Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan on January 4, 1983 · Page 11
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Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan · Page 11

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Battle Creek, Michigan
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Tuesday, January 4, 1983
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Page 11
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Eiraqannireir Scoreboard C-2 Business C-46 Classified C-4-5 and Tues., Jan. 4, 1983 Section Saturday playoff date edskins coach angers Ft AP Photo Tony Dorsett is congrotulated by teammate Rafael Septien after his record-breaking 99-yard touchdown run Monday. Vikes overcome Dorsetfs record 99-yard TD run to beat Cowboys By BILLWERONKA The Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Vikings avoided another meeting with the Dallas' Cowboys in the opening round of the NFL playoffs by coming up with more big plays Monday night than the Cowboys did. Dallas coach Tom Landry said the Cowboys, who after their 31-27 loss will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday, had nothing to gain by winning. "You have to give the Vikings a lot of credit," Landry said. "They fought to stay here and they deserved it. We just wanted to play hard. We really had no incentive except the prestige of winning." The Vikings earned a home game against Atlanta on Sunday. Had they lost, they would have begun post-season play at Dallas. In a game that featured big plays, the biggest was an NFL-record 99-yard scoring dash by Dallas' Tony Dorsett. After Minnesota cornerback John Turner ran back an intercepted pass 33 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 24-13 lead, Tim Newsome of the Cowboys fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the ball went out of bounds on the Cowboys' one-yard line. On the next play, Dorsett went off right tackle for his history-making run. "There wasn't a thing wrong about the (defensive) play," Minnesota coach Bud Grant said of Dor-sett's run, which broke the record of 97 yards set by Andy Uram of the Chicago Cardinals in 1939 and tied by Bob Gage of Pittsburgh in 1949. "He saw a crack and exploited it. I was in awe of the play myself." "I just saw a lot of green," said Dorsett, who finished the game with 153 yards to win the NFC rushing title and wind up second to Freeman McNeil of the New York Jets for the league championship. "I'll hold on to this one a long time . " t "Nothing happened," nose tackle Charlie Johnson said of the effect of Dorsett's touchdown. "There was no emotion change. A lot of teams would have folded after that, but not us. That's what made the difference." Ron Springs' two-yard dash gave Dallas a 27-24 lead, but the Vikings came right back, driving 80 yards for the winning touchdown. Running back Ted Brown, who scored twice and rushed for 100 yards, alsocaught passes for 50 yards, including a 29-yarder in the decisive drive that put Minnesota in Dallas territory. A little later, quarterback Tommy Kramer hit Rickey Young with a 14-yard touchdown pass. Young caught the ball as he slid to the ground, regained his feet and ran it the remaining 10 yards. Young said his first thought was to hang onto the ball and not get up. "But I heard Teddy (Brown) yelling at me to get up," he said. "I finally figured out I had time to get up and get in." Minnesota's defense, which played inspired ball all night, held Dallas in the final two minutes. "They've taken a lot of abuse over the years," Grant said of his defense. "Maybe they'll get some credit now." The defense sacked White three times and, except for Dorsett's one spurt, limited the Cowboys' running game to 98 yards. Their passing attack managed only 167 yards, while Kramer threw for 242. Dallas took an early 10-0 lead, but Minnesota came back to tie the score before half time. The Vikings drove 74 yards to a touchdown to start the second half. Dallas managed a field goal in the third period that made kicker Rafael Septien the Cowboys' all-time leading scorer with 459 points. Dallas 3 7 3 14 77 Minnesota 0 10 7 1431 D Septien, 42 FG D Thurman, 60 pass interception (Septien kick) M Danmeier, 28 FG M Brown, 1 run (Danmeier kick) M Brown, 13 pass from Kramer (Danmeier kick) D Septien, 22 FG M Turner, 33 pass interception return (Danmeier kick) D Dorsett, 99 run (Septien kick) D Springs, 2 run (Septien kick) AA Young, 14 pass from Kramer (Danmeier kick) Attendance: 60,007 By IRA ROSENFELD The Associated Press WASHINGTON A rash of injuries and a Saturday playoff date took some of the shine off the apple for Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs on Monday as he began preparing his team for its first playoff appearance in eight years. Gibbs, who expressed concern last week that his team might lose a day of preparation by opening the playoffs before Sunday, had his fears realized Monday afternoon when the NFL decreed the Redskins would host the Detroit Lions on Saturday afternoon. "I had a gut feeling this was going to happen," Gibbs said said. The decision rankled Gibbs, who felt his team's first-place finish in the National Conference merited consideration in deciding the playoff schedule. "Every time they get started with computers, we get behind the eight ball," Gibbs said of the league and its competition committee. League officials blamed Mother Nature for the decision to have the Redskins play on Saturday. If the game were to be held on Sunday, it would start at 4 p.m. and the officials felt that weather conditions in Atlanta in January would be more suitable for a late afternoon start. "All I know is that last week I watched the Cotton Bowl on television