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- Written by Donovan Brink
- Last Updated on June 27, 2012
- Published on October 3, 2006
- Hits: 11201
First, let me say that I'm surprised this blog has gathered the following it has. So thanks to all of you who read it every week. Hopefully in time it will become more entertaining. :-)
Now, on with the show:
No. 11: I think I’m in love
First of all, kudos to those of you who were keen enough to notice that I had only posted NINE items last week. Karma is a cruel beast: make a joke about Alex Smith’s math skills and then botch the blog, lol
Well, to those of you who were keen to notice -- as well as those who simply have an appreciation for the beautiful things in life -- I give you Amy, the next future ex-Sportlight.
(OK, back to business)
10. Gurode SHOULD press charges.
Look, I get that Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is sorry about his actions late in Sunday’s loss to Dallas. But sometimes, sorry just doesn’t cut the mustard.
When Haynesworth first kicked the helmet off the head of downed Cowboys lineman Andre Gurode, he committed a suspendable offense. When he used his cleat to bust open Gurode’s forehead, he committed a jailable ofense.
Football is a violent sport by its nature. But suffering an injury within the rules of the game is one thing. Gurode was the victim of a WWE-like stunt that should have had Haynesworth in handcuffs as he left the field.
Think back to 2004, when the Vancouver Canucks’ Todd Bertuzzi sucker-punched Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche, breaking Moore’s neck.
Or go back to 2000, when the Boston Bruins’ Marty McSorley was found guilty of assault in a Canadian court after using his hockey stick to rearrange Donald Brashear’s brain cells.
Although both players avoided jail time, they now have a criminal record and both were suspended indefinitely by the NHL for their actions.
Although Haynesworth received a five-game suspension without pay (which exceeds half a million dollars), an indefinite suspension would also have been in order. But, the NFL doesn’t really have any precedent on which to base the actions of this past Sunday.
Haynesworth committed an act of violence with the second-most damaging piece of equipment worn by NFL players: his cleats. What would have happened if he had picked up Gurode’s helmet by the facemask, swung it and drilled Gurode in the forehead? It would have been the equivalent of a hockey player going “Happy Gilmore” and trying to stab another player with their skate.
Gurode is considering filing criminal charges. I hope for his sake, and for the NFL’s sake, he does just that.
9. Local boy makes good
This week I ran a feature about a former Scappoose football star who is making a big name for himself in the college ranks.
Eliot Vinzant, the Class 3A Offensive Player of the Year after the 2001 season, is in his senior year at Western Oregon University and is in the process of rewriting the Wolves’ rushing record books.
In just 14 games in the Wolves’ backfield, Vinzant is on the verge of breaking into the top-10 all-time in career rushing yards, challenging a group of athletes who all played at least four seasons for Western If he maintains his current pace this season — he is averaging 184.5 yards per game, third among all NCAA Division II backs — he could reach as high as No. 2 on the Wolves’ all-time list by the end of the regular season. If the Wolves (4-0 overall) could earn an at-large berth into the Division II playoffs, Vinzant could have a reasonable shot at taking down WOU all-time leader Bill Volk, who had 3,100-plus yards in four years. He would need 1,000 more yards this year to reach No. 2, and 1,300 more to catch Volk.
After rushing for 1,073 in just 10 games last year -- he shared carries for the first two games, and that total ranks fourth all-time -- Vinzant appears set to become the first Wolves back ever to post two 1,000-yard seasons in their career. Also at that pace, he could obliterate Volk’s single-season record of 1,210 yards.
8. Watch out for Tillamook???
As I prepared for my annual preview of the Cowapa League season with Matt Richert of Astoria’s Sports Radio 1230 ESPN, I’ve had a chance to get an closer look at the rest of the league. And if Tillamook could ever get healthy, the Big Cheese could throw a big monkey wrench into the state playoff race.
Despite a rough start, the Mooks had gotten some strong games from running back Juan DeLaTorre, who led the way while senior tailback Blaise Bennett -- the two-time reigning “Fastest Man in the Cowapa” -- was nursing a high ankle sprain.
Well, Bennett is back, and Tillamook was able to put up a strong fight last week against No. 2-ranked Siuslaw. But as Bennett returned, DeLaTorre was lost with an elbow injury.
If Tillamook can get both players on the field at the same time, that kind of speed could be tough for other teams to match.
(Speaking of Richert, make sure to check out his daily blog covering North Coast high school sports: http://www.lastdam.blogspot.com/)
8. I love polls
In high school, it’s true that polls mean absolutely nothing. But boy are they sure good a killing time between Monday and Friday.
I love the arguments. I love watching people try to justify their teams’ position (or lack thereof). I love trying to offer perspective, only to have some 14-year-old with a doo-rag and DSL connection tell me I’m a complete moron.
And, I love the lockerroom fodder they provide.
7. A trip up the hill might be in order
I was sitting here Monday scanning the upcoming football schedule and noticed both of my local teams -- Scappoose and St. Helens -- play on Friday night during the statewide inservice weekend.
Later, I noticed that on that Thursday night, Sisters will be hosting Marist in perhaps the most anticipated game this side of the mountains.
While it would be one hell of a trip for me, I’m thinking I might just have to meander my way up the mountain to check this one out.
