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Glenville: 7th Annual Create WV Conference - October 26-28, 2014

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Congressman Nick Rahall: Protecting Head Start and Our Public Education System

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As I visit Head Start facilities across our region, I meet so many caring educators and parents who work hard to positively influence our children and prepare them for school and beyond.

Head Start is key to ensuring that early education opportunities are available to all children and families, not just the wealthiest among us.

Early education and childhood development programs like Head Start promote school readiness by providing more than 8,000 West Virginia children, ages five and younger, with access to health and dental and nutritional services – including immunizations against childhood diseases.

That is why I fight back hard in Congress against extreme budget cuts that would undermine our Head Start and Early Head Start facilities.

Across-the-board cuts in Federal investment, known as sequestration, which I adamantly opposed and voted against, threaten to take away millions of dollars from West Virginia Head Start programs, potentially disrupting services and forcing the cancelation of programs, the closing of centers, and the laying off of workers, leaving hundreds of children without full access to these fundamental services.

I also am pressing to strengthen our public schools and support our teachers, so that they have the resources they need to prepare our kids for the future.  Our State needs resources, which I am fighting for, to modernize our classrooms and make available the technology our kids will need to learn and understand to be competitive in a tough global economy.

But that is not enough.  We also must have after-school programs that provide safe and educational environments for our children.  We must have school lunch programs so that our kids-in-need don’t go hungry and can concentrate in the classroom.  And we must ensure the continued investment in providing special assistance for gifted students and children with learning disabilities.

All of these things can increase standardized test scores and graduation rates and improve literacy.

        In America, a solid education should not be out of reach for working families.  I believe that is true not just for elementary and secondary schools but for our colleges and universities as well.

        I am staunch advocate in Congress of helping to prepare our West Virginia students for jobs of the future, so that they can live and build their careers right here at home.

        I continue to adamantly support legislation to reduce tuition costs and expand loan repayment options so that students and their families are not burdened with school debt.

        We must reduce interest rates on Federal loans and increase funding for Pell Grants and Perkins Loans—programs that I fight hard to protect from being axed by extremists in Congress.  I support expanded tax benefits to lower college costs and loan forgiveness to incentivize students to pursue careers in rural communities where there is a high-demand for talent in the health care and public service sectors.  Together, these initiatives will make college more affordable and accessible for middle-class families.

The future success of our children rests on the foundation of a good education and healthy environment that begins at an early age.  By investing in early childhood education programs, we are helping to ensure that our Nation’s future leaders, our children, regardless of their economic circumstances, can reach their fullest potential.
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WV Culture Center to Host Halloween Bash on October 28, 2014

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will host a Halloween Bash on Tuesday, October 28, f2014 rom 6:30 - 8:30 PM at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston.

The Halloween Bash is free and open to all witches, werewolves, ghosts and ghoulies, vampires, matadors, cowboys and cowgirls, and other assorted famous and infamous personages from all walks of life.

The Great Hall will be decorated with a gnarly-toothed monster, spider webs, cauldrons of witches’ brew and a spooky cemetery.

Kids can enjoy playing such seasonal favorites as corn hole, mummy wrap, zombie attack and the graveyard obstacle course.

Bethany Cline, Charleston actress and executive assistant to Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, will be in costume and regale visitors with ghost stories and other tales of the macabre in the Library Commission’s reference library, where families also can enjoy short films, courtesy of the West Virginia Library Commission.

Prizes for best boy’s and girl’s costume will be awarded in three age categories. Although “costumes” are optional, shoes and other cloaking attire are required. All visitors will be treated to light refreshments and holiday music like “The Monster Mash.”

For more information, contact Charles Morris, director of museums for the division, at 304.55.-0220.

West Virginia Trout Stocking Week of October 20-24, 2014

The Gilmer Free Press

The following waters were stocked the week of October 20, 2014:
•  Anthony Creek

•  Big Clear Creek

•  Blackwater River

•  Brandywine Lake

•  Buckhannon River

•  Buffalo Fork Lake

•  Coopers Rock Lake

•  Cranberry River

•  Elk River

•  Evitts Run

•  Glade Creek of New River

•  Knapps Creek

•  Lost River

•  New Creek Dam #14

•  North Fork of South Branch

•  Opequon Creek

•  Pinnacle Creek

•  Pond Fork

•  R.D. Bailey Tailwaters

•  Rockcliff Lake

•  Seneca Lake

•  Shavers Fork (Bemis)

•  Shavers Fork (lower section)

•  Shavers Fork (upper section)

•  South Branch (Franklin)

•  South Branch (Smoke Hole)

•  Spruce Knob Lake

•  Summersville Tailwaters

•  Summit Lake

•  Sutton Tailwaters

•  Teter Creek Lake

•  Tygart Headwaters

•  Tygart Tailwaters

•  West Fork Greenbrier River

•  Williams River

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

TOMBLIN AND MANCHIN CLOSE OUT GOVERNOR’S ENERGY SUMMIT AT STONEWALL JACKSON RESORT

West Virginia can become a leader in energy production if the different branches within the industry work together.

