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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and delcotimes.com. He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

ROY JONES JR. WINS ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP

WILMINGTON, Del. >> Roy Jones Jr., the former world heavyweight champion, showed enough of his familiar skills Friday night to win the WBF cruiserweight championship with an eighth-round TKO of Bobby Gunn.

Before a packed Chase Center, with a capacity of about 2,200, Jones won just about every round (six of the seven scored on the Daily Times card) and staggered Gunn late in the seventh round. Gunn's corner waved off the fight before the eighth round, which technically had begun. Thus, Jones' victory occurred at seven seconds into the eighth round.

Gunn, better known earlier in his career as a bare-knuckle champion in Canada, fell to 21-7-2 as a pro. Jones, a certain Hall of Famer to be, is 65-9. Asked if his career would continue, Jones indicated it would, as long as it was worth his while.

Gunn was impressed by Jones, who has won world championships in four weight classes and is recognized as one of the best, all-time, pound-for-pound: "I enjoyed seeing him beat me up."

Jones, 48, has won 10 of his last 11, though against dramatically downgraded competition from when, in the 1990s, he was voted as the fighter of the decade.

Earlier Friday, Kanat Islam showed why he was ranked No. 4 by the WBA with an impressive first-round knockout of Robson Assis. His forehead severely bleeding from an early head-butt, Islam, of Kazakhstan, used his remarkable hand-speed and instinct for violence to overwhelm Assis of Brazil.

The KO came at 2:12 of the first, and Islam's camp immediately called out Floyd Mayweather. He improved to 23-0. Assis is 16-4.

Also, popular lightweight Joey Tiberi Jr., of Delaware scored a fourth-round TKO over game Bryan Simmons of St. Joseph, Missouri at 2:04 of the second. Tiberi improved to 14-2. Timmons is 5-9.

Frank DeAlba of Allentown (21-2-2) won a unanimous decision over German Emeraz of Mexico (55-42-1) in a junior lightweight prelim. And Dagoberto Aguero of the Dominican Republic impressed in improving to 11-0 with a super bantamweight majority decision over Olimjon Nazarov of Uzberkistan (14-5).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pederson overwhelmed by offensive line upheaval

