The Hawk's Eye

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From Foe to Friend: The Signing of Richard Sherman

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From Foe to Friend: The Signing of Richard Sherman

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The San Francisco Forty-Niners have been working hard over the off-season. With the releasing of veteran defensive end Elvis Dumervil, fans might ask, who will be leading the defense? Coach Kyle Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch have totally transformed their defense and setting them up for the future, drafting starting players like Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Adrian Colbert in the 2017 draft. The majority of their starting defense has been drafted within the last few years.  The Niners’ impressively young defense is in need of an inspiring and charismatic veteran who knows the ins-and-outs of the league. No one is more suited for the challenge than former Seahawk Richard Sherman. Sherman recently signed a three year max of $39.5 million dollar contract. While this may look like a lot at first sight, most of the money is incentive based ($1 million if he makes the Pro-Bowl, $2 million if he makes All-Pro, etc.).

Some people look at his injury (achilles) and think that he may not be able to return to his All-Pro status. While this may be true for most older cornerbacks, Sherman is one of the most self-motivated players in the league. After being drafted in the fifth round behind many players that did not last through training camp, Sherman has carried a chip on his shoulder and the desire to prove himself to the league. This has been his mentality since the draft and it will be exaggerated in lieu of the ferocious Forty-Niners and Seahawks rivalry. Another reason fans should not be concerned with his injury is that Sherman never relied on his speed to shut down wide-receivers. He has relied on his length, instincts, and quickness. Also, he will be surrounded by the Forty-Niners’ young, speedy defensive backs that will be able to cover down low.

While this may be the signing of the year for most teams, the Forty-Niners have more than enough cap space to sign another big name in the league. They just signed Marquise Goodwin for another three years, but there is still room for a big free-agent or draft pick to help out Jimmy Garoppolo in the slot. Despite the disappointing 2017 season, the Niners are set up to impress in 2018.

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Super Bowl Predictions!!

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It’s official guys! The two teams competing for the LII Super Bowl will be the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. After losing their star quarterback late in the season, the Eagles have persevered and pulled out a clutch win against the 10-6 Atlanta Falcons and a nice blow out against the 13-3 Minnesota Vikings. The Patriots started off the playoffs by destroying the young 9-7 Tennessee Titans, then making a tremendous comeback against the 10-6 Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be exciting to see the energetic, young, and power-packed Eagles offense go against the experienced, cool, and collected Patriots offense. If the Patriots want to win, they need to get pressure on Nick Foles, the quarterback who stepped up in Week 13 after Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL. They need to force Foles to make a good pass in a collapsing pocket. The Eagles’ strategy should be to shut down the slot. The Patriots kill teams with Amendola and Cooks catching short passes in the slot so if their offense is forced to look downfield or run, the Patriots offense will turn inconsistent. All things considered, my prediction would be the Patriots. It is hard to imagine a Super Bowl that does not include Tom Brady lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. However, you can never underestimate the power of a young, spirited, and motivated team like the Eagles.

Filed under Opinions, Sports, Spotlight

Roger Goodell

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Though the National Football League is a major source of media attention, there is a lot that goes unnoticed behind the scenes. When you hear about Tom Brady deflating footballs and the infamous Ray Rice tape, you picture the athletes carrying out their suspension on the sidelines. What you don’t see, however, is the man behind all the penalties: Roger Goodell.

When the School community was asked how they felt about Goodell, those who recognized the name had very similar opinions. “Roger Goodell is a useless commissioner,” says sophomore and avid football fan Damilare Aguda. “All he does is say ‘the NFL is working on it. Abuse is not tolerated by the NFL. Oops, another player punched his wife, oh darn,’” comments sophomore Dylan Evans. His opinion is most likely related to the way he handled the domestic abuse charges against Ray Rice. When a tape came out of the Baltimore running back dragging the limp body of his fiancé out of an elevator after viciously beating her unconscious, Goodell ruled to suspend him only two games. However, after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady allegedly deflated balls in the 2014 AFC Championship game against the Colts, Brady, who had not inflicted violence upon anyone, received a suspension twice as long as Rice’s.

