WEDNESDAY • SEPTEMBER 18,2002 SPORTS THE HAYS DAILY NEWS B1 Nick Schwien COMMENTARY Tiger players worth touting There have been billboards hyping Heisman candidates on New York City skyscrapers. Even some on grain elevators in the northwest part of the country. While NCAA Division II doesn't have the Heisman Trophy, it does have the Harlon Hill Trophy. Perhaps the Fort Hays State University athletic department should start hyping a few of its own football players for that prestigious award. How about a few huge banners hanging down from the limestone of Lewis Field Stadium? All right. It may be a little foolish to tout a few FHSU players as the top athletes hi Division II after only the second game. After all, Fort Hays is 1-1. But hey, why not? It's tune to get more people excited about the Tiger football team. Only 2,945 fans attended Saturday night's season opener against in-state rival Washburn University, which resulted in a 37-29 win by the Tigers. Here are a few candidates — and reasons — to come out and watch Fort Hays this fall. • Dustin Demel — Many questioned the throwing ability of the senior quarterback. He proved he could throw the ball well Saturday night, completing all eight of his pass attempts in the second half, rallying the Tigers from a halftime deficit to win their first game and snap a six-game losing streak dating back to last season. Demel threw for 153 yards, 100 coming in the second half. While his attempts, completions and yards might not be the best in the country, his best stat so far might be overlooked. Demel has thrown no intercep- > tions. That's right, no turnoy!erJs ; l in the airt-* a Tiauity for •ari'FHSU' quarterback.'.^ . In the last five seasons, FHSU quarterbacks have thrown at least one interception in the first two games. Jason Brown, the starting QB in 2001 and 2000, threw four interception's last year and five hi 2000 over the first two games. In 1999, Andy Garcia threw two picks in the opener. In 1998, J.J. Selmon had one in each of the first two games. In 1997, Joel McReynolds had three in the second outing. In the past, it seemed like FHSU quarterbacks were more confused than Florida voters trying to figure out an election ballot. It's not likely that Demel will go a complete season without throwing an interception. He got a fortunate call when Washburn intercepted a pass, but the play was negated after a roughing the passer penalty. Demel bounced back and didn't have another scare the rest of the game. Stability and playmaking have been lacking at the QB spot in recent years. While Demel isn't the next Joe Montana, he is smart. He learned from his mistakes in the season opener at Emporia State University, culminating in a solid game against Washburn. Perhaps the biggest asset of any quarterback is the ability not to make plays, but to make good decisions. Give Demel credit, and a banner hanging from the stands. • Jason Broom — The senior tailback burst onto the scene as a junior transfer a year ago, leading the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in rushing with 1,196 yards. Despite that stat, RMAC preseason offensive player of the year honors went north — to University of Nebraska-Kearney sophomore back Mike Miller. Miller is good, but Broom can be better.-He gained 92 tough yards against a good Emporia State defense. Against Washburn, the tailback rushed for 164 yards, including 119 in the fourth quarter, to earn RMAC_Offensive Player of the Week honors. After the first of his three touchdowns, he drew an un- sportsmanlike penalty for a little too much celebration. FHSU missed the PAT attempt, and Broom missed a few plays later in the next drive. But after that, Broom learned, and everything else was downhill. He once again leads the RMAC in rushing after last weekend's games, and has a chance to become the school's first 1,000-yard • FHSU / SEE PAGE B3 ZACH LONG / Hays Dally News Ellis freshman Jennifer Jacques, front, tries to tip the ball over the block attempt by Victoria seniors Ashley Dreiling, left, and Randi Bosch in Tuesday's match in Victoria. By EDWARD CARIFIO HAYS DAILY NEWS VICTORIA — Both teams fell victim to their own weaknesses at least once. But when it was all over, it was the Victoria prep volleyball team that was able to come out on top, sweeping Ellis in a double dual Tuesday, 15-3, 15-10 and 7-15, 15-6, 15-3. Victoria ran its record to 11-0 this season. After winning the first game of the first match against Ellis, Victoria ran up a 14-4 lead on Ellis in the second game. But Victoria made a string of hitting errors that led to a 6-0 Ellis run before the Knights could close out the match. The Railroaders (5-5) used the momentum in the second match, claiming Game 1,15-7, after trailing 3-0 early on. Knights coach Debbie Bottorf said her team self-destructed, and that is the one thing that could plit a blemish in its perfect record. "If we fiddle around, kind of like we did in the second match with Ellis," Bottorf said. "We have a tendency sometimes to make it hard on ourselves. We have still a few mental lapses we need to start correcting and turning around. We shouldn't have, I don't feel, gone three games. "It's just a matter of whether or not we can maintain the mental game that can determine whether or not we can continue to win." Ellis carried its momentum into the second game, opening with a pair of service aces by senior setter Christy Walker. But then Victoria put the Railroaders away, scoring the next 12 points. Bottorf said her team was able to overcome the self-inflicted wounds. "It's definitely a plus to be able to come back (from 2-0) like that," Bottorf said. "That's the thing we've got to be able to do is to come back. They had the fire the first game, and we kind of fizzled." Meanwhile, Ellis had to continue relying on the charity of others for its scoring. The tallest player in the starting lineup is 5- foot-9. No other starter is over 5-4, making a strong net game difficult for the Railers. Freshman Jennifer Jacques saw a lot of playing time up front for Ellis off the bench, mostly because of her 5-8 frame. Railer coach Kerry Bittel said she is convinced Jacques will mature into a dominant front row player. The Knights don't need to play freshmen up front, with the experienced front-court rotation they have — although a sophomore does see some tune there. Senior Kelli Madorin led Ellis with seven kills, followed by junior Lindsay Gaschler with four. Victoria was led in that department by senior Ashley Dreiling with 13 and senior Jeanie Lapka with 11. Senior Wendy Hoffman and sophomore Jessica Kuhn had nine each. ••'..•' Ellis made up for its lack of height with a strong, scrappy defense, something that helps overcome the short front line, Bittel said. , "It helps a lot as far as staying in games," she said. "We can't attack and keep the ball down .on the other side. We can dig and dig and dig, .but if they're not making mistakes on the other side of the court, we can't put the ball down and keep it there. "What we're doing is digging until the other team makes mistakes. We're playing defense/ arid the only time we score is if they screw up. We want to change that." But can that be changed in time for another state run? "It will be," said senior Erin Kitzman. "That's going to start to morrow." Ellis lost two very tall and efficient front-row players from last year's team that qualified for the state tournament. Valerie Wald schmidt was lost to graduation and foreign exchange student Anja Kempe returned to Germany "It's hard not to trust the person to put it down every time like (Kempe) did," Walker said. "I know she'd just smack it down if ] ever gave it to her. "Everyone has to deal with the point Anja is not here ..." Bottorf thinks her team can make a trip to Hays this year for the Class 1A State Championships. Last year, Victoria fell to Caldwell in its sub-state championship match, carrying it out to three games. "I think they are showing me they can," Bottorf said. "When we've had our low moments — we had a low game there, and we came back so we could go three We did that at the finals of the La Crosse/Otis-Bison tournament too.... They do have the ability to bounce back, and that's what I'm trying to focus on — they do have some mental toughness. "If anybody is going to go, this is the year for us." Hoffman had 25 assists for Vic toria, while freshman Chelsey Dreiling had 16. Hoffman had five aces, while Lapka had three. For Ellis, senior Sondra LaBarge had 11 digs and 20 good serve receives. Kitzman led the team with 21 good serve receives Walker had three aces. Vermeil stands behind Green KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Trent Green has begun this season just as he ended the last, with one of the AFC's lowest quarterback ratings. Something else that hasn't changed is Dick Vermeil's unflagging defense of the man he gave up a first-round draft choice for. "A week ago, he was a hero," Vermeil said Tuesday. "He did a heck of a job. I can't afford to go up and down because then he'll never establish the depth of confidence he needs." After playing a nearly flawless game the week before hi Cleveland, Green was intercepted twice Sunday in a 23-16 loss to Jacksonville. He missed several open receivers and failed to see a couple of others. His quarterback rating plunged to 75.3. That's fourth from the bottom in the AFC and not much better than the 71.1 he wound up with last year following his and Vermeil's first season in Kansas City. Also typical of last year has been his Jekyll-and-Hyde inconsistency. On their first two possessions against the Jaguars, Green drove the Chiefs smartly down- field, including an opening drive that consumed more than 8 minutes. But each time, they came away with just field goals. His only touchdown pass was Tony Gonzalez's great catch in the corner of the end zone after the Jaguars had taken a 14-point lead. "He did some things well, and he did some things I'd like to see him do better," Vermeil said. "We had guys open a couple of times and he didn't see them. He missed a couple of guys by inches. For us to be a playoff-caliber football team, he's got to do better." Vermeil admitted that any coach has to guard against sticking with a player too long, "It's human nature to want to prove you're right," he said. "Anyone wants to do that. But I'm still a realist. I'm still going to study the big picture. I've said this through my whole career — you can't go every Sunday re-evaluating your quarterback." Green had been super-sharp all week in practice before the Jacksonville game, he added. "I watched every offensive meeting and watched the practice tapes last week and they were as good as any practice tapes I've ever seen, equivalent to anybody at the quarterback position,; 1 Vermeil said. "It didn't work as well Sunday Credit the Jaguars. That's what they're getting paid to do." Another disappointment has been the inability to get the ball to Johnnie Morton, who was signed as a free agent to be Green's No. 1 wide receiver target. In two games, Morton has caught just three balls for 38 yards. "If you're going to score points, you'd better put the ball in the hands of your wide receivers," Vermeil