Tuesday night hoops.
Last night of the regular season.
How can it get better than this?
Copperas Cove at Shoemaker; Harker Heights at Killeen.
Shoemaker and Heights are tied for first place in the District 8-5A title chase.
Cove needs a win to clinch a postseason berth.
Killeen wants payback from a Jan. 17 loss to Heights. And Killeen wants to achieve a goal it set for itself two months ago—not to lose a home district contest.
In the Sunday Killeen Daily Herald, I quoted all four outstanding coaches of these programs: Heights’ Celneque Bobbitt, Killeen’s Reggie Huggins, Shoemaker’s Emund Prichett and Cove’s Billy White, Jr.
Space limited their comments.
But here’s more:
“I am certain the fans will get their money’s worth on Tuesday night. Shoemaker has a title on the line and we have a playoff spot on the line.”
“We’ll have to be ready to play the best 32 minutes of our lives on Tuesday night. There will be momentum swings both ways, but it’s up to our kids to adjust to things when the momentum swings against us. The main thing is to concentrate on defense—that’s the one area where you know you can control, how hard you’re working on defense. It will be 32 minutes of intensity, baseline to baseline.”
“It will be a lot of fun. We’ll be ready to play but so will Cove. I am very excited for our kids and I’m also excited for our entire school.”
“If you’re a basketball fan, you can’t ask for anything better than what’s ahead on Tuesday night. I do want to add that all of us coaches in the area, Celneque, Alberto (Jones, Jr. of Ellison), Emund, Billy and myself, know how important the military is to our nation. A lot of our kids have parents that are overseas. We all appreciate that we live in a great country like this. Because of our military, we are all able to enjoy life back here. We each appreciate that we get to coach a game that we love and we know it’s because of our military that we are all safe back here at home.”
I had the honor of talking with Richard Shaw on Wednesday morning.
Richard works for the State Department and is currently stationed in Belgium.
While on vacation last April, he entered Bell County’s inaugural Army Marathon and took first place, running the 26.2 miles in 2:51.22.
Richard won’t be able to defend his title on March 2 when the second Army Marathon will take place.
Who will win this year’s marathon?
It won’t be me. Like I told Richard, I get tired driving a car 26.2 miles—never mind jogging that distance.
Shaw is 55 and started jogging when he was 40.
“Longevity doesn’t exist in my family,” he said. “At age 40, I was looking at other 40 year olds, saw what was happening to them and decided I’d start running.”
And he’s kept on running and running.
He, first, is a man of discipline. He served in the Air Force from 1977 through 1981.
He also is a competitive individual.
“I was actually mad at myself after I finished the Army Marathon last year,” he said. “Even though I finished first, I was mad that I didn’t break 2:48. That was the goal I’d set for myself. Although, to be truthful, your mind is never really working all that well just after you finish a marathon. The day after is when I can sit back a bit, reflect, and be satisfied with what I’ve done.”
Richard, who calls Chappell Hill, Texas, home, did want to send a message back to those of us who live in Central Texas and care about the Army Marathon and the veterans’ charities it supports.
“The embassies that I work at are protected by our military,” he said. “I’ve developed a lot of respect for the military, the conduct of the soldiers. I saw that in this Army Marathon race, with the class the participating soldiers displayed. I realize that the military is training professionals. Our military does an excellent job at representing the United States.”
Richard Shaw was featured in Allan Mandell's Sunday column "On Sports" in the Killeen Daily Herald.
You hate to hand out any compliment to one of the most hated groups in America. No, not Congress.
But they got it right with the Hall of Fame voting this year.
Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas.
Who can argue with that trio?
Each belongs. None were tarnished by steroid accusations or such scandals.
As for Bonds, Sosa and the other cheaters?
Keep the bums out.
The writers got it right.
Got my first look at the Harker Heights girl's team today. They upped their district record to 4-1 with a 15-point win over Temple.
The Harker Heights Lady Knights play terrific defense. They hustle. They communicate.
Alexus Dukes and Brianna McGee are both essentially point guards. Both can dish the rock. Both get excited after making a jaw-dropping assist. They both have excellent court vision.