Another time Goodell mishandled a domestic abuse case was with Giants kicker Josh Brown. After he privately admitted to repeated abuse of his wife in emails and journal entries, calling himself  “God” and her “his slave”,  they suspended him for just one game in 2015. The person the NFL blamed for this short suspension was his wife, Molly Brown, for not coming forward with the evidence. Why would she after the Ray Rice fiasco? This ruling caused vitriolic responses from analysts and players, but Brown’s suspension was only increased in 2017 after Goodell was criticized for suspending Ezekiel Elliott for six games in the 2017 season on counts of repeated domestic violence. His charges were put on and off hold three times.

While I believe that the NFL does not care about the health and safety of player spouses, they also do not care about the health and safety of their own players! After purposefully and repeatedly neglecting concrete evidence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) which is a dangerous brain disease commonly associated with football players, Goodell tried and failed to hide the evidence from the public. To appease former players, he implemented the useless “concussion protocol,” which allows the medical staff to test for concussions during games. If a player is found to have a concussion, they are prohibited from re-entering the game that day or going to practice the day after. Experts speculate that this protocol will be futile against long term brain damage.

Goodell, a man unpopular amongst fans, players, and coaches, recently signed a five-year $200 million contract on December 6. The contract outraged NFL fans everywhere. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who previously tried to team up with other owners to impeach Goodell, has openly expressed displeasure in this new contract.

Some might ask why a commissioner who gets booed by fans as he walks onto the podium at every NFL Draft would have his contract extended to the 2023 season. The answer is this: Goodell works for the owners and answers to them and them only. With this in mind, consider the 2011 budget reform. Players got crushed as the NFL steered five percent of league revenues away from their income and put a salary cap on rookie contracts. Where does the extra money go? To the very owners that elect him. It is frustrating to see that this is what’s behind the sport that I love and to learn that even on a Sunday morning you cannot escape corruption.

 

 

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UC Berkeley vs. Colorado Buffaloes

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UC Berkeley vs. Colorado Buffaloes

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The California Golden Bears have suffered yet another devastating 16 point defeat against the Colorado Buffaloes. This puts Cal at 0-11 in conference games on the road dating back to the 2015 season. Both teams entered this Saturday morning’s game with records of 4-4, hoping to get a win to put them in contention for a decent bowl game. While Cal quarterback Ross Bowers recorded a season high of 359 yards of passing, it was not enough to push them past their conference opponents.

Cal’s defense started off strong on Colorado’s first drive, allowing just 18 yards then forcing a punt. However, when Colorado got the ball back after a disappointing three-and-out featuring two incomplete passes from Bowers, they marched 73 yards down the field in 3 minutes and 39 seconds to score the first of their five touchdowns in the game.

Cal shot back, scoring their first touchdown in 11 plays and 75 yards. This touchdown came off of a stunning trick play: Bowers completed a screen pass to Vic Wharton III, who ran a few feet toward the left sideline, taking advantage of his left handedness as he threw a perfect 15 yard pass to a wide open Kanawai Noa in the end zone. Cal would end the first quarter down 7-14.

In the second quarter, the Buffaloes scored either a field goal or touchdown of four consecutive drives and held the Bears to only one touchdown. On that drive, Bowers took control of the offense, passing and rushing for 83 yards. On the scoring play, Noa caught his second touchdown of the game, this time a 27 yard completion from Bowers. The Bears entered the locker room at halftime trailing 14-27.

The third quarter was a bit dull, as neither team scored and simply alternated punts with one Colorado fumble. With 11:20 left to go in the third, defensive end James Looney recovered a team fumble at their own 46, but their offense did not manage to convert off of the turnover.

Colorado scored on the first drive of the fourth quarter on a perfect 23 yard pass to Boulder Colorado native, Jay MacIntyre, putting the Buffaloes up 34-14. But the Bears had not lost hope. They came back to score a touchdown to make it a 13 point game with 8:24 remaining in the fourth quarter. During that five play, 84 yard drive, they only took 1:07 minutes off the clock. Bowers went off again, passing for 73 yards, 51 of which coming off of a beautiful pass to Jordan Veasy to bring them in Colorado’s red-zone. Wharton caught the 14 yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-34.

Though the Buffaloes scored a field goal after that drive, the Bears were still optimistic, down only two possessions with 5:22 left. They drove down the field to the Colorado 11 yard line. Then came the nail in the coffin. Bowers threw a pass into the back right corner of the endzone, but it was picked off by cornerback Nick Fisher and returned 100 yards for a Colorado touchdown. While Cal did come back to score a touchdown their next drive, it was not enough to come back from the substantial deficit.

