Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 28, 2002 · Page 13
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 13

Indiana, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Monday, October 28, 2002
Page 13
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iisS Vmf'- fis® Classifieds inside Monday, October 28,2002 — Page 13 SPORTS Busch wins second straight Cup race,. Page 17. First-place Steelers riding high after win Bill Balint Bobcats clearly the best Blairsville High football coach Ab Dettorre isn't about to waste time analyzing what his team has accomplished this fall. The Bobcats are far too busy preparing for a District 5/6-A quarterfinal-round playoff game with Moshannon Valley, the first postseason contest to be played in Blairsville. But before the second season begins, the Bobcats should rest for a brief moment to consider a • marvelous regular-season performance that few felt was 'possible. This was supposed to be the year when the Heritage Conference finally became a free- for-all. At least five teams were touted as favorites by various sources, none of which was predicting a 9-0 season for any of . them. Every team boasted a stable of athletes for the first time in the conference's three-year history. In fact, winless United held the undefeated Bobcats to just a 7-0 margin during their meeting a few weeks ago to underscore the league's relative balance. A core of five solid teams bashed each other on a weekly basis and all finished the conference slate with four-to-six victories. Homer-Center's 12-7 win over Perms Manor Saturday night on the strength of a touchdown in the final minute is typical of the head-to-head battles between those squads throughout the season. The complete dominance by Blairsville in such an environment is trsdy remarkable. Scoring 122 points against a solid •trio of opponents — Northern Cambria, Penns Manor and Laurel Valley — during the final three games was the last in an impressive string of accomplishments. The Bobcats were such a force that they even overshadowed the terrific display put on by the Ligonier Valley Mounties. Relegated to also-ran status following an 0-2 start, the Mounties lore through the rest of the conference and won seven in a row, with an uncanny ability to win close games. •Saturday was Senior Day at Miller Stadium and the pre-game introductions should have brought smiles to the faces of traditionalists who longed for a day when the cornerstone of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania's football program returned to its. roots. There are 17 seniors among the 72 players on the IUP roster and 13 of those have been members of the team for at least three years. Stars such as quarterback Brian Eyermari and receiver Carmelo Ocasio didn't transfer from a Notre Dame, Pitt or Penn State. Those players came from Pennsylvania high schools directly to the IUP campus. Defensive tackle Brian Harris, offensive lineman Saeed Hudson, linebacker Jeff Jackson, defensive backs Kairi Cooper, Gabe Smith and Dave Deneen have all been part of the Indians equation since that Final Four playoff run in 1999. From long snapper Anthony Tocco to holder Josh Smart, the tradition is back. There are 49 western Pennsylvania natives on the roster and 17 more from the eastern portion of the state. Only six out-of-state players are on the squad and four of those are from either Ohio or New York. Transfers such as linebacker Neal Wood (Penn State), offensive lineman Khiawatha Downey (Pitt) and tailback Elicc Parker (LSU) provide a talent level that is above that which can be recruited directly out of high school by a Division II program. IUP hasn't won eight games or more in 17 of the past 18 seasons without that talent. Striking the balance while maintaining a competitive team is the best scenario and the Indians have achieved it regardless of what the remainder of this season holds. By DAVID GINSBURG AP Sports Writer BALTIMORE — Now that they've righted themselves, the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't looking back at their 0-2 start. Instead, the first-place Steelers are peeking ahead. Tommy Maddox completed his first 11 passes and Pittsburgh scored touchdowns on its first four possessions Sunday in a 31-18 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers' third straight victory gave them sole possession of the top spot in the AFC North. Next week, Pittsburgh (4-3) travels to Cleveland (4-4) in another battle for first place. "You can't relax now," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "We're going to have a big challenge next week." The last time they faced Cleveland, the Steelers used a remarkable relief performance by Maddox to pull out an overtime victory and avoid an 0-3 start. Pittsburgh has lost only once since. "It's great for us to go out and beat three teams in our division. Now we're sitting on top," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said. "If we can go to Cleveland next week and beat them, we'll really control our own destiny." Maddox threw two touchdown passes to Plaxico Burress, and Amos Zereoue ran for two scores as Pittsburgh took a 28-3 halftime lead. It was the Steelers' most