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Navy heads to Troy looking for sixth straight win

Posted on 09 November 2012 by WNST Staff

Game 10 Navy (6-3) at Troy (4-5)
Date and Kickoff Nov. 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm ET
Location Troy, Ala. | Veterans Memorial Stadium (30,000)
Television ESPN3
TV Talent Dave Weekley (play-by-play, Forrest Conoly (analyst)


Setting the Stage

• Navy and Troy will meet on the gridiron for the second time in as many years when they square off Saturday afternoon at Larry Blakeney Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm Eastern.
• Navy enters the weekend having won five consecutive games.  The last time Navy won six games in a row came at the start of the 1979 season when the Mids defeated The Citadel, Connecticut, Illinois, Air Force, William & Mary and Virginia.
• Saturday’s game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3 with Dave Weekley and Forrest Conoly calling the action.

Scouting Troy
• Troy owns a 4-5 record this fall, but has close losses to Mississippi State (30-24) and Tennessee (55-48).

• The Trojans are ranked 50th in the country in rushing offense (173.7 yards per game), 15th in passing offense (315.0 yards per game), 15th in total offense (488.7 yards per game) and 53rd in scoring offense (30.11).
• Quarterback Corey Robinson has completed 184 of his 290 passes for 2,199 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.  His backup, Deon Anthony, has completed 59 of his 86 passes for 635 yards with seven touchdowns and just one interception.
• The leading receiver for the Owls is Chip Reeves, who has 47 catches for 804 yards and five touchdowns, while Eric Thomas has 44 catches for 521 yards and six touchdowns.
• Running back Shawn Southward is the leading rusher with 793 yards and nine touchdowns on 153 carries.
• The defense is ranked 72nd against the run (168.4 yards per game), 103rd against the pass (266.3 yards per game), 90th in total defense (434.8) and 81st in scoring defense (30.0).
• The defense is led by Brynden Trawick, who has 68 tackles and 4.5 tackles for a loss, while Brannon Bryan has recorded 56 tackles and a pick.

The Last Time … 
Navy 42, Troy 14    Oct. 5, 2011 | ANNAPOLIS, MD.
• Senior quarterback Kriss Proctor, playing with a dislocated left (throwing) elbow, completed four of his six pass attempts for 127 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 37 yards and two touchdowns to lead Navy to a 42-14 rout of Troy in front of a Senior Day crowd of 33,359 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.  The victory broke a six-game losing streak for the Mids.
• Proctor, who only played in the first half, directed Navy to five touchdown drives in seven possessions as the Mids built a 35-0 halftime lead.
• The Navy defense, which had been much maligned during the Mids’ losing skid, was superb, holding Troy to just 99 yards of total offense in the first half and forcing two turnovers.
• Nose guard Jared Marks recorded the first big play of the day on Troy’s first possession when he recovered a Corey Robinson fumble on the Navy 24-yard line.
• Six plays later, Navy converted the turnover into points as Proctor scored from the one.  Earlier in the drive, Proctor hitBrandon Turner for 25 yards on a screen pass on third-and-12 and hit slot back John Howell on the next play for 42 yards down to the Troy 11.
• Navy’s second touchdown was also set up by the defense as freshman Parrish Gaines stripped Shawn Southward andCollin Sturdivant recovered at the Navy 35-yard line.  It was the first-career caused fumble for Gaines and the first-career recovery for Sturdivant.
• It took Navy just two plays to move the 65 yards to paydirt with Proctor hitting Gee Gee Greene for 48 yards and a touchdown to cap the drive and the rout was on.
• The Mids would score three more times in the second quarter as fullback Alexander Teich scored on a five-yard run off an option pitch from Proctor, Greene scored on a 10-yard run and Proctor scored from five yards out.
• Senior slot back Mike Stukel capped the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
• Senior slot back Aaron Santiago, who returned from a broken arm earlier than anybody expected including the doctors, showed no rust in his first game since Sept. 10, leading the Mids with 80 yards rushing on six carries.

Navy Vs. The Sun Belt
• Navy is 6-0 all-time against the Sun Belt with victories over Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Troy and Western Kentucky (twice).
• The Mids defeated Florida Atlantic, 24-17, last week.

Bama Born    
• Navy has seven players on its roster from the state of Alabama:  freshman slot back Bradley Bostick (Birmingham), sophomore slot back Reuben Carson (Birmingham), senior linebacker Brye French (Deatsville), junior corner Eric Graham (Eight Mile), junior wide receiver Shawn Lynch (Pelham), freshman center Ben Tamburello (Hoover) and sophomore slot back Ryan Williams-Jenkins (Helena).

Navy Rallies To Beat Florida Atlantic
• Freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds piled up 306 yards of total offense and three touchdowns to lead Navy to a 24-17 victory over Florida Atlantic in front of 29,326 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.  The win was Navy’s sixth of the year and clinched a berth to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.  It is Navy’s ninth bowl game in the last 10 years.
• The Mids trailed 10-0 with 8:57 left in the second quarter, before Reynolds got Navy going with a 48-yard run down to the FAU 33.
• On the next play, Reynolds hit sophomore slot back Ryan Williams-Jenkins with a 22-yard pass down to the 11-yard line and three plays later, on third-and-13, Reynolds hit senior wide receiver Brandon Turner with a 14-yard touchdown pass to cut the FAU lead to 10-7.
• Florida Atlantic drove down to the Navy 15 on its next possession, but on third down Jonathan Wallace threw incomplete out of the wildcat formation and then on fourth down Wallace was stopped for no gain by sophomore nose guard Danny Ring on a screen pass from quarterback Graham Wilbert.
• The Mids took over at their own 15 with 2:10 left in the half and quickly drove down the field.  Reynolds hit junior wide receiver Shawn Lynch, who made a spectacular over the shoulder catch, for 28 yards to move the ball down to the FAU 43.  Reynolds then threw a screen pass to sophomore fullback Noah Copeland for 25 yards to get the ball to the FAU five-yard line. Two plays later Reynolds scored from the one to give Navy the 14-10 halftime lead.
• Navy took the second half kickoff and methodically moved down the field, but bogged down at the FAU 31-yard line.  Facing a fourth-and-eight, Niumatalolo elected to go for it instead of kicking a 48-yard field goal into the wind.  The gamble paid off as Reynolds hit senior wide receiver Brandon Turner with a 31-yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-10.
• Freshman kicker Nick Sloan made a 20-yard field goal with 2:08 left in the third quarter and it appeared that Navy was in command.  However, the Mids allowed Florida Atlantic back in the game thanks to a costly turnover.
• Reynolds left the game in the fourth quarter with a hyperextended elbow and on the next play, junior quarterback Trey Miller and senior fullback Prentice Christian fumbled the mesh (the fumble was credited to Christian) and FAU’s Andrae Kirk recovered the ball at the Navy 39.
• Seven plays later FAU scored on a three-yard touchdown run by Wallace and the Navy lead was cut to 24-17.
• The Mids took the ball and moved to the FAU 30-yard line, but on third-and-one sophomore slot Geoffrey Whitesidelost four yards on an errant pitch by Reynolds and Sloan missed wide left on a 51-yard field goal.
• With a chance to tie Florida Atlantic moved the ball down to the Navy 17-yard line, but Wilbert threw three straight incompletions, the last one forced by sophomore defensive end Paul Quessenberry, and the Mids got the ball back with 4:10 remaining at their own 22.
• Navy ran out the clock as Reynolds carried the ball five consecutive times for 24 yards and two first downs.
• Reynolds finished the day with a career-high 159 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, while he threw for a career-high 147 yards and two touchdowns (8-15).
• Turner had the two touchdown catches for 45 yards, while Lynch had two catches for 32 yards.
• Sophomore corner Parrish Gaines, senior linebacker Brye French, senior outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel and senior safety Tra’ves Bush paced Navy with seven tackles apiece.  Freshman corner Kwazel Bertrand had his first career fumble recovery to go along with his six tackles.