and it was snowing and hailing in Dallas and it was 60 degrees here," Gibbs said. "How can you make the decision on the weather? I just don't think they made the decision for the right reason." Gibbs' other main concern is an offense that has been decimated by injuries. "There are just so many people injured I don't know who will play this weekend or where," Gibbs lamented. John Riggins, the team's leading rusher, missed Sunday's 28-0 victory over St. Louis with a bruised thigh. His status for Saturday remains on a "day-to-day basis," according to Gibbs. Mike Nelms, the Redskins' All-Pro kick-returner, also missed Sunday's game with a bruised thigh, but could return to action against the Lions. Running backs Joe Washington and Clarence Harmon both came out of Sunday's game with sore knees. Washington should be able to play Saturday, but Harmon is questionable. The receiving corps suffered a major blow when wide receiver Art Monk was lost for the year with a stress fracture of the right foot. Wide receiver Virgil Seay, averaging more than 25 yards'a catch, is doubtful with a sore hip. "We'll definitely have to make some adjustments, possibly moving (Clint) Didier or (Rich) Caster from tight end to wide receiver," Gibbs said. Gibbs' concern was emphasized by his decision to hold a practice for receivers today, usually the team's day off. NFL Playoffs Saturday National Conference Detroit at Washington, 12:30 p.m. St. Louis at Green Bay, 12:30 p.m. American Conference Cleveland at L.A. Raiders, 4 p.m. New England at AAiami,4p.m. Sunday American Conference N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati, 12:30 p.m. San Diego at Pittsburgh, 12:30 p.m National Conference Tampa Bay at Dallas, 4 p.m. Atlanta at Minnesota, 4 p.m. Clark has not picked QB yet By DAVID FOX The Associated Press PONTIAC Detroit Lions coach Monte Clark is in no hurry to announce who will start at quarterback for the Lions in their NFL playoff game Saturday against Washington. In fact, Clark says he still is not sure whether Gary Danielson or Eric Hippie will get the starting assignment. "I haven't had enough time," Clark said Monday at his weekly news conference. "If I'd really felt comfortable about finalizing it this morning, I would have liked to have told everybody and gotten it out of the way. But I didn't want to be rushed." Hippie and Danielson both have been starters this season. Both also have been benched and both have come in during games to lead crucial scoring drives. On Sunday, Hippie replaced Danielson with 10:34 to play and engineered a 60-yard scoring drive that lifted the Lions to a 27-24 triumph over the Green Bay Packers and into the playoffs. "I think they're confident that I'll make the best decision that I know-how," Clark said of his players. "It's also something that Washington would be anxious to know that I'm not anxious to let them know." Clark acknowledged that the Lions (4-5) are the underdogs against the Redskins, whose 8-1 mark is the best of eight National Conference playoff qualifiers. "You might look at it that way, with their record and ours," Clark said. "But I think that might be something we can take advantage of. We can go in with the attitude that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain." The Lions, losers of five of seven games since the eight-week players-'strike, were the eighth and final conference pick for the playoffs. But the team's record itself does not matter to Clark. "If it wasn't us, it's somebody else that we'd watch on TV," Clark said. "We have as much right now to go on as anyone else. The Oakland Raiders won a Super Bowl a couple of years ago and they were a wild card team." Clark said he told his players Monday that they had achieved one goal by making the playoffs. But he said the important thing now is for them to not settle for reaching just the one goal. The Lions slipped into the playoffs thanks to the Los Angeles Rams' 21-20 victory over San Francisco. Redskins sweep '82 N F L awards Moselev is "iv I Gibbs earns - league's MVP The Associated Press WASHINGTON - Mark Moseley has been given an award for kicking footballs. It should have been for survival. Moseley, the Washington Redskins' placekicker, rose above the heartaches of personal crisis both on and off the field to be named the Most Valuable Player in the National Football League by The Associated Press. Moseley edged San Diego quarterback Dan Fouts to become the first kicker ever to win the league's MVP award. "I didn't even think kickers were eligible," Moseley said upon learning of the honor. "Most kickers never really think about this kind of award. You just go out each week trying to the best job you can." Setting a new standard for accuracy, Moseley made 20 of 21 field goal attempts; scored 76 points, more than any other kicker; and provided the margin of victory in five of the Redskins' eight victories. See MOSELEY, C-3 J J ' " -w AP Photo Most Valuable Player Mark Moseley, left, and Coach of the Year Joe Gibbs pose after learning of their awards Monday at the Washington Redskins' training facility in Chantilly, Va. coach honor By BRUCE LOWITT The Associated Press NEW YORK - Joe Gibbs, who guided the Washington Redskins to the best record in the National Conference in 1982 and into the playoffs for the first time since 1976, was named NFL Coach of the Year today by The Associated Press. Gibbs was a runaway winner, garnering 49 of the 84 votes cast by a nationwide panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Tom Flores, coach of the Los Angeles Raiders, was second with 14 votes. He was followed by Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys with six. Don Shula of Miami received five votes; Jim