnesota 4

Ryan Kesler had two goals and an assist as the Anaheim Ducks nabbed a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday. Tim Jackman posted a goal and an assist while Jakob Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey each scored for the Ducks, who have won their past three. Frederik Andersen allowed four goals on 25 shots. Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Justin Fontaine and Jonas Brodin all scored for the Wild, who were coming off a win over Montreal on Wednesday. Darcy Kuemper allowed all five goals on 18 shots.


Final Score: Winnipeg 6, Colorado 2

Bryan Little’s hat trick powered the Winnipeg Jets to a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. Little’s hat trick was the first for the Jets since the franchise relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg. Eric Boulton scored the last hat trick in franchise history for the Thrashers on Dec. 18, 2010. Andrew Ladd tallied a goal and an assist, Chris Thorburn and Dustin Byfuglien also scored and Blake Wheeler supplied three helpers for the Jets, who are 4-0-1 over their last five games. Michael Hutchinson turned aside 20 shots in the win. Jarome Iginla scored twice and Gabriel Landeskog assisted on both markers for the Avalanche, who lost for the third straight contest. Semyon Varlamov gave up five goals on 30 shots, while Reto Berra conceded a goal on seven shots in defeat.

Final Score: Chicago 4, Montreal 3

Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Brandon Saad scored the winning goal with 27 seconds to play to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist while Ben Smith and Michal Rozsival also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won five straight. Antti Raanta turned away 38 shots in the win. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist while Sergei Gonchar and P.K. Subban also scored for the Canadiens, who have lost five of their last six games. Carey Price allowed all four goals on 36 shots.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Crew chief changes for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015

Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Thursday a major shake-up with its crew chiefs for its NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series teams in 2015.

In Sprint Cup, JGR has reshuffled its crew chief lineup with Dave Rogers switching from Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota to Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota, while Hamlin’s previous crew chief, Darian Grubb, moving over to the organization’s new fourth team, the No. 19 Toyota, with driver Carl Edwards.

Adam Stevens will switch from JGR’s No. 54 team in the Xfinity Series (previously known as the Nationwide Series) to serve as crew chief for Busch on the 18 team in Sprint Cup.

Jason Ratcliff will remain the crew chief for JGR’s No. 20 Sprint Cup team, with driver Matt Kenseth. Ratcliff and Kenseth have been paired since the start of the 2013 season.

Edwards is joining JGR for the upcoming season after driving for Roush Fenway Racing in NASCAR’s top series since 2004.

“With the expansion of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operations to four teams next year with the addition of Carl Edwards, we have been able to take a step back and evaluate each of our teams and make decisions that we feel are best for our organization long term,“ JGR president J.D. Gibbs said in a team release.

Stevens spent the past four seasons as a crew chief in JGR’s Nationwide program, leading the team to 31 race wins and 95 top-10 finishes in 124 starts.

“Like Jason and Dave previously, Adam has clearly proven that he is ready to move into the Cup Series, and we feel that his familiarity with Kyle provides the opportunity for us to make that move now,“ Gibbs added. “We think pairing Dave with Denny and Darian with Carl will also make each team stronger heading into next season. Jason and Matt came together quickly, and we felt it was in the best interest of the 20 team to keep it as is.“

Busch, Hamlin and Kenseth all qualified for this year’s 16-member Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Hamlin made it into the final four for the championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he finished seventh in the season-ending race and concluded the season third in the point standings. Edwards qualified for the Chase as well in his last year with RFR.

In the Xfinity Series, Chris Gayle will take over crew chief duties for JGR’s No. 54 Toyota, driven by multiple drivers, while Eric Phillips will serve in the role for the No. 18 Toyota, with new full-time driver Daniel Suarez. Mike Wheeler will replace Kevin Kidd as crew chief for the team’s No. 20 Toyota, also driven by multiple drivers.


►  Earnhardt Jr. recipient of Myers Brothers Award

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the recipient of the 2014 Myers Brothers Award for his contributions on and off the racetrack during Thursday’s National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, held at Wynn Las Vegas.

The Myers Brothers Award has been presented annually since 1958 in the names of pioneer NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, and its winner is chosen by a vote of the NMPA. This prestigious award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.

Earnhardt, who turned 40 years old in October, has won 23 races during his career in NASCAR’s premier series, including victories in the 2004 and ‘14 Daytona 500s. Four of his victories came this season, as he made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and finished eighth in the point standings. Earnhardt also won back-to-back titles in NASCAR’s second-tier series from 1998-99.

Furthermore, Earnhardt is the co-owner of JR Motorsports, a team competing in the Nationwide (soon-to-be Xfinity) Series. JRM is also owned by his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and Sprint Cup team owner Rick Hendrick.

His Dale Jr. Foundation has raised a total of $913,000 that has been distributed to more than 70 different charities. He also has made 235 appearances on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a number that ranks in the top-five among professional athletes.

“The truth is I’m extremely humbled by this award, but I feel like I share it on so many levels,“ Earnhardt said during his Myers Brothers Award acceptance speech. “My sister, Kelley, along with everyone at JR Motorsports is as deserving of this as anyone. I’ve got a lot of passions with NASCAR, but I wouldn’t know how to make them realities without all those folks.

“They (at JR Motorsports) are why we just completed our 14th season at building race cars on some level or another. And they’re also why the Dale Jr. Foundation exists. I’m just as proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish there as anything we’ve ever done on the racetrack.“

Others receiving votes for the this year’s Myers Brothers Award were ESPN and NASCAR national touring series title sponsors Sprint and Nationwide Insurance.

Tony Stewart won the Myers Brothers Award in 2013, and Jeff Gordon was the recipient of it in 2012. Last year, Earnhardt received the NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, which is presented by the NMPA, for a record 11th consecutive year.

“It’s one thing to lead the last lap and get the checkered flag, and it’s one thing to swim faster, run faster, hit a ball farther, get those sort of accolades for doing something phenomenal, but when your peers say, ‘Good job,‘ or when the people you’re around all the time acknowledge something, even if it’s just so minuscule, it’s such a good feeling,“ Earnhardt told reporters after the luncheon had concluded. “That’s really better than any kind of trophy for victories. It definitely is a great feeling.“

This season, JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott became the youngest competitor to win a NASCAR national series championship after clinching the Nationwide title. Elliott, now 19 years old, will likely join Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt as Sprint Cup regulars who have developed under Earnhardt full time at the Nationwide level.

In addition to his Nationwide program, Earnhardt contributes to racing at its grassroots levels, fielding Late Model or Street Stock cars since founding JR Motorsports. His Late Model drivers Josh Berry and William Byron finished 1-2, respectively, this season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


SATURDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2014


National Basketball Association
Philadelphia at Detroit, 7:30 PM - TCN-Philadelphia, FS-Detroit+, DSS
Golden State at Chicago, 8:00 PM - CSN-Bay, WGN, DSS
Phoenix at Houston, 8:00 PM - FS-Arizona+, ROOT-Southwest, DSS
Minnesota at San Antonio, 8:30 PM - FS-North, Southwest, DSS
Orlando at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - FS-Florida, CSN-California, DSS
New Orleans at LA Clippers, 10:30 PM - FS-New Orleans, Prime Ticket, DSS


National Hockey League
Ottawa at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM - RDS, TSN5, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
St. Louis at NY Islanders, 1:00 PM - FS-Midwest, MSG+, DSS
Philadelphia at Los Angeles, 4:00 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, FS-West, DSS
Montreal at Dallas, 7:00 PM - TVA, CBC, FS-Southwest, DSS
Washington at New Jersey, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, MSG+, DSS
Columbus at Tampa Bay, 7:00 PM - FS-Ohio, SunSports, DSS
Buffalo at Florida, 7:00 PM - MSG-Buffalo, FS-Florida, DSS
Vancouver at Toronto, 7:00 PM - CBC, DSS
NY Rangers at Detroit, 7:00 PM - MSG, FS-Detroit, NHL Network, DSS
Chicago at Nashville, 7:00 PM - CBC, CSN-Chicago, FS-Tennessee, DSS
Boston at Arizona, 8:00 PM - NESN, FS-Arizona, DSS
San Jose at Calgary, 10:00 PM - CSN-California, CBC, DSS


College Basketball
USC Upstate at Georgia Tech, 12:00 PM - RSN
Kent State at Kennesaw State, 12:00 PM - ESPN3.com
NJIT at Michigan, 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Rutgers at Seton Hall, 12:00 PM - FSN, MASN2
Oklahoma State at South Carolina, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
La Salle vs. Temple, 12:00 PM - ESPNews
Wisconsin at Marquette, 12:30 PM - CBS
SIU Edwardsville at Central Michigan, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Saint Joseph’s at Villanova, 1:00 PM - FS1
UMBC at Iowa, 1:07 PM - Big Ten Network+
Saint Peter’s at Boston Univ, 2:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Eastern Michigan at Dayton, 2:00 PM - FS-Ohio
UCF at Florida State, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Loyola-Chicago at Ill-Chicago, 2:00 PM - CSN-Chicago, ESPN3.com
American at Illinois, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Wagner at Lafayette, 2:00 PM - Patriot League Network
St. Francis-NY at Liberty, 2:00 PM - MASN
Winthrop at Maryland, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Green Bay at Miami-Florida, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
North Florida at Purdue, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Arizona State at Texas A&M, 2:00 PM - SEC Network
Miss State at Tulane, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Virginia at VCU, 2:00 PM - ESPN U
Ark-Pine Bluff at Michigan State, 2:15 PM - Big Ten Network
South Florida at Detroit, 3:00 PM - WADL, ESPN3.com
Canisius at Niagara, 3:00 PM - ESPN3.com
UTSA at Washington State, 3:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
North Dakota at Drake, 3:05 PM - MC22
Kansas State at Tennessee, 3:15 PM - ESPN 2
Northwestern at Butler, 4:30 PM - FOX
Colgate at Ohio State, 4:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Stony Brook at Princeton, 4:30 PM - Ivy League Digital Network
Tennessee State at Lipscomb, 5:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Gonzaga at Arizona, 5:15 PM - ESPN
St. John’s at Syracuse, 5:15 PM - ESPN 2
Hawaii vs. BYU, 6:00 PM - BYUtv
Penn State at Marshall, 6:00 PM - CBSSN
Saint Louis at Wichita State, 6:00 PM - COX Kansas
Western Kentucky at Murray State, 6:30 PM - American Sports Network, MASN2
Mount St Mary’s at Loyola-MD, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network, MASN
Savannah State at Indiana, 7:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Wake Forest at NC State, 7:30 PM - ESPN U
Abilene Christian at Houston, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
FDU at Notre Dame, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Alabama at Xavier, 8:00 PM - CBSSN
New Mexico at Valparaiso, 8:05 PM - ESPN3.com
UTEP at New Mexico State, 9:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN
Bradley at Memphis, 9:30 PM - ESPN U
Boise State at St. Mary’s, 11:30 PM - ESPN U


Women’s College Basketball
Connecticut at Notre Dame, 3:15 PM - ESPN
SMU at Arizona State, 5:00 PM - Pac-12 Network


College Football
SMU at Connecticut, 12:00 PM - CBSSN
Louisiana Tech at Marshall, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
Houston at Cincinnati, 12:00 PM - ESPN
Iowa State at TCU, 12:00 PM - ABC
Indiana State at Chattanooga, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Fordham at New Hampshire, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Richmond at Coastal Carolina, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Sam Houston St at Jacksonville St, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Northern Iowa at Illinois State, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, 3:30 PM - FS1
South Dakota St at North Dakota St, 3:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Alabama vs. Missouri, 4:00 PM - CBS
Alcorn State vs. Southern U, 4:02 PM - ESPN U
Liberty at Villanova, 4:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Montana at Eastern Wash, 4:35 PM - ESPN3.com
Temple at Tulane, 7:30 PM - ESPN 2
Kansas State at Baylor, 7:45 PM - ESPN
Florida State vs. Georgia Tech, 7:45 PM - ABC
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, 8:17 PM - FOX
Fresno State at Boise State, 10:00 PM - CBS


College Hockey
Minnesota at Michigan State, 5:00 PM - FS-North+
Maine at Massachusetts-Lowell, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
Colorado College at Minnesota-Duluth, 8:00 PM - FS-North, FCS, Altitude
Penn State at Wisconsin, 9:00 PM - American Sports Network


International Soccer
Newcastle vs. Chelsea, 7:40 AM - NBCSN
Elche CF vs. Club Atletico de Madrid, 9:55 AM - beIN Sport
English Premier League, 10:00 AM - NBCSN
AS Roma vs. US Sassuolo Calcio, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
Manchester City vs. Everton, 12:00 PM - NBC
Real Madrid CF vs. Celta Vigo, 1:55 PM - beIN Sport


Golf
EUROPEAN - Nedbank Challenge, 6:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Hero World Challenge, 12:00 PM - Golf Channel
PGA - Hero World Challenge, 2:30 PM - NBC

Sports News   141205

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  State Championships Schedule

Class AA  Friday, December 05, 2014   07:30 PM   Record W-L Streak
 Bridgeport (WV)   (12 - 1 - 0) 11 W
   Frankfort (Ridgeley, WV) (14 - 0 - 0) 14 W



Class AAA   Saturday, December 06, 2014   12:00 PM Record W-L Streak
 Capital (Charleston, WV)   (12 - 0 - 0) 12 W
   South Charleston (WV) (11 - 2 - 0) 3 W



Class A   Saturday, December 06, 2014   07:00 PM Record W-L Streak
 Williamstown (WV)   (12 - 2 - 0) 7 W
   St. Marys (WV) (13 - 0 - 0) 13 W


The Gilmer Free Press

►  Highly motivated Herd ready for C-USA Championship

For the 11-1 Thundering Herd football team motivation in the 2014 Conference USA Championship comes in spades.

For Head Coach Doc Holliday, winning the title for the first time since Marshall joined the conference in 2005 is the only inspiration his squad needs.

“The bottom line is, your ultimate goal is to win a championship,” he said. “Here we are, playing for the championship here in Huntington. It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s been 12 years since that’s happened here.”

The last time The Joan played host to a championship game, it was in 2002 when Byron Leftwich connected with Darius Watts from 40-yard out with under a minute left in the fourth quarter to defeat Toledo 49-42 for the MAC title.

This year’s championship comes on the heels of watching a perfect season float away in the form of a Brandon Doughty pass to the endzone on a two-point conversion in overtime to lift the Hilltoppers, 67-66.

While the team is understandably disappointed, the players are ready to put another accomplishment on a season that is full of them.

“We came out swinging and we tried to come back. We got close but we just didn’t finish the job,” Senior Offensive Lineman Chris Jasperse said. “Luckily we have the conference championship game this week and we’re looking forward to it.”

For the veteran players, there’s actually a loss from last year they consider to be a bigger letdown.

In the 2013 C-USA Championship, a 9-3 Herd traveled to Houston to take on a 9-3 Rice and was handedly defeated, 41-24.

“That hurt more,” Senior Linebacker Neville Hewitt said. “You’re playing for a championship and that’s something you never forget. So, that hurt worse.”

That disappointment made the team all the more motivated to get back and win this year’s title.

The attitude was infectious, as new players had no trouble picking up on the desire.

“They refer to it last year like they lost something, they got something took from them. All they talk about is not getting a ring last year,” Freshman Receiver Hyleck Foster said. “With me being a Marshall player now, I just got to take that under my belt.”

No matter what reason the team comes to play, Holliday has no doubt they’ll give everything they have.

“They’re going to come play their tail off Saturday and I don’t expect anything less.”

Kickoff against the 8-4 Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech is set for Noon.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Georgia Tech to ruin Florida State’s playoff chances

Florida State has been on the cusp of losing each of its last six games. Nevertheless, the Seminoles have come out on the winning end each time. However, this Saturday will be a different story.

Georgia Tech is the most accomplished opponent Florida State has faced this season even though the Yellow Jackets started slowly - struggling with Wofford and Tulane before defeating Georgia Southern and Virginia Tech by a combined seven points.

Then, after beating Miami-Florida, the Yellow Jackets lost back-to-back games to Duke and North Carolina. However, they bounced back playing their best ball in years with four straight wins by a combined 108 points. An upset victory over Georgia, their first win over the Bulldogs in six years, capped a 10-2 regular season.

Looking at it another way, Georgia Tech’s defense allowed an average of 28 points per game its first eight contests. Since then, the unit has given up 10 fewer points per game. Meanwhile, the offense has clicked for eight more points per game over the second half of the season compared to the first half.

Florida State’s inconsistencies have been well documented. The Seminoles outscored their opponents, 39-21 over the first six games but their margin of victory over the last six has been just seven points, with half of those six games separated by four points or less.

Many teams find it difficult to defend Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack, especially if they are not familiar with it. That will be the case in this one as Florida State has played the Yellow Jackets just once since 2009.

That matchup also was an ACC Championship contest with the Seminoles pulling out a 21-15 win as 15-point favorites. The Yellow Jackets won the prior two meetings, covering both games. Going back to 2002, Georgia Tech is 5-0 against the spread the last five battles with Florida State.

All the pressure is on the Seminoles as they must win to secure a spot in the four-team college football playoffs. They have had to deal with that pressure on a weekly basis in November and survived against lesser competition. This will be the week they fall.

Take Georgia Tech plus four points in this week’s lone five-star play.

THREE-STAR PLAYS

Marshall’s unbeaten season came to an end last week against Western Kentucky. The Thundering Herd scored 66 points but still lost in overtime by one point, 67-66. They remain home against Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA Championship matchup.

The Herd were in this spot last year but fell to Rice on the road. This time they host the Bulldogs and are favored by 11.5 points. They have not been this low a favorite since September when they gave 11 points at Akron. Will they cover? Will they even win straight up?

One thing is for certain, this is not the same team that outscored its opponents by an average margin of 47-16 over its first 10 games. The last two contests were tight battles over a pair of 4-4 C-USA squads in UAB and Western Ky.

Now Marshall faces a Louisiana Tech club coming off a 45-point stomping of Rice. The Bulldogs, 7-1 in C-USA play, have lost just one game since the beginning of October and it came in overtime. Their only two other FBS defeats came at the hands of Oklahoma and Auburn.

The Bulldogs have the firepower to stay with Marshall, so don’t expect them to get blown out, particularly with the way the Herd are playing.

Take Louisiana Tech plus 11.5 points.

The final two three-star selections come from the AAC.

Houston is at Cincinnati and the Bearcats are favored by seven points. They have won six consecutive conference contests but cannot win the league title due to their loss to Memphis.

Cincinnati won last year’s matchup in Houston by seven points but the Cougars were only 2-2 at home versus FBS competition last year. (They also are just 4-3 at home in 2014.)

This year’s matchup is an away game for the Cougars, who are 6-3 in their last nine road games, including a pair of upset victories over Memphis and Rutgers. Furthermore, they are 11-0 ATS in their last 11 road games.

These teams have played two league clubs with winning records. Houston defeated Memphis and lost to UCF by just five. Cincinnati was crushed by Memphis and barely pulled out the win over East Carolina despite the eight- point margin of victory.

Take Houston plus seven points.

SMU looks for its first win of the season against 2-9 Connecticut. The Mustangs came close to winning a few weeks ago before losing a one-point contest to South Florida - a game the Bulls won with four seconds remaining.

The Mustangs only other game against a weak opponent was a 10-point road loss to Tulsa. However, they were down by just seven with just over one minute on the clock.

Connecticut is just as bad as South Florida and Tulsa. The Huskies beat UCF for their lone FBS win but lost the following three games by a combined score of 117-31.

Even though this is a long trip to Storrs, the Mustangs have an extra day of rest after losing to Houston last Friday. They should be the hungrier of the two teams, and even if they fail to win, should cover the large spread.

Take SMU plus 12 points.

TWO-STAR SELECTION

Take Missouri +14.5 (Alabama).

ONE-STAR PLAYS

Take Bowling Green +6.5 (Northern Illinois), over 52.5 points in Ohio State- Wisconsin and Ohio State +4.5 (Wisconsin).

THIS YEAR’S RECORD

My overall record stands at 99-85-5 after a 5-2 mark in Week 14. The one five- star selection proved victorious so that record jumped to 9-8. The three-star plays went 1-2 and are 20-14-1 overall. The lone two-star choice was a winner so that total stands at 33-29. The one-star plays went 2-0 for a 37-34-4 mark.

THIS WEEK’S JEFF FRANK DIRTY DOZEN

1) Oregon, 106; 2) Michigan State, 104; 3) TCU, 103; 4) Alabama, 102; 5-T) Georgia and Ole Miss, 100.5; 7) Mississippi State, 99.5; 8) Baylor, 98; 9) Wisconsin, 97.5; 10-T) Georgia Tech, Kansas State and USC, 96.5

(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team’s won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NFL Game Results

(THURSDAY, DECEMBER 04)


Final Score: Dallas 41, Chicago 28

The Dallas Cowboys stayed perfect on the road and ended a three-game losing streak to the Chicago Bears by getting the ball to DeMarco Murray every chance they could. Murray had 41 touches and gained 228 yards from scrimmage as the Cowboys shook off a demoralizing division loss on Thanksgiving to beat the Bears 41-28 on Thursday night. There was no relief for the Bears, who lost not only the game, but also star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was taken away from Soldier Field in an ambulance after suffering an injury to his ribs in the first half, though he tweeted later that he was OK. Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, followed last year’s 146-yard effort against the Bears with 179 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries and added 49 yards on nine catches. Tony Romo had three touchdown passes—two to Cole Beasley—and earned his eighth career win in Thursday games as he and the Cowboys bounced back from a 33-10 loss to NFC East rival Philadelphia by winning in Chicago for the first time since 2007. Their loss a week ago came at home, of course, giving the Eagles the division lead for at least a week. It’s on the road where the Cowboys (9-4) have thrived this season, going 6-0. Matt Forte and Jay Cutler rushed for touchdowns in the fourth quarter—Cutler after an onside kick, cutting a 25-point Dallas lead to 10. But the Bears (5-8) lost for the second week in a row after falling in Detroit on Thanksgiving.


►  Ravens’ Ngata suspended four games for PED use

Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata was suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Ngata said he took Adderall and apologized for the transgression that will keep him out of Baltimore’s remaining four games of the regular season.

“I made a mistake, and I own this,“ said Ngata in a statement Thursday. “I took Adderall and take full responsibility for doing this. I am deeply sorry and broken up over this. I let down my family, my teammates, Ravens fans and myself. My hope is that the Ravens make the playoffs, and I believe they can do this. And, then I can come back and help us win.“

The Ravens are 7-5 entering Sunday’s matchup with the Miami Dolphins and are tied with five other teams for the final AFC wild card spot.

Ngata will be eligible to return following the regular-season finale against Cleveland and would be able to play if the Ravens qualify for the playoffs.

“This is disappointing news for the Ravens,“ said general manager Ozzie Newsome. “We are disappointed with Haloti, but no more than he is with himself.“

Ngata, in his ninth season with the Ravens, is the center of Baltimore’s defense as the prominent run stopper in the club’s 3-4 scheme. He has 31 tackles with two sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions in 12 games this season.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Week 14 player fantasy rankings - quarterbacks

It’s playoff time and it’s certainly not the time to make a mistake with your starting quarterback.

It’s never a mistake to start New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. Brees has been a stud fantasy quarterback since arriving in the Crescent City in 2006 and 2014 is no different. He’s thrown for 3,748 yards and 27 touchdowns in 12 games this season and averaged 28.5 fantasy ppg over the past two contests.

Brees will face a mediocre Carolina pass defense at home where he is historically an elite passer with a career 100.6 QB rating.

No. 2 on the list is Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers and the Packers host the Atlanta Falcons Monday night in what should be another offensive explosion for the Green Bay offensive machine. The Falcons have yielded the most passing yard this season (284.9 ypg), but strangely have been stingy with touchdown passes - just 15 which is better than the league average. For that reason, Rodgers is “only” No. 2 in Week 14.

The Chicago Bears pass defense has been a mess this season and that isn’t likely to change in Week 14. They should be good “medicine” for the Dallas Cowboys passing offense and Tony Romo. Coming off their horrible Thanksgiving Day performance against Philadelphia, the Cowboys have had a full week to fix their issues and facing a Bears defense that has allowed 28.1 ppg and more than 50 points twice, should help then rebound.

You will also find Cam Newton in the top-10 which hasn’t been the case for most of the season. But Newton will travel to New Orleans to face Brees and the Saints and he’ll need to be productive if his team is to keep pace with the New Orleans offense. Fortunately, the Saints defense has been in a giving mood for much of the season, yielding 268.4 ypg through the air.

If you are looking for a “Hail Mary” this weekend, it could be Ryan Fitzpatrick. No, he’s not going to repeat last weekend’s six touchdowns, but he does face a weak Jacksonville Jaguars bottom-10 defense.

Top-25 Quarterback Rankings

—————————————-

1) Drew Brees, New Orleans

2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

3) Tony Romo, Dallas

4) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis

5) Peyton Manning, Denver

6) Matthew Stafford, Detroit

7) Tom Brady, New England

8) Jay Cutler, Chicago

9) Ryan Tannehill, Miami

10) Cam Newton, Carolina

11) Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco

12) Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia

13) Matt Ryan, Atlanta

14) Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston

15) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

16) Philip Rivers, San Diego

17) Joe Flacco, Baltimore

18) Russell Wilson, Seattle

19) Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota

20) Eli Manning, New York Giants

21) Andy Dalton, Cincinnati

22) Alex Smith, Kansas City

23) Kyle Orton, Buffalo

24) Drew Stanton, Arizona

25) Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee


►  Week 14 player fantasy rankings - wide receivers

Despite this being the “Year of the Pass,“ not all wide receivers have been active participants.

Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson had been one of the biggest disappointments ... at least until last weekend when the “real” Megatron finally showed up for the first time since Week 1. He appears 100% healthy and will face a Tampa Bay defense that is among the worst at defending against wide receivers.

In Week 14 he’ll continue to “make amends” to his fantasy owners, at least those who somehow managed to overcome his poor early season production, and still made it into the fantasy playoffs.

Even with Darrelle Revis covering him everywhere he went last Sunday, Green Bay wideout Jordy Nelson still managed double-digit fantasy points. In Week 14, he won’t have to worry about escaping Revis’ grasp as the Packers face the very generous Atlanta Falcons pass defense Monday night. I expect Nelson to explode for close to 150 yards and a touchdown.

Dez Bryant was one of the many non-existent Cowboys in an ugly home loss to Philadelphia on Thanksgiving Day, but should rebound nicely against the Chicago Bears Thursday night. The Bears defense has yielded a league-worst 27 passing touchdowns and is on a short practice week so Bryant figures to add to that touchdown total.

The Pittsburgh Steelers pass defense has been one of the worst in the league too, yielding 24 touchdown passes and only coming up with eight interceptions. So it’s a great time for A.J. Green and the Bengals to host the Steelers. Green has posted double-digit fantasy points in three consecutive games and four of five since missing a trio of games due to injury.

There are quite a few former “big-named” receivers near the bottom of the list. Many are there because of questionable health (ex” DeSean Jackson, Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne), but a few simply haven’t performed as expected this season.

Michael Crabtree has done very little and become Colin Kaepernick’s No. 3 receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Stevie Johnson.

Houston’s Andre Johnson has become a “possession” receiver while second-year wideout DeAndre Hopkins (9-238-2 last weekend) has taken over as the Texans’ deep threat.

And Pierre Garcon, who last season posted a league-high 113 receptions for 1,346 yards, has virtually disappeared due to the Redskins’ quarterback ills and the acquisition of Jackson.

Despite their obvious talent, it’s hard to recommend starting any of them with the fantasy championship on the line.

Top-50 Wide Receiver Rankings

——————————————-

1) Calvin Johnson, Detroit

2) Jordy Nelson, Green Bay

3) Dez Bryant, Dallas

4) A.J. Green, Cincinnati

5) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh

6) Demaryius Thomas, Denver

7) Julio Jones, Atlanta

8) Josh Gordon, Cleveland

9) Emmanuel Sanders, Denver

10) Randall Cobb, Green Bay

11) Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

12) T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis

13) Golden Tate, Detroit

14) DeAndre Hopkins, Houston

15) Brandon Marshall, Chicago

16) Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina

17) Alshon Jeffery, Chicago

18) Keenan Allen, San Diego

19) Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia

20) Anquan Boldin, San Francisco

21) Michael Floyd, Arizona

22) Jarvis Landry, Miami

23) Julian Edelman, New England

24) Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati

25) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay

26) Terrence Williams, Dallas

27) Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia

28) Sammy Watkins, Buffalo

29) Brandon LaFell, New England

30) Marques Colston, New Orleans

31) Mike Wallace, Miami

32) Kendall Wright, Tennessee

33) Torrey Smith, Baltimore

34) Kenny Stills, New Orleans

35) Roddy White, Atlanta

36) Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

37) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis

38) Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh

39) John Brown, Arizona

40) Greg Jennings, Minnesota

41) Malcolm Floyd, San Diego

42) DeSean Jackson, Washington

43) Andre Johnson, Houston

44) Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore

45) Percy Harvin, New York Jets

46) Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay

47) Pierre Garcon, Washington

48) Michael Crabtree, San Francisco

49) Reuben Randle, New York Giants

50) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City


►  Week 14 player fantasy rankings - running backs

Last week, Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell was our top-ranked tailback, with Dallas Cowboys’ halfback DeMarco Murray ranked directly behind him.

Heading into Week 14, we are simply flipping the two.

Even in a week where Murray averaged under four yards per carry, for the first time in 2014, he still managed to record 17.3 fantasy points (according to Yahoo) against the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only is he a threat to run the ball, but Murray can also catch passes out of the backfield (seventh among tailbacks in receiving yards, with 343), making it extremely tough on opposing defenses to completely shut him down. As a result, Murray has 215.0 fantasy points, which leads all running back, and further backs up our choice with him as our top-ranked halfback for Week 14.

Bell comes in as our second-ranked halfback for the week. He has the second- most fantasy points (198.9), behind only Murray. After describing Dallas’ star running-back as a dual-threat, Bell is a guy who epitomizes that role even more. Pittsburgh’s tailback is just one of four players with over 1,000 rushing yards in 2014 (1,046), and on top of that, Bell’s 643 receiving yards is the second-most among halfbacks (Matt Forte has 650 receiving yards). We expect Bell to continue his strong season on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, who give up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, allowing 21.7 points per game.

When considering all the facts, our third-ranked tailback, Houston Texans’ running back Arian Foster, has had an extremely impressive season. He has the sixth-most rushing yards in the league (901), as well as the fifth-most fantasy points (177.6), yet has missed significant time with a groin injury.

Not only did Foster miss two games, but he also left two games early with the injury, which obviously has affected his stats. If he had been healthy for every game in 2014, there is a legitimate chance that Foster would have the most fantasy points among halfbacks.

Nevertheless, owners should expect Foster’s success to carry over to Week 14 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are giving up an average of 21.4 ppg to opposing tailbacks.

One player who jumped up in our rankings for this week is Green Bay Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy. After being the ninth-ranked halfback heading into Week 13, Lacy jumped all the way up to No. 4 for Week 14, and rightfully so. His opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, are giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing halfbacks (23.7 ppg), and combined with Lacy being on fire over his past six games, makes for a tremendous opportunity for fantasy owners. Lacy has recorded at least 10 fantasy points, during his past six games, and has produced over 15 points in four of those contests. He is clearly playing his best football of the season and we expect that to continue against the Falcons.

Another guy we love is Cleveland Browns’ running back Isaiah Crowell. While he is not coming off a particularly strong Week 13 performance (19 touches, 44 yards), it was important to note that he did not make any mistakes against the Buffalo Bills. Head coach Mike Pettine called out tailback Terrance West in an extremely negative way after Sunday’s loss, as he had a costly fumble in the third-quarter. With Crowell already seeing the majority of the workload, we think his touches will increase, making him a solid RB2-option Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts give up 21.6 fantasy ppg to opposing running backs (eighth-most points allowed to opposing halfbacks), further cementing Crowell’s value.

Top-50 Running Back Rankings

——————————————

1) DeMarco Murray, Dallas

2) Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh

3) Arian Foster, Houston

4) Eddie Lacy, Green Bay

5) LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia

6) Matt Forte, Chicago

7) Marshawn Lynch, Seattle

8) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City

9) Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland

10) Mark Ingram, New Orleans

11) Justin Forsett, Baltimore

12) C.J. Anderson, Denver

13) Alfred Morris, Washington

14) Frank Gore, San Francisco

15) Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati

16) Tre Mason, St. Louis

17) Daniel Herron, Indianapolis

18) Ryan Mathews, San Diego

19) Denard Robinson, Jacksonville

20) Rashad Jennings, New York Giants

21) Joique Bell, Detroit

22) Lamar Miller, Miami

23) Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati

24) Fred Jackson, Buffalo

25) Chris Ivory, New York Jets

26) Andre Ellington, Arizona

27) Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota

28) Reggie Bush, Detroit

29) Steven Jackson, Atlanta

30) Carlos Hyde, San Francisco

31) Trent Richardson, Indianapolis

32) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay

33) Shane Vereen, New England

34) Darren Sproles, Philadelphia

35) LeGarrette Blount, New England

36) Bishop Sankey, Tennessee

37) Jonathan Stewart, Carolina

38) Roy Helu, Washington

39) Latavius Murray, Oakland

40) Matt Asiata, Minnesota

41) Chris Johnson, New York Jets

42) Pierre Thomas, New Orleans

43) DeAngelo Williams, Carolina

44) Terrance West, Cleveland

45) Charles Sims, Tampa Bay

46) Jonas Gray, New England

47) Knile Davis, Kansas City

48) Alfred Blue, Houston

49) Juwan Thompson, Denver

50) Theo Riddick, Detroit


►  Week 14 player fantasy rankings - tight ends

Many fantasy owners felt that once New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski was able to take the field and healthy, that he would produce as one of the top tight ends in the league.

Yet, it is hard to imagine that all of those owners thought he would be the No. 1 fantasy tight end given his questionable health.

After not playing a single snap during the preseason, the jury was out heading into the NFL season, as to how Gronkowski would play. Well, not only does he lead all tight ends with 910 yards, he is also tied for the league-lead in receptions (65), and second in touchdown catches (9). On top of that, Gronkowski has the most fantasy points among tight ends (according to Yahoo), with 145.0 points, making him a clear choice to head our Week 14 tight-end rankings.

There are two tight ends who are tied with Gronkowski at 65 receptions.

One is New Orleans Saints’ tight end Jimmy Graham, who will open this week ranked directly behind the Patriots’ superstar. Graham had a surprisingly quiet Week 13, recording zero catches, even though Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees threw for 257 yards and five touchdowns. With Graham putting up a “donut” last weekend, we expect him to bounce back in a big way Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers. In a Week 9 victory over Carolina, Graham recorded seven receptions for 83 yards and a score, which should lead fantasy owners to believe he can, at the minimum, duplicate that performance.

The other player with the same number of catches as “Gronk” is Chicago Bears’ tight end Martellus Bennett, who heads into Week 14 as our third-ranked tight end.

Bennett had been mediocre from Week 9-12, producing less than 10 fantasy points combined, however, he rebounded in a big way on Thanksgiving, with eight receptions for 109 yards, showing he is still a solid TE1. Chicago’s upcoming opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, are giving up the third-most points to opposing tight ends (11.0 points per game), giving owners another reason to show confidence in Bennett.

Fantasy owners must keep tabs on Denver Broncos’ tight end Julius Thomas. After missing the past two games with an ankle injury, which includes being a true game-time decision for Week 13, Thomas has a great chance to return to action on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning should love the sound of that, as tight ends Jacob Tamme and Virgil Green have combined for just three catches and 13 yards during the past two games. Thomas has the most touchdowns (12) among tight ends, and as long as he is able to suit up, we expect him to record lucky No. 13 on Sunday.

One tight end who owners may want to think about sitting, who is actually ranked in our top-10, is the Carolina Panthers’ Greg Olsen. Benching Olsen will be no easy task, as he has the fifth-most fantasy points among tight ends, with 107.8. However, if there is one thing Olsen’s Week 14 opponent, the Saints do well, it is defending tight ends. New Orleans is giving up the least amount of fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2014 (4.7 ppg), and to make matters worse, Olsen had a rough outing against them in Week 9 (three catches, 30 yards). Most weekends, we would have Olsen as a top-five tight-end, yet with a tough matchup on Sunday, we advise owners to consider alternative options.

Top-25 Tight End Rankings

————————————-

1) Rob Gronkowski, New England

2) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

3) Martellus Bennett, Chicago

4) Antonio Gates, San Diego

5) Julius Thomas, Denver

6) Jason Witten, Dallas

7) Delanie Walker, Tennessee

8) Coby Fleener, Indianapolis

9) Greg Olsen, Carolina

10) Larry Donnell, New York Giants

11) Heath Miller, Pittsburgh

12) Jordan Reed, Washington

13) Tim Wright, New England

14) Owen Daniels, Baltimore

15) Travis Kelce, Kansas City

16) Scott Chandler, Buffalo

17) Mychal Rivera, Oakland

18) Vernon Davis, San Francisco

19) Jared Cook, St. Louis

20) Brent Celek, Philadelphia

21) Luke Wilson, Seattle

22) Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis

23) Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota

24) Charles Clay, Miami

25) Zach Ertz, Philadelphia


►  Week 14 player fantasy rankings - kickers

Usually kickers in cold weather during the first week of December are not positioned very high on the weekly ranking list.

Owners should make an exception to that rule this week, because the two we have chosen have been fantasy studs lately.

Since coming off the Packers bye week four games ago, Mason Crosby has made 9- of-11 field goals and 17 extra-points. Against the Falcons defense, the Packers have a chance to score a lot of points again at Lambeau.

Cody Parkey has really been a fantasy stud all season as he has scored fewer than eight fantasy points just once. The last two weeks, Parkey has hit 9- of-10 field goals and converted seven extra-points.

“Mr. Reliables,“ Stephen Gostkowski and Adam Vinatieri follow Crosby and Parkey on the Week 14 rankings. Gostkowski actually missed a field goal last week, just his second miss of the season, and scored only one fantasy point, but he should bounce back in warm, sunny San Diego.

Vinatieri did not attempt a field goal last week, but still had seven fantasy points because the Colts scored seven touchdowns. Owners shouldn’t shy away from starting him because he will be in frigid Cleveland.

Dallas’ Dan Bailey rounds out the top-five for this week as the Cowboys take on the Bears on Thursday night. Bailey has missed just three field goals this season (22 attempts), and Chicago allows the most fantasy points to opposing kickers.

Unless there is a surprise snowstorm in a city where one of these place- kickers are playing, all these guys should be in lineups.

If owners are in need a kicker, recently-signed Connor Barth made all five of his attempts in his Broncos debut in Week 13. He is available in 89% of Yahoo Leagues.

Top-25 Kicker Rankings

———————————

1) Mason Crosby, Green Bay

2) Cody Parkey, Philadelphia

3) Stephen Gostkowski, New England

4) Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis

5) Dan Bailey, Dallas

6) Justin Tucker, Baltimore

7) Steven Hauschka, Seattle

8) Matt Bryant, Atlanta

9) Matt Prater, Detroit

10) Connor Barth, Denver

11) Caleb Sturgis, Miami

12) Dan Carpenter, Buffalo

13) Mike Nugent, Cincinnati

14) Phil Dawson, San Francisco

15) Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh

16) Nick Novak, San Diego

17) Randy Bullock, Houston

18) Cairo Santos, Kansas City

19) Shayne Graham, St. Louis

20) Blair Walsh, Minnesota

21) Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona

22) Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis

23) Billy Cundiff, Cleveland

24) Josh Brown, New York Giants

25) Patrick Murray, Tampa Bay


►  Week 14 player fantasy rankings - defense

When J.J. Watt is on your defense, the unit is always going to be ranked among the best in fantasy. When that defense is facing the Jaguars, it jumps all the way to the head of the class.

Houston travels to Jacksonville for its first of two matchups with the Jaguars in the final four weeks. If your league has a Week 17 championship game, the Texans will be a top defensive option that week too as they host the Jaguars in their season finale.

The Eagles take on the Seahawks in the most highly-anticipated matchup of Week 14. Since the game is in Philadelphia, the Eagles are the better defensive option. Philadelphia allows the 14th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses, but that is a bit misleading because they allowed 26 fantasy points against the Packers a couple weeks ago.

Minnesota is coming off a big fantasy performance last week with two blocked punts. Although the Vikings will obviously not repeat that, they remain a top defensive option, simply because the Jets are coming to town.

The Bills are one of the best fantasy defenses this season, but owners will have to start them with caution versus the explosive Broncos. Eight different defenses have scored negative fantasy points against Peyton Manning and Denver.

The Buffalo defense’s one saving grace is they lead the league with 48 sacks, so perhaps they can get some pressure on Manning like the Rams did a few weeks ago. That’s a big maybe because the Broncos have allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL (13).