Navy Quick Hitters
• The Midshipmen punched their ticket to the Dec. 29 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco last Saturday with a 24-17 victory over Florida Atlantic. It will be Navy’s 18th bowl appearance all-time, including its ninth in the last 10 years.
• Navy has been the dominant Service Academy over the last decade going 18-2 against Army (10-0) and Air Force (8-2), winning seven-consecutive Commander-In-Chief’s Trophies from 2003-09 and going to nine bowl games in the last 10 years.
• Navy will join the BIG EAST for football only starting in 2015.
• Navy’s three losses this season (Notre Dame, Penn State and San Jose State) have come at the hands of opponents that are a combined 22-5 (.815) on the year.  Notre Dame (9-0) is currently ranked fourth in the country, while Penn State (6-3) is receiving votes.  San Jose State (7-2) has received votes in the polls this year, as well.
• Over the last seven games (6-1), Navy has outscored the opposition 122-57 in the second half.  The defense has allowed just six touchdowns in the second half of those contests.
• The Mids turned the ball over 12 times in the first four games (nine lost fumbles and three interceptions) and went 1-3 in those four games.  Over the last five games, Navy has turned it over just twice and are 5-0.
• Ken Niumatalolo has led the Midshipmen to a 38-24 (.613) record in his fifth season as head coach.  He is tied for fourth all-time at Navy in career wins with Wayne Hardin.  Niumatalolo holds Navy coaching records for most wins in the first two (18), three (27), four (32) and five seasons (38) of a career.
• Senior outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel scored a perfect 1600 on his SAT and is believed to be the only current FBS player in the country to accomplish such a feat.  He carries a 3.89 GPA in systems engineering and is an Academic All-America candidate.  Wetzel has also been a force on the field for the Midshipmen, recording 52 tackles (fourth most on the team), a team-high 11 tackles for a loss and a team-high six sacks.  He is just two sacks from third on Navy’s single-season sack list.
• Keenan Reynolds is the first freshman to start at quarterback for Navy since Jim Kubiak started five games in 1991 and is just the third freshman in school history to start at quarterback (the other was Alton Grizzard in 1987). Reynolds is 4-0 as a starting quarterback with wins over Central Michigan, Indiana, East Carolina and Florida Atlantic.  Kubiak won just one game as a freshman starter and Grizzard won two.  Reynolds is the first Navy quarterback to win his first four starts since senior Bob Powers, who won his first six career starts in 1979.  The Mids started 6-0 that year and finished 7-4 with a victory over Army.
• Sophomore punter and Ray Guy candidate Pablo Beltran is averaging 44.7 yards per punt (27 punts) this season. He would stand 11th in the country in punting if he qualified (must average 3.6 punts per game).
• Freshman Nick Sloan is one of just 12 true freshman kickers starting in the FBS this year.  He is 8-for-10 on field goals and 28-for-28 on extra-points.
• Navy was 4-0 during the month of October after going 0-5 last year in October. It is the first time Navy went undefeated in the month of October since 1996.  That team finished 9-3 and defeated California in the Aloha Bowl.
• Navy owns a 6-3 record all-time in overtime games, winning six of its last seven.
• Navy owns an 81-43 (.653) record over the last 10 years after posting a 3-30 (.091) mark from 2000-02.  The 81 wins are the 21st most in the country over the last decade.
• Navy is trying to finish first in fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards per game for the second consecutive year and for the third time in the last four seasons.  The Mids are currently tied for first with Kansas State in fewest penalties per game (3.44) and fewest penalty yards per game (26.44).
• Navy is 29-4 (.879) under Ken Niumatalolo when scoring first and 9-20 (.310) when the opponent scores first.
• Under Niumatalolo, the Mids are 23-3 (.885) when leading after the first quarter and 15-21 (.417) when trailing or tied after the first stanza.
• Navy owns a 18-7 (.720) record in games played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium under Niumatalolo and is 20-17 (.541) away from home.

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Navy-Penn State to air on ABC

Posted on 07 June 2012 by WNST Staff

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—The Navy-Penn State football game on Saturday, Sept. 15 in State College, Pa. will be televised nationally by ABC/ESPN2 starting at 3:30 p.m.  It is the first time that Navy has appeared on ABC since the 1996 Aloha Bowl victory over California.  A portion of the country will get another game on ABC and in that case the game will be carried on ESPN2.

It was also announced today that the Nov. 10 game at Troy will kick at 2:30 p.m. (CT), 3:30 p.m. in Annapolis, and the game will be broadcast by ESPN3.

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Navy Home Football Games To Kick Off At 3:30PM, Air On CBS Sports Net

Posted on 25 April 2012 by WNST Staff

Navy Home Football Games To Kick At 3:30 PM And Will Be Televised Live By CBS Sports Network

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—The five home games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will kickoff at 3:30 PM and will be televised live by CBS Sports Network.

Navy will kick-off the 2012 season on Sept. 1 in Dublin, Ireland against Notre Dame.  The game will be played at Aviva Stadium, located in the heart of Dublin, and marks the first time the stadium has hosted an American football game.

It will also be the first time in program history that Navy has opened up against Notre Dame and the second time the two teams have met in Dublin.  Navy played the Irish at Croke Park in Dublin in 1996.   The game will be broadcast by CBS Sports and kick at 2:00 PM in Dublin, which is 9:00 AM on the East Coast.

After a week off, the Mids will travel to Happy Valley on Sept. 15 to take on Bill O’Brien’s Penn State Nittany Lions.  It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1974 when Navy shocked Penn State in State College, 7-6.   A kickoff time has not yet been announced by Penn State and the BIG Ten Conference.

