PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

December 21, 2013

West column: PA News' 42nd Super Team coming Christmas Day

PORT ARTHUR — As always, our sports department’s Christmas Day gift to readers will be the unveiling of the Port Arthur News schoolboy football Super Team. Photos for the 42nd annual Super Team were taken Wednesday at the Museum of the Gulf Coast. You’ll be able to get a sneak peak at the area’s top players Tuesday night on Dave Hofferth’s sports show on KBMT (Channel 12). Four schools — Nederland (7), PN-G (6), Memorial (6) and WO-Stark (5) — dominated this year’s selections. Highlight of the photo shoot for me was seeing many of the players getting their first exposure to the area’s all-time greats on display in a museum that seems more awesome every time I visit. Hats off to Gabe Pruett, who did most of the heavy lifting on the selections, Tom Halliburton for his makeup efforts and photographer Luke Mauldin . . . Best quote out of the photo shoot came from Ozen cornerback Tony Brown, who is the most highly recruited player out of Southeast Texas in years. Pruett, who bleeds Orange, noted that Brown received visits from Texas’ Mack Brown and Alabama’s Nick Saban last week and asked what Tuscaloosa, Ala., had that Austin doesn’t. Brown answered, then quickly told Pruett his response was “off the record.” Once the Ozen star announces his choice of schools at the nationally televised (NBC) U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan 4 in San Antonio, Gabe’s going to see if he’ll agree to go on the record with a response that said a lot with two words . . . A familiar face breezed through Southeast Texas last week. Larry Kennan, whose 6-3-2 mark in 1979 was Lamar University’s last winning season, was in the area recruiting for the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Kennan couldn’t comment on what players brought him to the area, but my spies say it was Nederland’s Caleb Malveaux and PN-G’s Jeremiah Rose. Kennan and UIW will be competing against Lamar in the Southland Conference starting next season.

Only downside to Kansas City’s 56-35 blowout of Oakland last week was that the Chiefs got so far ahead Jamaal Charles wasn’t on the field in the last 18 minutes of the game. That kept him from having a chance to at least tie NFL records for 6 touchdowns in a game — he had 5; for 5 first-half TDs — he had 4;  and for 213 receiving yards by a running back — he had 195. It was similar to four years ago in Denver when Jamaal, who had rushed for 259 yards on only 23 carries, was taken out with six minutes to play. He needed only 38 yards to shatter Adrian Peterson’s single game rushing record of 296 yards but never got the chance . . . St. Peter shouldn’t be surprised by all the Xs and Os being scribbled on Bum Phillips’ chalkboard. When Bum took over the head coaching job at Nederland in 1951, he hired Vernon (Hoss) Ramke, a 1940s football star for Port Neches High School, Lamar JC and Tulane. A year after taking the reins at PN-G in 1963, Phillips hired another former Indian, Kenneth Almond, whose career coaching and school administration work eventually spanned 36 years. So what’s that got to do with St. Peter and chalkboards? Bum died Oct. 18. His two former aides both passed away on Dec. 14 . . . Gotta love the wording on those  hoodies Aledo fans showed up wearing for the 4A powerhouse’s bid to win a fourth state championship in five years Saturday at JerryWorld. On the front was a note to a certain NFL owner who, as disgruntled Cowboys fans know, doesn’t really have a clue. The message read, “Dear Jerry: We heard you needed a winner. We will be there this weekend. Hang tight. Love, Aledo.” Priceless.

    Wade Phillips would never say it, but you have to think he was relieved that an injured Case Keenum won’t be able to play quarterback for the Texans today against Denver. Wade, J.J. Watt, Andre Johnson and other prideful Texans veterans would love to end the team’s 12-game losing streak today and there were would been no chance of even being competitive with Keenum. The UH ex, in his Bob McNair-mandated tryout, has shown to be clearly in over his head. At best, he’s going to be an NFL backup. Matt Schaub’s shortcomings have been well documented, and the Texans are not likely to win with him either. But Schaub’s experience does give Houston a chance to take advantage of a vulnerable Denver defense and make the game interesting . . . Biggest question about Texans-Broncos isn’t whether Houston can pull a monumental  upset, or whether Peyton Manning will get the four touchdown passes needed to set a new NFL single-season record.  That biggest question, in fact, doesn’t involve anything that will happen on the field. The question is whether enough Texans’ fan show up to avoid setting an all-time low for in-house attendance. Between the 12-game losing streak, the anti-Schaub mob mentality in Houston and a game that shapes up as a blowout, there are certain to be thousands of empty seats. The Texans will announce a sellout based on tickets sold, but I’ll be surprised if Reliant Stadium is much more than half full . . . For those who missed it, and judging by an empty Montagne Center last Sunday nearly everybody but Bob Knight did, Lamar State College-Port Arthur ex Ty Allen scored 15 points to help Tennessee Tech pin a 14th consecutive  home loss on Pat Knight’s Cardinals. That also made LU 4-36 when playing with Knight-recruited players, which begs this question? Could LU have defeated the Seahawks team Allen played on last year in Port Arthur?  I’d say doubtful. Could they beat LSC-PA this year? It’s a game I’d love to see.

