The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on September 26, 1996 · Page 17
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 17

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, September 26, 1996
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Page 17
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THURSbAY SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 THE SALINE JOURNAL Sports PREP FOOTBALL STANDINGS / D2 FOOTBALL / D3 MONEY / D4 D V HIGH SCHOOL NOTES ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal T COLLEGE FOOTBALL KU ready to go after layoff Panther football creating a stir in Concordia What a difference a year and a little confidence can make. Three games into the football season, not only have the Concordia Panthers tripled their victory total of last season, they have knocked off one state-ranked opponent and moved into the Class 4A rankings themselves. After opening with a 40-14 thrashing of Minneapolis, the Panthers went on the road and won a 37'28 Shootout with Beloit, then ranked No. 9 in Class 3A. Add a 2114 decision over previously unbeaten Wamego last Friday and they take a 3-0 record into Friday's showdown with Marysville. "The kids are playing well right now," said second-year Con- .cordia coach Ron Culwell. "To some degrea I am (surprised at how well), but the kids really worked hard in the weight room over the summer and winter. They gained a lot of confidence from that, and it helps to have good athletes. "Last year we struggled. We got out-physicaled most games. I told them that they really needed to work on the weights over the summer. They've added some 1 weight and gotten stronger." While most coaches insist that success is predicated on defense, Culwell credits a diverse and explosive offense for Concordia's start. "I think we generate a lot of positive things with our offense," he said. "Our defense isn't nearly as strong as it needs to be. We've been holding in some key situations, (but) we still bend a lot and we need to get better." On offense, junior quarterback Jacob Letourneau has improved significantly after throwing for 1,200 yards last year. In three games, he has completed 27 of 56 passes for 557 yards and five touchdowns with just two interceptions. "He's a year older, a year smarter and a lot stronger," Culwell said of Letourneau. "He's throwing the ball really well and we feel there are not a whole lot of people better than he is." To keep opposing defenses hon. est, sophomore running back ; Travis Esslinger, a state sprint - champion in track last year, is aver" aging 127 yards rushing per game. - It also helps that they are operating behind a veteran offensive line. Guards Adam Holbert and Roger Walker, and tackles Delno Reed and Doug Thoman are all seniors. Center Ryan Miller is a junior. ;. "Our offensive line is doing a a . great job protecting the passer," Culwell said. "A lot of times last - year we were running for our - lives and this year the offensive - line has only given up one sack. I "Jacob is pretty agile, so we're ! trying to move him around a little bit in the pocket to keep defenses guessing. We're pretty balanced, and I think the kids have a lot of confidence in our offense." Linebackers Darrell Zimmerman and Jamie Wheeler have combined for 69 tackles to lead the defense. "(The defense) has given up some things, but they came up with a big fumble recovery , against Wamego on the 1-yard ;; : ltne," Culwell said. "We then ^drove 99 yards to win the game. : .: "We were down 14-0 at halftime : of that game and last year we would have folded. This year we're showing some resiliency." ''.• Power districts : Under the current football playoff system, several districts can make a case for changing the format. In Class 3A, for example, Norton and Smith Center would be state championship contenders, yet on- •ly one will advance out of District ' 15. And in District 10, defending champ Belleville, SE-Saline and Beloit all have been ranked for niuch of the season. But the most compelling case for reform comes in Class 5A's District 8, where all four teams are undefeated and ranked in the state's top five. Defending 5A champion Liberal is arguably the state's strongest team in any class after shutting out Wi; chita West, which was No. 1 in 6A. Wichita Carroll, Goddard and Campus also have recorded impressive ; victories on the way to 3-0 starts. It's too bad that three of these four will be on the sidelines once : ;.the playoffs get under way. Saturday night's game at Utah just the third in 31 days for nationally-ranked Jayhawks Road Warriors By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal It's time for the Kansas Jayhawks to once again chip away the rust and kick off the cobwebs. As one of the more unusual KU football seasons ever drags on, the 20th-ranked Jay- hawks will be back in action Saturday night in Salt Lake City facing the dangerous Utah Utes. Saturday's game will mark just the third game in 31 days for the Jayhawks, who will have layoffs of 16 and 14 days during the first month of the season. Kansas head coach Glen Mason and his players are understandably anxious to get on the playing field once again. "It's almost October and we've only played two football games," Mason said earlier this week. "We've been bumping a lot of heads getting ready to play. It's really been a weird deal. You get all geared up for the tor the Kansas , YEAR DAYS GAMES RECORD . 