said. "We wanted to get the ball to (Morton), but it didn't work out. We sit in here every week and plan to do things. But when we line up with the perfect plan, and all of a sudden, they're doing this or loading the corner up or rerouting him and he's got to come up... it changes your plans. "You can't give all the credit to the defense, so we've got to make sure we check that out from coaching right on down to execution of plays." Morton, who had four 1,000- yard receiving seasons in the previous five years with Detroit, promised to remain patient. "All we can do is get open and catch what's thrown to us," he said. Indians rally for split By MIKE KESSINGER HAYS DAILY NEWS The Hays High School volleyball team went 1-1 at its home triangular Tuesday night. The Indians lost to McPherson in their first match at the HHS gym, 11-15, 154, 15-13, then beat Great Bend 15-13,15-10. McPherson defeated Great Bend 16-14, 15-12. Hays High coach Dave Windholz said that between matches the team had an emotional talk about going out and getting a win. "(Monday) night we changed every thing at practice," Windholz said. "We've been losing matches with big leads, and the chemistry hasn't been there. So we went with a new lineup and the girls were pumped up and we blew some big leads to McPherson. "In the locker room we had a big heart to heart talk, and I told them this was a do-or-die situation. Go out there and make it happen." In the first game against McPherson, Hays High (5-5) jumped out early to lead 5-1, then expanded that lead to 14^|H^vf^^y er, Hays High was unable""to put the Bullpups away, as the visitors scored eight straight points before Indian sophomore Stef Randa knocked over the game-winner. In the second game, McPherson took control from the start, building an 8-0 lead. The two teams played evenly through the final game, before McPherson scored the final five points to win. Senior Melissa Meagher had 12 kills to lead HHS in kills, and junior Jenna Schippers, senior Jobeth Jackson and Randa led the team with five solo blocks each. Schippers led the team with six digs. In their match with Great Bend, the Indians fought back from deficits of 7-3 and 11-5 in the first game, and claimed the win after scoring the final three points. Hays High took the early lead in the final game and never looked back. The Indians travel to Liberal on Saturday for an eight-team tournament. FHSU drops first RMAC match BY THE HAYS DAILY NEWS KEARNEY, Neb. — The Fort Hays State University volleyball team dropped its first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference match of the year, falling to rival University of Nebraska-Kearney Tuesday. UNK won the match — 30-17, 30-25,22-30,30-24 — to remain undefeated in conference play at 3-0. The Lopers are 11-1 overall and ranked 12th in this week's AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25. Junior outside hitter Andrea Logan led the Tigers with 25 kills while hitting 39.5 percent. Sophomore Amber Zoglman added 11 i kills. Sophomore setter Jayme Eichner finished with 43 assists. She \ also had 13 digs, along with ; sophomore Crystal Schauer. Logan also had two solo blocks ; and two assisted blocks and 10 ' digs, Schauer had two service aces. Fort Hays (8-3 overall, 2-1 \ RMAC) will host Denver's Regis University — the No. 21-ranked team — for a 7 p.m. match Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Martinez helps Cards slam Rockies < ASSOCIATED PRESS lino Martinez, front, is congratulated by St. Louis Cardinals teammate Albert Pujols as Martinez crosses home plate after hitting a grandslarn in Tuesday night's game against the Colorado, Rockies at ( COors Field in Denver. • ' ' *" DENVER (AP). — During the seventh inni-ng,'Tino Martinez and the rest of his teammates looked at Coors Field's score- ; board and saw that Houston had , lost to Milwaukee. "Our game was tied," Martinez said, "and we wanted,this game ipretty bad. Fortunately, we were able to put some runs together in the next inning." Did they ever. Martinez hit a grand slam, capping a seven-run eighth inning 'that carried the St. Louis Cardinals over the Colorado Rockies 114 Tuesday night. Coupled with Houston's 5-4 loss to Milwaukee, the Cardinals reduced their, magic number for clinching the NL Central to five. St. Louis leads the Astros by 1% games. "It's not over yet. We've still got work to do, but it's nice to drop two spots," Martinez said. "We want to get this thing done as soon as we can." Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said his team has one goal as it chases the division title. "You've got to take care of your own business," he said. "But once in a while you catch a break. I saw that Milwaukee was throwing Ben Sheets tonight, and he's tough." Pinch-hitter So Taguchi broke a 4-4 tie with an RBI stogie in the eighth. Albert Pujols added a two- run single before Martinez's 10th career grand slam. Jeff Fassero (8-6) got three outs to earn the win. . "That's a very good ballclub," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "And we didn't see (J,D.) Drew or (Fernando) Vina. There's a reason they're in first place." Martinez has hit at least one grand slam in eight consecutive seasons, one short of Willie McCovey's major Jeague record. "It's nice to keep the streak going," Martinez said, St, Louis' Chuck Finley pitched six strong innings and departed with a 4-2 lead, but the bullpen couldn't hold it. Scott Rolen's two-run homer highlighted the Cardinals', three- run first. ' ! , ' , Kent Mercker (34) took the loss.
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