VMI comes to town on Sept. 22 for the home opener at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It will be the ninth meeting between the two schools and the first since 2003 when Navy defeated the Keydets, 37-10, in the season opener.

The Mids will have revenge on their minds when San Jose State comes calling on Sept. 29. Last fall, the Spartans eliminated the Midshipmen from bowl contention with a 27-24 victory in San Jose.

Navy will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the first leg of the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy on Oct. 6.  The Falcons won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy last year thanks to a 35-34 overtime victory over Navy in Annapolis.  Air Force and the Mountain West Conference have not yet released a game time.

The Mids will travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich. the following week, as Navy will play at Central Michigan on Friday, Oct. 12 at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN2.  It will be the first time Navy has played at Central Michigan and the first time Navy has played in the state of Michigan since 2006 when the Mids beat Eastern Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Indiana Hoosiers come to Annapolis the following week (Oct. 20) for Homecoming.  It will be just the third time in school history that the two teams have met and it will be Indiana’s first trip to Annapolis.  The Hoosiers will be the first Big 10 team to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since Northwestern beat Navy in 2002.

East Carolina will play host to Navy on Oct. 27 in Greenville.  The Pirates knocked off Navy last year in a thriller, 38-35. East Carolina and Conference USA have not yet announced a game time.

Navy and Florida Atlantic will meet on the gridiron for the first time the following week as new head coach Carl Pelini brings his Owls North to Annapolis on Nov. 3.

Navy will make its first trip to Troy, Ala. on Nov. 10 when the Mids take on the Troy Trojans. Navy defeated Troy last year, 42-14.  Troy and the Sun Belt Conference have not yet announced a game time.

The home finale takes place on Nov. 17, when Dennis Franchione and the Texas State Bobcats come to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Senior Day.

The 2012 Army-Navy Game Presented by USAA will take place at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 8.  Navy leads the all-time series, 56-49-7, and has won a series-record 10-consecutive games against the Black Knights.  CBS has not announced a game time as of yet.

Season tickets are on sale now for $180.   Standing room only tickets for the grass hill located at the North end zone of Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium are $100 for the season and the Billy the Kid Package (age 12 and under) is $60 forstanding room only tickets for the grass hill.  Children two and under do not need a ticket unless the child is occupying a sea. You can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY or by going to www.navysports.com.

For information about how to get CBS Sports Network, including a full programming schedule, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com  

2012 Navy Football Schedule
Sept. 1                        vs. Notre Dame (Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 15            at Penn State                               
Sept. 22            VMI
Sept. 29             at San Jose State
Oct. 6                        at Air Force
Oct. 13                        at Central Michigan
Oct. 20                        Indiana (Homecoming)
Oct. 27                        at East Carolina
Nov. 3                        Florida Atlantic
Nov. 10            at Troy
Nov. 17            Texas State
Dec. 8                        vs. Army (Philadelphia)

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Towson Announces 19 Man Recruiting Class For 2012

Posted on 01 February 2012 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. –  A talented group of 19 football players has signed National Letters of Intent to attend Towson University and play football, it has been announced by Coach Rob Ambrose.

The Tigers’ recruiting class includes five transfer students, including four FBS transfers. Joining the Tigers as transfers are defensive lineman Brendon Gannon of Western Michigan, defensive back Darrell Givens of Rutgers, defensive back Ben Harvey of South Carolina and cornerback Jordan Love of Georgia. In addition, offensive lineman Jake McDowell transferred from Golden West Junior College.

Of the 14 incoming freshmen, five are products of Maryland high schools. The Tigers have also added three newcomers from the Tidewater area of Virginia. 

“This is the best recruiting class we’ve ever had,” says Coach Ambrose. “That’s the natural progression of building a program. Each recruiting class needs to be better than the one before it. These incoming players are the biggest, fastest recruits we’ve ever signed.”

The Tiger coaching staff will officially announce the recruiting class at the NLI Signing Party at Bill Bateman’s Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m.

BRYTON BARR, Linebacker
6-0, 220-lbs., Mechanicsburg Area H.S., Camp Hill, Pa.

Two-time All-State selection … honored as Keystone Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior … four-year starter at linebacker for the Wildcats who made 504 tackles in career … two-year team captain for Coach Chris Hakel … also forced 20 fumbles in his career … had six career interceptions … three-time all-conference selection … led team with 154 tackles as a senior … also had 175 tackles as a junior … chosen to play in the Big 33 all-star game … also played tight end for the Wildcats and scored 24 touchdowns in career … had 1,500 receiving yards in career … two-time team MVP … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has one older brother … has done volunteer work with Special Olympics … favorite NFL team is the Atlanta Falcons … lists defensive back Shann Schilinger of Atlanta as his favorite NFL player … had summer job as landscaper … lists “Tuesdays With Morrie” as his favorite book … favorite movie is “The Book Of Eli” …  favorite actor is Denzel Washington …enjoys eating steak … enjoys music by John Mayer … father is a graduate of Columbus College who played college baseball … father is a realtor … mother is a food service supervisor … son of Terry and Quinn Barr … born on February 6, 1994 in Harrisburg, Pa

CHRISTIAN CARPENTER, Athlete
6-2, 185-lbs., Aberdeen H.S., Aberdeen, Md.

Very talented two-way standout at Aberdeen High School … second team All-State selection … earned first team All-Metro notice as a senior … also named first team All-Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference … played wide receiver and defensive back for the Eagles … caught 64 passes for 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior … also made 148 tackles with six interceptions … scored one defensive touchdown for the Eagles … led Coach Johnny Brooks’ Eagles to a 10-3 record and the semi-finals of the Maryland state playoffs … Eagles showed vast improvement after posting a 1-9 record in 2010 … helped Eagles win UCBAC championship … named Most Valuable Player at the UCBAC all-star game … also played in the Crab Bowl … member of track and field team at Aberdeen where he excelled in the long jump … PERSONAL: Has one younger brother … lists mother as the person he admires the most … hobbies include video games … avid fan of the Baltimore Ravens … lists the late Sean Taylor as his favorite NFL player … favorite athlete is Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat … favorite movie is “Planet of the Apes” … enjoys eating spaghetti … parents are Syracuse University graduates … mother earned MBA from Strayer and works in Human Resources … son of Robert and Davita Carpenter … born on March 2, 1994 in Alpharetta, Ga.

ROB CHESSON, Running Back
5-9, 175-lbs., Old Mill H.S., Millersville, Md.