    Seems like there are two clear-cut scenarios on why Nick Saban didn’t replace Mack Brown at Texas. Choice No. 1 is that Saban was never serious about UT and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, played out a big con on wealthy, victory-starved Longhorn supporters to force Alabama to come up with a huge raise. Choice No. 2 is that UT president Bill Powers and Brown, neither of whom wanted Saban in Austin, drug out Mack’s resignation so long that watching the behind-the-scenes UT politics convinced Saban he’d be better off staying at Alabama, even for significantly less money. No doubt in my mind the latter is much closer to the truth than the former . . . Thumbs down to Brown, by the way, for upstaging the Heisman Trophy presentation by announcing he was stepping down less than an hour before Heisman ceremonies began in New York. The timing of Brown’s announcement clearly took some of the media attention away from Florida State’s Jameis Winston — one of many talented QBs Brown fumbled the ball on over the years — winning the Heisman. Nearly as disturbing was hearing and reading national media types calling Brown a “great” coach. No question, he left Texas better than he found it. Yes, he won a lot of games, including a lifetime supply over non-conference cupcakes to help inflate his won-loss percentage. He did indeed ride Vince Young to a national championship. But how can you call a coach great when he wins two conference championships in 16 years? Especially when said coach had so many more resources than his opponents . . . So who will be the next coach at Texas? Las Vegas oddsmakers are leaning toward Louisville’s Charlie Strong. If I had to put money on somebody, it would be Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, although the Seminoles playing for the BCS championship on Jan. 6 creates some obvious problems. What keeps Texas from having to be in a rush is that a very high percentage of Brown’s highly-regarded recruiting class will stick with their commitment.

    Apparently there are no lingering harsh feelings between San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and former PA Lincoln star Stephen Jackson, after Popovich unceremoniously cut Jackson shortly before the start of the NBA playoffs last spring. Word then was that Popovich, who’d been a key figure in Jackson’s NBA career getting off the ground, was upset with him for constantly complaining over playing time. You’d never have known there was a problem, in the aftermath of last Sunday’s game between the Spurs and Jackson’s new team, the LA Clippers. After the Clippers won handily, Jackson was exchanging pleasantries with former teammates Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan. Popovich walked by, snatched off Jackson’s signature headband, grinned and kept going . . . It was mentioned in this space recently that Bridge City’s Matt Bryant was one of the nominees for the Atlanta Falcons Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Bryant, who is enjoying another stellar season as the Falcons’ field goal kicker, was announced last week as the Payton winner for his dedication and commitment to off-the-field community service throughout 2013. That puts him in contention with honorees from 31 other NFL teams to be named the Walter Payton Man of the Year. Winner will be announced at halftime of the Super Bowl. Bryant was Tampa Bay’s Payton finalist in 2007. To be named twice, underscores the caring person this guy is. Congratulations, Matt . . . Nederland ex Zach English is making a smooth transition from one winning basketball program to another. After helping his dad, Nederland head coach Brian English, solidify the Bulldogs program, he’s been a key player off the bench as a freshman for undefeated John Brown University. Zach’s most recent contribution was a season-high 15 points in a victory that improved the NAIA school to 11-0. They were No. 7 in the latest rankings . . . And, finally, a very Merry Christmas to all who take the time to regularly read this column. And even to those who don’t.

    Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at rdwest@usa.net



 

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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GETV.org)

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

    July 22, 2014

  • West golf notepad: West duo claims title in Texas Father-Son

    July 22, 2014

  • Mid County sets up championship series with Tri County

    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

    July 21, 2014

  • MC Babe Ruth goes 2-0

    First things first, give Clint Landry and the rest of the officials credit for making the Southwest Regional Babe Ruth tournament possible this weekend at Nederland High School.

    July 19, 2014

  • Up the odds for solid bank fishing

    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

    July 19, 2014

  • Derek Williams, Summer Money League light up the lanes at Max Bowl

    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

    July 19, 2014

  • West column: Pacers hiring Pat Knight didn't help Lamar

    July 19, 2014

  • Babe Ruth.jpg Mid County Babe Ruth set to host Southwest Regional

    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • West golf notepad: Eleven-year-old Henry scores ace in YMBL tourney

    July 15, 2014

From the Fieldhouse blog