Speaking of sacks, the Giants got to Blake Bortles seven times last week and have another juicy matchup with the Titans in Week 14. New York is still a bit of a risky play because the defense doesn’t provide much else, but if owners are in a bind, the Giants should get a few sacks on whomever plays quarterback for the Titans. Tennessee has allowed 33 sacks this season.

The Buccaneers defense has quietly strung together a few great weeks. The unit is averaging 13.3 fantasy points the last three games and actually has a decent matchup in Detroit, who allows the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses. Along with the New York Giants, Tampa Bay is an option for owners hurting at defense or facing a top offense.

Top-25 Defense/Special Teams Rankings

——————————————————-

1) Houston Texans

2) Detroit Lions

3) St. Louis Rams

4) San Francisco 49ers

5) Philadelphia Eagles

6) Minnesota Vikings

7) Cincinnati Bengals

8) Green Bay Packers

9) Denver Broncos

10) Arizona Cardinals

11) Seattle Seahawks

12) Buffalo Bills

13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

14) Miami Dolphins

15) New York Giants

16) Baltimore Ravens

17) Dallas Cowboys

18) New England Patriots

19) Washington Redskins

20) New York Jets

21) New Orleans Saints

22) Cleveland Browns

23) Tennessee Titans

24) Pittsburgh Steelers

25) Kansas City Chiefs



The Gilmer Free Press

►  WVU Loses to LSU

Josh Gray’s layup with six seconds to go lifted LSU to a 74-73 win over No. 16 West Virginia in an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game on Thursday.

LSU trailed by one after Daxter Miles Jr.‘s tip-in. Out of a timeout, Gray drove the lane on an isolation play for an uncontested layup to push the Tigers in front.

Juwan Staten proceeded to take the ball up the floor for the final shot, but his attempt from just inside the arc was long and LSU held on for the win.

Tim Quarterman had 21 points off the bench and Jarell Martin scored 18 points with 14 rebounds for the Tigers (6-2), who had lost 14 straight road games against ranked opponents since beating No. 13 West Virginia in overtime in 2005.

Jordan Mickey, LSU’s leading scorer, spent most of the first half on the bench due to foul trouble and finished with four points and six rebounds.

Staten paced the Mountaineers (7-1) with 17 points and Miles totaled 13.

LSU, which committed 19 turnovers in a win over UMass its last time out, had another tough time protecting the ball in this one, turning it over 24 times.

Gray had a team-high eight of those turnovers, however, made amends for them late.

The Mountaineers used momentum from the end of the first half to open the second on a 9-0 run. Following a Gary Browne steal, Miles canned a 3-pointer before Jonathan Holton swiped the ball away in LSU’s defensive zone and finished a layup to make it 52-38.

The Tigers worked their way back, however, scoring 10 straight to turn a 12- point deficit into a 55-53 game with 11 minutes left. Keith Hornsby, who supplied 15 points, tied the game minutes later with a 3-pointer.

The lead was three for the Mountaineers and LSU committed another turnover. Miles picked up the loose ball by the baseline, was fouled on his drive and hit 1-of-2 from the stripe to make it a two-possession game.

Quarterman came storming in for a putback dunk at the other end, then Hornsby nailed a corner 3 to give the Tigers a 72-71 lead with 33 seconds left.

Out of a timeout, West Virginia had trouble inbounding the ball, but Holton was fouled by Martin, who picked up his fifth foul on the play. Holton missed the free throw, then Miles just got a hand on the rebound to tip it in for the lead.

It then became a little frantic at the Coliseum, as LSU nearly threw the ball away. Hornsby was fouled hard on the play and came up bleeding from his nose, but officials ruled it a common foul. Gray then pushed the visitors in front with his driving layup.

Staten’s layup gave the Mountaineers a 13-11 lead with over 13 minutes left in the first half, then Quarterman scored six points during an 11-3 burst for the Tigers. Quarterman hit a 3-pointer and a three-point play on back-to-back possessions to help the visitors take a 22-16 advantage.

West Virginia regained the lead on Elijah Macon’s three-point play later which was part of a 9-1 run to end the half for a 43-38 edge at the break.

Game Notes

LSU improved to 2-2 on the road this season and grabbed a 2-1 lead in the all- time series with West Virginia ...

Mickey’s first basket came with 4:59 left in second half ...

The Mountaineers, who entered the game leading the nation with 20.7 offensive rebounds per game, finished with 15 offensive boards in the loss ...

The Tigers shot 46% from the floor ...

West Virginia scored 25 points off turnovers.


►  Huggins: Fundamental failings led to WVU’s first loss

Beyond the defensive breakdown that permitted LSU’s winning layup in the final seconds, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins found several factors contributed to a 74-73 loss Thursday night.

Trapping the wrong ballhandlers on the press, missing too many point-blank shots, and making only 7-of-13 second-half free throws were mistakes that, when added to the poor halfcourt defense, explained how the Mountaineers lost a 14-point lead and their first game of the season.

Huggins hoped the defeat taught his players to refocus on the fundamentals that had been slipping of late.

“They listened really good until after the Connecticut game,” he said. “But you get ranked and everybody’s running around telling them how good they are, and they don’t know how to handle it.”



<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, December 04)


Final Score: LSU 74, (16) West Virginia 73

Josh Gray’s layup with six seconds to go lifted LSU to a 74-73 win over No. 16 West Virginia in an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game on Thursday. LSU trailed by one after Daxter Miles Jr.‘s tip-in. Out of a timeout, Gray drove the lane on an isolation play for an uncontested layup to push the Tigers in front. Juwan Staten proceeded to take the ball up the floor for the final shot, but his attempt from just inside the arc was long and LSU held on for the win. Tim Quarterman had 21 points off the bench and Jarell Martin scored 18 points with 14 rebounds for the Tigers (6-2), who had lost 14 straight road games against ranked opponents since beating No. 13 West Virginia in overtime in 2005. Jordan Mickey, LSU’s leading scorer, spent most of the first half on the bench due to foul trouble and finished with four points and six rebounds. Staten paced the Mountaineers (7-1) with 17 points and Miles totaled 13.


Final Score: (20) Iowa State 95, (18) Arkansas 77

Bryce Dejean-Jones and Georges Niang had 27 and 26 points, respectively, and No. 20 Iowa State cruised past 18th-ranked Arkansas 95-77 on Thursday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Dejean-Jones made all eight of his shots and went 4-of-4 from beyond the arc for the Cyclones (5-1), who have won 24 straight non-conference home games. Niang added eight assists and six rebounds. Dustin Hogue tallied 14 points for Iowa State, which shot 64% from the field and went 10-of-19 from 3-point range. Monte Morris and Naz Long had 11 and 10 points, respectively. Bobby Portis ended with 19 points and eight rebounds for the Razorbacks (6-1). Alandise Harris donated 15 points.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Thursday, December 04)


Final Score: Cleveland 90, New York 87

Kyrie Irving’s season-high 37 points and two timely LeBron James baskets helped the Cleveland Cavaliers avenge an opening-night loss to the New York Knicks with a 90-87 win on Thursday. The Cavaliers trailed for most of the second half, but James scored five straight points late in the fourth to put them back in front. The Knicks went to a Carmelo Anthony isolation on the game’s final possession. Anthony shook James and shot a 3 from the right wing, but it was just off the mark. Irving hit 12- of-18 from the floor and made 10 of his 11 free throw attempts for Cleveland, which has won a season-high five straight games. James gave 19 points and 12 assists, and Kevin Love posted 11 points and 11 boards. The Cavaliers dropped a 95-90 decision to the Knicks on Oct. 30. Since then, New York has managed just three more wins in 19 games. Tim Hardaway Jr. paced the Knicks with 20 points off the bench. Amar’e Stoudemire had 18 and Quincy Acy scored a career- high 15 in New York’s sixth straight setback. Anthony shot just 4-for-19 for nine points.


Final Score: Portland 88, Indiana 82

Damian Lillard scored 23 points and LaMarcus Aldridge posted his fourth straight double-double as the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Indiana Pacers, 88-82, on Thursday. Aldridge finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for Portland, which has won three straight and 12 of 13. Nicolas Batum added 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. Rodney Stuckey scored 16 points and Solomon Hill added 15 with eight rebounds in Indiana’s third straight loss.


Final Score: Golden State 112, New Orleans 85

Stephen Curry had 19 points and 11 assists and the Golden State Warriors matched the longest winning streak in franchise history with a 112-85 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night. The Warriors have gone nearly a month without a loss, winning 11 in a row to match the team record set in 1971-72. Klay Thompson led the way with 23 points while Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green each posted double-doubles. Anthony Davis had 30 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Pelicans, who were coming off a win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday but have lost four of five.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Mariners make it official with Cruz

The Seattle Mariners signed outfielder Nelson Cruz to a four-year contract on Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was reported on Monday that the contract is worth $57 million with an added $1 million signing bonus.

Cruz spent the 2014 season in Baltimore, signing a one-year deal last February in the wake of his 50-game suspension that stemmed from the Biogenesis scandal in August 2013.

The 34-year-old Dominican native helped the Orioles to the American League East title in 2014. He led the majors with 40 home runs and finished third in the American League with a career-high 108 runs batted in while batting .271 in 159 games.

“I am excited to join the Mariners,“ Cruz said. “Watching Seattle play from the other side of the field, I know how close this team is to the postseason, and I am hopeful that I can help to get us there.“

Cruz spent eight seasons with Texas from 2006-13 and also played eight games for Milwaukee in 2005. He has 197 career home runs with 597 RBI, a .268 average and a .501 slugging percentage in 963 games.

“Our number one goal this offseason was to improve our offense, ideally by adding right-handed power, and with the addition of Nelson Cruz we think we’ve accomplished that goal,“ Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “He is an impact hitter that will bat in the middle of our lineup. Nelson has a track record as a middle of the order hitter on pennant contending clubs. He will be an asset on the field and in the clubhouse. Nelson’s presence in our clubhouse and as a teammate will continue to help our club advance to the next level. We see him as an ideal fit as we strive toward our goal of winning a world championship.“

A three-time All-Star, including last year, Cruz was also the 2011 ALCS MVP for the Rangers when he slugged six homers and drove in 13 runs in a six-game victory over Detroit.


►  Rangers re-sign Lewis

The Texas Rangers re-signed pitcher Colby Lewis to a one-year contract on Thursday.

Lewis went 10-14 with a 5.18 ERA in 29 starts for Texas in 2014 after missing the previous season following elbow and hip surgeries. He led all Rangers in starts and innings last year, and tied Yu Darvish for most wins on the staff.

The 35-year-old right-hander was selected by Texas with the 38th overall pick in the 1999 June draft and has spent the bulk of his major league career with the Rangers. He has a career mark of 54-58 with a 4.84 ERA in 181 games with the Rangers and Oakland Athletics (2007).

Lewis also has four career postseason victories, the most in franchise history.

The Rangers also signed pitcher Michael Kirkman to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training on Thursday.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Thursday, December 04)


Final Score: Vancouver 3, Pittsburgh 0

Brad Richardson had two goals and an assist to support a 21-save effort from Eddie Lack as the Vancouver Canucks posted an impressive 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center. Shawn Matthias added a goal and an assist in the Canucks’ NHL-best 11th road win of the season, while Lack was rarely challenged by a lethargic Penguins team in recording his fifth career shutout and first of 2014-15. Thomas Greiss finished with 28 saves for Pittsburgh, which was blanked for only the second time this season.


Final Score: Washington 2, Carolina 1

Fehr scored a tiebreaking goal with 4:02 remaining in the third period to lift the visiting Washington Capitals to a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Jay Beagle had a goal in the first period and Braden Holtby made 29 saves for the Capitals, who snapped a two-game losing streak with a fifth straight win at PNC Arena. Alexander Semin scored his first goal of the season for Carolina, which has dropped five of its last seven games. Anton Khudobin stopped 26 shots in defeat.


Final Score: Detroit 5, Dallas 2

Darren Helm scored two goals and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Thursday. Stephen Weiss had one goal and two assists for the Red Wings, who bounced back from a 4-3 loss to the Panthers on Tuesday. Pavel Datsyuk and Kyle Quincey each had one goal and an assist. Jimmy Howard made 22 saves in the win. Colton Sceviour and Tyler Seguin lit the lamp for the Stars, who have lost four in a row. Jussi Rynnas, who was recalled by Dallas from the AHL on Wednesday, stopped 24- of-29 shots in his first NHL game since Feb. 19, 2013.


Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Buffalo 0

Ben Bishop faced just 13 shots in his first shutout of the season and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-0 on Thursday night to split a home-and-home series. Steven Stamkos, Brenden Morrow, Nikita Kucherov, Jason Garrison and Brett Connolly scored for the Lightning, who had a four-game winning streak snapped in Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout loss in Buffalo. Bishop stopped five shots in the first period, three in the second and made five more saves in the third for his ninth career shutout. Jhonas Enroth gave up all five Tampa Bay goals on 35 shots as the Sabres lost for only the second time in their last eight games.


Final Score: Columbus 4, Florida 3 (SO)

Ryan Johansen scored the lone goal of the shootout to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Johansen skated in slowly on Roberto Luongo and nonchalantly snapped a shot past the Panthers netminder to give the Blue Jackets their 10th straight win in the series. Sergei Bobrovsky was stellar in net for Columbus, turning aside 52 shots and making a highlight-reel glove save on Nick Bjugstad in the fourth and final round of the shootout. Cam Atkinson tallied a goal with an assist, while Nick Foligno and Boone Jenner also scored for the Blue Jackets. The Panthers tied a franchise record with 55 shots on goal. Bjugstad notched two goals and an assist and Tomas Fleischmann added a goal with an assist. Luongo made 17 stops in the setback.


Final Score: New Jersey 5, Toronto 3

Mike Cammalleri’s tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period helped the New Jersey Devils stop a five-game losing streak with a 5-3 decision over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite playing without Jaromir Jagr due to a bout with the flu, the Devils had little trouble producing offense. Steve Bernier and Eric Gelinas both recorded a goal and an assist, with Stephen Gionta and Adam Henrique also lighting the lamp to back a 28-save effort from Cory Schneider. Jonathan Bernier managed just 21 saves for Toronto, which entered Thursday’s matchup 4-0-1 over its last five outings. Mike Santorelli had a goal and an assist in the loss.


Final Score: NY Islanders 2, Ottawa 1

Casey Cizikas’ goal with 6:27 remaining spoiled an emotional night for the Ottawa Senators while lifting the New York Islanders to a 2-1 victory. The Senators honored franchise icon Daniel Alfredsson, who signed a one-day contract with the team on Thursday to officially announce his retirement, prior to the game’s start. However, Ottawa mustered just 21 shots and Mika Zibanejad’s power-play goal to extend their losing streak to four games. Brock Nelson added a goal in the red-hot Islanders’ eighth win in their last nine outings, while Jaroslav Halak posted 20 saves to set a team record with his 11th consecutive win between the pipes. Craig Anderson stopped 23 shots for Ottawa, which was coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to New York in Long Island in Tuesday’s opener of this home-and-home set.


Final Score: Nashville 4, St. Louis 3

Colin Wilson’s breakaway goal in the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Nashville Predators beat St. Louis 4-3 to spoil Martin Brodeur’s debut with the Blues. Mike Ribeiro tallied his third goal in as many games and added two assists for the Predators, who won their seventh straight home game. Filip Forsberg and Eric Nystrom also scored, while Pekka Rinne made 29 saves. Brodeur, for the first time in his career, appeared in a game for a team other than the New Jersey Devils and allowed four goals on 24 shots. Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for St. Louis, which has dropped two straight after opening its four-game road trip with a 3-2 shootout win at Minnesota.


Final Score: Calgary 4, Colorado 3 (OT)

Sean Monahan scored 1:47 into overtime to lift the Calgary Flames to a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. Calgary’s Dennis Wideman scored his second goal of the game with 1:17 remaining in regulation to force overtime. Monahan won it when he collected his own rebound and fired it past Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov, who returned after missing six games with a groin injury, thought the puck was covered after denying Monahan’s initial bid from the slot. Kris Russell collected three assists for the Flames, but was undressed on a glittering goal by Alex Tanguay that gave the Avalanche a 3-2 lead with 5:46 left in the third. Karri Ramo won his sixth consecutive start with a 26-save effort. The win was the 400th in the career of Calgary head coach Bob Hartley, who guided the Avalanche to a 2001 Stanley Cup title. Varlamov stopped 21 shots in his first action since Nov. 15.


Final Score: Los Angeles 4, Arizona 0

Martin Jones made 26 saves for his second consecutive shutout as the Los Angeles Kings claimed a 4-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. Jones made 28 saves in the Kings’ 4-0 win over the Wild on Nov. 26. Los Angeles has back-to-back shutouts—Jonathan Quick blanked the Boston Bruins 2-0 on Tuesday. Dustin Brown had two goals and an assist for the Kings, who have won three of four. Jarret Stoll and Alec Martinez both had one goal and an assist. Mike Smith got the start for the Coyotes and gave up three goals on 20 shots before being pulled. Devan Dubnyk stopped 21-of-22 shots in relief.

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 05, 2014


National Basketball Association
Oklahoma City at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-Oklahoma, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
New York at Charlotte, 7:00 PM - MSG, SportSouth, DSS
Denver at Washington, 7:00 PM - Altitude2, CSN-DC, NBA TV
Cleveland at Toronto, 7:30 PM - FS-Ohio, TSN5, DSS
LA Lakers at Boston, 7:30 PM - Time Warner, CSN-New England, DSS
Atlanta at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - SportSouth, YES, DSS
San Antonio at Memphis, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest, SportSouth, DSS
Houston at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Southwest, FS-North, DSS
Phoenix at Dallas, 8:30 PM - FS-Arizona, Southwest, DSS
Miami at Milwaukee, 8:30 PM - SunSports, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
Orlando at Utah, 9:00 PM - FS-Florida, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Indiana at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - FS-Indiana, CSN-California, NBA TV


National Hockey League
Anaheim at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, North+, DSS
Colorado at Winnipeg, 8:00 PM - Altitude, TSN3, DSS
Montreal at Chicago, 8:30 PM - RDS, CSN-Chicago, DSS


College Basketball
Providence at Boston College, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Yale at Connecticut, 7:00 PM - SNY
Manhattan at Fairfield, 7:00 PM - MASN, ESPN3.com
Texas at Kentucky, 7:00 PM - ESPN
FIU at Louisville, 7:00 PM - RSN, FS-South, Florida, Detroit+, ESPN3.com
Western Carolina at Minnesota, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Duquesne vs. Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Quinnipiac at Siena, 7:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
Wyoming at SMU, 7:00 PM - ESPNews
Coastal Carolina at Auburn, 9:00 PM - FS-South, Florida
Florida at Kansas, 9:00 PM - ESPN
Missouri at Oklahoma, 9:30 PM - ESPN U
St. Katherine at UNLV, 10:00 PM - Mountain West Network


College Football
Northern Illinois vs. Bowling Green, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Arizona vs. Oregon, 9:00 PM - FOX


College Hockey
Minnesota at Michigan State, 7:00 PM - FS-Detroit
Ohio State at Michigan, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Nebraska Omaha at Miami-Ohio, 7:30 PM - FCS, Time Warner
Boston College at New Hampshire, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
Penn State at Wisconsin, 9:00 PM - ESPNews


International Soccer
ACF Fiorentina vs. Juventus FC, 2:30 PM - beIN Sport


Golf
EUROPEAN - Nedbank Challenge, 6:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Hero World Challenge, 2:00 PM - Golf Channel

MEC Football: 16 Earn Daktronica All-Region Honors

The Gilmer Free Press

Sixteen players from the Mountain East Conference have been named to the the 2014 Daktronics, Inc., Division II All-Super Region 1 football teams selected by the region’s sports information directors.

Five of the 16 players were named to the first team, including three on offense and one special teams.

Earning first team honors were: Calvinaugh Jones (RB, Concord), Rustin Mayorga (OL, Concord), Isaiah Shelton (OL, Shepherd), Torie Wagner (Return Specialist, Charleston) and D’Gary Wallace (LB, Urbana).

Doniel Gambrell (OL, Notre Dame), Mitchell Shegos (WR, Notre Dame) and La’Velle Spivey (TE, Urbana) were named to the second team on offense.

Justin Avery (LB, Charleston), Levi Barber (LB, Shepherd), Zack Blair (LB, UVa-Wise), C.J. Davis (CB, Shepherd), Gary Henderson (DL, Glenville State) and Marlon Oden (S, Notre Dame) were second team picks on defense.

Andy Ellington (K, Concord) was selected as a second team kicker.

A total of 51 athletes from 23 of the region’s 50 schools comprise the 2014 squad.

Ten players are repeat all-region selections while only two players were repeat first-team picks.

Slippery Rock led the way with five all-region representatives.

West Chester, California (PA) and Concord each landed four players on the two teams.

Sports News   141123

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  High school Football Playoff Quarterfinal Results

CLASS AAA

#6 South Charleston (9-2)  24  at   #3 University (10-1)  20

#7 Huntington (8-3)  28  at   #2 Cabell Midland (10-1)  21

#5 Point Pleasant (10-0)  28   at   #4 Martinsburg (10-1)  49

#8 Wheeling Park (9-2)  14   at   #1 Capital (10-0)  35



CLASS AA

#7 Nicholas County (10-1)  20   at   #2 Frankfort (11-0)  26

#8 Robert C. Byrd (9-2)  14   at   #1 Bridgeport (10-1)  35

#5 Wayne (9-2)  35  at   #4 Mingo Central (10-1)  17

#14 Ravenswood (8-3)  25   at   #6 Westside (9-2)  42



CLASS A

#10 Buffalo (9-2)  19   at   #2 Tug Valley (10-1)  36

#9 Moorefield (9-2)  0   at   #1 St. Marys (11-0)  36

#12 Bishop Donahue (9-2)  20   at   #4 Clay-Battelle (10-1)  30

#14 East Hardy (8-3)  22   at   #6 Williamstown (9-2)  42



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Mountaineers, Big 12 finalize 2015 football schedule

West Virginia won’t play a road game during the first month of the 2015 football season, according to the schedule released Wednesday.

The Mountaineers’ opponents have been known for months, but the schedule couldn’t be finalized until the Big 12 set its lineup for conference games.

West Virginia opens the season with three home games against nonconference foes: September 5 against Georgia Southern, September 12 against Liberty and September 26 vs. Maryland.

The Mountaineers won’t travel until an October 3 game at Oklahoma.

2015 West Virginia football               
September 05          Georgia Southern
September 12           Liberty
September 26           Maryland
October 03           at Oklahoma
October 10               Oklahoma State
October 17            at Baylor
October 29            at TCU (Thursday)
November 07            Texas Tech
November 14            Texas
November 21        at Kansas
November 28            Iowa State
December 05         at Kansas State

What’s not to like: Two byes within a five-week span. The first bye comes during Week 3, following money games against Georgia Southern and Liberty and preceding the Maryland matchup. That’s not exactly optimal timing.

The next bye comes about a month later on October 24, wedged between road trips to Baylor and a Thursday night game at TCU. Having two byes in the first half of the season means West Virginia will play six consecutive weeks to close the regular season.

Recall that Oklahoma and West Virginia agreed to move up their meetings in 2013 and 2014 to avoid an early-season bye. In the case of 2015, Baylor has a September 19 bye like WVU, but moving up that game is unlikely because it would create a 19-day gap between games in October for the Mountaineers.

October gauntlet: The month features three road games against teams projected to be among the Big 12’s elite—Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU. (Oklahoma has a bye preceding the game against West Virginia.)

Around the Big 12: Texas Tech plays 11 straight Saturdays before its first bye week November 21, which precedes a Thursday night game vs. Texas and then, that’s right, another bye to close the season. … Texas plays the toughest nonconference schedule (at Notre Dame and hosting Cal). The only other intersectional matches of note: Oklahoma visits Tennessee, Texas Tech plays at Arkansas and TCU visits Minnesota.

Quoting Oliver Luck: “Seven home games return in 2015, and I think our fans and the Morgantown community will appreciate the extra game and another chance to see the team play at Milan Puskar Stadium,” said WVU’s athletics director. “The rivalry with Maryland returns at home for the first time since 2012, and the Big 12 schedule week-to-week will be a great test for our team.”

Quoting Dana Holgorsen: “Our schedule will be very competitive, with our non-conference opponents and the always-tough Big 12 slate,” the coach said. “The 2015 schedule will bring great challenges and great opportunities for our program.”

The kickoff times and television schedule will be announced later.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Defense keeps Herd’s dream season alive; Marshall moves to 11-0

The Thundering Herd needed a defensive touchdown and a fourth down stand at its own 10-yard line, to pull out at 23-18 win over UAB Saturday afternoon at Legion Field.

“They (UAB) played extremely hard and they’ve done that all year,” Doc Holliday said about the Blazers. “Sometimes throughout the year you’ve got to grind one out. That’s the definition of grinding one out, of course you don’t like them that way. But at the end of the day I’m proud of the way the football team found a way to win and that’s all that matters.”

UAB took an 18-17 lead with 11:29 left in the game on a 10-yard touchdown run by Jordan Howard, who finished the day with 168 yards on the ground. The Herd, trailing in the fourth quarter for the first time all season, started the ensuing drive on its 25-yard line and passed its way into UAB territory. But the drive stalled at the UAB 29 after a pair of incomplete passes and a Diaheem Watkins sack back to the 35.

Tyler Williams’ punt on fourth down may have been the play of the game for the Herd. The punt rolled dead at the 1-yard line forcing UAB to start in the shadow of its own goal post.

“That punter was able to punt that ball down there and that was huge,” asserted Holliday.

That punt, with 8:20 to play, set up what would turn out to be the game winning touchdown for the Herd. Three plays later, UAB quarterback Cody Clements was hit in the endzone by Marshall’s Arnold Blackmon jarring the football loose and Rashawde Myers was there to recover the ball in the endzone for the go-ahead score.

“Arnold made a good play, he came around the corner and knocked the ball out. It was more of a ‘look what I found’ type deal and it just happened to be in the endzone,” grinned Myers after the win.

“We got this thing in practice where we go back and forth and work on meeting in the backfield,” said Blackmon. “It’s about practice. We practice hard and we play hard.”

But the upset-minded Blazers were not done yet. UAB got the ball back down 23-18 at its own 25 and started to work its way down the field, mostly on the broad shoulders of running back Jordan Howard, who rushed for 40 yards on the final drive.

The Blazers moved the ball down to Marshall’s 10-yard line, needing a touchdown for the win, were forced to go for it on fourth-and-one. Howard lined up in the shotgun in the wildcat formation and Marshall’s defense drove him back for a yard loss to preserve the win.

“We really just prepared for everything, whether he (Howard) was going inside or outside,” said Blackmon.

Marshall needed its defense to step up Saturday as the offense struggled to finish drives, leaving potential points on the field.

On the first drive of the game, Marshall slashed through the Blazers’ defense down to the UAB 6-yard line. Rakeem Cato appeared to score on a quarterback keeper on first-and-goal, but the play was called back on a holding penalty. UAB’s defense stiffened forcing a 23-yard field goal attempt, which Justin Haig missed wide right.

In the third quarter, Marshall appeared to be on its way to extend its precarious 17-6 lead. On third-and-goal from UAB 1-yard line, Devon Johnson and Rakeem Cato mishandled the exchange on the handoff; the ball came loose and rolled out of the endzone for a touchback.

Penalties also hurt the Herd. It was flagged 11 times for 90 yards on the day. Five of those flags were for false start penalties along the offensive line.

“It’s obvious we didn’t play as well as we have all year but we found a way to win and that’s all that matters,” admitted Holliday. “We’re 11-0 and we’re happy to be there.”

Marshall outgained UAB 515 to 346. Devon Johnson led all rushers with 171 yards on 20 carries, becoming the first Marshall running back to run for 100+ yards in seven consecutive games.

Rakeem Cato was 20-for-38 for 284 yards, two touchdowns and interception. Cato connected with Tommy Shuler for a 28-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and later Angelo Jean-Louis caught a deflected pass and went 43 yards for a touchdown.

Marshall returns home next week to face Western Kentucky. Kickoff is set for noon on Friday.

The Herd then awaits the winner of Rice vs. Louisiana Tech for the Conference USA Championship game on December 06.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Football Game Resuts

(Saturday, November 22)


Final Score: (1) Florida State 20, Boston College 17

Roberto Aguayo atoned for an earlier miss, hitting a 26-yard attempt with three seconds left in regulation, which kept top-ranked Florida State’s win streak alive with a 20-17 victory over Boston College at Doak Campbell Stadium. Jameis Winston finished 22-of-32 for 281 yards and a touchdown to Nick O’Leary for the Seminoles (11-0, 8-0 ACC), who extended their string to 27 consecutive victories. Rashad Greene totaled 106 yards on eight receptions and O’Leary added three catches for 59 yards. Dalvin Cook registered 77 yards on 15 carries and Karlos Williams posted an early rushing score. Tyler Murphy ended up with 73 yards and a touchdown each through the air and on the ground for the Eagles (6-5, 3-4), who did their best but dropped their fifth straight game to FSU. Jon Hilliman led BC with 73 yards on 14 attempts, while Shakim Phillips posted a TD reception in defeat.


Final Score: (2) Alabama 48, Western Carolina 14

Derrick Henry scored three touchdowns to help No. 2 Alabama in a 48-14 win over Western Carolina on Saturday. Henry rushed for 92 yards with two touchdowns and added a TD reception for the Crimson Tide (10-1), who took a week off from their vaunted SEC schedule with an FCS opponent prior to the Iron Bowl against arch-rival Auburn next weekend. Blake Sims went 17-of-22 passing for 222 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the win. Alabama star wide receiver Amari Cooper left the game, however, with an apparent left knee injury after taking a hard hit in the first quarter. Cooper finished with three receptions for 46 yards. Chris Black took over in his absence and hauled in six passes for 101 yards. Troy Mitchell threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns to Spearman Robinson for Western Carolina (7-5), which has lost all four meetings with the Crimson Tide.


Final Score: (3) Oregon 44, Colorado 10

Marcus Mariota had another huge game for Oregon, throwing three touchdown passes and adding another on the ground, to lead the third-ranked Ducks to a 44-10 rout of Colorado on Saturday. Mariota continued his Heisman campaign with 323 passing yards and 73 rushing yards for the Ducks (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12), who have won six straight since their lone loss of the season against Arizona on Oct. 2. Royce Freeman led the Oregon ground attack with 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Buffaloes (2-9, 0-8) used two quarterbacks but could not find success through the air. Jordan Gehrke and Sefo Liufau combined to complete just 16-of-32 passes for 105 yards. Christian Powell led Colorado in rushing with 51 yards on five carries. Oregon outgained Colorado 597-226.


Final Score: (4) Mississippi State 51, Vanderbilt 0

Dak Prescott threw for 193 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns to lead No. 4 Mississippi State to a 51-0 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Prescott threw three touchdown passes, two of which went to Joe Morrow, and also rushed for 30 yards with a score for the Bulldogs (10-1, 6-1 SEC), who bounced back from a 25-20 loss to Alabama last week. Mississippi State can clinch the SEC West with a win over arch- rival Ole Miss next weekend, coupled with an Alabama loss to Auburn. Johnny McCrary completed 15-of-31 passes for 160 yards with an interception for the Commodores (3-8, 0-7).


Final Score: (6) Baylor 49, Oklahoma State 28

Devin Chafin had three rushing touchdowns to lead No. 6 Baylor to a 49-28 victory over Oklahoma State. Chafin finished the game with 21 carries for 106 yards. Shock Linwood had 113 yards with a score on 21 carries and Bryce Petty was 18-for-29 for 262 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Bears (9-1, 6-1 Big 12), who have won three straight since their lone loss of the season at West Virginia. Mason Rudolph went 13- for-25 for 281 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Cowboys (5-6, 3-5), who have dropped five straight games. Desmond Roland and Rennie Childs each had a rushing touchdown in the loss.


Final Score: (7) Ohio State 42, Indiana 27

Jalin Marshall returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown and added three receiving touchdowns in the fourth quarter, lifting the seventh-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes over the Indiana Hoosiers, 42-27, on Saturday. With the win, Ohio State (10-1, 7-0 Big Ten) captured the Big Ten’s East Division crown and clinched a spot in the conference championship game for the second straight year. Marshall caught five passes for 95 yards for the Buckeyes, who have won a record 23 consecutive Big Ten bouts during the regular season. J.T. Barrett completed 25-of-35 passes for 302 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Indiana’s (3-8, 0-7 Big Ten) Tevin Coleman rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns in the loss.


Final Score: Arkansas 30, (8) Ole Miss 0

Rohan Gaines’ 100-yard interception return touchdown highlighted a banner day for the Arkansas defense, which stifled a mistake-laden Ole Miss in a resounding 30-0 victory over the No. 8 Rebels. Gaines’ big play was one of six turnovers forced by Arkansas (6-5, 2-5 SEC) in the resurgent Razorbacks’ second consecutive shutout over a ranked opponent. The Hogs halted a 17-game losing streak in SEC play with last week’s 17-0 blanking of then-No. 20 LSU. Bo Wallace was responsible for four of the miscues, tossing two interceptions and losing a pair of fumbles on a forgettable afternoon for the Ole Miss offense, which mustered just 63 rushing yards in the third straight conference loss for the sliding Rebels (8-3, 4-3).


Final Score: (9) Georgia 55, Charleston Southern 9

Hutson Mason passed for 187 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, and No. 9 Georgia cruised to a 55-9 win over FCS foe Charleston Southern on Saturday. Mason played only two quarters because of the lopsided score. The Bulldogs scored points on each of their first five drives and led 38-3 at halftime. Nick Chubb rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries for Georgia (9-2), which will clinch a spot in the SEC championship game if Missouri loses against Arkansas next week. Austin Brown was 4-of-10 for 15 yards and one interception for Charleston Southern (8-4) before he got injured late in the first half.


Final Score: (10) Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3

Jeremy Langford and Nick Hill each ran for two scores in the 10th-ranked Michigan State Spartans’ 45-3 rout of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday. Langford carried the ball 16 times for 126 yards for the Spartans (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten), who have won two in a row since a loss to Ohio State on Nov. 8. Hill rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries. Connor Cook completed 16-of-24 passes for 254 yards for Michigan State, which racked up 520 yards of total offense. Michigan State’s slim hopes of making the Big Ten title tilt for the second straight year were dashed when Ohio State beat Indiana on Saturday. the Buckeyes captured the Big Ten’s East Division crown and clinched a spot in the conference championship game for the second straight year. Gary Nova connected on 11-of-26 passes for 108 yards and two interceptions for the Scarlet Knights (6-5, 2-5), who were unable to build off last weekend’s win over Indiana.


Final Score: (11) UCLA 38, (24) Southern California 20

Brett Hundley settled in after an early blunder and finished with three passing touchdowns and another on the ground to lead No. 11 UCLA to a 38-20 victory over No. 24 Southern California on Saturday. Hundley threw for 326 yards on 22-of-31 passing after throwing an interception on his first pass of the game and for the Bruins (8-3, 6-2 Pac-12), who have won three straight games against the rival Trojans. Paul Perkins rushed for a game-high 93 yards and a score on 24 carries, Thomas Duarte hauled in two passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and Devin Lucien and Eldridge Massington each added receiving scores in the win. UCLA can now move on to the Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon with a win over Stanford next Friday. Cody Kessler, who compiled 771 yards and nine touchdowns in his two previous games, was limited to just 214 passing yards and one score with an interception on a 22-of-34 completion rate. Javorious Allen ran for 60 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and Justin Davis made a TD catch for the Trojans (7-4, 6-3), who were coming off a 38-30 win over California.


Final Score: (13) Arizona State 52, Washington State 31

Taylor Kelly passed for 232 yards and four touchdowns and No. 13 Arizona State overcame a first-half deficit to beat Washington State 52-31 on Saturday. D.J. Foster ran for 96 yards and three touchdowns for the Sun Devils (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12), who bounced back from last week’s 35-27 loss to Oregon State, which snapped a five-game winning streak. Cameron Smith had six catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the win and Fred Gammage and Kody Kohl also had touchdown receptions. Washington State (3-8, 2-7) led 21-7 in the first half and 24-21 at the break but lost for the fifth time in its last six games. Cougars quarterback Luke Falk passed for 601 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Vince Mayle caught 15 passes for 252 yards, giving him 101 catches this season.


Final Score: (14) Wisconsin 26, Iowa 24

Melvin Gordon rushed for two touchdowns as 14th-ranked Wisconsin held off a charge from a plucky Iowa team for a 26-24 win on Saturday. The victory sets up a showdown against Minnesota next Saturday in Madison, with the winner securing the Big Ten West title and a spot in the conference championship game. Gordon finished with 200 yards on 31 carries, tying Ron Dayne’s single-season Big Ten rushing record of 2,109 yards set in 1996. Gordon broke the FBS single-game rushing record a week ago with 408 yards against Nebraska, but Oklahoma true freshman Samaje Perine eclipsed his mark with 427 yards on Saturday. Joel Stave completed 11-of-14 passes for 139 yards and scrambled 12 yards for a key third down late in the fourth quarter as Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) won its sixth straight game. Jake Rudock threw two touchdown passes and added a score on the ground for Iowa (7-4, 4-3).


Final Score: (15) Arizona 42, (20) Utah 10

Arizona will be on the UCLA bandwagon later on Saturday, but will quickly have to hop off if the Bruins beat USC. First things first. Nick Wilson ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns as the 15th-ranked Wildcats rolled to a 42-10 win over No. 20 Utah on Saturday afternoon. Arizona (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) is currently one of four two-loss teams in the Pac-12 South. The Wilcats need a UCLA win over USC on Saturday and a Bruins loss to Stanford on Friday along with a win over Arizona State to make it to the Pac-12 title game at Levi’s Stadium.


Final Score: (16) Auburn 31, Samford 7

Cameron Artis-Payne ran for 129 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries as 16th-ranked Auburn posted a 31-7 win over Samford at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers overcame a sluggish start and 14 penalties to pull away from the FCS-level Bulldogs and halt a two-game skid as they enter next Saturday’s Iron Bowl showdown with No. 2 Alabama. Nick Marshall threw for 164 yards on 10-of-17 passing with one touchdown and an interception for Auburn (8-3), which also received rushing scores from Quan Bray and Roc Thomas. Michael Eubank completed 17-of-31 throws for 140 yards and one touchdown for Samford (7-4), but was intercepted twice during a second half in which the Bulldogs were held scoreless.


Final Score: (18) Marshall 23, UAB 18

Ra’Shawde Myers recovered a fumble in the end zone with 7:35 remaining and No. 18 Marshall remained undefeated with a 23-18 win over UAB on Saturday. With its offense struggling, Marshall overcame an 18-17 deficit with big plays on special teams and defense. The Thundering Herd downed Tyler Williams’ punt at the 1-yard line and Arnold Blackmon stripped UAB quarterback Cody Clements in the end zone on third down. The ball ended up with Myers, whose touchdown gave Marshall (11-0, 7-0 C-USA) its 12th straight win dating back to last December’s Military Bowl. Rakeem Cato passed for 284 yards and two touchdowns for Marshall, but threw an interception in the fourth quarter then led to a go-ahead touchdown for UAB.


Final Score: (19) Missouri 29, Tennessee 21

Maty Mauk threw two touchdown passes and Marcus Murphy ran for two as No. 19 Missouri picked up a crucial 29-21 win over Tennessee. Mauk completed just 12-of-25 throws for 230 yards, but his fourth-quarter TD passes to Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser were the difference. Murphy ran 19 times for 82 yards, and Russell Hansbrough added 68 yards on 15 carries. Missouri (9-2, 6-1 SEC) controls its own destiny in the SEC East. With a win next week against Arkansas, the Tigers will return to the SEC championship game for the second straight season. If Arkansas wins, then Georgia, which finished its SEC regular-season slate last week with a win over Auburn, would represent the division in the title game. Joshua Dobbs, who had totaled 11 touchdowns over Tennessee’s last three games, went 24-for-37 for 195 yards with one touchdown and an interception. The Volunteers (5-6) need a win next week at Vanderbilt to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.


Final Score: Minnesota 28, (21) Nebraska 24

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are in the driver’s seat to represent the West division in the Big Ten title game after rallying to beat No. 21 Nebraska without their best offensive player. Mitch Leidner scored his second rushing touchdown with 3:25 remaining in the fourth quarter to lift the Golden Gophers to a 28-24 win over the Cornhuskers. Leidner completed 8-of-17 passes for 135 yards and added 110 yards on the ground for Minnesota (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten), which overcame a 21-7 halftime deficit to post its first victory in Lincoln since 1960. Golden Gophers star running back David Cobb rushed for 80 yards on 15 carries, but left after pulling up lame with a hamstring injury on a third-quarter touchdown run.


Final Score: (22) Colorado State 58, New Mexico 20

Dee Hart scored six touchdowns to lead 22nd-ranked Colorado State to a 58-20 rout of New Mexico. Hart ran for 230 yards and five touchdowns and added two catches for 42 yards and a receiving score for the Rams (10-1, 6-1 MWC), who have won nine in a row since a Sep. 6 loss at Boise State. Garrett Grayson was 23-of-29 for 389 yards and three touchdowns. He became the school’s all-time offensive leader in the triumph. New Mexico’s (3-8, 1-6) ground game was effective, totaling 301 yards, but it wasn’t enough. Jhurell Pressley ran for 109 yards on seven carries, while quarterback Lamar Jordan ran for 74 yards and scored a touchdown.


