Thursday, December 15, 2016

Penn State’s Improbable Season

Kyle Lynch and David Shonis
Staff Writers

Five years ago, Penn State football went through a very hard time. It was when Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky convicted of child sex abuse and long-time head coach Joe Paterno passed away soon after he was let go by the University in the wake of the scandal. With the death of Paterno and Sandusky pleading guilty, the football team floundered. The NCAA banned the team from bowl play for the next three years. The NCAA dropped the ban on the team in 2014. However, many players who had committed to play football at Penn State had uncommitted and the university’s recruiting efforts went downhill in the midst of all the issues facing the institution.
 After being banned from bowls, the Nittany Lions posted a 7-6 record (2-6 in Big Ten) in their 2014 season, and advanced to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College. Penn State came away with a tough overtime victory, 31-30.
 Their 2015 season looked almost identical as their 2014 as they yet again posted another 7-6 record (4-4 in Big Ten) and advanced to yet another bowl game. They were put up against a tough Georgia Bulldogs team in the TaxSlayer bowl and were beaten 24-17.
 Recruiting started to take off at the end of last year, with head coach James Franklin brought in a 2016 freshman class that ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Penn State went into this season with some expectations, but no one expected them to perform at a high level.
 Penn State started the season 2-2 and was defeated by #4 Michigan in week 4 by a score of 49-10. Head coach James Franklin expressed his anger to the team after the loss and knew that his players were better than that. They sure were better than that because since then the Nittany Lions have won eight in a row and defeated #2 Ohio State on their home turf. The Nittany Lions finished the season 10-2 (8-1 in Big Ten) and clinched the Big Ten East regular season title.
 Penn State just faced a Wisconsin Badgers team that finished first in the Big Ten West and finished the season at 10-2 (7-2 in Big Ten) for the Big Ten Championship. The Nittany Lions were down 28-7 to Wisconsin but somehow managed to storm back and take the lead 35-31 with 13 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Penn State went on to win the game, 38-31, and capture the Big Ten title.
 The conversation started immediately whether Penn State deserves to be put into the playoffs to try and go after a national championship. The playoff committee did not choose Penn State. Instead, they put them in the Rose Bowl against #9 USC. The season that Penn State had went from starting the season off at 2-2 and not being ranked, to a team who finished #5 in the nation and playing in one of the biggest bowl games that are offered. Will Penn State maintain the success for the years to come? The Nittany Lions do have lots of potential for the next few years and will try to repeat the historic season that they just had this year.

NFL Late Season Update and Pro Bowl Predictions

Tommy Lupo
Danny Doherty
John Sharkey
Sports Editors

After week 13 the NFL has shaped up with some teams flourishing while others falling apart. This past week posted the last two bye weeks for the season, meaning the final month long haul is upon us. Some huge names last year have been nothing more than last place struggles this year like the Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals,  who look to be heading home early this year. Meanwhile some surprise teams like the Chiefs and Raiders are shaping up to make a super bowl run.
 Heading into the cold, wintery month of December, most teams are going to want to stay away from Tom Brady and the Patriots (even without Gronkowski) and the Seahawks in Seattle with the 12th Man. With the season’s end right around the corner, the discussion of who will be the league's MVP is on the minds of everybody.
 Some believe that Derek Carr has propelled the Raiders to their incredible season while others feel that Ezekiel Elliott has run the Cowboys straight into the playoff. Quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Tom Brady are also making a case for MVP with their stellar play throughout this season.
 The season is still wide open, even with the regular season wrapping up. The only certainty left in the NFL is that it is unpredictable, only time will tell who comes out on top and who falls short.
Projected All-Pro Nods for Offensive Playmakers:
QB: Derek Carr
RB: Ezekiel Elliott
RB: David Johnson
FB: Danny Felton
WR: Julio Jones
WR: Antonio Brown
TE: Delanie Walker

Projected All-Pro Defensive Playmakers:
OLB/DE: Von Miller
OLB/DE: Khalil Mack
LB: Sean Lee
LB:  Zach Brown
LB: Bobby Wagner
CB: Patrick Peterson
CB: Casey Heyward
S: Eric Berry
S: Landon Collins

Project All-Pro Special Teamers:
K: Adam Vinatieri
P: Marquette King
PR: Tyreek Hill
KR: Cordarrelle Patterson