44!'^ t< 3 s ' 42 >,;,, 4 . 1944 1933 1901 1906 3638 35 '33 4 3 4 '5 0-3-1 '-I'M 1*1-2 1-2*2 season, and then you get a break. "It's kind of like the Indy 500. You go a couple laps and then it starts to rain, so they put you in the pits for a while." Two weeks ago, the Jayhawks traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, after a 16-day layoff to meet a TCU team that had played the week before against Oklahoma. The Jayhawks didn't let the layoff bother them, cruising to a 52-17 victory. Then, it was back to the practice field for two more weeks. "Everybody gets tired of practicing because it feels like an extension of spring practice," Mason said. "We've tried to use our time wisely, but we're anxious to get into the routine of playing." The Jayhawks will finally get into that routine after the Utah game, playing every Saturday until the season-finale at Missouri on Nov. 23. But, the team they're facing Saturday night has already played four games. "I think it has to be a disadvantage for us," Mason said of Utah's 3-1 record. "They are in midseason form and we're just trying to start our engines again. But, I'm not going to use that as an excuse. We are expecting to play well as Utah." As far as KU's next home game is concerned, that's still 16 days away. The Jay- hawks won't see action in Memorial Stadium until Oct. 12 when Texas Tech comes to Lawrence. The 44-day stretch between home games is a record for a Kansas football season, edging the 42-day stretch during the 1990 season. In 1990, the Jayhawks played the first two games of the season at home, but then hit the road at Louisville, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Miami (Fla.). During that stretch, KU tied Iowa State, but lost the other three games. During the 1945 and '44 seasons, the Jay- hawks went 36 days between home games and were a combined 1-6-1 during those two stretches. In '45, the Jayhawks also played one of their home games at night at nearby Haskell Stadium, so actually had a 43-day stretch between games in Memorial Stadium. In '44, the Jayhawks played their first four games on the road and didn't play their first game in Memorial Stadium until Oct. 21. The KU record for most consecutive road games in one season came in 1906. The Jay- hawks opened the season with six home games and ended the year with five games on the road. "We've known for a long time this is what the schedule was going to be like," Mason said. "It was the hand dealt to us, and we were going to try and meet the challenge." AIR STRIKE Ryan Ash and Mike Losik give Sacred Heart a potent passing attack By LARRY MORITZ The Salina Journal N either Mike Losik nor Ryan Ash ever set out to break any records. But as Losik's receiving yards and Ash's passing numbers were climbing, records were falling concurrently in Sacred Heart's 51-13 victory at Whitewater-Remington last Friday night. "I knew we were throwing really well but I didn't know Mike had caught that many passes or that he had that many yards," said Ash, the Knights' senior quarterback. "I didn't know we had broken any records until I read it in the paper the next day." Among the records that tumbled under the Knights passing attack was the Kansas single- game record for receiving yards. Losik had nine catches for 282 yards, breaking the previous record of 268 yards set by Wabaunsee's Scott Murray in 1989. Losik's four touchdown catches, including three that went for 52 yards or more, equaled another state record for scoring receptions in a game. He shares that record with eight other Kansas high school receivers. "We had no idea about the records during the course of the game," said Sacred Heart coach Tony Canacari, who didn't play Losik or Ash on offense in the fourth quarter. "We had no idea how many passes they had caught or thrown for. We went out and played well and executed, and it was a great team effort by all the guys." "I woke up Saturday morning and had no idea we had broken the state record," Losik said. "I knew we had the school record, but the state record was a real surprise." The real surprise may have been that the Knights ever attempted an air attack against ; 1 ?' I t.JW?