Hanifan of St. Louis and Leeman Bennett of Atlanta, two apiece. "Becoming a head coach and winning this award is truly a dream come true," Gibbs said. "I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive because I'm doing what I've always wanted to do." In 1981, Gibbs replaced Jack Par-See GIBBS, C-3 Penn State title stirs memories of prep quarterback Certain events bring memories flooding into the mind's eye. Saturday's Sugar Bowl game, in which Penn State defeated Georgia to win the mythical national collegiate football championship, was one such event for me. Watching quarterback Todd Blackledge lead Penn State to victory by directing five scoring drives, the last capped by a 47-yard, touchdown pass, I couldn't help but think back to the fall of 1976. That fall, my second as a sportswriter for the Trenton (N.J.) Times, my chief responsibility was covering high school sports in Mercer County, in which Trenton is located. Princeton also is in Mercer County, and that fall Princeton had a new offensive coordinator for its football team by the name of Ron Blackledge. Blackledge's family moved to Princeton with him, including his son, Todd, who enrolled as a sophomore at Princeton High School and tried out for the football team as a quarterback. Princeton was far from a football powerhouse. Most teams in New Jersey played their games on Saturday afternoons. Princeton played its home games at 10 a.m., rather than go head-to-head with the university's , John Wilheim games. After Princeton lost its first two games, Blackledge was installed at quarterback. In the next few weeks, he distinguished himself primarily by throwing a touchdown pass on a fake field goal attempt. The first time I saw him play, he didn't throw for any touchdowns. In fact, he ran for six more yards than he passed for. He put the ball in the air 14 times and 7 times it was caught: 4 times by Princeton players and 3 times by members of the opposing team. Blackledge hardly looked like a quarterback. He was well over 6 feet tall, but couldn't have weighed more than 170 pounds soaking wet. He was the kind of football player, in short, who invariably made people think, "Oh, well, he's probably good in basketball." But a funny thing happened during the next few weeks. With Blackledge calling the signals, Princeton High began to win football games. In its final regular-season game, Princeton played Notre Dame, a team enjoying a Cinderella season. After having lost 18 consecutive games during the previous two years, Notre Dame was headed for the state's parochial school championship game. When it met Princeton, however, Notre Dame came out second best, largely because of Blackledge. He led Princeton to three touchdowns by calling audibles repeatedly after spotting a tendency of Notre Dame's linebackers to line up differently when expecting a run or a pass. For good measure, Blackledge intercepted a pass as a defensive back to preserve an 18-16 victory that gave Princeton a share of its league championship. Had I know of it at the time, I might well have cited a statement made in 1949 by Stanley Woodward, a well-known New York sportswriter, of another young quarterback: "He can't run and he can't pass. All he can do is think and win." The subject of Woodward's observation was the quarterback at Brown University that year, one Joe Paterno. Paterno already was well-established as the head coach at Penn State the year I saw Blackledge play. The previous fall, in fact, I had met Paterno while covering Penn State half a dozen times. In a span of 2V2 months, I saw Penn State win by a single point over a Temple team it should have beaten decisively, rout a Stanford team expected to give the Nittany Lions a battle, lose at Ohio State on a questionable pass interference call and rout a West Virginia team ranked in the Top Ten in the nation. After each game, Paterno was open, honest and, above all else, gracious. Another coach might have moaned and groaned over the pass interference call at Columbus. Instead, Paterno simply said of the Buckeyes, "They're a great football team. That's all there is to it." Another coach might have gloated after his team had roughed up West Virginia. Said Paterno, "We're a touchdown better, maybe 10 points, but not much more." My encounters with Paterno were limited to those few minutes after games that one fall. But ever since, I've been a great admirer of the man. He wants to win every game, naturally. But he knows. that football is just that, a game. He will no more complain about officiating or boast in victory than he will tell his' players to put football ahead of their class-work. The Penn State team I saw that year rarely threw the ball. In its triumph over Stanford, for example, it ran 70 times and passed 3. Paterno didn't dislike passing, per se. He just didn't have a quarterback who could throw the ball well, so he didn't have him throw very often. When he signed Blackledge to a national letter of intent in 1979, he probably figured he had another quarterback possessed of great leadership abilities, but only an adequate arm. Little did he suspect that in 1982 Blackledge would break Penn State's record for touchdown passes in a season after just four games. Or that his perfectly thrown pass with 13 minutes to play would provide the margin of victory that finally, after 17 years, would bring Paterno his first national title. On those Saturdays six years ago when I watched Blackledge, I never would have thought so, either. But he did. Gawky high school sophomores everywhere can learn something from Black-ledge's story. Sportswriters, too. John Wilheim is Sports Editor of the Enquirer and News.

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