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The Palm Beach Post SECTION C INSIDE BASEBALL Boys, girls soccer previews A look at the high school players and teams to watch this season. PAGES 4-5 CLASSIFIED: PAGES 9-1 8C Indians deal Williams to Arizona for Fryman Power-hitting Matt Williams (left) goes to the -Diamondbacks in an exchange of third baseman. PAGE 2C II D Jo Jo talk things over I TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1997 SPORTS Phillips, :Let us tithe now at the House of What's -Been-Happening-Lately 1 ; DAVIE They're a playoff team, they're not a playoff team. We love them, 'we love them not. t The Miami Dolphins are like most NFL teams, scrapping to beat anybody they can every week and trying not to get a complex about it. r DOLPHlNm UONS SUNDAY'S GAME: Detroit at Miami, 8 p.m., Pro Player Stadium. TV: ESPN INSIDE: Washington quarterback Gus Frerotte will miss the rest of the season with a broken hip. 3C ( ; . k I ) c Could the Dolphins be a bridge over talented running back's troubled career? Jimmy Johnson seems to think so. By Ed Price Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DAVIE Lawrence Phillips could be a Miami Dolphin by tonight. Phillips and coach Jimmy Johnson met Monday and will again today, but whether a contract is offered won't depend just on what he tells Johnson. "It's not only what you hear, but also what you feel," Johnson said Monday. "I don't want to waste our time and our money on something that doesn't have a chance to succeed. But there is a large upside there." Phillips, the No. 6 pick of the 1996 draft, was released by the Rams on Nov. 20 after skipping team meetings and practice the day before. He had been fined about 20 times this season by the team and reportedly failed an NFL drug test, coming up positive for a substance other than alcohol. In college at Nebraska, he was w I Zoom in on any four-quarter segment of this 16-game marathon of a season and you could convince yourself that San Francisco, a 35-point loser to Kansas City, is pathetic, or that 1-12 Indianapolis, which scored that lone victory against Green Bay, belongs in the Super "outstanding" or "tremendous." Easy now to forget that unforgivable Monday night comeback by the Chicago Bears in October, or the dismal 9-6 to Buffalo that followed it. "We're playing our best football right now," Johnson said. "We've won three of our last four and six of our last nine, with all three of those losses coming by three points. "Our goal this summer was to win the division and it's still our goal. That can happen if we win our last two AFC games . . . it's right there in front of us." That's because the New York Jets, who had it right there in front of them, lost on Sunday to fall back into a three-way tie with New England and Miami for the AFC East lead. These are 8-5 teams we're talking about, as capable of finishing .500 as they are 11-5. Yet there finally is reason to separate the Dolphins from the pack. A big road victory over the silver-and-blah Raiders doesn't say enough. Look instead to the schedule for the sunrise because compared Please see GE0RGE5C Dave George sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay $359 in restitution for assaulting Nebraska bas ketball player Kate McEwen. Phillips was suspended from the Cornhuskers for three months but reinstated for the 1996 Fiesta Bowl against Florida. Last April, Phillips was released from jail after serving 23 days of a 30-day sentence for violating the probation when he pleaded no contest to Please see PHILLIPSJC Bowl. It s a bumpier ride than the stock market, with fewer trends to trust. ; Monday, for instance, Jimmy Johnson met with the media to discuss the high point of the Dolphins' season, a thunderous 34-16 trampling of the Oakland Raiders, and every other word out of his mouth was THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Lawrence Phillips was a rehabilitation project for St. Louis Rams coach Dick Vermiel that lasted 12 weeks. He was fined 20 times this season and released after skipping team meetings and practice the day before. Pack, Vikings: Different ways, same results i if. i$T lJ- -'L fxr , v SrJ' vTT .,., : : . ("ui t. .tm ..,..1 '! M oj j- j v .; UA-:;- 2S. l' $ft3 1 ' $K'M ; -Xf- :.i : rvS r--J f w" t The Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS Two years into his term as president of the Green Bay Packers, Bob Harlan hired Ron Wolf to run the football operation. . Wolf hired Mike Holmgren as coach, and they've been working smoothly since winning a Super Bowl last season. The Minnesota Vikings? They have 10 squabbling owners and a coach who suggested in his book, published at midseason, that he might sue some of them. The team is for sale and might leave Minnesota. How can two