Monday, November 18, 2013


So Tampa Bay and Jacksonville both won, ruining suicide pools everywhere. Including mine.

Washington (3-6) 27
MINNESOTA (2-7) 34
THE STATS: Minnesota just 1 penalty for 7 yards.
THE STORY: Redskins taking themselves out of the playoff picture for now, which is difficult to do in the NFC East.

Tennessee (4-5) 27
THE STATS: In spite of winning, Jacksonville is outgained by more than 50%, 214 yards to 362.
THE STORY: Those Jaguar fans in London are celebrating today. Both of them.

Green Bay (5-4) 13
THE STATS: Philadelphia 5-1 on the road.
THE STORY: Note to Green Bay: I heard that Tim Tebow is available.

Buffalo (3-7) 10
THE STATS: Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown 6-104 receiving; 2-74 punt returns.
THE STORY: Steelers defense give up 82% fewer points this week than last week's 55-point debacle at New England.

Oakland (3-6) 20
NY GIANTS (3-6) 24
THE STATS: NY Giants RB Andre Brown 30-115-1 TD.
THE STORY: So let me get this straight. Tim Tebow (lifetime QB rating: 75.3) can't find a job in the NFL, but Terrelle Pryor (69.2) can?

ST. LOUIS (4-6) 38
Indianapolis (6-3) 8
THE STATS: St. Louis WR Tavon Austin 2-138-2 TD receiving; 4-145-1 TD punt returns (36.3 avg).
THE STORY: Rams upset helps the NFC to an impressive 4-0 weekend vs. the NFC.

SEATTLE (9-1) 33
Atlanta (2-7) 10
THE STATS: Seattle K Steven Hauschka 3-3 XP, 4-4 FG (39, 43, 44, 
53), 15 points.
THE STORY: Most impressive win in a few weeks for Seattle, but they benefit from getting to play Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta (combined 4 wins) this season.

Cincinnati (6-4) 17
BALTIMORE (4-5) 20
THE STATS: Cincinnati LB Vincent Rey 10 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 passes defended, 1 interception in the loss.
THE STORY: Baltimore managed to win a game with just 189 yards of offense -- and that included overtime.

DETROIT (6-3) 21
Chicago (5-4) 19
THE STATS: Detroit WR Calvin Johnson 6-83-2 TD.
THE STORY: Detroit gets double-win head-to-head tiebreaker over Chicago.

CAROLINA (6-3) 10
San Francisco(6-3) 9
THE STATS: Carolina defense holds Colin Kaepernick to 11-22-91-1-0 TD.
THE STORY: Nice 5-game win streak for Carolina, but 5W still not good enough for 1st place in a division headed by New Orleans.

Houston (2-7) 24
ARIZONA (5-4) 27
THE STATS: Arizona LB John Abraham 3 sacks, -42 yards lost.
THE STORY: Houston then: 2-0. Houston now: 2-7.

DENVER (8-1) 28
San Diego (4-5) 20
THE STATS: Denver WR Demaryius Thomas 7-108-3 TD.
THE STORY: It took until Week #11, but KC and Denver will finally meet next weekend.

Dallas (5-5) 17
NEW ORLEANS (7-2) 49
THE STATS: Dallas: 9 first downs; New Orleans: NFL-record 40 first downs.
THE STORY: Dallas still plays each NFC East team once, which will tell us more than an embarrassing, pathetic, drubbing by New Orleans

Miami (4-5) 19
TAMPA BAY (1-8) 22
THE STATS: Miami 14 carries for +2 yards rushing (sic). 0.1 yards per rush.
THE STORY: Tampa Bay's first win caps a strange weekend in which the teams with the poorer records went 9-4-1 outright.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


So Major League Baseball has gone to one game playoffs. That's nothing new. The NFL has been doing it for years.

St. Louis (1-3) 11
THE STATS: St. Louis 188 net yards offense.
THE STORY: How bad was the St. Louis offense? They punted (11 times) almost as many yards as they gained on the ground (18).