Temple Basketball scores impressive stretch of wins

Thomas Muzekari
Staff Writer

The Temple men’s basketball team has put together a nice stretch over the past few weeks and has won 6 of the last 7 games. The Owls (7-3) have been led by junior forward Obi Enechionyia who is averaging 19 points, about 8 rebounds, and over 3 blocks per game while shooting 47.3 percent from three-point range.
 Head coach Fran Dunphy’s Temple team, after starting 1-2, won five straight games, including two straight wins against ranked opponents to improve to 6-2. On Thanksgiving, the Owls defeated the then 25th-ranked Florida State Seminoles 89-86 after coming back from an 18-point deficit. Then, the next day, Temple beat the then 19th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers in a game in which Temple had a 20-point halftime lead, then briefly gave up that lead in the second half, before closing it out to get a 81-77 win as Temple won the NIT Season Tip-off.
 Along with Enechionyia’s strong performances, many others had big games in the tournament for Temple. Quinton Rose had 26 points off the bench against Florida State, then scored 12 against West Virginia. Shizz Alston Jr. had 22 against Florida State, then followed it up with another good performance against West Virginia. Alani Moore II, in the championship game, scored 18 points, including big free throws and defensive plays. Also, Daniel Dingle scored 15 points in that game for Temple.
 After the tournament win, Enechionyia, who was awarded Most Outstanding Player of the two-day tournament, said: “It’s a confidence boost” for the Owls.
 The following week, on Nov. 30, Temple was able to build off its momentum against city rival Saint Joseph’s in a tough-fought Philadelphia Big 5 matchup, as the Owls were able to come out on top with a 78-72 road win, led by Enechionyia’s game-high 26 points. Last year’s starting point guard for Temple, Josh Brown, made his season debut against the Hawks. Brown missed the first six games of the season due to an Achilles injury he suffered in the offseason. Temple then beat another city rival, Penn, 70-62, led by Alston’s team-high 14 points. However, Temple then lost a tough one to George Washington, 66-63, before rebounding for a 74-65 win over Depaul.
 Enechionyia has been a focal point of the offense for Temple. Meanwhile, Josh Brown, a senior, who is back from injury, may continue to be limited for some of Temple’s upcoming games, but could be a big factor as the season progresses. Also, freshman Quinton Rose has shown his explosiveness and athleticism and has been essential during this stretch. Meanwhile, the starting backcourt of Alston and Moore along with Dingle, are also key players for Temple.

Season in review: New Hope-Solebury Boys’ Soccer

Isaac Zucker
Staff Writer

The New Hope-Solebury Boys’ Soccer team had a great season this year. Although the team's record wasn’t exceptional, it was still an impressive achievement to do as well as they didconsidering moving from a Single A Bracket to a AA Bracket. All of their games were very close, but the team did not follow past years’ footsteps and unfortunately did not end up making it to the district finals. On Dec. 6, a final meeting of all players and parents to conclude the 2016 season took place at the Cock N’ Bull in Peddler's Village.
 Players who did an outstanding job this season were given special awards for their exceptional effort and hard work. At the banquet, goalie Andrew Mardirossian and midfielder Jake Zimmerman won First Team BALs  MVPs. For Second Team  BALs, midfielder Nolan Curran and Ryan Meyers won MVP. Congratulations to them for their outstanding seasons!
 As past years’ tradition persists, a single freshman who made it to the varsity field spoke up and talked about their experiences in unfamiliar territory. This year, Ben Koeppen expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to play on varsity as a freshman and insured a positive future with the team. Following his well-written speech, Captains Andrew Mardirossian and Nolan Curran shifted the tone of the room. Both seniors talked about their past experiences on the team as well as favorite overall moments throughout their multiple seasons on the team.
 With Mr. Bachart stepping into the shoes of the team’s head coach this year for the first time, he did a remarkable job coaching the team. Concluding his speech, Bachart gave his appreciation to the Boosters Club, admitting how difficult his job would have been without them.

