Friday, October 24, 2014

NFL Power Rankings

Brendan Ondick and Dylan Waterman
Staff Writers

As the season kicks off, and we are all excited for the return of football, here is the first set of NFL power rankings for 2014-2015:

32. Oakland Raiders- 0-3, and showing no signs of improvement.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars- With no capable starting QB, the Jags are heading towards a rough 2014-15 season.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.- Without a stable starting quarterback, and an injury issue at running back this team will stay among the worst in the league
29. New York Giants- Their new offense is not clicking, and they give away the ball far too much.
28. Tennessee Titans- With struggles at key positions on offense, and a very shaky defense, the Titans have trouble scoring points, and maintaining leads when they have them.
27. St. Louis Rams- With QB Sam Bradford suffering his second ACL injury in as many seasons, this team is looking more towards the future then the present
26. Minnesota Vikings- With rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater taking over this team has some potential for improvement.
25. New York Jets- A stellar front 7 on defense, but struggle in all other areas on the field, which causes them to fold in crunch time.
24. Houston Texans- After starting 2-0 they suffered a loss to one of the worst teams in the league. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
23. Washington Redskins- Kirk Cousins is showing he is capable of leading this offense, which is performing well and putting up points, but their atrocious defense is bringing the whole team down.  
22. Kansas City Chiefs- With star running back Jamaal Charles injured, as well as some injury concerns on defense, it’s hard to see this team making a push for the playoffs.
21. Miami Dolphins- An injury to their starting running back has caused them to be a one dimensional team that passes the football, a dimension in which they cannot thrive in.
20. Cleveland Browns- With quarterback Brian Hoyer playing well, there is unexpected excitement in Cleveland that is not about Lebron James or Johnny Football.
19. Buffalo Bills- After a 2-0 start the Bills seem to be a team moving in the right direction.
18.Green Bay Packers- With a struggling offense outside of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson the Packers will continue to struggle.
17. Dallas Cowboys- Heading in the right direction with two straight wins, Tony Romo is getting the Cowboys back on track.
16. San Fransisco 49ers- With Super Bowl expectations the 49ers started 1-2, theres plenty of time left but can young quarterback Colin Kaepernick get his team back to its winning ways?
15. New Orleans Saints- Although the Saints started the season 0-2, it is nearly impossible to count out veteran quarterback and coach combination Drew Brees and Sean Payton.
14. Indianapolis Colts- After starting 0-2, Andrew Luck lead the team to a Week 3 victory, and has the team looking back to normal in all 3 phases.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers- A solid start to the season with a big primetime win over the Carolina Panthers has the Steelers at 13, however defensive injuries may become an issue.
12. Baltimore Ravens- Even with an immense off-field distraction, the Ravens are continuing to focus on the field, and play well.
11. Detroit Lions- Led by veterans Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the Lions appear to be a team ready for a playoff run.
10. Chicago Bears- Jay Cutler and the Bears high powered offense has been clicking on all cylinders but injuries to Charles Tillman and other defensive assets could hold them back.
9. Carolina Panthers- With Cam Newton leading the way on offense and Luke Kuechly leading the way on defense, this time has a high ceiling.
8. New England Patriots- Off to a rather slow start, however you can never count out future hall of famer Tom Brady.
7. Atlanta Falcons- With a statement win over the Buccaneers in week 3 the Falcons are a serious contender.
6. San Diego Chargers- You must respect a team that knocks of the Super Bowl Champions, and the Chargers did just that.
5. Denver Broncos- Even after a loss to the Seahawks Peyton Manning and the Broncos are still a serious threat to get back to the Super Bowl.
4. Seattle Seahawks- As the defending champs the Seahawks deserve to be higher but an early loss to the Chargers drops them in the rankings.
3. Arizona Cardinals- The 3-0 Arizona Cardinals have gotten two hard fought wins without their starting quarterback, they are contenders.
2. Philadelphia Eagles- The Eagles have made three straight comebacks to start 3-0, the high powered Chip Kelly offense is clicking on all cylinders, but can the defense hold its own?

1. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals have started the season 3-0 and have not experienced much adversity yet, can they keep their winning ways going and stay at that top?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ben Muzekari Leads NHS Boys Soccer Team to Success

Matt Steele
Staff Writer

 Senior Ben Muzekari looks to be the next talent in a long line of star-studded New Hope-Solebury Boys’ Soccer teams, and with a somewhat depleted roster, he may be the missing link to yet another district title.
 Ben played for New Hope during his freshman year, however, due to rules regarding academy soccer, he was not allowed to play during his sophomore and junior seasons. But now back from his two season hiatus, Ben’s looking better than ever. He has seamlessly fit into the starting center midfielder role along with juniors Riley Smith and Aaron Nagg. The three have been able to play off of each other perfectly, feeding the rest of the team, including leading goal scorer, Alex Lotier. So far, it looks like his decision to come back has paid dividends. Ben’s game revolves around quick acceleration, quicker moves, and pinpoint passes. He has adopted the role of the team’s playmaker, developing great chemistry with the rest of the team.
 When asked about how he feels his season is going, Ben said,”We’ve got off to a pretty positive start, but there still is a lot of room for improvement as a team. We’re a solid squad when we play together and for each other. If we bring a great amount of intensity every game, we’re not going to lose.”
 Optimism is sky high about Ben and what he may mean for the boys’ team. Senior Captain Connor Smith says,”The return of Ben Muzekari has not only brought smiles to all the fans’ faces, but also the tenacity that this team has longed for. His influence both on and off the field has spread contagiously throughout the team, bringing hope for yet another district title.”
 So far so good for Ben and the soccer team, who will be looking to advance to another district title and beyond. Ben may be number ten on the pitch, but he’s rocketing his way up to number one in the hearts of NHS Soccer supporters.

New Start, New Beginning

Tommy Lupo
Staff Writer
The new college football season is underway. There have already been upsets and blowouts, but the biggest news of the season is the start of the playoffs. Speculation of this idea has circulated for many years, and now it has finally arrived.
The playoffs will include four teams voted in by a committee of 13 experts. These teams will be seeded first to fourth, with the best playing the worst, and the two other teams playing each other. The victors of each game will face each other in the national championship game.
The objective of the new playoff system is to give teams more of a chance to win it all. Before, the first and second ranked teams were primarily invited to play in the BCS National Championship game to determine the best team in college football.
 With this change, it will increase the amount of money that the NCAA and television providers will earn from broadcasting the games. This new playoff will determine who the real champion is.
Before, a team could reach the championship game by winning all of their games, although the teams that they had played earlier in the season were considered to be bad. For example in 2013, the Alabama Crimson Tide played the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the BCS National Championship game. The outcome of the game spoke for itself, it was 42-14 in favor of Alabama. This score is so significant, because it showed us that Notre Dame was not as good as their record told us they were.

 With the new playoff in place, blowouts like these will most likely be reduced in the championship game. Now four elite teams will compete for a chance to get a title instead of two. This is the purpose of the playoff, and it is hoped by all college football fans that it will give off as much hype that has been anticipated for it. According to Brendan Ondick, “The anticipation towards the college football postseason is at an all-time high, and the four most distinguished teams battling it out on the gridiron to determine the true champ is something I’ve been waiting for my whole life to see.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Adrian Peterson

Katie Steele
Staff Writer

The NFL has recently fallen under fire and intense scrutiny on its handling of a number of cases involving domestic violence by its players. Adrian Peterson, Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2007, second rookie ever to win ProBowl MVP, 2012 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, holder of nine NFL records, and the Minnesota Vikings’ star running back, is one of the players singled out for his actions off the field. Recently, Peterson was indicted by grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. He is also facing previous felony charges in Texas for child abuse. There, he faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty.
 The charges he faces have sparked a national discussion about corporal punishment in parenting and whether Peterson crossed the line when disciplining his son. After his son pushed a sibling, the Viking whipped him with a tree branch that left cuts and bruises all over his body. The child is reported to have said that he was afraid he was going to be punched in the face by his father if he told authorities.
 Peterson turned himself into officials soon after he was notified of the indictment on the charges of reckless or negligent injury and spent about 30 minutes in jail before he posted $15,000 bond. Most defendants charged with negligent injury to a child are released on probation if their records are otherwise clean. A court date for his other child abuse charge has yet to be set.
 Commissioner Roger Goodell announced new penalties for players accused of domestic violence last month that say that players will be deactivated for six weeks for a first offense and at least a year for a second. Any cases involving “aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child” will see more severe discipline. It seems that Peterson’s charges would fall under that category.
 The Vikings, having initially deactivated the running back for a single game, have taken him off their bench and have stated that he must stay away from all team activities until his felony child abuse case is settled. His sponsorship deal with Nike has also been revoked.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Rise Of Soccer

