Going To Kansas City, Kansas City Here They Come

 Shots in the Darke

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How about those Bengals!! An offensive line that entered the game with Buffalo as a huge question mark dominated the Bills’ front seven allowing the Cincy offense to operate at almost maximum proficiency. The Joes, Burrow and Mixon, took advantage of the situation as the Stripes compiled 412 yards of total offense, totaling an amazing 30 first downs in the process.  

And the defense was equally outstanding in handling the high-flying Bills 27-10, the team’s tenth straight win. All in all, a total team effort leading to a second consecutive AFC championship game next Sunday in Kansas City. WHO DEY!! 

The Chiefs on the other hand were able to withstand a gallant effort by the surprising Jaguars, claiming a 27-20 victory and advancing to their fifth straight conference title tussle.  QB Patrick Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain so it will be interesting to see how he progresses during the week—odds are he’ll be his usual self, full of highlight plays. The Bengals have beaten KC three times in a little over a year so here’s hoping for number four and a return to the Super Bowl!! 

In the NFC the Eagles had their way with the Giants, burying the men from Gotham City by a 37-8 count. Jalen Hurts didn’t look hurt, did he? Philly cheesesteaks all around!! 

Meanwhile the 49ers knocked the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones off of their high horse, defeating America’s Team 19-12. Mr. Irrelevant, the last man taken in the ‘22 draft, Brock Purdy used all of the considerable weapons at his disposal in putting enough points on the board to allow the Niners’ outstanding defense to thwart Dak Prescott and send San Francisco  to Philadelphia for the NFC title game. Should be two great contests this Sunday! 

An item or two of local interest as we take a look at the past week—I was misinformed as to  the upcoming WOAC boys basketball game between Tri-Village and Preble Shawnee which  most likely will determine the league championship. The Friday, February 3rd matchup will take place at Preble Shawnee, not in New Madison as I stated last week. Lesson learned, always double-check your sources!! 

Speaking of Tri-Village, congratulations to the Lady Patriots as they were ranked Number One in last week’s Division IV state polls based on their 19-0 record and recent tough schedule  of non-league opponents. Also, condolences to T-V boys coach Josh Sagester and family on the passing of his mother last weekend.  

One team that has been somewhat overlooked this hoops season is the Mississinawa Valley girls team. The Lady BlackHawks have compiled a 15-2 mark, 8-1 in the WOAC, and have played solid ball all year under the guidance of Coach Michael Paige as they look ahead to postseason play. Speaking of the upcoming tournament, girls brackets will be determined this Sunday with sectional play to begin Monday, February 6th while the boys seeding and draws will be held the following Sunday, February 5th; how did the regular season pass by so quickly? 

Here’s the first of two trivia questions—who is Luis Arraez?

How about a little spotlight on women’s tennis? American Jessica Pegula is the number three seed at the Australian Open and the highest seed remaining following upsets of the top  two seeds, Iga Swiatek of Poland and Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. Here’s something you might not know about Jessica; her parents own the aforementioned Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL!! 

Luis Arraez is the 2022 American League batting champion, hitting .316 for the year. He was recently traded from the Twins to the Marlins, becoming the first league leader since 1978  to be swapped before the next season. Can you name the other player? 

Remember Peyton Hillis, former Browns running back? He’s just been released from the ICU after two weeks recuperating from injuries incurred rescuing some family members in the  Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, FL. Hillis played two seasons in Cleveland, rushing for 1,177  yards and 11 TDs in 2010 on his way to being selected for the cover of Madden NFL 12, the  video game of renown. 

NASCAR cranks up another season of fender bumping, drafting excitement with the Daytona 500 scheduled for February 19th—where did the winter go? 

Do you old-timers remember the great Hall of Famer Rod Carew? A seven-time AL batting champion (he hit .388 in ‘77!) with a lifetime average of .328, he was sent packing by those same Twins to the Angels in ‘78. An all-time great barely, if at all, recalled by younger fans!! 

Cheer up, baseball spring training begins in less than five weeks and March Madness follows soon after!! Stay active and be healthy!! By the way, the heading for today’s column— the song immortalized by the late, great Fats Domino!

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