The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Archive for November, 2009

Locker, Gray, Stodden and Kitsap Hoops — Live!

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

JAKE LOCKER’S 97 yards rushing against Washington State in the Apple Cup was his biggest rushing day since gaining 103 yards in the 2007 Apple Cup. He said it’s the healthiest he’s felt in a while, and he played like it, although one has to consider the opponent. It’ll be interesting to see how Locker and the Huskies bounce back against Cal in their season finale. And it’ll be even more intriguing in Locker’s case because it could be his final college game. Locker’s ranked the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country and No. 7 overall in ESPN’s NFLDraft tracker. What do you think? Could he use another year at the UW to fine-tune his skills? Or is the money simply too good to pass up? If it was your son, how would you advise him?

STEVEN GRAY’S got his  season off to an outstanding start and it’s not going unnoticed. Jay Bilas of ESPN.com had some nice things to say about Gonzaga’s junior guard from Bainbridge, who was officially the co-MVP of the Maui Classic. Gray was Bilas’ choice as MVP. Read Bilas’ comments here. Grays’ averaging 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the the Zags (4-1), who take on Washington State (6-0) Wednesday in Spokane. The Maui champs vs. the Great Alaska Shootout champs (6 p.m., FSN). That’s a nice early-season matchup.  Our eastern Washington/Idaho freelance scribe Howie Stalwick said Klay Thompson might break all of the Cougars’ scoring records and he’s on pace to do it. Thompson’s averaging 28.3 ppg.

SOMEBODY ASKED  me recently about Brock Stodden. He wanted to know if the Bremerton Butcher was still fighting. Stodden’s only fought once in the last two years, but he’s not retired. If the right fight comes along, the 35-year-old Stodden will get back in the ring. He’s record has dropped to 18-16-1, but it’s not like he’s been fighting doornobs. Check out the records of the fighters Stodden has been fighting. Here’s a look at his career, fight-by-fight.

KITSAP HOOPS — LIVE: You can watch tonight’s Central Kitsap-Bainbridge boys basketball game online at the kitsapsun.com. It’s the first of several high school games that The Sun will be live streaming this season. You can watch replays of our high school football games of the week at  kitsapsun.com/2009/high-school-football. Basketball games will also be replayed.


No. 1 Central Loses 21-20; Eastern Loses 43-33

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

From the Central Washington Web page:

ELLENSBURG (Nov. 28) — Senior Mike Waller (Pomona, Calif./Todd Beamer HS) scored a 15-yard receiving touchdown with six seconds remaining, but the ensuing extra-point attempt was blocked as top-ranked Central Washington University suffered a heartbreaking 21-20 loss to second-ranked Northwest Missouri State in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division II Football Championship on Saturday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium.

Here’s a recap of the Eastern Washington game:

There were no late-game heroics for the Eagles this week, but they had a mid-game scoring slump instead.

Stephen F. Austin rolled up 563 yards of offense to help open up a 25-point lead and held on to defeat Eastern Washington University 44-33 Saturday (Nov. 28) in a first round game in the NCAA Championship Subdivision Playoffs at Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Eastern rallied back from a 25-point deficit after the Lumberjacks took a 37-12 lead with 5:54 left in the third quarter. But the Eagles couldn’t overcome a stretch in the second and third quarters in which they went just over 27 minutes without a touchdown and were out-scored 27-2.

Eastern senior quarterback Matt Nichols had school records for completions and attempts as he finished 43-of-76 for 461 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern scored 21 of the final 28 points. In the loss, he broke the Big Sky Conference career passing yards record and finished third in FCS history in total offense (13,308) and sixth in passing yards (12,616).

The 13th-ranked Eagles finished with 595 yards of total offense as the two teams combined for 1,158. The Eagles finished the season 8-4, after clinching a playoff berth by scoring with 3:30 left on Nov. 21 to defeat Northern Arizona 49-45. The Eagles closed the regular season with a four-game winning streak, winning those by a combined 172-107 margin.


Thoughts From the Apple Cup

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

FOURTH QUARTER

Attendance: 68,697.

UW runs and runs: Locker has a 6-yard TD run nullified by holding. The junior QB  has 79 yards on 7 rushes. Polk is up to (by my count) 97 yards on 20 carries. Dawgs can’t finish off the drive and settle for another Folk FG (27 yards): UW 23, WSU 0. 11:03 left.

The Huskies are laying some big licks on the Cougs.

Polk nearly breaks one. He’s now over the 1,000 yard mark for the season.