successful organizations be so different? "You've got to be successful from top to bottom to succeed," Harlan says. "We owe everything we are to Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren." "You can't have anyone easier to work for than Bob," Wolf says. The Vikings? They've been to the playoffs in four of coach Dennis Green's five seasons and are likely to go back again this year. But Green was on the spot last year after being accused of sexual harassment and quietly put out feelers for other jobs. He wasn't the only one a couple of the 10 members of the board of directors wanted to replace him with former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, who has roots in Minnesota. Yet Minnesota has been a consistent playoff team for a decade first under Jerry Burns and now under Green. Why? The constants are Jerry Reichow and Paul Wig-gin, the two personnel men who basically operate as co-general managers. They've had consistently good drafts, particularly in lower rounds, where they've found players like quarterback Brad Johnson (ninth round 1992); linebacker Ed McDaniel (fifth, 1992), and wide receiver Jake Reed (third, 1991). Net results: Finding horses to train easy as clicking a mouse By John Crittenden Palm Beach Post Staff Writer HALLANDALE New trainers cannot find clients in the want ads. The hardest part of training horses is finding horses to train. After a 16-year apprenticeship as an assistant, Keith Sirota opened the door to W5 . J f 'II I . ' T DAVID BERGMANThe Miami Herald The Panthers' Jody Hull (12) and Phoenix's Teppo Numminen en- night. The Coyotes used a hat trick by Keith Tkachuk to defeat the gage in some extracurricular activity during the first period Monday Panthers 3-2. Panthers pay the penalty mm! VS, CAPITALS PAOTKL f. , j . ; ' his own stable with a $900 display-model computer from a chain store. "I didn't even know how to turn it on," he said at Barn 3 at Gulfstream Park. "I'm not the kind of guy who can just walk up to people at the track and say 'I want to train your horse.' So I thought I might find something on the Internet. "Everybody at the barn laughed at me. losing games for us every single night." Tkachuk, who is Fitzgerald's first cousin, became the third superstar to terrorize the Panthers in their last four home games. First was Peter Bondra, who had two goals and an assist in a 5-2 win Nov. 23. Then came Peter Fors-berg, whose three assists keyed Colorado's 3-2 victory last Friday. Monday was Tkachuk's turn. "This was a win we needed desperately," said Tkachuk, who led the league in scoring with 52 goals last season and, with his three Monday, now ranks fourth in the NHL with 16. "There are quality players in this league who, when they step up, their team wins," Murray said. "We seem to Please see PANTHERS6C Keith Tkachuk's goal with four seconds left on a . power play leads Phoenix past Florida 3-2. ;: By Brian Biggane - J'atm Beach Post Staff Writer I MIAMI The penalty kill is kill-! ;ing the Florida Panthers. ! Penalty killing traditionally has ; 'been a Panthers strength. When they ! finished with the seventh-best record "in the NHL last year, their penalty-! ; killing unit matched that excellence, : "ranking seventh with an 85.5 percent I success rate. But this year, as the Panthers have -struggled, so has their ability to kill , 'penalties. Entering Monday's game against Phoenix they ranked 24th in that category, and 22nd in the league standings. Keith Tkachuk capped his first hat trick of the year and fifth of his career, scoring with four seconds remaining in a penalty to Florida goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick at 5:37 of the third period as Phoenix pulled out a 3-2 victory at Miami Arena. The game marked the sixth straight in which Florida has given up at least one power-play goal. Opponents are 7-of-28 in that period. "Every game, the deciding goal seems to be a power-play goal," coach Bryan Murray said. "It's absolutely killing us," said Tom Fitzgerald, who with Bill Lindsay forms the Panthers' best penalty-killing duo. "We've always been one of the top teams in the league at it. It's FRIDAY'S GAME: Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers. WHEN: 7 p.m. WHERE: Miami Arena RECORDS: Washington 13-10-4; Florida 8-14-5. TV: SportsChannel MULLER SUSPENDED: For high-sticking in the Rangers game. Story, 6C Sirota "They're not laughing anymore," said Sirota. reaching into his briefcase to show off a Japanese-English dictionary. Not long after he learned to surf the Internet, Sirota was contacted by a pair of horse owners in Japan. They were newcomers to American racing who recently purchased a 2-year-old filly. Please s HORSE RACING. 'C, P Jfc, !. fcr-Afesfci JJ, J, jfe fti .flh. flf .(ttj.. .LlBljlJ,.!!!,."