This was the message from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin as he and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin spoke to industry leaders to close out the Governor’s Energy Summit held at Stonewall Jackson Resort in Lewis County.

Tomblin said the two-day event which ended Friday afternoon is important because it brings all sides to the table to share ideas and information.

“We’re one of the major energy producers in the country, if not the top energy producer,“ he said. “I just think it’s important that they come here to share ideas and so forth, to be able to look at what the prospects are, the future of energy, what the courts are doing and to just share that information, I think, is very important.“

The first summit was put together by Manchin while he was serving as governor.

“I’m so proud that Governor Tomblin has kept it on and it’s getting bigger and better,“ he said. “It’s just great to have everybody come together.“

The event featured 24 different speakers given presentations ranging in title from “Energy Markets, Energy Policy and Coal: Implications for Coal-Dependent Economies” to “Industrial Energy Efficiency Activities in West Virginia.“

As the summit has grown over the years, more members from the renewable energy industry have joined in participating.

Tomblin said he hopes more will emerge in the future to help diversify the state’s energy portfolio and edify the main industries of coal and natural gas.

“Those two are so important, supplying the bulk of electricity, but the other [resources] including conservation have all got to be considered as part of West Virginia’s energy portfolio and the way we move forward.“

Another resource Tomblin hopes the state will add to the portfolio and highlighted in his speech was West Virginia’s workforce, saying the success of programs like the “My State. My Life.“ campaign which aim to educate the state’s students and prepare them for the working world will propel the energy industry.

At the conclusion of the speeches, the two held a conversion with those in attendance and answered questions, mainly about how and if the state government and U.S. Senate were addressing the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan aimed at cutting carbon pollution, ultimately by 2030. Some argue this goal is not achievable without getting rid of the fossil fuel industry, others like Manchin believe a balance can be reached if the EPA allows for more time to develop the proper technology and others believe West Virginia can outright achieve this goal on time and not get rid of the fossil fuel industry.

Discussions such as these remained civil and informative during the summit, which Machin said is the point.

“This is not a place to come and fight and air out your differences. [This is about] finding out how we can use a balance between the economy and the environment using the resources we have in West Virginia and using them in the cleanest way for the environment. That’s a balance we can find. That’s doable, but you can’t do it if you don’t sit down and talk. That’s what this is all about, bringing people together.“


OBAMA FUNDRAISES FOR DEMS AT SENATOR ROCKEFELLER HOME

President Barack Obama is raising money for Democrats at the sprawling Washington home of West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

Obama’s fundraiser on Thursday will benefit the Democratic National Committee. The DNC says about 25 donors paid up to $32,400 — the legal maximum — to attend.

The fundraiser comes as Democrats seek to shore up their candidates in the final days of the midterm elections. Obama has been raising money aggressively for Democrats all year but only started making public campaign appearances with candidates recently.

Unlike most of Obama’s fundraisers in private homes, this one is closed to the press, so the public won’t know what’s said inside. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says having reporters at smaller, intimate events would prevent Obama from having a candid conversation with donors.


RACE TESTS DEMOCRATS’ VIABILITY IN WEST VIRGINIA

“Pro-jobs. Pro-coal. Pro-life. Vote Republican!!!” reads a prominent sign coming into town.

And that ought to be the end of the story here in southern West Virginia, with its beleaguered mining industry and largely white population that fills the pews of evangelical churches on a Wednesday night as readily as on Sunday morning.

The region voted overwhelmingly Republican in the presidential contest two years ago, part of the historic defection of West Virginia Democrats, who hold a 2-to-1 registration advantage, from the national party over social issues like abortion and, more recently, opposition to environmental regulation.

And yet a Democratic congressman, Nick J. Rahall II, has defiantly held onto his seat here in the sparsely populated Third District, which runs from the rugged Appalachian coal fields in the west to the famed white-water rafting of the New River Gorge.

First elected in 1976, Mr. Rahall has had his campaign for a 20th term, against the Republican candidate, Evan Jenkins, become one of the most ferocious House races in the country. There is a torrent of outside money, blistering ads from conservative groups supported by the billionaire Koch brothers and a contest that after nearly $14 million in spending has come down, two weeks before voting, to a tossup.

While the race will not affect partisan control of the House, considered safely in Republican hands, it will make a statement about whether Democrats can survive in southern border states. The millions of dollars coursing through the inexpensive television markets of the state in Mr. Rahill’s contest are far more than in the race for West Virginia’s open Senate seat, where a Republican, Shelley Moore Capito, has taken a comfortable lead.

