The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 1, 1996 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Tuesday, October 1, 1996
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TUESDAY THE SAUNA JOURNAL ^^^^^^^^^^ffy^ T BASEBALL Sports SCOREBOARD/ B2 NBA / B3 MONEY / B4 B Angry umps vote to boycott playoffs ALOMAR Umpires won't work until Roberto Alomar's five-game suspension goes into effect By The Associated Press NEW YORK — Major league umpires voted Monday to boycott the baseball playoffs until Roberto Alomar's five-game suspension goes into effect, umpires' union head Richie Phillips said. The playoffs are scheduled to start today, beginning at 12:07 p.m. CDT with the Cleveland at Baltimore game. The San Diego at St. Louis and Texas at New York games are set for later today. "Our executive board voted unanimously to withhold services until the Alomar suspension goes into effect," Phillips said. Rich Levin, the spokesman for acting commissioner Bud Selig, said baseball officials will go to court today to seek an injunction that would force umpires to work the games. The umpires agreed to a five-year deal in V COLLEGE FOOTBALL Big 12's backs coming up big As megaconference's reputation plummets, running backs flourish May 1995 that ended a 120-day lockout and it included a no-strike clause. "We'll see what happens," Selig said Monday night. "We're just trying to work through this. I'm talking to all of our people. We're trying to concentrate on the playoffs." A baseball management source, speaking on the condition he not be identified, said Phillips may back down today if Selig issues a strong statement supporting the umpires. Alomar, the All-Star second baseman of the Baltimore Orioles, spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck after a called third strike Friday night in Toronto. After the game, Alomar said of the umpire: "I used to respect him a lot. He had a problem with his family when his son died — I know that's something real tough in life — but after that he just changed, personality-wise. He just got real bitter." * Red Sox, Phils fire managers / Page B3 Hirschbeck's 8-year-old son died three years ago from a rare brain disease. His 9- year-old son also is afflicted with the illness. Alomar was suspended for five games by AL president Gene Budig on Saturday. Alomar appealed the penalty, keeping him eligible to play, and hit a lOth-inning home run that put the Orioles into the playoffs for the first time since 1983. During the weekend, the players' union said Alomar's hearing is likely to held next spring, meaning he will be able to play in the postseason. On Monday, Alomar issued an apology in a written statement that also said he would donate $50,000 to charities fighting the disease that killed Hirschbeck's son. But that does not satisfy the umpires. "What Alomar did was reprehensible," said umpires' union president Jerry Crawford, an NL umpire. "They think the apology ends it. But that doesn't make up for it. "We feel strongly about this, enough that we took this action," he said. "They have a disagreement with the level of discipline imposed by the league president," said Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of the players' association. "That is not the basis to allow you to violate a no-strike clause. What they are doing is forcing the league to go into court and get an injunction, and they will. It may be the political thing to do within the umpires, but it has no legal basis." Phillips said he had spoken with Selig and Budig during the day, and that he was expecting to talk to them again as the first of playoff games neared. "As of now, the umpires will not work the games," Phillips said. "I'm not going to say the situation can change or anything. I'm just saying this is our position, and we'll see what happens." Orioles spokesman John Maroon said the club wouldn't ask Alomar to sit out during the playoffs. "Roberto Alomar has followed what the league asked," Maroon said Monday night. "He was suspended, he appealed and he will have a hearing when the time is due." V PRO FOOTBALL By DOUG TUCKER Tlie Associated Press - KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The founders of the Big 12 boasted they would have the most dominant conference and the greatest running backs. They were half right. In a disappointing inaugural season for the new megaconfer- ence, Big 12 teams keep sinking lower and Blower in the national rankings.'Only No. 16 Kansas State and Baylor, both idle last week, remain unbeaten as September turns into October and conference races begin in earnest. But Big 12 running backs, led by. Iowa State's 'extrabriJiffaryTroy 1 Davis, rank first, second and third on this week's NCAA rushing charts. No. 6 and No. 7 are from the Big 12, too. "This is an amazing group of backs in this conference," said Iowa State coach Dan McCarney. "I can't imagine a conference in the country that can match the backs that we have in the Big 12." 