Pittsburgh (0-4) 27
MINNESOTA (1-3) 34
THE STATS: Minnesota WR Greg Jennings 3-92-2 TD.
THE STORY: If I told you that one Pittsburgh pro sports team would be in the playoffs, and another one would be at the bottom of the division, this is not what you would have had in mind.

Baltimore (2-2) 20
BUFFALO (2-2) 23
THE STATS: Buffalo overcomes 11 penalties.
THE STORY: Somehow, Baltimore QB Joe Flacco managed to throw for 347 yards in spite of throwing 5 interceptions, which must be a record for someone not named Brett Favre.

Cincinnati (2-2) 6
CLEVELAND (2-2) 17
THE STATS: Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer 25-38-269-0-2 TD, 103.9 rating.
THE STORY: Only takes a couple of back-to-back wins as the starter at QB to be a hero in Cleveland.

Jacksonville (0-4) 3
THE STATS: Indianapolis LB Robert Mathis: 3 sacks.
THE STORY: Jacksonville has 3 TDs. Not in the game, but for the entire SEASON.

SEATTLE (4-0) 23
Houston (2-2) 20
THE STATS: Seattle 206 fewer offensive yards, 30 fewer offensive plays, just 3-14 on 3rd downs in the win.
THE STORY: The Game Everyone Wants To See may be set up for Monday, December 2nd in Seattle. Both the Saints and Seahawks could be 11-0 at the time. Don't laugh; in the weak NFC, this is very possible.

ARIZONA (2-2) 13
Tampa Bay (0-4) 10
THE STATS: Arizona overcomes 10 penalties.
THE STORY: Tampa Bay: New quarterback (Mike Glennon), same results.

Chicago (3-1) 32
DETROIT (3-1) 40
THE STATS: Detroit K David Akers 4-4 XP, 4-4 FG (23, 31, 41, 43).
THE STORY: Not your dad's Chicago defense.

NY Giants (0-4) 7
KANSAS CITY (4-0) 31
THE STATS: NY Giants 1-14 on 4rd down conversions.
THE STORY: After Week #4, Kansas City has already almost swept the NFC East (beaten Dallas, Philadelphia, NY Giants).

NY Jets (2-2) 13
TENNESSEE (3-1) 38
THE STATS: NY Jets 4 turnovers to zero for Tennessee.
THE STORY: Tennessee QB Jake Locker is lost "for a few weeks" with a sprained hip. Time to see if Tim Tebow is available in your fantasy league.

Dallas (2-2) 21
SAN DIEGO (2-2) 30
THE STATS: San Diego outscores Dallas 17-0 in 2nd half to turn 8 point deficit into 9 point win.
THE STORY: Good win for San Diego, but how do they compete in a division with two undefeated teams?

Oakland (1-3) 14
THE STATS: Washington defense 7 sacks, season-low 14 points allowed.
THE STORY: Redskins 1-3 record leaves them just 1 game behind Dallas for first place in the NFL's worst division.

Philadelphia (1-3) 20
DENVER (4-0) 52
THE STATS: Peyton Manning 4 TDs; 16 TDs, 0 INTs on the season.
THE STORY: Are the Eagles the worst team in the NFL's worst division? Next week vs. 0-4 Giants will tell us.

NEW ENGLAND (4-0) 30
Atlanta (1-3) 23
THE STATS: New England WR Kenbrell Thompkin 6-127-1 TD.
THE STORY: New England might be the worst of all the 4-0 teams in the NFL, if such a thing can exist.

Miami (3-1) 17
NEW ORLEANS (4-0) 38
THE STATS: New Orleans RB Darren Sproles 4-28-1 TD rushing; 7-114-1 TD receiving; 2-26 kick returns; 3-44 punt returns.
THE STORY: A year too late for the Saints to play the Super Bowl at home.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


So Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Washington, and the NY Giants are all 0-3. Okay, NOW your fans can panic.

KANSAS CITY (3-0) 26
Philadelphia (1-2) 16
THE STATS: Andy Reid 3-0 start with Chiefs.
THE STORY: I know they don't actually have this award, but if they did, to whom would you give a "Comeback Coach of the Year" award?