If Mr. Rahall hangs on, it will be because his ties to voters cemented over four decades — what supporters call his “brand” — overcome the antipathy of West Virginians to President Obama, and especially White House energy policy that many blame for hard times in coal country.

“Republicans have really turned the anger at Obama and the coal issue into an organizing principle,” Mr. Rahall said on Saturday during the Mercer County Democratic Party bean dinner in Princeton. “I probably have the most anti-Obama district represented by a Democrat in the nation.”

The race is clouded with distortions from both sides. Mr. Rahall says that Mr. Jenkins would take away miners’ black lung benefits. Mr. Jenkins accuses Mr. Rahall of supporting a carbon tax that raised electric rates. Fact-checkers have been busy debunking both claims.

Some of the antipathy of West Virginians to the White House would seem to defy economic self-interest. Mr. Rahall’s district includes some of the poorest counties in the state, where reliance on food stamps, Medicaid and other federal benefits is high. All would be rolled back under budgets passed by the House’s Republican majority.

The coal industry’s long decline is economically complex. When Alpha Natural Resources, one of West Virginia’s largest coal operators, warned 1,100 employees of potential layoffs in July, it blamed a worldwide glut of coal, competition from cheaper natural gas and lower-cost coal from western basins — as well as Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

But in the charged political arena, complexities fade and both sides identify a sole culprit for the industry’s struggles: the administration’s anti-coal regulations.

“Everyone knows Obama declared a war on coal. Nick Rahall stands with him,” says a television ad running this month by Freedom Partners Action Fund, a group supported by Charles G. and David H. Koch.

Mr. Rahall and his supporters have tried to turn the tables by attacking Mr. Jenkins’ wealthy backers. “The Koch brothers coming in here from New York, spending millions trying to elect Evan Jenkins. They’re not welcome, they don’t belong,” a miner says in an ad run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In a debate last week, Mr. Rahall boasted of “standing up to my party to stop the overreaching, overzealous, job-killing E.P.A. agenda.”

It is a tough argument to win, however, given the president’s desire to leave an environmental legacy of lower carbon emissions from power plants, as proposed by the E.P.A. this year.

Mr. Rahall has struggled to explain his vote in 2013 for a budget proposal by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which included a $25 per ton carbon tax. He has said that he does not support a carbon tax and that he voted for the liberal budget blueprint, which badly failed in the House, to make a statement against Representative Paul D. Ryan’s Republican budget, with its many cuts to social programs. That plan passed the House but not the Senate.

Mr. Jenkins, who served in the State Legislature as a Democrat before switching parties last year, does not buy it. “This president has written off West Virginia,” he said. “He’s written off coal, and unfortunately, we’ve got a congressman who has helped him every step of the way.”

The air blitz against Mr. Rahall, age 65, began nearly a year ago, almost unheard-of so early, when Republican-leaning national groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity — also supported by the Kochs — began attacking his vote for the Affordable Care Act.

Democratic groups sensed trouble and jumped in to counter the attacks. “We were effective in at least fighting back,” said Matt Thornton, a spokesman for the House Majority PAC, citing private polls that showed Mr. Rahall rebounding in the spring.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which considers Mr. Rahall one of its top three House targets this year, has pumped more than $2 million into the race. “I think this is the first time people are starting to say maybe we like Nick Rahall but we don’t like what he’s doing in Washington anymore,” said Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Republican campaign committee.

Neither side is confident of victory and ads are booked through Election Day, for a total of $13.8 million for the cycle, according to a Democratic group that tracks ad spending.

On Saturday, Mr. Jenkins, age 54, greeted voters at a celebration of the New River Gorge Bridge, where thousands walked across the impressive structure and watched parachutists drop 876 feet to the riverbed. “I’m Evan Jenkins, running for Congress, hoping for your vote,” the candidate told Nindo Punturi, who was working at one of many vendor booths.

“You’ll probably get it,” Mr. Punturi replied.

Kathy McGaha, a retiree, also offered support, saying she did not like Mr. Rahall. “He voted for everything with O-bummer,” she said.

Bernard Meadows, who worked in a coal mine in Mercer County for two decades “until they shut it down” in the 1980s, said he knew Mr. Rahall but was leaning in a different direction. “I just think it’s time for a change,” he said.

But when Mr. Jenkins approached Charles Treadway, he heard a different opinion. “I’ve been with Rahall for years, and I’ve got to stick with Nick,” said Mr. Treadway, a laid-off miner.

He said Mr. Rahall was being blamed unfairly for the troubles of the coal industry. “I put it simply: All you’ve got to do is follow the money,” he said, adding that cheap natural gas prices were the reason many miners were out of work.


WEST VIRGINIA MAN ADMITS TO RAPING PET DOG, COPS SAY — AND NEIGHBORS AREN’T SURPRISED

Police arrested a West Virginia man accused of sexually abusing his pet dog.