1 Davis vaulted to No. 1 in the country with his 378-yard, four- touchdown effort in the Cyclones' 45-31 victory Saturday over Missouri. After four games, he's averaging 7.6 yards per carry and 229.2 yards per game. Right behind Davis is Texas Tech's Byron Hanspard, who burned Utah State for 224 yards and raised his average to 206.2. No. 3 is Kansas senior June Henley, who carried for 216 yards in Utah's loss Saturday night and raised his average to 201.2 yards per game. No. 6 in the country is Oklahoma State's David Thompson, averaging 155.2 yards. Oklahoma freshman DeMond Parker is the seventh-leading rusher in the country, averaging almost 144 yards per game. But in the Big 12, where Davis is eyeing a second straight 2,000-yard season, Parker's almost an afterthought. Two weeks ago against Northern Iowa, Davis set a team record with 53 carries for 241 yards. Then he went out and recorded the third-best single-game performance in NCAA history with 41 carries against Missouri. "After they gave him the ball 50 times against Northern Iowa, I thought he might be a little tired," said Missouri coach Larry Smith. V PRO FOOTBALL File photo Iowa State's Troy Davis ran for 378 yards Saturday against Missouri. 4 Big 12 notebook / Page B3 Tired? With the game still in doubt, Davis carried 16 times in the fourth quarter for 175 yards. "It's very clear a great player ... just took over the game when it was on the line going into the fourth quarter. He took it over and dominated it, and that's why Iowa State won," Smith said. Hanspard, who rushed for 1,374 yards last year as a sophomore, also had 272 yards against Oklahoma State, 252 against Tulsa, and 214 two weeks ago in the mud against Georgia. "We've played against Byron for two years and you can certainly see he's better now than he was a year ago," said Baylor coach Chuck Reedy. "He's gotten better and better. He's stronger, and he seems to be as fast as he's ever been." Henley is the biggest among the top three at 5-foot-ll, 215 pounds. "He's got enough speed to turn in big plays, and when you look at it over the long haul, he's been able to come up big plays against the best competition in the country," said Kansas coach Glen Mason. "He's a big, powerful running back who has awful good moves." Spending about half his time last year as a wide receiver meant Henley came into the first Big 12 season less heralded than many of his peers. "Maybe he's underrated by a lot of people who look at statistics. But he has the ability to be the Iback in the 2-back set, the running back in a one-back set, a wide receiver in a one-back set," Mason said. Cowboys slip past Eagles 23-19 By The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA — The Dallas Cowboys live. Lifted from their lethargy by Herschel Walker's kickoff return, the Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-19 Monday night to restore their credibility and avoid the basement in the NFC East. It was a prime-time performance by Dallas' prime timers — Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Walker, who had a 49-yard return after the Cowboys had fallen behind 10-0 on Philadelphia's first two possessions. That ignited a run of 20 straight points in a 16-minute span of the first half, highlighted by a brilliantly executed 96-yard touchdown drive. The Cowboys' defense, led by Sanders and Leon Lett, had six sacks and forced five turnovers. Three of the turnovers set up field goals by Chris Boniol, including an interception by Sanders, whose 39-yard reception was the game's key offensive play. The fourth was George Teague's interception that stopped Philadelphia's final drive at the Dallas 30 with two minutes left. The Associated Press San Diego defensive back Willie Clark breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City's Chris Penn (81) during their game Sunday in San Diego. Special teams especially troublesome for Chiefs Chargers returned punt for TD, set up field goal with long kickoff return By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — They said every week for a month this would happen, and now it did. The Kansas City Chiefs finally let an opponent make one too many big plays on special teams, and it knocked them into a first- place tie with Denver and San Diego in the AFC West. While losing 22-19 to the Chargers on Sunday, the Chiefs' defense never let the San Diego offense into the end zone. But the special teams suffered through what has become a weekly series of misplays, including giving up a 57-yard kickoff return and an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. Then in the final minutes, the Chargers added special teams insult to injury by blocking what was meant to be Pete Stoy- anovich's game-tying field goal. It was the second time this year the Chiefs have had a kick blocked. But poor kick coverage is starting to become a chronic problem. Earlier this season, there were returns of 86 yards by Seattle's Steve Broussard and 48 yards by Denver's Vaughn Hebron. "Special teams are like tackling. It's a heart thing," said veteran defensive back and special teams operative William White. The Associated Press San Diego linebacker Junior Seau celebrates a sack Sunday. "You can have all the plans and all the X's and O's you want. But you've got to have guys with the determination to run down there and hit somebody and make a play." Last week after a 17-14 victory over Denver, head coach Marty Schottenheimer indicated some people could lose their jobs if things didn't get better. Well, they didn't get any