San Diego (1-2) 17
TENNESSEE (2-1) 20
THE STATS: Tennessee QB Jake Locker 23-37-299-0-1 TD, 96.6 rating.
THE STORY: Neither team stands much chance in very difficult divisions of a very difficult conference.

CLEVELAND (1-2) 31
Minnesota (0-3) 27
THE STATS: Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer 30-54-321-3-3 TD, 68.5 rating in 2nd NFL start.
THE STORY: True fact: With only 5 NFC teams having a winning record, Minnesota's 0-3 record leaves them only 1 game out of a wild card berth at this point.

Tampa Bay (0-3) 3
NEW ENGLAND (3-0) 23
THE STATS: Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman 43-94-571-3-2 TD, 59.3 rating over first 3 games.
THE STORY: After a poor start, the Buccaneers have benched Josh Freeman. Time to add Mike Glennon (rookie, North Carolina State) to 
your fantasy roster.

Houston (2-1) 9
BALTIMORE (2-1) 30
THE STATS: Houston triple threat: Arian Foster 54 yards rushing, Andre Johnson 36 yards receiving; Matt Schaub 194 yards passing.
THE STORY: Ravens defense hasn't allowed a touchdown since opening week 49-27 loss to Denver.

St. Louis (1-2) 7
DALLAS (2-1) 31
THE STATS: Dallas RB DeMarco Murray 26-175-1 TD.
THE STORY: Dallas is the only NFC East team to win a game in the past two weeks.

Arizona (1-2) 7
NEW ORLEANS (3-0) 31
THE STATS: New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham 9-15-134-2 TD.
THE STORY: Saints have started 3-0, virtually wiping out the memory of last year's 7-9 clunker in the wake of the NFL suspensions. This makes 2012 a lost year for the Saints. Kinda like when Bobby was killed off for a year on Dallas. Or every year that Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France.

DETROIT (2-1) 27
Washington (0-3) 20
THE STATS: Detroit 2 receivers with 100+ yards (Nate Burleson (6-116); Calvin Johnson 7-115-1 TD).
THE STORY: NFC East now an NFL-worst 3-9 on the season.

Green Bay (1-2) 30
THE STATS: Teams evenly split 8 turnovers.
THE STORY: This is how Cincinnati won the game, according to the official boxscore, the final score coming with 3:47 remaining: "Johnathan Franklin rushed to the right for no gain. Johnathan Franklin fumbled. Reggie Nelson recovered fumble and returned for 6 yards. Reggie Nelson fumbled. Terence Newman recovered fumble and returned for 58 yards."

NY Giants (0-3) 0
CAROLINA (1-2) 38
THE STATS: NY Giants offense: 10 first downs, 150 total yards, Eli Manning sacked 7 times.
THE STORY: The Manning with the worst record at Thanksgiving has to do the dishes. Eli is already shopping for the Dawn.

Atlanta (1-2) 23
MIAMI (3-0) 27
THE STATS: Miami trailed in time of possession 37:09 to 22:51, and led for only 38 seconds.
THE STORY: If I had told you that one of these teams would start 3-0, and one would start at 1-2....

San Francisco(1-2) 7
THE STATS: Indianapolis just 1 penalty, 1 sack given up, 0 turnovers.
THE STORY: Giving up 15 more points per game than you score. Is this any way to get back to the Super Bowl?

Jacksonville (0-3) 17
SEATTLE (3-0) 45
THE STATS: Seattle TE Zack Miller 2-5-2 TDs.
THE STORY: Turns out that the 19.5 point spread wasn't enough.

Buffalo (1-2) 20
NY JETS (2-1) 27
THE STATS: NY Jets 20 penalties for 168 yards.
THE STORY: The Jets had so many penalties, its a wonder that they didn't get sanctioned by the NCAA.

CHICAGO (3-0) 40
Pittsburgh (0-3) 23
THE STATS: Chicago defense INT for TD, fumble return for TD.
THE STORY: Chicago was the only NFC team to beat an AFC team (AFC wins the weekend (1-6).

