Archive for July 2010
Spokane will entertain Arizona at 8 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the National Conference playoffs. The game time was finalized late Friday night after the NFL Network confirmed it will televise the Jacksonville-Orlando playoff game at 5. More here.
Arizona stumbled into the postseason with a 20-point home loss to Iowa (7-9). Spokane is 2-0 against Arizona, both close wins.
If there was a flood of Pac-10 news following Thursday’s media day, then I guess you could say the reservoir has been drained, because there’s not a lot out there this morning. But we did find a few items of interest, so read on.
I waited for the end of the Arizona-Iowa game to post the Shock game story. The Shock lost to Jacksonville 64-49 on Friday and I’ve posted a recap below.
Meanwhile, Iowa blasted Arizona 67-47 in Phoenix. The setback cost the Rattlers a home playoff game (Milwaukee is unable to host because the Bradley Center is undergoing renovations). Now, fourth-seeded Arizona will visit Spokane next Friday while No. 3 Chicago will entertain No. 2 Milwaukee. Yes that’s strange, because the Rush lost the tiebreaker to the Iron to determine the Midwest Division champ.
In the American Conference, No. 1 Jacksonville will entertain No. 4 Orlando. Late in the telecast of the Shock-Sharks game, the NFL Network announced it will televise the Jacksonville-Orlando game. No. 2 Tulsa will entertain No. 3 Tampa Bay.
Spokane’s 11-game winning streak came to an end Friday as No. 3 Jacksonville took advantage of four Shock turnovers to post a 64-49 victory.
Check back for more in about an hour.
The Pac-10 started down the road toward the Pac-12 on Friday, as the athletic directors of the 12 schools met for the first in what could be a few conferences aimed at ironing out the football schedule. To have a championship game – and the conference wants a championship game – there has to be two six-team divisions. How those divisions will be configured has to be worked out, more than likely by October. We know for sure Utah will join in 2011, with Colorado trying to move up its Big 12 withdrawal date so it can start play the same year. If that’s not possible, the Buffs will be a 2012 participant. We have the unedited version of our story on today’s meeting on the link, so read on.
If you want to head to Pullman and watch the 2010 football go through its paces prior to the Oklahoma State opener Sept. 4, you now can pencil in your plans. The school’s sports information office released the schedule today. Click the link to see the entire four weeks.
Idaho’s Mike Iupati, a first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers, signed a contract Friday worth an estimated $18.25 million. Stories and photos here.
Game-day for the Shock and it looks like they’ll be dealing with Aaron Garcia at quarterback. Garcia has been sidelined with a concussion and separated shoulder, but he practiced this week and will probably start tonight, according to the Florida Times-Union. More here.
Elsewhere, the Arizona Rattlers are now battling for a home playoff game because Milwaukee doesn’t have a suitable alternative site to the Bradley Center, which is undegoing renovations.The Arizona Republic also reviewed the AFL’s first year in this article. In the near future, look for the AFL to re-up with NFL Network for another year.
For the first time in months, it’s possible to spend your whole day reading and watching video of Pac-10 football. With plenty of Cougar stuff thrown in. If you want to spend your Friday that way, read on.
• UPDATE: Former Cougar guard Kyle Weaver was released by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.
• UPDATE 2: The football practice schedule will be released soon but here are some notes for you. Until school starts (Aug. 23) practices will be at 8:30 a.m. Double days will go at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. WSU will take off two Mondays, Aug. 16 and 23, and then Sunday, Aug. 29. During school, practices officially start at 3:45 p.m., but they usually get going about 20 minutes earlier. The first game is Sept. 4 at Oklahoma State. By the way, the improvements at the Rogers Field practice facility are pretty well done.
The 2010 Pac-10 football media day is over. My guess is I’m about seven pounds lighter. I know my skin is three shades redder. After the lack of outdoor exposure this summer, today in the Rose Bowl was a rude awakening. Anyhow, we have some notes and stories from the event, held here for the first time. Read on.
• UPDATE: We’ve posted the unedited versions of the stories on the link. They are below our comments.
Back with a preview of Spokane’s game with No. 3 Jacksonville on Friday. Here’s a link to the article that will run in tomorrow’s paper. From Jacksonville, it sounds like quarterback Aaron Garcia will be available to play. .