Explosive running back who earned first team All-State honors … named as Maryland State Offensive Player of the Year … led Old Mill High School to a 14-0 record and the Maryland “4A” state championship … set a Maryland state record with 49 touchdowns scored, breaking previous mark of 43 … rushed for 2,701 yards on 337 carries … scored game-winning two-point conversion in Old Mill’s 36-35 win in the state championship game over Quince Orchard … ran for 154 yards on 25 carries in state championship game … led the Patriots to a win over Catonsville in the state semi-finals by rushing for 312 yards on 24 carries and scoring seven touchdowns … ran for 247 yards and scored five touchdowns in win over Southern … picked up 216 yards on 35 carries with five touchdowns against Arundel … also scored five TD’s in 180-yard effort against South River … led Washington to a win in the Crab Bowl by running for 134 yards with one touchdown … PERSONAL:  Has one older sister and one younger brother … has two cousins playing football in Anne Arundel County … son of Robert and Tikira Barber … born on October 27, 1993 in Annapolis, Md.

BRENDON GANNON, Defensive Lineman
6-2, 260-lbs., Cardinal Gibbons H.S., Halethorpe, Md.

Transfer from Western Michigan University … has three years of eligibility remaining … two-year performer for the Broncos who was a redshirt in 2010 … appeared in one game in 2011 … made one tackle against Bowling Green … member of Broncos’ team that posted a 7-6 record and dropped a 37-32 heartbreaker to Purdue in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit … earned All-MIAA honors twice at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Baltimore … team captain of the Crusaders … led team with 98 tackles as a senior … selected to play in Baltimore Touchdown Club’s all-star game … also played basketball for the Crusaders and served as team captain … member of the track and field team at Gibbons … attended Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) for one year and played football … made 64 tackles with eight sacks in one year at Wyoming Seminary … PERSONAL: Has three brothers and one sister … lists mother as the person he admires the most … hobbies include baseball and lacrosse … had summer job working at a pharmacy … favorite NFL team is the Baltimore Ravens … lists Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants as his favorite NFL player … favorite book is “Life On The Mississippi” by Mark Twain … favorite movie is “Paid In Full” … lists Dwight Howard as his favorite athlete … favorite actress is Jada Pinkett … mother is a dental assistant … son of Latonia Small … born on July 13, 1991 in Baltimore, Md.

DARRELL GIVENS, Defensive Back
6-1, 193-lbs., Lackey H.S., Fort Washington, Md. 

Transfer from Rutgers University … has two years of eligibility remaining … two-year performer for the Scarlet Knights … appeared in four games over the last two seasons … member of Scarlet Knights’ team that posted a 9-4 record in 2011 and beat Iowa State in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium … appeared in two games this season and made one tackle … also played in two games in 2010 … widely-recruited cornerback out of Lackey High School who earned scholastic All-American honors … rated as the No. 6 cornerback in the nation by ESPN.com … also rated as No. 29 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com … two-time All-County selection who also earned All-State honors as a senior … had 57 tackles and intercepted two passes as a senior … also caught 18 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown … led the Chargers to an 8-4 record as a senior … helped Lackey make back-to-back appearances in regional championship game … made 82 tackles as a junior with three interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries … PERSONAL: Has two brothers and one sister … born on September 25, 1990 in Washington, D.C.

BEN HARVEY, Defensive Back
5-10, 185-lbs., Good Counsel H.S., Columbia, Md.

Transfer from University of South Carolina … did not play for the Gamecocks … has four years of eligibility remaining … member of Gamecocks team that posted an 11-2 record and beat Nebraska in the Florida Citrus Bowl … All-Metro defensive back at Good Counsel High School … helped the Falcons post a 10-2 record as a senior … member of Coach Bob Milloy’s WCAC championship team … also played basketball and ran track … helped the Falcons’ track team win the WCAC title … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Hoping for a career in computer science … lists mother as the person he admires the most … avid fan of the Baltimore Ravens … lists Darrelle Revis as his favorite NFL player … favorite movie is “Scarface” … lists Lindsay Lohan as his favorite actress … had summer job as camp counselor … favorite athlete is LeBron James … favorite book is “Art of War” … mother is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts who played basketball … son of Kenny Harvey and Juanita Matthews … born on January 9, 1993 in Boston, Mass

SYD HOLT, Defensive End
6-4, 210-lbs., Sayreville War Memorial H.S., South Amboy, N.J.

All-State first team performer at defensive end … team captain who led the Bombers to an 11-1 record and the 2010 Central Jersey Group IV state championship … named as New Jersey Defensive Player of the Year by The Newark Star-Ledger … made 90 tackles with 13.5 sacks for Coach George Najjar … earned All-County and All-League honors … also caught 17 passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns as a tight end … had 48 tackles and 13 sacks as a junior … also played basketball for the Bombers … PERSONAL: Has two younger sisters and one younger brother … lists father as the person he admires the most … has done community service work at food shelters and a retirement home … favorite NFL teams are the St. Louis Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers … favorite athlete is Lebron James … favorite actor is  Tyrese Gibson … enjoys eating fried chicken … favorite musician is Chris Brown … son of Sydnor L. Holt and Telica Harrington  … born on March 2, 1993 in Newark, N.J.

Ra-ZAHN HOWARD, Defensive Tackle
6-3, 300-lbs., Asbury Park H.S., Asbury Park, N.J.

Third team All-State selection at defensive tackle … led Asbury Park High School to NJSIAA state championship … transferred to Asbury Park prior to senior season … keyed Asbury Park defense which allowed just 464 rushing yards all season … named as the Class B Central Defensive Player of the Year … made 68 tackles with 12 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries … also forced three fumbles and made 31 tackles for lost yardage … also named first team All-Shore Conference for Coach Matt Ardizzone …  made 57 tackles and had ten sacks as a junior at Winslow Township H.S. … also played basketball in high school … also wrestled and won regional title as a sophomore … PERSONAL: Cousin of Marcus Valentine, a four-year standout for the Tigers who was one of the captains of the Tigers’ Colonial Athletic Association championship team in 2011 … career goal is to work in juvenile probation and corrections … lists Marcus Valentine as the person he admires most … favorite NFL team is the Detroit Lions … lists Denzel Washington as his favorite actor … favorite musician is Stevie Wonder … lists “Friday Night Lights” as his favorite movie … enjoys eating chicken parmesan … son of Mark Howard and Tina Morris … born on August 9, 1994 in Red Bank, N.J.

DREON JOHNSON, Fullback
6-0, 235-lb., Mayde Creek H.S., Houston, Tex.

Versatile performer at Mayde Creek High School … saw action at offensive tackle, fullback and defensive end for the Rams … two-year team captain for Coach Lance Carter … earned first team All-District honors at offensive tackle … honored as top offensive lineman in the district as a senior … led team in tackles as a junior … three-year starter … also a member of the Rams’ wrestling team and track and field team … PERSONAL: Has one brother and one sister … lists mother as the person he admires the most … hobbies include playing basketball … favorite NFL teams are the Houston Texans, the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers … favorite NFL player is running back  Brandon Jacobs of the Giants … lists LeBron James as his favorite athlete … favorite movie is “Dead Presidents” … favorite actor is Terrence Howard … enjoys listening to music by Z-RO … likes to eat Mexican food … mother is a substitute teacher … son of Lamonica Benton … born on December 12, 1992 in College Station, Texas.