Final Score: (23) Oklahoma 44, Kansas 7

Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine broke the week-old FBS single-game rushing record to lead the No. 23 Sooners in a 44-7 rout of Kansas on Saturday. Perine rushed for 427 yards, surpassing the record set last week by Wisconsin junior Melvin Gordon, whose 408 yards against Nebraska in just three quarters broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s 15-year- old FBS mark. It took Perine a little longer, but not much. He set the new mark on his last run, a 42-yarder 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter after shaking off a few would-be tacklers near the line. The game was played in the rain after a 90-minute delay because of lightning and most of Perine’s big runs came with little contact.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Saints try to stop Superdome skid against Ravens

The Superdome used to be the New Orleans Saints’ salve, an edifice that could soothe any ailment the team might have.

Not anymore.

The struggling Saints have dropped two straight on their home field and will try to stop the bleeding when they host the well-rested Baltimore Ravens on “Monday Night Football.“

New Orleans, considered by many to be a true Super Bowl contender before the season started, remains relevant in the NFC playoff picture only because of the division they play in, the dismal NFC South.

A 27-10 loss to Cincinnati at the Superdome in Week 11 lowered the Saints’ record to 4-6 but that’s still good enough to be tied for the top spot in the South with Atlanta entering the weekend, although the Falcons currently hold the tiebreaker thanks to their 4-0 mark in division play.

“I feel good about our chances and the opportunity that we have,“ New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees said. “We’re learning a lot about how to win. Failure can be the best teacher at times.“

It taught them plenty against the Bengals as Brees threw for 255 yards and a touchdown on 33-of-41 passing but the Saints dropped back-to-back home games for the first time since 2012, when they lost the season opener to Washington and then to Kansas City in overtime in Week 3.

New Orleans had won a club-record 11 straight home games in the regular season until a Week 10 overtime loss to San Francisco.

Mark Ingram added 67 yards on the ground on 23 carries and caught a game-high seven passes for only 30 yards.

“We kind of felt going in we were going to run a sequence there: certain run then come back to a pass. They defended it well and we weren’t able to get anything,“ said New Orleans head coach Sean Payton.

“We can’t escape the reality of where we are right now,“ Brees added. “You are what your record says you are. We’re a 4-6 team right now. None of us feel that because we’re still in contention that that’s good enough. We still have a lot of work to do.“

The Ravens, on the other hand, play in the ultra-tough AFC North, where every team is at least two games over .500 and Baltimore, despite its 6-4 mark, is tied for last with Cleveland entering Week 12. Cincinnati, at 6-3-1, tops the division with Pittsburgh next at 7-4.

“Every win is important,“ said Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. “In our division, there are a bunch of talented teams. It’s going to be interesting down the stretch. Hopefully, we come out on top.“

The Ravens are coming off their bye week after halting a two-game skid by coasting past Tennessee, 21-7, back on November 9 in the Charm City.

“Players took some time off and kind of emotionally and physically recharged a little bit,“ Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “You don’t realize how exhausted you are until you get a chance to take a deep breath and relax.“

Justin Forsett rushed for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Titans while Joe Flacco finished 16-of-27 for 169 yards and one score to Smith for Baltimore, which shook off a pair of road division losses to the Bengals and Steelers.

“Going into the bye, you want to feel good about things and get back on track,“ tight end Owen Daniels said.

The Ravens and Saints have met just five times previously with Baltimore holding a 4-1 advantage, including a 30-24 win on December 19, 2010, the last time the two teams met. The clubs haven’t clashed in New Orleans since October of 2006, also a Ravens win (35-22).

Baltimore is 9-9 all-time on Monday nights while the Saints are just under that .500 barrier at 17-18.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Both Brees and Flacco tend to excel under the national spotlight.

Brees has won nine of his past 10 starts on “Monday Night Football” with a 118.6 passer rating in those contests. Meanwhile, Flacco has won four of his past five starts on MNF.

Both have been buoyed by a renewed running game. In New Orleans Ingram has stabilized things and leads the NFL in rushing since Week 8 with 459 yards on the ground. That’s important because impact rookie receiver Brandin Cooks had surgery to repair a broken right thumb this week and is gone for the season.

Baltimore’s Forsett leads all NFL backs with 5.4 yards per rush and will be matching up against a defense that has allowed nearly 150 yards on the ground over its past three games.

Each team has struggled with turnovers, though. The Saints are minus-nine on the season and while Baltimore is barely on the plus side of the ledger (plus- one), Flacco has been regressing recently, throwing five interceptions in his last four games.

Facing Rob Ryan’s defense could get Flacco headed back in the right direction. The Saints are 24th in the NFL against the pass and have only created 10 takeaways, the fifth-worst mark in the league.

Brees, who leads the NFL with a nearly 70% completion percentage, is also facing a unit that struggles stopping the passing game. The Ravens are 21st in football against the pass and have managed just six picks on the season.

Brees has never beaten the Ravens, however, going 0-3 against them in his career, once when he was with the Chargers and twice with New Orleans.

“I am aware. Thanks for reminding me,“ Brees said of his lack of success against Baltimore. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. Every time I step on the field, I want to win. But certainly, you want to say that you’ve beaten every team.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Although there are six games left on their schedule, this could be the last stand for the Saints, who haven’t lost three straight home games since a six- game slide in 2005.

“There have been a number of tough losses, close losses, and what that means is at this point in the season, that margin for error becomes that much more slight,“ Payton said. “We’re playing a six-game season right now. We have to find a way to get a win this week.“

The guess here is that this is the last chance for New Orleans to reestablish its mojo inside the Superdome and the Saints will get it done ... barely.

“We’re going to have a tough environment,“ Harbaugh said. “They’re coming off two losses, they’re a very proud team, very well coached, very talented. We’re going to have our hands full and we’d better be ready to go. I’d like to think our guys understand that, but we’ll find out Monday night.

Predicted outcome: Saints 24, Ravens 21


►  Divisional dominance

A rather stark contrast will be highlighted on “Monday Night Football” when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Saints to cap off Week 12 of the NFL season.

With six games to go in the campaign for each team, it’s the 6-4 Ravens who are in the basement of the ultra-tough AFC North, while the underwater Saints remain relevant in the NFC playoff picture because of the division they play in, the dismal NFC South.

A 27-10 loss to Cincinnati at the Superdome in Week 11 lowered New Orleans’ record to 4-6 but that’s still good enough to be tied for the top spot in the South with Atlanta entering the weekend, although the Falcons currently hold the tiebreaker thanks to their 4-0 mark in division play.

Conversely, the Ravens play amongst a group where every team is at least two games over .500, making the AFC North the first division since the 1935 Western Division in which every member is at least two games in the black at any point in a season.

“I probably feel the same way I felt about it when the season opened, this is the best division in football,“ Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh stated. “That’s only going to serve to make us all better in the end.“

Harbaugh’s Ravens, despite that 6-4 mark, are tied for last with Cleveland in the AFC North entering Week 12. Cincinnati, at 6-3-1, tops the division with Pittsburgh next at 7-4.

By next week, the Bengals conceivably go from first to worst.

“Every win is important,“ said Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. “In our division, there are a bunch of talented teams. It’s going to be interesting down the stretch. Hopefully, we come out on top.“

Perhaps a better indication of just how good the AFC North has become is its clubs’ record outside its confines. The four AFC North teams currently sport a 17-7-1 mark against non-division opponents, the best of any division in the football and a winning percentage of .700.

Since the AFL-NFL merger back in 1970, only seven divisions have ever finished with a combined winning percentage of .700 or better in contests outside the division. Three of those produced that particular season’s Super Bowl winner, including the 2013 Seattle Seahawks from the NFC West.

The Seahawks, who were one of three different 10-win teams in the NFC West a season ago, finished with a 13-3 mark en route to the Lombardi Trophy.

Success outside one’s division also foreshadows a significant playoff presence.

All seven of those divisions with a .700 or better out-of-division mark produced at least two playoff teams, with four of them sending three teams to the postseason.

“(The AFC North) has always been competitive, but this year you are really seeing the youth and talent that has been on these teams stepping up and growing into those roles,“ Cincinnati left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “It’s going to be a heck of a challenge to win this division.“

Others believe playing each other so consistently helps each team when they venture outside the North.

“When you play against playoff-caliber teams, it definitely helps you,“ Pittsburgh safety Will Allen claimed. “Being in a tougher division brings better competition and it brings a greater preparation for what’s to come.“

And what’s to come is plenty.

With six weeks remaining in the regular season, 12 different AFC clubs in a 16-team field have records of .500 or better.

“The meaningful games come at the end of November and December,“ Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer said.

All four teams in the AFC North plan on playing in those meaningful games.


►  Broncos TE Thomas questionable, Sanders probable

Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas was listed as a non-participant in practice for a third straight day on Friday, leaving his status uncertain for this weekend’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

Thomas, the NFL’s leader with 12 touchdown catches this season, did take part in a few individual drills during Friday’s session, according to the Broncos’ website. The team officially declared the 2013 Pro Bowl selection questionable for Sunday’s contest.

Thomas sprained his left ankle in the first quarter of last week’s 22-7 loss at St. Louis and did not return to the game.

The news was considerably better in regards to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who returned to the practice field Friday and is probable to play against the Dolphins.

Sanders was forced out of the St. Louis game in the third quarter after sustaining a concussion on a vicious hit from Rams safety Rodney McLeod. The offseason acquisition was cleared by a neurologist on Thursday night, however.

Prior to departing last week’s tilt, Sanders recorded five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown for his third 100-yard effort in Denver’s past four games.

The Broncos will definitely be without running backs Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball for Sunday’s matchup, with both players ruled out. Hillman will miss a second straight week with a sprained foot, while Ball aggravated a groin injury against the Rams. It was his first action since Week 5.

Backup tight end Virgil Green is considered questionable with a calf injury, but was a limited practice participant throughout the week.


►  Fitzgerald questionable for Cards-Seahawks

The Arizona Cardinals remain unsure as to whether they’ll have Larry Fitzgerald available for Sunday’s key NFC West clash with the Seattle Seahawks.

Fitzgerald sat out of practice for a third straight day on Friday as he continues to rest a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, with the Cardinals listing the veteran wide receiver questionable for this weekend’s clash with the reigning Super Bowl champion Seahawks at Qwest Field.

Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said Friday that Fitzgerald’s status won’t be determined until pregame warmups, though he was hopeful that the eight-time Pro Bowl honoree will be able to play.

“Practice at his age right now is overrated sometimes,“ Arians said. “We’ll see if he can capably play on Sunday at the game.“

Fitzgerald sustained the injury, which was diagnosed as a Grade 2 sprain, during the first half of last week’s 14-6 Arizona win over Detroit. The 31- year-old did return to the contest but was limited to just two catches for 33 yards.

Running back Andre Ellington is expected to participate in Sunday’s matchup after putting in a full practice on Friday. The Cardinals’ leading rusher is dealing with injuries to his foot and hip, but was termed probable on Friday’s injury report.

The Cardinals enter Sunday’s showdown with an NFL-best 9-1 record and a six- game winning streak. Seattle currently stands three games back of Arizona in the division at 6-4.


►  Chiefs bring in Avant

Seeking help to a struggling receiver corps, the Kansas City Chiefs signed veteran Jason Avant to an undisclosed contract on Friday.

Avant, who was released by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday, reunites with his original NFL head coach in Andy Reid. The 31-year-old spent his first eight seasons playing under Reid in Philadelphia from 2006-13, recording 51 or more catches in three of his final four seasons with the team.

The nine-year veteran signed with the Panthers as a free agent back in March, but managed just 201 yards and a touchdown on 21 catches over 11 games with Carolina.

For his career, Avant has compiled 318 catches totaling 3,847 yards with 13 touchdowns.

He joins a Kansas City squad that has trouble finding a reliable No. 2 receiver opposite Dwayne Bowe this season. No Chiefs wideout other than Bowe has caught more than 14 passes through the team’s 11 games.

Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, who had only nine catches in nine games this season, was placed on injured reserve in a corresponding move. The former first-round pick has missed Kansas City’s last two contests with a shoulder problem.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Hold your horses

Prior to Thursday Night Football, there was not a single Oakland Raiders player fantasy owners could trust.

Despite the emergence of running back Latavius Murray against the Chiefs, there still isn’t a Raiders player owners should feel confident placing in a playoff starting lineup.

No doubt, Murray looked impressive on Thursday, rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He should see a huge bump in carries the rest of the year and is therefore, the “best” fantasy option on Oakland.

But for a team that features a washed-up Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones- Drew, a rookie quarterback and no-name wide receivers, that isn’t saying much.

Murray gained his 112 yards on just four carries, which is a double-edged sword. Obviously, that makes Murray’s average in Week 12 a whopping 28 yards- per-carry. On the other hand, the big runs could also be an aberration. Murray gained 90 of his yards on one carry.

If not for the concussion Murray suffered in the middle of the second quarter, he could have had a really huge night. As it was, he finished with over 23 fantasy points in standard leagues.

But before fantasy owners hurry to go pick him up on the waiver wire, ask this question: are you really ready to trust an Oakland Raiders running back with a fantasy championship on the line?

Even with the 179 yards on the ground in Week 12, the Raiders are averaging 73.5 yards per game, good for last in the league. The last time a team had fewer than 73 rushing yards per game in a single season was the Lions in 2006.

Prior to Week 11, the Raiders were averaging just 62.1 rushing yards per game, which was the lowest average since the Lions gained 42.5 yards per game on the ground in 1946. So before this sudden outburst in rushing yards, the Raiders were statistically the worst running team in nearly 70 years.

Plus, even with the average increasing 11 yards per game over the last two weeks, there are still just 18 teams since 1932 with fewer rushing yards per game than the 2014 Raiders, and over half of those teams played before the NFL merger.

For fantasy owners in deeper keeper leagues and dynasty leagues, Murray is definitely a guy worth targeting. He is the most promising, young, offensive player in Oakland and paired with a young quarterback, he has tremendous potential.

But for fantasy owners in the hunt for a 2014 fantasy championship, I would roll with the horses who got me to the playoffs in the first place, rather than turn to a still relatively unproven rookie, coming off a concussion, who is on one of the 20-worst rushing teams in the history of the NFL.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Basketball Roundup

Shepherd 109, Glenville State 98 | Final Stats

Morgan Arden and Rachel Johnson combined for 53 points to help lead Shepherd past Glenville State, 109-98, on Saturday afternoon at the Waco Center. A 19-4 run over the first seven minutes of the second half gave the Rams a double-digit lead it would not relinquish.

Arden finished with 30 points, aided by 12-of-15 shooting from the free throw line to lead Shepherd (3-0, 1-0). Johnson was 10-of-14 from the field on her way to 23 points and also added eight rebounds. Cara Mason had eight points and dished out eight assists. Briana Vaden added 14 points and Kristina Prange chipped in 12.

Glenville State (0-2, 0-1) was led by 23 points from Keyanna Tate. Paige Tuttle added 14 points and Katrina Salins and Tayana Stewart each contributed 11 points.

Shepherd made its only three-point attempt of the game, while Glenville State was 7-of-31 from behind the arc.


West Liberty 87, Charleston 65 | Final Stats

Liz Flowers scored 30 points and West Liberty shot 52% from the field as West Liberty defeated Charleston, 87-65.

Flowers was 11-of-19 from the field and sank eight of WLU’s 17 three-pointers in the game for her 30 points. Kailee Howe added 17 points and handed out a game-high 14 assists. Emily Bucon chipped in 10 points for the ‘Toppers (2-1, 1-0).

Kiara Johnson had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Nichole Perry had 16 points and four assists, and Monet Saunders had 14 points for the Golden Eagles.

WLU was 17-of-32 (53%) from behind the three-point line, while UC was just 2-of-11 (18%).


Notre Dame 78, Concord 61 | Final Stats

Notre Dame used a balanced attack to defeat Concord, 78-61, on Saturday at Murphy Gymnasium.

The Falcons (2-1, 1-0) were paced by Lauren Langenderfer’s 18 points in 28 minutes of action. Martha Nagbe scored 17 and Alyssa Kraus had 13, while Kelsey Miller added 11 points and 14 rebounds off the bench for NDC.

Rachel Artrip led Concord (0-3, 0-1) with 22 points and eight rebounds. Melea Smith scored 12 and Jacqueline Kestner recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.


Fairmont State 74, West Virginia Wesleyan 67 (OT) | Final Stats

Fairmont State withstood West Virginia Wesleyan’s late rally and came away with a 74-67 overtime win over the Bobcats on Saturday at the Rockefeller Center.

Fairmont State (5-0, 1-0) led from the opening basket until Stacey Remar’s three-pointer with four seconds left tied the game at 59-59. A three-point play Emily Puskarich with under a minute left in the overtime session stretched FSU’s lead from two points to five and helped clinch the win for the Falcons.

The Falcons got a pair of double-doubles from Emily Lohr (17 points and 14 rebounds) and Hallie Gunnoe (17 points and 10 rebounds). Amanda Ruffner added 16 points and eight boards. FSU held the Bobcats to just 32% shooting from the field.

Mari Stewart led WVWC (0-3, 0-1) with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Kiki Devane also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Adrian Cunningham had 13 points.


UVa-Wise 51, Urbana 39 | Final Stats

UVa-Wise forced 22 turnovers and held Urbana to just 24% shooting to come away with a 51-39 road win on Saturday at the Grimes Center.

Taylor Sandidge had 13 points and five rebounds to help the Cavs (1-2, 1-0) pick up their first win of the season. Blair Harding added 10 points and seven boards for UVa-Wise.

Tori Purk was the only Urbana player to reach double figures as the Blue Knights fell to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the MEC.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  WVU Hoops Improves to 3-0

At a glance there wasn’t much that West Virginia didn’t seem to do well in its opening game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

The Mountaineers forced turnovers on defense, played unselfishly on the offense end and limited their own mistakes. It all added up to an easy 91-65 victory over George Mason Thursday.

Still coach Bob Huggins thinks his team can play better this week.

“I thought we played really well for stretch, and then we got a big lead and we would kind of stop playing and our pressure just wasn’t very good. Our offense was worse,“ Huggins said. “When you get ahead I think even if it’s subconsciously you start looking for shots instead of looking to score. And then we just turned them loose at the basket the whole second half which is not a good thing to do.“

Devin Williams led the barrage for the Mountaineers with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jonathan Holton added 16 points and seven rebounds.

West Virginia (3-0) led by as many as 31 points and never allowed George Mason (1-2) to get it below 20 in the second.

For Williams it was his third straight double-double. It was the 11th of the sophomore’s career.

“Devin was good, I want him to be great,“ Huggins said. “He was good, but Devin can be so much better and that’s what I want for him. Sometimes he doesn’t understand why I’m upset with him, but I’m upset with him because I know how good he can be.

“Good guys don’t take plays off. We gotta not take plays off. That’s not just Devin, that’s everybody. We gotta stop taking plays off.“

Williams played sparingly in the final 20 minutes, being sent to the floor after a collision underneath the basket. But he was able to walk off under his own power and is expected to be fine.

Patrick Holloway led the Patriots with 17 points.

West Virginia used its quickness in the first half to speed up George Mason’s offense, racking up 10 steals and forcing 16 Patriots’ turnovers. Those turnovers led to 19 Mountaineers’ points, including several dunks.

The dominance extended inside the paint, where West Virginia outscored George Mason 24-8 for the half and 40-26 for the game.

George Mason entered the game having committed just 18 turnovers combined in its first two outings.

“They were just physically stronger and pushed us around,“ Patriots coach Paul Hewitt said. “What we talked about coming in here was turnovers and offensive rebounds and they dominated that. We had 24 turnovers and they had 19 offensive rebounds and that’s pretty much the game.“



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Report: Red Sox offer Sandoval contract

The Boston Red Sox have offered free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval a five-year deal, according to a report.

A Major League source, per the Boston Globe, stated that the offer is for $95 million.

The switch-hitting third baseman, considered one of the top hitting free agents, helped the San Francisco Giants win their third World Series title in the last five years.

The 28-year-old hit .366 in the postseason and posted a .279 average with 16 homers and 73 RBI during the regular season.

Sandoval declined the Giants’ qualifying offer of $15.3 million for the 2015 season.


►  Report: White Sox sign LaRoche for two years

The Chicago White Sox have reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with first baseman Adam LaRoche on Friday.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting the deal is worth $25 million and will be announced as soon as a spot on the roster is cleared for LaRoche.

The 35-year-old just finished his 11th season in the majors as he batted .259 with 26 home runs and 92 RBI in 140 games for Washington.

In 1,478 games with Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Boston and Washington, he has a career average of .264 and has clubbed 243 home runs with 838 RBI.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Saturday, November 22)


Final Score: St. Louis 3, Ottawa 2

Brian Elliott made 24 saves and Alex Steen netted the deciding goal in the latter stages of the second period as St. Louis nipped Ottawa, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon. Max Lapierre and Vladimir Tarasenko also provided goals while Alex Pietrangelo recorded a pair of assists for the Blues, who snapped a two-game skid. Mika Zibanejad and Erik Karlsson tallied for the Senators, with Robin Lehner making 30 stops as the hosts lost for the fifth time in seven contests.


Final Score: Montreal 2, Boston 0

Carey Price stopped 33 shots for his second shutout of the season as the Montreal Canadiens grabbed a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Tomas Plekanec had a goal and an assist, Andrei Markov scored and Brendan Gallagher dished out two helpers for the Canadiens, who have won eight of their last nine games. Tuukka Rask allowed both goals on 23 shots for the Bruins, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.


Final Score: Toronto 4, Detroit 1

Tyler Bozak scored two goals in the third period to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Leo Komarov tallied a goal and an assist and Peter Holland also lit the lamp for Toronto, which has won two straight on the heels of a three-game skid. Jonathan Bernier turned aside 26 shots in the win. Tomas Tatar provided Detroit’s lone marker and Jimmy Howard made 24 saves in defeat.


Final Score: Tampa Bay 2, Minnesota 1

Ben Bishop made 30 saves, including 12 in the third period to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn scored for the Lightning, who were coming off back-to-back losses at the end of a 1-2 road trip. Zach Parise scored for the Wild, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. Darcy Kuemper gave up both Tampa Bay goals and faced 28 shots in the loss.


Final Score: NY Islanders 4, Pittsburgh 1

John Tavares recorded a goal and an assist as the New York Islanders got the better of the Pittsburgh Penguins once again with a 4-1 decision at Nassau Coliseum. Tavares, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson all scored in the third period and Jaroslav Halak came up with 27 saves to help the red-hot Islanders complete a home-and-home sweep of the Penguins. New York, winners in eight of its last nine, bested the Pens in a 5-4 shootout in Pittsburgh on Friday. The Penguins mustered only Evgeni Malkin’s first-period goal in dropping consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 22-23. Thomas Greiss posted 31 saves in the loss.


Final Score: Philadelphia 4, Columbus 2

Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek picked up two assists apiece and four different players registered goals, as Philadelphia doubled up Columbus, 4-2, on Saturday. Brayden Schenn, Mark Streit, Wayne Simmonds and Braydon Coburn tallied once each for the Flyers, who put a season-worst four-game losing streak to rest. Steve Mason earned his first win since Nov. 8 with 20 saves. Boone Jenner and Matt Calvert scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost three in a row. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 33 shots in the setback.


Final Score: Buffalo 2, Washington 1

It’s been a tough week for the people of Buffalo, but the Sabres gave their fans something to cheer about from their snowbound homes on Saturday with a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Torrey Mitchell scored the winning goal in the third period for the Sabres, who had not played since Tuesday when a lake-effect storm dumped more than five feet of snow on the western New York region. Buffalo’s scheduled game Friday against the New York Rangers was postponed in the aftermath. Matt Moulson also scored for the Sabres, while Jhonas Enroth made 43 saves in a brilliant effort. Buffalo has won three straight games for the first time since late February. Matt Niskanen scored the lone goal for Washington, which had won its last two games. Braden Holtby made 24 saves in defeat.


Final Score: Nashville 3, Florida 2 (SO)

Filip Forsberg scored in the fourth round of the shootout to prevent an epic collapse from the Nashville Predators, who pulled out a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The Predators held a comfortable 2-0 lead before Florida scored twice in the final minute of regulation, with Nick Bjugstad forcing overtime with 30.3 seconds left in the third period. Rocco Grimaldi potted his first career NHL goal just 12 seconds earlier for the Panthers, who received an outstanding 48-save effort from Roberto Luongo that helped Florida steal a point. Colin Wilson and Matt Cullen both scored in Nashville’s sixth victory in its last eight outings, with Pekka Rinne stopping 28 shots.


Final Score: Dallas 5, Los Angeles 4

Jamie Benn led the way with two goals and one assist, and Dallas survived a late challenge from Los Angeles to claim a 5-4 victory at American Airlines Center. Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg totaled a score and helper each for the Stars, who almost blew an early four-goal lead but held on to record back-to-back home wins for the first time all season. Jason Demers also tallied, while Cody Eakin added a pair of assists to back 37 saves from Kari Lehtonen. Justin Williams netted a pair of goals with Kyle Clifford and Jarret Stoll contributing two assists each for the Kings, whose three-game win streak came to an end. Jonathan Quick allowed five goals on only 23 shots in the loss.


Final Score: Colorado 4, Carolina 3

Zach Redmond’s second goal of the game came with 1:35 to play as the Colorado Avalanche grabbed a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist and Erik Johnson also scored for the Avalanche, who have won three of four. Reto Berra was pulled less than 17 minutes into the start after giving up three goals on 10 shots. Calvin Pickard turned aside all 17 shots he faced in relief to pick up the first win of his career. Nathan Gerbe, Andrej Nestrasil and John-Michael Liles all scored for the Hurricanes, who have lost five of six.


Final Score: Calgary 5, New Jersey 4 (SO)

Jiri Hudler scored the first of two Calgary goals with the netminder pulled in the closing minutes to help forge a tie, then netted the winner in a shootout to lift the Calgary Flames to an improbable 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at the Saddledome. Hudler scored with 2:22 remaining to pull the Flames within one and Curtis Glencross tied it with just five seconds to play in regulation. After the overtime period could not solve things and each team scored once in the first three rounds of the shootout, Hudler snapped a wrister past Scott Clemmensen and Travis Zajac’s response glanced off the glove of Karri Ramo to end it. Ramo finished with 25 saves for the Flames, who finished 4-1-0 on a five-game homestand. Glencross netted two goals and Josh Jooris also scored in the victory. Clemmensen gave Cory Schneider a night off for the first time this season and made 33 saves in defeat. Adam Henrique notched a goal and an assist, while Mike Cammalleri scored in his return to Calgary. Cammalleri, who also had a goal in the shootout, played the past 2 1/2 seasons with the Flames before signing as a free agent in July. Schneider had started each of New Jersey’s first 20 games, something even the great Martin Brodeur did not accomplish during his long tenure with the Devils. But, coming off a shutout of Edmonton on Friday night, Devils coach Pete DeBoer finally gave his top netminder a breather.


Final Score: Chicago 7, Edmonton 1

Jonathan Toews scored twice and Marian Hossa added a goal and three assists as the Chicago Blackhawks crushed the Edmonton Oilers, 7-1. Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg each had a goal and an assist, while Duncan Keith and Marcus Kruger each scored a goal for the Blackhawks, who have won three straight and five of six. Corey Crawford stopped 24 shots in the win. David Perron scored the only goal of the game for the Oilers, who have lost six straight. Ben Scrivens was tagged for five goals on 13 shots in a little over one period of action, while Viktor Fasth stopped 15-of-17 shots in relief.


Final Score: Arizona 4, San Jose 3 (SO)

Antoine Vermette scored the lone goal of the shootout to lift the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. Vermette, Arizona’s third shooter, skated up the middle and wristed a shot off the left goal post and off the back of Antti Niemi for the win. Shane Doan finished with a goal and an assist, David Schlemko and Vermette also scored and Mikkel Boedker supplied two helpers for the Coyotes, who ended a two-game skid. Devan Dubnyk made 40 saves and stopped San Jose’s three attempts in the shootout to improve his record to 5-0-1 on the season. Joe Pavelski, Andrew Desjardins and Tommy Wingels all lit the lamp for the Sharks, who received 22 saves from Niemi.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Woods picks Chris Como as new swing coach

Tiger Woods tweeted on Saturday that he has chosen Chris Como to be his new swing coach.

“Happy to have Chris Como consulting and working with me on my swing. I’m excited to be back competing,“ Woods tweeted around noon ET Saturday.

Woods, who is coming off an injury-plagued season, parted ways with his old coach Sean Foley in August after Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship. Foley had worked with Woods for about four years.

Como is a 36-year-old Texas native who was named one of the “best young teachers” by Golf Digest in 2013.

Woods is expected to make his return to golf on December 04 at the Hero World Challenge, which is Woods’ tournament. Woods played in just eight events last season due to back surgery and he has not competed since the PGA Championship in August.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rosberg wins pole, Hamilton qualifies 2nd for Abu Dhabi GP

Nico Rosberg won his 11th pole position in Formula One this season after topping his Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton in Saturday’s qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Rosberg beat Hamilton for the pole with a lap in 1 minute, 40.480 seconds, which was 0.386 seconds quicker than Hamilton’s lap. It was the third consecutive pole win for Rosberg and the 12th time this year that Mercedes has started 1-2 in a grand prix.

Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP at Yas Marina Circuit will determine the F1 world championship between Hamilton and Rosberg. They are the only drivers who remain eligible for the title. Hamilton enters this 55-lap race with a 17- point lead over Rosberg, who won the most recent grand prix in Brazil two weeks ago. The Abu Dhabi GP will award double the amount of points, with the winner collecting 50, second place receiving 36 and third place 30.

Therefore, if Hamilton finishes no worse than second in this race, he will claim his second world championship, regardless if Rosberg wins the event.

If Rosberg wins and Hamilton finishes third or lower, then Rosberg will clinch his first F1 title.

“It was a great day again today, for sure, and I’m thankful to the (Mercedes team) engineers, because they did a good job with the car, and I was really happy with the setup,“ said Rosberg, who scored his 15th career F1 pole, including his first in the Abu Dhabi GP. “It all worked out well, and I got a good lap together in the end. I’m pleased with that.

“But of course, it’s only one step, a very small step, because this weekend is about the championship, not about pole position or anything.“

Hamilton posted the quickest lap in the opening and second qualifying rounds. In Q3, he had to abort his first lap when he locked up his brakes and nearly went off course. Hamilton’s last lap in Q3 was clocked in 1:40.866. He led the way in Friday’s two practice sessions, while Rosberg was fastest in final practice, held shortly before qualifying.

“I generally didn’t have the best of laps, but it was still a really good qualifying session, and I enjoyed it,“ Hamilton said. “The car was fantastic. Tomorrow will be a special day.“

Valtteri Bottas qualified third with a lap in 1:41.025, while his Williams teammate, Felipe Massa, took the fourth spot.

Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion, placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in qualifying. This will be Vettel’s last race with Red Bull before he moves over to Ferrari for the 2015 season, replacing Fernando Alonso.

Daniel Kvyat from Toro Rosso qualified seventh, followed by McLaren’s Jenson Button. Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Alonso completed the top-10.

This could be Button’s last race in F1, as it is widely rumored that Alonso will replace him at McLaren for next season. Button, the 2009 world champion, has been competing in F1 since 2000.

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2014


National Football League
Cleveland at Atlanta, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (705)
Cincinnati at Houston, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (707)
Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (708)
Tennessee at Philadelphia, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (709)
Tampa Bay at Chicago, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (710)
Green Bay at Minnesota, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (711)
Detroit at New England, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (712)
St. Louis at San Diego, 4:05 PM - FOX, DSS (713)
Arizona at Seattle, 4:05 PM - FOX, DSS (714)
Washington at San Francisco, 4:25 PM - FOX, DSS (715)
Miami at Denver, 4:25 PM - CBS, DSS (716)
Dallas at NY Giants, 8:30 PM - NBC


National Basketball Association
LA Clippers at Memphis, 6:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, SportSouth, DSS
Portland at Boston, 6:00 PM - CSN-Northwest, New England, DSS
Charlotte at Miami, 6:00 PM - SportSouth, SunSports, DSS
Golden State at Oklahoma City, 7:00 PM - CSN-Bay, FS-Oklahoma, NBA TV, DSS
Denver at LA Lakers, 9:30 PM - Altitude, Time Warner, DSS


National Hockey League
St. Louis at Winnipeg, 4:30 PM - TVA, FS-Midwest, TSN3, DSS
Montreal at NY Rangers, 7:00 PM - RDS, MSG, NHL Network, DSS
Arizona at Anaheim, 8:00 PM - FS-Arizona, West, DSS
Chicago at Vancouver, 9:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, SNET-Pacific, DSS


Canadian Football League - Playoffs
Montreal at Hamilton, 1:00 PM - TSN, ESPN
Edmonton at Calgary, 4:30 PM - TSN, ESPN3.com


College Basketball
Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 11:30 AM - ESPN3.com
Massachusetts vs. Florida State, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
Charleston Classic, 1:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Texas A&M-CC at Saint Louis, 2:00 PM - FS-Midwest
Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 2:00 PM - ESPN U
Providence vs. Notre Dame, 2:30 PM - ESPN 2
Northwestern State at Oklahoma, 3:00 PM - FS-Oklahoma
Catawba at Radford, 3:00 PM - Big South Network
Charleston Classic, 3:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Newman at Wichita State, 3:00 PM - ESPN3.com
NC Central at Creighton, 4:00 PM - FS1
South Florida at NC State, 4:00 PM - ESPN U
Nicholls College at Holy Cross, 4:05 PM - Patriot League Network
Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 4:30 PM - ESPN 2
Eastern Illinois at Cincinnati, 5:00 PM - FS-Ohio, ESPN3.com, DSS
FAU at Georgia, 5:00 PM - FSN, DSS
Presbyterian at Louisiana Tech, 5:00 PM - American Sports Net, MASN
St. Francis-NY at Rutgers, 5:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Massachusetts Lowell at Fordham, 6:00 PM - SNY
Montana State at Kentucky, 6:00 PM - SEC Network
Paradise Jam, 6:00 PM - CBSSN
USC Upstate at UCF, 6:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 6:30 PM - ESPN 2
Charleston Classic, 6:30 PM - ESPN U
Sacred Heart at Ohio State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Tennessee State at Vanderbilt, 7:00 PM - FSN, DSS
Mercer at Colorado State, 8:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Northern Arizona at Ole Miss, 8:00 PM - SEC Network
Pacific vs. Washington, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Hall of Fame Tip-Off, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
UC Irvine at St. Mary’s (CA), 9:00 PM - Comcast
Charleston Classic, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Paradise Jam, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
Long Beach State at UCLA, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network


Women’s College Basketball
Creighton at Connecticut, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com, SNY, DSS
Georgia at Georgia Tech, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
San Diego State at South Carolina, 2:00 PM - SEC Network+
Toledo at Purdue, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Northwestern State at Arkansas, 3:00 PM - SEC Network+
Western Kentucky at Miss State, 3:00 PM - CBSSN
IPFW at USC Upstate, 3:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Georgetown at Kansas, 3:00 PM - Jayhawk TV, DSS
Middle Tennessee at Ole Miss, 4:00 PM - SEC Network+
Texas at UCLA, 4:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Ave Maria at Florida Gulf Coast, 5:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Chicago State at Oakland, 6:00 PM - ESPN3.com
North Carolina at Oregon, 6:00 PM - Pac-12 Network


College Football
FCS Selection Show, 11:00 AM - ESPN U


Major League Soccer - Playoffs
New England at New York, 1:30 PM - NBC
Seattle at Los Angeles, 5:00 PM - ESPN


International Soccer
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool, 8:00 AM - CNBC
SSC Napoli vs. Cagliari Calcio, 8:55 AM - beIN Sport
Hull vs. Tottenham, 10:55 AM - NBCSN
Levante UD vs. Valencia CF, 10:55 AM - beIN Sport
AC Milan vs. FC Internazionale Milano, 2:40 PM - beIN Sport


Golf
EUROPEAN - DP World Championship, 2:30 AM - Golf Channel
LPGA - CME Group Tour Championship, 1:30 PM - Golf Channel


Tennis
Davis Cup - Switzerland vs. France, 7:00 AM - Tennis Channel
Davis Cup - Switzerland vs. France, 10:00 AM - Tennis Channel


Auto Racing
FORMULA ONE - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, 7:30 AM - NBCSN

Sports News   141122

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  High school Football Playoff Quarterfinal Results

CLASS AAA


FRIDAY, November 21 at 7:30 PM

#6 South Charleston (9-2)  24  at   #3 University (10-1)  20


SATURDAY, November 22 at 1:30 PM

#7 Huntington (8-3)  at   #2 Cabell Midland (10-1)

#5 Point Pleasant (10-0)  at   #4 Martinsburg (10-1)


SATURDAY, November 22 at 7:30 PM

#8 Wheeling Park (9-2)  at   #1 Capital (10-0)



CLASS AA


FRIDAY, November 21 at 7:30 PM

#7 Nicholas County (10-1)  20   at   #2 Frankfort (11-0)  26


SATURDAY, November 22 at 1:30 PM

#8 Robert C. Byrd (9-2)  at   #1 Bridgeport (10-1)

#5 Wayne (9-2)  at   #4 Mingo Central (10-1)

#14 Ravenswood (8-3)  at   #6 Westside (9-2)



CLASS A


FRIDAY, November 21 at 7:30 PM

#10 Buffalo (9-2)  19   at   #2 Tug Valley (10-1)  36


SATURDAY, November 22 at 1:30 PM

#9 Moorefield (9-2)  at   #1 St. Marys (11-0)

#12 Bishop Donahue (9-2)  at   #4 Clay-Battelle (10-1)


SATURDAY, November 22 at 7:30 PM

#14 East Hardy (8-3) at #6 Williamstown (9-2)



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rams’ pass rush to target banged-up Rivers

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers appears to be dealing with some sort of injury. Nobody on the Chargers seems all that concerned, though.

Regardless the Chargers offense hasn’t looked right the past few weeks, but will try to win two in a row for the first time since a five-game winning streak earlier in the season when they host the St. Louis Rams at Qualcomm Stadium.

San Diego snapped a three-game losing streak on Sunday, as Rivers threw a touchdown pass, Nick Novak kicked two field goals and the Chargers escaped with a 13-6 home win.

A banged-up Rivers completed 22-of-34 passes for 193 yards, and Ryan Mathews rushed for 70 yards in his first action for San Diego (6-4) since suffering a right knee injury against Seattle on September 14.

“We found a way to win, and that is what it’s all about,“ said Rivers, who was under 200 yards for the second straight week.

San Diego tight end Antonio Gates seemingly spoke out of turn after the game when he said Rivers was dealing with a rib injury. Head coach Mike McCoy downplayed any news of an injury and Gates later backpedaled on his initial statements during the week.

“I was more so pertaining to just his toughness, mentally and physically, what he’s been able to play through and how he’s always been able to lead this team,“ Gates explained.

Something is up, though, as Rivers, an MVP candidate early in the season, has looked awful the past four weeks. After averaging 303.6 yards per game with 14 scores and one pick during the five-game win streak, Rivers has posted just 197 yards in the air with six touchdowns and six picks over the last four games.

“I feel good,“ Rivers said. “Shoot, it’s part of playing this position (to) get banged up here and there. I feel as good as I could ask to feel at this point in the season. If we told you every knick and knack we ever had, it’d be a long list and things you wouldn’t care to hear about. It wouldn’t be worth reporting that, for sure. It’s not at all (something I’ve been dealing with for a while). Mainly close to that last hit in the game I got caught landing on the football. It’s nothing that’s going to linger or cause me to miss any time on the practice field (or in the game).“

St. Louis, meanwhile, got to play spoiler and stunned Denver in Week 10, as Shaun Hill returned as the starting quarterback and helped lead the Rams to a 22-7 win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

Hill passed for 220 yards and a touchdown and Greg Zuerlein kicked a career- high five field goals in the victory.

“Great win. As good a game as we can play,“ said head coach Jeff Fisher.

Zuerlein was named the NFC special teams player of the week for his efforts.

The defense also did its part, as the Rams sacked Manning twice, picked him off two times and held the Broncos to their lowest point total since the quarterback took the reins at the start of the 2012 campaign.

“We’re building this team and we’re on the right track and we’re moving in the right direction,“ Fisher said. “We’ve had some disappointing losses, some close losses and some things have happened but to be able to line up and play against these teams like we did, I think we’ve earned a little respect.“

The Chargers and Rams, separated for many years by just 100 miles when the Rams played in Los Angeles, have met only 10 times in the regular season. The Rams hold a 6-4 series edge and won the last meeting in 2010. San Diego hasn’t won in the series since 2006, Rivers’ first year under center for the team.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Rivers has played every game for the Chargers since being drafted and there is no reason to think he won’t be under center again on Sunday, as the Chargers go after their eighth home win in nine games.