Some other AFL news: It sounds like the Bossier/Shreveport franchise might be bound for New Orleans and Alabama might be relocating to Nashville or Georgia. More here.
A quick summary of Paul Wulff’s remark’s to the assembled media in the Rose Bowl follows on the link. One piece of news, Jeff Tuel is the guy at quarterback. Read on.
I believe these (and others) have been mentioned here before, but GU has officially released five of its non-conference games (Illinois, WSU, Baylor, Oklahoma City and Memphis) for the upcoming season. More here.
The complete schedule will be released at a later date.
Spokane held on to the top spot in yet another curious edition of the weekly coaches poll, but there will not be a 1-vs.-2 showdown against Jacksonville on Friday.
Spokane picked up 11 of 15 first-place votes. Tampa Bay climbed from fifth to second, apparently on the strength of a 53-29 win over Alabama (6-9). Jacksonville crushed Bossier/Shreveport (3-12) 48-20, but dropped from No. 2 to No. 3.
Chicago, which lost 63-49 to Spokane, moved up one spot to No. 5. The Rush (10-6) received one first-place vote.
The WIAA executive board concluded its July meetings Tuesday and the expected announcement of where the new “regional state” sites would be was delayed.
Click the tab below for more information.
If Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott had any expectations concerning his media blitz of the East, they were probably exceeded yesterday. We have that and more on the link, so read on.
Donna Lenseigne, who turned the Gonzaga Prep girls tennis program into a powerhouse, passed away unexpectedly early Tuesday. She was 51. Read the story here.
Some teams rest starters when they’ve done about all they can do in the regular season (see Indianapolis Colts, 2009). Some teams don’t change their approach, even though there is risk of injury that could mar their playoff run.
(By the way, that photo is of Mervin Brookins returning a kick for a touchdown, which was named the AFL’s highlight play of the week).
Washington State is a little thin at the defensive tackle spot, and the Cougars got a little thinner Tuesday when redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dan Spitz was suspended for the first nine games of the season after failing a NCAA-mandated drug test last fall. Click here for the story.
Bob Kustra, president of Boise State, told the Idaho Statesman today that he sees no need to play the the University of Idaho in Moscow — or in Boise — after the football teams meet for the last time this season before BSU moves to the Mountain West Conference. His reason for wanting to stay away from Moscow? “It’s a culture that is nasty, inebriated and civilly doesn’t give our
fans the respect that any fan should expect when visiting an away team.”
Kustra’s comments come a day after Broncos coach Chris Petersen, when asked if BSU was willing to do a home-and-home series with Idaho, said, “Why would we go (to Moscow)? I don’t think our fans even like to go up there. Most of Idaho’s fans
are in Boise anyway.”
With the start of fall practice less than a week away, Eastern Washington University’s football team continues to rake in individual preseason awards. The Eagles, who have been picked to finish second to perennial national power Montana in the Big Sky Conference standings, just had two players — senior linebacker J.C. Sherritt and junior running back Taiwan Jones named FCS first-team preseason All-Americans by The Sporst Network, with junior defensive end Renard Williams landing a spot on the second team.
Links to that story and several others involving preseason predictions and honors have been provided below.
Click the tab below to read about former University High wrestling standout Tommy Owen being hired as head coach at Central Valley.
As the Pac-10 coaches tour the Big Apple (and nearby media compounds with four initials), conference commissioner Larry Scott is the man of the hour. It was just a year ago Scott oversaw his first football media day. A lot has changed since then. Read on.
Just over a month away from the start of the 2010 season, the Idaho football team today was picked to finish sixth in the WAC by the league’s coaches and fourth by the media. The Vandals traded spots with Utah State in both polls. As expected, Boise State was tabbed as the favorite in both polls, though Nevada garnered a first-place vote in each.
Idaho opens Sept. 2 versus North Dakota in Moscow. The Vandals are coming off an 8-5 season.
Read more here.
The countdown to football continues this week, with the Pac-10 unveiling a new look in advance of expansion. The conference has a new video selling itself and a new, easy-to-change logo (upper left on the video link) to brand itself. Read on for more.
• UPDATE: It looks as if the Pac-10 took the video down, because the link, that worked well this morning, is no longer active. It might have been an accidental post, as the conference looks to be launching a new site tomorrow. So you’ll have to check it out then.
