Saturday, October 31, 2009

Catholic University vs. Emory and Henry

So yesterday I had to travel with a few others all the way from American University to Catholic University to cover a football game. Catholic played this school I had never heard of, Emory and Henry University in a close game, but ended up losing 13-1o.

I went in, and it was, an... interesting set of hours spent there. This was my first experience at a Division 3 football game, and it is VERY obvious of the difference in a D1 football program and a D3 program.

First of all, nobody knew where the stadium was! These were students who had NO IDEA how to get there. Now I understand that not everybody can enjoy the beauties of football, but as a student on YOUR OWN CAMPUS, I feel like you should at least know the buildings and landmarks on your campus at this point of the year - freshman or not.

Secondly, after the trek (oh man was it a trek) to the stadium, it was not much of a "stadium", but a field - akin to the field at my small, private former high school: there was one side of bleachers of about 10 rows, and the field. At least there was a small press box though on the top.

Mind you, this whole time, there was only one guy in charged of ALL the athletics on Catholic's campus, and he was EXTREMELY helpful in our research and access to the team and its stats. *shout out to him* But he really wa over at the cross-country event, then had to run over to the football game to help us out a little bit.

And in the game itself, the playcalling wasn't very diverse. Both teams stuck with the quarterback draw, along with a couple more running plays. Any passes didn't go for more than 10 yards, if they ever passed. Even the "Hail Mary" at the end of the game by Catholic only reached mid-field, instead of hauling it to the endzone.

Nonetheless, it wasn't awful. Big ups to D3 programs for even having football... unlike SOME campuses in the country.............. (no names).

When I returned home, I sat down and wrote the corresponding article for the game to beat the deadline (there will be a video explaining the behind-the-scenes action). For your viewing pleasure, I have posted it with this blog:

Despite Catholic University's best defensive effort all season long, they were unable to capitalize on multiple offensive opportunities, causing Catholic to lose 13-10 to Emory and Henry University.

Contrary to the final score and other offensive mishaps though, Catholic did not play poorly either.

Although Catholic gave up the first touchdown of the game, they blocked the extra point and were able to score the next 10 points through one field goal and a touchdown run in by John O'Brien.

The Cardinals then were able to stop Emory and Henry's offense for another drive, and seemed to have the momentum to keep their opponent down.

Early into the third quarter though, the Wasps came out strong and were able to score a touchdown. But even with the lead, Emory and Henry could not penetrate the Catholic defense for the rest of the game.

Catholic actually led in time of possession in the second and third quarter, and was able to march down the field into Emory and Henry territory up to the redzone.

However, the mistakes made in the Cardinals' inability to create opportunities deep in the Wasps' territory and ultimately to score points kept them down and eventually gave them a difficult loss.

One of the most outstanding mistake for the Cardinals was the field goal kicking. Catholic kicker Brendan Deluca missed four field goals, including three from very short distances and one with 1:09 left in the game from 40 yards.

Nonetheless, teammates seemed to be sympathetic towards Deluca's failed field goal attempts. Receiver Mike Smith, who had four catches for 58 yards, said that the missed field goals were not as much of a factor in the way the rest of the team played.

"Not at all; we still played hard," Smith said. "If you're not on the field goal team, there's nothing you can do about it. You can just watch and hope he makes it. It was just a bad day for him."

Regardless of the tough season, the team continues to have confidence, especially in the coach. When asked about whether head coach Dave Dunn deserves the bad rap he received from the fans today, Smith commented, saying their coach "puts everybody in the best position to win." Smith continued, "When you look at the yards, we dominated on offense and defense, and everybody makes a mistake. You're coaching on the fly."

Catholic focused on the positives from the game, and noted that it was just an "off-day" for the team today in reaching their full potential to win against Emory and Henry.

"It went really well for us actually," Smith said about the game. "We played hard on every aspect of the game. It's just that it came down to little mistakes, and when we got down to the endzone, we couldn't capitalize, and out kicking game wasn't at our best."

