Area connections on Eagles roster celebrate Super Bowl win

Published: Monday, February 05, 2018 @ 9:26 AM

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Jake Elliott #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Jake Elliott #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Former Cincinnati Bengals kicker Jake Elliott didn’t have to make his 46-yard field goal attempt with 1:05 remaining for the Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl LII.

But the kick still came with plenty of pressure.

Had Elliott, who was one of several players in the game with area connections, missed, the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady would have had the ball at their own 36 down by five.

Instead, Elliott’s field goal, his second of the game, gave the Eagles a 41-33 lead. And his short, well-placed kickoff that followed forced the Patriots to burn another seven seconds off the clock during the return.

And a few minutes later Elliott, whose evening began with a missed extra point, was celebrating underneath falling confetti along with former Lakota West linebacker Jordan Hicks, former Miami University offensive lineman Brandon Brooks and several other teammates with local connections.

Hicks celebrated in street clothes after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in October, while Brooks, the starting right guard, played a vital role in preventing the Patriots from getting to quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.

Also instrumental in keeping Foles upright against a New England defense that finished tied for seventh in the regular season with 42 sacks — and first in the postseason with 13 — was center Jason Kelce, a University of Cincinnati product.

“The last two weeks, after we beat Atlanta, after we beat (Minnesota), I found myself in the shower crying, dreaming of this moment,” Kelce told reporter after the game. “I’ve worked so hard in my life to get here, and everything culminates. No matter what obstacle is in the way, just keep moving forward. The resiliency of this team is incredible. 

“We’ve all talked about it, but when you really sit back and think, a lot of you guys picked us to finish dead last in the NFC East,” he added.

Another former Bearcat, tight end Brent Celek, also played a key role. He played 32 percent of the offensive snaps without a catch or target, meaning his primary focus was pass protection and blocking for a rushing attack that posted 164 yards on 27 carries for a 6.1 average.

One of the plays Celek was in for was the controversial, game-winning touchdown reception by fellow tight end Zach Ertz.

“I was telling the ref that he had three feet down and that’s a catch,” Celek said of the play. “And the ref wouldn’t tell me either way, and I was like ‘C’mon, ref, you got to tell me that three feet down is a catch and he’s like ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’ But I thought it was a catch, a catch for sure. And obviously it was a catch.”

And former Ohio State standout Malcolm Jenkins made an impact for the Philadelphia defense. it was his legal hit on Brandin Cooks that knocked the Patriots leading receiver out of the game with a head injury with 13 minutes left in the second quarter.

Jenkins finished with four tackles and one pass defended as the Eagles allowed Brady to throw for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards and three touchdowns.

“We don’t care how many yards we gave up,” Jenkins said. “We were just trying to win. We obviously have a lot of respect for Brady and that offense. He obviously is the best to do it, and we understand that. The way it went, it was just going to come down to whoever got the last stop. And we were able to come up with it.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” he added. “Everything that we fought through, carried. The City of Philadelphia, what it means to bring this back, it feels great.”

Former OSU punter Cameron Johnston also is a member of the Eagles with a reserve/futures contract.

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Mike Leach believes Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold should’ve stayed in school

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 12:16 PM

Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold both decided to leave college early to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. Washington State coach Mike Leach, who coached against both quarterbacks, disagrees with their decision to turn pro.

“I thought they both should have stayed,” Leach said, per  SiriusXMNFL Radio. “I think that Rosen measures out better in some areas, the ball he throws is real pretty, but to me it seems like Darnold elevates his team and I think those guys play around him a little better.”

Most people around football believe Rosen made the right decision to declare for the draft. However, there are mixed reviews on Darnold. Some scouts and analysts think the USC quarterback could’ve benefitted by playing one more season with the Trojans.

Game film illustrates that Rosen is the more polished quarterback right now. Although, some believe Darnold has the biggest upside between the two.

Only time will tell. What we do know is both will be selected early in this year’s draft.

As for Leach’s comments, it’s a safe bet that Washington State fans differ from him. Cougars fans are more than likely happy the team won’t have to face Rosen and Darnold any longer.

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What Tom Izzo said after Michigan State’s 65-60 victory over Northwestern

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 12:03 PM

The No. 2 Michigan State Spartans trailed at one point by 27 points during their game at Northwestern on Saturday, but the favored bunch mounted a comeback in the second half to go on and win, 65-60.

In the second half — after a 49-27 deficit at halftime — the Spartans held the Wildcats to 11 points entirely. Cassius Winston led the team with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.

With the win, Michigan State is on top of the Big Ten conference with a 14-2 record and two games remaining in the regular season.

What Tom Izzo said after Michigan State’s win over Northwestern

 

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Former South Carolina basketball star P.J. Dozier returns to Columbia

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 11:56 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former South Carolina basketball star P.J. Dozier returned to Columbia on Saturday for the annual Legends Weekend.