And this one’s over. Check out our Apple Cup coverage online and in Sunday’s paper. Freelancer Howie Stalwick and Scott Johnson will be filing reports and I’ll have a column.

One last note: Locker just danced into the end zone from 23 yards out. It’s 30-0 with 6:45 left.

THIRD QUARTER

End of the quarter: UW 20, WSU 0. Locker ends quarter with an 18-yard gain on a scramble. Washington’s not got 330 yards of total offense; WSU has 144.

Xavier Hicks picks Locker afrer the Huskies had moved the ball near midfield with a 21-yard pass from Locker to Aguillar. That’s 11 interceptions for Locker, seven in his last five games. He threw just four picks in his first six games.

UW 20, WSU 0: Chris Polk scores from a yard out. Locker’s 10-yard run set it up. Polk now has 53 yards on 15 carries. He needs 58 to hit 1,000. 12 plays, 75 yards, 6:59 time of possession. 6:11 left in the quarter.

Loebestall’s back for the Cougars, but for how long?

THE WAGNER FILE

What a great story it would be if Dan (The Man) Wagner can lead the Cougars to a comeback win. He still hasn’t thrown a college pass. Since nobody knows anything about him,  here’s some info courtesy WSU’s Web site:

WAGNER’S WSU CAREER
RS-FRESHMAN (2008):
Saw action in two games on season, one as a punter and one under center…made collegiate debut in season-opener against Oklahoma State, punting eight times for 312 yards (39.0 average)…had a long of 51 and one inside 20…also recorded a tackle in that contest…played the fourth quarter at quarterback at Oregon State following injury to Marshall Lobbestael…did not attempt a pass.
FRESHMAN (2007): Redshirt season.

WAGNER’S HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
A graduate of Jesuit High, where he earned three varsity letters in football and four varsity letters in baseball…led the Crusaders to the football state championship in both junior and senior seasons…also led the squad to three consecutive Metro League championships…earned all-league honors at quarterback as a senior…football team captain as a senior…coached in baseball by Don Lovell and in football by Ken Potter.

PERSONAL
Daniel Rodney Wagner…born in January, 1989 in Portland, Ore….parents Brent and Cindy Wagner…father played football professionally for the Buffalo Bills…one younger brother Pat and one younger sister Amy… undecided on major.

HALFTIME: UW 13, WSU 0

Someone asked how I was doing and I said, “Better than the WSU quarterbacks.”

They’re down to their 4th-stringer, and as far as I know, might be holding open tryouts at halftime.

As for Washington, I’m puzzled. What happened to the Huskies? Take away the 50-yard TD pass from Locker to Kearse and they’re only outgaining WSU 133-116 yards. Washington has 9 first downs, WSU 8. Washington has 43 rushing yards, WSU 43.

SECOND QUARTER

Halftime: UW 13, WSU 0.

Now Lopina’s down. Washingotn’s Cameron Elisara landed on him after he released a pass that was nearly picked off by the UW’s Foster. WSU’s Dan Wagner, a sophomore from Portland, is now warming up. Wagner hasn’t taken a snap all seaosn. He’s the fourth-stringer. Lopina is helped off the field and doesn’t look like he’ll be back. Loebestall’s status is unkown (although he’s calling plays from the sideline) and freshman Jeff Tuel, who has taken most of the snaps this season for WSU, isn’t available because of a knee injury. Maybe Walden will suit up for the second half?

Locker to Kearse. Locker to Aguilar for 20. But Dawgs bog down and Folk kicks 46 yard FG: 13-0, 2:39 left in the half.

WSU’s Marshall Loebestall just scrambled for 11 yards, but he was knocked a little loopy after trying to run over the UW’s Jason Wells. He staggered off the field. Maybe Jim Walden will QB the rest of the game? Nah, Lopina’s back. It’s 4th and 4 at the 33. He was sacked for a 7-yard loss by Darion Jones.

UW 10, WSU 0: Locker just hit Kease with a 50-yard TD pass. That was a 3-play, 85-yard drive. Locker run, Locker pass to Kearse, Locker pass to Kearse. 12:41 left. That didn’t take long.

There’s been a delay as they haul a member of the chain-gang crew off in an ambulance. He was down in front of the UW bench, near the 50 yard line. Not sure what happened.

UW: first and 10 at the 25 when play resumes.

FIRST QUARTER

End of quarter: UW 3, WSU 0. WSU has a first down at the 40. It was about the kind of quarter you’d expect from 3-7 and 1-9 teams.