The fiery signal caller has been terrific at home, throwing for 2,026 pass yards with 19 TDs vs. 4 INTs for 110.0 rating. He has also been thrown two or more touchdowns in seven of his past nine games overall

“Philip Rivers, I mean goodness,“ Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis said. “They run a very similar offense to what Denver does—get the ball downfield a little bit further.“

Rivers, who is closing in on 35,000 passing yards for his career, will need to be on point Sunday if he intends on resuscitating an offense that has scored just 13.5 points and 258.8 yards per game over the last four.

To show just how bad it’s been, the Chargers had managed 29.4 points and 395.8 total yards over the five-game winning streak.

Rivers’ ribs could be put to the test against one of the most ferocious front sevens in the league in St. Louis. Robert Quinn has 6.0 sacks while first round pick Aaron Donald has 4.0, accounting for 10 of the team’s 19 sacks on the year. The duo has also combined for 13 tackles for loss.

Meanwhile, linebacker Alec Ogletree has been a menace, leading the team in tackles (54), forced fumbles (3) and interceptions (2).

As for Hill, he showed no rust in his first start since the opener, as he orchestrated the Rams’ first turnover free game since Week 7.

Nobody was happier to see Hill under center than wideout Kenny Britt, who had his best day of the season, as he hauled in four catches for 128 yards. That also opened up the running game for Tre Mason, who finished with a season-best 113 yards.

“(Hill) throwing well helped the run game and us running well helped him throw,“ Mason said. “It all plays together.“

Repeating that performance may be tough, though, against a tough Chargers defense that allowed just 71 yards on the ground in the win over Oakland.

On defense, the Chargers rank No. 9 in yards per game (331.4), No. 6 against the pass (222.4 yards per game), and No. 6 in points (19.2 per game).

“We’re going up against a very talented defense—different style of defense, pressure-oriented defense,“ Fisher said. “It’s a defense that we have to become familiar with, but it’s a big-play defense. They’ve played well.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

San Diego can deny it all it wants, but Rivers is playing hurt. He’s shown in the past he can do it, so he probably will continue to fight his way through whatever is bothering him. But, it does seem to be taking its toll. Being back in San Diego should help, as well as having a healthy Matthews behind him should take some of the burden off his shoulders. It’s kind of hard to see the Rams putting up a similar effort as they did a week ago, especially in San Diego.

Predicted outcome: San Diego 27, St. Louis 20


►  9-1 Cards face statement game in Seattle

The Arizona Cardinals may have the best record in the NFL, but head coach Bruce Arians was pretty blunt about how little that means if the team doesn’t accomplish something this season.

The NFC West-leading Cardinals look to make a statement on Sunday as they travel to the rough confines of CenturyLink Field to battle the rival Seattle Seahawks for the first time this season.

Arizona has ripped off six straight wins, its longest winning streak since 1977, to get to 9-1 on the season. That has the Cardinals three games up on both the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in the division standings, but Arizona has another game versus Seattle left this season and one more against the Niners.

In fact, the Cards play four of their last six games on the road and host the Seahawks on December 21 before capping the regular season in San Francisco.

Seattle has won 21 of its past 23 at home, including playoffs, but one of those losses came to a visiting Arizona team in Week 16 of last season. That 17-10 win by the Cardinals snapped the Seahawks’ 14-game win streak at CenturyLink Field and was the first career home loss for quarterback Russell Wilson.

The Cardinals are 3-3 in their last six trips to Seattle and are looking to become the first team since Atlanta in 2010-11 to beat the Seahawks on their home turf in back-to-back seasons.

Yet, despite the Cardinals’ better record, the Seahawks are largely viewed as the favorite.

“We would have anticipated that,“ said Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. “Going up there, everybody is usually an underdog. It’s another one of those things that, we don’t really need any extra motivation, especially at there place.

“They’re the world champions. We’re just 9-1. We haven’t done (expletive). This is a big game.“

The Cardinals matched their best start in club history through 10 games with a 14-6 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Drew Stanton stepped in for an injured Carson Palmer and threw touchdown passes to Michael Floyd on Arizona’s first two drives.

Stanton threw scoring passes of 42 and 12 yards to Floyd in the first nine minutes of the game.

“Drew did what we expected him to do,“ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said of Stanton. “There was no question that he was going to go out there and play well.“

Stanton made his career-high fourth start of the season as Palmer was lost for the season due to a torn ACL in his left knee suffered the previous week. He threw for a career-high 306 yards and was also picked off twice.

Arizona has won 16 of its past 19 games dating back to last season and has won nine of its first 10 for the first time in franchise history since the Chicago-based club went 11-1 in 1948.

With two games left versus the Cardinals, the Seahawks have time to make up the three-game gap but they’ll need to quickly rebound from last Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

Seattle went ahead when Wilson hit tight end Tony Moeaki for a one-yard score with 23 seconds left in the third quarter, but the Chiefs quickly answered with their third rushing touchdown of the game to grab the lead for good.

Wilson connected on 20-of-32 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns for the Seahawks (6-4), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Wilson also carried the ball eight times for 71 yards.

“We played a good football team out there today,“ said Wilson. “It was a heart-breaking loss; we thought we could have and should have won it, but they played a great game and we played a great game. Two great NFL teams going after it in a tough environment.“

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 124 yards on 24 carries for Seattle.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Cardinals’ defense has masked some offensive inconsistency by holding opponents to under 300 yards in three straight games and four of the past five. Arizona also has held its opponent to 20 points or fewer in six straight and nine of 10 games this season, the lone exception a 41-20 loss in Denver back on October 5.

Arizona has gotten after the quarterback with 10 sacks in the past two games, getting at least one from seven different players, and safety Rashad Johnson pulled in the team’s 15th interception of the season versus Detroit.

The Cards rank third in points allowed per game at 17.6 and are third against the run, yielding 80.5 yards per game. They have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 20 straight games.

Lynch will challenge that streak as he ran for 124 of his club’s 204 yards on the ground versus the Chiefs. The Pro Bowl back, who has run for nine scores and caught another three touchdown passes, has gone over 100 yards rushing in back-to-back games after being held under the mark in seven straight.

Arizona, which is tied for second in the NFL with a plus-11 turnover ratio, may need its defense to step up again with Fitzgerald possibly being forced to miss this game due to a knee injury. The 31-year-old leads the club with 46 catches and 658 yards, and last weekend became the second-youngest receiver behind Randy Moss to reach 12,000 career yards.

Fitzgerald, though, was unable to practice on Wednesday.

“It is a little bit iffy because he’s a little bit sorer than I thought he would be,“ Arians told Arizona’s website. “We knew he would be. Hopefully it’ll loosen up as the week goes on.“

Arizona’s offense thrives on not turning the ball over, but Seattle is in line to get middle linebacker Bobby Wagner back this weekend. He had missed the last five games with a torn ligament in his toe, but returned to practice.

Wagner’s availability would allow K.J. Wright to slide back to weak-side linebacker. Wright leads Seattle with 75 tackles and Wagner is still fourth on the club with 50.

“I’m glad he’s back,“ Wright told Seattle’s website of Wagner. “I believe he was definitely headed toward a Pro Bowl year, the way he was playing, all those packages he’s good in.“

The Seahawks did lose Pro Bowl center Max Unger for possibly the next 3-to-4 weeks due to a sprained ankle, but offensive guard James Carpenter has a chance to return from his own ankle ailment that has held him out of the past two games.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Expect a hard-nosed battle between these division rivals, with Seattle’s top- ranked ground attack (174.2 yards per game) trying to break through Arizona’s stingy defense.

Part of the Cardinals’ success in defending the run may come because they are giving up 263.2 ypg through the air, so Wilson should be given a chance to air it out before falling back to making plays with his feet.

Seattle ranks third in total defense and the potential absence of Fitzgerald will put a lot of pressure on Stanton and the club’s 30th-ranked ground attack. That should be all the Seahawks need in their own building to take care of business.

Predicted outcome: Seahawks 20, Cardinals 16


►  Browns set to welcome Gordon back, face Falcons

Guess who’s back, back again?

Josh Gordon’s back, tell a friend.

In words similar to Eminem’s hit “Without Me,“ the Cleveland Browns will welcome back the talented wide receiver this week after he served a 10-game, league-imposed suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

It may have felt empty without Gordon, but he will be back with the Browns when they visit the Atlanta Falcons Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

“Obviously Josh is a phenomenal player ... set records last year with only 14 games, so I think everybody has high expectations for him,“ Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer said.

Gordon, who has stirred up controversy the past few months and was limited during his ban to strength and conditioning work at the team’s facility, had his suspension reduced in September after the NFL and the NFL Players Association introduced the finalized agreement to changes in their substance abuse and performance enhancing substances policies.

“I just want to display some hard work and effort, not only me but try to get that atmosphere throughout the rest of the team and have us be in a position that the city of Cleveland hasn’t been in a long time,“ Gordon said.

Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is trying to beat Gordon to that.

Beset by off-the-field problems since his college days, Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 yards on 87 catches during a breakout campaign last season, setting Browns season records for receiving yards and 100-yard receiving games (7) as well as a new NFL mark for most yards receiving over a four-game stretch (774).

While many believe the return of Gordon will inject life back into Cleveland, Hoyer said to let things fall into place.

“I think the biggest thing I can tell you guys is look, we all know what Josh is capable of, but let’s not put all this pressure on him that he’s going to be this savior,“ Hoyer said. “We all have to play better on offense. We have to be more consistent.“

Hoyer and the Browns are coming off Sunday’s 23-7 home loss to the Houston Texans. The Browns had won three straight and five of six games, but are still in the hunt for an AFC North title at 6-4. Pittsburgh is on the bye this week and sits atop the division at 7-4. Cincinnati is next with a 6-3-1 record and both the Browns and Baltimore are even.

Browns leading receiver Andrew Hawkins (601 yards, 2 TD) said he “can’t wait” to have Gordon back even though he may not get as many targets. Head coach Mike Pettine is taking a cautionary approach.

“Josh is an elite receiver, he’s proven that, but you have to be very smart with how you handle him,“ Pettine said. “We really won’t know until the week goes on where he is mentally, where he is physically, how ready he is, how he’ll be able to contribute to our offense ... We have to understand the circumstances.“

The Browns were decent enough on offense without Gordon, but came up empty versus the Texans. Now they’re scheduled to play two straight and four of the last six games away from home, starting Sunday against a dangerous Falcons team inside the Georgia Dome.

“The meaningful games come at the end of November and December,“ said Hoyer, who is 9-4 in 13 starts with Cleveland.

Atlanta finally found success on the road in back-to-back wins at Tampa Bay and Carolina, and will try to stop a two-game home losing streak Sunday.

The Falcons squeezed out a 19-17 win over the NFC South-rival Panthers last weekend, as Matt Bryant nailed a 44-yard field goal with about two minutes remaining in the game after Carolina stormed back behind two touchdown passes from Cam Newton.

Matt Ryan passed for 268 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions for the Falcons, who are tied with New Orleans for the division lead at 4-6.

“It’s been a different year for sure, but you play to be relevant in November and December,“ said Ryan. “I think we’ve played pretty effective football and I think things are starting to come together here.“

Ryan led the Falcons on a 12-play, 54-yard drive to set up Bryant’s field goal and completed five passes for 43 yards during the march. Ryan also led the Falcons on a game-winning drive against the Buccaneers.

The Falcons will have to get by without all-purpose back Antone Smith after he suffered a broken leg against Carolina. Smith had two rushing scores and three receiving TDs this season. Also, starting cornerback Robert Alford is expected to miss a few week because of a wrist injury. Robert McClain is expected to fill the void in the defensive backfield.

“I think Robert’s got some experience over the last couple years. Last year with us, he ended up playing our nickel; he’s going to now have to step in, for a short period of time, and play the corner position,“ Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. “Robert’s an experienced guy that studies the game extremely hard, and we anticipate that he’ll go out there and get the job done.“

Alford and safety Kemal Ishmael have three interceptions apiece this season.

The Brown have dominated Atlanta all-time to the tune of 10-3, but lost the previous meeting by a 20-10 score on October 10, 2010. Ryan threw for 187 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-28 passing, while Roddy White caught five passes for 101 yards and a score. Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann returned an interception for a score in that one.

Cleveland is 5-1 as the guest against the Falcons.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Falcons are last in passing yards allowed at 281.2 yards per game and managed to survive against Carolina. Panthers rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had 109 yards and a touchdown on nine catches, while tight end Greg Olsen finished with 61 yards.

With Gordon’s return to the Browns and the Falcons minus a starting defensive back, Smith was asked if he thinks the receiver will be up to speed.

“Absolutely I do. They’ve stated that they want to get him out on the field as quickly as possible,“ Smith said. “He’s a game changer; he’s a guy that with ball in his hands he can make plays. So we’re anticipating that we’re going to get a full dose of him this week.“

They’ll also get plenty of looks at Hawkins, who leads Cleveland with 45 catches. Atlanta won’t see running back Ben Tate, who was released Tuesday after reportedly not being happy with his playing time. Tate was third on the team with 333 yards, second with 106 carries and second in TDs with four.

“With all the transactions we make while constructing our roster, it will always be our intent to do what is best for our football team,“ Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement on the club’s website. “This move is no different and we wish Ben the best going forward.“

Terrence West leads the Browns with 408 yards on 112 carries and three scores, while Isaiah Crowell has a team-best five rushing scores and 358 yards on 78 touches. The Falcons are 24th in rushing yards allowed (122.2). Cleveland registered just 58 yards on the ground last week versus Houston.

The Browns will be without two defensive stars in inside linebacker and leading tackler Karlos Dansby (73 tackles, 3 sacks) and outside LB Jabaal Sheard (36 tackles, 2 sacks). Dansby is expected to miss about a month of action with a knee injury sustained versus the Texans.

Pettine said it’s a shame to lose Dansby because of his leadership both on and off the field, and for how well he’d been playing in recent weeks. His intensity, energy and leadership will be missed for a few weeks. Craig Robertson is expected to step in for Dansby and call defensive plays, a tough job for anyone in this league.

“The guys love Craig. They love him,“ Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said. “He’s a guy that brings it every day. I love his energy.“

Sheard is most likely done for the season with an injured bone in his foot. Barkevious Mingo played alongside sack leader (6) Paul Kruger against the Texans and will take over for Sheard. Mingo has 29 tackles and one sack this season and posted seven stops Sunday.

The Browns will have their hands full defensively against Falcons running back Steven Jackson and a host of others. They are 30th in run defense, allowing 142.1 yards per game. Cleveland is solid against the pass, giving up 230.2 yards per game, and has two players with at least four INTs: Tashaun Gipson (6) and Buster Skrine (4).

Don’t forget about Joe Haden or Donte Whitner either.

Atlanta has Julio Jones and White to test Cleveland’s secondary. White surpassed the 10,000-yard receiving mark and is one touchdown shy of tying Michael Turner (61) for the franchise record.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Sunday’s game has big playoff implications for both the Falcons and Browns, but it’s especially vital for the visitors. Atlanta can still lose and have life for a division title. A Cleveland loss in the jumbled AFC North creates an uncomfortable issue for Pettine’s team.

The Falcons, though, won’t lose Sunday and will win another close one behind “Matty Ice.“ Ryan has led Atlanta to back-to-back road wins and will be in his own sandbox Sunday, as he sports a 38-11 record at the Dome. He is 17-9 in his career against the AFC.

“Our goal was to go to Carolina and get the win; we were able to get that accomplished,“ Smith said. “It was hard fought, there’s a lot of football to be played, but we are aware of where we are. Our goal is to continue to improve. We’ve got some young guys that started getting significant playing time at different positions across the board. I think that they’re improving. I think everybody’s aware of what we need to do this week.“

Predicted outcome: Falcons 26, Browns 21


►  Giants try to play spoiler against rival Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys had the fortunate chance to visit London before getting rest and relaxation on the recent bye week.

The party is over and it’s back to work for the Cowboys Sunday night at MetLife Stadium versus the NFC East-rival New York Giants.

The Cowboys are tied with Philadelphia atop the division standings with an identical 7-3 record and easily disposed of the Jacksonville Jaguars in England on November 9. The victory ended a two-game slide for Dallas and gave America’s Team something to smile about during their lengthy time away.

Now it’s time to prepare for a possible playoff run and improve.

“Coach (Jason) Garrett said it, but I think our team understands it ... we got out of it (bye) at 7-3, but there’s so much we can get better,“ Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. “We used the bye week to evaluate and kind of self- scout ourselves, and then we go into it and take it one game at a time.“

Dallas has a challenging schedule ahead with New York on the docket. The Cowboys will not sleep on the Giants with two upcoming games against the Eagles over a three-week stretch. Chicago is mixed in between a Thanksgiving affair and a trip to Philly on December 14.

Witten discussed further what Dallas’ mindset will be.

“You can’t look past New York, and the focus has to be on that. There’s been times I felt like we were going to be great in December, and we didn’t play well,“ Witten said.

The Cowboys’ offense was deadly most of the time before the bye and sits second in rushing yards (153.2 ypg) thanks to DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys are sixth in total offense (387.5 ypg) and seventh in points scored (26.1), but Murray has been the leader on offense.

Murray ran for 100 yards against the Jaguars and has reached the century mark nine times already this season. Murray and Texans running back Arian Foster are tied with seven rushing touchdowns apiece, while the former hasn’t carried the football more than 19 times in the past three games.

Murray, the only player in NFL history with at least 100 rushing yards in nine of his team’s first 10 games to begin a season, is first in the NFL in rushing yards (1,233) and yards per game (123.3) and isn’t worried about cold weather possibly slowing him down.

“In this part of the year, you know it’s cold, the weather, so I think the running is going to be a little bit more of a factor,“ Murray said. “It’s good ... we’ve got a strong offensive line, we’ve got some backs who can run and also we’ve got a lot of guys on the edge who can go up and get the ball. It’s going to be huge for us.“

Either way, Murray’s ready and opponents beware.

“I’m ready. I’m ready to go,“ said Murray, who has rushed for 431 yards and a score in the past four meetings with the Giants. “Like I said before, whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it times 10. It’s going to be an exciting next couple weeks for us.“

The last couple of weeks have been far from exciting for Eli Manning and the Giants as evidenced by five straight losses. The Giants were 3-2 at one point, but now the wheels are beginning to fall off.

Manning did not put the Giants in position to win in Sunday’s 16-10 loss to San Francisco in their own backyard, throwing five interceptions. He has been picked off six times the last two games after not throwing an INT in each of the previous four games.

“I think our concern is try to get a win. After the run we had, just get a win, and get some positive energy, and feel excited about what we are doing,“ Manning said. “It will be a great opportunity against a division rival, and a team we played. We played them tough last time. I think there are still some things that I thought we made some improvement in areas this weekend, kind of regressed in some others. We’ve just got to put it all together and try to get a win this weekend against the Cowboys.“

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said it was a good week of preparation for the 49ers and was pleased with the defense for how badly it played in previous weeks. The defense has struggled and is 22nd against the pass (252.7 ypg), 26th in points allowed (26.3), 31st in total yards allowed (397.7 ypg) and dead last in rushing yards (145.0).

Frank Gore ran for 95 yards on 19 carries for San Francisco.

New York is winless in its last two home games and welcomed back its leading rusher, Rashad Jennings, versus the ‘Niners. Jennings saw his first action since October 5 because of balky knee and posted 59 yards on 18 carries. He missed the first meeting with Dallas and is excited for Sunday.

“Yeah, I missed the last one,“ Jennings said. “So yeah, the first one, I am excited.“

Jennings said he felt good after being out for some time.

“Well, I don’t develop rust because I am always moving; it was just a matter of fine tuning,“ Jennings said.

New York dropped a 31-21 decision in Dallas on October 19. Manning threw for 248 yards and three scores, while rookie wideout Odell Beckham Jr. caught two of those TD passes. Murray rumbled for 128 yards and a score on 28 carries for a Dallas offense that racked up 423 total yards.

Manning (247) needs one TD to surpass Boomer Esiason (247) for 16th place on the NFL all-time career passing touchdowns list. He should easily get that against a Dallas defense that is 14th against the pass (239.8 ypg).

The Cowboys lead the all-time series with New York by a 60-42-2 advantage and have won three straight and four of the last five meetings in the series.

“Every week, it’s a new challenge,“ Jennings said. “This is a division game and they’re a team that’s playing well. We are excited for this next challenge.“

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Giants are fifth in the NFL with 13 interceptions. Prince Amukamara, Antrel Rolle and Quintin Demps are tied for the team-lead with three, but Amukamara is on injured reserve (biceps).

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has one INT and is questionable Sunday.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo passed for 279 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the first meeting with the G-men and has won the last three meetings against them. Romo is 7-1 in his last eight starts overall.

Look for Romo to try and establish a rhythm early with talented wideout Dez Bryant. Bryant hauled in nine passes for 151 yards against New York and had similar numbers before the bye against Jacksonville with 158 yards and two TDs on six receptions. Bryant has scored a touchdown in each of the past three games (4 total) and owns eight this season.

Bryant and Witten are always tough to defend. Witten has found the end zone four times in the last three matchups in this series.

Giants middle linebacker Jameel McClain has been a tackling monster the past two weeks. He had 12 stops in the loss at Seattle, then made 14 tackles at home versus San Francisco. McClain said the Giants have to move on from their recent losses and get prepared for a tough Dallas team.

“The mentality is, in reality in this game, you get can opportunity to lick your wounds at this point and this is what we get within this day,“ McClain said Sunday. “To absorb what happened and to see how we can get better, that is the mentality right now. We know we all have got to and play a great game, regardless. Next time is the next time, and we’ve got to go in and put in a great effort and come out with a win.“

Giants defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice and their status Sunday is unknown. Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka (knee) is also on the infirmary list.

Coughlin said he believes Manning will “bounce back” and have a “good game” versus the Cowboys. The same cannot be said for the offensive line. Right tackle Justin Pugh (quad) is dealing with injury and Charles Brown played poorly in his place Sunday, according to Coughlin.

Jennings will have more reps this week and could surprise the Cowboys because they haven’t faced him yet this season. The rookie Beckham has 21 receptions for 357 yards in his last three games. Beckham, wide receiver Rueben Randle and tight end Larry Donnell will have to match Bryant and Witten. Donnell will put his size and athleticism to the test and had seven catches for a career- high 90 yards versus the Cowboys in Week 7.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell could be counting down his days of employment and maybe DE Jason Pierre-Paul can help bail him out. JPP has recorded seven sacks in the last seven games in this series and had two in the first encounter.

Kiwanuka and sack leader Robert Ayers could have an impact on the outcome.

But even if they do, it won’t be enough to slow down Murray and the Cowboys, who have to keep pace with the Eagles in the NFC East. Philadelphia should have an easy time with 2-8 Tennessee visiting Lincoln Financial Field.

The Cowboys will have their own party up I-95.

Predicted outcome: Cowboys 28, Giants 17


►  Falcons sign LB James Anderson

The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran linebacker James Anderson on Thursday.

Anderson, 31, was released by the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday after registering five tackles in seven games this season.

The Virginia Tech product has totaled 561 tackles, 12 sacks and three interceptions in 117 career games with Carolina, Chicago and Tennessee.


►  Eagles’ McCoy hopes for breakout game against Titans

After studying film on the Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said their defense is blockable.

Whether that was knock on his offensive line is another story, but the film doesn’t lie. McCoy saw the Pittsburgh Steelers open holes and create running lanes for Le’Veon Bell, who rumbled for 204 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries in a Monday night win.

McCoy hasn’t had more than 24 carries in a game this season and will try to prove the naysayers wrong Sunday versus Tennessee at Lincoln Financial Field.

After leading the NFL in rushing last season with 1,607 yards and 5.1 yards per carry, McCoy has been a hot topic for criticism for down numbers in 2014. But, he still has 729 yards and only two touchdowns, and was asked if he is the same player from years past.

“I’m not going to address, ‘Am I the same player?‘ I won’t address that. For what? What are we talking about, am I the same player? That’s for y’all to figure out. You crazy? Am I the same player? I am the same player,“ McCoy said this week.

Well, McCoy hasn’t looked like the same player probably because defenses are loading up and forcing the Eagles to beat them through the air. McCoy had only 19 yards on 12 carries in a blowout win versus Carolina, then managed to post 88 yards on 23 carries in last Sunday’s lopsided 53-20 loss in Green Bay.

“It’s the same way when we win,“ McCoy said. “When you win, you celebrate, enjoy the win, and then you have to get past it. This season is all about the next week ... We lose to a good team, we come back, we prepare and get ready for the next week.“

Darren Sproles was brought over to take the load off McCoy and had only 21 yards on two carries Sunday. Sproles, who’s a dangerous weapon in the return game, hasn’t had more than seven carries in a game since posting 11 in Week 1. He needs to be more involved in the run game to make the Eagles more balanced and dangerous. McCoy and Sproles are rarely on the field at the same time.

The Titans are 31st against the run (143.5 ypg), while the Eagles are averaging 114.2 ypg rushing.

Mark Sanchez made his second start for the Eagles and didn’t play as sharp as he did versus the Panthers. Sanchez was picked off twice and one interception was returned 52 yards for a touchdown by Julius Peppers. Sanchez also fumbled a bad snap and it was returned 49 yards for a score by Casey Hayward. When the frost settled at a chilly Lambeau Field, Sanchez finished 26-of-44 passing for 346 yards.

“I know for sure that this team won’t quit,“ Sanchez said, “and that’s going to be important, because down the stretch here we’re going to need to fight to the finish and come back and get a great win next week.“

The Eagles entered Lambeau having won two straight and four of five games.

Philadelphia is favored to win Sunday and 5-0 at home, but has a gauntlet to go through afterward with two games against Dallas sandwiched around a meeting with Seattle. The Eagles, who have won nine straight regular season games at home and are tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East with identical 7-3 records, will close the season with road games in Washington and New York.

Tennessee enters the City of Brotherly Love riding a four-game losing streak and fell to 2-8 after Monday’s 27-24 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bell ran all over the Titans, who blew a 24-13 lead by allowing 14 points in the fourth quarter.

Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger connected on 15-of-24 passes for 263 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while fellow rookie Bishop Sankey carried the ball 11 times for 38 yards and a score.

“We feel very close,“ Mettenberger said. “We’re not doing enough to win football games. That’s the bottom line and the most important thing. But rookie running back, rookie left tackle, rookie quarterback, rookie middle linebacker. We’re doing a lot of good things.“

The Titans have a short week to prepare for the Eagles and should expect an aerial show. They are strong against the pass this season, sitting ninth with 226.9 yards allowed. Cornerback Jason McCourty leads the team with three interceptions, while free safety Michael Griffin and linebacker Wesley Woodyard have two picks apiece.

Look for Tennessee to try and force Sanchez into making poor reads and errant throws. Tennessee is sixth in sacks with 29.0 this season and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey boasts a team-high four. Titans linebacker Avery Williamson had two of the Titans’ five sacks of Pittsburgh.

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is not taking the Titans lightly.

“I think the one thing everybody in this building comes away with is how hard Tennessee plays,“ Kelly said. “I think they’re a tough, hard-nosed physical team. They’ve got some very good players on the defensive side of the ball. I think they’ve got a very aggressive attack and scheme that (defensive coordinator) Ray (Horton) put them in. We know it’s going to be a heck of a game on Sunday.“

The Titans have won four in a row against the Eagles and trail the all-time series by a 4-6 count. They destroyed Philadelphia, 37-19, the last time the teams met on October 24, 2010 in Nashville, where McCoy ran for 48 yards and had 54 receiving. Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had five catches for 42 yards. Maclin and improving rookie wideout Jordan Matthews hope to have a big day Sunday.

Tennessee’s only visit to Lincoln Financial Field on November 19, 2006 resulted in a 31-13 rout. Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt is 3-1 against the Eagles, including the playoffs.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Eagles are second in sacks with 33.0, but only managed one (Vinny Curry) against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers had all the time in the world to pick apart Philly’s secondary, passing for 341 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Rodgers even had time to chuckle during the debacle that saw Eagles cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher get torched early and often. That seems to be the theme even if the Eagles play well.

Philadelphia is trying to bounce back Sunday and has won the last four games directly after a loss dating back to Week 8 of last season.

“I think the biggest thing is that we’re eager to get better, to make the corrections that we need to make,“ Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “We’re excited, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to get better. We still have all the confidence in the world, we still know we’re a great team, and we’re looking forward to proving that this week.“

The Eagles are 19th against the run, but Tennessee doesn’t have much of a rushing attack. The Titans are 25th in passing (216.5 ypg), 26th in rushing (92.5 ypg), 30th in points scored (16.8 ppg) and 31st in total yards (309.0 ypg). The Titans hope to get tight end Delanie Walker (concussion) back and he leads them with 512 yards and four touchdowns.

Walker has to be cleared in order to play. Wide receiver Kendall Wright has 473 yards and four scores on a team-high 43 receptions.

Of course Mettenberger has to get them the ball. Rookie left tackle Taylor Lewan described his QB as a “savage.“ When asked to elaborate on that, Taylor responded, “Savage: A guy who doesn’t care about much and just wants to go in and do his job. He doesn’t care about whether he’s going to be popular or not ... he just wants to throw touchdowns.“

Mettenberger said he would like to get his first win out of the way.

“I’ve got to keep working,“ Mettenberger said. “I’ve yet to get a win, and really that’s the most important thing. And it’s kind of eating at me.“

Brandon Graham (4 1/2 sacks), Curry (6 sacks) and Connor Barwin (10 1/2 sacks) hope to add to their total Sunday with an inexperienced quarterback coming in on a short week. Barwin has 8 1/2 sacks in the last three games at home.

“Zach’s improving and doing a lot of good things for us,“ Whisenhunt said of his QB. “We’ve just got to continue to see him grow in that. A short week is another test for him. Going on the road into this environment is another test of seeing a defense that will bring a lot of pressure, being able to handle that. What you want to see is us win a game. That’s what we need to do.“

In injury news for the Eagles, guard Matt Tobin suffered a concussion at Green Bay and his status versus Tennessee doesn’t look good. Andre Gardner took first-team reps at guard in Tobin’s absence during practice.

“I just try to approach it the same way I approach it every week because the reality is I could play every snap but one at any position any given week so it was the same thing, but it’s been a little more concentrated work on guard,“ Gardner said.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The cliche you are only as good as your last game doesn’t apply to the Eagles this week for three reasons: They have been tough to beat at home over a long stretch, McCoy is determined to shut everyone up and the defense is eager to get a horrible taste out of its mouth.

“I’m sure I speak for everyone in here,“ Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews said Tuesday, “when I say that Sunday can’t come fast enough.“

The same goes for the fans.

Predicted outcome: Eagles 34, Titans 14


►  Embattled RG3 turns focus to 49ers

Through his own words and thanks to some statements made by others, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III was thrust into the spotlight this week for all the wrong reasons.

The third-year pro hopes he makes headlines for all the right reasons this Sunday when the Redskins travel west to battle the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.

Griffin suffered a dislocated left ankle in Week 2 versus Jacksonville, causing him to miss the next six weeks of action. Washington lost the first four games without him under center, but rebounded to win two in a row behind Colt McCoy.

However, Griffin returned to action in Week 9 for a 29-26 loss in Minnesota, then struggled following a bye week in a 27-7 setback to Tampa Bay.

The former second overall pick of the 2012 draft threw for 207 yards with a 30-yard touchdown pass to running back Roy Helu Jr., but was intercepted twice in the first quarter, with one returned for a touchdown that spotted the Buccaneers an early lead.

Griffin made comments after the game about needing other guys to play well, with some thinking he was throwing his team under the bus, allegations the quarterback denied in his Twitter account. Things then went a step further on Monday when rookie head coach Jay Gruden pointed out fundamental issues Griffin was still having.

Gruden backtracked on Wednesday, faulting himself for things becoming more about Griffin than the team, noting that nobody should be singled out.

“It was a mistake on my part. After a loss like that, we’re very disappointed with the way we played,“ said the coach. “The question came up about how he played and I just answered it first thing that came to my mind. Sometimes the first thing that comes to your mind isn’t the smartest thing. It wasn’t the right thing to do on my part. Corrections should be made in-house with everybody involved.“

A toned-down Griffin deflected many of the questions he fielded on Wednesday to saying all he and the team could do is concentrate on San Francisco.

“Jay wants me to play better. I want to play better. We’re focused on San Francisco and making that happen. That’s all I have to say about that,“ said Griffin.

Washington, at 3-7, is still trying to surpass its three-win total from a season ago and is just 1-4 this year on the road, where it will play two straight.

The 49ers, meanwhile, return home after back-to-back road wins over New Orleans and the New York Giants. They followed up an overtime defeat of the Saints with a strong defensive effort that led to a 16-10 decision over the Giants.

Michael Crabtree had the lone San Francisco touchdown on a 48-yard pass from Colin Kaepernick, while the Niners defense picked off New York quarterback Eli Manning five times.

Chris Borland had two picks, including one at the goal line in the fourth quarter to thwart a late Giants threat, as the 49ers held on for their fifth victory in seven games.

“It was a spectacular performance by our defense today,“ said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. “So many guys stepped up and played great, living in the moment, competing like the dickens and making tremendous athletic, football plays.“

A 6-4, the Niners are tied with Seattle for second place in the NFC West, three games back of 9-1 Arizona.

The 49ers have won three straight and 11 of their last 14 versus the Redskins, including playoffs, and have gone 11-3-1 in this series all-time.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Obviously everyone will be looking to see how Griffin bounces back from a subpar game and the ensuing fallout.

Injuries have limited Griffin to 17 games since the start of last season and appears to have sapped him of his dangerous mobility as well. In his limited action this season, he has run for 89 yards on 18 carries while completing two touchdown passes with four turnovers.

Things won’t get easier this weekend, with left tackle Trent Williams questionable with a knee and ankle injury and the Redskins going up against the league’s fourth-ranked defense.

“Very tough defense. They make you earn every single thing you get,“ noted Griffin of the Niners. “They don’t give up a lot of big plays and they play with passion. So we are going to have to match that going into their house and they are not going to make it easy for us.“

San Francisco will surely try to get to RG3 early and duplicate last weekend’s success. Borland became the first rookie linebacker in team history to grab two interceptions in one game, while cornerback Chris Culliver, safety Eric Reid and linebacker Michael Wilhoite all adding interceptions.

That five-pick performance boosted San Francisco’s league-leading total to 16, and the club is limiting opposing quarterbacks to an average passer rating of 74.3 that ranks second best in the NFL.

The 49ers have had success despite not having linebacker Navarro Bowman all season due to a knee injury and fellow inside LB Patrick Willis missing time and eventually going on injured reserve because of a toe issue.

Harbaugh’s defense, though, did get Aldon Smith back after the outside linebacker finished up serving his nine-game suspension, though the added depth caused some issues versus the Giants.

Displeased with falling into a three-man rotation with Smith and rookie Aaron Lynch, linebacker Ahmad Brooks lashed out at defensive line coach Jim Tomsula in the second quarter and was benched for the remainder of the contest.

Brooks said this week that he reacted out of character, but did not pull himself out of the game. He also said he apologized to the team and Tomsula and expects to play this weekend.

“Words that were said by me obviously couldn’t be taken back,“ Brooks said. “So they decided not to put me back in the game for the remainder of the game, but we’re moving forward as a team.“

Harbaugh wouldn’t discuss Brooks’ upcoming role, saying the club never talks about scheme, but did back his linebacker while noting defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his staff always determine playing time and rotation.

“Emotions played into it when it shouldn’t. We’ve got to overcome something like that. I trust Ahmad Brooks, believe in Ahmad Brooks. (I) know he’s going to make a vital contribution to our team has he always has,“ said Harbaugh.

“Nobody has answered the bell more than Ahmad Brooks has for this football team.“

Sunday’s matchup will feature the two running backs with the longest active starting streaks. San Francisco’s Frank Gore has started in 54 straight, followed by Washington’s Alfred Morris’ streak of 42 in a row.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Each team is looking to overcome some distractions, but the Niners appear better prepared to overcome the adversity.

For starters, the club’s depth at linebacker makes Brooks’ role much less pronounced and easier to brush aside, while Griffin will be under the world’s eye each time he takes a snap.

And though he attempted to take the focus off his quarterback, Gruden may have gotten inside Griffin’s head with the talks of fundamentals and that isn’t good given the 49ers’ ability to get after the quarterback.

It could be another long week for the Redskins and their starting signal- caller.

Predicted outcome: 49ers 27, Redskins 16


►  Vikings move on without Peterson, host red-hot Rodgers

If Adrian Peterson was wearing purple on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings would have been a significant underdog to the Green Bay Packers.

Without the former MVP?

Well let’s just say the high-powered Packers probably feel pretty good about their chances as the long-time rivals prepare for the latest incarnation of their “Border Battle” in Minneapolis on Sunday.

Green Bay has won two straight and six of seven overall behind its own former MVP in Aaron Rodgers, who is playing the quarterback position at an absurdly high level right now.

Rodgers, who threw six first-half touchdowns in a 55-14 Week 10 blowout of the Bears, threw for three touchdowns and 341 yards last week as the Packers improved to 5-0 at home with a 53-20 drubbing of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Green Bay is the first team since the 1950 Rams to score at least 53 points in consecutive games and is one of only six teams in history to reach the half- century mark in consecutive contests. Overall Rodgers is leading an offensive unit that is scoring an NFL-best 33.0 points per game.

“This is not easy,“ Rodgers said when asked about putting up such massive numbers. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. It takes 11 guys to win, to do the job to make something like that happen.“

Eddie Lacy ran for 69 yards and a score on 10 carries and added another TD through the air against the Eagles. Randall Cobb had a game-high 129 yards on 10 catches, Jordy Nelson made four grabs for 109 yards a score and Davante Adams also hauled in a TD catch in the win.

“Very good home victory. I thought our players did an excellent job in all three phases,“ Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’ve got to figure out new ways to compliment Aaron Rodgers. He’s playing at an extremely high level.“

Peterson, meanwhile, isn’t walking through that door to save the Vikings season.

Minnesota is 4-6 after a 21-13 setback in Chicago last week, a game that dropped the Vikings to 4-6, three games behind both the Packers and Detroit Lions in the NFC North.

Peterson, the game’s best pure runner was suspended for at least the remainder of the 2014 season earlier this week for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, a punishment stemming from the abusive discipline Peterson inflicted on his 4-year-old son last May.

Of course Paterson has been shelved since the season opener after being indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas, on September 11 and the Vikings have moved forward with two talented rookies in their backfield, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Jerick McKinnon.

“That’s the furthest thing from my mind right now,“ Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said of the Peterson issue. “I need to figure out how we can tackle and get people out on third downs.“

“I don’t agree with it,“ cornerback Captain Munnerlyn added. “He’s missed nine games already, but, at the end of the day, the NFL came up with that decision and we have to live with it.“

Bridgewater went 18-for-28 for 158 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Bears but threw an interception in the final minute with the Vikings trying to come back and the Soldier Field clock malfunctioning.

Charles Johnson had six catches for 87 yards to lead all Minnesota receivers while McKinnon ran it eight times for 38 yards.

“We can play much better than we did today,“ said Bridgewater. “We knew coming in that it was going to be a challenge for us because Chicago was going to have a chip on its shoulder.“

The Packers lead their all-time series with Minnesota by a 56-48-2 margin and Rodgers has dominated the Vikings over the years, winning eight of his past nine starts against them, including a 42-10 drubbing at Lambeau Field in Week 5. Bridgewater, however, missed that game with an ankle injury.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Minnesota’s only hope here is getting the Packers out of Lambeau, where they are 5-0 and have outscored opponents by a 219-85 margin while averaging 43.8 points per game. Conversely, Green Bay is 2-3 on the road and has been scoring three TDs less at 22.2 ppg.

Rodgers has generally destroyed the Vikings over the years, feasting on Minnesota’s old cover-2 philosophy. In 13 career starts against Minnesota, Rodgers has amassed 30 touchdown passes versus just four interceptions.

That was supposed to change under first- year Vikings coach Zimmer, who preaches controlled aggression with the keys being getting after the passer but doing it in a more disciplined manner, a necessity against Rodgers, who is one of the best ever at extending plays with his mobility.

It’s still a work in progress, though, and the Minnesota D reverted back to some bad habits in Chicago, enabling Jay Cutler to extend plays and get the ball down the field. If the unit does the same thing against Rodgers they might as well not show up on Sunday.

Zimmer’s finished products have had more success against Rodgers than most. The All-Pro was 0-2 against Zimmer’s defenses in Cincinnati with a less-than- stellar 57% completion percentage.

In his past two efforts this season, A-Rod has nine touchdowns without an interception and 656 passing yards, despite giving way early to backup Matt Flynn in the blowouts. Rodgers’ 120.1 passer rating leads the NFL and would be a single-season record while his 28 TDs are second in the league.