The shocking beginning to the NHL season

Parker Cane and Will Kelley
Staff Writers
The beginning of the 2016-2017 NHL season has been quite shocking. In the very first game, rookie sensation Auston Matthews scored four goals.The Columbus Blue Jackets, who haven’t been close to the top of the Eastern Conference in almost a decade, have found themselves in 6th place through one fourth of the season. Another shocking team in the East is the Ottawa Senators, led by star defensemen Erik Karlson. Karlson is a former two time Norris Trophy Winner (NHL’s Best defensemen) and has really put almost all the weight on his shoulders with the help of Young forwards Bobby Ryan and Mark Stone. Another unexpected team that has really proven themselves is the New York Rangers. Last offseason the Rangers traded away arguably their best forward, Chris Kreider. Most hockey fans thought they were going to be a disappointment this year but New York proved them wrong. The Rangers find themselves 5th in the league overall. Also doing well, the Philadelphia Flyers made the playoffs last season and find themselves off to an average start. The progress of a dynamic duo Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux hasn’t slowed down at all. They combine for 61 points so far. 2nd in the league only behind Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby from the Pittsburgh Penguins, defending Stanley Cup Champs.
 The young Tampa Bay Lightning are set for the future, as they are built around the sharp shooting center Steven Stamkos, fast dynamic forward Nikita Kucherov and 6’6 defensemen from Sweden Victor Hedman. The Western Conference is looking weak this year. NHL analytics say the only teams in the Western Conference that can compete with the East are the Chicago Blackhawks, built around last year's MVP Patrick Kane and young Russian Artemi Panarin. The St.Louis Blues don’t have many solid players but veteran Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo has controlled the blue line for the Blues. Vladimir Tarasenko who also plays for the Blues is considered the most dynamic sharpshooter in the league, coming in third place for last year’s MVP race. The Edmonton Oilers are a rising young team. Connor McDavid  is currently the NHL point leader has carried his team to 3rd in the Western conference. McDavid, the 1st overall selection in the 2015 entry draft has lived up to his expectations. McDavid is not only good for himself, but he also makes the players around him better.
 This NHL season is  one to look forward to. The season is going to be action packed with all the young teams. Bone crushing hits are common from big hard hitting defensemen. The NHL season flies by, and we are already over a fourth into the season. Before you know it we will be weeks away from the playoffs, and the playoffs are the most exciting part  of the season. All of the best teams from the East and West all compete during a seven game series and all play their hearts out for the ultimate goal. The Stanley Cup will soon be decided.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Sixers’ Process is Flourishing

Clay Asplundh
Oliver Colvin
Sports Editors

Over the past three years, the Sixers have been the laughingstock of the NBA. In 2013, led by Sam Hinkie, they traded away their only solid players Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, and Andre Iguodala in order to acquire future draft picks.
 Throughout the past three years, due to poor records and trading, the Sixers have acquired top prospects in every draft. Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are all finally now with the Sixers and showing signs of improvement. Despite just four wins on the year, they have had some late collapses and easily could have had almost ten wins. Although the wins aren’t coming yet, fans have to be excited. Joel Embiid is frontrunner for rookie of the year and has been dominating when he is on the court, averaging 19.5 points per game, despite playing on limited minutes due to a foot injury. Dario Saric has also been playing well and will likely finish runner-up to Embiid in rookie of the year rating.
 Jahlil Okafor, now in his second year, is backing up Embiid and almost always shows his scoring abilities when he comes into the game, averaging 11.9 points per game. Although his defense is subpar he is a critical cog to a team that at times struggles to score.
 Possibly the crown jewel for the Sixers is point-forward Ben Simmons. Drafted number one overall in this years draft, Simmons is a great player offensively and defensively. When he joins the Sixers in January it will be fascinating to see how he works with Joel Embiid.
 With likely another top pick this year as well as the Lakers first rounder, the Sixers are in prime position to continue to develop the young talent that it takes to turn them into a contender. Although Sam Hinkie was criticized for his methods, you can’t argue with the fact that the Sixers are better off now compared to three years ago. Philadelphia will continue to trust the process.
Unfortunately, the Sixers have now fallen to 4-18 and seem to be in the midst of another long year. However, concern is not necessary because the future is looking very bright.

Monday, December 5, 2016

As The Birds Fail To Soar, Fans Should Take To The Sea

Lear Asplundh
Staff Writers 

With the Philadelphia Eagles out of the playoff race, if you're looking for another team to root for, tune into the Miami Dolphins. After a 1 and 4 start to the 2016 NFL season, the Miami Dolphins had lost hope in contention for the playoffs. The Dolphins felt some hope after two straight home wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills. During those two wins running back Jay Ajayi joined OJ Simpson, Earl Campbell, and Ricky Williams as the only players to rush for 200 yards in back to back games. They ended their 3 game home stand with a win against the jets. These 3 straight wins gave life to the both the dolphins and the fans who have not seen a playoff game since 2008.  
  With two road games ahead, the dolphins were looking to extend their win streak to 5 against the San Diego Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams. The Dolphins hung on to a win over the chargers after a Kiko Alonso game winning interception for a touchdown. Next week's game against the Rams was a nailbiter. The Dolphins trailed 10-0 until 5 minutes remaining in the game when the Dolphins put together two scoring drives to Jarvis Landry and the game winner to Devante Parker to top the Rams 14-10 and extend their winning streak to 5. On November 27, the dolphins played the struggling 1and 9 San Francisco 49ers. Towards the end of the 3rd quarter the dolphins extended their lead to 31-10 but the 49ers never gave up. After two quick touchdowns the 49ers had all the momentum and the ball with 2 minutes remaining. After a big catch got them down to the six yard line with 10 seconds left the game came down to these last plays. After a quick slant incompletion the Dolphins had to stop them one more time to achieve victory. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Linebacker Kiko Alonso stuffed Kaepernick short for the game-tying touchdown. After this win, the Dolphins went on to win six straight. Currently that sitting in the 6th seed in the playoffs. If Miami can keep this success, they could potentially make a run for the Lombardi trophy.