Oren Depp
Staff Writer

This year, soccer in the U.S. has skyrocketed in popularity with help from the FIFA World Cup, where the US National Team fought all the way to the Round of 16. The USA fought through the dreaded “Group of Death”, which included Portugal, Ghana, and the ultimate World Cup winners, Germany. After escaping the group stage, the USA was up against Belgium in the Round of 16.
 The game versus Belgium was headed for extra time, and was leaving the audience on the edge of their seats. In the third minute of extra time, De Bruyne of Belgium placed the ball into the corner of the net after a run down the right wing by Belgium’s Lukaku. Twelve minutes later, Lukaku broke away again to score a heartbreaking second goal against the seemingly unbreakable USA goalie Tim Howard. It all seemed over for team USA, and many were walking away from their television sets after Lukaku’s incredible strike into the back of the net. But team USA gritted their teeth and began the 4th tap-off of the game with a new purpose. Through this newfound determination, National Team rookie Julian Green scored a phenomenal goal to revitalize America’s hope in the 107th minute.
 The remainder of the game was an onslaught against the Belgian defense, forced to face the inspired Americans attempts for an equalizer to bring the game to penalties. Even with the blood, sweat, and tears of the US team draining into the soil of the Arena Fonte Nova Salvador, fortune was not in the US's favor as the final whistle was blown to end the Round of 16 match of USA versus Belgium with a score of 2-1.
 While this battle might not have been won, it’s definitely helped the war for soccer in the US. A long-time underdog to other sports such as football and baseball, soccer is finally finding its way into the hearts of Americans. With Americans beating out every other country in the number of supporters who went to Brazil, the evidence is irrefutable. Soccer is on the rise in America. According to FIFA, over 26 million Americans watched the World Cup Final, which is over twice the number that watched the 2002 World Cup in Japan.
 Not only this, but the USA is #1 in participants in youth soccer and soccer is the #3 sport in popularity in the US Soccer, mostly called fĂștbol around the world, is by far the most popular sport internationally. The most common reason for this is because of how accessible the sport is; all that someone needs is a ball. This is a large reason why the sport is practically worshipped in South America, where poverty is hard to break out of and money for expensive equipment is never available.
 Unlike many American kids’ stereotypical dreams of playing in the NFL or in MLB, kids in South America dream of playing in leagues like La Liga or the Premier League. Soccer for many is both a chance for individual glory and team comradery. Names like Maradona, Pele, and Beckenbauer are almost burned into history, and this drastic leap from poverty to halls of fame is extremely enticing to those seeking a way out of their situations through hard-work.

 In the U.S., the most extreme of conservatives call out soccer as a socialist sport for its redistributive tendencies of passing, somewhat restrictive rules, and its tendency to promote support for national teams. But looking at the true values of soccer, where even the lowest of the low can rise to the top and find success, one can see just how deep the essence of soccer is etched into the values and ideals of America. There is no doubt in my mind that soccer’s growth in the U.S. isn’t scheduled to end anytime soon, and that the sport has the potential to outgrow all others.

Friday, October 3, 2014

#5peat for Boys' Soccer?

Connor Smith
Staff Writer

  A #5peat is in the making. For the fifth year in a row, the boys’ soccer team has their eyes on taking home another district medal. 
The season started off strong with a journey to England to get a taste of the true culture of soccer. From there, the team won their first game against Plumstead Christian, and many more since then. The most significant victory came with two goals scored by junior forward, Alex Lotier, in the rematch of last year’s district finals against Faith Christian. When asked about the game, Lotier responded, “Every time I step onto the field I give 110 percent and do whatever I can to help the team get a win. Fortunately I was able to put two goals in the back of the net with the help of my teammates, and win the game.” 
The team has high standards this year for their season, but even more importantly, for their postseason. Senior legend Ben Muzekari had some words to say remarking this potential journey, “It may seem like we are getting ahead of ourselves, but we’re not.” He went on to say, “We’re still early in the season and we are taking one game at a time. Each game I see improvement in the team, so with each game, my aspirations for this year increase.”
The fans this year have been phenomenal, coming out to as many games as possible and being that 12th man presence that carries champions. One particularly dedicated fan, senior Patrick Gimpel claimed, “This is the funnest team in the district to watch. They do things that no other team can. Hands down, best team in the BAL.”
Matt Steele, a strong influence and center back on the team, remarked, “When it comes down to it, New Hope just has superior talent, superior focus, superior drive, and superior coaching. No other team has this kind of winning mentality, and that extra class will lead us to states.”
Steele is right, having the winning mentality is what is going to allow this team to fight through the playoffs and continue to advance to states. Every time this team steps on to the field, the #5peat is always on their mind.