Oakland (1-2) 21
DENVER (3-0) 37
THE STATS: Denver 31 first downs to 13 for Oakland.
THE STORY: Peyton Manning has thrown for only 5 TDs since his opening week 7 TDs. Time to sell him in fantasy.

- 30 -

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


So Pittsburgh, NY Giants, and Minnesota all started 0-2. Oh, and Cleveland. So some things *can* be explained.

NY Jets (1-1) 10
NEW ENGLAND (2-0) 13
THE STATS: New England: 0 turnovers to 4 for Jets.
THE STORY: Say, didn't you used to be Tom Brady?

SAN DIEGO (1-1) 33
Philadelphia (1-1) 30
THE STATS: San Diego WR Eddie Royal 7-90-3 TD.
THE STORY: Chargers win helps put AFC already at +4 over the NFC.

Cleveland (0-2) 6
BALTIMORE (1-1) 14
THE STATS: Baltimore 21 2nd half points after being shut out in 1st half.
THE STORY: Cleveland quickly becoming the favorite of suicide pool players everywhere.

Tennessee (1-1) 24
HOUSTON (2-0) 30
THE STATS: Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins 7-117-1 TD, game winning TD catch in OT.
THE STORY: First 100 yard receiving game since 2010 by a Houston WR not named Andre Johnson. Johnson lost in 4th quarter due to concussion.

MIAMI (2-0) 24
Indianapolis (1-1) 20
THE STATS: Miami 0 penalties, just 1 turnover.
THE STORY: Indianapolis averaging a decent 4.4 yards per rush from its running backs, so of course, they go and trade a 1st round selection for Trent Richardson, who averages 3.5 yards per rush in his 2-year career.

Carolina (0-2) 23
BUFFALO (1-1) 24
THE STATS: Buffalo DE Mario Williams 4.5 sacks.
THE STORY: Things I looked up: Cam Newton only 1-5 in career in the opening two weeks of the season.

St. Louis (1-1) 24
ATLANTA (1-1) 31
THE STATS: Atlanta just 36 yards rushing in the win.
THE STORY: Falcons needed the win just to be the only team in the division with a win besides New Orleans (2-0).

Washington (0-2) 20
GREEN BAY (1-1) 38
THE STATS: GB QB Aaron Rodgers 34-42-480-0-4 TD, 146.0 rating.
THE STORY: It was like a playoff game, with both teams trying to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start.

Dallas (1-1) 16
KANSAS CITY (2-0) 17
THE STATS: Dallas just 37 yards rushing.
THE STORY: Andy Reid gets to shake his 2-0 record in front of Eagles fans when he returns to Philly in Week #3.

Minnesota (0-2) 30
CHICAGO (2-0) 31
THE STATS: Teams combined for as many turnovers (7) as penalties (7).
THE STORY: Minnesota punter Jeff Locke had 3 punts for an impressive 56.7 yards per. This is why I think punters should be used in fantasy football.

NEW ORLEANS (2-0) 16
Tampa Bay (0-2) 14
THE STATS: New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham 10-179-1 TD.
THE STORY: Saints open with two wins over division rivals Atlanta, Tampa Bay. #ImportantGames

Detroit (1-1) 21
ARIZONA (1-1) 25
THE STATS: Detroit more penalty yards (101) than rushing yards (49).
THE STORY: 3rd team in 4 years puts Carson Palmer very near "journeyman" status.

Jacksonville (0-2) 9
OAKLAND (1-1) 19
THE STATS: OAK K Sebastian Janikowski 1 XP, 4-5 FG (46, 30, 29, 29).
THE STORY: We'll give OAK QB Terrelle Pryor (15-24,126-0-0, 76.0 rating; 9-50 rushing) some props for the win, but not much else.