CLIFTON JONES, Defensive Tackle
6-2, 250-lb., Tallwood H.S., Virginia Beach, Va.

Explosive defensive lineman who earned first team All-District honors at Tallwood High School … team captain of the Lions … also named first team All-Beach for Coach John Kepple … member of All-Region second team … named as team captain … standout performer for the Lions’ track and field team who finished fifth in the region in the shot put … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has one sister … lists family as the people he admires the most … had summer job in child care … favorite NFL player is Michael Vick … lists “The Wood” as his favorite movie … favorite athlete is NBA standout Brandon Roy … mother is a nurse … father is a high school football coach … son of Clifton Jones Sr.  and Pam Archie … born January 9, 1994 in Norfolk, Va.

JULEON KILLIKELLY-LEE, Cornerback
5-10, 160-lbs., Woodlawn H.S., Gwynn Oak, Md.

Very speedy cornerback who earned second team All-State honors … also named All-Baltimore County … played three years at Western Tech and one season at Woodlawn … intercepted three passes as a senior at Woodlawn and scored seven touchdowns … threw for 546 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior … also ran for 521 yards for the Warriors … members of the first Western Tech team to post a 10-0 record … made 20 tackles and intercepted four passes as a junior at Western … played in Crab Bowl and the Chesapeake Bowl … outstanding sprinter for the Warriors’ track and field team … won Maryland state championships in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash … PERSONAL: Has one older brother … lists father as the person he admires the most … has done community service work planting trees and feeding the hungry … hobbies include singing … avid fan of the Baltimore Ravens … had summer job working with automotive repair … lists Ray Lewis and Adrian Peterson as his favorite NFL players … enjoys reading “Of Mice and Men” … favorite movie is “Jason’s Lyric” … lists Steve Carell as his favorite actor … enjoys listening to music by C.J. Hilton … father is a fire alarm technician … mother is an IT analyst and a graduate of the University of Baltimore … son of Donald Lee and Lanca Killikelly … born on May 1, 1994 in Baltimore, Md.

DONNELL LEWIS, Cornerback
5-10, 160-lbs., Woodside H.S., Newport News, Va.

Honored as one of the Top 100 football players in Virginia … two-way standout who played quarterback and defensive back at Woodside High School … honored as Peninsula District Player of the Year … two-time All-Region selection at defensive back … led the Wolverines to a perfect 10-0 record … completed 49 of 88 passes for 760 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior … also rushed for 739 yards and scored seven touchdowns for Coach Danny Dodson … had two interceptions … intercepted seven passes as a junior and returned two for touchdowns … also played basketball and ran track … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has one younger brother and one younger sister … lists father as the person he admires the most … career goal is to become a police officer … had summer job working at Busch Gardens … avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys … favorite NFL player is Michael Vick … lists LeBron James as his favorite athlete … favorite movie is “Friday Night Lights” … lists Walter Dean Meyers as his favorite author … enjoys eating lasagna … father is an Army veteran … mother works in daycare … son of Donnell Lewis Sr. and Hirut Lewis … born on March 12, 1994 in Fort Riley, Kansas.

JORDAN LOVE, Cornerback
6-0, 190-lbs., Deep Run H.S., Glen Allen, Va.

Transfer from the University of Georgia … two-year performer for the Bulldogs … has two years of eligibility remaining … played in 21 games in career at Georgia … appeared in eight games and started once in 2011 … made 12 tackles and forced a fumble … also broke up one pass … made first career start in season opener against Boise State … member of Bulldogs team that finished the season with a 10-4 record as Southeastern Conference runners-up … played in all 13 games as a freshman in 2010 … made nines tackle and forced a fumble as a freshman … had career high five tackles and forced a fumble against Coastal Carolina in 2011 … All-State selection at Deep Run High School in Virginia …. rated as No. 1 cornerback in Virginia as a senior … made 45 tackles as a senior … also ran for 281 yards with two touchdowns … also returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown … intercepted three passes as a junior … PERSONAL: Has two brothers and two sisters … father is a graduate of Southern Illinois who played pro football for the Seattle Seahawks … mother is a graduate of Jackson State who works for the FBI … born on December 31, 1990 in Chicago, Ill.

JAKE McDOWELL, Offensive Lineman
6-5, 290-lb., Los Alamitos H.S., Los Alamitos, Cal.

Solid offensive lineman who is a transfer from Golden West Junior College … two-year standout for the Rustlers who earned second team all-conference honors in 2011 … helped Golden West post a 7-4 record … earned all-league honors at Los Alamitos High School in California … helped the Griffins win their league championship … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has two younger brothers … devoted fan of the St. Louis Rams  … career goal is to become a physical therapist … lists grandfather as the person he admires the most … hobbies include snowboarding … favorite NFL player is Clay Matthews … lists “Dark Knight” as his favorite movie … favorite actor is Christian Bale … lists Katherine Heigl as his favorite actress … enjoys music by Toby Keith … favorite athlete is Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels … father is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton … mother is a Carritos College graduate … son of Matthew and Susan McDowell … born on June 8, 1992 in Irvine, Cal.

WILLIE PONDER, Wide Receiver
5-11, 175-lb., Western Branch H.S., Chesapeake, Va.

Two-way standout at wide receiver at Western Branch H.S. … earned first team all-district honors as a senior … named as the Bruins’ Most Valuable Player … earned honorable mention All-Tidewater notice … two-year captain for Coach Scott Johnson … also played basketball and ran track for the Bruins … honor roll student every semester … member of Latin Club … also a member of Future Business Leaders of America … PERSONAL: Career goal is to become a pharmacist or work in physical therapy … lists parents as the people he admires the most … has been very active in community service work … favorite NFL team is the Atlanta Falcons … lists Percy Harvin as his favorite NFL player … had summer jobs working at Best Buy and Auto Bell Car Wash … cousin, Glenn Waldron, played football at University of New Hampshire … favorite musician is Drake … enjoys eating pizza  … favorite movie is “Friday Night Lights” …  lists Kobe Bryant as his favorite athlete … parents work for the U.S. Navy … mother is a graduate of Troy University … son of Willie and Nicole Ponder … born on October 7, 1992 in Olney, Md.

FRED SANTARELLI, Offensive Tackle
6-6, 295-lbs., The Hill School, Philadelphia, Pa.