State troopers said Jonnie Boggess, of Miami, admitted to a sexual encounter over the summer with the 2-year-old beagle mix named Piglet.

The 47-year-old Boggess told investigators he found the animal in his bed after drinking, and troopers said he confessed to “gentle sexual intercourse” with the dog.

“(Boggess) stated that when he had finished having intercourse that he held ‘Piglet’, petted her, and told ‘Piglet’ that he loved her,” police said in the criminal complaint.

The man said his girlfriend told him she heard the dog yelping, but he assured her he wasn’t hurting the animal.

Troopers said Boggess told them he believed it was OK to have sex with his dog because she weighed more than 40 pounds and had been spayed.

“He said he wished he hadn’t done it,” said Larry O’Bryan, of West Virginia State Police. “He said he was drunk when he did it.”

Boggess was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, and the dog was removed from his home.

He was freed on $5,000 bond.

Neighbors said they were embarrassed by reports of the crime, but they admitted they weren’t surprised.

“He has done this before, with animals before, and it’s no shock,” one neighbor said.

At least one neighbor and possibly Boggess’ girlfriend notified an animal welfare agency of the alleged abuse.


POST-GAME RIOTS IN MORGANTOWN COST $45,000-PLUS

Riots that erupted after West Virginia University’s win over Baylor are costing the city of Morgantown more than $45,000.

In a news release late Friday, officials said the expenses include the cost repairing damage to street lights and light posts, as well as replacing street and traffic signs removed by rioters.

Authorities said crowds pushed over street lights and threw rocks, beer bottles and other items at public safety personnel and their vehicles. Numerous fires also were set.

More than a dozen people are facing criminal charges stemming from disturbances following last Saturday’s football game.

Fire officials reported costs for damaged items and overtime but didn’t include more than $2,600 needed to repair several vehicles.

Authorities also are ordering helmets, gas masks and other supplies needed to improve crowd control.


FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR WV READING PROGRAMS

The National Endowment for the Arts is offering grants to support community wide-reading programs.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall says the grants range from $2,500 to $20,000. He announced the funding availability Friday after reading to students at Lewisburg Elementary School.

Officials say organizations selected to participate in the NEA’s “Big Read” receive a grant, access to online training resources, as well as educational and promotional materials.

Eligible applicants include organizations such as libraries, museums, colleges and universities, art centers, historical societies, humanities councils, literary festivals, and arts organizations.

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The Gilmer Free Press

GSC to Host Annual Fall Open House - 10.25.14 - This Saturday

The Gilmer Free Press

Plans are underway for the Glenville State College Fall 2014 Pioneer Preview to take place on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

This open house event is held for prospective students and their families to tour the campus and learn about GSC academic degree programs and student services.

“We are thrilled to show off our campus and the new Waco Center to prospective students.  This is a great opportunity for our future Pioneers to get a feel of campus life,” said GSC Supervisor for Enrollment Ashley Weir.

The day’s schedule begins at 8:30 AM with check-in and light breakfast in the Heflin Administration Building.

The admissions staff and other GSC personnel then kick off the day’s presentations at 9:00 AM discussing topics such as Financial Aid, Student Life, and the ROTC program.

Campus tours will be conducted starting at 10:00 AM followed by an academic department fair in the Mollohan Campus Community Center Ballroom at 11:00 AM.

After a 12:00 PM break for lunch students and their guests are then invited to join fans at Morris Stadium as the Pioneer football team takes on Notre Dame of Cleveland at 1:00 PM.

For more information about the Fall 2014 Pioneer Preview or Glenville State College, contact the GSC Admissions Office at 304,462.6130 or 800.924.2010.​

Delegate Brent Boggs

The Gilmer Free Press

Movie Review: ‘Lilting’ - A Tragic Attempt at Finding a Relationship That Doesn’t Exist

Writer-director Hong Khaou has been working to boost a neglected niche with several dramatic shorts about gay relationships. Now he has moved onto his first feature, “Lilting.” It is, as the title suggests, sweet — but also slight.

Ben Whishaw, the dependably great British actor, displays his talents as Richard, a man in mourning. His live-in boyfriend has died unexpectedly, and the only thing Richard can think to do is reach out to his late love’s mother, who resides nearby in a London assisted-living home. But there are problems: She’s Chinese and doesn’t speak English. Worse: She doesn’t know that her son was gay.

Junn (Pei-pei Cheng) is a stern woman who — as we see during flashback scenes between her and her son, Kai (Andrew Leung) — knows her way around a guilt trip. Her already harsh character has been embittered by Kai’s death, so when Richard shows up at her home claiming to be his best friend, she just walks away.