Angela DeLaney can also handle the ball without any problem.
Jada Evans is sneaky quick, making her way to the hoop for some back-door layups. She gets fed by DeLaney, Dukes and McGee.
I was also impressed with Nathalie Freeman and her tenacity.
DeLaney and Freeman like to clean the glass, but everyone hustles for the boards.
I like this team.
Post-game, Dukes said, "We can go as far as we want to go. The only people that can get in our way is ourselves."
I'm looking forward to watching them play again.
Nice work today, Lady Knights.
A beautiful quote by Cynthia Scott on Christmas day about her son Cory, the 2013 Killeen Daily Herald’s Athlete of the Year. The question to Cynthia was: “When did you know that Cory would turn out to be such a special young man and outstanding athlete?”
“What makes Cory special to me is three times in pregnancy they told me Cory would not live. They flew me to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio by helicopter but something had me believing my baby would live and not die. From birth Cory had the complete attention of people that loved him so much because they worked with diligence to keep him alive and nurtured him to good health. They filled the area around his incubator with gifts. I KNEW THEN!
“Cory was given a prognosis of being an ill child with developmental delays and then they said he would be slightly deaf. He beat all odds and was a joy. He has always worked hard to make others happy. When he was around 7 years old he asked if he could be a teacher in church and play in the NBA because God needed saved basketball players too. I laughed not knowing his heart was serious.
“I want the world to know his heart. His favorite scriptures are Zeph 3:17 and Isaiah 40:31, that is the eagle in his room on the wall. I also want people to know that he has a heart like David in the bible and he carries the weight of others so when he makes a mistake or lets people down he really feels that and, as mom, I talk to the hurt.
“This award is a blessing because my son was feeling like he let people down in Cove especially Coach White and Coach Boyce. I feel like the Killeen Daily Herald and Copperas Cove Herald have been his encouragement. I desire for him to feel like he is On Top of the Rim again. Cory’s heart, even from birth, has not failed him and I am truly humbled to have been blessed with an obedient and driven son with a heart of sacrifice, repentance and love.
“And that is how I see my baby Cory!”
Earlier this week, the Killeen Daily Herald did an analysis on the hiring of Jeff Monken as Army's new football coach.
I had tried to reach 1st Lieutenant Davyd Brooks, of Killeen, on his response. I had heard he was a big football fan. However he was out of the country and without phone service.
He was kind enough to send us a text today as soon as he got back home:
"All I can do is trust in the decision makers at the academy. I believe they want to do the right thing for the program. Haven't read much about the new coach yet to say much about him."
Thank you, Lieutenant, for everything you do for our country in keeping us all safe.
Let's talk about the Heisman.
Not this year's, next year's.
What kind of odds could you get picking Minnesota back David Cobb?
He's a 1,000-plus rusher this year and should compile a ton of yardage next fall.
Minnesota was decent this season but should improve quite a bit in 2014. Winning football games counts in the Heisman polling and maybe the Gophers can go 9-3 next fall, perhaps better with some breaks.
Cobb would probably need to gallop past the 1,700 yard mark to get the voter's interest in a quarterback-heavy candidate list.
No, he won't be close to the favorite list in August. But a few big-stat games in September can get things rolling, and then Cobb leading Minnesota to some crucial Big Ten wins can steamroll things further.
Army got this one right.
Jeff Monken led his Georgia Southern Eagles to a shock-the-nation road win over Florida on Nov. 23.
Yeah, Florida had a rotten year. But two years ago Monken's Eagles weren't even an FBS squad.
When you take Georgia Southern into Gator-land and leave town with a win, you can coach.
Monken will turn things around at West Point.
Chicago is known as "The City of Broad Shoulders."
The Chicago Bears, for many years, have been known as "The Monsters of the Midway."
Defensive prowess is a given to this franchise.
When you think of the Chicago Bears playing defense, the names Butkus, Singletary, Atkins, Urlacher, Dent and Hampton quickly come to mind.
Gimme 10 minutes and I'll rattle off for you another 100 former Bear defensive players who wore the uniform--and played--with pride. Tough? These guys ate dirt for breakfast and mud for lunch.