Bowers finished the game with 359 yards and three touchdowns, making it one of his best games of the season. Another player that really broke out was Jordan Veasy. He had seven receptions (a season high), 111 yards, and a touchdown. He also caught that 51 yard pass to put the Bears deep into Buffalo territory. This was by far his best game, and he is stepping up to help Wharton fill in for Demetrius Robertson. Wharton played well also, recording 108 yards on seven receptions with two touchdowns. Their running game was subpar, rushing for a team total of 61 yards. Linebacker Jorda Kunaszyk played outstanding, recording 10 solo tackles and 16 total tackles that game.

After the game, James Looney expressed his displeasure in their performance: “They beat the crap out of us,” he said, “It sucks.” While he did force a fumble, James Looney underperformed only recording a season low of three tackles. He was not the only one to leave this game angry; Bowers said that “this is not a fun feeling at all, and it’s not something that we are going to accept. He concluded with a takeaway that he received from this game: “This is when everybody talks about adversity and asks what you’re about. Now, we get to see who’s genuinely going to come to work and who’s going to show how much they care.”

The Bears will face the 1-7 Oregon State Beavers at home this Saturday and are looking at that game optimistically.  

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NFL Week 6 Update

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The Bay Area had a sad week in football. The Forty-Niners looked like they were about to come back from a 17-0 halftime deficit, and eventually tied it up at 17-17, but unfortunately they could not hold on and lost 26-24. The Raiders, on the other hand, were leading the whole game, only falling behind with zero seconds left when Chargers kicker Nick Novak kicked a 32 yard field goal to put the Chargers ahead by one.

We will all remember where we were in space when we heard the news: Aaron Rodgers is out for the season. Aaron Rodgers was carted off the field in the third quarter after suffering a major hit and breaking his collarbone. The Packers went on to lose to their division rivals 10-23. I urge you, wherever you are, to participate in a moment of silence for the season of one of the most respected players in all of football.

Another quarterback that hurt his shoulder this week is Jameis Winston. He sprained his shoulder and is currently day-to-day. Leonard Fournette is day-to-day as well after spraining his ankle. Emmanuel Sanders for the Broncos has a possible fracture in his ankle and is estimated to miss four-six weeks.

On a lighter note, here are this week’s breakouts:

The biggest breakout by far of this week is a player you would never suspect. Trevor Siemian surprised everyone in his game against the Titans. He led Week Six with a colossal 378 yards of passing with a completion percentage of 58. He also threw a touchdown. There is room for improvement, as he threw two picks, but this game shows that he has big plans for the future with the Broncos.

Another very surprising breakout this week was Jets quarterback Josh McCown. He threw for 345 yards against the suddenly and unexplainably trash Patriots secondary with a completion percentage of 66. McCown also came in second on the Jets in rushing yards with 21, which is only one yard less than their top running backs: Matt Forte and Elijah McGuire. He also gave five of his receivers 45 or more yards and threw two touchdowns. While he did throw two interceptions, this is by far his best game of the year.

Jordan Howard had an incredible game against the solid Ravens run defense. He recorded a year high of 167 yards on 36 carries, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Howard has been inconsistent this year, with a range of his seven yard game to this week’s 167 yard game. However, with Mitchell Trubisky still finding his footing in the NFL, the Jordan Howard is left to lead the team, despite this being just his second year out of college. Howard led the team to a close 27-24 victory.

After a subpar game against the Eagles in Week Five, Larry Fitzgerald played incredible against the Buccaneers on Sunday, receiving for 138 yards and a touchdown. He averaged almost 14 yards per reception and caught 10 out of his 11 targets to lead the Cardinals to a 38-33 victory. Fitzgerald has been very inconsistent this season, having three games with 35 or less and two games with 135 or more. You decide whether you want to take that risk next week when he faces the Rams.

Le’Veon Bell went off this week to help the Steelers beat the undefeated Chiefs. He rushed for a season high of 179 yards on 32 attempts, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. He also rushed for a touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter to give the Steelers the lead. He has had a few disappointing games this season, but he is still capable of being the offensive powerhouse he was last year.

Lastly, the whole Titans offense played exceptional to beat the Colts on Monday night. Marcus Mariota threw for 306 yards and a touchdown. Derrick Henry went off for 131 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown, and DeMarco Murray had 40 yards of rushing with a touchdown and 47 yards of receiving. Eric Decker had 88 yards, Ryan Mathews had 69 yards, and Trent Taylor had 61 yards and a touchdown. This young offense is finally finding their rhythm, and they just proved they should be taken very seriously.