productive first half since Sept. 8, 1996, when they scored 28 against the Ravens. Led by Maddox, who replaced an ineffective Kordell Stewart as the starting quarterback after pulling out the Cleveland game, on Sept. 29, Pittsburgh has outscored the opposition 93-35 during its three-game streak. "Oh and 2? I don't even remember that. As far as I'm concerned, right now we're just 4-1," linebacker John Fiala said. Maddox, a former XFL star who rejuvenated his career in Pittsburgh, left with a sprained left ankle midway through the third quarter but returned with 11 minutes remaining. "I was pretty upset about it, but it was good to get back out there and play with the guys," he said. After going 14-for-19 for 154 yards in the first half, Maddox finished 18- for-24 for 172 yards. Pittsburgh improved to 6-1 against the Ravens in Baltimore. "I love playing against Baltimore. I've never lost here and I never want to," Burress said. "They don't like us and we don't like them. It's that simple." Burress was ejected during a second-quarter altercation that also caused the ejection of Baltimore's James Trapp, but by then the Steelers had a comfortable lead. Continued on page 15 Tommy Maddox led the Steelers to four first-half touchdowns as they cruised past Baltimore on Sunday. (AP photo) NFL mark belongs to Smith By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer IRVING, Texas — Emmitt Smith never considered leaving Texas Stadium without the NFL's career rushing record. He even dressed for the occasion. Smith went through four No. 22 Angels catcher Bengie Molina leapt into the arms of reliever Troy Percival as they celebrated Anaheim's 4-1 win over the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the World Series Sunday night. Third baseman Troy Glaus (25), the series MVP, joined in. (AP photo) Heaven sent Angels top Giants, win first world title in franchise's 42-year history By BEN WALKER AP Baseball Writer ANAHEIM, Calif. — Tim Salmon hoisted the World Series trophy and took a victory lap around Edison Field. He'd always imagined what the trip would be like, and it was harder than he thought. "It was pretty heavy," he said. And well worth it, for the Anaheim Angels and all their fans who wondered whether this day would ever come. Behind rookie starter John Lackey and a big hit by Garret Anderson, the Angels became one of the more improbable champions in baseball history, beating Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 Sunday night in Game 7. "These fans have been waiting a long, long time for this," MVP Troy Glaus said. "And I know we're all happy to be part of the team to bring it to them." The Angels took 42 years to win their first title, and didn't even need their Rally Monkey to clinch it. Bonds, meanwhile, is still hoping. As Anaheim players celebrated all over the field, the best hitter in the world watched from a dark corner of the Giants' dugout. Bonds knew this moment could have been his — a day earlier, it almost was. "You want the results to be different," Bonds said. "They outplayed us, they deserve it. They beat us. They're world champions." In Game 6, the Giants blew a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning. In Game 7, San Francisco never got close to winning its first title. "The turning point was basically they came back last night," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. His 3-year-old bat boy son, Darren, took it hard. He wailed as his dad carried him from the dugout. Bonds closed out one of the most dominant overall Series performances ever, yet it wasn't enough. He went 8-for-17 (.471) with four homers and a .700 on-base percentage. The highest-scoring Series in history came down to pitching, as it always seems to do in October. And Lackey and the bullpen gave Anaheim enough to win baseball's first all wild-card matchup. The Angels became the eighth straight home learn to win Game 7 of the World Series. History was on their side from the start and so was an omen — a skywriting plane put a giganlic halo over Edison Field before the first pilch. Lackey, pitching on three days' resi, became only the second rookie to win Game 7 of the Sc- ries. He joined.Babe Adams, who pitched Pittsburgh pastTy Cobb and Detroit in 1909. Lackey wasn't even with the Angels, stuck in . Triple-A, when they went 6-14 for Ihe worst slart in team history. But with both staffs worn clown, the 24-year-old righly gave Anaheim exactly what il needed with five innings of one-run ball. "It's not bad. This is where you want to be," Lackey said. "It's a long way from Salt Lake." Anderson, now due to gel the recognition lie's always deserved, hi! a three-run double off Livan Hernandez in the third for a 4-1 lead. "I just wanted to get into a situation where I'd be able to hit my pilch, not do too much," Anderson said. Continued on page 14 Bonds anxious for another title shot By JIM LITKE AP Sports Writer ANAHEIM, Calif. — It took Barry Bonds 17 seasons just to reach the World Series. Finding the motivation to get back won't be hard. "I'm not going to lie, it was fun. It was great. I can say I was more ready for it than ever. "But," Bonds said at the end of this