-* i Yfti TOM DORSEY/The Salina Journal Productive combination: Sacred Heart receiver Mike Losik (left) and quarterback Ryan Ash. Remington. Sacred Heart did not have a touchdown pass in its first two games of the season and Ash expected an ailing back to keep his passing numbers down. "We weren't even thinking about passing that much," Ash said. "Before the game I told coach that my back was hurting and I didn't want to throw much during the game. We threw 17 passes which is a lot for us, but if he had asked me how many I thought we could throw before the game I would have said about seven." b y 8MW* Heart's Mike Uwlk In the Knights' $1-13 victory over STATE RECORDS In ft single (jame. Previous record of 868 set by Scott ,In, a single game. Matches record set by eight other i r, | lr)elUdjnf| Saline, Central's Flynn Harvey In 1989. f •"•',*?-£* >*' » * SCHOOL RECORDS , i'' *, 29? W Yards receiving In a single game. Previous record of 193 set by Kelly i l fl^FlfAiV IfT^flfll * < t ! *" », S jw Most 'catches In a single game. Previous record of eight shared by Tony ' Hansmann (108S), BsyWawlhoret (1984) and Ralph Humphrey (1980). ' - <#*,|-F^TwcJvJow» sooredln a single game. Matches the school record set by flye Jerrrjf f Knights, the last being Jason Wells In 1994. • »- Most pg^ In 9 etngtegarrw. Equals tfw school r^^ , Wbfrr*pnfor»^ fcr iMpf*^^ High School. See KNIGHTS, Page D3 T BASEBALL Yankees capture ALEast New York clinches first division title since 1981 with rout of Brewers By The Associated Press NEW YORK — The Yankees ended any suspense left in the AL East race and started their party a little early. New York clinched its first AL East title since 1981 with its highest-scoring game in 34 years, a 192 rout of the Milwaukee Brewers in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday. The Yankees came in needing only one win to lock up the division title, and they got it with an awesome offensive display. After scoring four runs in the first inning, the Yankees scored 10 • more in the second to open a 14-1 lead. The most productive first two innings in the club's 94-year history, and its highest run total since 1962, finally allowed the Yankees to relax following two tense weeks. The crowd, which trickled in during the first game, stood from the first pitch of the ninth inning to the last, a fly out by Fernando Vina to center fielder Bernie Williams. After the catch,.confetti poured out of the upper deck as the Yankees celebrated in the infield. New York City police in riot gear, however, ringed the field and prevented any fans from joining in. "It's just a great feeling," Williams said during the festivities. "We battled hard all year." The win gave David Cone (7-2) a chance to fine-tune his mechanics before the playoffs begin next week. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. Wild-card races / Page D3 V AUTO RACING Force hoping for record at Heartland Park Funny Car title winner now aims for eclipsing mark for season wins By The Journal Staff TOPEKA — The 1996 National Hot Rod Association Funny Car title is his. But that doesn't mean John Force has nothing to gain this weekend in the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals at Heartland Park. Force, of Yorba Linda, Calif., clinched his sixth Funny Car title in the 1990s three weeks ago at Indianapolis. He enters this weekend with an insurmountable 598 points lead over Castrol GTX race crew member and mechanic FORCE Tony Pedregon. Pedregon drives the Castrol GTX test vehicle and moved into second place after a final-round appearance last weekend in Reading, Pa. Pedregon leads his brother Cruz by 32 points. "The primary goal of both cars was for us to earn the 1996 Funny Car Championship," Force said. "We have fulfilled that goal, but still have work to do. We're not going to let up. "The test vehicle has been key to our success this year. It has enabled us to execute ideas we never dreamed of trying the past because the loss of consistency could mean the loss of a championship." Force recorded eight consecutive four-second runs at Heartland Park in July, setting a national elapsed time record of 4.889 seconds. Force has 11 victories this season. Another this weekend would break the single-season record currently shared by Force and Pro Stock driver Darrell Alderman. "Heartland Park has been good to us," Force said. "We had a great weekend here in July. We wouldn't mind running in the fours all weekend long, but the biggest thing for us right now is to keep Tony's car in the number two spot. Hopefully, we can do it because the track likes us. But it also likes Cruz. He won here twice in 1995." Force is the winningest driver in NHRA history with 59 victories. He's been in the finals of 14 of 16 races this season. 2. Blalne Johnson 3 LarryDlxon 4. Scott Kalltta * 2, Tonv Pedregon i 4. Al Hofmann 2. Warren Johnson 3<Ulk 4. Steve Schmidt SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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