Melvin Gordon was insane against the Raiders this week, rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown and receiving for 67 yards and a touchdown. He averaged After a disappointing 2016 season, Melvin Gordon is proving to be a vital part of the Chargers offense.

Some honorable mentions include: Mark Ingram with 114 yards and two touchdowns; Todd Gurley with 116 yards; Leonard Fournette with 130 yards and a touchdown; Jay Ajayi with 130 yards; and Kirk Cousins with 330 yards and two touchdowns.

Here are some of the scrubs of this week:

Tyreek Hill did not perform as well as he has in the past in the Chiefs first loss on Sunday. He received for 34 yards on five receptions. His long of the game was only 10 yards, and he had no touchdowns. However, I am sure that he can bounce back in Week Seven. Every team has their off games, and I am sure that the chiefs can come back from this one.

Jonathan Stewart was a huge bust in Week Six with -4 yards of rushing and zero yards of receiving. While the Panthers’ running game was bailed out by Cam Newton’s incredible performance, Stewart’s performance could prove detrimental to their offense, especially with the absence of Greg Olsen.

DeAndre Hopkins also did not play up to his standards against the Browns. With just two receptions and only four targets, Hopkins recorded a mere 19 yards. If he can get shut down and covered by the Browns secondary, he will have a difficult time next week against the dominant Seahawks secondary.

I know it will be hard to watch football without Aaron Rodgers, but we can get through it if we stick together. Good luck in Week Seven!

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Week Four Fantasy Football 2017

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It’s hard to believe that the long awaited football season is already a quarter of the way done! The season has flown by and we haven’t had enough time to process all that is happening. Here are some of the biggest surprise fantasy breakouts of the first quarter:

The biggest breakout of the season by far has been Kareem Hunt. He came out strong the first game of the 2017 season against the Patriots like a tank, barreling past the once strong Patriots defense. He already has a total of 501 yards, and four touchdowns, averaging over seven yards per touch. On top of his rushing yards, Hunt has 157 yards of receiving, averaging 13 yards per catch. This rookie has shocked the nation with his strength, quickness, and skill. With Hunt’s young energy and Alex Smith’s veteran experience, the Chiefs have fought their way to an undefeated quarter.

Another running back breakout of the season has been Todd Gurley. He and Jared Goff have to lead the Rams to a record of 3-1, which is a dramatic change from their previous record of 4-12. After a slow two first games, where he recorded 44 and 80 yards, Gurley picked it up and rushed for 113 and 121 yards in Week Three and Four. Last game, Gurley lead the game with 121 yards of rushing and lead the team with 94 yards of receiving and recorded a touchdown. He currently has a total of 362 yards of rushing and 232 yards of receiving. In the beginning of the season, fans were expecting to see another bust of a season, but Todd Gurley proved them all wrong.

Another young player that took us all by surprise is the Vikings wide receiver, Stefon Diggs. The fifth-round draft pick is currently leading the league in receiving yards and has four touchdowns.  While most wide receivers would struggle when they switch quarterbacks in the middle of the season, Diggs has thrived, receiving for 271 yards in the past two games while catching passes from backup Case Keenum. Most players his size allow themselves to be roughed up by corners and safeties, but Diggs has found a way to use it to his advantage.

There is another Vikings player that has been getting attention, and that is rookie running back Dalvin Cook. Cook has 354 yards of rushing and 100 yards of receiving. He is averaging five yards per carry and has two touchdowns. He has a total of 74 carries, making him one of the running backs with the most touches in the league. He has not yet been able to repeat his stunning Week One performance, but he has been consistently solid for the Vikings. Sadly, the young player tore his ACL in his Week Four game against the Lions, so he will miss the rest of the season to heal his injury.

The top performing tight end in the league is Zach Ertz. He has 326 yards and a touchdown and is fifth in the league in receiving yards. He is averaging almost 13 yards per touch while also being one of the league’s best downfield blockers. In three out of his four games, he has recorded 80 or more yards of receiving. Playing with receivers Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Torrey Smith, and pass-catching running back Darren Sproles, no one expected Zach Ertz to be the first option receiving, but he is leading the Eagles team on offense.