The weekend’s results eliminated Milwaukee as one of Spokane’s potential first-round playoff opponents. The Iron, win or lose in their final regular season game, have clinched the Midwest Division title (they own tiebreaker over Chicago if it comes down to that) and will host a first-round game.
That means Spokane will face Chicago or Arizona. It’ll be the Rush if Arizona defeats Iowa on Friday. It’ll be the Rattlers if Arizona loses to Iowa. In the latter scenario, Arizona and Chicago both finish 10-6 but the Rush swept Arizona 2-0 during the season.
Orlando clinched the fourth and final spot in the American Conference by trouncing Oklahoma City. Pairings aren’t finalized there because Jacksonville and Tampa Bay remain tied at 11-4 (Sharks own tiebreaker). Spokane visits Jacksonville on Friday.
In two weeks the 2010 Washington State University football season will begin. Two weeks. Does it seem like the offseason went by just like that? It does here. But we’re back, so read on.
Back with my unedited game story from Spokane’s 63-49 win over Chicago. Sorry for the delay, but my computer acted up. Read on.
Spokane and Chicago traded touchdowns until deep into the fourth quarter when the Shock defense made a goal-line stand. The Shock turned that stop into a Greg Orton touchdown reception at the other end and Spokane went on to a 63-49 win at the Arena on Friday..
The victory gives Spokane hosting rights throughout the playoffs.
Game story in about 90 minutes.
Gonzaga had 158 student-athletes make the WCC commissioner’s honor roll (GPAs of at least 3.0). A quick scan of the list shows four members of the men’s basketball team (Michael Hart, Chris Pontarolo-Maag, Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris.
Spokane returns home after two lengthy, but successful road trips, when it entertains Chicago at 5 p.m. Friday. My unedited advance is below.
The list of events/promotions before and during Friday’s Shock-Rush game is lengthy. Read on for more.
The always entertaining AFL coaches poll is out for Week 16 and the Spokane Shock climbed back into the top spot. That makes sense, given that the Shock have a 10-game winning streak and the best record in the league by two games. Former No. 1 Tampa Bay dropped to fifth after losing to Jacksonville.
But the poll continues to be a head-scratcher. Spokane received 10 first-place votes and No. 2 Jacksonville three. The other two first-place votes went to No. 5 Tampa Bay and No. 6 Chicago (which lost to one-win Dallas last week).
Back with a Shock notebook. The first item is on Shock OL Rob McMackin, whose brother, Shawn, plays for the Chicago Rush, Spokane’s opponent on Friday in the Arena. Unfortunately, Shawn, an offensive lineman who moved to fullback a few weeks ago, hurt his knee last week and is sidelined for the rest of the season.
Read on for more on the McMackins, the playoff picture and the arrival of the 2009 ArenaCup championship rings.
Shock quarterback Kyle Rowley was honored as the AFL’s offensive player of the week after passing for 299 yards in Friday’s win over Iowa. Rowley had six touchdown passes and one TD run. He hasn’t been intercepted in four games. More here.
Also, the Shock added DE Tito Hannah, a 6-foot-3, 265-pounder who played collegiately at South Carolina State. Hannah had 12.5 sacks for af2 Arkansas in 2009 and he played for South Georgia in 2009. More here.
The Shock entertain Chicago on Friday. Rush starting quarterback Russ Michna (fractured rib) is out for the season. He was hurt in last weekend’s loss to Dallas. Former Shockie J.J. Raterink replaced Michna in last week’s game.
I’ll post a Shock notebook — return calls willing — later tonight.
A quick update on ex-Zag G.J. Vilarino:
Former Gonzaga Bulldogs guard G.J. Vilarino has decided to continue his playing career at Appalachian State, his father Gerry said Sunday.
Vilarino played in 25 games as a freshman at GU. He averaged 7.8 minutes and 2.3 points. He made 47.4 percent of his field-goal attempts.
“This particular situation is one that they’re going to build a team around him basically,” Gerry Vilarino said. “They’re going to give him a chance to have the ball in his hands early on. The relationship part was so important and he has a really good relationship with the coaching staff.”
Vilarino will have to sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules. Appalachian State, a Southern Conference member located in
Mead tied Kentwood in the Tacoma News Tribune’s 22nd annual All-Sports Championship listings.