DENVER (2-0) 41
NY Giants (0-2) 23
THE STATS: DEN QB Peyton Manning: 30-43-307-0-2 TD, 105.5 rating;
NYG QB Eli Manning 28-49-362-4-1 TD, 53.3 rating.
THE STORY: New story says that Archie does have a favorite son. And this week, it is Peyton.

San Francisco(1-1) 3
SEATTLE (2-0) 29
THE STATS: Seattle defense: 5 turnovers, 3 sacks, safety, 3 points allowed.
THE STORY: Advantage: Seahawks

Pittsburgh (0-2) 10
THE STATS: Cincinnati RB Giovani Bernard 8-38-1 TD rushing; 1-27-1 TD receiving.
THE STORY: Steelers have scored only 19 points in first two games, which is enough to win some games, but then you need a good, ya know, defense to go with it.

- 30 -

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


So Bruno Mars has been signed to be the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl. Really? That's how far down we've come? Who's next? That kid I saw in the subway station?

Baltimore (0-1) 27
DENVER (1-0) 49
THE STATS: DEN QB Peyton Manning 27-42-462-0-7, 141.1 rating.
THE STORY: Peyton Manning had 7 touchdowns. That's as many touchdowns as the entire NFC South scored.

NEW ENGLAND (1-0) 23
Buffalo (0-1) 21
THE STATS: New England WR Julian Edelman 7-79-2 TD.
THE STORY: Tom Brady completed passes to guys with names like Amendola, Edelman, Vereen, Thompkins, and Hoomanawanui. And I'm not making up any of them, even Hoomanawanui.

TENNESSEE (1-0) 16
Pittsburgh (0-1) 9
THE STATS: Pittsburgh 32 net yards rushing, 2.1 average.
THE STORY: Strangest score at any point in any NFL game, ever: 2-0 after 3 seconds were played. Official play description: "Pittsburgh kicked off, Darius Reynaud returned kickoff for 1 yard loss. Safety"

Atlanta (0-1) 17
NEW ORLEANS (1-0) 23
THE STATS: NEW RB Darren Sproles 8-22 rushing, 6-88 receiving, 1-23 KR, 4-7 PR.
THE STORY: It was nice to see New Orleans coach Sean Payton back on the sidelines after his year-long suspension. Nah, not really.

Tampa Bay (0-1) 17
NY JETS (1-0) 18
THE STATS: NYJ QB Geno Smith 24-38-256-1-1, 80.6 rating in NFL debut; 50-yard game-winning FG drive with just :34 remaining.
THE STORY: There's not much quarterback controversy when your starter, Mark Sanchez, is as banged up as he is. But give this thing time, and lets see where Geno Smith takes the Jets.

KANSAS CITY (1-0) 28
Jacksonville (0-1) 2
THE STATS: Teams combined for 20 punts and one safety.
THE STORY: Andy Reid era begins in Kansas City. He's your problem now.

Cincinnati (0-1) 21
CHICAGO (1-0) 24
THE STATS: CHI CB Charles Tillman 2 interceptions, 41 return yards.
THE STORY: Bengals complete a sweep for the AFC North -- all four teams lost.

MIAMI (1-0) 23
Cleveland (0-1) 10
THE STATS: Cleveland 1-14 on 3rd down conversions.
THE STORY: Amazingly, Miami had more points (23) than rushing yards (20).

SEATTLE (1-0) 12
Carolina (0-1) 7
THE STATS: SEA QB Russell Wilson 25-33-320-0-1 TD, 115.7 rating.
THE STORY: Carolina not looking any better than last year (7-9) in an NFC South division that looks better than last year.

Minnesota (0-1) 24
DETROIT (1-0) 34
THE STATS: DET RB Reggie Bush 21-90 rushing; 4-101-1 TD.
THE STORY: If you eliminate his early 78-yard TD run, MIN RB Adrian Peterson was only 17 for 15 yards (0.9 yards per rush)

Oakland (0-1) 17
THE STATS: Indianapolis WR Reggie Wayne 8-96-1 TD.
THE STORY: Oakland just 4 wins from matching last year's total. They probably won't get there.