A New Chapter is Written for the Greatest Rivalry in College Football

Adrian Roji and Charlie Stadler
Staff Writers

The match-up between the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes is known as “The Game” across the country. These two powerhouse football programs first met in 1897, and have played annually since 1918. The schools have played each other a total of 113 times, with Michigan up in the all time series with 58 wins, 48 losses, and 6 ties. These are two of the most renowned schools for all college athletics, but football has always been at their heart. The divide between their fans encapsulates just how heated this rivalry is, so the atmosphere in these showdowns is nothing short of spectacular.
 This year, both programs were lead by two of the best coaches in the country, Urban Meyer (OSU) and Jim Harbaugh (MU), to national rankings of 2 and 3 respectively. This has been the highest each team was ranked in a meeting since 2006. Ohio State and Michigan were fighting to secure a spot in the College Football Playoff, as only the top 4 teams would get in and compete for a National Championship.
 The setting was at Ohio State’s mecca of football, Ohio Stadium, also known as “The Horseshoe”. With around 105,000 OSU fans watching and millions more on national television, the stage was set for a legendary clash. Ohio State’s star quarterback JT Barrett and Michigan’s electrifying Jabrill Peppers looked to build their Heisman resumes as the best player in the country.
 Early on, Michigan dominated the game as their defense suffocated the OSU offense and did not give Barrett any room to operate. Jabrill Peppers snagged his first career interception, and it seemed to be Michigan’s day. Ohio State had no answer and quickly went down 17-7, but they got back into the game because Michigan’s quarterback, Wilton Speight, threw two costly interceptions. One of them was taken back for a touchdown, and the other lead to an OSU touchdown later on. JT Barrett began to find room with his legs, as he had more success running the ball than passing. With Ohio State down 17-14 and less than a minute left in the game, they were faced with a fourth and one, and Barrett, in a Heisman moment, willed himself to stay up and get the necessary yard. This led to a last second field goal to send the game to overtime. How fitting.
 After trading touchdowns, Ohio State’s defense held Michigan to a field goal, meaning a touchdown would win it. At this point OSU’s offense was in rhythm, and after a couple of plays, their explosive offensive weapon, Curtis Samuel, ran untouched for the game winning touchdown. The crowd burst in excitement, for their Buckeyes had right then most likely secured a playoff berth, and more importantly, they beat Michigan. Urban Meyer, after 4 hours of pure anxiety, dropped to the ground in delight.
 Although this game was not the prettiest, both teams demonstrated how bad they wanted to win. Both teams deserved the victory, but OSU was just a bit more talented. JT Barrett did not have a great day, as he finished with more rushing yards than passing yards, but that did not matter. He led his team to a hard fought win and delivered in the clutch. This game will go down in the books as one of the best to have ever been played. There are many more to come.
 A new chapter was written in this historic rivalry.

Friday, December 2, 2016

New Hope-Solebury Fall Sports Wrap-up

Deven Smith
Staff Writer

The New Hope-Solebury Golf team had a stellar season, going 12-2.  Ben Wiseman ranked 4th in the state. Nina Kouchi won the girls’ BAL title and also won the girls’ BAL MVP.

  The NH-S Girls’ Tennis team also had a great season, going 8-3 on the year. Star player Larissa Borys achieved second place in the girl’s BAL singles and 2nd in district singles. Chloe Miller also got 3rd place in BAL singles.

  The New Hope-Solebury Girls’ Soccer team went 8-7-2 and earned 2nd place in the sub-regional division.

  NH-S Boys’ Soccer went 7-8 and lost in the District Semi-Finals to Lansdale Catholic High School.

  The New Hope-Solebury Girls’ Volleyball team went 14-6. They were the BAL Champions, the District Champions, and Regional Champions. Caleigh Roach won the league MVP award.

  The NH-S Lions Football team went 8-2 and were the 2016 Bicentennial Athletic League Champions.

  New Hope-Solebury Field Hockey placed 2nd in District 1, 2nd in the region, and lost in state quarterfinals. The team’s coach, Gwen Smith, won Coach of the Year.

  On the New Hope-Solebury Cross Country team, Matt Peshek and Eric Cammarata finished in 97th and 134th places, respectively, within the boys’ competition. Julia Mycek finished 99th in the state for girls.