On Sunday night, the Bears defense, if you'll allow use of the word "defense," played like a bunch of marshmallows. Had Philly, when it had the ball, allowed the Bears to play two-handed touch, the Eagles still would have scored 35 points.
The whole thing was sickening.
But the NFL is a crazy league. The Bears will rebound and beat the Pack this Sunday.
I'm a day early and that's the point. I'd like to have one prediction of mine be correct before the 2013 calender season ends.
This is a layup. Cowboys will defeat Washington.
Granted the Cowboys will line up on defense employing their usual "We hope you fall down while you're running" philosophy. But Skins defense won't stop Cowboys O.
Of course Tony Romo can stop Cowboys offense but that's another story ...
Now that the University of Texas has dumped—uh, I’m sorry, accepted the resignation of—Mack Brown, why not hire Mike Singletary?
First, he’s a Texan. More than that, he’s arguably the greatest collegiate linebacker to ever play for a Texas school. Without question, he is among the all-time great middle linebackers in NFL history.
Recruiting? No problem. When he walks into the living rooms of those All-American high school football studs, Coach Singletary, per chance, might choose to wear his National Football League Hall of Fame ring on one finger and on another he can flash his Super Bowl ring. And, of course, if he feels like dressing up a bit more, he can slip on another piece of jewelry—his College Football Hall of Fame ring.
Kevin Sumlin can’t slip on those three rings. Neither can Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, David Carr nor Art Briles.
Let’s face it, every top high school football player thinks his first paycheck once he’s done playing college ball will bear the signature of some NFL owner. Some of those players will have been correct, most won’t be. But the bottom line is they are all dreaming of playing on the big stage and Singletary, having traveled that road, knows the way.
Parents of those high school studs will be impressed, too. You’ve seen Singletary’s steely eyes, those broad shoulders, that muscular neck of an Olympic weightlifter. When Mr. Mike Singletary promises Ma and Pa that their son will be on time to his classes, attend study sessions and make good grades, why wouldn’t they believe him?
Singletary happens to be a deeply devout man. He doesn’t cuss or imbibe in booze. Being a take-no-nonsense, spiritual man, of course, will appeal to those high school football studs’ parents and, hopefully, many of those studs.
Singletary has been a head coach, assistant head coach and linebackers coach in the NFL. He currently is assistant head coach and linebackers coach of the Minnesota Vikings. The man knows football. He is passionate, committed.
The negatives? His short stint as top dog of an NFL team, San Francisco, was not successful. Secondly, he’s a Baylor guy, and maybe that’s a tough pill for the UT faithful to swallow.
Granted, the odds of UT even thinking of Singletary are probably a Bluto Blutarsky-ish zero-point-zero.
But the fact is Singletary—the man, ex-athlete—is a winner.
And isn’t winning what it’s all about at the University of Texas?
I thought Cutler should have been on the bench vs. Browns.
I was wrong. Again.
Bears won. That's all that matters.
Now that the University of Texas has dumped--I'm sorry, accepted the resignation of--Mack Brown, they ought to go after the best man for the job.
Many, many reasons why, and I'll be writing it about for the Killeen Daily Herald in Tuesday's paper.
For my friends who live in Chicago, California and the rest of our great nation, I'll be posting my reasons on this blog Wednesday.
The bottom line is this: Singletary is a winner.
And isn't that, after all, what UT football is supposed to be about???
That photo of me was taken in 1991. As a proud member of the 1981 Indiana University All-Fraternity Championship squad -- the AEPi Lions -- all 11 members returned to Bloomington to take on the young members of our fraternity house. Of course the old-timers, the '81 Champs, prevailed. We won 19-13. In 1996, ranging in ages from 34-36, those same 11 members went back to Bloomington and, again, took on the 18, 19 and 20 year olds in our fraternity house. Again the 1981 Champs were victorious, this time by the score of 22-21. Now? Well, the 11 members of the 1981 Champs range in age from 51 to 53. We're done.
There ain't gonna be no more rematch.