“Obviously Aaron is having a great season and has done so many things, but I think you can’t lose sight of the fact that this is a team sport,“ McCarthy said. “I just think it’s a group that’s a year better and has hit its stride a little bit.“

That group includes Nelson and Cobb, who have combined for 19 TD catches, as well as Lacy, who has rebounded nicely after a slow start, rumbling for 547 yards and five TDs. The powerful Lacy is very tough to tackle and Minnesota didn’t look all that interested in hitting last week in the cold, missing about a dozen tackles.

“Number one, especially on the defense, is you have to be able to go out and tackle pretty well,“ Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley said. “(Lacy) is a good back, a big back, like a battering ram. It’s going to take more than one guy to bring him down. We don’t want to leave one guy on him. He’s a tough runner.“

Veteran Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner has been very cautious with Bridgewater, really scaling down the playbook for the rookie. The safe approach has shown on the field, however, and Minnesota is 29th in passing offense and 30th in total offense, averaging just 309.1 yards per game

The team claimed veteran running back Ben Tate off waivers Wednesday a day after he was released by Cleveland and he could be thrown into the fire immediately because McKinnon is dealing with a balky back and backup Matt Asiata suffered a concussion last week.

The Packers’ defense has been helped by the fact Rodgers has been putting up two touchdowns or so in the first four of five minutes of games. That has enabled a flawed unit to play with the lead and pin its ears back to go after the opposing QB, resulting in a NFL-best plus-14 in turnover differential.

“Just being opportunistic,“ Green Bay pass rusher Julius Peppers said when discussing his defense. “Guys being in the right place at the right time and making the plays when it’s time to make them. That’s pretty much it.“

The Green Bay D is poor against the run but no one has been able to expose that weakness because opponents are usually playing the catch-up game.

“They start fast,“ Bridgewater acknowledged. “And once they get out on you, they don’t let up, so we know that we’re going to have to start fast also. ... It’s a good thing that it’s back home this week.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Packers have scored 108 points in their last two games while Minnesota has a total of 90 in its last six.

If Turner continues down the path of producing tentative game plans with an intent on keeping it close and winning things in the fourth quarter (and there is no reason to think he will not), the Vikings have no chance here. Rodgers is simply too explosive for that mentality.

Predicted outcome: Packers 34, Vikings 17


►  Jets-Bills game will not be played in Buffalo

The National Football League made it official on Thursday, announcing the Buffalo Bills Week 12 game against the New York Jets will not take place at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

A new site and day/time have not been decided.

“Due to public safety concerns in light of the ongoing weather emergency in Western New York, Sunday’s Jets-Bills game will not be played in Buffalo,“ NFL spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement. “We are in the process of rescheduling and relocating the game as part of Week 12. We will provide additional information as soon as possible.

“We have been in contact with the public authorities and we realize the importance of all available public safety resources being available for the community at this difficult time. We are also in discussions with the team and the Red Cross on ways the NFL can support the community through this weather disaster.“

A ferocious lake-effect storm dumped more than five feet of snow in the Buffalo area, especially south and east of the city, where the stadium is located. Another storm is expected to drop another two feet prompting New York governor Andrew Cuomo to chime in on the situation earlier on Thursday.

“My sense is it’s impractical to do the game because it would jeopardize public safety,“ said Governor Cuomo on Thursday after spending time in the area. “Everybody would love to see a Bills game go forward, but, I think even more, everybody wants to make sure public safety comes first.

“If there’s any way we can scramble to get it done ... we’ll do everything we can to deploy resources to make it possible.“

A travel ban for the area is still in place and the Bills have yet to practice for the contest, which could be moved to a new location for Sunday, Monday or even Tuesday.


►  NFLPA officially appeals Peterson ban

As expected, the NFL Players Association has filed an appeal of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.

In a letter sent to the Commissioner’s office, the union accused Goodell and the NFL of denying Peterson due process by “making up the process and punishment as it goes” while calling for the case to be heard by an independent and neutral arbitrator.

Goodell announced Tuesday that Peterson will be suspended indefinitely without pay—and at least through the remainder of this season—after pleading no contest to a charge of misdemeanor reckless assault for allegedly striking his 4-year-old son with a wooden tree branch last May.

Peterson will not be considered for reinstatement prior to April 15 under the recent ruling.

In addition to questioning Goodell’s impartiality over the case, the union contested several issues with the verdict that it viewed as inconsistent with previous NFL decisions regarding the personal conduct policy.

It pointed out that no first-time offenders have served more than a two-game suspension for acts of domestic violence, with the currently on-appeal Ray Rice case the lone exception. The union also argued that since Peterson’s incident occurred in May, it should not fall under the revised personal conduct policy that the league issued in late August.

That change came as a response to a firestorm of public criticism Goodell received for initially handing the ex-Baltimore Ravens running back Rice a two-game ban for physically assaulting his future wife in an Atlantic City casino. The Commissioner later admitted he “didn’t get in right” in his handling of the Rice situation.

The union also claimed that league officials told NFLPA senior vice president Troy Vincent that Peterson would be credited for time served during the period he spent on the Commissioner’s Exempt list while his court case was ongoing.

Peterson has not played since the Vikings’ season opener on September 7, though he had been receiving his full salary while on the exempt list until Tuesday’s ruling.

The NFLPA closed the letter by demanding that Goodell recuse himself from the appeals process, saying “there is simply no way for you to impartially arbitrate Mr. Peterson’s appeal.“

“Given the intense criticism that you and the League office have faced from NFL business partners, Congress, the media, NFL fans and the public at large, and the public pronouncements and commitments you have personally made in response to this criticism, it is clear that you have, by your actions, rendered yourself evidently partial and biased in this matter,“ the letter read.

Peterson was originally charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child, but pleaded no contest to the lesser offense of misdemeanor reckless assault after his legal team worked out an agreement with the Montgomery County (Texas) district attorney. The 2012 NFL MVP avoided jail time and was placed on probation while receiving a $4,000 fine and an order to perform 80 hours of community service.


►  Jets-Bills to play Monday in Detroit

Heavy snowfall this week in the Buffalo area has forced the NFL to move Sunday’s scheduled game between the Jets and Bills to Monday night in Detroit.

The Bills will host the Jets at 7 PM ET Monday at Ford Field.

The league said Thursday in a statement announcing the decision that public safety concerns over the ongoing weather emergency in western New York led to the rescheduling.

“As mentioned earlier today, public safety resources in western New York must be fully available to deal with the recovery from the storm,“ the NFL said. “We continue our discussions with the team and the Red Cross on ways the NFL can support the community through this weather disaster.“

The league said Ford Field was available on Sunday, but the game was pushed back a day to allow the Bills as much time to practice as possible.

The Bills, who have been unable to practice this week due to the lake-effect storm that has dumped more than five feet of snow in the area, will be able to use the Lions’ practice facility starting Friday provided they can get there.

Another storm was expected dump an additional two feet of snow on the area through Friday, prompting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to say it was “impractical” to think about having the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park because it would jeopardize public safety.

“Everybody would love to see a Bills game go forward, but, I think even more, everybody wants to make sure public safety comes first,“ he said.

It won’t be the first time Ford Field has been used by the NFL for a relocated game.

The Lions’ stadium hosted a 2010 game between the Giants and Vikings after the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsed under the weight of snow.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Week 12 player fantasy rankings - quarterbacks

After his performance in Week 11, the choice is rather easy, as to be who should be our top-ranked quarterback heading into Week 12 of the NFL season.

Green Bay Packers’ signal-caller Aaron Rodgers is absolutely on fire right now and owners should expect his hand to stay hot Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Not only has he thrown nine touchdowns and zero interceptions over his past two games. but Rodgers has also torched Minnesota the past three times he has played them, throwing for nine scores and zero interceptions during that span. He has thrown a total of 28 touchdown passes in 2014, while tossing just three interceptions, which should lead fantasy owners to believe that Rodgers will continue to dominate the rest of the way.

Although owners felt comfortable with Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck heading into the season, not many people thought he would be the top fantasy point-getter through 11 weeks. However, that is exactly what he has done (according to Yahoo), totaling 259.92 points, with the second-ranked player more than 15 points behind him. Luck has 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the year, but what may be even more impressive is the fact that he has thrown for under 300 yards just once this season. Owners should continue to enjoy having him on their rosters and simply appreciate the quarterback he has so quickly become.

The quarterback who is ranked directly behind Luck is Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning has not found himself outside the top-two of our rankings very often this season, but with a tough matchup against the Miami Dolphins, we feel it is warranted. Owners need to be aware that Miami gives up the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (14.12 points per game), with Rodgers being the only one to produce over 25 points. However, we do feel that Manning will follow in Rodgers’ footsteps, and score at least 25 points, and possibly be the first quarterback to throw for 300 yards against the Dolphins.

If any fantasy owner needs a change at the quarterback position for Week 12, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ signal-caller Josh McCown is your guy. Since being renamed the starting quarterback entering Week 10, he has thrown for 301 yards and 288 yards, respectively, along with tossing four total touchdowns. During those two games, McCown has totaled 21.94 fantasy points and 20.32 fantasy points, respectively, and on top of that has a juicy matchup this week against the Chicago Bears. Chicago is the worst team in fantasy football against opposing quarterbacks, giving up 22.71 ppg, along with 2.4 passing touchdowns per game.

Owners who have Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger or Cam Newton on a bye or a quarterback with a tough matchup, should seriously consider McCown.

One of those quarterbacks that owners may want to consider benching on Sunday, is Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan. Even with a home game this week, Ryan is still a risky play, as the team takes on the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland gives up the fifth-fewest quarterback points(15.28 ppg) and with the combination of Ryan not recording more than 17 points since Week 4, makes for a tough decision for owners. Not only has Ryan had a tough time posting 20 fantasy points in a game, he has also failed to throw for three touchdowns since Week 4 and has thrown more than one touchdown just once during that span. It may not be easy, but his owners need to look elsewhere for a quarterback for Week 12.

Top-25 Quarterback Rankings

—————————————-

1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

2) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis

3) Peyton Manning, Denver

4) Drew Brees, New Orleans

5) Tom Brady, New England

6) Tony Romo, Dallas

7) Jay Cutler, Chicago

8) Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco

9) Russell Wilson, Seattle

10) Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia

11) Matthew Stafford, Detroit

12) Philip Rivers, San Diego

13) Matt Ryan, Atlanta

14) Ryan Tannehill, Miami

15) Joe Flacco, Baltimore

16) Andy Dalton, Cincinnati

17) Alex Smith, Kansas City

18) Eli Manning, New York Giants

19) Josh McCown, Tampa Bay

20) Robert Griffin III, Washington

21) Michael Vick, New York Jets

22) Kyle Orton, Buffalo

23) Ryan Mallett, Houston

24) Drew Stanton, Arizona

25) Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota


►  Week 12 player fantasy rankings - wide receivers

When a wide receiver has Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, there is a good chance, that wideout will be atop our fantasy rankings.

That is exactly where Jordy Nelson is, heading into Week 12 of the NFL season. According to Yahoo, he has the second-most fantasy points among wide receivers (153.8 points), trailing only Pittsburgh Steelers’ wideout Antonio Brown, and on top of that has totaled under 80 yards just three times in 2014. Nelson already has 60 catches for 998 yards and nine touchdowns this season, and with Rodgers playing lights-out football, we feel Nelson is going to continue to get even better.

The player who is the third-ranked fantasy receiver this season with 148.5 points, is Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. He comes in as our second-ranked wideout this week, and will have potential to put up a “monster” game versus the Miami Dolphins. He’s cracked the 100-yard mark for seven consecutive games and has racked up five touchdowns during that span. Thomas actually has not scored a touchdown over the past four games, but is averaging 11.75 targets during those four weeks and we feel Week 12 will be the game he gets back into the end zone.

After dealing with the dreaded turf-toe injury earlier this season, Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver A.J. Green looks to be fully healthy entering Week 12. He is coming off of his best game since the season opener, recording six receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. We feel that he will continue to trend up heading into a nice matchup against the Houston Texans, who give up the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (27.7 points per game). Green is one of the most talented playmakers in the league, and assuming the toe injury is behind him, owners should be extremely confident moving forward.

Another player who is trending up is Chicago Bears’ receiver Brandon Marshall. After posting over 90 yards just once through the first seven games, he has recorded 112 yards and 90 yards, over the past two games, respectively. On top of that, Marshall has also scored three times during that span, after having only four touchdowns entering Week 10. He should keep rolling along with a favorable matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who give up the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (30.46 ppg).

The last guy in our rankings we want look at is Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Josh Gordon. He is officially finished serving his 10-game suspension, and will make his season-debut Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. We have him ranked as our 26th receiver, as a result of the uncertainty he provides. It is hard to predict the role he will play in his first game back, but owners need remember how dynamic he was last season, with 87 receptions for league-leading 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. His opponent, the Falcons give up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers (24.79 ppg), giving Gordon a good chance to start his season off on the right foot. If he does, he could easily catapult into the top-10 for our Week 13 rankings.

Top-50 Wide Receiver Rankings

——————————————-

1) Jordy Nelson, Green Bay

2) Demaryius Thomas, Denver

3) A.J. Green, Cincinnati

4) Dez Bryant, Dallas

5) Calvin Johnson, Detroit

6) Randall Cobb, Green Bay

7) Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia

8) Brandon Marshall, Chicago

9) Emmanuel Sanders, Denver

10) Julio Jones, Atlanta

11) T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis

12) Alshon Jeffery, Chicago

13) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay

14) DeSean Jackson, Washington

15) Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

16) DeAndre Hopkins, Houston

17) Golden Tate, Detroit

18) Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia

19) Julian Edelman, New England

20) Andre Johnson, Houston

21) Roddy White, Atlanta

22) Sammy Watkins, Buffalo

23) Mike Wallace, Miami

24) Anquan Boldin, San Francisco

25) Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

26) Josh Gordon, Cleveland

27) Brandon LaFell, New England

28) Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati

29) Torrey Smith, Baltimore

30) Keenan Allen, San Diego

31) Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay

32) Doug Baldwin, Seattle

33) Pierre Garcon, Washington

34) Michael Crabtree, San Francisco

35) Percy Harvin, Seattle

36) Marques Colston, New Orleans

37) Kenny Britt, St. Louis

38) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis

39) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City

40) Steve Smith, Baltimore

41) Michael Floyd, Arizona

42) Eric Decker, New York Jets

43) Kendall Wright, Tennessee

44) Reuben Randle, New York Giants

45) Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville

46) John Brown, Arizona

47) Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota

48) Terrance Williams, Dallas

49) Davante Adams, Green Bay

50) Greg Jennings, Minnesota


►  Week 12 player fantasy rankings - running backs

It took over half the season, but rookie Jeremy Hill is making his impact on fantasy football and is even exceeding preseason expectations.

Since taking over as the starting running back for the Bengals three weeks ago, Hill has amassed 361 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Fellow running back Giovani Bernard has returned to practice, so he looks to take some touches away from Hill this week, but we expect Hill to remain the featured back until Bernard has completely recovered from his rib injury.

Bernard is lethal in the passing game, so he may become the “Shane Vereen” of the Cincinnati offense. Expect him to play more then Hill on third down and in other passing situations.

Speaking of Vereen, in light of fellow running back Jonas Gray’s career night versus the Colts, Vereen had just five touches. He did, however, gain 77 yards with those touches. It’s anybody’s guess who Bill Belichick will feature in the backfield from week-to-week, but in theory, Vereen should out-touch Gray in Week 12 against the Lions. Detroit has the top rushing defense in the league (68.8 ypg), and Vereen is better than Gray in pass blocking and pass catching.

Andre Ellington’s yards per rush has plummeted to 1.76 per carry over the last two weeks, but he remains an RB1 option because of his workload. Despite his preseason foot injury, Ellington has averaged nearly 23 touches per game and will continue to be the workhorse back in Arizona.

There is no workhorse back in Denver as the team has moved on to its third starting running back because of injury. Montee Ball returned last week only to re-injury his groin, so C.J. Anderson will start once again. He did not rush well against the Rams, going for 29 yards on nine carries, but he added 86 yards on eight catches.

Whomever starts at running back for the Denver Broncos, the second highest- scoring offense prior to last week’s debacle in St. Louis, needs to be in starting lineups.

It’s put-up or shut-up time for Trent Richardson. The Colts lost Ahmad Bradshaw to a broken leg, so Richardson has the backfield to himself. If owners have no confidence in Richardson, his backup is Dan Herron.

Top-50 Running Back Rankings

——————————————

1) DeMarco Murray, Dallas

2) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City

3) Matt Forte, Chicago

4) Eddie Lacy, Green Bay

5) Arian Foster, Houston

6) LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia

7) Marshawn Lynch, Seattle

8) Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati

9) Justin Forsett, Baltimore

10) Andre Ellington, Arizona

11) Alfred Morris, Washington

12) C.J. Anderson, Denver

13) Mark Ingram, New Orleans

14) Joique Bell, Detroit

15) Denard Robinson, Jacksonville

16) Frank Gore, San Francisco

17) Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati

18) Rashad Jennings, New York Giants

19) Trent Richardson, Indianapolis

20) Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland

21) Lamar Miller, Miami

22) Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota

23) Shane Vereen, New England

24) Ryan Mathews, San Diego

25) Chris Ivory, New York Jets

26) Darren Sproles, Philadelphia

27) Terrance West, Cleveland

28) Reggie Bush, Detroit

29) Tre Mason, St. Louis

30) Fred Jackson, Buffalo

31) Bishop Sankey, Tennessee

32) Knile Davis, Kansas City

33) Alfred Blue, Houston

34) Theo Riddick, Detroit

35) Jonas Gray, New England

36) Steven Jackson, Atlanta

37) Matt Asiata, Minnesota

38) Benny Cunningham, St. Louis

39) Charles Sims, Tampa Bay

40) Juwan Thompson, Denver

41) Carlos Hyde, San Francisco

42) Branden Oliver, San Diego

43) Roy Helu, Washington

44) Bryce Brown, Buffalo

45) Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay

46) James Starks, Green Bay

47) Dan Herron, Indianapolis

48) Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore

49) Joseph Randle, Dallas

50) Darren McFadden, Oakland


►  Week 12 player fantasy rankings - tight ends

The tight end position has remained pretty much the same all season with Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas taking the top-three ranking spots nearly every weekend.

The only question owners with those players need to ask is are they healthy?

This week, it’s Thomas who is a little banged up with an ankle injury. He did not practice on Wednesday, but if he plays, he has too much upside to not start. If he sits, Jacob Tamme is an average replacement only because of Peyton Manning. Tamme, however, still did not make our top-25 rankings as we expect Thomas to be active.

Gronkowski is as healthy as ever, and last Sunday Graham played his highest amount of snaps since Week 4. Drew Brees will likely force the ball to Graham even more without Brandin Cooks for the next few weeks.

Larry Donnell and Jason Witten, whose teams are facing each other, have great matchups this week. The Cowboys allow the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends, and the Giants yield the eighth-most.

Coby Fleener is a great waiver wire pickup this week with regular starter Dwayne Allen likely out due to a high-ankle sprain. Fleener caught seven passes for 144 yards last week after Allen left the game with his injury.

Vernon Davis continues to be one of the biggest fantasy busts of the 2014 season. He has a total of four catches for 34 yards in his last three games. Davis has 18 catches for 176 yards over the entire season and his two touchdowns came in Week 1. Fantasy owners who have Davis should look elsewhere for a starting fantasy tight end.

Top-25 Tight End Rankings

————————————-

1) Rob Gronkowski, New England

2) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

3) Julius Thomas, Denver

4) Larry Donnell, New York Giants

5) Charles Clay, Miami

6) Jason Witten, Dallas

7) Martellus Bennett, Chicago

8) Antonio Gates, San Diego

9) Travis Kelce, Kansas City

10) Coby Fleener, Indianapolis

11) Delanie Walker, Tennessee

12) Scott Chandler, Buffalo

13) Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

14) Mychal Rivera, Oakland

15) Owen Daniels, Baltimore

16) Gavin Escobar, Dallas

17) Eric Ebron, Detroit

18) Niles Paul, Washington

19) Luke Wilson, Seattle

20) Vernon Davis, San Francisco

21) Jared Cook, St. Louis

22) Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati

23) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay

24) Tim Wright, New England

25) Jace Amaro, New York Jets


►  Week 12 player fantasy rankings - kickers

Week 12 is going to be one of those weekends where weather is a major factor in choosing your place-kicker.

It didn’t matter much in September when the weather was nice for most of the country, but in this middle of November weekend it’s going to be the most important factor.

Early indications are that there will be some type of precipitation in Buffalo, Chicago, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Seattle and New York.

The obviously first choice, therefore, is to have your kicker playing in the comfort of a temperature-controlled domed stadium.

We’ve chosen Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri as our top choice. The “ageless wonder” has yet to miss a kick this season going 22-for-22 on field goal attempts and hitting all 34 extra points. Playing against a Jaguars team that is yielding 28.2 ppg, Vinatieri should see plenty of opportunities.

The league’s top-scoring kicker is Stephen Gostkowski, who leads the NFL with 24 made field goals, and in fantasy points with 118. He’ll slot in just behind Vinatieri.

Matt Bryant of Atlanta jumps up to the No. 3 spot after going 4-of-4 on field goal attempts in each of the last two games and playing in the kicker-friendly confines of the Georgia Dome Sunday.

Baltimore’s Justin Tucker and Dallas’ Dan Bailey complete the top-five.

Tucker will also be kicking in a dome, in New Orleans on Monday night. He’s never missed a kick indoors in his three NFL season.

We would recommend staying away from both Dan Carpenter and Nick Folk as the obscene amount of snowfall in the Buffalo area over the past few days means we can’t be sure the field will be in good, or even passable, condition for the kicking game.

Top-25 Kicker Rankings

———————————

1) Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis

2) Stephen Gostkowski, New England

3) Matt Bryant, Atlanta

4) Justin Tucker, Baltimore

5) Dan Bailey, Dallas

6) Cody Parkey, Philadelphia

7) Caleb Sturgis, Miami

8) Mason Crosby, Green Bay

9) Brandon McManus, Denver

10) Steven Hauschka, Seattle

11) Billy Cundiff, Cleveland

12) Cairo Santos, Kansas City

13) Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona

14) Shayne Graham, New Orleans

15) Josh Scobee, Jacksonville

16) Nick Novak, San Diego

17) Blair Walsh, Minnesota

18) Phil Dawson, San Francisco

19) Matt Prater, Detroit

20) Josh Brown, New York Giants

21) Randy Bullock, Houston

22) Patrick Murray, Tampa Bay

23) Mike Nugent, Cincinnati

24) Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis

25) Dan Carpenter, Buffalo


►  Week 12 player fantasy rankings - defense

It’s about respect. Two teams that have been at or near the top of the fantasy defense rankings all season long, will not be in the top-20 in Week 12.

That’s because we have a very healthy respect for what Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are doing on the football field this season.

Manning and his Broncos host the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon. Despite the Dolphins ranking fourth in points allowed (18 ppg) and second in passing yards (208 ypg) they face what some might call an impossible task - slowing down the Broncos offense in Denver. Denver is averaging 29.3 ppg, but coming off an embarrassing loss to St. Louis in which they scored just seven points and should be fired up.

Detroit’s top-ranked defense has an equally tough task. They head to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to face red-hot Tom Brady and the high-scoring Patriots. Since the watershed loss to Kansas City in Week 4, the Patriots offense has averaged 40.5 ppg. Even worse news for a Lions defense that is only yielding 15.6 ppg, the Patriots found a running game last weekend to go along with Brady’s passing ability. You will have to scan all the way down to No. 22 to find the Lions defense in Week 12.

We have chosen Kansas City for our No. 1 spot in Week 12. They bring their second-ranked defense (17.1 ppg) against a horrible Oakland Raiders offense that is averaging a league-worst 15.2 ppg. Oakland has turned the ball over 20 times and that trend is likely to continue.

Off their three-touchdown game against Philadelphia, the Green Bay Packers defense occupies the second spot in this weekend’s rankings. They will go up against Minnesota in what should be their type of weather - possible rain and sleet.

The Bills are a top-five defense this weekend, whenever they play, which could be as late as Tuesday depending upon the next lake-effects snowstorm. Buffalo’s defense has been playing at a top-10 level and in what is likely a low-scoring affair on a less-than-perfect field should hold a mediocre Jets offense down.

The Jets will travel to Buffalo to face a Bills offense that hasn’t been able to practice all week due to four feet of snow on the ground. This gives the Jets an advantage and they should be able to play well enough to crack the top-five this weekend.

Top-25 Defense/Special Teams Rankings

——————————————————-

1) Kansas City Chiefs

2) Green Bay Packers

3) Buffalo Bills

4) San Francisco 49ers

5) New York Jets

6) New England Patriots

7) Denver Broncos

8) Philadelphia Eagles

9) Arizona Cardinals

10) Houston Texans

11) Seattle Seahawks

12) San Diego Chargers

13) Cincinnati Bengals

14) Cleveland Browns

15) New Orleans Saints

16) Dallas Cowboys

17) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

18) St. Louis Rams

19) Tennessee Titans

20) Atlanta Falcons

21) Washington Redskins

22) Detroit Lions

23) Indianapolis Colts

24) Miami Dolphins

25) New York Giants



The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Hoops Slate Starts This Weekend

The Mountain East Conference opens league play this weekend in both men’s and women’s basketball.



On the men’s side, five squads still remain unbeaten and the MEC went 20-9 during the opening week of the season in non-conference play. Just two of the league’s 12 teams enter conference play under .500. West Liberty has retained its No. 1 ranking in the country with its start to the season, and four other MEC schools were ranked in the initial D2SIDA Atlantic Region poll released on Monday with Fairmont State tied for third, followed by Wheeling Jesuit (seventh), Shepherd (eighth) and Charleston (ninth). 



On the women’s side, the MEC is 14-12 in non-conference play. Fairmont State leads the way with a 4-0 record after two wins in the opening weekend, and Charleston, Shepherd and Wheeling Jesuit are all off to 2-0 starts. In the first D2SIDA Atlantic Region poll released on Monday, Charleston came in at fourth, West Liberty was fifth, Glenville State was ninth and Fairmont State was 10th. 





Here’s a quick look at the weekend’s games:



West Virginia State at Wheeling Jesuit (12:30/2:30 PM)

Women: Live Stats | Video

Men: Live Stats | Video

 

UVa-Wise at Urbana (2/4 PM)

Women: Live Stats | Video

Men: Live Stats | Video



Shepherd at Glenville State (2/4 PM)

Women: Live Stats | Video

Men: Live Stats | Video



Concord at Notre Dame (2/4 PM)

Women: Live Stats | Video

Men: Live Stats | Video



Fairmont State at WV Wesleyan (2/4 PM

Women: Live Stats 

Men: Live Stats



Charleston at West Liberty (2/4 PM)

Women: Live Stats | Video

Men: Live Stats | Video



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Friday, November 21)


Final Score: Orlando 105, Charlotte 100

Elfrid Payton scored 16 points and was at the center of a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback that gave the Orlando Magic a 105-100 win over the reeling Charlotte Hornets. Orlando trailed by 23 points midway through the third quarter and was down 83-65 with under 11 minutes left, then outscored the Hornets 40-17 the rest of the way to send Charlotte to a fourth consecutive defeat. Payton had eight points down the stretch and fellow reserves Willie Green and Ben Gordon netted nine each in the final quarter. The Magic also received 21 overall points from Evan Fournier and a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double out of Tobias Harris. Al Jefferson racked up 24 points and 11 rebounds in the Hornets’ latest stinging setback. Gary Neal finished with 17 points off the bench and Kemba Walker grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and dished out eight assists in addition to recording 15 points.


Final Score: Phoenix 122, Philadelphia 96

Isaiah Thomas posted 23 points and eight assists off the bench as the Phoenix Suns pummeled the Philadelphia 76ers, 122-96. Thomas was one of eight Suns to reach double figures, as they improved to 3-1 on a six-game road trip. One of those players was Eric Bledsoe, who backed up his controversial comments from earlier this week with a 13-point, 7-assist performance. Bledsoe said in a radio interview leading up to the game that the 76ers would lose a seven-game series to his alma mater and current No. 1 team in college basketball, Kentucky. The comments sparked endless debates on social media and prompted a number of media outlets to weigh in on the subject. One Las Vegas sportsbook set the spread for the hypothetical game with Philadelphia as 17-point favorites. Regardless, the Sixers failed to make Bledsoe eat his words and fell to 0-12 after yet another embarrassing loss. Three more losses and they’ll match the franchise and NBA record for worst start to a season, set in 1972-73.


Final Score: Atlanta 99, Detroit 89

Jeff Teague had 28 points and six assists as the Atlanta Hawks grabbed a 99-89 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday. Paul Millsap had 15 points and 12 rebounds while Al Horford scored 14 points for the Hawks, who had lost their previous two coming in. Josh Smith scored 16 points with eight rebounds and five assists while D.J. Augustin gave 14 points and five boards for the Pistons, who have lost their past four.


Final Score: Toronto 124, Milwaukee 83

Lou Williams scored 22 points off the bench to lead the Toronto Raptors in a 124-83 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. Kyle Lowry supplied 20 points with nine rebounds and five assists and Jonas Valanciunas deposited 18 points with 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who closed their franchise-record seven-game homestand with three straight wins and a 6-1 record. Toronto also won its fifth straight game over Milwaukee, which had its three-game winning streak snapped with the setback. It was playing its third game in four nights. The Bucks were led by Jabari Parker’s 15 points, while Ersan Ilyasova netted 14 off the bench and Brandon Knight added 11.


Final Score: Memphis 117, Boston 100

The Memphis Grizzlies had enough healthy bodies after all for Thursday’s game against the Boston Celtics. That spelled bad news for Boston, as the Grizzlies never trailed en route to a 117-100 win, their 21st straight at FedExForum in the regular season. Marc Gasol led the way with 32 points, Zach Randolph donated 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Jon Leuer poured in 19 points off the bench in the victory. Leuer was one of seven Grizzlies listed as questionable because of a stomach virus ravaging the team, but only Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter sat out due to the illness. Kelly Olynyk paced Boston with 18 points, while Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green netted 13 and 12 points, respectively.


Final Score: San Antonio 121, Minnesota 92

Tony Parker had 28 points and five assists as the San Antonio Spurs routed the Minnesota Timberwolves 121-92 on Friday night. Danny Green knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, while Kawhi Leonard added 14 for the Spurs, who have won six of their last seven games. Anthony Bennett supplied 20 points off the bench for Minnesota, which has dropped six of its last seven contests.


Final Score: Brooklyn 94, Oklahoma City 92

Reggie Jackson’s last-second 3-pointer rimmed out, and the Brooklyn Nets survived with a 94-92 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Brooklyn trailed by 10 late in the third quarter, but a 12-0 run that extended into the fourth made it a 76-74 game. A 10-0 run later in the fourth gave the Nets a seven-point lead, but Jackson and the Thunder mounted a final rally. Jackson scored six of Oklahoma City’s last nine points, with Anthony Morrow supplying the other three on a triple with just under two minutes to play. Jackson’s layup with 5.5 seconds left made it 93-92, and Joe Johnson split a pair of free throws at the other end. Out of a timeout, Jackson isolated at the top of the key and pulled the trigger, only to have his potential game-winner fall out. Kevin Garnett secured the rebound, and the game.


Final Score: Washington 91, Cleveland 78

John Wall and the Washington Wizards made yet another early-season statement, with the standout point guard dropping in 28 points to lead the way in a 91-78 triumph over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers. Wall outshined Cleveland’s star-studded starting unit by hitting 12-of-20 shots and dishing out seven assists to go along with four steals and six rebounds. His terrific performance, coupled with a strong defensive effort by his Washington teammates, improved the rising Wizards to 8-3 on the young season. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, are still searching for answers after dropping a third straight game to fall under .500 (5-6). Though LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each deposited 22 points, Cleveland shot a subpar 36 percent as a team and committed 19 turnovers that led to 24 Washington points.


Final Score: Dallas 140, LA Lakers 106

Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points and Monta Ellis contributed a double-double as the Dallas Mavericks dismantled the Los Angeles Lakers, 140-106, on Friday. Ellis netted 20 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting to go along with a season-high 10 assists and help the Mavs score more than 100 points for the sixth straight game. Dallas, the NBA’s top-scoring team, went up against the worst defense in the league and it showed, as the Mavs put up their highest point total of the season on 51-of-82 (62.2 percent) shooting—including a blistering 18-of-35 (51.4 percent) clip from beyond the arc. Chandler Parsons deposited 21 points and J.J. Barea added 16 points off the bench for the Mavs, who have won six straight overall and four straight over LA. The Lakers shot a decent 44- for-85 (51.8 percent) from the floor, but they were no match, with Jeremy Lin’s 18 points leading the way. Kobe Bryant dropped in 17 points on 6- of-22 shooting as Los Angeles had its two-game winning streak snapped.


Final Score: Denver 117, New Orleans 97

Kenneth Faried had 19 points and eight rebounds as the Denver Nuggets routed the New Orleans Pelicans 117-97 on Friday night. Arron Afflolo netted 19 points, while Wilson Chandler added 18 points and five boards for the Nuggets, who have won three straight games on the heels of a 2-7 start. Anthony Davis tallied 18 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans, which had won five of its last seven games coming in.


Final Score: Golden State 101, Utah 88

Andre Iguodala scored 17 points, Harrison Barnes recorded a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors crushed the Utah Jazz, 101-88, on Friday. Even with Stephen Curry netting only eight points, the Warriors led by as many as 30 in the wire-to-wire victory. Curry was more the facilitator than the shot maker, doling out 10 assists for Golden State’s balanced attack. Klay Thompson finished with 14 points, Andrew Bogut scored 12 and Draymond Green filled the box score with 11 points, nine boards and five assists. The Warriors have won four in a row since losses to Phoenix and San Antonio and improved to 9-2 for the first time since the 1972-73 season.


Final Score: Portland 105, Chicago 87

Damian Lillard had 21 points and nine assists in three quarters of work as the Portland Trail Blazers thrashed the Chicago Bulls 105-87 on Friday night. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, who won their sixth straight game. Nikola Mirotic supplied 24 points and 11 boards for Chicago, which was without point guard Derrick Rose and power forward Pau Gasol again. Rose missed his fourth consecutive game with a hamstring injury, while Gasol didn’t play for a third time in a row due to a left calf strain. The Bulls lost forward Taj Gibson in the third quarter of this one with a left ankle sprain.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Dodgers acquire Peralta from Rays

The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired right-handed pitcher Joel Peralta and left-handed pitcher Adam Liberatore from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for right-handed pitchers Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris.

The 38-year-old Peralta had been a part of the Rays’ bullpen over the past four seasons, compiling an 11-22 record in 296 games over that span. Over his 10-year career, Peralta owns a 16-33 record with a 3.92 ERA in 556 games as a reliever for the Rays, Nationals, Rockies, Royals and Angels.

Liberatore has spent his last two seasons at Triple-A Durham.

Dominguez pitched in 14 games for the Dodgers—all out of the bullpen—over the last two seasons and totaled a 6.14 ERA. Harris, drafted in the 17th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, went 7-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 22 games—16 starts—for Low-A Great Lakes this past season.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Friday, November 21)


Final Score: NY Islanders 5, Pittsburgh 4 (SO)

Kyle Okposo scored the game winner in the shootout to lift the New York Islanders to a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in a thrilling back-and-forth affair. After each of the first two shooters missed, Sidney Crosby cut across the slot from the left side, made a head fake and roofed a backhander over Chad Johnson, but Frans Nielsen answered back on a similar move for the Islanders. Okposo followed a Brandon Sutter miss with a backhand-forehand move past Marc-Andre Fleury to seal the win. Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists, while Nick Leddy, Matt Martin and Nikolay Kulemin also scored for the Isles, who have won seven of their last eight games and crept within two points of first-place Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division. Johnson stopped 26-of-30 shots in the victory. Nick Spaling, Blake Comeau, and Sutter lit the lamp, Patric Hornqvist tallied a goal and an assist and Evgeni Malkin supplied two helpers for the Penguins, who entered the game with wins in 10 of their last 11 games. Fleury made 31 saves in defeat.


Final Score: Boston 4, Columbus 3 (SO)

Alex Khokhlachev produced the lone goal of the shootout in the seventh round, and Boston came away with a 4-3 victory over Columbus at Nationwide Arena. Dennis Seidenberg, Matt Fraser and Daniel Paille all scored in the third period for the Bruins, who have won three in a row and eight of their last 10. Niklas Svedberg stopped 25 shots in regulation and wasn’t beaten in seven chances during the game’s final segment. Ryan Johansen totaled a goal and two assists for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two straight and 11 of their last 13. Nick Foligno and Jack Johnson also lit the lamp but Sergei Bobrovsky’s 38-save performance was wasted. Three players forced their respective shots wide and two hit the goalpost as the shootout moved through its first six rounds. In the opener of the seventh round, Columbus’ Matt Calvert was turned away by Svedberg, leaving Khokhlachev to win the contest by deking Bobrovsky enough where a low shot slid through his pads and into the net.


Final Score: New Jersey 2, Edmonton 0

Cory Schneider started his 20th straight game and made 29 saves for his second shutout of the season, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 2-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Schneider surpassed Martin Brodeur for the longest start streak to open a season in franchise history. Brodeur set the previous mark with 19 consecutive starts from Oct. 6 to Nov. 2, 2001. Adam Henrique and Tuomo Ruutu each scored and Eric Gelinas tallied two assists for the Devils, who snapped a two-game skid. Viktor Fasth made 24 saves for the Oilers, who lost their fifth in a row.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Hamilton vs. Rosberg for F1 title in Abu Dhabi

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are set to battle for the 2014 Formula One world championship in Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

There has been an intense rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg throughout the season, which at times has reached the boiling point.

Heading into the 19th and final round of the season, Hamilton holds a 17-point lead over Rosberg. They are the only drivers who remain eligible for this year’s F1 world championship. Third-place Daniel Ricciardo, in his first season with Red Bull, is 120 points behind Hamilton.

For the time in F1 history, double points will be awarded in a grand prix. This will be the sixth running of the Abu Dhabi GP, which starts late in the afternoon and concludes at twilight at Yas Marina Circuit, but it’s the third time this event serves as the last race of the season. It was also the season- finale in 2009 and ‘10, the first two years of this race.

If Hamilton finishes no worse than second in Sunday’s 55-lap race here, he will claim his second world championship, regardless if Rosberg wins the event. Hamilton’s first title occurred in 2008, defeating Felipe Massa by only a single point.

Hamilton would clinch the title by three points if he finished second and Rosberg won the Abu Dhabi GP.

“I come into the race weekend to try to win, as I do every race weekend, so nothing changes there,“ Hamilton said. “In terms of the pressure, I don’t particularly feel any. I think I’ve had plenty of experience through my racing career - 20 years of racing - to be prepared for today. There’s no special recipe for it.“

However, if Rosberg won the race and Hamilton finished third or worse, then Rosberg will claim his first F1 title.

“It’s an intense weekend, for sure,“ Rosberg said. “It’s going to be a great battle. I look forward to it. That’s what I’ve been working towards for a while now, for this sort of chance, this last race here.

“Lewis is a great competitor and opponent, and it would be hopefully a great end to the season. Of course, I’m here to try to win the race, and then I need a bit of help from Lewis that he doesn’t finish second. That’s it. So I’m hoping Lewis can come up with something.“

Rosberg won the November 9 Brazilian Grand Prix and kept his title hopes alive. Hamilton placed second in Brazil after winning the previous five grand prix (Italy, Singapore, Japan, Russia and United States).

On Friday, Hamilton topped the time charts in both practice sessions at this 3.451-mile (5.554-kilometer) 21-turn road course. His best lap in the first session was clocked at 1 minute, 43.476 seconds, while Rosberg’s fastest lap was just 0.133 seconds behind.

In the second practice, Hamilton recorded a lap in 1:42.113, while Rosberg was again second, just 0.083 seconds behind.

The rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg has gradually increased throughout the season. The two had a hard-fought battle in the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, and then there was tension between them in the Monaco Grand Prix one month later and the Belgian Grand Prix in August.

Following the Belgian GP in Spa, Mercedes took disciplinary action with its drivers in hopes of easing tensions between them.

But who knows what could happen between Hamilton and Rosberg in Abu Dhabi.

“Lewis can do something to keep it clean, which is drive cleanly himself,“ Rosberg said during a press conference on Thursday in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton and Rosberg don’t plan to have any discussions between them about the race.

“It’s already been discussed at the beginning of the season and several times through the season and particularly after Spa, so there’s no reason to revisit it,“ Hamilton said. “We’re not children. We should know what is wrong and what is right.“

Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi GP in 2011 when he drove for McLaren. He was forced to retire in this race in 2009 and ‘12. Last year, Hamilton finished seventh here in his first season with Mercedes.

Rosberg also retired in this event two years ago but recorded his best finish here last season with a third-place run.

Sebastian Vettel has won the Abu Dhabi GP three times, including a victory in last year’s race. Vettel, the four-time F1 world champion, will make his last start with Red Bull before he moves over to Ferrari for the 2015 season, replacing Fernando Alonso.

Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, November 23. Race: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Site: Yas Marina Circuit. Track: 3.451-mile (5.554-kilometer), 21-turn road course. Start Time: 8 AM ET. Laps: 55. Miles: 189.738 (305.355 km). 2013 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: NBC Sports Network.

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2014


National Basketball Association
Phoenix at Indiana, 7:00 PM - FS-Arizona, Indiana, DSS
Miami at Orlando, 7:00 PM - SunSports, FS-Florida, DSS
Philadelphia at New York, 7:30 PM - TCN-Philadelphia, MSG, DSS
Toronto at Cleveland, 7:30 PM - TSN, FS-Ohio, DSS
Dallas at Houston, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest, CSN-Houston, DSS
Sacramento at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - CSN-California, FS-North, DSS
Washington at Milwaukee, 8:30 PM - CSN-DC+, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
Brooklyn at San Antonio, 8:30 PM - YES, FS-Southwest, DSS
New Orleans at Utah, 9:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, NBA TV, DSS


National Hockey League
St. Louis at Ottawa, 3:00 PM - FS-Midwest, RDS, TSN5, DSS
Minnesota at Tampa Bay, 7:00 PM - FS-North+, SunSports, DSS
Detroit at Toronto, 7:00 PM - FS-Detroit, CBC, DSS
Buffalo at Washington, 7:00 PM - MSG-Buffalo, CSN-DC, DSS
Columbus at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-Ohio, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Pittsburgh at NY Islanders, 7:00 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, MSG+, DSS
Montreal at Boston, 7:00 PM - TVA, NESN, NHL Network, DSS
Florida at Nashville, 8:00 PM - FS-Florida, DSS
Los Angeles at Dallas, 8:00 PM - FS-West, Southwest+, DSS
Carolina at Colorado, 9:00 PM - FS-Carolina, Altitude, DSS
New Jersey at Calgary, 10:00 PM - MSG+2, SNET, DSS
Chicago at Edmonton, 10:00 PM - WGN, CBC, TVA, DSS
Arizona at San Jose, 10:30 PM - FS-Arizona, CSN-California, DSS


College Basketball
Incarnate Word at Princeton, 11:00 AM - Ivy League Digital Network
Robert Morris at Georgetown, 12:00 PM - FS2
Notre Dame vs. Massachusetts, 12:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Ball State at IUPUI, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Utah State at Miss State, 1:00 PM - SEC Network+
High Point at Richmond, 1:00 PM - CSN-MA+
Appalachian State at Virginia Tech, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
North Carolina vs. Davidson, 2:00 PM - Time Warner-Carolina
Nebraska Omaha at Marquette, 2:30 PM - FS2
Florida State vs. Providence, 2:30 PM - ESPN3.com
South Alabama at Detroit, 3:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Western State at Air Force, 4:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Elon at Northwestern, 4:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Loyola-Maryland at Butler, 5:00 PM - FS2
Binghamton vs. Manhattan, 5:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Colorado at Wyoming, 6:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Mount St Mary’s at Bucknell, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Ohio Midwestern at Northern Kentucky, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Nebraska at Rhode Island, 7:00 PM - SNY
Eastern Washington at SMU, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Coaches vs. Cancer, 7:00 PM - TruTV
Transylvania at Lipscomb, 7:30 PM - Atlantic Sun TV
Morgan State at Houston, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Lamar at Indiana, 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Northeastern vs. Navy, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Missouri State at Texas Tech, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest+, FCS Pacific, SportSouth
UMBC at Minnesota, 8:30 PM - Big Ten Network+
St. Thomas at Gonzaga, 9:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest
Coaches vs. Cancer, 9:30 PM - TruTV
Boise State at Wisconsin, 10:00 PM - Big Ten Network


Women’s College Basketball
Rutgers at LSU, 3:00 PM - SEC Network+
Temple at Kansas, 5:00 PM - Jayhawk TV
Kentucky at Central Michigan, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com


College Football
Fordham at Army, 12:00 PM - CBSSN
SMU at UCF, 12:00 PM - ESPNews
Rutgers at Michigan State, 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Penn State at Illinois, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
Eastern Ky at Florida, 12:00 PM - SEC Network
Char Southern at Georgia, 12:00 PM - SEC Network
Northwestern at Purdue, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
Minnesota at Nebraska, 12:00 PM - ESPN
Marshall at UAB, 12:00 PM - American Sports Network
Kansas at Oklahoma, 12:00 PM - FS1
Indiana at Ohio State, 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
South Alabama at So Carolina, 12:00 PM - FS-South, Fla, Det+, San Diego, DSS
TX-San Antonio at Western Ky, 12:00 PM - FSN, SportSouth, SunSports, MSG+
Robert Morris at Duquesne, 12:00 PM - ESPN3.com, DSS
Elon at James Madison, 12:00 PM - American Sports Net, CSN-Baltimore, Cal
Gardner-Webb at Monmouth, 12:00 PM - American Sports Network
Central Conn State at St. Francis (PA), 12:00 PM - NEC Front Row
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 12:30 PM - ACC Network, DSS
Columbia at Brown, 12:30 PM - FCS-Atlantic
Penn at Cornell, 12:30 PM - Ivy League Digital Network
Yale at Harvard, 12:30 PM - NBCSN
Western Mich at Central Mich, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Washington St at Arizona State, 1:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Louisiana Tech at Old Dominion, 1:00 PM - FCS
Colgate at Bucknell, 1:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Liberty at Coastal Carolina, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com, DSS
UT Martin at Eastern Illinois, 1:00 PM - WEIU
Dartmouth at Princeton, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Citadel at VMI, 1:30 PM - ESPN3.com
New Mexico at Colorado St, 1:30 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, Northwest, Southwest
Eastern Mich at Ball State, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M, 2:00 PM - ESPN Classic, DSS
Southern Ill at Illinois State, 2:00 PM - CSN-Chicago, ESPN3.com
Jacksonville State at SE Missouri State, 2:00 PM - OVC Digital Network
Indiana State at Western Ill, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com, DSS
Savannah State at BYU, 3:00 PM - BYUtv
Tulsa at Houston, 3:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Tulane at East Carolina, 3:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Texas Tech at Iowa State, 3:30 PM - FSN, SportSouth, FS-Detroit+, Wisconsin
Syracuse at Pittsburgh, 3:30 PM - ESPN U
Wisconsin at Iowa, 3:30 PM - ABC (ESPN 2 mirror)
Boston College at Florida State, 3:30 PM - ABC (ESPN 2 mirror)
Arizona at Utah, 3:30 PM - ESPN
Georgia State at Clemson, 3:30 PM - RSN, CSN-Balt, ESPN3, FS-South, Fla, DSS
Ole Miss at Arkansas, 3:30 PM - CBS
Maryland at Michigan, 3:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Louisville at Notre Dame, 3:30 PM - NBC
FIU at North Texas, 3:30 PM - American Sports Network
Chattanooga at Furman, 3:30 PM - American Sports Network
Lehigh vs. Lafayette, 3:30 PM - CBSSN
New Hampshire at Maine, 3:30 PM - NBCSN
Youngstown State at North Dakota State, 3:30 PM - ESPN3.com, DSS
So Florida at Memphis, 4:00 PM - ESPNews
ULM at New Mexico St, 4:00 PM - Altitude, ESPN3.com, DSS
Stanford at California, 4:00 PM - FS1
Western Carolina at Alabama, 4:00 PM - SEC Network
Southern Utah at Northern Arizona, 4:00 PM - FS-Arizona+
Central Arkansas at Sam Houston State, 4:00 PM - Southland TV, ESPN3.com, DSS
Sacramento State at UC Davis, 4:00 PM - CSN-California
Colorado at Oregon, 4:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
Appalachian St at Louisiana, 5:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Tennessee Tech at Austin Peay, 5:00 PM - OVC Digital Network
Missouri State at Northern Iowa, 5:00 PM - CSN-Chicago, DSS
Montana State at Montana, 5:10 PM - ROOT-Northwest
Samford at Auburn, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Fla Atlantic at Middle Tennessee, 7:00 PM - American Sports Net, CSN-Chciago
Miami-Florida at Virginia, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Oklahoma State at Baylor, 7:30 PM - FOX
Missouri at Tennessee, 7:30 PM - ESPN
Vanderbilt at Miss State, 7:30 PM - SEC Network
Richmond at William & Mary, 7:30 PM - NBCSN
Cincinnati at Connecticut, 8:00 PM - CBSSN
USC at UCLA, 8:00 PM - ABC
Boise State at Wyoming, 10:15 PM - ESPN 2
Fresno State at Nevada, 10:30 PM - ESPN U
Oregon State at Washington, 10:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
UNLV at Hawaii, 11:00 PM - Mountain West Network, Oceanic PPV


College Hockey
Sacred Heart at RIT, 7:00 PM - Time Warner
North Dakota at St. Cloud State, 8:00 PM - Charter Cable
Wisconsin at Denver, 9:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain


International Soccer
Wolverhampton Wanderers FC vs. Nottingham Forest FC, 9:55 AM - beIN Sport
Chelsea vs. West Brom, 10:00 AM - NBCSN
SD Eibar vs. Real Madrid CF, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
Arsenal vs. Manchester United, 12:30 PM - NBC
FC Barcelona vs. Sevilla FC, 1:55 PM - beIN Sport


Golf
EUROPEAN - DP World Championship, 3:00 AM - Golf Channel
LPGA - CME Group Tour Championship, 1:30 PM - Golf Channel
AUSTRALIAN - MasterCard Masters, 9:30 PM - Golf Channel


Tennis
Davis Cup - Switzerland vs. France, 9:30 AM - Tennis Channel


Auto Racing
FORMULA ONE - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Sports News   141121

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  High school Football Playoff Quarterfinal

Pairings and sites for the second round of the West Virginia high school football playoffs to be played this weekend:


CLASS AAA


FRIDAY, November 21 at 7:30 PM

#6 South Charleston (9-2) at #3 University (10-1)


SATURDAY, November 22 at 1:30 PM

#7 Huntington (8-3) at #2 Cabell Midland (10-1)

#5 Point Pleasant (10-0) at #4 Martinsburg (10-1)


SATURDAY, November 22 at 7:30 PM

#8 Wheeling Park (9-2) at #1 Capital (10-0)



CLASS AA


FRIDAY, November 21 at 7:30 PM

#7 Nicholas County (10-1) at #2 Frankfort (11-0)


SATURDAY, November 22 at 1:30 PM

#8 Robert C. Byrd (9-2) at #1 Bridgeport (10-1)

#5 Wayne (9-2) at #4 Mingo Central (10-1)

#14 Ravenswood (8-3) at #6 Westside (9-2)



CLASS A


FRIDAY, November 21 at 7:30 PM

#10 Buffalo (9-2) at #2 Tug Valley (10-1)


SATURDAY, November 22 at 1:30 PM

#9 Moorefield (9-2) at #1 St. Marys (11-0)

#12 Bishop Donahue (9-2) at #4 Clay-Battelle (10-1)


SATURDAY, November 22 at 7:30 PM

#14 East Hardy (8-3) at #6 Williamstown (9-2)



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Howard delivers TDs, but not quite a win, after Trickett’s concussion

His relief appearance produced West Virginia’s only two touchdowns of the game Thursday night, but Skyler Howard didn’t deliver what he wanted most: A win for his senior teammates.

One of those seniors, quarterback Clint Trickett, suffered a midgame concussion that forced Howard into his first extended action as a Mountaineer. The junior college transfer sparked the offense to life in the second half, throwing for 198 yards in what became a 26-20 loss to 12th-ranked Kansas State.

After throwing a 7-yard touchdown to Kevin White, Howard watched Mario Alford turn a short catch into a 53-yard score.

“He went in there and didn’t bat an eye,” said coach Dana Holgorsen, suggesting Howard may get a chance to start next week at Iowa State regardless of Trickett’s diagnosis. “He was confident and comfortable and his communication was perfect.”

Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who extended the first FBS scholarship offer to Howard last fall, described the backup as “a gamer” who lifted West Virginia’s spirits after entering the game trailing 20-3.

“He had some energy and some hop to him. He gave us a chance to win the game.”

Howard noticed Trickett “was a little fuzzy” after throwing a third-quarter interception, though coaches suggested the injury likely occurred when Trickett made a lunging tackle on an interception at the end of the first half.

That left the game to Howard, who was targeted for a redshirt season last summer but was elevated to No. 2 after freshman William Crest suffered a shoulder injury. “Ever since I was named the No. 2 quarterback I’ve been ready,” said Howard, who completed 15-of-23 passes and made a 16-yard scramble to extend one scoring drive.

As it turned out, West Virginia needed one more scoring drive.

“The thing that sticks in my head is the seniors—this was their last game here and I really wanted to pull it out for them,” Howard said. “I love those guys. I grind with those guys, I feel bad I didn’t pull it out.”


►  No. 12 Kansas State Defeats WVU

Tyler Lockett had a 43-yard punt return touchdown and caught 10 passes for 196 yards to help lead No. 12 Kansas State to a 26-20 win over West Virginia on Thursday night.

Jake Waters passed for 400 yards with a 7-yard touchdown throw to DeMarcus Robinson, and the Wildcats (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) held on down the stretch to bounce back from a 21-point loss to TCU two weeks ago before their bye.

Skyler Howard passed for 198 yards and two touchdowns for West Virginia after Clint Trickett left the game in the third quarter with a concussion, but the Mountaineers (6-5, 4-4) lost their third in a row.

Howard’s first touchdown pass went to Kevin White, Lockett’s fellow Biletnikoff Award semifinalist. The other was a 53-yard catch-and-run by Mario Alford that got the Mountaineers within 23-17 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats won despite netting just one yard rushing compared to 123 for the Mountaineers. West Virginia had 27 first downs, nine more than Kansas State, and outgained the Wildcats 433-401 in total yards.

“It was frustrating. No game like this comes to mind off hand,“ said Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. “I think (our players) did do what they had to do to win the ball game. They’re pleased about that and I certainly don’t want to take that away from them.“

Alford’s touchdown started with a short reception on the left side of the field. He weaved around Kansas State defenders in the middle of the field and outran a half a dozen of them on the right side to get the Mountaineers within 23-17 with 7:23 remaining.

Matthew McCrane then kicked his fourth field goal of the game for Kansas State, a 32-yarder that made it 26-17 with 2:52 to play. Josh Lambert kicked a 25-yarder for West Virginia at the other end, but the Mountaineers were unable to recover an onside kick.

Earlier, after Waters hit Robinson for a touchdown on Kansas State’s first drive, the Wildcats were whistled for pass interference to give West Virginia a first down at the 2-yard line.

But Trickett and Wendell Smallwood fumbled a handoff on the next play to give the ball right back to Kansas State.

Later, McCrane’s 36-yard field goal 2:07 into the second quarter gave the Wildcats a 10-0 lead before Lambert made a 47-yarder for the Mountaineers.

West Virginia recovered Lockett’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff—leading to wild would-be touchdown that was ultimately overturned.

The play is sure to make highlight reels anyway after White alertly caught a pass intended for teammate Jordan Thompson that was redirected twice.

But replays showed the ball touched the ground as Kansas State’s Dante Barnett rolled over onto his back trying to make the catch—after it was tipped by Thompson and before it popped out of Barnett’s hands and into the air for White, who grabbed it and fell into the end zone.

After all that, Lambert missed a 40-yard field goal try.

Lockett scored on a 43-yard return down the sideline to give the Wildcats a 17-3 lead with 1:12 left in the first half after what West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen called a “horrible punt” by Nick O’Toole.

“Our whole team went right and he mis-hit it left,“ said Holgorsen. “That’s not a coaching error; that’s a player error. If we send the team right, he needs to punt it right. He wasn’t confused, he just missed it. It was obviously a big play.“

Randall Evans intercepted Trickett with 13 ticks remaining on the clock, but Kyle Rose blocked McCrane’s 34-yard field goal try as time expired to get the Mountaineers off the hook.

Dante Barnett intercepted Trickett’s final pass, leading to McCrane’s 44-yard field goal for a 20-3 Kansas State lead in the third quarter.

Howard led the Mountaineers to a touchdown on his first series, hitting White from seven yards out before McCrane’s 19-yard field goal at the other end gave the Wildcats a 23-10 lead with 2:13 left in the third quarter.

A 15-play West Virginia drive that bled into the fourth quarter ended in an incomplete pass on fourth down from the Kansas State 26. However, McCrane hooked a 22-yard field goal attempt wide left at the other end for the Wildcats.

Game Notes

Lockett, who has already passed his father Kevin’s Kansas State record for receiving yards, pulled within four catches of his dad’s Wildcats record of 217 career receptions ... Kansas State leads the all-time series 4-1, including a 3-0 mark since West Virginia joined the Big 12 in 2012. The Wildcats had won the previous two meetings by an average of 32 points ... Wildcats defensive lineman Travis Britz was carted off the field early in the first quarter with an apparent left leg injury ... Kansas State plays Kansas next Saturday and closes the regular season at Baylor on Dec. 6 ... West Virginia has one regular-season game remaining, next Saturday at Iowa State.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Huge snowfall threatens Jets-Bills game

When you’re 2-8, there’s a lot of time for what-ifs.

And that’s been the most productive hobby for the New York Jets in recent days while fielding questions about whether their lost season would have gone a trifle differently had they pulled the trigger on a quarterback change - benching second-year man Geno Smith for veteran Michael Vick - a bit sooner.

Coach Rex Ryan was a steadfast defender of the scattershot Smith through the initial seven games of the season, before sending him to the sidelines after he threw three interceptions on eight passes in the first quarter of what turned into a 43-23 home loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 8.

The Jets visit the Bills for a Week 12 rematch, presumably on Sunday.

Vick didn’t do enough in the substitute role to engineer a rallying win - ultimately committing three turnovers of his own—but he completed 18-of-36 passes for 153 yards and ran eight times for another 69 yards as New York compiled a per-rush average of 5.3 yards on the way to a ground total of 175.

“We were in the game and we put ourselves in a position to win the game, but it was all about turnovers,“ Vick said. “You can go through it and hope that it’s not going to be the same.“

The Jets ran for 139 yards the following week in a 14-point loss to Kansas City, then had 150 on the ground in a 20-13 upset of Pittsburgh prior to a Week 11 bye. Vick threw for two touchdowns against the Steelers, including a 67-yarder to T.J. Graham.

The ease of the victory - New York had a 17-0 lead at one point - has turned the attention to Ryan, and why he didn’t make the switch at a time when it might have still given the Jets a chance for relevance.

“You can easily say, ‘Oh, well, we should’ve done this,‘ now,“ Ryan said. “At the same time, I was comfortable in my decision, not just with Michael, but with the other ones as well. So, I’m not going to spend time looking back.“

The first order of business looking forward is whether the Jets will actually play on Sunday.

The Bills’ home facility in Orchard Park, N.Y. was deeply impacted - literally—by the preposterous amount of snow that hit the Buffalo area early in the week, which has forced the team to call in any support necessary to get Ralph Wilson Stadium unburied in time for the 1 PM kickoff.

Some reports peg the final precipitation total at six feet.

Fans have been offered game tickets in exchange for help with shoveling, as part of an effort that’s got three shifts of people working around the clock. Both a postponement to another date and a change of venue are worst-case scenario options if the snow hangs on through the weekend.

“We are working with the Bills to determine the status of the stadium,“ NFL spokesman Michael Signora said. “If a change to the schedule needs to be made, the league will make the decision working closely with the club and local authorities.“

The Bills did not practice Wednesday. In fact, coach Doug Marrone, who coached at another state snow capital in Syracuse, wasn’t able to get closer than five miles to the stadium.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,“ he said. “It’s very difficult to put into words exactly what’s going on. Us being able to go out and practice is obviously not an option for us. This is very challenging. It’s a tough, tough situation.“

The defeat of the Jets got the Bills to 5-3 heading into their bye, but they’re returned for consecutive losses to Kansas City and Miami that have left hopes for ending a 14-season playoff drought in jeopardy.

Quarterback Kyle Orton is probable with a toe injury and comes in off a 22- for-39 performance against the Dolphins for 193 yards and no touchdowns. The veteran replaced Buffalo’s own iffy second-year signal-caller, EJ Manuel, before the Jets pulled the plug on Smith.

Orton threw for four touchdowns in the first game with New York.

Running back Fred Jackson remains questionable with the groin problem that held him to three carries for 10 yards against the Chiefs and forced him to miss the Miami loss.

“We need all hands on deck,“ Jackson said. “I need 100% for me to be out there and help my teammates. I think they want me out there. I want to be out there. I want to try to make some plays and get this thing turned around. We lost to two that we’ll be fighting for position with, but there’s always a chance. And anytime you have a chance, you’re going to show up and fight. That’s what I expect out of the guys in this locker room. And that’s what I’m definitely going to do.“

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Action Jackson

Presuming the game is played and presuming he’s able to take part, Jackson figures to be a pain in the groin for a Jets defense that habitually struggles to defend pass-catching running backs. Jackson didn’t play in the initial matchup with New York, but he’s got 37 catches for 300 yards in the eight games he has played - including multiple receptions in each of those appearances.

The Renaissance of Michael

Old No. 7 has shown off some young legs since taking the quarterback reins for the Jets, reeling off 126 rush yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry and becoming the first NFL passer to reach the 6,000-yard career rushing milestone. A heavy lean on the run game could be a necessity given weather conditions, and recent QB foes Ryan Tannehill and Alex Smith combined for 41 yards on eight carries.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

They’re 2-8 and heading for little other than a locker-room housecleaning at the end of the season, but the Jets have shown some tangible signs of life since making Vick the starter and acquiring Percy Harvin.

Just where that rise intersects with the Bills’ semi-regular free-fall in the second half of the season will determine New York’s fate. But it says here that ugly weather could yield an ugly win.

Predicted outcome: Jets 20, Bills 17



►  Vikings move on without Peterson, host red-hot Rodgers

If Adrian Peterson was wearing purple on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings would have been a significant underdog to the Green Bay Packers.

Without the former MVP?

Well let’s just say the high-powered Packers probably feel pretty good about their chances as the long-time rivals prepare for the latest incarnation of their “Border Battle” in Minneapolis on Sunday.

Green Bay has won two straight and six of seven overall behind its own former MVP in Aaron Rodgers, who is playing the quarterback position at an absurdly high level right now.

Rodgers, who threw six first-half touchdowns in a 55-14 Week 10 blowout of the Bears, threw for three touchdowns and 341 yards last week as the Packers improved to 5-0 at home with a 53-20 drubbing of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Green Bay is the first team since the 1950 Rams to score at least 53 points in consecutive games and is one of only six teams in history to reach the half- century mark in consecutive contests. Overall Rodgers is leading an offensive unit that is scoring an NFL-best 33.0 points per game.

“This is not easy,“ Rodgers said when asked about putting up such massive numbers. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. It takes 11 guys to win, to do the job to make something like that happen.“

Eddie Lacy ran for 69 yards and a score on 10 carries and added another TD through the air against the Eagles. Randall Cobb had a game-high 129 yards on 10 catches, Jordy Nelson made four grabs for 109 yards a score and Davante Adams also hauled in a TD catch in the win.

“Very good home victory. I thought our players did an excellent job in all three phases,“ Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’ve got to figure out new ways to compliment Aaron Rodgers. He’s playing at an extremely high level.“

Peterson, meanwhile, isn’t walking through that door to save the Vikings season.

Minnesota is 4-6 after a 21-13 setback in Chicago last week, a game that dropped the Vikings to 4-6, three games behind both the Packers and Detroit Lions in the NFC North.

Peterson, the game’s best pure runner was suspended for at least the remainder of the 2014 season earlier this week for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, a punishment stemming from the abusive discipline Peterson inflicted on his 4-year-old son last May.

Of course Paterson has been shelved since the season opener after being indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas, on September 11 and the Vikings have moved forward with two talented rookies in their backfield, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Jerick McKinnon.

“That’s the furthest thing from my mind right now,“ Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said of the Peterson issue. “I need to figure out how we can tackle and get people out on third downs.“

“I don’t agree with it,“ cornerback Captain Munnerlyn added. “He’s missed nine games already, but, at the end of the day, the NFL came up with that decision and we have to live with it.“

Bridgewater went 18-for-28 for 158 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Bears but threw an interception in the final minute with the Vikings trying to come back and the Soldier Field clock malfunctioning.

Charles Johnson had six catches for 87 yards to lead all Minnesota receivers while McKinnon ran it eight times for 38 yards.

“We can play much better than we did today,“ said Bridgewater. “We knew coming in that it was going to be a challenge for us because Chicago was going to have a chip on its shoulder.“

The Packers lead their all-time series with Minnesota by a 56-48-2 margin and Rodgers has dominated the Vikings over the years, winning eight of his past nine starts against them, including a 42-10 drubbing at Lambeau Field in Week 5. Bridgewater, however, missed that game with an ankle injury.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Minnesota’s only hope here is getting the Packers out of Lambeau, where they are 5-0 and have outscored opponents by a 219-85 margin while averaging 43.8 points per game. Conversely, Green Bay is 2-3 on the road and has been scoring three TDs less at 22.2 ppg.

Rodgers has generally destroyed the Vikings over the years, feasting on Minnesota’s old cover-2 philosophy. In 13 career starts against Minnesota, Rodgers has amassed 30 touchdown passes versus just four interceptions.

That was supposed to change under first- year Vikings coach Zimmer, who preaches controlled aggression with the keys being getting after the passer but doing it in a more disciplined manner, a necessity against Rodgers, who is one of the best ever at extending plays with his mobility.

It’s still a work in progress, though, and the Minnesota D reverted back to some bad habits in Chicago, enabling Jay Cutler to extend plays and get the ball down the field. If the unit does the same thing against Rodgers they might as well not show up on Sunday.

Zimmer’s finished products have had more success against Rodgers than most. The All-Pro was 0-2 against Zimmer’s defenses in Cincinnati with a less-than- stellar 57% completion percentage.

In his past two efforts this season, A-Rod has nine touchdowns without an interception and 656 passing yards, despite giving way early to backup Matt Flynn in the blowouts. Rodgers’ 120.1 passer rating leads the NFL and would be a single-season record while his 28 TDs are second in the league.

“Obviously Aaron is having a great season and has done so many things, but I think you can’t lose sight of the fact that this is a team sport,“ McCarthy said. “I just think it’s a group that’s a year better and has hit its stride a little bit.“

That group includes Nelson and Cobb, who have combined for 19 TD catches, as well as Lacy, who has rebounded nicely after a slow start, rumbling for 547 yards and five TDs. The powerful Lacy is very tough to tackle and Minnesota didn’t look all that interested in hitting last week in the cold, missing about a dozen tackles.

“Number one, especially on the defense, is you have to be able to go out and tackle pretty well,“ Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley said. “(Lacy) is a good back, a big back, like a battering ram. It’s going to take more than one guy to bring him down. We don’t want to leave one guy on him. He’s a tough runner.“

Veteran Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner has been very cautious with Bridgewater, really scaling down the playbook for the rookie. The safe approach has shown on the field, however, and Minnesota is 29th in passing offense and 30th in total offense, averaging just 309.1 yards per game

The team claimed veteran running back Ben Tate off waivers Wednesday a day after he was released by Cleveland and he could be thrown into the fire immediately because McKinnon is dealing with a balky back and backup Matt Asiata suffered a concussion last week.

The Packers’ defense has been helped by the fact Rodgers has been putting up two touchdowns or so in the first four of five minutes of games. That has enabled a flawed unit to play with the lead and pin its ears back to go after the opposing QB, resulting in a NFL-best plus-14 in turnover differential.

“Just being opportunistic,“ Green Bay pass rusher Julius Peppers said when discussing his defense. “Guys being in the right place at the right time and making the plays when it’s time to make them. That’s pretty much it.“

The Green Bay D is poor against the run but no one has been able to expose that weakness because opponents are usually playing the catch-up game.

“They start fast,“ Bridgewater acknowledged. “And once they get out on you, they don’t let up, so we know that we’re going to have to start fast also. ... It’s a good thing that it’s back home this week.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Packers have scored 108 points in their last two games while Minnesota has a total of 90 in its last six.

If Turner continues down the path of producing tentative game plans with an intent on keeping it close and winning things in the fourth quarter (and there is no reason to think he will not), the Vikings have no chance here. Rodgers is simply too explosive for that mentality.

Predicted outcome: Packers 34, Vikings 17


►  First-place Bengals search for consistency in Houston

The Houston Texans helped their postseason chances with a win over an AFC North team last week. They’ll try do the same on Sunday when they welcome the equally-playoff hopeful Cincinnati Bengals to NRG Stadium.

Houston won for only the second time in six games in Week 10, as it came out of its bye with an impressive 23-7 road win over the Cleveland Browns. Ryan Mallett completed 20-of-30 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns in his first start to help the Texans (5-5) pull within a game of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South.

“I think anytime it’s around Thanksgiving and you’re still in the hunt, that’s a good thing,“ Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said. “You’re in the 11th game of the season and you’re still there. There is a lot to play for.“

Randy Bullock also converted three second-half field goals for the Texans, who have won two of their last three. Alfred Blue contributed a career-best 156 yards on 36 carries, while J.J. Watt and Garrett Graham posted a touchdown reception apiece.

It was the second touchdown reception this year for Watt, the defensive player of the year frontrunner. He also has a fumble and an interception return for a score, making him the first defensive lineman to have four touchdowns in a single season since 1948.

“Hopefully it’s not the end of it,“ Watt said. “There’s nothing better than to score a touchdown and the whole offense runs over to congratulate you.“

Cincinnati, meanwhile, bounced back from an awful home loss and won for the third time in four games last Sunday in a 27-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Andy Dalton completed 16-of-22 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns. It was a stark contrast to his previous game against Cleveland that saw him compile a passer rating of 2.0 while throwing for only 86 yards and three interceptions in a 24-3 setback to the Browns on November 6.

“There’s no doubt I am proud of our effort today,“ said Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis. “I’m proud of our execution and our preparation leading up to the game this week. We came out here ready to play and it showed up out there on the field today.“

In fact, Dalton threw six interceptions and had completed just 52.3% of his passes over his previous four games, leading to some in Cincinnati calling for his head.

“You lose and everyone wants to run you out,“ Dalton said. “You win, everyone is going to like you. I’m not too worried about it. It was a big win for us. So it’s good to bounce back and get a big one on the road.“

Helping Dalton could be the fact that wideout A.J. Green appears to be healthy. He caught six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown after totaling just six catches over his previous two games. He had also missed the previous three games before that with a toe injury.

“These couple of weeks I wasn’t feeling like myself,“ Green said. “Not because I was injured. It was trying to just get back in the flow of things I missed those couple of weeks.“

Rookie Jeremy Hill totaled 152 yards on 27 carries for Cincinnati (6-3-1), which is a half-game in front of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.

Houston has won five straight meetings with the Bengals, the last two being wild-card victories after the 2011 and ‘12 seasons.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Houston did its damage last weekend without running back Arian Foster, who missed the game after injuring his groin in a Week 9 loss to Philadelphia. Foster returned to practice this week as a limited participant and will likely be a game-time decision on Sunday.

In three games against the Bengals Foster has compiled 430 scrimmage yards (334 rush, 96 rec.) and three rushing TDs.

Foster has gone over 100 years in six of his last eight games and needs one more 100-yard rushing game to surpass Priest Holmes (31) for most ever by undrafted player.

Although, Foster leads AFC in rush yards (5,628) and rush TDs (49) since the start of 2010, the Texans running game did not skip a beat without him in the win over Cleveland, as Blue’s 36 carries were a franchise-record.

“Arian Foster is a proven player in this league,“ O’Brien said. “But at the end of the day, injuries occur, so the next guy has to be ready to step up no matter who you are. I think we all had confidence that Alfred would step in there and do the job.“

Cincinnati has also had to rely on its backup running back the past few weeks, as Giovani Bernard has missed three straight games with hip and clavicle injuries.

Hill, though, has done a fine job filling in, and has gone over 150 yards in two of the three starts.

Like Foster, Bernard’s status for this week’s contest is up in the air.

“We have still quite a bit to improve upon,“ Lewis said. “We had a lot of areas, particularly in the running game, where we could get better, make sure we’re clicking on the same page throughout. And in the pass game, too.“

It may not matter who is running the ball, though, as Houston has surrendered just 3.28 yards per carry since Week 5, the third lowest mark in the NFL in that span.

Blue and Hill were teammates at LSU.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Cincinnati Bengals looked as good as anyone the first few weeks of the season, then they looked just as bad for a good stretch of time. So what gives?

Could it have been as simple as that they just missed Green? It would be nice if it was that simple, but there are some warts on this team, namely Dalton, who may have his hands full against a very opportunistic Texans defense that is plus-8 and can get to the quarterback. Still, barring another complete meltdown from Dalton, the Bengals should be able to do enough on offense to get by in this one.

Predicted outcome: Cincinnati 17, Houston 13


►  Blount lands in New England

The New England Patriots re-signed running back LeGarrette Blount on Thursday, just two days after he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers decided to part ways with Blount after he reportedly left the field prior to the conclusion of Monday’s game against Tennessee.

Multiple media outlets reported that Blount walked off the field before the end of the Steelers’ 27-24 win over the Titans, apparently upset over his lack of playing time. He did not receive a carry in the contest, as Le’Veon Bell racked up a career-high 204 yards on 33 rushes.

Blount joined the Steelers in March on a two-year contract after a spending the 2013 season with New England. He got into immediate trouble with his new team after being cited for marijuana possession, along with Bell, in August.

The Patriots had acquired Blount on April 27, 2013 in a trade with Tampa Bay and last season he rushed for 772 yards with seven touchdowns in 16 games, seven of which were starts. In the postseason win against Indianapolis on January 11, 2014, Blount ran for 166 yards and set a franchise record with four rushing touchdowns.

In 11 games this season, Blount rushed for 266 yards with two touchdowns. He had 10 carries in Week 9 against Baltimore and just five last Sunday in the loss to the Jets prior to Monday.

The 28-year-old Oregon product spent his first three NFL seasons with the Buccaneers, rushing for 1,007 yards as a rookie in 2010.

New England cleared a roster spot by releasing defensive lineman Casey Walker, who compiled 10 tackles and one sack in five games this season.


►  Colts search for 11th straight division win

The Jacksonville Jaguars are certainly not the same team that the Indianapolis Colts saw - and beat by 27 points - on the road in Week 3.

That doesn’t mean they’re any more likely to win a Week 12 rematch, of course, but they’ve at least got a fair chance to be a bit more competitive.

Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles made his NFL debut off the bench and threw two late touchdown passes in the 44-17 debacle back in September, but the youngster who was selected third overall in the 2014 NFL Draft has shown intermittent signs of progress in a handful of appearances since.

The University of Central Florida product took over the starting role from Chad Henne a week after the loss to the Colts and has thrown for at least one touchdown in five of seven games as the No. 1 option.

He also was under center for the Jaguars’ lone win of the season, a 24-6 defeat of Cleveland in Week 7.

In his most recent start - a 31-17 loss to Dallas in London before a Week 11 bye - Bortles was 22-of-37 for 290 yards and was intercepted once, leaving his passer rating for the season at 72.2. His highest single-game rating of the season, 96.4, had come a week earlier in a 33-22 loss at Cincinnati.

“These final six weeks are really a great opportunity for Blake to really say, ‘How do I step up my preparation, how do I step up my practice habits and how do I step up my communication?‘“ offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said.

Helping his cause against the Colts will be the presumed return of tight end Marcedes Lewis for the first time since an ankle injury in Week 2. To make room for Lewis, however, rookie receiver Allen Robinson was jettisoned to the injured reserve list with a broken right foot. He’d led the team with 48 catches and 458 yards and had scored twice.

Another youngster, Allen Hurns, remains questionable after suffering a concussion in the Dallas loss. He caught a 63-yard touchdown pass in the first game with Indianapolis.

On the ground, former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has averaged 5.4 yards per carry while going for 389 yards and scoring four times in his last four games.

“It’s nice to see the running game getting better,“ Jaguars guard Brandon Linder said. “He’s a talented athlete and a great team player. He brings it on every play and is very confident in the way he runs. That’s Denard. He makes things happen. He’s a very talented player. It’s nice to be able to block for him and see the outcome he gets on a play and the success that he’s had the past couple of games. Hopefully we can keep those types of results going the rest of the season.“

Meanwhile, even though they lead the AFC South by a game, the Colts could use a little good news.

Indianapolis has lost two of its last three games and will be without running back Ahmad Bradshaw for the rest of the season after he broke his right leg against New England, in a 42-20 defeat, last week.

The loss to the Patriots saw the Colts gashed for 246 yards on the ground and was the second time in three games that an opponent went for 40 or more points. Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdowns in a 51-34 Pittsburgh win in Week 8 and Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards and four TDs for New England.

Still, they have won 10 straight games in the division and are the only team among its quartet with a better-than-.500 record. And, they haven’t lost to Jacksonville since September 2012.

“It’s up to us to execute,“ defensive end Cory Redding said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow, but let’s make it clear - we’ve got to go out and play winning football.“

In a five-game win streak that stretched from Weeks 3 through 7, Indianapolis allowed 75 total points and registered a shutout of Cincinnati. In three games since, it’s allowed 39 points per game.

“It’s definitely frustrating because we’re a good defense,“ defensive tackle Arthur Jones said. “We just have to be consistent.“

It may not be a problem against the Jaguars, who are second from last in the league in scoring (15.8 points per game), 27th of 32 teams in total yards (315.1 per game) and have been on the short end of a 138-40 composite score against the Colts since their last win in the series.

Indianapolis held a comfortable 30-3 lead before Bortles’ late uprising in the September game.

Jacksonville has given up 91 points in losing three straight since its lone win in 2014, and Colts QB Andrew Luck leads an offense that’s still averaging a league-best 438.3 yards per game even after being held to its low for the season - 322 yards - against New England.

Luck has thrown for at least 300 yards in eight straight games, a franchise- record streak that began with the initial defeat of the Jaguars. Elsewhere, Bradshaw’s absence means more responsibility for Trent Richardson, who has 594 total yards for the season. Indianapolis also signed Josh Cribbs to fill Bradshaw’s slot on the roster.

“We are going to miss his energy, his passion, everything he brings to the table,“ coach Chuck Pagano said.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

A Two-Man Advantage

Now that veteran cornerback Alan Ball has been lost for the season due to injury, the Jaguars’ defensive backfield will be headlined by starting corners Demetrius McCray and Dwayne Gratz, both of whom were drafted in 2013. They’ll face the prodigious receiving tandem of T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne, who, incidentally, have 106 catches, 1,556 yards and five touchdowns between them.

Stopping the Plummet

The Colts had maintained a respectable place among the NFL’s rush defenses before the 244-yard debacle against the Patriots dropped them just past the midway point to 17th overall. Their front seven faces an interesting challenge this week in Robinson, who’d averaged more than 100 yards per game before being held to 60 yards on 15 attempts in the London game before the bye.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

For all the strides the inconsistent Jaguars may have made since the early- season meeting between the teams, they’re still the Jaguars and the Colts are still the Colts. Indianapolis plays respectable defense and Jacksonville doesn’t score. Indianapolis has a prodigious offense and Jacksonville allows a lot of points. Regardless of burgeoning optimism, it’s not a good recipe for the visiting cats.

Predicted outcome: Colts 27, Jaguars 10


►  Lovie brings Bucs to Chicago

Amid a slightly higher-profile arrival this weekend at Soldier Field - in the form of Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith visiting his former Chicago home for the first time since he was fired two years ago - there’s also one Josh McCown.

McCown appeared in 11 games and started seven times across three seasons (two under Smith) with the Bears before heading to Buccaneers on a two-year, $10 million contract after Chicago displayed its allegiance to Jay Cutler in the form of a seven-year, $126.7 million deal.

His first three games with his new team yielded three losses and a thumb injury that subsequently kept him out of action for six weeks, but McCown returned to his starter’s role in Week 10 and has since thrown for 589 yards and four touchdowns against just two interceptions.

He finally earned win No. 1 for the Bucs last week, throwing for 288 yards and a pair of scores in a 27-7 road defeat of Washington that ended a five-game losing skid.

The momentum comes just in time for what he concedes will be an unusual experience this week.

“It will be neat, weird, all those things. I’m sure for Coach Smith it’s the same thing,“ McCown said. “But for us, we’ve got to win ball games, it doesn’t matter who we play.“

His return has coincided with the emergence of first-round draft pick Mike Evans, who’s caught seven passes in three straight games for 458 yards and five touchdowns. The Texas A&M product accounted for 209 receiving yards against the Redskins, making him the first rookie with a 200-yard game and two scores since Anquan Boldin did it 11 years ago.

The defense did its part in Washington as well, registering three takeaways and six sacks while yielding its lowest opposition point total of 2014. Tampa Bay had averaged 30.2 points allowed through its initial nine games while accounting for only 12 turnovers and 14 sacks.

“Hopefully we can build on this and see where we go from there,“ Smith said.

As it turns out, the tumult-wracked Bears could use a little building of their own.