The Gilmer Free Press


The young man is not easily discouraged, though. He sets about wooing her, and he isn’t the only one. An older British man named Alan (Peter Bowles) also wants to win over Junn. And considering her closed-off demeanor and their lack of a common language, the attraction feels inexplicable.

As an act of good will, Richard hires Vann (Naomi Christie) to translate for Junn and Alan, so that they can begin a deeper relationship. Of course, Richard hopes a translator might help him bond with Junn, too. Fat chance.

Richard is as lovable as Junn is difficult, and Whishaw seems to be channeling a pound puppy for the role. He’s so thin he looks breakable, and his sad eyebrows, not to mention quivering chin and glassy eyes, convey the depths of his grief. But there’s something unbelievably angelic about his character. Besides hiring Vann, Richard has opened his home to Junn and even cooked dinner one night for her and Alan. When Junn pushes him, asking why he’s doing all this for her, Richard is shocked. But she has a point. That’s a lot of work considering how much Richard’s late boyfriend complained about her. Junn is equally one-dimensional. Even when she’s dealing with Alan, her steely demeanor never softens.

There are some mildly funny and lighter-hearted moments, especially during flashbacks, but overall, the movie feels relentlessly tragic. With Kai gone, Junn prefers to sit in her room, utterly alone, and Richard doesn’t appear to know anyone except the translator he has hired. The pacing is deliberately slow, and although the movie is never boring, it does feel lethargic.

“Lilting” raises some interesting points about memory and our desire to rewrite history. Both Junn and Richard have a tendency to replay old scenes again and again — such as the last time Junn saw Kai. Every time we see the scene in her memory, the interaction is slightly different. Khaou emphasizes this theme by occasionally freezing a frame and zooming in on it, as if it were a snapshot. It’s a nice little touch — but as in the rest of the film, the emphasis is on little.

★ ★ ½

Unrated. Contains strong language and sexual situations. 86 minutes.

Sports News - 10.25.14

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►   Week 9 High School Game Results in the Area

Class A

Gilmer County (3-5)  13   at   #5 Notre Dame (6-2)  34

Calhoun County (2-7)  7   at   Wirt County (1-7)  10

#5 Doddridge County (7-1)  27  at   #15 Valley - Wetzel (5-3)  7

#1 St. Marys (8-0)  42  at   South Harrison (4-4)  7

#8 Tyler Consolidated (5-3)  0   at   Magnolia (3-5)  34

Parkersburg Catholic (2-6)  6   at   #11 Williamstown (6-2)  42


Class AA

Webster County (2-6)  12   at   Braxton County (3-6)  13

Ritchie County (3-5)      BYE WEEK

Herbert Hoover (5-3)  42  at   Roane County (3-5)  31

#9 Ravenswood (7-1)  64  at   Clay County (4-4)  32

#11 Robert C. Byrd (6-2)  56  at   North Marion (0-8)  21

#1 Bridgeport (7-1)      BYE WEEK

Sissonville (5-3)  26  at   #15 Liberty - Harrison (5-4)  7

Lincoln (2-7)  49   at   Grafton (4-4)  50

#6 Nicholas County (7-1)  27  at   Midland Trail - A (0-8)  0

Philip Barbour (1-7)      BYE WEEK


Class AAA

#12 Lewis County (7-2)  42  at   Elkins (3-5)  0

#13 Fairmont Sr. - AA (6-2)  35  at   #14 Buckhannon-Upshur (5-3)  27

#10 Parkersburg South (6-2)  59  at   Greenbrier East (4-5)  34

Parkersburg (4-4)  27  at   George Washington (4-4)  24



The Gilmer Free Press

There was quite a bit of hitting on the field at Milan Puskar Stadium last weekend, but almost as much action took place in the streets just outside in the hours following West Virginia’s upset of visiting Baylor.

The Mountaineers, absent from the AP Top-25 for close to two years, are now settled in at No. 22 this week, after stunning the fourth-ranked Bears by a score of 41-27 last Saturday afternoon. But the game was far from pretty, requiring close to four hours to complete, as referee Alan Eck nearly became the host of his own reality show.

In addition to there being nearly 900 yards of total offense registered by a pair of defensively inept programs, at least on this particular day, the number of penalties was simply unfathomable. The squads ran a collective 164 plays and on almost one-fifth of them there was an infraction of some kind that needed to be addressed. One series after another was brought to a screeching halt as Eck and his associates gathered and consulted, referred to video replay and consulted again.

The Bears really only had themselves to blame for their awful performance. Sure, the visitors managed to scrounge up 27 points in front of a spirited crowd, but that was barely half of the team’s average heading into the meeting, leading the nation at more than 52 ppg. When you factor in a Big 12- record 18 penalties for a loss of 215 yards, Baylor appeared more suited for the Canadian Football League than the AP’s top-10.