By Jack McCaffery
PHILADELPHIA >> Doug Pederson was at his office desk early Sunday morning, still preparing to coach the Eagles against the Washington Redskins. When the phone rang, his job would grow more complicated.
For the second time in three games, veteran guard Brandon Brooks had reported a game-day stomach illness that would prevent him from playing. The result, which was complicated by a variety of in-game offensive-line injuries, was that the Birds would lose, 27-22. The more lasting challenge would be for the Eagles to find out why Brooks, who also missed the Nov. 28 game against visiting Green Bay, has twice had such trouble just hours before kickoff.
“That's something we're going to continue to explore today with him and just see,” Pederson said Monday at the NovaCare Complex. “It's obviously unfortunate, but we need to get to the bottom of it and just find out why.”
Brooks, 27, has reported to have battled ulcers. Oddly, however, that distress has not caused him to miss any practices. He even was at the Linc Sunday, prepared to participate in pregame drills, before reporting that he would be unable to play.
Why?
“That's something that our medical team will dive into,” Pederson said, “and try to find out.”
Brooks, who was signed in the offseason as a free agent, missed a Houston Texans game against the Buffalo Bills last season.
Clearly, Pederson didn't expect Brooks' trauma to be lasting, announcing Monday that the guard would be ready to practice Wednesday. And when asked if Brooks were still a starter, Pederson indicated, “Yes.”
Pederson did admit that the uncertainty surrounding Brooks complicates his preparation. Against the Redskins, rookie Isaac Seumalo would start in Brooks' place.
“Well, it can be a challenge,” Pederson said. “I think for us, as coaches, and as a staff, by giving Isaac these reps during the week, it definitely prepares us for anything. It's obviously no different than if Brandon were to go down with an injury, say, in the first quarter and Seumalo has to go play.
“It is a difficult situation, but at the same time, we feel comfortable with Isaac and giving him the time during the week to be ready and handle the situation.”
As it would happen Sunday, Brooks' late sick-call was the first in a series of offensive-line complications. During the game, right tackle Allen Barbre sustained a Grade 1 right hamstring-strain, according to Pederson. Matt Tobin would replace Barbre and suffer a Grade 2 left-knee sprain that likely will cost him the rest of the season.
Also, long-snapper Jon Dorenbos broke his wrist, requiring surgery, and will be placed on the injured-reserve list. Tight end Brent Celek, also the backup snapper, reported a stinger during the game.
It was the nature of the Brooks absence, though, that was the most mysterious.
“It's happened on the actual day of the game,” Pederson said. “There is a little bit of history there, but it's something our medical team will do more to investigate as we go.”
Pederson said he spoke with Brooks Monday morning.
“He definitely wants to explore the reasons why this is happening,” the coach said. “If we can help him, I want to help him and make sure it doesn't happen again.
“Again, medically, I don't know what it is. I'm not Brandon, so I can't speak for him. But it’s something we’ve got to get to the bottom of and help him as an athlete.”
Tobin was injured on the Birds' next-to-last offensive play, then was beaten by Ryan Kerrigan, who sacked Carson Wentz, forcing a fumble with 21 seconds left. By then, Pederson's only remaining available offensive lineman was backup center Josh Andrews. Guard Dillon Gordon was a pregame scratch.
By Monday, Pederson was still unsure of how his line will look Sunday when the Birds visit the Baltimore Ravens.
“Well, we're looking at all that,” he said. “We still have Dillon Gordon. But there's going to be probably opportunity to work out some guys and bring some guys in and try to fill those spots.
“The next couple days will be big days for us.”

Thursday, October 20, 2016

HAKSTOL: At age 50, Flyers have 'responsibility' to build upon tradition

Before the Flyers would entertain the Anaheim Ducks Thursday in the Wells Fargo Center, in the home opener of the 50th season, Dave Hakstol met with the press.

This was the conversation:

On 50th year, particularly Ed Snider:

“I think he's a central figure to everything our team does and I think his presence is always here and always felt. I'm not sure exactly what's in store for the pregame ceremonies, but I am looking forward to it. I think there's going to be a lot of emotion that comes with it and is attached to it, and those are emotions that are positive for our team.”


No championship for a long time, but much success, Hall of Famers, good teams, more. Can that tradition provide a benefit on the ice?

“You always build on your history and your tradition. You have a responsibility to those who have come before you, to those who have built this organization that have come before us. We have a responsibility to them to not just respect that but to also build on it.”

How would you characterize that first road trip?

“I haven't looked for a way to characterize it. We played a (heck) of a game in L.A. We found a way to get a point on a tough back-to-back the next night. And it was a disappointing finish to the road trip in Chicago. But there were a lot of real good spurts of hockey. There was not a full, complete 60-minute hockey game really in any of the three. So it's early in the year. But those are things that you have to work on and build on.”

Was the comeback something that can be built upon?

“That's a positive. I'm not looking for positives. I know what the positives are. We didn't like getting into a hole. Quite honestly, we played a pretty good first period in Chicago. We played a pretty darn good first period, and all of a sudden, we were down, three-nothing. We got through the second, didn't get a whole lot done. I am impressed with our players, to go out and tie the game up. And like I said, from there, we are disappointed to not come away, once we were back, to not get some road points.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Stats from O'Hara and Conwell-Egan football game