Dunn further elaborated on the things that catholic did to give themselves a chance to win.

We followed the game plan up until we got to the redzone. We outgained them to up to double their yardage and didn't turn the ball over." Dunn also did not forget to mention that Cardinals held the number one player in rushing yards in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), Caleb Jennings, to under 100 yards.

Their biggest faults in today's game according to the coach were "mental mistakes."

Catholic's next game is against Guilford University at home. When asked about what could be changed, Dunn said, "We're just young in the skilled spots on the offense." Dunn also added that they lost many players from last year on defense as well; thus, making the Cardinals an "inexperienced team" versus a young team."

Smith said simply, "We just have to want it in the end."

However, Dunn isn't going to focus on the four botched field goald, the missed opportunities in the redzone, the fans' displeasure, or even next weekends's game or next season. "My goal is to have a good practice tomorrow."

2009 World Series Game 3

The offensive floodgates finally opened last night as the Yankees defeated the Phillies 8-5 at Citizens Bank Park. (No I didn't catch the game because I went out for Halloween).

However, I am watching toniight, as the Phillies try to even up the series at home in Game 4. Joe Blanton will pitch for the Phillies, resting Cliff Lee, and CC Sabathia on short rest will be on the mound for the Yankees.

I mean, for my prediction to be correct, the Phillies would have to win the next 3 games in a row... To be honest, I don't see that happening. But I can see them winning in 7 games. I think in order for either team to win actually, it will have to go to 7 games.

Both teams are just so evenly matched in good pitching and offense (numbers wise) that it will have to be a punch-for-punch series. I think the Phillies are better though in base running and hitting anything other than home runs than the Yankees; hence, why I picked them to win.

Side Note...

THE EAGLES ARE GOIN INNNNN!!!!! Like, I don't even like the Eagles, and usually, I hate anything affiliated with Philadelphia, but I do enjoy a good football game. The Eagles at the end of the first half are up 30-7 agaisnt the New York Giants with mad takeaways and passing it down the field.

Then again, I might just be excited because I'm pulling for the Phillies against the Yankees.

I'll cut the Redskins fans some slack today... they have a bye week. LOL!

At the same time, my team, the Cowboys just went up 21-10 by the end of the first half against the Seattle Seahawks. Which makes me happier.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed.

*Posted at 2:50pm

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back in Action! New World Series Order

So after helping to construct another blog, The Hockey Blog, and getting through midterms and all of that junk, I'm back!

Tonight was Game 1 of the 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies - just stating in case you've been under a rock lately.

The battle between the two prideful cities is what I think will be one of the most exciting World Series in recent times. As much as I dislike the Yankees, you can't say that the World Series matchups they've played in have been boring and uneventful, from a neutral fan's perspective.

Philadelphia definitely proved themselves to be the top of the National League, running over all theri opponents this playoff season. New York did the same until the last series, however, it seemed like as if the Yankees were only giving the Angels a "mercy game," as they clearly looked like the better team throughout the whole series.

Tonight's game featured two of the best pitchers in this postseason thus far: former Cleveland Indians CC Sabathia (and ALCS MVP) for the Yankees and Cliff Lee for the Phillies. Aside from the pitching matchup, the offenses of both teams are comparable, despite the lack of acknowledgment of the Phillies' offensive power.


However, this game didn't speak of the pre-game notions of what was expected. The Phillies ended up handing it to the Yankees, defeating them 6-1! . From early on in the game, Chase Utley gave Philadelphia the leading offense through 2 solo home runs. Later in the game though, the base running of the Phillies provided the final 4 runs to put away the Yankees.

Cliff Lee was ultimately superior in the supposedly-spectacular matchup between him and Sabathia. He pitched through 8 innings, but the of course, the Yankees had to spoil the shutout in the bottom of the 9th with 1 out. Nonetheless, Lee pitched exceedingly well.