Two-sport standout at The Hill School … earned All-State honors at offensive tackle … also named All-WAPL for Coach Grey Simpson … helped the Rams post a 6-3 record as a senior … also wrestled for the Rams … PERSONAL: Has two younger sisters … career goal is to become a coach … lists former St. Joseph’s Prep Coach Gil Brooks as the person he admires most … hobbies include playing video games … favorite NFL team is the Philadelphia Eagles … lists All-Pro tackle Jason Peters of the Eagles as his favorite NFL player … favorite movie is “The Godfather” … lists Robert DeNiro as his favorite actor … had summer job working at a pizza restaurant … favorite athlete is Usain Bolt … mother is a former All-American basketball player at Immaculata who coaches basketball … father played football at Juniata College and served as team captain … father is an attorney … son of Frederick and Letty Santarelli … born on February 25, 1993 in Philadelphia, Pa.


BRADY STUP, Offensive Tackle
6-5, 270-lbs., Tuscarora H.S., Frederick, Md.

Second team All-State selection at Tuscarora High School … two-way tackle who also earned All-Area and all-conference honors for Coach Dean Swink … team captain of the Titans … made 75 tackles with six sacks as a senior … honorable mention All-State selection as a junior … selected to play in the Crab Bowl All-Star Game … honorable mention All-Monocacy Valley League wrestler … also played lacrosse for the Titans … PERSONAL: Parents are both Towson graduates … father, Bill Stup, played football for the Tigers from 1985 to 1988 and was a team captain as a senior … older brother, Billy, played football for the Tigers from 2008 to 2011 … lists parents as the people he admires most … has spent a lot of time working on grandparents’ farm … very active in church activities … has three brothers … older brother, Bobby, plays football at Colgate … devoted fan of the Baltimore Ravens … lists Ray Rice as his favorite NFL player … lists “Gladiator” as his favorite movie … favorite meal is fried chicken .. has an uncle who played football at Virginia Tech … has another uncle who played football at Shepherd College … mother is an occupational therapist … father owns a business … son of Bill and Lori Stup … born on August 23, 1994 in Havre deGrace, Md.


SHAYNE SULLIVAN, Offensive Tackle
6-6, 285-lbs., Archbishop Spalding H.S., Crofton, Md.

All-Metro first team pick at offensive tackle … also named All-MIAA and All-Anne Arundel County … earned first team All-State honors among private schools … winner of Annapolis Touchdown Club’s Al Laramore Award as top lineman in Anne Arundel County … named to Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 team … chosen to play in the Crab Bowl All-Star game … two-way lineman who helped the Cavaliers post a 7-4 record as a senior … member of MIAA “B” championship team which posted a 10-3 record for Coach Mike Whittles as a junior … also played rugby … PERSONAL: Has two older sisters … lists his high school coach, Mike Whittles, as the person he admires the most … favorite NFL team is the Miami Dolphins … favorite NFL player is Brandon Marshall … outstanding XBox player who finished third in a world-wide Madden football tournament … favorite book is “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss … favorite athlete is LeBron James … lists “Ace Ventura” as his favorite movie … favorite actor is Steven Seagal … enjoys listening to music by Eminem … favorite food is crabs … father is a University of Maryland graduate who works as a mortgage banker … mother works as an administrative assistant … son of John and Susan Sullivan  … born on October 6, 1994 in Annapolis, Md.


MAX TEJADA, Defensive Line
6-2, 285-lbs., The Bolles School, Orange Park, Fla.

Talented defensive lineman who earned All-State first team honors as a senior at the Bolles School in Florida … three-year starter for Coach Corky Rogers … helped the Bulldogs to the state championshop and a 16-1 record … named first team All-First Coast … team captain … member of two state championship teams at The Bolles School … helped the Bulldogs compile a 39-3 record in career … also wrestled for the Bulldogs and finished fourth in the state … PERSONAL: Has two younger brothers … career goal is to become an Athletic Trainer … lists grandfather as the person he admires the most  … hobbies include fishing … devoted fan of the New York Jets … favorite NFL player is Ndamukong Suh … favorite movie is “Scarface” … lists Al Pacino as his favorite actor … favorite meal is steak and potatoes … father works as a clothier … mother is a financial aid advisor … son of Ramon and Kathy Tejada … born February 11, 1991 in Jacksonville, Fla.


2012 Towson University Football Recruits

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. High School Hometown Other
Bryton Barr LB 6-0 220 Mechanicsburg Area Camp Hill, Pa.
Christian Carpenter
ATH
6-2
185
Aberdeen H.S.
Aberdeen, Md.
Robert Chesson
RB
5-9
175
Old Mill H.S.
Millersville, Md.
Brendon Gannon
DT
6-2
260
Cardinal Gibbons H.S.
Halethorpe, Md.
Western Michigan
Darrell Givens
DB
6-1
193
Lackey H.S.
Fort Washington, Md.
Rutgers
Ben Harvey DB 5-10 185 Good Counsel H.S. Columbia, Md. South Carolina
Syd Holt DE 6-4 210 Sayreville War Memorial South Amboy, N.J.
Ra-Zahn Howard DT 6-3 300 Asbury Park H.S. Asbury Park, N.J.
Dreon Johnson FB 6-0 235 Mayde Creek H.S. Houston, Texas
Clifton Jones DT 6-2 250 Tallwood H.S. Virginia Beach, Va.
Juleon Killikelly-Lee CB 5-10 160 Woodlawn H.S. Gwynn Oak, Md.
Donnell Lewis DB 5-10 160 Woodside H.S. Virginia Beach, Va.
Jordan Love CB 6-0 190 Deep Run H.S. Glen Allen, Va. Georgia
Jake McDowell OT 6-5 290 Los Alamitos H.S. Los Alamitos, Cal. Golden West J.C.
Willie Ponder WR 5-11 175 Western Branch H.S. Chesapeake, Va.
Fred Santarelli OT 6-6 295 The Hill School Philadelphia, Pa.
Brady Stup OT 6-6 295 Tuscarora H.S. Frederick, Md.
Shayne Sullivan OT 6-6 285 Archbishop Spadling H.S. Crofton, Md.
Max Tejada DL 6-2 285 The Bolles School Orange Park, Fla.

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Navy Announces 2012 Football Schedule

Posted on 21 January 2012 by WNST Staff

Navy Announces 2012 Football Schedule

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Five home games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, a trip to Dublin, Ireland to face Notre Dame, road games at Penn State and Air Force and the annual Army-Navy game presented by USAA in Philadelphia highlight the 2012 Navy football schedule released today.

CBS Sports Network will televise all five games in Annapolis, while CBS Sports will televise the Notre Dame and Army games.

Navy will kick-off the 2012 season on Sept. 1 in Dublin, Ireland against Notre Dame.  The game will be played at Aviva Stadium, located in the heart of Dublin, and marks the first time the stadium has hosted an American football game.

It will also be the first time in program history that Navy has opened up against Notre Dame and the second time the two teams have met in Dublin.  Navy played the Irish at Croke Park in 1996.

After a week off, the Mids will travel to Happy Valley on Sept. 15 to take on Bill O’Brien’s Penn State Nittany Lions.  It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1974 when Navy shocked Penn State in State College, 7-6.