Cardinal O’Hara 16, Conwell-Egan 13
Card. O’Hara 7 7 0 2 16
Conwell-Egan 0 0 7 6 13
First Quarter
COH: Santilla 16 pass from O’Hara (Calamita kick), 1:38
Second Quarter
COH: Kutufaris 48 run (Calamita kick), 7:58
Third Quarter
CEC: Garwo 2 run (Bareras kick), 7:40
Fourth Quarter
CEC: Garwo 34 run (kick blocked), 2:38
COH: Safety. Gould tackles Jones in end zone.
TEAM STATISTICS
COH CEC
First downs  13 13
Rushes-Yards  31-158  44-153
Passing yards  168 136
Total yards 326 289
Passing  9-21-0    7-10-0
Punts-Average  3-31.3     4-36.5
Fumbles-Lost 1 4
Penalties-Yards  5-30    6-60
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing: Card. O’Hara — Kutufaris 2-91, O’Hara 17-37, Santilla 2-16, Henderson 7-8, Johnson 3-6. Conwell-Egan — Garwo 14-82, Bronson 10-26, Jones 17-22, Bentley 2-18, Majors 1-5.
Passing: Card. O’Hara — O’Hara 9-22-0, 168. Conwell-Egan — Jones 7-10-0, 136.
Receiving: Card. O’Hara — Santilla 3-66, Johnson 3-48, Redd 1-44, Jones 1-5, Kutufaris 1-5. Conwell-Egan — Bronson 3-84, Cohen 3-50, Goldsby 1-2.
Interceptions: None.



Monday, October 3, 2016

Klentak shows patience with most of coaching staff

By Jack McCaffery
PHILADELPHIA >> The first formal indication of Matt Klentak's offseason disposition was revealed Monday: He will be patient … to a point.
Confirming what sources revealed Sunday, the Phillies have officially released Steve Henderson, who had been their hitting coach since 2013. However, despite finishing 20 games below .500, the rest of the staff will be retained, including Larry Bowa (bench), Rick Kranitz (bullpen), Bob McClure (pitching), John McLaren (catching), Mickey Morandini (first base) and Juan Samuel (third base).
Manager Pete Mackanin is under contract through the 2017 season. The Phillies hold a club option to extend that agreement through 2018.
Henderson, 65, played for the Mets, Cubs, Mariners, A's and Astros and was a .280 major-league hitter in 16 major-league seasons. But the Phillies hit .240 this season, the second-worst average in baseball. Their 1,376 strikeouts were the third most in the National League.
Mackanin supported Henderson throughout the struggle, often mentioning how he was teaching the proper things around the batting cage. The message was not getting through, however, and the manager also routinely lamented a poor team-wide approach at the plate, particularly with two strikes.
“I think our group as a whole has done a really nice job this year,” Klentak said in a recent interview. “We talked a lot in spring training about the energy level, staying positive, particularly with a young group. And we’ve had one of the youngest rosters all year long. The effort level of this team and this staff has been very good. I won’t say we’re going to commit to anything at this stage for next year, but at the end of the year Pete and I will sit down and talk about it.
“Generally speaking, I’m pleased.”
When asked if he alone would make those decisions, the general manager replied, “Pete and I will talk about it together.”
The decision to part ways with Henderson was made Sunday and confirmed by sources. Though coaching-staff changes immediately after Game No. 162 are common in baseball, it's likely the Phillies chose to wait a day rather than to allow any announcement to clutter their tasteful tribute to Ryan Howard, who has played his last Phillies game.
Though Klentak appreciated Henderson's effort, the results were too drastic to ignore.
“That’s a challenge in any organization, separating process from results,” the general manager said. “The effort level has been there, not only from Steve, but from the whole staff. They can only play the players that are on the roster. Some players are going to naturally be better at certain things than others. It’s just the reality of business and the way things work. I agree with what Pete has said. It’s certainly not for a lack of effort.”
Klentak remains supportive of Mackanin.
“Our relationship has really grown as the year has gone on, not surprisingly,” he said. “Our communication has been very open. I think he’s done a pretty good job. It’s not easy to keep a team that’s likely out of contention playing hard until the very end, but this team continues to fight every day. That’s a very good sign as an organization.”