Sabathia on the other hand did a decent job until he gave up the first home run to Utley in the 3rd and actually pitched through 7 full innings. The Yankees bullpen, however, screwed it up for New York, putting them down by more runs; thus, the game ended 6-1.

I'm excited for Game 2 now, not only because the Yankees are going in down 1-0 in the series and I'm reading all of these stats that now favor the Phillies, but I still think this will be an exciting series. Yes, even if the Phillies beat the Yankees in 5 as Mr. Rollins stated (which I won't lie, I don't think will happen).

Pedro Martinez and AJ Burnette are projected to start tomorrow night at 8pm (listed as 7:57?????) for Game 2 in New York. So I'll see you at the barrrrr... or if you're not there, enjoy where ever you're watching!

*Oh! I forgot! I never predicted anything! Phillies in 6 games.
And if anybody has any way that my frat Ryan Howard can meet his soror here in DC, please let me know! :)

Side Note:

Washington Capitals play against the Atlanta Thrashers Thursday night as well, and guess who traveled with the team - Tomas Fleischmann! He was out with an injury due to a blood clot in his leg, and should be back on the ice soon. It's definitely promising, and it's good to know since there are ample things Fleischmann can bring to the team's offense and defense... err, power play maybe?

Friday, October 02, 2009

It's about time: The Caps' season has officially started!

The Washington Capitals came out dominant and showed signs of a complete hockey team in their 4-1 win against the Boston Bruins.

The opener in Boston began with some quick offense as Brooks Laich scored just under 3 minutes in the game. This showed to be a good omen, as in the 2nd period, Alex Ovechkin follows up on a sick wrist shot to score a goal delivered by Alex Semin.

Washington was not finished in the 3rd period, scoring two goals, again from Laich and Ovechkin before the period was 2 minutes old.

Patrice Bergeron was the only goal scorer for the Bruins, scoring late in the 3rd period.

The Caps were able to do a number of things right. Taking advantage of opportunities such as power plays, taking only minimal number of penalties (minus John Erskine's dumb holding the stick penalty), the defense and goaltending remaining in unison throughout the entire game, and the main offensive players doing what they were supposed to do.

What surprised me was that Jose Theodore made 19 out of 20 saves, considering every game he started in the preseason, the Capitals lost. Although it does make sense - the Caps never really allowed that many goals when he started either. They just never felt like playing that hard for him I guess...

But that was preseason, and hey, as long as there's a goaltender in net who's giving the Washington a chance to win, then I'm going to be happy.

Finally, as a side note, Alex Ovechkin leads the league in the most multi-goal games in the past 2 seasons with 14 games, and also leads in the most 3-point performances with 15, over Crosby and Malkin.

MLB Playoff Picture

So the Tigers/Twins "saga" continues. The Twins decided to win today of all days, and to stave off their elimination for a few days. Seeing as how no team has come back from being 3 games back in the last... forever actually, the Twins have an extememly slim chance of making the playoffs now.

But, they do close out the season in a 3-game set with the Kansas City Royals, who the Twins have defeated 9 times in 15 games thus far this season. So there it CAN happen, if the Tigers just lose 3 straight against the Chicago White Sox...

As far as the National League goes, the Colorado Rockies have made the playoffs for the first time in 3 years (it's been that long since the Red Sox swept them for a 2nd World Series championship??? I know - jerk move, I'm sorry lol).

On the other hand, the LA Dodgers, the Rockies' next opponent for the final 3 games of the season, have had a magic number of only 1 for almost a week. Needless to say, they have not gotten past that.

So the battle between these two teams are now to see who wins the NL West division title and who takes the NL Wild Card position. Should be interesting....

Shout out...

To the Calgary Flames for winning their first season opener in 7 years!

To Marion Barber III - stop being injured.

And to Jay Morgan. if you're reading this, I'll explain it Friday over dinner? Out or at home, it's up to you :)