Marshall Loebestall, sophomore from Oak Harbor, in at QB for WSU. First and 10 at the 25. Cougs take a timeout. Only 10 men on the field.

UW settles for a 24 FG (good by Folk) after the turnover: 3-0, 1;38.

Turnover: Mason Foster interception and 26-yard return gives Huskies the ball at the WSU 13. 2:54 left. WSU QB Kevion Lopina shaken up on the play.

WSU takes over on its own 25: 3:50 left in the quarter.

UW holds, starts second possession at its own 5. 7:11 left in quarter. Huskies punt it back to WSU.

WSU trickery After moving for a couple of first downs, WSU tries a throwback to the QB, who heaves it to a wide-open Gino Simone. Simone stopped his route for some reason and the ball sailed over his out-stretched arms at the goalline. Shoulda been a TD.

First big penalty: UW called for interfering on a punt, not giving Gino Simone room to catch it. Simone fumbled it nd WSU would have started inside its own 10, but the penalty moves the ball out to the 42. Big break for Cougs.

First big hit: WSU linebacker Mike Ledgerwood rocks Jermain Kearse, stops him for a 6-yard gain.

Washington”s on the field, waiting for the kickoff and WSU’s still huddling. The Cougars were late arriving, at least it seemed that way. The Huskies even beat them out of the tunnel, and I don’t remember that ever happening. He we go …. UW starts its first drive a the 26.

TWO MINUTES BEFORE HALFTIME

This might be the emptiest I’ve ever seen the press box at Husky Stadium. There’s more open seats than I can ever remember.

Lots of empty seats in the stands, too.

It’s 50 degress and overcast with winds 15 mph from the south. It feels much colder than that.

PRE-GAME

It’s one of those days where it takes a few minutes to thaw out once you hit the press box. Baby, it’s c-c-c-old outside. My eyes teared up on my way from the parking gargage, and it wasn’t because of the magnitude of the game I’m about to cover.

Anyway, it’s about 50 minutes to kickoff.

Any predictions out there?

If you read this blog, you know I went with Washington, BIG: 59-15.

I think most people are predicting a big UW win. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times’ pick was 45-16.

I was listening to the Husky Honks on KJR radio on the drive around and Dick Baird, who writes a blog for us, thinks the Cougs might have held some players out of last week’s loss against Oregon State to make sure they were healthy for today’s game.

There seems to be a lack of noticeable pre-game excitement, but I guess that happens when a 3-7 team (UW) takes on a 1-10 (WSU) team and follows a year in which WSU won two games and the UW was oh-fer.

A couple things worth noting:

* UW redshirt freshman running back Chris Polk needs 111 yards to become the first freshman in Husky history to rush for 1,000 yards.

* WSU has never won three straight against Washington or suffered through a winless Pac-10 season.

We’ll sneak in an Eastern Washington update: Stephen F. Austin leads the Eagles 23-12 at halftime of their playoff game.


Apple Cup Prediction

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Washington tight end Kavario Middleton was muzzled for saying the Huskies were going to score 50 points against Washington State in Saturday’s Cr-Apple Cup game.

Good call, Kavario.

The Huskies should drop at least 50 on the Cougs. They’re coming off a bye week — and an embarrassing loss against Oregon State — and this is a Washington State team that’s been embarrassed just about every time they’ve stepped on the field.

Opponents have pulled off the gas, too, or the Cougars’ losses would have been even more lopsided.

I don’t think the Huskies will be pulling off the gas in this one. After the disappointment of not being able to finish with a bowl bid after such a promising start, the Huskies don’t need just a victory —- they need a BIG victory. They’re favored by 24 1/2 points. I think Kavario catches four touchdown passes and the Huskies win by 44 — 59-15.



Bobsledder Bree Profiled by King-5 TV

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf left for Europe today for the final six races of the World Cup bobsled circuit. Schaaf was fourth (Park City, Utah) and ninth (Lake Placid, N.Y.) in the first two events. Here goal is to be on the U.S. Olympic team that will compete at the Vancouver Winter Games in February.

King-5 television in Seattle profiled Schaaf this week. Check out the video here. Her parents, Ken and Terri, get a lot of air time, in this story.


How Do You Explain Tiger’s Accident?