Click here to see the story and listings.
Lewis and Clark finished fifth and Ferris eighth among 4A schools.
In 3A, Shadle Park tied for ninth; in 2A, Pullman was fifth; in 1A, Lakeside was fifth and Freeman seventh; in 2B, Colfax was first; and in 1B, Colton was first followed by Almira/Coulee-Hartline and St. John-Endicott.
Spokane feels right at home on the road.
The Shock improved to 7-0 away from home with a 48-42 win over Iowa on Friday, overcoming a whopping 17 penalties in the process. The Shock didn’t commit a turnover and the defense forced two fumbles. They also stopped Iowa quarterback Ryan Vena on a fourth-down run in the first half.
Bol Kong is the latest Gonzaga men’s basketball player to exit the program.
Athletic director Mike Roth confirmed the 6-foot-6 Kong has left the program. Roth wasn’t sure of Kong’s plans, but it was his understanding that Kong had returned to Canada. At this point, Kong hasn’t asked for a release to U.S. schools, which indicates he’ll likely play in Canada.
Kong is the fourth Bulldog to depart, following G.J. Vilarino, Grant Gibbs and Andy Poling, who left in January. Gibbs will play for Creighton and Poling is with Seattle Pacific. Vilarino is expected to make his decision in early August.
UPDATE: Here’s Gonzaga’s official release, which states that Kong withdrew from summer school for personal reasons. Find the release here. .
Spokane,which has the AFL’s best record (11-2), longest winning streak (9) and a No. 1 or No. 2 ranking since Week 9 is about to make its debut on the NFL Network’s game of the week.
In roughly 24 hours, the Shock will take on Iowa in Des Moines, marking the first of at least three straight NFL Network appearances (the broadcast schedule for the playoffs hasn’t been determined).
My unedited game preview is below.
Also, ArenaCup championship rings for the 2009 Shock are expected to arrive next week. Shock ownership covered the remaining costs. More on the rings next week.
And the Shock remained No. 1 by a comfortable margin in the writers’ and fans’ polls. Spokane is No. 2 in the coaches’ poll.
Back with a feature on Shock defensive back Travis Williams, who was blistered by fans early this season when he got off to a slow start. The resilient Williams has emerged as a key player on Spokane’s defense, which ranks as one of the best in the AFL.
You can read my unedited feature on Williams below.
Also, the Shock, as expected, activated WR Markee White from injured-reserve. More here.
Nothing changed at the top of the AFL coaches’ poll. Tampa Bay (10-3) remains No. 1, Spokane (11-2) is still No. 2. The Shock did gain some ground with 110 points. Tampa Bay received 115.
I watched a short Shock practice today and put together a notebook that will run in Wednesday’s S-R. You can access the unedited version below.
A source has told the Associated Press that the Mariners have traded Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers for Justin Smoak and three minor leaguers.
The Spokane Shock are traveling to Cleveland today for Saturday’s contest with the Gladiators. The Shock’s roster juggling continued this week as Ben McCombs (pictured above) and Quorey Payne went on injured-reserve.
More on that below in my unedited preview.
UPDATE: Almost forgot to mention that ex-Shockie Kevin McCullough, who was put on recallable reassignment earlier this week, was recalled by Oklahoma City. Interestingly, OKC also added another linebacker, Turna Nande (6-1, 245), who is nearly the exact same size as McCullough, on the same day. Also, former Shock kicker Brian Jackson is back on Alabama’s active roster (seems like he’s been off and on a couple times this season).
Marvin Jefferson, the former center for the University of Idaho men’s basketball team and the second-most prolific shot-blocker in the Vandals’ history, has signed a contract with UJAP Quimper in France’s second-division pro league. Read more here.
Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert has more than few choice words for LeBron James after the superstar left Cleveland to join the Miami Heat. Read his open letter to his fans.
Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.
Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.
The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.
There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
You have given so much and deserve so much more.
In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE
You can take it to the bank.
If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the
Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.
Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.
This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.
But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can
only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on
The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with
him down south. And until he does “right” by
Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….
I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:
DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….