VMI comes to town on Sept. 22 for the home opener at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It will be the ninth meeting between the two schools and the first since 2003 when Navy defeated the Keydets, 37-10, in the season opener.

The Mids will have revenge on their minds when San Jose State comes calling on Sept. 29. Last fall, the Spartans eliminated the Midshipmen from bowl contention with a 27-24 victory in San Jose.

Navy will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the first leg of the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy on Oct. 6.  The Falcons won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy last year thanks to a 35-34 overtime victory over Navy in Annapolis.

The Mids will travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich. the following week, as Navy will play at Central Michigan on Oct. 13.  It will be the first time Navy has played at Central Michigan and the first time Navy has played in the state of Michigan since 2006 when the Mids beat Eastern Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Indiana Hoosiers come to Annapolis the following week (Oct. 20) for Homecoming.  It will be just the third time in school history that the two teams have met and it will be Indiana’s first trip to Annapolis.  The Hoosiers will be the first Big 10 team to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since Northwestern beat Navy in 2002.

East Carolina will play host to Navy on Oct. 27 in Greenville.  The Pirates knocked off Navy last year in a thriller, 38-35.

Navy and Florida Atlantic will meet on the gridiron for the first time the following week as new head coach Carl Pelini brings his Owls North to Annapolis on Nov. 3.

Navy will make its first trip to Troy, Ala. on Nov. 10 when the Mids take on the Troy Trojans. Navy defeated Troy last year, 42-14.

The home finale takes place on Nov. 17, when Dennis Franchione and the Texas State Bobcats come to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Senior Day.

The 2012 Army-Navy Game Presented by USAA will take place at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 8.  Navy leads the all-time series, 56-49-7, and has won a series-record 10-consecutive games against the Black Knights.

Season tickets, both renewals and new purchases, will go on sale Feb. 1 and are $180.  Those who purchase season tickets will also have an option at that time to buy single-game tickets, as well as tickets for the Navy-Notre Dame game in Dublin.

2012 Navy Football Schedule
Sept. 1              vs. Notre Dame (Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 15            at Penn State
Sept. 22            VMI
Sept. 29            San Jose State
Oct. 6               at Air Force
Oct. 13             at Central Michigan
Oct. 20             Indiana (Homecoming)
Oct. 27             at East Carolina
Nov. 3              Florida Atlantic
Nov. 10            at Troy
Nov. 17            Texas State
Dec. 8              vs. Army (Philadelphia)

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With Big Ben & Polamalu out, no excuses for Ravens tonight

Posted on 29 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As we all now know, the Steelers will play tonight’s game here in Baltimore without their two best players, with the late subtraction of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joining safety Troy Polamalu in the black and gold infirmary.

It is not lost on any Ravens fan that tonight it’s clearly: advantage Baltimore.

Big Ben, as ‘yins from ‘donton affectionately call him, has been poison for anything in purple since he entered the league. He is the Ravens kryptonite. Polamalu’s interception of Joe Flacco in Pittsburgh last January must be considered the most heartbreaking play in the history of the franchise.

I don’t think I need to remind you that the Ravens are on a three-game losing streak to our friendly neighbors from the northwest.

Or that this is their first appearance on Baltimore turf since hoisting a second Lombardi Trophy to the Tampa skies last Febuary.

Or that, at 5-5, a loss to the Steelers tonight will effectively end the Ravens season.

I hate the Steelers. You hate the Steelers.

Let’s hope that attitude — and a few first downs and quarterback pressures along with some goofy white towels we’ll all be waving — are enough to keep the Ravens season alive tonight.

I get the feeling we’ll be feeling the loss of Fabian Washington more than we realize — just like when Chris McAlister went away two years ago — but there are no excuses for a Ravens loss tonight.

We can’t cry about Terrell Suggs not suiting up (of course, John Harbaugh has played the cat and mouse injury report game all week with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.)

Flacco needs to be crisp and sharp. Billy Cundiff can’t miss field goals. Matt Katula needs to snap straight. The offensive line can’t create pre-snap penalties. The defensive front seven must make Dennis Dixon run for his life like the rookie quarterback he is tonight.

The game is on national television. It can’t be a coming out party for some guy from Oregon we’ve never heard of.

The only thing worse than losing to the Steelers at home to effectively end our season with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving would be the thought that it happened at the hands of some guy named Dennis Dixon putting on a black and gold cape.

A disturbing thought.

Let’s hope we don’t go there…

The Ravens must win tonight.

My updated prediction: Ravens 34, Steelers 9

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O’s Minor League Rosters are set

Posted on 08 April 2009 by WNST Interns

The Orioles minor league affiliates have put out there rosters and here are a few things of note:

– I though Chris Tillman could have used a little more seasoning at AA but he is with the AAA Tides. Control seems to be an issue and I fear he may struggle a bit at the start of the season.

– As expected, Brad Bergeson will get the 1st start for the Tides and be their “#1 starter”.

– Jeff Fiorentino is back with the Baysox. He’s no longer a prospect but it’s interesting to see him again.

– Troy Patton starts at AA in order to get an opportunity to pitch. He is probably ready for AAA, but his injury last year and the good problem of too many arms at AAA has forced the move.

– Despite going 12-4 with a 3.58 ERA in 145 IP at Bowie last year, Jason Berken starts back at AA Bowie as well.

– As expected Jake Arrieta will start at AA Bowie. Make it a point to see him there while you can.

– Last years #1 pick Brian Matusz will start at high A Frederick.

– Meanwhile, our #1 from 2006, Billy Rowell will start at Frederick after playing there last year.

– Top prospects from the 2008 draft Jerome Hoes and Xavier Avery will start at low A Delmarva.

Norfolk Tides
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ros&cid=568&stn=true&sid=t568

Bowie Baysox
http://www.baysox.com/players/roster/

Frederick Keys
http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/sports/display.htm?StoryID=88652

Delmarva Shorebirds
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ros&cid=548&stn=true&sid=t548

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Ray and Drew on Radio Row in Tampa

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Live from Tampa…minus the purple!

Posted on 25 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The reality of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl visit has finally set upon the land here in Tampa, as we’ve spent the day setting up our Radio Row coverage for the week from here at the Convention Center. Downtown Tampa has changed dramatically over the past eight years since the purple Gasparilla Festival here in January 2001. Lots of buildings, new hotels and empty-looking condos sitting dormant on the open market.

Ray and Drew on Radio Row in Tampa

Our Coors Light coverage will begin at 6 a.m. Monday morning with Drew Forrester doing the Comcast Morning Show until 10 a.m. and I’ll be live from 2 til 6 each weekday this week with one exception. Forrester and I have already alerted Ray Bachman that he’ll be the special “guest host” during the 2 p.m. hour on Thursday when Bruce Springsteen holds his special pre-halftime press conference here in the Media Center.