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Ten things that might explain what Tiger Woods was doing when drove his 2009
Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree in his neighbor’s yard after pulling out of his driveway sometime around 2:20 a.m. on Friday:

1. Putters were half-price at Wal-Mart and he wanted to be first in line at the Black Friday sales.

2. Buick, a longtime sponsor of Woods, sabotaged the steering components in
his Cadillac.

3. Tiger was going fishing. His $2.4 million home is located in a community
with a chain of small lakes.

4. After a big turkey dinner, Tiger fell asleep and had a nightmare about Phil Mickelson. Instead of turning right when he backed out of his driveway, he went ‘Lefty’ on us.

5. Shaquille O’Neal lives in the same development and Tiger figured he could finally get away with running into a few things while O’Neal, who prides himself on being a volunteer cop, was out of town with the Cavaliers.

6. Tiger’s tired of smashing golf records and decided to smash something  else.

7. Tiger was still distraught over Stanford’s loss to Cal in the Big Game.

8.  Tiger’s just a bad driver. While most kids were cruising the streets, he was living at the golf course, hitting balls for hours and hours.

9. He was going to the super market to buy a copy of this week’s National Enquirer, which reports that Tiger is having an affair with Rachel Uchitel,  whoever she is.

10. He was driving to the National Enquirer’s office in North Florida and tee off on those responsible for printing the story about his alleged affair.


Thanksgiving Eve Links

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving:

This guy wonders if Bremerton’s Marvin Williams would be better coming off the bench as a sixth man in Atlanta.

Tac0ma News Tribune columnist John McGrath says it’s another blah, irrelevant Apple Cup. Hard to argue that point.

The Locker family is split for the Apple Cup.

This one’ s not sports related, but this Wall Street Journal report details how FDR tired, and failed, to move the national holiday up a week because of economic reasons.

Percy Allen of the Seattle Times interviewed the coach of Turkish basketball recruit Enes Kanter, a 6-10 player who has committed to Washington. The kid sounds like the real deal.


Mount Baker Photos That’ll Blow You Away

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Check out these photos taken at Mount Baker by Bellingham-based ski photographer Grant Gunderson. It was opening day, Nov. 14, at the ski resort. I’d been at Baker the week before and there was no snow. What a transformation. What a beautiful place.


Hot Stove Links About the Mariners

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Check out the Mariners Hot Stove League Show every Wednesday night from 6-8 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle. Hosts Shannon Drayer, Rick Rizzs and Mike Blowers host a Hot Stove League Show every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. on 710 AM radio. They interview Mariners players and personnel and other baseball guests.

And here’s a few recent links with some interesting M’s news you might be interested in:

This one, from the USSMariner.com, offers an interesting point of view about the Pirates’ Ryan Doumit, suggesting the Moses Lake native and cousin of Willie Bloomquist would be a good fit for the Mariners.

The Mets are exploring the possibility of signing first baseman Russell Branyan, which might be good news for Seattle, reports Larry Larue of the Tacoma News Tribune.

Jeff Baker of the Seattle Times wonders if Jose Lopez’s days are numbered in Seattle. The organization’s going to see if No. 1 draft pick Dustin Ackley can play second base, and Lopez, despite decent power numbers, has a horrible on-base percentage and is hardly a defensive whiz.

Ackley hit .315 with one home run and 12 RBI in the Arizona Fall League. You can find the M’s Winter league stats here.

The reported trade talks between Seattle and Detroit have slowed, reports ESPN. Outfielder Curtis Granderson and pitcher Edwin Jackson are available, but the Tigers are asking for a lot. Here’s the Seattle P-I’s report.

The Mariners’ annual FanFest is Jan. 30-31. Tickets are now on sale. Click here for information.


A Tip of the Hat to Stephen Colbert

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Earlier this month I took in a portion of the bobsled training that was going on at Whistler, B.C. all of the world’s best sliders were there, trying to figure out the wicked turns while traveling at speeds that would get you or I about a steep ticket if we were caught driving that fast (85-90 mph) down a perfectly smooth and safe highway.

I’ve talked to Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf several times about the sport, but talking about it and seeing it up-close is another thing. This is not like hopping in the tube at Wild Waves Theme Park. Or riding down a hill in your favorite sled or inner-tube.

So when I read that Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report was taking a ride in a bobsled, I thought, ‘Yeah, right.” Well, he did, taking a ride at Lake Placid with an American team on Sunday. He described it like this: “It felt like I was being hit in the head with ice hammers. It was like losing the worst snowball fight of your life.”

But he survived, and my hat goes off to the comedian who is helping sponsor the U.S. Speedskating team in Vancouver.

Here’s the link to the AP story.


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