Controversy, Colorado, and Conflagration

Shots in the Darke


On a beautiful Monday in early December, there’s so much to talk about and so little time so let’s get right to it! The NCAA FBS playoff is set with number one seed and defending national  champion Georgia taking on THE in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Eve preceded by Michigan  facing TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. Controversy as always is a part of the discussion as some Buckeye fans feel they should have received a number three seed ahead of the Horned Frogs while whining Nick Saban feels his Alabama Crimson Tide should have been invited to the party even with two losses because, hey, they’re BAMA!

There will be some who feel that THE slipped in the side door without having won even their division title in the Big Ten but in a head-to-head matchup with all but the Bulldogs and Wolverines State would most likely be favored. TCU has a legitimate claim to a berth in the playoffs, their season marred only by a field goal loss to a tough Kansas State team in the Big Twelve championship game.

Speaking of TCU, Frog quarterback Max Duggan established himself as a dark horse contender for the Heisman trophy with an outstanding performance over the weekend. He  almost singlehandedly brought his team back from an 11-point deficit in the last few minutes of  regulation only to see a few questionable play calls on the part of the TCU staff in overtime (let  Max run!) thwart the Frog’s title hopes. Here are two little known facts about Duggan—he missed part of the 2020 season after undergoing a nine-hour heart procedure, then was second-team at the start of this campaign!

And how about “Neon” Deion Sanders being named head coach at Colorado after a successful stint at Jackson State. The flamboyant and athletically gifted Sanders (remember  when he played baseball for the Reds) is being given the chance to resurrect a woeful Buffalo  program—if nothing else, it will be an interesting time in the shadow of the Flatiron Mountains!

The Bengals are on a roll with their fourth straight win, remaining tied for the AFC North lead with the Ravens (who may have lost star QB Lamar Jackson, listed as “week-to-week” with a knee injury). The Bengals evidently have the Chiefs’ number as they beat KC for the third consecutive time, each victory by three points. With Joe Burrow leading the way, the Stripes have returned to the Super Bowl form of last year, even with Joe Mixon missing a second straight game. Samari Perine has been outstanding at the running back spot while Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins held down the fort until Ja’Marr Chase’s return Sunday. Next up, a rematch with the Browns, who manhandled Cincy earlier this fall by a 32-13 count in Cleveland.

What did you think of DeShaun Watson’s return to the Browns’ lineup Sunday? He looked like he hadn’t played in 700 days didn’t he? How’s this for the Browns’ defensive unit’s day against the hapless Texans—three touchdowns on a punt return, fumble return, and a pass interception!!

Congratulations to the Marion Local and New Bremen football teams, the Flyers winning their 13th state title with a victory in D-VI and the Cardinals winning their second crown in the past three years in D-VII. If I remember correctly that makes a total of 41 state football titles for members of the Midwest Athletic Conference!

The United States men’s team fell short in the first “knockout” round of this year’s World Cup soccer competition, falling 3-1 to a talented and experienced side from the Netherlands.  The young American squad played solid defensive futbol but needed to put more shots on goal, scoring only three goals in four games. Regardless, soccer is a sport on the rise here in the States.

In a quick look at boys’ high school basketball here in the county, it appears that Tri-Village, Bradford, and Preble Shawnee will be among the best of the WOAC this winter. T-V has a balanced attack, Shawnee has high scoring Mason Shrout back for his junior year, and Bradford returns a host of lettermen from last year’s 13-8 team. The ‘Roaders are paced by  senior Parker Davidson (averaging 25.7 per game), sophomore Owen Canan (19.7), junior  Hudson Hill (14.0), and senior Landon Monnin (11.0) as they prepare to host Ansonia Friday  and Fort Recovery Saturday.

Greenville looks for its first win of the season, hosting Vandalia-Butler Tuesday. The Wave finally got things going offensively but still came up on the short end of an MVL encounter with Fairborn, losing to the Skyhawks 71-61. Here’s hoping the offense clicks again as Butler is always tough defensively.

Finally, I was in Granville over the weekend watching the grandsons play basketball and missed all of the excitement Sunday night along the railroad tracks off Central Avenue. It’s unfortunate that fire destroyed a long-standing salvage and recycling institution—fortunately the two workers inside the building escaped safely but the building is a “total loss”. Hats off to the valiant efforts of various fire departments from Greenville and the county in preventing the conflagration from spreading to nearby homes!! Until next time, stay healthy and active!!

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