Sadly, there are just as many busts as breakouts. Here are some of the players that may have disappointed you this quarter:

The most notable underperformer is Cardinals running back David Johnson.  The player that people were depending on got injured early in the season, making many people with the first overall pick in their league’s draft disenchanted. After a season that features 1,200 over rushing yards and 870 receiving yards with 20 touchdowns, this season is a big step down. While the tragic future of his season is not his fault, he is disappointing many fantasy players.

A bust that has no excuses is cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. He is 34th in the league with only 212 receiving yards. His season long catch was small 36 yard pass with only one other pass over 20 yards. Bryant be an elite deep threat in the league, putting safeties on edge. Now, however, he is settling for short quick passes and is not using his speed like he did last season.

A running back that has not met the expectations of fans is our very own Marshawn Lynch. He is 33rd in the league for rushing yards with 151 on 45 attempts. He is only three yards ahead of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and ten ahead of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. He is averaging just over three yards per carry with only one touchdown. He also has no carries for over 20 yards. Everyone had big hopes or the Oakland native and the Raiders, but sadly they have not performed as well as expected.

I know it’s sad to see the long awaited season go by so quickly, but there is still a lot of great football to come. Good luck in Quarter Two!

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Week Three Fantasy Football 2017

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Week Three was the most exciting week yet. It was full of great teams just squeaking by some trash teams: the Colts barely beat the Browns 31-28; the Packers beat the Bengals 27-24; and the Patriots beat the Texans 36-33. There are also a great number of breakout players that played exceptionally. In all, it was just a great week for football.

Luckily, there were not many injuries in Week Three. Kelvin Benjamin is questionable for Week Four after hurting his knee during the loss against the Saints. The MRI revealed no structural damage to the knee, but the Panthers are hesitant about letting him play. Tyler Eifert (back) and John Ross (knee) missed last game and are questionable for next week’s game against the Browns. Julio Jones left the game briefly with a back injury, but he is expected to return next week and continue practicing.

Here are some of the breakouts of Week Three, and there are quite a few of them:

Russell Wilson a sensational game against the Titans. He threw for 373 yards and rushed for an extra 26 of the team’s total of 69. He also threw for four touchdowns to four different receivers. He averaged almost 13 yards per reception. He also had 49 pass attempts, illustrating how much faith Pete Carroll has in him to lead the team in the absence of Thomas Rawls.

Brandin Cooks was terrific against the Texans on Sunday. He had 131 yards of receiving, averaging over 26 yards per reception. He also caught two touchdowns, one of which put the Patriots up 36-33 with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter. He showed off his focus, coordination, and awareness as he barely kept his toes in bounds before tumbling out. After a disappointing game against his old team, the Saints, he was determined to prove that he can step up and fill the void that Julian Edelman left open, and he succeeded.

Eli Manning played incredible in the loss to the Eagles this Sunday. He threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns while throwing at a completion percentage of 74%. He also threw a 77 yard bomb to Sterling Shepard. He gave almost four receivers 45 or more yards of receiving. Also, the Giants had a total of 49 yards of rushing combined, which means that passing is the main offensive strategy. This will result in more passing plays, therefore more yards, and touchdowns.

T.Y. hilton played out of this world on Sunday, taking advantage of the garbage Browns secondary. He was a monster with 153 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 22 yards per reception, and only missed two out of his nine targets. His performance is especially impressive given that he wasn’t playing with his normal quarterback; instead of catching passes from the great quarterback Andrew Luck, he played this incredible game while catching passes from the backup Jacoby Brissett. He hasn’t played terrible in his first two games, but he did not play like the elite wide receiver he just proved he is capable of being.

Another receiver that played like crazy without his usual quarterback is Stefon Diggs. He came off his disappointing Week Two game hard and strong. Diggs had 173 yards of receiving and caught two touchdowns to push the Vikings past the Buccaneers. He had eight receptions and was targeted 11 times. He had almost 80 yards more than the second leading receiver in the game. Weighing just over 190 pounds, Diggs is using his speed to dash past defensive backs and using it to his advantage.

Demarco Murray finally decided to come out of hibernation! After a completely embarrassing start to the season, where he rushed for 69 yards in both weeks combined, Murray came out and bulldozed the rock hard Seahawks defense. He rushed for 115 yards on 14 carries, averaging over 10 yards per touch. He also ran for a 75 yard touchdown, making the Seahawks defense look like they were on rollerblades. He is still fighting for carries with Derrick Henry, but after this game, it looks like he will be the solid RB1.