Lest he be reminded that Smith was 18 games over .500, reached the playoffs three times and appeared in a Super Bowl once during his tenure in Chicago, second-year coach Marc Trestman is enduring daily questions about why his star-studded team isn’t performing anywhere near expectations.

Trestman was 8-8 in his first go-round last year, following Smith’s dismissal after he went 10-6 in 2012 and failed to reach the playoffs. And several of his holdover players are still fans of their old boss.

“(Smith) was the type of guy that you really wanted to run through a wall for,“ Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said. “And you didn’t want to see him go.“

Inconveniently, Chicago’s offense is more than six points a game off of the NFC-best 27.8-point clip it posted under Trestman last season, and his defense had allowed 50 points in two straight games before a circle-the-wagons 21-13 defeat of Minnesota in Week 11 ended a three-game losing streak.

Chicago allowed 243 total yards, but the Vikings were just 30th in the league in total offense coming in.

Smith’s defenses for the Bears averaged better than two takeaways per game, permitted less than 20 points and only surrendered 40 or more four times. Chicago has allowed 40 points six times under

Trestman and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, while surrendering 29.5 points per game overall.

“We’re going to talk to our team truthfully about every aspect of this game,“ Trestman said. “The thing I can tell you about Lovie is that I’ve watched him for years and played against him for years and I know him as a person and I have tremendous respect for him as a person in all areas. That’s the only thing I can speak of at this point, and I truly mean that.“

As for offense, Cutler is expecting his former boss to supply a new defensive wrinkle or two.

The QB passed for 330 yards and three TDs against Minnesota, but he was intercepted twice and has six INTs in his last four games. Running back Matt Forte had 117 rushing yards against the Vikings and is third in the league with 1,308 total yards.

“It’s going to be challenging,“ Cutler said. “We are going to be familiar with their defense, they’ve got some really good players on that side of the ball.“

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Rookie on Rookie

First-year man Evans comes into the game for the Bucs full of pass-catching momentum. He’s scored seven touchdowns since missing Week 5 with an injury and uses his 6-foot-5, 231-pound frame with surprising speed and agility. He’ll be the focal point of rookie corner Kyle Fuller, picked seven slots after him in April, who’s 6-foot, 190 pounds and will need to create disruption at the line of scrimmage.

Facing an Old Friend

On the flip side, Chicago’s Brandon Marshall comes in after his own seven- catch, two-touchdown performance against Minnesota and will presumably be matched with veteran Alterraun Verner, who’s been inconsistent in his first year with Tampa Bay. Marshall could have a big day if Smith employs soft coverages with Verner, especially if the receiver can escape initial contact and extend plays.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

If it were solely a match on paper, the Bears would win easily. Of course, if they’d all been solely matches on paper, the Bears would probably be 8-2 instead of 4-6.

Expect Tampa Bay to be plenty revved-up for its popular new coach and for Smith to confound Cutler with a look or two, but in the end the advantages in personnel still reside with the hosts in Chicago. If he loses this one, Trestman’s done.

Predicted outcome: Bears 24, Buccaneers 14


►  Dolphins D is eager for Peyton test

It’s not every day that you hear an NFL player - particular on the defensive side of the ball - looking anxiously ahead to a matchup with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

But given the confidence jolt provided by four wins in five games, that’s where the Miami Dolphins are.

“It’s going to be fun,“ safety Reshad Jones said. “It’s a challenge. This what you play the game for, these type of games. I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere, great time of the season. It’s our time to go out, make our plays and make a statement.“

The Dolphins actually began the season at 1-2, but has since reeled off five wins in seven games - the two losses came by a combined seven points against two likely NFC playoff teams - and have put themselves definitively into the postseason conversation in the AFC.

Miami improved to 6-4 with a 24-9 stifling of AFC East rival Buffalo last week and hasn’t allowed a touchdown in two of its last three games. The Dolphins are second in the league in pass defense (208 yards per game) heading into the duel with Manning and Co., who are third in the league in total offense (412.9 yards per game) and second among the 32 teams in pass yardage (323 per game).

The 38-year-old has been sacked an NFL-low 11 times in 10 games, but part of the clear Miami mandate this week is to at least rattle him whether he’s being tackled with the ball in his hands or not.

“We just have to try to throw him off of his game early, try to get pressure on him and try to hit him as much as we can and force him to make bad throws,“ said Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon, whose 51/2 sacks are second on the team. “We’ve just got to get off the ball, time the snap and make sure we get pressure on him all game long. He has a very good line that’s protecting him and he’s a future Hall of Famer and we’ve got to throw all types of things at him that he wouldn’t expect and mix it up.“

Alongside the pressure is the aim of keeping Manning off the field as much as able.

Miami has gained 100 or more yards on the ground in eight of 10 games this season, most recently with 125 yards against the Bills. The team is sixth in the league with an average ground take of 127.3 yards per game, thanks to a deep backfield featuring Lamar Miller (614 yards), Daniel Thomas (138 yards), Damien Williams (100 yards) and quarterback Ryan Tannehill (261 yards).

Tannehill is gaining yardage at an average of 7.1 yards per run, and the Bills game was the fifth time this season - and fourth time in five games - that he completed more than 70% of his passes, going 26-of-34 (76.4 percent) for 240 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, though the Dolphins are averaging 24.9 points per game, they’re 31st in a 32-team league when it comes to red-zone scoring efficiency. In fact, Miami is averaging just 4.1 points on possessions that reach the opponent’s 20-yard line. Denver, incidentally, is first in the league at 6.0 points per possession, with touchdowns on 77% of its red-zone drives.

“Why have we had so many red-zone drives?“ Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. “Probably because we haven’t had explosive plays that have scored from outside the red zone. It’s easy math. The thing that’s not easy is getting it fixed.“

The teams haven’t played since Miami won an 18-15 decision over the Tim Tebow- led Broncos in 2011, but Manning’s career mark against the Dolphins with Indianapolis was a mediocre 5-7 with a pedestrian 79.8 passer rating thanks to 18 interceptions alongside his 18 touchdowns.

His fortunes these days aren’t quite so miserable, but Sunday’s game does come amid a rare slump for the team. Denver has lost two of three games after a 22-7 upset at St. Louis last weekend, and a defeat against Miami would mark just the second 1-3 skid in a four-game stretch since No. 18 arrived.

The last two losses - to New England and the Rams - have been by a combined 65-28.

The Broncos’ time of possession against the Rams was a season-low 24:10.

“You feel like you’ve let your team down,“ Manning said. “I didn’t feel like I carried my weight. That’s pretty plain and simple.“

The struggles have come in a rare stretch of three straight road games. Since arriving in Denver, Manning has 10 more interceptions and 10 fewer touchdowns in road games, and the Broncos have scored nine fewer rushing touchdowns away from home as well. In fact, of Manning’s nine regular-season losses with the team, only two have come in Denver.

Injuries to offensive players like Julius Thomas (ankle), Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) and Montee Ball (groin) haven’t helped matters, and the run game have been stifled to 43 and 28 yards, respectively, in the last two losses.

But if you’re expecting coach John Fox to beg for mercy, don’t bother.

“We’re not making excuses,“ he said. “There’s no panic inside the building. It’s just part of the way the league goes. We’re displeased, we’re not happy with the results, but we get to atone for it getting ready against the Miami Dolphins.“

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Hold Him Tight (End)

Presuming he’s healthy and ready to go after the ankle injury last week, Denver’s Thomas is a nightmare matchup for any defense. Against the Dolphins, curtailing his production will be the responsibility of linebacker Philip Wheeler underneath and safety Reshad Jones over the top. Miami employed that approach against San Diego’s Antonio Gates and held him to three catches for 28 yards.

Crack Open a Miller

Miami tackle Dallas Thomas is a 6-foot-5, 306-pound behemoth, but he’ll have his giant hands full when lined up against Denver linebacker Von Miller, who’s putting together yet another high-quality season. Miller has averaged a sack a game and is athletic and strong enough to stay on the field to defend the run as well. Thomas allowed two sacks to Buffalo’s Mario Williams last week, so he’ll need help.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

If you base your selections on momentum, Miami is an easy call. Though the Dolphins are a game behind in the standings, they’ve been far better over the last three weeks and are just eight points shy of having won seven consecutive games. Not to mention that they play defense well and can at least hang in with Manning and Co. on offense. Score one for cross-country confidence.

Predicted outcome: Dolphins 27, Broncos 24


►  Governor Cuomo says Bills playing Sunday is right now ‘impractical’

Snow is still blanketing the Buffalo area and plans to have the Bills and New York Jets play Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium may be unlikely.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo, as a matter of fact, called it “impractical.“

A travel ban for the area is still in place and the Bills have yet to practice for the contest, which could be moved to Monday or even Tuesday. It could also be shifted to a different site.

“My sense is it’s impractical to do the game because it would jeopardize public safety,“ said Governor Cuomo on Thursday after spending time in the area. “Everybody would love to see a Bills game go forward, but, I think even more, everybody wants to make sure public safety comes first.

“If there’s any way we can scramble to get it done ... we’ll do everything we can to deploy resources to make it possible.“

A ferocious lake-effect storm dumped more than five feet of snow in the Buffalo area, especially south and east of the city, where the stadium is located. Another storm is expected to drop another two feet.

The Bills estimate that they will need to clear 220,000 tons of snow in order to clear the stadium for Sunday’s game.

Snow shovelers can help clear the stadium for $10 an hour, plus game tickets if they work a certain number of hours.


►  Pats aim for 15th straight at home, entertain Lions

The Detroit Lions will finish up one of the toughest road stretches of this or any other season when they pay a visit to the red- hot New England Patriots on Sunday.

The Lions came up short against the now 9-1 Arizona Cardinals in the desert last weekend and things will hardly slow down seven days later as the 8-2 Pats await having won 14 straight at home and six consecutive overall, including a 42-20 drubbing of Indianapolis during Week 11 in which running back Jonas Gray rushed for 199 yards and four touchdowns in just his fourth career NFL game.

Billed as the matchup of Tom Brady versus Andrew Luck, Gray, a former Notre Dame star, returned to Indiana and stole the spotlight.

Gray, who had 131 yards rushing in his first three games filling in for the injured Stevan Ridley, carried the ball 38 times against the Colts, averaging 5.2 yards a tote.

Brady was 19-of-30 for 257 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Rob Gronkowski caught four passes for 71 yards and a score for the Patriots (8-2), who have won the six straight since a pedestrian 2-2 start.

“It’s a good win,“ Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “I’m really proud of our offensive line. Good solid team effort.“

Conversely Detroit fell in he desert, 14-6, when Cards backup QB Drew Stanton threw touchdown passes to Michael Floyd on the first two drives of the game and Arizona held on from there.

Stanton stepped in again for Carson Palmer, who was lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee. His touchdown throws of 42 and 12 yards to Floyd in the first nine minutes of the game stood up.

Matt Prater kicked two field goals for the Lions, who had a four-game winning streak snapped—their longest since a 5-0 start to the 2011 season.

Detroit’s Matthew Stafford threw for just 183 yards with an interception, but set an NFL passing record during the game. He became the quickest quarterback to reach 20,000 yards, doing it in 71 games—three fewer than Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino needed for the Miami Dolphins in the 1980s.

Calvin Johnson had five catches for 59 yards in his second game back from an ankle injury.

“We didn’t help ourselves out. We had too many penalties and mental errors,“ Stafford said. “You do that against a good defense and you won’t be too successful.“

The Patriots have won three straight over the Lions and lead the all-time series by a 6-4 margin. The two teams haven’t played watch other since November of 2010 when Brady threw for 34 yards and four TDs in a 45-24 win. They haven’t met in Foxborough since 2006, a 28-21 New England triumph.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

This shapes up as strength against strength with the Pats averaging 32.3 points per game, good for second in the NFL, matching up with a Detroit defense that is allowing just 15.6 points per game, the fewest in the league.

The Lions also own the NFL’s best defense in total yards allowed (290.3 per game) and rushing yards allowed (68.8 per game). The Pats, meanwhile, are seventh in total offense (380.6 ypg).

New England, which leads the AFC East, is the most balanced team in football and has beaten the other three AFC division leaders by a combined 131-58 margin, including consecutive 22-points wins over Denver (AFC West) and Indy (AFC South).

Against the Broncos it was the aerial attack with Brady throwing for 333 yards and four scores while it was the running game and Gray that pounded the Colts into submission in Indy.

“We always try to stay balanced,“ said Brady. “You never go in saying we’re going to run it this much or throw it this much. You try to get the runs on your terms, and if they’re going to load up and stop it, you’ve got to throw it, but if they’re not going to respect the running game, you’ve got to keep giving it to him.“

Gray ended up just 11 yards shy of the franchise rushing record against the Colts and surpassed his career mark for rushing attempts coming in (32). Despite the heavy workload, though, the back is ready to go.

“Surprisingly, I feel great. I actually just did some extra conditioning,“ Gray said. “I’m feeling good, ready for a big week against Detroit.“

He will have some added support though as the Pats brought back running back LeGarrette Blount on Thursday, just two days after he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers decided to part ways with Blount after he reportedly left the field prior to the conclusion of Monday’s game against Tennessee. The Patriots originally acquired Blount on April 27, 2013 in a trade with Tampa Bay and last season he rushed for 772 yards with seven touchdowns in 16 games, seven of which were starts. In the postseason win against Indianapolis on January 11, 2014, Blount ran for 166 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

The Lions seem to understand what they will be facing.

“We’re going against a very good football team, but we’re not going in this with a mindset like, ‘Oh, they’re unbeatable, they do everything so amazing,‘“ Detroit safety James Ihedigbo said. “We are the No. 1 defense. We’ve kind of earned that. Respect is not given in this league. It’s earned.“

Offense has been the biggest problem for Detroit, a stark contrast from the usual makeup of the Lions.

Detroit has been averaging just 17 points a game after piling up 35 against the New York Giants on opening day. The lack of a consistent running game has been the main culprit with the Lions mustering only 80.2 ypg on the ground, tied for 30th in the NFL with Arizona. Only winless Oakland is worse.

“They’ve shown in spurts they have grit, they’re tough, they come back, they fight you,“ Lions coach Jim Caldwell said of his team. “Even in (the Arizona) ball game, the effort was unreal. When you get that kind of effort, you just have to work on execution and some things. We’ll get better. I do think this team has the fortitude to be real resilient under disappointment.“

The paltry run game could get a lift from the potential return of Reggie Bush, who sat out against the Cardinals with an ankle injury but is expected to play this week.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

New England’s 14-game home run is the longest in football and the Pats have been beating foes by nearly two touchdowns a game (13.6 to be exact) over that span.

The Lions are better than the average opponent so figure on them keeping things closer than that but expecting a win is probably a little too much to ask.

“The thing about is that they have great tradition, a great tradition of winning,“ Caldwell said when asked about playing in Foxborough. “Certainly their ownership is one that is well respected, the coaching staff obviously has been exceptional through the years, so they have a lot of things that are going for them.

“But the fact of the matter is, they are a team that has won, probably, more Super Bowls in the modern era than anyone else. So, they present a great challenge, but our guys I think are up for that challenge. I think they look at every opportunity that they have as a great chance to go in and show what they can do and I think it’ll be interesting.“

Predicted outcome: Patriots 27, Lions 20

►  NFL Game Results

(THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20)


Final Score: Oakland 24, Kansas City 20

It has been a long 368 days for Oakland, but there was finally joy at the Black Hole on Thursday night. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr led the way as the Raiders put an end to their 16-game losing streak with a thrilling 24-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Carr’s late touchdown pass to James Jones capped off a lengthy drive that proved to be the difference as the Raiders (1-10) won their first game since Nov. 17, 2013 against Houston. Latavius Murray rushed for two touchdowns and 112 yards on four carries before departing after the first half with a concussion. Carr threw for 174 yards on an 18-of-35 completion rate in the win. Alex Smith completed 20-of-36 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and Jamaal Charles ran 19 times for 80 yards while also adding a receiving score for the Chiefs (7-4), who were coming off a 24-20 win over Seattle.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Mountaineers hammer George Mason 91-65 in Puerto Rico opener

West Virginia 91, George Mason 65

Devin Williams compiled 16 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes and West Virginia hounded George Mason into 24 turnovers during a 91-65 romp at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Jonathan Holton added 16 points, Juwan Staten tacked on 13, and 11 players scored for the Mountaineers (3-0), who cruised into a second-round matchup against Boston College.

Williams recorded his third consecutive double-double and the 11th of his 36-game career.

“Devin was good, but I want him to be great,” coach Bob Huggins said. “He was good, but Devin can be so much better and that’s what I want for him. Sometimes he doesn’t understand why I’m upset with him, but I’m upset with him because I know how good he can be.”

Elijah Macon and hometown product Gary Browne each scored nine points off the bench, freshman Jevan Carter contributed seven points and three steals, and walk-on Chase Connor buried both of his 3-point attempts. West Virginia built a 31-point lead in the second half, though Huggins still found the execution lacking at times.

“I thought we played very well for a stretch and got a big lead, but then we relaxed and didn’t play very well,” he said. “We started looking for shots and not looking to score—which is something you can do subconsciously when you get a big lead. From then on we didn’t play well.”

Patrick Holloway scored 17 and Shevon Thompson added 14 points for George Mason (1-2), which was picked near the cellar of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Overmatched on the boards and harassed into bad passes, the Patriots made a prophet of coach Paul Hewitt.

“Two things we were talking about before the game were keeping them from offensive rebounds and holding down our turnovers,” Hewitt said. “They dominated, forcing 24 turnovers, and they got 19 offensive rebounds and that’s pretty much the game.”

The outcome might have been less lopsided had George Mason capitalized on West Virginia’s Holton, Macon and Nathan Adrian each piling up four fouls. Instead, the Patriots languished through 16-of-32 free-throw shooting.

The Mountaineers hadn’t started a season with three straight wins since November 2010, when coincidentally they dropped their fourth game to Minnesota, in the final of this same Puerto Rico event.

Hewitt suggested this West Virginia squad could leave the Coliseo Roberto Clemente with a title.

“They’re very good,” he said. ” I don’t know what Coach Huggins will say, but from our perspective, they played very good tonight. They were much sharper than us and every mistake we made, they capitalized on it.”


FRIDAY’S GAME

West Virginia (3-0) vs. Boston College (2-1)

Tip-off: 6 PM Eastern on ESPNU

Scouting Boston College: On Thursday, the Eagles upset New Mexico 69-65 behind 20 points from Olivier Hanlan and 16 from Aaron Brown. … Former Ohio University and TCU coach Jim Christian inherited a team that was picked next to last in the ACC. Before coming to the Puerto Rico tournament, Boston College split home games by beating New Hampshire 58-50 and losing to UMass 71-62.

Prediction: West Virginia wins 64-60


►  Mississippi State knocks WVU women out of Preseason WNIT

Mississippi State took control with a 15-0 run in the second half to upset the No. 17 West Virginia women 74-61 on Thursday night in the Preseason WNIT semifinal.

The Mountaineers (2-1), paced by Averee Field’s career-high 23 points, trailed 42-41 with 16 minutes left, before Mississippi State (3-0) went oh a six-minute surge. Bulldogs freshman Victoria Vivians, who hit two of her four 3-pointers to put the game away, finished with 26 points and five rebounds. Ketara Chapel added 19 points in the win.

Mississippi State held a 31-20 edge on the offensive boards and a 26-10 cushion in second-chance points.

“They hurt us on offensive rebounds,” said coach Mike Carey. “We needed to see this to see what we need to correct. Give credit to Mississippi State, they did what they needed to do.”

Bria Holmes finished with 18 points in a 40-minute outing, her seventh straight game in double figures. But she made only 8-of-23 shots and committed eight of West Virginia’s 24 turnovers. Crystal Leary added nine rebounds and five boards before fouling out.

Teana Muldrow (seven points, five rebounds) and Lanay Montgomery (two points, five boards) also fouled out—Montgomery doing so in only 15 minutes.

The Mountaineers return to action Wednesday when they host Evansville.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Thursday, November 20)


Final Score: LA Clippers 110, Miami 93

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin each deposited 26 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 110-93 win over the Miami Heat on Thursday. Paul dished out 12 assists and committed just one turnover, while Griffin pulled down seven rebounds with four assists for the Clippers, who have opened up their seven-game road trip with two straight wins. JJ Redick scored 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and DeAndre Jordan registered 12 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Los Angeles hadn’t won in Miami since March 10, 2008, snapping a five-game skid. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 28 points in their fourth loss in the last five games. Mario Chalmers and Luol Deng each chipped in with 13 points in the setback.


Final Score: Sacramento 103, Chicago 88

DeMarcus Cousins scored 22 points with 14 rebounds and the Sacramento Kings sent the Chicago Bulls to their first road loss of the season with a 103-88 decision on Thursday. Rudy Gay shot an efficient 7-for-11 from the floor in his 20-point effort and Darren Collison netted 17 points with 12 assists for the Kings, who went 2-1 on their three- game homestand. Jimmy Butler paced the Bulls with 23 points to go along with eight rebounds, while Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson and Aaron Brooks each supplied 12 points for the Bulls. Chicago, which played without Pau Gasol (calf) and Derrick Rose (hamstring), fell to 6-1 on the road this season.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Thursday, November 20)


Final Score: Minnesota 3, Philadelphia 2

Jason Zucker scored with 45.4 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Marco Scandella and Nino Niederreiter both had a goal and one assist for the Wild, who posted a season-high fourth straight win. Darcy Kuemper stopped 37 Flyers shots in just the Wild’s third win in 10 all-time trips to Philadelphia. Claude Giroux tied the game on a Philadelphia power play with 3:30 remaining in regulation. Mark Streit also scored and Ray Emery made 26 saves for the Flyers, who have dropped four games in a row.


Final Score: Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 2

Behind a three-goal second period in which James van Riemsdyk scored twice, the Toronto Maple Leafs bounced back strongly with a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Roman Polak added a goal and an assist to help the Maple Leafs halt a three-game skid capped by Tuesday’s brutal 9-2 home loss to Nashville. Richard Panik and David Clarkson also tallied and Jonathan Bernier aided Toronto’s cause with 26 saves, half of which came during the pivotal second period. Ben Bishop stopped just 16- of-20 shots as the Lightning wrapped up a three-game road trip with a second straight defeat. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each had goals in the loss.


Final Score: Montreal 4, St. Louis 1

Max Pacioretty scored two goals on his 26th birthday, helping the Montreal Canadiens beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Thursday at Bell Centre. Dale Weise and Lars Eller also scored and Carey Price made 31 saves for the Canadiens, who snapped a five-game losing streak in the series. Montreal rebounded from Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh to win for the seventh time in its last eight games. Rookie Jake Allen stopped 26-of-30 shots for St. Louis, which has opened a four-game road trip with consecutive losses. The Blues had won 10 of 11 before Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Boston.


Final Score: Ottawa 3, Nashville 2

Robin Lehner made 33 saves, including 15 in the third period, to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Bobby Ryan, Alex Chiasson and Jared Cowen all had second-period goals in the Senators’ second victory in their last three games. Shea Weber and Olli Jokinen each scored for the Predators, who were coming off a 9-2 rout of Toronto on Tuesday.


Final Score: Detroit 4, Winnipeg 3

Tomas Tatar scored the winner at 15:10 of the third period, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Tatar’s second goal of the game came 2:10 after Justin Abdelkader tied the score at 3-3 for the Red Wings, who have won back-to-back games for the first time in three weeks. They were coming off a 5-0 decision over Columbus on Tuesday and climbed back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2. Abdelkader scored on a deflection and set then up Tatar’s goal with a pass into the slot from the low left side. Detroit’s Petr Mrazek made 28 saves in his first game of the season.


Final Score: Dallas 3, Arizona 1

John Klingberg and Cody Eakin each scored in the opening minute of the third period as the Dallas Stars stopped a seven- game home losing streak with a 3-1 decision over the Arizona Coyotes. Jason Spezza also had a goal in the final frame and Kari Lehtonen turned aside 25 shots in a much-needed result for the slumping Stars, who had dropped three straight and won for only the third time in their last 13 outings. Dallas had gone 0-5-2 since its only previous victory at American Airlines Center this season, a 6-3 triumph over Vancouver on Oct. 21. Lauri Korpikoski tallied on a first-period power play for the Coyotes’ lone goal, with Mike Smith recording 24 saves in defeat.


Final Score: Washington 3, Colorado 2

Alex Ovechkin scored late in the third period to lift the Washington Capitals over the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2, on Thursday. Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin each had one goal and an assist for the Capitals, who have won two in a row. Jason Chimera also lit the lamp. Braden Holtby stopped 27-of-29 shots in the win. Daniel Briere and Tyson Barrie scored for the Avalanche, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Reto Berra made 20 saves.


Final Score: Chicago 4, Calgary 3

Patrick Kane’s third-period goal lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. Brent Seabrook, Adam Clendening and Daniel Carcillo also scored for Chicago and Corey Crawford had 24 saves. The Blackhawks started a six-game road trip, making room as they do every year for the circus to take over United Center. They have won four of their last five. The Flames had a three-game winning streak snapped in their third loss in the last 10 games. Paul Byron, Sean Monahan and Dennis Wideman scored and Jonas Hiller allowed four goals on 22 shots. Calgary hasn’t dropped two in a row since Oct. 25 and 28.


Final Score: Anaheim 4, Vancouver 3 (SO)

Corey Perry and Jakob Silfverberg both scored in the shootout to lift the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Perry, the first participant of the shootout, came down the right side, drifted towards the slot and patiently lifted a shot over a sliding Eddie Lack. After Vancouver’s first two shooters failed to score, Silfverberg’s quick wrister over the glove of the Vancouver netminder sealed the win. Andrew Cogliano and Matt Belesky both lit the lamp, Ryan Getzlaf tallied a goal and an assist and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves and stopped both Canucks’ players he faced in the shootout for the Ducks, who snapped a three-game skid. Jannick Hansen and Radim Vrbata both scored and Bo Horvat registered his first NHL goal for the Canucks, who have dropped two of their last three. Lack made 23 saves in defeat.


Final Score: Los Angeles 3, Carolina 2

Tanner Pearson scored the go-ahead goal early in the second period, lifting the Los Angeles Kings over the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, on Thursday. Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis also scored for the Kings, who have won three in a row. Jonathan Quick made 25 saves. Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner lit the lamp for the Hurricanes, who have lost four of five. Cam Ward stopped 36-of-39 shots.


Final Score: Florida 3, San Jose 2 (SO)

Nick Bjugstad scored a pair of goals in regulation and fittingly netted the game-winner in the shootout as the Florida Panthers spoiled the San Jose Sharks’ return to the Shark Tank with a 3-2 victory on Thursday. San Jose’s Patrick Marleau was denied by Roberto Luongo on a penalty shot early in the third period, but the veteran forward redeemed himself with time winding down. The Sharks pulled Antti Niemi for an extra attacker, and Joe Thornton, from deep in the right corner, fed Marleau out in front for the tying goal with 33.1 seconds on the clock. The Panthers carried a power play 1:49 into overtime but did not cash in. After each team scored in the second round of the shootout, Brent Burns rung one off the post for San Jose, and Bjugstad followed with the difference maker. Luongo made 28 saves for the Panthers, who also upended the Sharks, 4-1, on Nov. 11. Logan Couture scored a power-play goal, while Niemi stopped 26-of-28 shots for the Sharks, who were coming off an 11-day road trip that saw them go 3-4-0.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Kahne gets three-year extension from Hendrick

Kasey Kahne will continue to drive for Hendrick Motorsports through the 2018 Sprint Cup season, signing a three-year contract extension on Thursday.

Kahne’s deal was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2015 campaign.

“It’s extremely gratifying to work with a driver like Kasey,“ said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “I think the world of him both as a driver with championship-level talent and an overall terrific young man. Our whole organization has a great deal of respect for how hard he works, the professionalism he displays with our partners and the way he carries himself every day. We’re committed to winning races and competing for titles with him for many years to come.“

Kahne finished 15th in the 2014 Sprint Cup standings, his worst mark since placing 20th in 2010. He won one race and had three top-five results this year.

The 34-year-old Washington native’s best season was 2012, when he finished fourth in his first full year with Hendrick.

“I’ve found a home at Hendrick Motorsports,“ said Kahne, who since 2012 has earned at least one victory each season while securing three consecutive Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths. “We have incredible people and partners supporting us, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction we’re headed as a team and a company. It’s the right place for me, and I’m looking forward to being here for a long time.“

Kahne has five Sprint Cup wins and 26 top-five finishes since 2012. He owns 17 Sprint Cup race victories since breaking into NASCAR’s top division in 2004.


►  Vettel to join Ferrari as Alonso exits

Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel will replace two-time titleholder Fernando Alonso at Ferrari for the 2015 season, the Italian team confirmed on Thursday.

Ferrari announced that Vettel has signed a three-year agreement with the team. The 27-year-old German has driven for Red Bull since the start of the 2009 season. His F1 world championships came consecutively from 2010-13. Vettel will team with Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, at Ferrari. Raikkonen returned to the team for the 2014 season.

Vettel has won 39 grand prix and made 66 podium appearances in 138 F1 starts. He has also scored 45 pole positions. Vettel won a season-record-tying 13 races last year but has yet to score a victory this season. He is currently fourth in the championship standings.

“The next stage of my Formula 1 career will be spent with Scuderia Ferrari, and for me that means the dream of a lifetime has come true,“ Vettel said. “When I was a kid, Michael Schumacher, in the red car, was my greatest idol, and now it’s an incredible honor to finally get the chance to drive a Ferrari.“

Last month, Vettel revealed that he was leaving Red Bull at the conclusion of this season. He did not announce his future plans at the time, but it had been expected that he would join Ferrari for next season.

F1 is running its last race of the year, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, on Sunday, with the drivers’ championship to be determined between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Vettel’s best finish this season is second, which occurred in the September 21 Singapore Grand Prix. He is a three-time winner of the Abu Dhabi GP, including a victory here last year.

“The success I’ve had in Formula One, especially with Red Bull Racing over the last four years, I think has been an incredible journey,“ he said. “But I think at some stage you feel that you want to take on a new challenge and do something different. I think I don’t have to mention the history of Ferrari in the sport, and it’s probably the greatest team to drive for. I’m very excited and very motivated to try to do my best, to put my heart in it and be successful.“

Ferrari holds the record for most constructors’ championships with 16 but has not had a title since 2008. The team’s last drivers’ championship was seven years ago with Raikkonen. Michael Schumacher won five of his record seven F1 titles with Ferrari (2000-04).

“Scuderia Ferrari has decided to put its faith in the youngest multiple champion in the history of Formula 1,“ team principal Marco Mattiacci said of Vettel’s signing with Ferrari. “In Formula 1 terms, Sebastian Vettel is a unique combination of youthfulness and experience, and he brings with him that sense of team spirit which will prove invaluable when, together with Kimi, they tackle the challenges awaiting us, as we aim to be front runners again as soon as possible.

“With Sebastian, we all share a thirst for victory as well as enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and tenacity; key elements for all the Scuderia members to write together a new winning chapter in the history of Ferrari.“

Ferrari made two separate announcements on Thursday—first with Alonso’s leaving the team at season’s end and then Vettel’s signing. Ferrari said in its statement of Alonso’s departure that the relationship between the driver and the team ended “by common consent.“

Alonso, a 33-year-old Spaniard, has driven for Ferrari since the start of the 2010 season. Eleven of his 32 career F1 grand prix wins came with Ferrari. He also made 44 podium appearances with the team but only two this year (second in Hungary and third in China). Alonso is presently fifth in the world championship standings.

“It’s a new chapter in my career,“ Alonso said. “I felt it was the time to find new projects, new motivation. It was not an easy decision to make. I was in talks, even last year to be honest, and we waited for this year, for the new car, the new turbo era, etc.

“This year, I felt around summertime, September, it was time to move, and I made the decision. Only time will tell if it’s a good one or a bad one. But what is for sure is that it has been an amazing experience. So happy and so proud to have had those five years with an amazing team, an amazing brand like Ferrari.“

Alonso won his championships back-to-back with Renault from 2005-06.

In his first season with Ferrari in 2010, Alonso entered the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP with an eight-point lead, but Vettel’s victory in that race coupled with a seventh-place finish for Alonso allowed Vettel to win his first F1 title by just four points.

It’s widely rumored that Alonso will return to McLaren after he drove for that team in 2007. McLaren recently said that it will not announce its driver lineup for next year until December. Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, and rookie Kevin Magnussen are its current driver lineup, but Button’s future plans are unclear after he has spent the past 15 years in F1.

“It’s been an interesting few months,“ Button said. “When you’re in Formula One for so many years - 15 years - you have blinkers on in terms of anything else apart from Formula One. This is the best sport in the world, this is your life, this is everything. But when you are put in an uncomfortable situation obviously your eyes are opened to other possibilities.“

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2014


National Basketball Association
Phoenix at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-Arizona, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Orlando at Charlotte, 7:00 PM - FS-Florida, SportSouth, DSS
Detroit at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - FS-Detroit, SportSouth, DSS
Milwaukee at Toronto, 7:30 PM - FS-Wisconsin, TSN, DSS
Boston at Memphis, 8:00 PM - CSN-New England, SportSouth, DSS
Brooklyn at Oklahoma City, 8:00 PM - YES, FS-Oklahoma, DSS
Cleveland at Washington, 8:00 PM - FS-Ohio, CSN-DC, ESPN
San Antonio at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest, North, DSS
LA Lakers at Dallas, 8:30 PM - Time Warner, FS-Southwest, DSS
New Orleans at Denver, 9:00 PM - FS-New Orleans, Altitude, DSS
Utah at Golden State, 10:30 PM - ROOT-Northwest, CSN-Bay, DSS
Chicago at Portland, 10:30 PM - WGN, CSN-Northwest, ESPN


National Hockey League
NY Islanders at Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM - TVA, SNET, MSG+, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
Boston at Columbus, 7:00 PM - NESN, FS-Ohio, DSS
NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7:00 PM - MSG, MSG-Buffalo, DSS
New Jersey at Edmonton, 9:30 PM - MSG+, MSG+2, SNET-West, DSS


College Basketball
Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 12:00 PM - ESPN U or ESPN3.com
Charleston Classic, 12:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 2:30 PM - ESPN U or ESPN 2
Charleston Classic, 2:30 PM - ESPN U or ESPN3.com
Seton Hall vs. Nevada, 4:00 PM - CBSSN
Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 5:00 PM - ESPN U or ESPN 2
2K Classic, 5:00 PM - ESPN U or ESPN 2
LSU vs. Old Dominion, 6:30 PM - CBSSN
Prairie View at Baylor, 7:00 PM - FS-Southwest+, West
Troy at Georgia, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+
IUPU-Ft Wayne at Georgia Tech, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Boston University at Kentucky, 7:00 PM - FS-South, SD, Prime Ticket, SunSports
Loyola-Chicago at Michigan State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Toledo at Oregon, 7:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
UNLV vs. Stanford, 7:00 PM - TruTV
Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Charleston Classic, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Montana State at Buffalo, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Maine at Central Michigan, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
George Washington at Virginia, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
2K Classic, 7:30 PM - ESPN 2
Bethune-Cookman at Monmouth, 7:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Delaware State at Arkansas, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+
ULM at Florida, 8:00 PM - SEC Network
Austin Peay at Illinois, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Morehead State at Louisiana Tech, 8:00 PM - American Sports Net, MASN
Milwaukee at Oklahoma State, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest+, Wisconsin, FCS-Pacific
Stephen F. Austin at Xavier, 8:00 PM - FS2
Iona at Wake Forest, 8:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Louisiana at Auburn, 9:00 PM - FS-South, ESPN3.com
Georgia State at Colorado State, 9:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Marshall at Louisville, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Oral Roberts at Oregon State, 9:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Charleston Classic, 9:00 PM - ESPN3.com
UC Riverside at Utah, 9:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Temple vs. Duke, 9:30 PM - TruTV
Kansas State at Long Beach State, 10:30 PM - FS-South, Ohio, Detroit+, MASN2


Women’s College Basketball
Alabama at Kansas, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com, Jayhawk TV
Winthrop at Tennessee, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+
Bradley at Oklahoma, 8:00 PM - Sooner TV
Hampton at Kansas State, 8:00 PM - COX Cable


College Football
UTEP at Rice, 8:00 PM - FS1
Air Force at San Diego State, 9:30 PM - CBSSN
San Jose State at Utah State, 9:30 PM - ESPN 2
Eastern Washington at Portland State, 10:05 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain


College Hockey
Providence at New Hampshire, 7:00 PM - FCS
Penn State at Michigan, 7:30 PM - FS-Detroit+
Massachusetts Lowell at Notre Dame, 7:30 PM - NBCSN
North Dakota at St. Cloud State, 8:30 PM - FS-North, FCS


International Soccer
FC Metz vs. Paris Saint-Germain FC, 2:25 PM - beIN Sport


Golf
EUROPEAN - DP World Championship, 3:00 AM - Golf Channel
LPGA - CME Group Tour Championship, 1:30 PM - Golf Channel
AUSTRALIAN - MasterCard Masters, 9:30 PM - Golf Channel


Tennis
Davis Cup - Switzerland vs. France, 8:00 AM - Tennis Channel
Davis Cup - Switzerland vs. France, 11:00 AM - Tennis Channel


Auto Racing
FORMULA ONE - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice, 8:00 AM - NBCSN

Pioneers Land Seven on MEC All-Conference Football Team

The Gilmer Free Press

Concord University’s Calvinaugh Jones has been voted as the Mountain East Conference Offensive Player of the Year, while teammate T.J. Smith is the league’s Freshman of the Year. The University of Charleston’s linebacker Justin Avery is the MEC Defensive Player of the Year, and Shepherd linebacker James Gupton is the conference’s Defensive Freshman of the Year. Concord head coach Garin Justice was voted as the MEC Coach of the Year.

The awards were announced on Tuesday as the league also announced the All-MEC teams. The All-MEC teams and individual award winners are selected by a vote of the league’s coaches.

Jones, a junior running back from Glen Burnie, MD, led the MEC in rushing with 1,372 yards—a total that is 13th in the country. Jones averaged 124 yards per game and 7.0 yards per carry while finding the end zone eight times.  

Smith, a freshman wideout from Charleston, SC, hauled in a league-best 12 touchdown passes on the year for the Mountain Lions. He was also tops among all freshman and among the league leaders in receptions (46) and receiving yards (987) and yards per catch (21.5).

Avery, a senior linebacker from Charlotte, NC, led one of the top defense’s in the conference with 91 tackles (49 solo) on the year. He also contributed 12 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks for the Golden Eagles. 

Gupton, a freshman linebacker from Waldorf, MD, led all MEC freshmen in solo tackles with 36. He was the leading tackler on a Shepherd defense that led the country in rushing defense and a unit that was fourth in the NCAA in scoring defense. 

In his fourth season at Concord, Justice led the Mountain Lions to an undefeated regular season (11-0) and the 2014 MEC title. CU also earned a berth in the NCAA Playoffs as the top seed in Super Region 1. Concord has also reached new heights in the polls being ranked as high as 10th this season.

Regular season champion Concord led all schools with 10 first team selections (six offense, three defense and one special teams). Charleston was next with nine first team honorees (two offense, six defense and one special teams), and Shepherd had a pair of offensive lineman make the first unit along with four players on defense. Notre Dame had four players from its offense earn first team honors, Glenville State had a first team pick on both sides of the ball, and Fairmont State, UVa-Wise, Urbana and West Liberty all had one player selected to the first team.