seven-game, cage-match of a series, "we were on the short end of the stick." like or loathe him, there is no more debating whether Bonds ranks among the best of all time, only where. Even though his team lost, after a postseason performance like few others, history has precious little wiggle room left. "I can't imagine anybody better than him in the game, and I don't care if you throw in Ted Williams or whoever," Anaheim coach Mickey Hatcher said. "Every time he walks up to the plate, he scares everybody." The only gap on Bonds' resume was a lack of postseason success.' Despite the final game being his weakest, that hole has been filled in with capital letters. But it couldn't erase the bitter taste of losing. "One-for-three with a walk was a good night," Bonds said, turning to face the crush of reporters surrounding his locker. "Am I supposed to go 3- for-3 with three homers? What do you want from me?" Much of the public looks at Bonds and doesn't like the cold, calculating visage that stares back. Those final few glimpses of Bonds, sitting stunned in a dark corner of the dugout as his last chance of winning slipped away, may make him a more sympathetic figure. "I chose baseball because I want lo be the best at it, whatever that is for me," he said. "I'd rather just show it on the field." The memories of postseasons past — five times his teams failed to reach the World Series while he hit a miserable .196 — now seem as faded as photographs of Bonds starting out in 1986 as a skinny leadoff hitter for the Pirates. his historic game Sunday. But under them all he kept on the same white T-shirt, one with his image on the Dallas Cowboys star NFL LEADING RUSHERS 1- Bnmitt Smith 16,743 2. Walter Payton 16,726 3. Batry Sarideis 15.269 4. Eric Dlckerccm 13,259 5. Tony Dorset! 12,739 6. Jim Brown 12.312 7. Marcus Allen 12,243 8. Franco Hams 12,120 9. Thurman Thomas 12,074 10. John Riggini 11.352 11. OJ. Simpson .11.236 12. Jwome.Benis 11,202 logo, the phrase "All Time" and the number 16,727 — a yard more than the late Walter Payton had. With an II-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks that was classic Emmitt, he became No. 1. Smith cut left, saw a hole and plunged through it. He got tripped up, but put his right hand down to keep his balance and surged forward. And past Payton. "Trust me, I knew what I needed," Smith said. "Once I broke the line of scrimmage I knew that would have to be the one." The 33-year-old Smith wanted to get the record at home, and he knew this was his last chance because the Cowboys play their next two games on the road. Smith ran for 109 yards on 24 carries, both season highs, and scored a touchdown, giving the Dallas Tans something to remember even though their team lost 17-14. Many of them even stayed around for a postgame celebration. "To do it in front of the home crowd makes history of this magnitude such a special thing," Smith said. "I've learned how special it is when I saw Cal Ripken go through what he went through, and I saw Mark Me Gwire and Sammy Sosa, and watched Barry Bonds do what he did, and saw the fan reaction." After Smith came back on the field in full uniform, he took a victory lap around Texas Stadium — a la Ripken — and slapped hands with fans before making his way to a star-shaped stage in the middle of the field. Smith gave an eloquent speech filled with thank-yous and memories, and then was presented a silver football from Cowboys owner lerry Jones. Continued on page 15 In their place are a succession of laser-like home runs launched into the night by a thickly muscled , cleanup hitter with perhaps the keenest hand-eye coordination in the game. "I was born to hit a baseball," Bonds said not long ago. "I can still hit a baseball." Mike Scioscia began saying the Angels would take a situational approach to facing Bonds, but grew more conservative each time Bonds waggled that bat with even the remotest possibility of doing damage. By Game 4, Scioscia had enough. His staff didn't give Bonds many more chances. He was pitched to just once with a runner in scoring position. He walked 13 times, two more than the previous Series record shared by Ruth and Gene Tcnace. Despite all that, Bonds also challenged the Sc- ries marks for baiting average, and on-base and slugging percentages. It wasn't enough, but it was all Bonds had to show— for the moment, anyway. "They outplayed us. They deserved it. They beat us. They're world champions," he said quietly. "We'll go to spring training and start again." D-6 pairings announced From Staff Reports The Blairsville Bobcats will continue their undefeated season on Friday, when they begin play in the District 5-6 Class A playoffs. The Bobcats (9-0) will play host to Moshannon Valley (8-1) at .7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. In other playoff matchups, 'two local Class AA teams will play Saturday night on the road. No. 6 Marion Center (6-3) visits third- ranked Bedford (7-2) and fifth- ranked Ligonier Valley (7-2) travels to No. 4 Tyrone (6-3). Both games are at 7 p.m. Pairings for the WPIAL playoffs, for which Apollo-Ridge qualified, will be announced tomorrow night

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