Or, I could go one better and go check out the Crybaby Bowl, when La Salle heads over to Gladstone. Free admission, all you have to do is bring a three-box-of-Kleenex donation.
6. Speaking of St. Helens ...
I have to admit, after watching the Lions get clobbered for the last four years in the Three Rivers League, that it does my heart good to see these guys off to a 3-1 start. The three wins match their best tally since 2000, and with a win over Parkrose Friday, the Lions would conceivably need to win just one more game to earn a spot in the Class 5A state playoffs.
They still have to face Hillsboro and Glencoe — and I laugh everytime I look at Glencoe’s No. 4 ranking. Beating either one of those teams would equate to the Lions’ first playoff berth since losing 36-0 to eventual Class 3A runner-up Burns in 1999.
5. Sleeper Watch: Joshua Haqq
All of the quarterback talk leading up to the 2006 season centered on Yamhill-Carlton’s Zach Anderson and Scappoose’s Justin Engstrom.
But right now, there’s a kid at Molalla who is trying to throw his name into the all-state mix.
Senior Joshua Haqq (I believe pronounced “hawk”) threw for five touchdowns in Friday’s 50-7 win over Estacada.
Now, before you scoff that “everyone scores on Estacada,” take this into account as well.
In five games, Haqq has thrown for 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns while leading his Indians to a 4-1 record. And, he’s done all of that in five road games; due to stadium renovations running late, Molalla will play its first home game this week against Central.
Those numbers of course are well behind Anderson, but top the tally thus far by Engstrom, who has thrown for 803 yards in an offense engrained in balancing the run and the pass.
And, Haqq is leading an offense which rates fourth in the state in scoring, trailing only Sisters, Yamhill-Carlton and Scappoose.
This is a guy worth keeping your eye on during the second half of the season.
4. A great week for yours truly
As many of you know, I love the Oregon Ducks, and I’m passionate about the Philadelphia Eagles.
That said, this could be the most exciting week of football I will have this season.
Of course, it’s already under way with the Eagles blowing out Green Bay Monday night.
Saturday, I get to watch the Ducks finally crack the top 10 when they earn a marathon win over California.
Then Sunday, I get to watch Eagles safety Brian Dawkins try several times to remove the helmet (and, if we’re lucky, the head) of Cowboys cancer Terrell Owens.
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
3. I never wish to see anyone get injured, but imagine the storyline
Scanning NFL schedules late last spring, I happened to notice that the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns will play each other on Oct. 29 in Cleveland.
Scanning NFL depth charts -- after an “insider tip” -- I noticed that former Scappoose and Oregon State quarterback Derek Anderson has been placed at No. 2 on the Browns’ depth chart behind starter Charlie Frye.
I also noticed that former Burns and University of Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens holds the same position on the Jets’ chain of command behind Chad Pennington.
Not that I want to see Frye or Pennington suffer a grisly injury, but if either/both decided to fall off a ladder the week leading up to the game, it wouldn’t break my heart.
2. Brink looking good in Pullman
If you caught Saturday night’s game between No. 3-ranked USC and the Washington State Cougars, you got to see one of Oregon’s own nearly leading the maroon-and-silver to a late-game comeback over the Trojans.
Former Sheldon star Alex Brink (no relation) threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, but was unable to dial up Lady Luck on a final-play heave toward the end zone as USC escaped Pullman with a 28-22 victory.
On the season, Brink ranks fifth in passing efficiency in the Pac-10 (and 47th nationally). His 1,064 passing yards are second best in the Pac-10, and he’s thrown eight touchdowns against just three interceptions.
Of course, he’s not having quite the year former Glencoe star Eric Ainge is enjoying at Tennessee (fifth-rated passer in NCAA, a nation-leading 1,389 yards and playing on a nationally-ranked team), but it’s still great to see a local kid making good in the northwest.
1. This week’s rant: Get off Ben Buchanan’s back!
It’s inevitable that at the very instant that a once-successful football program falls on hard times, everyone wants the head coach canned. Right now, there are mumblings -- mostly from a few forum board dunderheads -- about the same thing surrounding Banks head coach Ben Buchanan.
Buchanan got as much mileage as he could out of two consecutive classes of outstanding athletes, and as a result Banks was a consistent playoff contender, making four trips in five years and winning a Cowapa League title in 2003.
But now that those athletes are gone, Buchanan is taking some unfair flack as his Braves are off to an 0-5 start.
He gets crap for allegedgly benching quality seniors in favor of less-experienced players. He gets crap for his decision-making in games. He’s probably getting other crap as well, but those are the two I will address here.
You have two choices as a head coach in a “down” year. Just roll with it, play your seniors, get your heads kicked in week after week, and then have parents complain the next fall when you have a low turnout. It’s a proven fact that athletes go out for successful teams more often than struggling teams. It’s also proven that kids would much rather play for a coach who is looking out for the best interest of the program, and not the best interests of a few outsiders who think they have influence over the situation.
Or, he can look at his situation, see two players -- one older and one younger with equal abilities -- and get that younger player the experience needed to improve the program for future seasons.
There is too much of a damned “entitlement mentality” among parents and kids. They’ve been in the program, so they deserve their playing time because of that. Not true, and certainly not fair to the coach to make that assumption.
Get off Buchanan’s back. There are plenty of schools in this state who would love to have a leader of his caliber.