Personal fouls for unnecessary roughness came raining down on the Bears time and time again, aiding WVU in one of the biggest upsets in program history. At one point, Baylor receiver Corey Coleman was assessed a penalty for a vicious hit he delivered on WVU’s Terrell Chestnut, ejected even for his efforts as Chestnut lay still on the turf while the Bears scored on a 67-yard touchdown pass play in the second quarter.

However, even with the naked eye from Section 122, Row 39, Seat 121 in the lower bowl along the goal line (yes, I was in attendance) the hit, while violent, was still perfectly legal. After one of many teleconferences with replay officials, the call was reversed, Coleman allowed to rejoin his teammates, the touchdown counted and the fans confounded.

Eck also pleaded with fans not to throw anything onto the field during the contest. Again, one of just many instances where the men with the yellow flags and the whistles may have over-reached in trying to keep the meeting civil.

With still minutes to play, fans were reminded to stay off the field in the event that the home team held on for the win. Instead of a melee on Mountaineer Field, guests were treated to a sing-along of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as if that would have satisfied everyone’s enthusiasm for celebration.

Outside of the stadium, you would have thought the Mountaineers had won the national championship the way the crowd was behaving after the victory. Fans were high-fiving strangers at a record rate and using their other hand to firmly grasp a 24-pack of their favorite beverage, the same way a running back ensures three points of contact with the football.

Tailgates were operating at peak capacity both before and after the game, not just in designated parking lots, but also along the main drag in front of supermarkets and all denominations of churches. Today was the day to worship at the altar of college football, the one common denominator in a state that has no professional sports, at least not at the major league level.

It was perfect weather for a game of cornhole, even a game of catch with a football, tossing it high in the air and timing it just right so it soared over the tracks of the PRT without causing much of a commotion to unsuspecting riders.

Most people reveled responsibly, even those that awkwardly swayed to a spoof on an old Talking Heads classic, this one called, “Burning Down the Couch.“ Setting a sofa/love seat ablaze after a monumental win is nothing new for inhabitants of Morgantown, but there were quite a few people who took the celebrating a bit too far.

Couches and Ottomans should have been on high alert once that final gun sounded however.

In the aftermath of a sensational effort on the field, some simply could not keep their excitement to themselves. Reports indicate that their were at least eight arrests and 24 people were cited as a result of disturbances following the victory.

Public drunkenness, underage drinking and disorderly conduct led the police stat sheet, the latter being the charge for 20-year-old Elijah Wellman, who was a fullback/tight end on the WVU football team.

While no one was charged with a felony, there were two people picked up for assault on a law enforcement officer, and another was cited for malicious burning. Of the 39 fires reported to police, 32 were street fires and seven were found to be in dumpsters.

Unlike Eck who had only a whistle and yellow laundry to control the effort on the field, police used pepper spray and tear gas for folks who found it necessary to hurl bottles in the streets for no good reason.

Unlike the old days in the hills when individuals may have gotten away with this sort of lawless behavior, now everyone is a member of the media as video of rowdy activity is readily available anywhere and everywhere, so there is nowhere left to hide.

The president of WVU, E. Gordon Gee, addressed the actions of the few who brought national attention to Morgantown for all the wrong reasons. In a letter on Monday evening, Gee made it clear that he was “extremely disappointed, frustrated and angry at a minority of students.“

“Let me be clear: This is criminal behavior and individuals involved in setting fires, overturning trash bins or throwing objects at first responders WILL be held accountable. There is zero tolerance for this type of criminal and unruly behavior. Our Student Code of Conduct is clear on these matters and so is the law. We currently are reviewing the arrest records, as well as the videos and social media posts, to identify students involved. For those identified as participating in criminal activities, we will take swift and immediate disciplinary action - and for many, that will result in expulsion from this institution.“

Head’s up Morgantown, you have nationally-ranked TCU coming to town the first of November. Win or lose, please try to act responsibly.  ~~  Gregg Xenakes ~~



The Gilmer Free Press

►   Expect points galore when Marshall hosts FAU

Marshall’s offense started slowly last Saturday, scoring just 14 points in the first half at Florida International. However, come the final whistle, the Thundering Herd had topped 40 points for the sixth consecutive time.

The Herd wound up with 45 total points in the 45-13 stomping of the Golden Panthers. It was their sixth win in a row this season and the fifth straight cover. Moreover, they have been favored by 23.5 points or less in every game during the ATS winning streak.

This week, Marshall is favored by 28 points versus Florida Atlantic. The two teams met for the first time in 2013 and the Herd escaped FAU Stadium with a one-point victory (24-23) on a last-second 41-yard field goal.

This year marks a turning point for both squads. In 2013, Marshall averaged just 34.5 points per game against FBS competition heading into that game. This season, the Herd are averaging 47 points per game - good for second-best in the country.