Another notable superstar was Kirk Cousins. He threw for 365 yards against the fiasco that was the Raiders defense on Sunday. He also threw for three touchdowns to three different receivers. He had a monstrous completion percentage of 83% and averaged almost 15 yards per completion. He threw zero interceptions and gave four of his receivers 50 yards or more. I have always considered Cousins an elite quarterback in the league, and this game may make others see him that way as well.

Chris Thompson confused us all as to what position he plays with his game on Sunday. While he only had 38 yards of rushing, he lead the game with 150 yards of receiving and a receiving touchdown. He only had eight carries all game, and it is unclear whether they will implement him more as a back or a receiver who can catch passes out of the backfield. Either way, he has proven himself to be a crucial member of the Redskins offense.

There are so many players that played remarkable in Week Three, but sadly there is not enough space to include them all. It would be a crime to not acknowledge their excellence, so here are some honorable mentions: Todd Gurley with 149 all purpose yards and three touchdowns; Dalvin Cook with 169 all purpose yards and a touchdown; Pierre Garcon with 142 yards of receiving; Kareem Hunt with 172 yards of rushing and a touchdown; Larry Fitzgerald with 149 yards of receiving and a touchdown; Jordan Howard with 164 all purpose yards and two touchdowns; Case Keenum with 369 yards and three touchdowns; and of course, Tom Brady with his incredible 378 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

Here are some of the busts of Week Three:

Literally anyone on the Ravens. That is all there is to say about that.

Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, and Amari Cooper all did not play up to their standards against the mediocre Redskins defense. Carr threw for only 118 yards and two interceptions, one of which was his first throw of the game. Lynch only rushed for 18 yards on six carries with no touchdowns. Cooper had a mere 6 yards of receiving with one reception and five targets. I would not be worried about those three later in the season though. Every team has their atrocious games. I believe that they can bounce back strong next week.

Dez Bryant is completely underperformed against the Cardinals on Sunday night. He had 12 yards of receiving and was only targeted twice all game. One target was for a gain of 15 yards, and the other was for a loss of three. He struggled against the rock solid Cardinals secondary and was visibly agitated. The problem with players with as much emotion and passion as Bryant, is they often fall apart when someone gets into their head.

Week Three amazed football fans with its number of breakout stars. If you have any of these people on your team but are afraid of their inconsistency, just remember what they are capable of doing and maybe take a risk in Week Four.

 

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Breaking School Records

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Breaking School Records

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Despite a lack of publicity, student athletes at Head Royce have indeed been breaking records this year. Our swim and track team have both been particularly strong. Three individual athletes, Joshua Soltz, Isaac Teuscher, and Victoria Staples recount some of their victories this year:

 

Q: Talk about a bit about your record breaking:

Joshua Soltz: I broke the record in the 100 back for swimming, we have a really good team this year, its six core guys who are really carrying the team this year, to give us a shot at finally beating CPS.

 

Josh attributes his success to doing more work during the off season, he says that swimming during the off season has really changed the results he is getting. He also says that targeted workouts from his coach have really improved his skills: “the start and the turns that I’ve had to work on, she [my coach] has given me a lot of tips on”. Josh initially broke the record last year, and then set both a personal and school record by beating it again this year.

 

Q: What was your exact time for the 100?

Joshua Soltz: Last year I set it at a minute and four seconds and then was able to bring it down to a minute and 2 and a half seconds.

 

Victoria Staples, a long jumper for our track team has also had a particularly impressive break this season, she says: “It was kind of surprising because I’ve had shin splints all this season so I haven’t been practicing as much as I want to”. Despite this, she too broke both her personal record and the school’s. She attributes this to her father who has been coaching her for six years.

 

Q: How far did you jump?

Victoria Staples: I jumped a seventeen two and the record was sixteen four.

 

Another member of the track team, Isaac Teuscher has broken records in his own right. As a team, he says that the track team has been looking at going to more competitive invitationals and has been working with Carl Kadlic, the new coach. He attributes his own success to racing against faster competition, which he says has “helped me to drop my times”.

 

Q: When/ where did you set the school record?

Isaac Teuscher: I set the school record at a race in Dublin where there’s a thousand or two thousand kids, so it’s kind of crazy but since there were so many people in my race, everyone was about my speed so I was just able to settle into my pace and kind of relax and just run my race.