better, at least in the kick coverage phase, did they coach? "We've got a couple of guys who still don't understand," Schottenheimer said Monday. "They're so zeroed in on where the big blockers are, that they're running in there instead of running to tackle the guy with the ball. "On the punt return we didn't get our contain guy down there far enough and had two guys fall on the ground, and then he got around the corner on us." Schottenheimer declined to name names or specify whether changes will be made as they get ready for next Monday night's home game against Pittsburgh. "We've got some guys who are young who are doing it pretty well and we've got a couple of young guys who are not doing it so well," he said. "It isn't a lack of effort. Some of these guys haven't ever been involved in the kicking game. But they've got to understand in this league when you're a young player, you've got to serve a role in this regard." On the up side, rookie Jerome Woods almost broke the opening kickoff, and had a 66-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. "There were a lot of good things. We made some plays in the kicking game, which was encouraging," Schottenheimer said. • Still, the Chiefs will be facing an uphill battle every week if they keep giving up big chunks of yardage on punts and kickoffs. "You watch the film, you see guys flying around trying to make plays," said special teams captain Greg Manusky. "It's just sometimes when you're flying around, you've got to hit it in the right spot. It's a great effort getting to the wedge and blowing it up, but you've got to fit in. Guys weren't on the right position on the wedge." Playoffs DIVISION SERIES Today's Games AMERICAN LEAGUE Cleveland (Nagy 17-5) at Baltimore (Wells 11-14), 12:07 p.m. (ESPN) Texas (Burkett 5-2) at New York (Cone 7-2), 7:07 p.m. (NBC) NATIONAL LEAGUE San Diego (Hamilton 15-9) at St. Louis (Stottlemyre 14-11), 3:07 p.m. (ESPN) Wednesday's Games AMERICAN LEAGUE Cleveland (Hershiser 15-9) at Baltimore (Erickson 13-12), 12:07 p.m. (ESPN) Texas (Hill 16-10) at New York (Pettitte 21-8), 7:11 p.m. (FOX) NATIONAL LEAGUE Atlanta (Smoltz 24-8) at Los Angeles (Martinez 15-6), 3:07 p.m. (ESPN) T HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL Surprising Wilson off to 4-0 start Dragons show steady improvement under first-year coach Brokes By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal Tony Brokes knew going in that he had inherited some solid players when he took over Wilson High School's football program this fall. -But not even he could have predicted the Dragons' fast 4-0 start and subsequent climb into the state Eight-Man I rankings. "We've jelled sooner than I expected," said Brokes, whose Dragons remained No. 7 in the Eight- Man I poll after a convincing 44-20 victory Friday over Lucas-Luray. "We had some lighter teams early in the season, but our schedule gets tougher each week, and each week the kids step up. I'm proud of them. "We had some returning lettermen and seven seniors. I expected the leadership out of them, but we've also got some younger kids who have stepped up and played well. We have freshmen pushing for positions and it's a battle every week in practice to see who gets to play on Friday." The Dragons, 5-4 a year ago and with a new coach, were overlooked in the preseason polls. But they opened with a 52-6 victory over Natoma, then rolled to a 52-30 decision at Tipton. "That Tipton team came out pretty strong and we got them down," Brokes said. "That was a good test. We knew they had some quality players." After they disposed of Chase 52-6 for their third victory, the Dragons faced another test against Lucas- Luray, which came in 2-1 with its only loss to Eight-Man II power Logan. They trailed 6-0 after one quarter, but scored 24 points in the second period to lead 24-12 at halftime. "We have a tendency to start slow (on defense)," Brokes said. "But we always seem to pick it up. When somebody starts moving the ball on us, we go up to another level." Lucas-Luray failed on all but one fourth-down conversion and managed just one touchdown despite controlling the ball for all but three plays in the third quarter. Offense has not been a problem for Wilson, which is averaging 52 points per game. Against Lucas-Luray, senior fullback Joe Soukup rushed for 180 yards on 16 carries, including touchdown runs of 75 and 10 yards. He also caught three TD passess from sophomore quarterback Dustin Pasek. Pasek was 10 of 14 passes for 61 yards and four touchdowns. "We're a very balanced team that can run or throw," Brokes said. "That's hard to find in eight-man football. We've got kids who can catch it, a quarterback who can throw and running backs who run hard. And our offensive line has been very good." The 5-foot-ll, 185-pound Soukup is averaging about 110 yards a game rushing and has been effective catching the ball out of the backfield. Against Chase, senior tailback Brandon Niehoff had a big game with three rushing touchdowns. J.L. Kasper, a 6-6,175-pound senior, has been the top receiver. On defense, linebacker Soukup and sophomore end Chad Petz are the leading tacklers. • Rankings / Page B3 SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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