Florida Atlantic had allowed an average of 26 points per game prior to squaring off against Marshall last season. In fact, the Owls wound up 26th nationally in scoring defense in 2013. This season has been quite the opposite. They are ranked 109th nationally in that category, allowing 36 points per game.

I would be shocked if Marshall scores fewer than 50 points in this matchup, especially because the Herd racked up 45 against the Golden Panthers, who scored 38 points against FAU earlier this month.

The key question in this contest is how many points Florida Atlantic will put on the board. The answer is just enough for the game to go over the total. Outside the first two contests against Alabama and Nebraska (when quarterback Jaquez Johnson played just over one quarter combined), the Owls are averaging 33 points per game.

Don’t expect them to score in the 30s against Marshall’s defense, but even if they reach the 20s, it will still be good enough to get this game over the number.

Take over 68.5 in the first of three three-star plays.

In the second contest, Oregon travels to California to take on the Golden Bears.

The Ducks have gotten their act together the last two weeks, blowing out Washington by 25 last Saturday and winning by 12 at UCLA the week before. It was the first time since early October of last year they won and covered back- to-back games.

If the Ducks can score in the 40s against the Huskies and Bruins, one can only imagine how many points they’ll score versus California.

Last year, Mark Helfrich’s crew hit the 55-point mark against Cal, winning 55-16. Two years ago, at Berkeley, Oregon beat the Golden Bears, 59-17.

This year’s game is being played in Santa Clara, which actually is much closer to Stanford than it is to Berkeley. In fact, Santa Clara is about an hour away from Cal’s campus, and that will take away a large proportion of the home-field advantage.

The Golden Bears were geared up to play UCLA last week - an extremely winnable game as they have won the prior seven home meetings. Unfortunately, they will not be as primed for this matchup against a much tougher opponent.

Take Oregon minus 18 points.

The final three-star choice comes from the Atlantic Coast Conference, where Pittsburgh hosts Georgia Tech. The Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 21-16 win over Virginia Tech last Thursday. They have had some extra days to prepare for the Georgia Tech option offense, one without injured running back Zach Laskey.

The Yellow Jackets won their first five games, but have lost two in a row, allowing a combined 79 points in those two contests. They are giving up close to 190 rushing yards per game on over five yards per carry. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is 18th nationally against the run, allowing 112 yards per game.

The Panthers’ rushing attack and run defense will be the difference in the double-digit victory over Georgia Tech.

Take Pittsburgh minus three points.

TWO-STAR SELECTIONS

Take Michigan State -17 (Michigan) and Nevada -2.5 (Hawaii).

ONE-STAR PLAYS

Take Maryland +11 (Wisconsin), North Carolina +7 (Virginia), Kent State +7 (Miami-Ohio), UNLV +17 (Utah State) and Temple +7 (UCF).

THIS YEAR’S RECORD

My overall record stands at 65-58-3 after a 5-10-1 mark in Week 8. The five- star selections went 1-2, so they move to 5-5. The three-star plays went 1-1 and are 10-5 overall. The two-star choices went 2-3 for an eight-week total of 23-25. The one-star plays went 1-4-1 for a 27-23-3 mark.

THIS WEEK’S JEFF FRANK DIRTY DOZEN

1) Ole Miss, 104.5; 2) Alabama, 102.5; 3-T) Georgia and Ohio State, 101.5; 5- T) Florida State, Oregon, Michigan State and Auburn, 100; 9-T) Mississippi State and TCU, 99; 11) Baylor, 97; 12-T) LSU and Nebraska, 96

(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team’s won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)



The Gilmer Free Press

►   Watt, Texans shift focus toward Mettenberger

Quarterback Zach Mettenberger is expected to make his first career start for the Tennessee Titans on Sunday as his club takes on the Houston Texans at LP Field.

Jake Locker has missed the Titans’ past two games due to a right thumb injury, with Charlie Whitehurst having started in his place under center. Whitehurst helped lead Tennessee to a 16-14 win over Jacksonville on October 12, but did not throw a touchdown pass, and then was held to 160 yards passing in last weekend’s 19-17 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Whitehurst was intercepted once and threw two touchdown passes, his 38-yard strike to Derek Hagan putting the Titans up with 7:41 to play. But Tennessee couldn’t eat up enough clock down the stretch and Washington won it on Kai Forbath’s 22-yard field goal as time expired.

“We didn’t make enough plays at the end, unfortunately. We shouldn’t have come to that position. Offensively, we had the ball back and we had run more time off the clock. We made a mistake and we made enough mistakes all day,“ said Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt. “It’s hard to pin it on that last drive or on anything. We didn’t do the job today and that’s disappointing.“

Each of the Titans’ past three games have been decided by two points or fewer, with the winning score coming with no more than 1:07 left in regulation each time.

In a bit of a surprise move, Whisenhunt announced on Thursday that Mettenberger will start versus the Texans, with Locker expected to serve as the backup.