 

This is particularly impressive, because running is quite a competitive and individual sport and Head Royce is not a D1 team. However, going to bigger invitationals and having a very strong coach has made the track team excel. Both Victoria Staples and Josh soltz are sophomores and therefore have two more years to continue to improve with our teams. Isaac Teuscher is a junior, and therefore has one more year to continue the hard work.

 

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New Spring Sports and Coaches

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New Spring Sports and Coaches

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The School’s spring sports season is well underway, and many teams have already started to have practices and games. Many teams with their respective coaches are returning for another season. Track is being coached by Carl Kadlic, who is taking over as head coach this year but has worked with the Track team for five years. Men’s and Women’s Swimming is coached by Dirk ten Grotenhuis, who is returning for his fourth season as head coach. Women’s Softball is being coached by third-year coach Zoe Oliver Grey. Women’s Lacrosse, which is in its second season, has been coached both years by Rachel Sunday. Lastly, Men’s Baseball is being run by Mike Talps, who has worked with the School’s athletic department for almost 40 years. There are also a few teams this spring that are either new altogether or under new coaches.

 

One additional spring team was added this year: Men’s Lacrosse. There have been Middle School Men’s Lacrosse teams for the last four seasons, but there was finally enough interest to form an Upper School team this year after a 10 year hiatus. This year’s team is headed by Coach Morgan May, who is a fifth grade teacher in the Lower School coaching lacrosse for his second year at the School. The team this year is young, consisting of mostly Freshmen, but May acknowledges team Captains Senior Sawyer Thompson and Junior Andrew Burwick as excellent leaders of the group. For Coach May, the primary goals for this season are for the “team to grow as a cohesive unit and be competitive in every game [they] play,” which they are well on their way to accomplishing.

 

One team that is under a new head coach is Junior Varsity Men’s Tennis, headed by Coach Lance Wu. This is his first year coaching at the School. So far, he describes his time coaching at the School as “awesome” and appreciates the positive environment, which is “conducive to development in multiple areas.” He also praises the wealth of experience that Varsity Men’s Tennis coach William Kasoff brings to the tennis program, who has coached tennis at the School for nine years now. Coach Wu’s goals for the team are “to compete as hard as they can while maintaining a grammar of being that reflects well upon themselves and the school.”  
Another team under a new head coach is the Varsity Men’s and Women’s Golf team, which is being led by first-year coach Andrew-Latham Smith, who is a member of the School’s 2010 graduating class. [Insert grade level] and team member Jonathan Wu is optimistic that this year’s team will perform well following a winning season last year, saying the team is looking strong this year, with one freshman and three juniors joining the team. Additionally, he highlights Freshman Chris Wu and Junior Connor Neal as key players who will? greatly benefit the team, though everyone has the potential to deliver breakout performances. Coach Smith is impressed by the amount of experience the team brings despite him being a new coach, and believes that the team has “both the drive and maturity to get the job done this season and win the title.”

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Super Bowl LI

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Super Bowl LI

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Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots was one of the most exciting games in recent memory. Prior to the game, the Patriots had won four Super Bowls in the last 15 years, all with superstar quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. The Falcons, on the other hand, were only going to their second Super Bowl in their 50-year franchise history. Before the game began, country singer Luke Bryan sang the national anthem and former president George H.W. Bush performed the coin toss, which the Falcons won.

The first quarter of the Super Bowl would be a scoreless, defensive match with each team punting twice. In the second quarter, however, the Falcons broke the game open. Following a fumble by Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, the dynamic Falcons offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan drove down the field, with star running back Devonta Freeman scoring the first touchdown of the game, putting the Falcons up 7-0. Soon after, a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to tight end Austin Hooper put the Falcons up 14-0. The Patriots managed to get their offense going, driving deep into Falcons territory. However, Tom Brady threw an interception to defensive back Robert Alford, who returned it 81 yards for a touchdown, making the score 21-0. A late Stephen Gostkowski field goal finally put the Patriots on the board, and the first half ended with a score of 21-3. Lady Gaga performed in the halftime show.