Arizona (0-1) 24
ST. LOUIS (1-0) 27
THE STATS: STL K Greg Zuerlein 1-1 XP, 4-4 FG (36, 25,38, 48)
THE STORY: Teams combined for just 12 wins last year. Of which, 2 were against each other.

Green Bay (0-1) 28
THE STATS: SF lead time of possession 38:35 to 21:25; more yards 494 to 385.
THE STORY: SF WR Anquan Boldin was 13-208 yards and 1 TD. So who are the people in the 4% of the leagues in the Yahoo fantasy football system that don't own Boldin?

NY Giants (0-1) 31
DALLAS (1-0) 36
THE STATS: NY Giants 6 turnovers to 1.
THE STORY: Love the idea of opening the season with divisional rivalry games. Only the NFC East figured this out.

Washington (0-1) 27
THE STATS: PHL LeSean McCoy 31-184-1 TD.
THE STORY: Eagles fans happy again. Not because Chip Kelly and the Eagles won their first game of the season; they are just happy that Andy Reid is gone.

HOUSTON (1-0) 31
San Diego (0-1) 28
THE STATS: Houston wins on late field goal, but leads :00 of game time.
THE STORY: The traditional Monday Night late game opener draws a 9 rating on the East Coast. That's 9 people who stayed up to watch it.

- 30 -

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Donegal Madness

By Brian Youngerman
Mount Joy, PA

Now I know why they call it March Madness, and it has nothing to do with college basketball.

Its all in the high school game.

The Donegal (PA) high school boys basketball team did things that no Donegal team had ever done, nor should have done. They completed a perfect 22-0 regular season, and won the school's first ever Lancaster-Lebanon league section title. They won one game, then lost the next, in the league playoffs, losing to Lancaster McCaskey, a larger school with a larger and more highly rated team.

Donegal then went on to the Pennsylvania District 3 (a combination of several counties in PA) playoffs, where they won twice and got to the District Final Four, before losing to Berks Catholic, a larger school, with a more highly ranked team. In the 3rd place consolation game, Donegal defeated Susquehanna Township, a larger, more highly rated, team.

See the pattern here?

Having beaten a really good team, Donegal took on a confidence that I'd never seen in a high school program. In the next set of playoffs, the 32-team state playoffs, the Ryan Butt-coached Indians squad won a relatively easy 1st round game, then took on the #3 ranked team in the state, and won. They next had to face the #1 team in the state, a Catholic Neumann-Goretti squad from the Philadelphia basketball machine. Neumann-Goretti had won the past three state AAA class titles. But either no one told the Donegal team about those titles, or they didn't care.

Donegal, which is a AA-sized school playing in the larger AAA class, won anyway over the top-ranked team in the state in their AAA class. Even giving up a 16-0 run, and trailing by 10 at the half, did not matter to Donegal. It was just another memorable night in a string of memorable nights for the Donegal team and the fans that followed them all over the state.

Now in the state class AAA Final Four, it was time to face the new #1 team in the state, the Imhotep charter school which, like the Catholic schools, can attract players from around the city of Philadelphia.  Imhotep had been winning titles in the AA class before moving up this season to AAA.

In one of the great comebacks I have ever seen at any level of basketball, Donegal nearly came all the way back from a 12-point 2nd half deficit.  The gutsy Donegal players rained 3's in the historic Reading High (PA) Geigle Complex, to close the game to a 2-point deficit, with the ball in their hands and 10 seconds on the clock.

We won't go into the way the game ended, and the Donegal season that ended with it.  Let's just say that you never want the officials to make the difference in a game.

These Donegal kids were Rudy, Hoosiers, and Rocky, all rolled into one. Except it wasn't fictionalized. It was real, and it was real incredible.

They say that basketball is supposed to teach young people all of those life lessons. But that wasn't the case with this Donegal team. No, these players turned that all around. It was they who taught us fans, parents, and students. They taught us what can happen when you believe in yourself, in each other, and never back down. No matter how far behind they got -- 10 points down to Neumann-Goretti? Down by 12 to Imhotep? -- they never gave up, never gave in, and never, ever, let down Donegal Nation.. When they went up against all those top-ranked teams with the the Division I-bound players, when they fell behind, we wanted to be out on the floor with the Donegal players, trying to do what we could to help. But then we realized that we could never do any better than what these teenagers were showing they could do together.