2014 MEC Individual Awards
Offensive Player of the Year: Calvinaugh Jones (Concord) Offensive Freshman of the Year: T.J. Smith (Concord) Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Avery (Charleston) Defensive Freshman of the Year: James Gupton (Shepherd Coach of the Year: Garin Justice (Concord)
2014 All-MEC First Team 
Pos. Name School Cl. Hometown
QB Brian Novak Concord So. College Park, MD
QB Ray Russ Notre Dame Sr. Willoughby Hills, OH
RB Marvin Elam Charleston So. Lawrenceville, GA
RB Calvinaugh Jones Concord Jr. Glen Burnie, MD
RB Rahmann Lee Glenville State Jr. Capitol Heights, MD
WR Fabian Guerra Fairmont State So. Miami, FL
WR Mitchell Shegos Notre Dame So. Fenton, Mich.
WR T.J. Smith Concord Fr. Charleston, SC
FB/H Shaun Workinger Concord Jr. Greensboro, NC
TE Ray J. Brown Notre Dame Sr. Brunswick, OH
OL Doniel Gambrell Notre Dame Sr. Cleveland, OH
OL Justin Johnson Charleston Jr. Parkersburg, WV
OL Rustin Mayorga Concord Sr. San Francisco, CA
OL Coleman Osborne Concord So. Gretna, VA
OL Hussam Ouri Shepherd Sr. Annapolid, MD
OL Isaiah Shelton Shepherd Sr. Temple Hills, MD
DL Will Greathouse Concord Sr. Gahanna, OH
DL Gary Henderson Glenville State Sr. St. Louis, MO
DL Shaneil Jenkins Shepherd Jr. District Heights, MD
DL Demetrius Reddick Charleston Sr. Cleveland, OH
DL Rockford Stone Charleston Sr. Charlotte, NC
LB Justin Avery Charleston Sr. Charlotte, NC
LB Levi Barber Shepherd Sr. Alexandria, VA
LB Zack Blair UVa-Wise So. Front Royal, VA
LB Matt Duncan Charleston Sr. Jonesborough, TN
LB Octavius Thomas Shepherd So. Myrtle Beach, SC
LB D’Gary Wallace Urbana Jr. Dayton, OH
DB Mike Carey Concord Sr. Norfolk, VA
DB C.J. Davis Shepherd So. Hagerstown, MD
DB Ike Gibson Charleston Sr. Hampton, VA
DB Jeremiah Johnson Concord Fr. Baltimore, MD
DB Torie Wagner Charleston Jr. Severn, MD
P Griffin Yocum West Liberty Sr. Glen Dale, WV
K Andy Ellington Concord So. Scott Depot, WV
KR/PR Torie Wagner Charleston Jr. Severn, MD
2014 All-MEC Second Team
QB Jeff Ziemba Shepherd So. Newark, DE
RB Michael Anderson WV Wesleyan So. Elkridge, MD
RB Allen Cross Shepherd Jr. Elkridge, MD
RB Jabre Lolley Shepherd So. Wilmington, DE
WR Dante Absher Glenville State So. Sterling, VA
WR Billy Brown Shepherd So. Gaithersburg, MD
WR Ryan Stewart Concord Jr. Charlotte, NC
WR Emmanuel Smith Notre Dame Fr. Belle Glades, FL
WR Terrence Younger UVa-Wise Jr. Naruna, VA
FB/H Jon Hammer Shepherd Jr. Jarrettsville, MD
TE La’Velle Spivey Urbana Sr. Newark, OH
OL Chris Barfield Fairmont State Sr. Cary, NC
OL Dameon Hairston Shepherd Sr. Martinsville, VA
OL Leon Hill Glenville State Jr. Olympia Fields, IL
OL Cody Parker Concord Sr. Union, WV
OL Kyle Revis Charleston Sr. Corona, CA
OL Paul Smith Concord So. Roanoke, VA
DL Derrick Bavol Notre Dame Jr. Tampa, FL
DL Keith Ferguson Concord Sr. Bluefield, WV
DL Myles Humphrey Shepherd Fr. Upper Marlboro, MD
DL Darnell Vickers West Liberty So. Akron, OH
DL Bernard Wolley Shepherd Sr. Germantown, MD
LB Austin Dotson Concord Jr. Clintwood, VA
LB James Gupton Shepherd Fr. Waldorf, MD
LB Nick Ortiz Concord Jr. Manteca, CA
LB De’Ontre Johnson Shepherd Sr. Upper Marlboro, MD
LB Onslow Williams Notre Dame So. Springfield, OH
LB Alec Wood West Liberty Sr. Wheeling, WV
DB George Berry Notre Dame So. Solon, OH
DB David Carter Shepherd Sr. Winchester, VA
DB Kevin Coffie WV State So. Beltsville, MD
DB Derrick Johnson Concord Jr. Pleasant Hill, CA
DB Marlon Oden Notre Dame Jr. Akron, OH
P/K Kasper Bernild WV Wesleyan Sr. Hvidore, Denmark
KR/PR C.J. Davis Shepherd So. Hagerstown, MD
2014 All-MEC Honorable Mention
QB Jeremy Musselman WV Wesleyan Sr. Walkersville, MD
QB Dakota Conwell West Liberty So. Pittsburgh, PA
RB Tevin Drake Glenville State Jr. Brooksville, FL
WR Zach Schademan WV Wesleyan So. Jefferson Hills, PA
WR Dylan Potts West Liberty Sr. Sardis, OH
FB/H Lukas Turley West Liberty Sr. Aliquippa, PA
TE Dalton Brindo Concord So. Elizabeth, WV
OL Josh Cottle Concord Jr. Beckley, WV
OL Jonathan Dupree Glenville State Jr. Lake City, FL
OL Ricardo Figueroa WV State Sr. Bakersfield, CA
OL Jeremy Glass Notre Dame Jr. Louisville, KY
OL Randy Kumah UVa-Wise So. Woodbridge, VA
OL Jake Turley West Liberty Jr. Aliquippa, PA
DL Silas Agyemang Concord Sr. Alexandria, VA
DL Jalon Avent Notre Dame So. Akron, OH
DL Wenly Beliard WV State Sr. Miama, FL
DL Darryl Johnson Concord So. Port Deposit, MD
DL Ervin Moore Concord Jr. Lancaster, SC
DL Tucker Shaffer Charleston Sr. Glibert, Ariz.
LB Kevin Chapple Urbana So. Columbus, OH
LB Dennis Gardeck WV State Fr. Crystal Lake, IL
LB James Johnson Glenville State Jr. Annandale, VA
LB Marcus Porter Fairmont State Fr. Accokeek, MD
DB Mishawn Cummings Concord Sr. San Jose, CA
DB D’Andre Muhammad West Liberty Jr. Stockbridge, GA
DB Jeff Parker UVa-Wise  So. Dumfries, VA
DB Marco Richetti West Liberty Sr. Martins Ferry, OH
DB Miles Young West Liberty So. Rochester, NY
P Trent Martin UVa-Wise So. Virginia Beach, VA
KR/PR Emmanuel Smith Notre Dame Fr. Palm Beach, FL

Sports News     141119

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  Player of the Week

Ray Russ (Notre Dame), Darryl Johnson (Concord) and Tiko Henderson (Concord) have earned Mountain East Conference Player of the Week honors for week 11. 

Russ, a senior from Willoughby Hills, Ohio, earned Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season after throwing for 303 yards and four touchdowns in a win over West Liberty. Russ finished the season ranked in the top five in the country in most passing categories, including touchdown passes where he led the nation with 36.

Johnson, a sophomore from Port Deposit, MD, is the league’s Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in helping the Mountain Lions get past No. 17 Shepherd. He made five tackles in the game, including three on a goal line stand in the third quarter. He also blocked Shepherd’s game-tying field goal attempt in overtime that sealed the win for CU.

Henderson, a junior from Lancaster, VA, is the Special Teams Player of the Week after taking back a kickoff 92 yards in CU’s win over Shepherd on Saturday. The kickoff return came immediately after Shepherd tied the game at 13-13, and was Concord’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2010 season. 


Other Top Performances


Offense:

Terrence Younger (UVa-Wise) had a career-high 142 yards receiving ...

Josef Hinnant (Charleston) had 11 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns ...

T.J. Smith (Concord) had five catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns ...

Daniel Monroe (Fairmont State) finished his career with 18 carries for 85 yards and two TDs ...

Tevin Drake (Glenville State) had 179 yards rushing with two touchdowns and four receptions for 36 yards ...

Colby Speice (Urbana) tossed for 356 yards and four touchdowns.


Defense:

Zack Blair (UVa-Wise) had eight tackles, including three for a loss and a sack ...

Blair tied the UVa-Wise single-season record for TFLs in a season with 26.5 ...

Justin Avery (Charleston) had four tackles with a sack and fumble recovery ...

Jason Avent (Notre Dame) had nine tackles with 2.5 TFL and a sack ...

D’Gary Wallace (Urbana) had 12 tackles for the Blue Knights against Charleston ...

Marco Richetti (West Liberty) filled the stat sheet with 13 tackles, a forced fumble, interception andt wo pass breakups ...

Jephte Leveille (Fairmont State) had 12 tackles (11 solo) with two sacks and a forced fumble. 

2014 MEC Players of the Week
Week Offense Defense Special Teams
September 08 Brian Novak (CU) Marlon Oden (NDC) Anton McCallum (WLU)
September 15 Ray Russ (NDC) Shaneil Jenkins (SU) Josh Wilson (WLU)
September 22 Kenneth Butler (NDC) Justin Avery (UC) Kyle Kaplan (NDC)
September 29 Marvin Elam (UC) Gary Henderson (GSC) C.J. Davis (SU)
October 06 Tevin Brown (WVSU) C.J. Davis (SU) Kevin Coffie (WVSU) Torie Wagner (UC)
October 13 Rahmann Lee (GSC) Earon Settle (GSC) Kelly Carter (UU)
October 20 Ray Russ (NDC) D’Andre Muhammad (WLU) Torie Wagner (UC)
October 27 Rahmann Lee (GSC) Jeremiah Johnson (CU) Griffin Yocum (WLU)
November 03 Marvin Elam (UC) James Gupton (SU) Mitchell Shegos (NDC)
November 10 T.J. Smith (CU) D’Gary Wallace (UU) Emmanuel Smith (NDC)
November 17 Ray Russ (NDC) Darryl Johnson (CU) Tiko Henderson (CU)


The Gilmer Free Press

►  Vikings’ Peterson suspended for the remainder of 2014 season

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been suspended for at least the remainder of the 2014 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

The suspension, without pay, stems from the abusive discipline Peterson inflicted on his 4-year-old son last May. He was charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child in Texas earlier this year, then pled no contest to a lesser charge on November 4 and avoided jail time.

Peterson was placed on probation while receiving a $4,000 fine and an order to perform 80 hours of community service.

The NFL said Peterson will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell notified Peterson of the suspension in a letter on Tuesday and said reinstatement will be contingent upon “the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision.

“We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy.“

The NFL Players Association said it will appeal the penalty.

“The NFLPA will appeal this suspension and will demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the appeal,“ the union said in a statement.

After playing in the Vikings’ season opener, Peterson was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas, on September 11 on accusations he used a wooden tree branch to strike his son as a disciplinary measure. The Vikings placed him on the exempt list shortly afterward and temporarily activated him following the team’s Week 2 game against New England, but quickly reversed course after a wave of negative backlash from sponsors, fans and Minnesota governor Mark Dayton.

Peterson was then placed on the commissioner’s exempt list and was being paid during that time.

After the case was adjudicated earlier this month, Peterson and the union asked for an instant reinstatement. The NFL rejected the motion and soon after began its review under the personal conduct policy.

The league’s personal conduct policy was modified in late August after the Ray Rice domestic abuse incident, establishing a base discipline of a six-game suspension for certain offenses. However, it also allowed for longer penalties for aggravated circumstances, including the use of a weapon or the abuse of children and pregnant women.

Goodell’s letter to Peterson outlined the severe issues surrounding the case.

“First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old,“ Goodell wrote. “The difference in size and strength between you and the child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury to the child. While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse—to flee, to fight back, or to seek help from law enforcement—none of those options is realistically available to a 4-year-old child. Further, the injury inflicted on your son includes the emotional and psychological trauma to a young child who suffers criminal physical abuse at the hands of his father.

“Second, the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete.

“Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct. When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not ‘eliminate whooping my kids’ and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child’s mother. You also said that you felt ‘very confident with my actions because I know my intent.‘ These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future.“

The NFL’s statement Tuesday said Peterson did not attend a scheduled hearing to review the case on November 14. The league then tried to reschedule the meeting for the following day, but again was told by Peterson and the NFLPA that the date was unacceptable.

“The well-being of your children is of paramount concern,“ Goodell also wrote in his letter to Peterson. “In the absence of speaking to you to understand your current disposition toward child discipline, we cannot be sure that this conduct will not be repeated. Moreover, we are unaware of any effort on your part to acknowledge the seriousness of your conduct and your responsibility to demonstrate a genuine commitment to change.

“In order to assess your progress going forward, I will establish periodic reviews, the first of which will be on or about April 15, 2015. At that time, I will meet with you and your representatives and the NFLPA to review the extent to which you have complied with your program of counseling and therapy and both made and lived up to an affirmative commitment to change such that this conduct will not occur again. A failure to cooperate and follow your plan will result in a lengthier suspension without pay.“

The NFLPA, in addition to its decision to appeal the penalty, criticized the commissioner’s policy in its statement Tuesday.

“The decision by the NFL to suspend Adrian Peterson is another example of the credibility gap that exists between the agreements they make and the actions they take,“ the NFLPA’s statement read. “Since Adrian’s legal matter was adjudicated, the NFL has ignored their obligations and attempted to impose a new and arbitrary disciplinary proceeding.

“The facts are that Adrian has asked for a meeting with Roger Goodell, the discipline imposed is inconsistent and an NFL executive told Adrian that his time on the commissioner’s list would be considered as time served.

“We call on the NFL Management Council to show our players and our sponsors leadership by committing to collective bargaining so a fair personal conduct policy can be implemented as quickly as possible.“

The Vikings issued a statement after the decision and said they would have no comment.


►  Browns waive Ben Tate

The Cleveland Browns have waived running back Ben Tate just eight games into his tenure with the club.

Tate signed with the Browns as a free agent in March after spending his first three seasons with Houston. He started six games and rushed for just 333 yards with a 3.1-yard average and four touchdowns this season.

A knee injury in the season opener at Pittsburgh forced him to miss the next two games. He returned for a Week 5 game at Tennessee and ran for 124 yards in a 29-28 win, but has had mostly declining performances since.

The emergence of rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell also factored into the decision.

“With all the transactions we make while constructing our roster, it will always be our intent to do what is best for our football team,“ said general manager Ray Farmer in a statement on the club’s website. “This move is no different and we wish Ben the best going forward.“

Tate ran for 771 yards with four touchdowns and caught 34 passes for 140 yards in 14 games last season and had a banner rookie campaign in 2011 with 942 yards in 15 games.

The 26-year-old Auburn product has 2,325 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 48 NFL games.


►  Steelers release Blount after reported Monday night walk-off

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released running back LeGarrette Blount, who reportedly left the field before the conclusion of Monday’s game against Tennessee.

Multiple media outlets reported that Blount walked off the field before the end of the Steelers’ 27-24 win over the Titans, apparently upset over his lack of playing time. He did not receive carry in the contest, as Le’Veon Bell racked up a career-high 204 yards on 33 rushes.

“We believe the decision to release LeGarrette is in the best interest of the organization and wish him the best of luck,“ said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin in a brief statement.

Blount joined the Steelers in March on a two-year contract after a spending the 2013 season with New England. He got into immediate trouble with his new team after being cited for marijuana possession, along with Bell, in August.

In 11 games this season, Blount rushed for 266 yards with two touchdowns. He had 10 carries in Week 9 against Baltimore and just five last Sunday in the loss to the Jets prior to Monday.

The 28-year-old Oregon product spent his first three NFL seasons with Tampa Bay, rushing for 1,007 yards as a rookie in 2010.


►  Panthers waive Avant; put Chandler on IR

The Carolina Panthers waived wide receiver Jason Avant on Tuesday after just 11 games with the team.

Carolina also placed right tackle Nate Chandler on injured reserve with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. The Panthers filled the roster spots by activating running back Mike Tolbert off injured reserve/designated to return and promoting wide receiver De’Andre Presley from the practice squad.

After spending his first eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Avant was released March 4 and signed a one-year contract with the Panthers. In 11 games off the bench with Carolina, Avant had 21 catches for just 201 yards and a touchdown that came in a Week 2 win against Detroit.

Over Carolina’s current five-game losing streak, Avant had just four catches for 20 yards on 12 targets. In his 127-game career, Avant has 318 catches for 3,847 yards and 13 touchdowns.

His release comes not long after criticizing the team’s conservative play- calling down the stretch off their 19-17 Week 11 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Chandler started all 11 games for the Panthers this season.

Tolbert had been sidelined with a hairline fracture in his knee, an injury he suffered in a Week 3 loss to Pittsburgh. He has just 10 yards on 14 carries and has eight receptions for 59 yards this season.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NFL Fantasy Player of the Week - Week 11

The fantasy world’s two top scorers, Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning, had relatively quiet games, at least for them, allowing for a few “new” names to be featured in Week 11.

The following players were the best at their positions in Week 11.


Quarterbacks -

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay - Rodgers has won more TSN Fantasy Player of the Week awards than anyone (7) and Sunday’s effort against the Eagles put him back in the running for another top prize. But Rodgers has actually been too good the past couple of games, putting his Packers so far ahead on the scoreboard that he hasn’t been playing much in the fourth quarter. Sunday he threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns in a 53-20 victory worth 30 fantasy points.

Jay Cutler, Chicago - When you drafted Cutler, you knew you were going to get a streaky quarterback and you just had to live with the ups and downs. Against Minnesota, he was “up” and posted his best numbers of the season (31-of-43 for 330 yards and three touchdowns).


Running Backs -

Jonas Gray, New England - While Shane Vereen and Tom Brady owners probably weren’t very happy, the small percentage of fantasy owners who have Gray and actually started him were ecstatic with his performance. Gray is owned in less than 10% of all fantasy leagues and was started in less than three% last weekend, but those who did were rewarded with 199 yards on 38 carries including four short touchdown runs. The 46-point effort likely changed the balance for every fantasy owner who had him in their lineup. Of course, knowing coach Bill Belichick the way we do, Gray probably won’t be in the game plan next Sunday against Detroit.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City - Charles put the team on his back and carried them to an impressive victory over the defending Super Bowl champions. He rushed for 159 yards and two scores on just 20 carries worth 30 fantasy points to edge out Le’Veon Bell (33-204-1) for the No. 2 spot on the list.


Wide Receivers -

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay - Evans ran up huge numbers in Week 11. Against what is at least numerically a top-10 pass defense, he caught seven balls for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was his third consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards and one touchdown. The last rookie with three straight 100-yard games and a touchdown was Randy Moss in 1998, so Evans is in pretty elite company.

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago - Like his quarterback, Jay Cutler, Jeffery has been too inconsistent in 2014 for fantasy owners’ liking. But Sunday was one of his good days as he racked up a season-high 11 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown worth 28 fantasy points.


Tight Ends -

Coby Fleener, Indianapolis - Fleener took advantage of starter Dwayne Allen’s absence and the Patriots defense which keyed on T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne to explode for a career-high 144 yards on seven receptions worth 20 fantasy points.

Rob Gronkowski, New England - It was his worst production in three games, but “Gronk” still made the list with a four-catch, 71-yard, one touchdown effort. Obviously it wasn’t a big weekend for fantasy tight ends.


Kickers -

Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis - The Rams moved the ball well all day, but only put it into the end zone one time, so their place-kicker was a busy guy. Zuerlein went 5-of-5, including two from over 50 yards, for 20 fantasy points.


Defense/Special Teams

Green Bay Packers - The Packers took advantage of some loose play by the Eagles to score three times with their defense/special teams. Micah Hyde returned a punt for a score, Julius Peppers ran an interception back 52 yards for another score and Casey Hayward rumbled to a third score with an errant snap.

And the winner of the TSN Fantasy Player of the Week for Week 11 is ... Patriots running back Jonas Gray. Gray was just promoted from the practice squad on October 16 and has only been active for the past four games, but he already has accomplished something special. Whether he can continue to produce is up to his enigma of a coach, but at least for now, he’s reached the top of the fantasy world.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Player of the Week

West Liberty’s Seger Bonifant has been named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week after getting the top-ranked Hilltoppers off to a 2-0 start.

Bonifant, a junior from Berlin, Ohio, hit 16 three-pointers in two games at the Charles and Lavoo Crutchfield Classic at the ASRC in West Liberty over the weekend. He scored 31 points and went 8-for-9 from behind the arc in a win over St. Augustine’s, and then drained 8-of-13 threes on his way to 32 points in a win over Fayetteville State. Bonifant also averaged six rebounds in the two contests.


Other Top Performances


Morgan McDonald (Shepherd) averaged a double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds) to help get the Rams off to their first 2-0 start since the 2006-07 season ...

Lawrence DeArmond (Notre Dame) averaged 19.8 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a pair of wins for the Falcons ...

Rodney Clark (Urbana) scored a game-high 27 points as the Blue Knights ended the nation’s longest losing streak in coach Rob Summers’ second game ...

Thomas Wimbush (Fairmont State) averaged 15.5 points as he guided the Falcons to wins at the Joe Retton Classic ...

Aaron Miller (Concord) averaged 25.5 points and shot 72% from the field as the Mountain Lions got off to a 2-0 start ...

Donte Morales (Glenville State) had 29 points in a loss and six points in a win for the Pioneers ...

Cameron Dozier averaged 16.6 points and shot 65% from the field in a 1-1 week for the Golden Eagles.

2014-15 MEC Players of the Week
Week Player (Team)
November 17 Seger Bonifant (WLU)


►  MEC Women’s Player of the Week

Fairmont State’s Hallie Gunnoe has been named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week after leading the Falcons to a pair of wins on the opening weekend.

Gunnoe, a senior from Hinton, W.Va., had a double-double in each of FSU’s wins in the MEC/CIAA Challenge at Joe Retton Arena. After opening the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Fayetteville State, she followed it up with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting with and added 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in a win over Shaw.


Other Top Performances


Liz Myers (Shepherd) helped the Rams get off to a 2-0 start averaging 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds ...

Martha Nagbe (Notre Dame) averaged 18.5 points, eight rebounds and 3.5 assists in a 1-1 week ...

Liz Flowers (West Liberty) contributed 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for the 1-1 ‘Toppers ...

Jacqueline Kestner (Concord) had a pair of double-doubles for the Mountain Lions ...

Kayla Dozier (Charleston) averaged 14.5 points in two victories for the Golden Eagles.

2014-15 MEC Players of the Week
Week Player (Team)
November 17 Hallie Gunnoe (FSU)


The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Tuesday, November 18)


Final Score: LA Lakers 114, Atlanta 109

Kobe Bryant scored 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting and the Los Angeles Lakers picked up their first road win of the season with a 114-109 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. A 54-percent shooting effort by LA, the return of Nick Young and a wide open 3-point miss by Pero Antic just before the buzzer provided the difference. Young, who had been sidelined due to a torn ligament in his right thumb, had 17 points off the bench, while Carlos Boozer added 20 points and 10 rebounds. The outcome came as a bit of a surprise considering the Lakers were coming in at 1-9 on the season and 0-4 on the road and were facing a Hawks team that had won all four of its games at Philips Arena. Paul Millsap netted 29 points to lead the Hawks, who received 23 from Jeff Teague and 15 from Al Horford.


Final Score: Milwaukee 117, New York 113

Ersan Ilyasova scored 20 points off the bench and seven Bucks reached double figures in Milwaukee’s 117-113 win over the New York Knicks. Brandon Knight and Zaza Pachulia had 14 points apiece to help Milwaukee win for the fourth time in its last five games. Pachulia also grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds starting in place of Larry Sanders, who was a late scratch with a bruised thigh. Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 24 to pace New York, while Iman Shumpert donated 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.


Final Score: Utah 98, Oklahoma City 81

Alec Burks scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Utah Jazz overcame a slow start and downed the Oklahoma City Thunder, 98-81, on Tuesday. All five Jazz starters scored in double figures, with Enes Kanter donating 16 points and 15 rebounds, Trey Burke putting up 17 points with nine assists, and Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors adding 13 and 10 points, respectively. Jeremy Lamb logged 19 points for Oklahoma City, which has dropped three straight and fell to 3-9 on the season.


Final Score: New Orleans 106, Sacramento 100

Anthony Davis totaled 28 points, nine rebounds and three blocks as the New Orleans Pelicans upended the Sacramento Kings, 106-100, on Tuesday. Ryan Anderson scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half, and Tyreke Evans donated 18 points—all after the break—to go along with six rebounds and five assists against his former team. The Pelicans turned the ball over just six times and won for the third time in four games. DeMarcus Cousins posted his eighth double-double of the season with 24 points and 17 boards, but Sacramento nevertheless fell for the fourth time in five games. Rudy Gay and Jason Thompson both netted 15 points in defeat.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Three biggest disappointments

Tuesday marked the beginning of the fourth week of the NBA season, and although there have been some nice surprises for fantasy owners, certain players have been underperforming as well.

Guys like Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward and New Orleans Pelicans’ point guard Jrue Holiday, who were ranked as the 44th and 50th overall players (according to Yahoo), respectively, coming into the season, are producing at a lower level through the first three weeks.

While owners are happy with players who outperform expectations, those owners are equally as upset when high-round draft picks don’t play up to par.

Here are three of the most disappointing fantasy basketball players through the first three weeks of 2014-2015:


Carmelo Anthony, SF, New York

Coming into the season, New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony was tabbed as the seventh-ranked fantasy player, and looked destined to produce big numbers. While he has solid averages across the board (23.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.6 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.3 3-pointers per game, 45% FG, 76% FT), Anthony is currently just the 73rd-ranked fantasy player.

Over the past two seasons, Anthony has averaged 28.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, 2.3 3-pointers per game, and shot 84% from the line, so seeing the numbers he is averaging through 11 games, just will not cut it for fantasy owners.

Of course, it has to be assumed that there will be growing pains when learning a new offense, which is what head coach Derek Fisher is implementing in New York, as the team tries to get a grasp of the triangle. Ironically, Anthony’s 45-percent field goal percentage from last season has not dipped, but unfortunately, his overall play has.


Goran Dragic, PG, Phoenix

Phoenix Suns’ point guard Goran Dragic headed into the season, coming off a fantastic 2013-2014 campaign, and to his credit, won the 2014 NBA Most Improved Player Award.

However, after strong averages last season (20.3 ppg, 5.9 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.6 3- pointers per game, 51% FG), Dragic has not been particularly close to any of those numbers through 10 games (15.0 ppg, 3.1 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.9 3- pointers per game, 46% FG).

There could be a number of reasons why Dragic is not performing at the rate he did last season, but the fact the Suns are healthy, and have a strong bench, are two of the biggest ones. Suns’ guard Eric Bledsoe missed 39 games last season, and as a result Dragic had to make up for his absence. With Bledsoe fully healthy, and newly-acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas in the fold, there is seemingly not enough minutes or basketballs, to feed all the mouths in Phoenix.

Dragic came into the season ranked as the 37th overall fantasy player, but is performing as the 100th-ranked player. With Bledsoe ranked 85th overall, and Thomas even better at 65, fantasy owners should definitely be worried about Dragic’s future production. What is even more alarming is the fact that although there are more players to take the scoring load off of him, Dragic’s assist-numbers have actually gone down, along with his overall field goal percentage and three-point shooting percentage (41% 3P in 2013-2014, 29% 3P in 2014-2015), making it hard for owners to feel comfortable with Phoenix’s starting point guard.


Andre Drummond, C, Detroit

There may not be a fantasy player more disappointing than Detroit Pistons’ center Andre Drummond. After breaking out in 2013-2014 (13.5 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 1.2 spg, 62% FG), he has regressed dramatically through 10 games this season (8.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 0.5 spg, 41% FG).

The issue in Detroit, that directly relates to Drummond, is the fact that three of the Pistons’ top players, all play similar positions. The team seems set on trying to give the center and forwards Greg Monroe and Josh Smith all the playing time, but it is completely clear that Smith hurts Detroit more than he helps, when playing the small forward position. As a result, he needs to play more power forward, which leaves head coach Stan Van Gundy to decide between Drummond and Monroe at center.

Monroe is off to a stellar start (16.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 51% FG, 73% FT), and after coming into the season as the 94th-ranked fantasy player, he is now performing as the 66th-ranked player. Drummond, on the other hand, entered 2014-2015 as the 22nd-ranked player, but is currently valued at No. 220. With Drummond’s inability to shoot free throws (41 percent), combined with his slow start and Monroe’s strong start and solid free throw shooting, Drummond has lost a ton of crucial playing time.

Drummond is averaging 27.8 minutes, and although he has started every game, Monroe (32.5 mpg) and Smith (34.3 mpg) are seeing more game-action. Drummond- owners will hope he simply picks it back up, but there are certainly a few roadblocks to overcome.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  MLB stars close Japan Series with another win

Matt Shoemaker threw five scoreless innings to lift the Major League Baseball All-Stars to a 3-1 triumph over Samurai Japan in the finale of the 2014 Japan Series on Tuesday.

Shoemaker scattered two hits and struck out two without a walk for the MLB stars, who won the final two of the five-game series after dropping the first three outings.

Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while Eduardo Nunez also drove home a run in the victory. Yasiel Puig added two hits for the MLB stars, who also picked up a 6-1 win on Sunday.

Lucas Duda started a two-run third inning for the MLB stars with a double, took third on a single by Alcides Escobar and scored on a passed ball. Escobar raced to third on the catcher’s misplay and scored on an Altuve grounder.

Shoemaker, meanwhile, cruised through his five innings. He allowed a two-out single in the second and surrendered another base hit in the fourth, then picked the runner off at first before setting down the final three batters he faced in the fifth.

The MLB stars picked up another run in the sixth when Altuve doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Nunez.

Randy Choate worked a perfect sixth before Ryosuke Kikuchi led off the Japan seventh with a triple to right-center and scored on a grounder by Sho Nakata off Tommy Hunter. Jose Veras worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Mark Melancon pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth to earn the save.

Altuve, who had three hits in Sunday’s game, finished the series with a .429 batting average.


►  Blue Jays sign Martin to five-year deal

The Toronto Blue Jays made it official Tuesday and announced the signing of free agent catcher Russell Martin to a five-year contract worth $82 million.

Martin, born in the Toronto suburb of East York but raised in Montreal, spent the last two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He batted .290 with 11 home runs and 20 doubles, and drove in 67 runs while posting an on-base percentage of .402 over 111 games in 2014.

Since breaking into the majors with Los Angeles in 2006, Martin is a lifetime .259 hitter who has accumulated 119 homers, 191 doubles, 540 RBI and 550 runs scored over 1,163 appearances for the Dodgers, Yankees and Pirates.

The 31-year-old veteran is also considered a top defensive catcher and brilliant handler of a pitching staff. He threw out 32.2% of base stealers last season.

Martin was an All-Star with the Dodgers in 2007 and ‘08, then earned his third such nod in 2011 with the Yankees. He also won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in 2007.

His teams have reached the playoffs seven times in his nine seasons, including each of the last four years.


►  Indians sign Marcum to minor league deal

The Cleveland Indians signed pitcher Shaun Marcum to a minor league contract on Tuesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the pact includes an invitation to spring training.

Marcum joined the Indians last December after undergoing surgery in July 2013 for thoracic outlet syndrome, an injury that affects the shoulder and neck. He appeared in only eight games at Triple-A Columbus last August after recovering from the procedure.

The 32-year-old right-hander last pitched in the majors with the New York Mets in 2013 and posted a 1-10 record with a 5.29 ERA in 14 games, 12 of which were starts.

In 188 games over nine seasons with Toronto, Milwaukee and the Mets, Marcum owns a career record of 58-46 with a 3.88 ERA.

The Indians also signed 30-year-old right-hander Dustin Molleken to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Tuesday, November 18)


Final Score: Boston 2, St. Louis 0

Tuukka Rask made 33 saves to earn his first shutout of the season and backstop the Boston Bruins to a 2-0 win over the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden. Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug had the goals for the Bruins, who have won six in a row at home and snapped the Blues’ six-game win streak in Boston. Brian Elliott stopped 15-of-17 shots for St. Louis, which lost for just the second time in its last 12 games. The Blues had scored 14 goals while winning their last three games.


Final Score: NY Islanders 5, Tampa Bay 2

Cal Clutterbuck, Mikhail Grabovski and Ryan Strome tallied in the second period to turn around a tie game, leading the Islanders to a 5-2 decision over Tampa Bay at Nassau Coliseum. Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas also lit the lamp for the Islanders, who have won six of their last seven and avenged a 5-2 loss in Tampa on Saturday. Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen each contributed two assists while Jaroslav Halak came up with 26 saves. Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat scored for the Lightning, who have dropped three of five. Evgeni Nabokov took the loss against his former team by allowing all five goals on 36 shots.


Final Score: Detroit 5, Columbus 0

Jimmy Howard made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Detroit Red Wings grabbed a 5-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco each posted a goal and an assist while Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Darren Helm all scored for the Red Wings, who have won three of their last five. Sergei Bobrovsky was victimized for all five goals on 40 shots for the Blue Jackets, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.


Final Score: Buffalo 4, San Jose 1

Six feet of lake-effect snow in the Buffalo region was not enough to keep the Sabres from continuing their home dominance against the Sharks. Brian Gionta scored twice to lead Buffalo to a 4-1 victory over San Jose at First Niagara Center on Tuesday. Brian Flynn tallied a goal and an assist and Nicolas Deslauriers also scored for the Sabres, who improved to 16-1-0 all-time at home against the Sharks. Jhonas Enroth turned aside 19 shots in relief of Michal Neuvirth, who departed with a lower-body injury after the first period. Neuvirth stopped all 10 shots he faced. Brent Burns provided San Jose with its lone marker and Troy Grosenick, who was coming off a 45-save shutout of Carolina in his NHL debut on Sunday, allowed three goals on 13 shots in defeat.


Final Score: Nashville 9, Toronto 2

Taylor Beck had two goals and one assist and the Nashville Predators tied a franchise record for goals scored in a 9-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Eric Nystrom, Mike Ribeiro, Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Roman Josi and Colin Wilson also scored for Nashville in the rout, which included a four-goal flurry in the first 5:14 of the third period to make it 8-0. Pekka Rinne made 29 saves and the Predators improved to 5-1 in their last six games. Each of their last five had been decided by one goal. Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on 12 shots in the first period and James Reimer allowed six on 25 shots the rest of the way in Toronto’s third loss in a row. Nashville tied the franchise record for most goals in a game set during a 9-4 win in Pittsburgh on March 4, 2004. They also had a 9-4 victory over Calgary on March 18, 2006.


Final Score: Pittsburgh 4, Montreal 0

Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all 27 pucks for his league-leading fourth shutout, as Pittsburgh silenced Montreal by a 4-0 count at Bell Centre. Beau Bennett totaled a career-high three points on goal and two assists, with Steve Downie, Brandon Sutter and Sidney Crosby providing one marker each for the Penguins, winners of three straight and 10 of their last 11. Carey Price made just 18 saves in defeat for the Canadiens, whose season-high win streak was ended at six.


Final Score: Winnipeg 3, New Jersey 1

Michael Frolik scored a third-period goal and collected an assist, helping the Winnipeg Jets beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Tuesday. Mathieu Perreault and Mark Scheifele scored 1:44 apart in the second period and Michael Hutchinson stopped 21 shots for the Jets, who opened a three-game homestand following a 2-2-1 road trip. Patrik Elias was credited with a goal early in the third for New Jersey, which has dropped two straight games and six of eight overall. Cory Schneider allowed three goals on 34 shots in his 19th consecutive start. He tied Martin Brodeur’s Devils record for the longest stretch to begin a season.


Final Score: Carolina 6, Dallas 4

Eric Staal had two goals and an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes in a 6-4 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Jiri Tlusty, Patrick Dwyer, Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner all scored for the Hurricanes, who snapped a three-game skid. Cam Ward allowed four goals on 27 shots in the win. Tyler Seguin scored twice while Jamie Benn and Cody Eakin each posted a goal and an assist for the Stars, who have lost three straight. Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals on 16 shots in the start, while Anders Lindback gave up two goals on nine shots in relief.


Final Score: Calgary 4, Anaheim 3 (SO)

Sean Monahan scored the game-winning goal in the shootout as the Calgary Flames battled back to beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 on Tuesday. Held to seven shots through 40 minutes, the Flames continued their third-period dominance this season by scoring three goals, the last two by Dennis Wideman, to go up 3-2. The Ducks tied it on a power-play goal by Kyle Palmieri, then killed a penalty to force overtime. The Flames had another man advantage for the last 19.6 seconds of the extra session. Monahan scored to open the third round of the tiebreaker, and Corey Perry misfired on the Ducks’ final opportunity. Jiri Hudler had the other third-period goal for the Flames, who have started a five-game homestand with three consecutive wins and improved to 7-2-0 in their last nine games overall. Jonas Hiller made 24 saves in his first start against the Ducks, the team with whom he spent his first seven seasons. Sami Vatanen had a goal with two assists, and Frederik Andersen stopped 16 shots in Anaheim’s third straight loss. Six of the Ducks’ last seven games have gone beyond regulation, with the team going 1-1-5.


Final Score: Washington 2, Arizona 1 (OT)

Eric Fehr scored the winning goal at 3:16 of overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. In the extra session, Brooks Orpik cranked a shot from the top of the left circle that Fehr redirected on net. Mike Smith was there for the first stop, but Fehr grabbed his own rebound and put it in for the win. Jay Beagle scored the other goal while Braden Holtby stopped 23 shots for the Capitals, who snapped a two-game slide. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the only goal of the game for the Coyotes, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Smith stopped 22 shots in the loss.


Final Score: Los Angeles 5, Florida 2

Jeff Carter tallied a goal and an assist and the Los Angeles Kings used a four-goal second period to top the Florida Panthers, 5-2, on Tuesday. Matt Greene and Robyn Regehr both posted their first goals of the season and Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings, who have won six straight games at home against the Panthers. Jonathan Quick turned aside 30 shots in the win. Jimmy Hayes and Jussi Jokinen each scored for Florida, which has dropped five of its last seven games. Roberto Luongo allowed all four second-period goals on 25 shots and Al Montoya stopped one shot during the third period.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  IOC proposes changes for Olympic bids and events

The International Olympic Committee introduced an agenda Tuesday that could lead to changes in the bidding process for future Olympics and the staging of the Games themselves.

IOC president Thomas Bach revealed a list of 40 proposals that will be discussed and voted on by the full membership this December in Monaco.

“These 40 recommendations are like a jigsaw puzzle,“ said Bach. “The full picture is an IOC that safeguards the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthens sport in society.“

Among the ideas was a proposal to make the bidding process more of a collaborative effort with potential host cities. The “invitation phase” would allow cities considering a bid to present an Olympic project that fits their sporting, economic, social and environmental needs.

Recent potential bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics were scuttled because cities did not receive political backing, fearing the cost of the Games was too great.

IOC contributions to bidding processes would also be considered in an effort to reduce the costs of the bids themselves.

The new proposal will allow for events outside the proposed host city and, in exceptional cases, outside the host country. The Winter Games already allow for such instances, particularly when mountains provide the border for countries.

This could lead to joint country bids in an another effort to reduce costs.

Another new idea would allow the organizing committee of a particular Olympic Games to make a proposal for the inclusion of one or more additional events for those Games.

If approved, it could lead to the inclusion of baseball and softball at the 2020 Tokyo Games in Japan, where baseball is the country’s most popular sport.

A proposal for gender equality would allow for mixed-team events in future Games.

The recommendations were first presented to a group of Olympic athletes, many of whom contributed to the agenda process.

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2014


National Basketball Association
Charlotte at Indiana, 7:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Indiana, DSS
Boston at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - CSN-New England, Philadelphia, DSS
San Antonio at Cleveland, 7:00 PM - FS-Southwest, Ohio, ESPN
Dallas at Washington, 7:00 PM - FS-Southwest, CSN-DC, DSS
LA Clippers at Orlando, 7:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, Florida, DSS
Memphis at Toronto, 7:30 PM - SportSouth, TSN, DSS
Phoenix at Detroit, 7:30 PM - FS-Arizona, Detroit, DSS
Milwaukee at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - FS-Wisconsin, YES, DSS
New York at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - MSG, FS-North, DSS
Oklahoma City at Denver, 9:00 PM - FS-Oklahoma, Altitude, DSS
LA Lakers at Houston, 9:30 PM - Time Warner, CSN-Houston, ESPN


National Hockey League
Philadelphia at NY Rangers, 8:00 PM - TVA, SNET1, NBCSN
Vancouver at Edmonton, 8:00 PM - SNET, DSS


College Basketball
Morehead State at Cincinnati, 7:00 PM - FS-Ohio, ESPN3.com
Ohio at Florida Gulf Coast, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Brown at Holy Cross, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Princeton at Lafayette, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Western Michigan at Oakland, 7:00 PM - TV20, ESPN3.com
J&W-Charlotte at UNC Asheville, 7:00 PM - Big South Network
Liberty at Virginia Tech, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
FDU at Rutgers, 7:30 PM - Big Ten Network+
Long Island at St. John’s, 7:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Oklahoma at Creighton, 8:00 PM - FS1
UMBC at Loyola-MD, 8:00 PM - Patriot League Network, MASN
IUPUI at Milwaukee, 8:00 PM - Time Warner
Oral Roberts at Missouri, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+
Abilene Christian at Tulsa, 8:05 PM - ESPN3.com
Santa Clara at Utah State, 8:05 PM - ROOT Sports
Colorado Christian at Air Force, 9:00 PM - Mountain West Network
UC Irvine at Arizona, 9:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Wake Forest at Arkansas, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
Southern Virginia at BYU, 9:00 PM - BYUtv
Green Bay at Wisconsin, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Florida A&M at San Diego, 10:00 PM - FS-San Diego
Saint Joseph’s at Gonzaga, 11:00 PM - ESPN U


Women’s College Basketball
Morehead State at Kentucky, 11:00 AM - SEC Network+
Notre Dame at Michigan State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Rice at Texas A&M, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+
Tulane at LSU, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+


College Football
Kent State at Buffalo, 8:00 PM - ESPN U
Bowling Green at Toledo, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2


International Soccer
Ivory Coast vs. Cameroon, 8:55 AM - beIN Sport

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