There will be three teams in each of the four regionals and the
hosts, regardless of winning or losing, will advance to the semifinals and
finals, Nov. 22-23 in
Joining Duke in its regional are Princeton and Miami of Ohio;
The teams not hosting will move to sites where they will all play three more games.
Former Gonzaga University basketball star Ronny Turiaf is reportedly one of three players Golden State has traded to the New York Knicks for David Lee.
The Spokane Shock announced today that DL Ben McCombs and WR/KR Quorey Payne have been placed on injured reserve. The team also activated DB Rod Mosley from the IR and was placed on reassignment.
It keeps getting harder to take the AFL coaches poll seriously.
Spokane (10-2), winners of eight straight games and the top-ranked team the last two weeks, dropped to No. 2 after defeating No. 4 Arizona on Friday. (The Rattlers were No. 4, you may remember, because they beat then No. 3 Jacksonville by 16 points on the road and managed to fall from No. 2 to No. 4 in last week’s poll.).
Wait, it gets even better. Arizona moved UP to No. 3 after losing to the Shock. Tampa Bay (9-3) is the new No. 1.
Meanwhile, the fans and writers polls actually seem to consider the previous week’s results.
Spokane’s defense, after a shaky start, has been stellar the last six games. Read more below.
Former Shock linebacker Kevin McCullough has been placed on recallable reassignment by Oklahoma City. McCullough was traded to OKC during the Shock’s bye week in early June. Antwan Marsh, who replaced McCullough, has three interceptions and three rushing touchdowns in four games.
No word on whether McCullough requested the move.
(Note: I’ll have a Shock notebook posted in about an hour.)
Happy 4th to everybody! Here’s a John Blanchette column on Donny Daniels, the newest member of GU’s coaching staff.
These weren’t immediately available on our Website, but better late than never here is the S-R’s expanded game story, John Blanchette’s column, Chris Anderson photos, and a short write-up in the Arizona Republic.
—A quick scan of the Shock media guide shows that Spokane’s 37 points is the fewest it has scored in a victory. The closest I could find was a 40-21 victory over Bakersfield in 2007. As the Bakersfield score indicates, there have been quite a few games with lower combined points than Friday’s 73 (Shock 37, Rattlers 36).
I believe Spokane’s lowest point total came in a 52-20 loss to Bakersfield in 2006.
—The Shock got help elsewhere when Tampa Bay knocked off Chicago. The Rush dropped to 9-4. Spokane is 10-2 and Chicago, which has a game in Spokane on July 23, is the primary challenger for the National Conference’s top seed.
Spokane continues to pile up injuries and victories. Those two don’t sound like they should go together, but the Shock have shown an uncanny ability to replace injured players while continuing their winning ways.
The Shock turned back West Division rival Arizona 37-36 on Friday to earn their eight straight win. Read the game story here.
A quick update from the Arena, about an hour from the Shock-Rattlers showdown.
Shock DB William Mulder won’t play tonight. He has been sick for the last two days. Mervin Brookins, who started the season with Oklahoma City and logged a few seasons in the af2, will start in place of Mulder.
The Shock are expected to go with four receivers: Huey Whittaker, Emery Sammons (who will make his second start), Shaun Kauleinamoku and Quorey Payne, who will probably be the first option for returning kicks with Raul Vijil on I-R.
I’ll have a short post-game write-up at about 11 p.m., followed by a complete game story at roughly 11:45.
Spokane and Arizona are set for Saturday night’s battle at the Arena. Here’s a link to the preview.
UPDATE: Here’s the preview from the Arizona Republic.
Shock receiver Raul Vijil has been placed on injured-reserve after suffering a knee injury in the fourth quarter of Spokane’s win over Milwaukee last week. Spokane has signed receiver Greg Orton, who was with the team in training camp.
Vijil will be sidelined for at least the next four weeks, which means he’ll be eligible to return for the July 30th season-finale against Jacksonville.
Spokane hasn’t been on the NFL Network’s AFL game of the week broadcast yet, but that’s about to change. The Shock’s last three games now will be televised on NFL Network.
The AFL announced Thursday that the season-ending Spokane-Jacksonville clash on July 30 has replaced Tulsa-Oklahoma City on NFL Network under the league’s flex scheduling.
Spokane’s Week 16 (at Iowa) and Week 17 (home vs. Chicago) games were already on the NFL Network schedule. More below.