We expect well over 100 guests during the week here in Tampa, including Brian Billick’s co-hosting duties on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Virtually every NFL star in town drops by the Radio Row setup, which is noticeably smaller and more compact this year with the down economy in national media. There just aren’t as many media outlets who can afford to send a staff here for the week to chatter up the NFL and Super Bowl hype. It will be interesting to see the Tuesday “Media Day” madness and if it looks smaller. That’s the day when EVERYONE converges on Raymond James Stadium and asks all of the goofy questions.

One thing we won’t have to worry about is sunshine. It’s 80 degrees and stunningly beautiful here in Tampa today. It’s our favorite week of the year, even when we’re stuck in Detroit or Jacksonville.

More to come all week, including an audio vault here at WNST.net chock full of cool interviews that are available on demand. We’ll also be rolling the wnsTV cameras all week so keep checking back for fresh stuff.

Without question this entire experience might’ve been a lot different save for one Darren Stone penalty and one Joe Flacco pass to Troy Polamalu. I’m going to do my best to not think about it so much this week but I’ll have my moments of weakness and anger and wistfulness for sure. And I’ll be bellied up to the bar this Sunday at Whiskey Joe’s thinking about what “might’ve been.”

The theme for the week? Go Cardinals…

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Ladybug

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Strange, nostalgic day to be in Dallas

Posted on 20 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s a crazy day to be in Dallas. They’re shutting their stadium tonight amidst a potential season-wrecker if Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis and the Ravens come in a steal a victory. It’s the Ravens’ first-ever trip into Dallas, the final city they’ve never played in over the 13-year history of the franchise (not counting the Minnesota preseason game two years ago). And the civic pressure is on here in “Big D.” You can almost feel the anticipation for this game if you just drive around town and hear people talking.

If the 2008 Dallas Cowboys lose their final game in Texas Stadium to get essentially bumped from a playoff spot, they’ll be all-time chumps. Especially on the backend of Tony Romo’s January meltdowns and T.O.’s loudmouthed nonsense. This game is significant here — the lead story on every TV channel and the headline of every newspaper.

A big giant “love in” is scheduled for the pre-game and the in-game. The pageantry they’re putting on – and you do know that EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas – will rival what we did for the Orioles in Baltimore on 33rd Street back in 1991. If you really want to vomit and hate the Cowboys more than you already do, just flip NFL Network on today. The pre-game show starts at 5 p.m. and that goof Rich Eisen has already promised to get “every breathing Cowboy legend possible” onto the show. Just hearing Deion Sanders wax on (and off) with every Dallas legend from Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett to Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith is enough to make you hit the “mute” button.

I’ve hated the Cowboys since Clint Longley…

But here’s the reality: the WHOLE THING is set up for the Ravens to get their asses kicked on national “house TV” of the NFL with the star at the 50-yard line and a team and a stadium that helped build the foundational greatness of the shield is going down. (A little different than imploding the Hoosier Dome, as was done earlier to day in Indianapolis…)

Not that the game doesn’t have enough interesting subplots already – with both teams fighting for their January lives and a crucial win tonight – but the stadium closing combined with the constant drama of Terrell Owens and the matchup issues (still no word on whether Fabian Washington will suit up…join the FREE text service and we’ll keep you in the loop) on both sides of the ball, this figures to be a great and memorable night either way.

The Ravens need this game. The city kinda needs this game. I don’t want to wake up on Christmas Day on the outside looking in after all of the fun this team has given us this year. I want a playoff game in New England or New York or Miami two weeks from now. I don’t want the season to end. Tonight could be kinda ugly, as the Ravens enter the game as 4 ½ point underdogs. As big of a home game as the Pittsburgh fiasco was the other night, this might as big of a December road game as the Ravens have played in their history.

It’s always fun when the Ravens play in big games. You can feel the weight of this one here in Dallas for sure.

The weather report shows that the temperature will be dropping like a rock during the game. It was 78 degrees here yesterday when we landed. We walked in short sleeves after dark last night amidst the holiday lights. This morning it’s 60 degrees, damp and kinda chilly. It’s supposed to be 55 at 6 p.m. and 45 at 9 p.m. and 32 by midnight. Tomorrow, it’ll be 35 degrees when we leave Dallas.

I’ll continue to check in from Dallas.

We found a lady bug on the window sill and thought it might be good luck…Ladybug

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Ravens – Steelers just another game

Posted on 10 December 2008 by WNST Staff

Just another game

That is the mind set of many of the Ravens players here at 1 Winning Drive this week. The players know that there is a lot at stake for this game, but they are just focused on it as the most important game on the schedule only because it is the next game on their schedule. They all admit they know this game could have huge playoff implications, but does not matter unless they win the game.

Terrell Suggs did admit that it is one of the biggest games he has played in since he came into the NFL,”Probably since the 2006 playoff game (vs the Colts) this is probably the biggest game I’ve ever played in. I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity and have some fun and enjoy it. What better place to do it than in our own backyard and M&T ? It’s going to be exciting. I think the football gods have blessed us to have an opportunity like this, to have a game this late in December of this magnitude. Everybody just can’t wait for it, so it’s going to be good. I think both teams will be ready, and both teams are going to put on one heck of a show.”

Roster Move

The Ravens added running back Jalen Parmele from the Miami Dolphins practice squad to their active roster. Parmele was a 7th round draft pick out of Troy, but was inactive for the Dolphins before he was placed on the practice squad. To make room for Parmele, the Ravens placed defensive tackle Lamar Divens on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury. Parmele will give the Ravens some depth at running back position with concerns injury wise to both Willis McGahee and Ray Rice. Rice seems to be the more serious of the two as he is deals with a  contusion, “it’s a bad one on his shin”, according to Coach Harbaugh.

Here is what Coach Harbaugh had to say about Parmele,”We’ve been studying him all year. He plays special teams. He’s a quality running back, we think a young and upcoming player. There’s a chance he could help us here the last three weeks with our injury situation at running back, so we’re pleased to have him.”

Bounty Watch

Terrell Suggs says that he has not received any word from New York and the NFL offices regarding bounty talk. Suggs made some comments about bounties regarding Steelers players last time these two teams played. Suggs did point out that he is sure “Roger will be some where watching.”

Mason breaks down Polamlu vs Reed comparison

Derrick Mason was asked to compare Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu who are widely considered the top two at their position in the NFL.  Mason said he would not compare the two because it would not be fair, but did offer up this difference between the two,”Ed Reed is Ed Reed; Troy is Troy.One has long hair, one has short hair. That’s about the only comparison.”

Protecting home turf versus Steelers

The Ravens have won the last 5 games between the Steelers and Ravens in Baltimore. The last win by the Steelers in Baltimore was a 31-18 win on 10-27-02.

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