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Nominations sought for writing, broadcasting awards

This is a press release from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association:



CONTACT: PSWA President Sam Carchidi
215-313-3315
RELEASE DATE: IMMEDIATELY

NOMINEES NEEDED FOR BILL CAMPBELL, STAN HOCHMAN AWARDS;  PSWA BANQUET TICKETS AVAILABLE

Two of the most iconic figures in the history of Philadelphia sports media _ broadcaster Bill Campbell and columnist Stan Hochman _ will again be honored with awards named in their memory at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's Feb. 3 banquet at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.
 “If something important happened in Philadelphia sports during most of our lifetimes, there’s a good chance Bill and Stan were there to cover the event,” said Sam Carchidi, PSWA president. “For a Philadelphia sports journalist, I can’t think of a more prestigious local honor.”
The PSWA is accepting nominees for the second annual awards.  Writing entries should be submitted to Rob Parent at parentr1@hotmail.com, and broadcast entries can be sent to Carchidi atscarchidi@phillynews.com.
This is the second year the awards have been presented. Eagles announcer Merrrill Reese won the Bill Campbell Broadcast Award last year, while The Inquirer's Mike Sielski won the Stan Hochman Writing Award.
The Hochman award is given to the best-written sports story in the calendar year, whether in a newspaper, magazine, book, or online.
The Campbell award is presented for excellence in broadcasting; local sportscasters, talk-show hosts, and radio/TV reporters or commentators are eligible.
Campbell, whose remarkable career touched parts of nine decades, was a broadcaster for the Eagles, Philles, and  Warriors/76ers and also a sports talk-show host. A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he died in 2014 at 91.
Hochman, known for his distinctive writing style and his incomparable interview ability, was an award-winning sports columnist for the Daily News for 55 years before his death in 2015.
Numerous Flyers captains from their history will be at the PSWA banquet, celebrating the franchise's 50th anniversary. Several other local pro athletes and teams will be honored, and it will be a night to salute Villanova's national men's basketball championship.
Tickets are available at phillysportswriters.com.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Howard says he's healthy, but is not in the lineup against a right-hander tonight


Ryan Howard says he is ready to resume playing after recovering from a small knee situation.

The Phillies, though, are saying not-so-fast.

With that, the informally scheduled Howard farewell tour at Citizens Bank Park will not likely resume until the Phils return from a road trip for a three-game series with the Mets starting Sept. 30.

Pete Mackanin, who typically arrives at the ballpark around 1 p.m., was counseled by trainers to provide Howard with additional rest Tuesday, even with the visiting Chicago White Sox starting right-handed pitcher James Shields.

Since the White Sox are scheduled to start left-handed Chris Sale, Howard would not start Wednesday, either. That will have given him a five-day, four-game rest after he'd reported a slight fluid buildup on his left knee Saturday.

“When I originally talked to (trainer) Scott Sheridan he said he thought it would be best to give him another day,” Mackanin said. “It's not in his best interest even to tweak it a little bit, this late in the year.”

The Phillies had planned to start Howard as often as possible, particularly against right-handers, during their late-season home games. They are expected to exercise their option to buy out the final year of Howard's contract at season's end, and they were trying to give their fans as many chances as possible to see the top left-handed home-run hitter in franchise history.

But Howard sat out Saturday and Sunday, and the Phillies were off Monday. By Tuesday, he was ready.

“Why wouldn't I be?” he said. “I said I had a small problem. That's all it was. I had some rest. We isolated the problem and controlled the problem.”

Howard was available to pinch-hit Tuesday and Wednesday. After that, they will take a seven-game, eight-day road trip to visit the Braves and Mets.

“I think the worst thing that could happen is that if it did blow up again,” Mackanin said. “It's not going to help him for next year. He'll play quite a bit on this next road trip and certainly the last three games here.”