The second half began with a Patriots three-and-out. The Falcons, who had a lot of momentum from a stunning first half, drove the field again, with Matt Ryan throwing a touchdown pass to running back Tevin Coleman to make the score 28-3 with 8:31 left in the third quarter. The Patriots offense finally came to life, and Tom Brady threw a quick touchdown to running back James White. However, Gostkowski missed the extra point, making the score 28-9. A failed onside kick by the Patriots gave the Falcons excellent field position, but the Patriots defense was able to keep them out of field goal range. In the fourth quarter, another Gostkowski field goal made it a two possession game, with the Patriots being down 28-12 with less than ten minutes left in the game. The Patriots’ chances of winning were looking bleak, but everything changed when linebacker Dont’a Hightower sacked Matt Ryan as he wound up for a pass, resulting in a fumble that gave the ball back to the Patriots. Tom Brady cashed in on that opportunity, throwing another touchdown pass and making a two-point conversion, making the score 28-20 with six minutes left. The Falcons drove down the field and again had a chance to kick a field goal to secure the victory, but a holding penalty pushed them out of field goal range and they were forced to punt. The Patriots then completed their comeback, with White scoring a rushing touchdown. A successful two-point conversion tied the game at 28-28.


The game was sent to overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history. The Patriots won the coin toss and elected to receive the kickoff. The dynamic Patriots offense dominated a spent Falcons defense, who had been on the field for twice as long as the Patriots defense. Another rush by White secured the Patriots victory, winning 34-28. The Patriots’ 25 point comeback was historic, as no team had ever come back from a deficit of more than ten points in prior Super Bowls. The win gave Tom Brady his fifth Super Bowl ring, tying Charles Haley for the most ever won by a single player.

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Dodging Balls

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Dodging Balls

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Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge. Every year, the School hosts a dodgeball tournament where teachers and students create teams and play against each other. The rules regarding making teams are pretty loose but have some restrictions. For example, each team must have an even ratio of guys to girls. This creates an equal opportunity for all the students to participate. Unfortunately, this year the dodgeball tournament was canceled due to safety concerns and the neighbors.

During last year’s tournament, two students were racing for a ball that was in the middle of the court. The students ran into each other and one broke his nose. Additionally, the School’s neighbors complain regularly about the noise and general unrest created by school events. As the dodgeball tournament is one of the more rambunctious and noisy school events, the School’s neighbors are not huge fans of it.

However, some senior students decided to take matters into their own hands, and created a petition to bring back the annual dodgeball tournament tradition. This petition succeeded in bringing back dodgeball and the School is going to host the annual dodgeball games during school hours. However, the scheduled date for the dodgeball tournament was moved because of conflicting dates with the volleyball championship. During Monday’s morning meeting, Ms. Mckenna said that the School now hopes to hold the tournament during late February’s spirit week. Hopefully, the dodgeball tournament will return better than ever.

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Fan Recruitment

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Fan Recruitment

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During sports games, many students come out to watch our School’s teams. However, we should be wondering is how to get more people to the sports games. The spirit masters have taken responsibility of recruiting fans to games into their own hands. There are many different ways that students can find out about sports games. For examples, the spirit masters have many different social media accounts that they use to broadcast messages to the students. Some of the social media sites that they use include Instagram, Snapchat, Gmail, and Facebook. However, information about sports games are also announced during Monday Morning Meeting, Thursday Morning Meeting, and at the start of Assembly. Just this past week, we were told that there was going to be a tennis match and a volleyball game on the upcoming Saturday. The students were told this information through the morning meeting announcements. However, students could also find information about these events through the social media sites that the spirit masters are on. One student’s, Junior Wyatt Clancy said, “I heard about the volleyball game through Snapchat”. Snapchat is a very dominant media source for students so it is no surprise that Clancy heard about the game through it.

The spirit masters started to use social media as a primary source to educate students on school events. For example, each grade has a Facebook group where people can post messages about upcoming events. Even though these groups are separated by each grade, the students in each group get notified about events. Furthermore, each of the grades deans sends out grade wide emails updating students on events that are coming up in the near future. Just this last week Mr. Scott send out a variety of emails letting the 11th grade know about when and where the volleyball games were going to be held.

Fan recruitment does not just stop at this, the spirit masters have an Instagram account that posts pictures of sports teams with information about where the game is and at what time it starts. Finally, there are constant posts on Snapchat stories during the actual sporting games that can get students to come. During a game, there are usually a large amount of students posting pictures and videos on their Snapchat stories. When other students see these Snapchat stories they see how much fun the game is going and will want to attend. By doing this the students are spreading the news about the game to students.

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