Dozier, who’s made two appearances for the Oklahoma City Thunder, has spent most of his rookie season in the G-League. For the Oklahoma City Blue squad, he averages 12.5 points and 2.6 assists per game.

In the video above, Dozier talks about his transition from college to the pros.

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Springfield quickly rebounds from loss at Trotwood-Madison

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 4:56 PM


            Springfield’s Derrick Robinson-Verse (24) and Leonard Taylor (front) battle Trotwood’s Justin Stephens (middle) and Carl Blanton for a rebound. Trotwood-Madison defeated visiting Springfield 79-72 in boys high school basketball on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Springfield’s Derrick Robinson-Verse (24) and Leonard Taylor (front) battle Trotwood’s Justin Stephens (middle) and Carl Blanton for a rebound. Trotwood-Madison defeated visiting Springfield 79-72 in boys high school basketball on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

It didn’t take long for Springfield senior guard Michael Wallace to rebound from Friday’s stinging 79-72 loss at mighty Trotwood-Madison. Not with the end of the regular season in sight and the postseason on deck.

“We can’t wait,” Wallace said. “We’ve got to get this last game over with and then get ready for the tournament.”

Wallace matched his season high with 17 points and Raheim Moss also scored 17 but the Wildcats didn’t quite have their “A” game against the Rams and that would be costly in the Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game before a capacity crowd. Springfield was scheduled to end the regular season with a non-conference game against visiting Middletown on Saturday. The Middies are coached by one-time Springfield coach Darnell Hoskins.

Springfield landed a No. 2 seed in the Division I, Dayton 2 sectional. The Wildcats have a first-round bye and will play the Piqua-Springboro winner at 6 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Centerville.

Top-seeded Trotwood will take a 12-game win streak into the D-II sectional at Springfield High School. The Rams were the D-II state runners-up last season.

Springfield (17-4), Trotwood (19-3) and D-I top seed Wayne (20-1) have had marquee matchups this season. Springfield split two games with Wayne, which was No. 1 in the state in D-I for much of the season before losing at Springfield last week. Wayne defeated Trotwood in double-overtime in late December. All three GWOC reps are expected to make deep postseason runs.

Springfield (10-2) finished runner-up to Wayne (11-1) in the GWOC National East. Springfield also lost at Centerville in divisional play. Springfield started the season at 13-0, but entered the Middletown game on a late-season 2-3 slide.

Springfield pulled within 65-64 early in the fourth quarter on Derrick Robinson-Verse’s two free throws. But seconds later Moss fouled out. Springfield’s Leonard Taylor also sat out crucial minutes in the second half with four fouls. That foul trouble was compounded by the loss of top sub Larry Stephens, a sophomore guard who tweaked a knee in practice on Thursday and didn’t play.

Trotwood answered with a game-ending 14-7 run.

“It seems to be the same old song every time we play those guys,” Springfield coach Isaiah Carson said. “Trotwood’s a good basketball team. I like what (coach) Rocky (Rockhold) has done.”

Taylor added 12 points for the Wildcats and Jordan Howard 9.

Rockhold previously also coached at Greeneview, where he also was a standout player. The teams have played six times in the last seven seasons, with Trotwood holding a 4-2 advantage. Trotwood also defeated Springfield 88-73 to end the previous regular season.

Trotwood backcourt standouts Myles Belyeu and Amari Davis each scored 23 points. Trotwood had hit triple-digits in four of its last five games.

“We loved the pace of the game,” Rockhold said. “We felt if we got it out of the 60s we had a chance.”

Jonathan Alder 56, Kenton Ridge 55: Alder (18-4, 12-1) had already clinched a Kenton Trail title and has the best overall record in his first season of Central Buckeye Conference play. The Cougars (15-6, 9-4) ended the regular season by hosting Southeastern on Saturday. A No. 2 seed, Kenton Ridge opens the D-II sectional at Springfield High School against Graham on Saturday.

Dayton Christian 64, Emmanuel Christian 53: Adonis Davis scored 27 for the host Lions (8-14, 5-9) in their final Metro Buckeye Conference game to end the regular season. Emmanuel is a No. 7 seed in the D-IV sectional at Troy and will play the Southeastern/Franklin Monroe winner on Feb. 27. DC (16-5, 12-2) finished runner-up to Troy Christian (19-2, 13-1) in the MBC.

West Liberty-Salem 72, Mechanicsburg 49: Trevor Burden scored 22 points and the host Tigers (14-7, 11-4) clinched a tie with West Jefferson for the Ohio Heritage Conference North title. WL-Salem is a No. 9 seed in the D-III sectional at Northmont and will play Arcanum in the first round on Friday. Mechanicsburg (1-19) plays top-seeded Fort Loramie in the D-IV sectional at Piqua on Saturday.

Madison Plains 50, Greenon 46: Logan Coppock scored 15 points for host Greenon (10-12, 9-7) in another OHC game. Greenon opens D-III sectional play at Northmont against Miami East also on Saturday.

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