Even better than what they did on the court was what they did off the court. I've been following the Tweets of the players and the student section and coaches. Kids? Good kids. You wish your own children were this good.

When I was in 6th grade, my dad took me to games of the great Reading High School team of Stu Jackson (now an executive with the NBA). I was thrilled, even at that age, to be able to see greatness on the basketball court -- Reading would lose a controversial state championship game, in which the opponent went to the foul line and made shots with :00 on the clock (I'm not kidding).

No, you NEVER want the officials to make a difference in a game.

So I made certain that my own young son went to Donegal games with me this season. I knew it was a special season, and I didn't want either of us to miss it. Ryan might not remember this team when he's older and going to Donegal high school. But I will remind him that he was there, and that he was cheering when Donegal scored (okay, so he cheered when the opponents scored, too, but hey, he's only 2 years old). I will remind him how these young men of Donegal high played the game of basketball, and how they carried themselves off the court as well.

No, my son won't remember what the Donegal boys team did this year. But I will never let him forget. And all of us fans who were along for this ride this year will always remember the 2013 Donegal team that finished with a 29-3 record.

So to Jason, and Martin, and Matt and Dylan, and Michael, and Tommy, the kids on the bench, and coaches Ryan and Matt who molded them, thank you from those of us who had the privilege of learning life's lessons from these terrific teenagers.

And to the student section, you amazing student fans, I have never seen anything like that at the high school level. Great job, Colby. Great job, students. It wouldn't have been the same without you.

                                   - 30 -

Thursday, February 21, 2013


This isn't going out on a limb. In fact, it's the safest bet in NASCAR, if you can get it.

So Danica Patrick made history at Daytona Speedway this past weekend, becoming the first woman to earn a pole in a NASCAR Cup race.

Barrier broken. Attention gotten. Let the marketing begin.

The moment was not lost on Jeff Gordon, still a viable NASCAR driver even in his 40s. While losing the pole to Patrick, Gordon was both gracious and recognized the importance of the feat. "It's great for our sport" he said about the woman who forced Gordon to start 2nd in the race.

But what happens on that first lap at Daytona? If Danica Patrick falls back into the pack and doesn't do anything special, then an opportunity for even more attention for NASCAR will be lost. And I don't think that is lost on Jeff Gordon, either.

So here's the easy bet. I think Gordon will allow Patrick to lead the first lap of the race. It doesn't hurt that Patrick also drives a Chevrolet, and that Patrick drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, which is basically a sister operation of Gordon's owner, Hendrick Motorsports.

Now, it's not a sure thing that Patrick will parlay the top starting spot into the front position at the end of the first 2.5 mile 
lap. But if she does, even more history will be made, as no woman has ever led a lap at Daytona.

Patrick has the advantage of choosing whether to start on the inside or outside of Row 1. But with this new NASCAR Gen 6 car, and the oddities that are NASCAR racing, it is not a sure thing that she'll beat Jeff Gordon to the line. He could challenge Patrick for the the lead, and the bonus point that comes with leading a lap in a NASCAR race. But I think Gordon will back off, settle behind Patrick, and wait for his chance to lead a lap -- assuming he hasn't already made 
a deal with Patrick to swap Position #1 back and forth, so each of them can earn the first points of the NASCAR season.

Could NASCAR get involved in Patrick's historic first lap? I know that most conspiracy theories in NASCAR start and end with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. But it would be easy for NASCAR to nudge Patrick over the line first. In the pre-race drivers meeting, NASCAR just has to say "Let's have a clean lap. No aggressive passing. Keep your bumpers clean. Allow the leaders to create a line to follow."

"And allow Danica to lead the first lap."

There, it is simple. History made. Barrier broken. TV ratings climb.

  -30 -