After trading up, the Titans took Mettenberger in the sixth round of the 2014 draft and the Louisiana State product threw for 659 yards and two touchdowns with a pair of interceptions in the preseason, posting a 97.6 passer rating.

The 23-year-old saw some brief regular-season action in Week 4 at Indianapolis, completing two of his five pass attempts for 40 yards with an interception.

“We feel like it’s an opportunity to see what Zach can do just like a number of our younger players that have already started to contribute, and we’re looking forward to seeing where we go from here,“ said Whisenhunt.

Whisenhunt doesn’t have much to lose seeing as his club has lost five of six since beginning the season with a win over Kansas City.

The Texans also are struggling, having dropped three in a row and four of five since starting 2-0. They appeared to be in good shape going into halftime last weekend against Pittsburgh, but mistakes allow the Steelers to rip off 24 straight points in the final 3:08 of the first half en route to a 30-23 setback.

Arian Foster gained 102 yards on 20 carries and caught a late TD pass for the Texans, but also lost a fumble at his own 3-yard line that helped the Steelers rally.

After a Pittsburgh touchdown, Houston quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted, allowing Pittsburgh to again find the end zone with 14 seconds left until halftime.

“It was a terrible second quarter and we couldn’t come back from it,“ Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said. “The whole thing is frustrating.“

Fitzpatrick threw for 262 yards with two TDs and an interception, wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson combined for 11 catches and nearly 200 yards, while linebacker Whitney Mercilus had two sacks.

The Titans lead the all-time series 15-9.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Few will blame Whisenhunt for giving Mettenberger a shot. He did, after all, lead the NFL with 659 preseason passing yards and his 47 completions ranked third.

At two-year starter at LSU, Mettenberger threw for 3,082 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a senior.

“We are going to go with Zach at QB this week,“ said Whisenhunt. “We were still waiting to see where Jake’s hand was going to be as far as whether he was going to be the backup or not depending on if he could do that. We feel good after two good days of practice with Jake that he can do that. So that’s the order in which we’re going to go from this point.

One has to wonder what kind of leash Mettenberger will be on given that Locker is able to serve as the backup, but it appears as though the Titans are ready to get a look at their young quarterback.

Mettenberger will join a number of young players already seeing action in rookie running back Bishop Sankey and wide receivers Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright.

Sankey has gotten the bulk of the work in each of the past two weeks due to Shonn Greene’s hamstring injury and figures to be the feature back going forward. He has 267 yards and a score on 66 carries, while Wright is leading the club with 32 receptions and four touchdowns.

Of course, Whisenhunt is doing Mettenberger no favors by putting him in against a Texans defense led by the dangerous J.J. Watt.

Watt leads the NFL with 22 quarterback hits to go along with five sacks, three fumble recoveries, six passes defensed and three total touchdowns. He recovered the ninth fumble of his career in last week’s loss, setting a new all-time franchise record.

“He’s a good football player. I think we all know that,“ Whisenhunt said of Watt. “He’s everywhere. He’s going to line up in all different positions. It’s not like you can target one spot that he’s going to be in. You’re going to be matched up against him at some point, but that’s part of the challenge that’s this league. You’ve got to be able to face those guys.“

It’s also a neat coincidence that Mettenberger will make his first start opposite Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played in 11 games with nine starts for the Titans last season as Locker battled injury.

Fitzpatrick threw for 2,454 yards and 14 touchdowns with the Titans a season ago, but doesn’t expect to have any kind of advantage this weekend.

“I think they know me as well as I know them, so I’m not sure that it gives anybody a leg up,“ he said. “I think it’s kind of a wash. It’s definitely a different scheme. The one I’m running here is different from what we did there last year.“

One thing Fitzpatrick would like to do in this game is get the ball to Johnson, who moved past Hall-of-Famer Steve Largent (13,089) for 14th place on the NFL’s all-time receiving list.

Johnson has 109 catches, 1,381 yards and nine touchdowns in 20 career games versus the Titans.

“My job is to get the ball to our playmakers. I didn’t get it to Andre nearly enough early (last week),“ said Fitzpatrick. “It’s just one of those deals. I have got to continue, as I progress, to continue to get better and continue to throw the ball to the right guy and making sure that everybody is on the same page with that.“

Sunday also could mark the return of rookie linebacker Jadeveon Clowney to the Texans’ lineup.

Clowney, the top overall pick of the recent draft, has not played since suffering a knee injury in the first half of Houston’s Week 1 win over Washington. However, he was limited in practice on Wednesday and O’Brien said he would be a game-time decision.

O’Brien, though, did say earlier in the week that if Clowney were to play, he would be worked back into the mix alongside Mercilus.

Mercilus’ two sacks were his first of the season and he also forced a fumble. he has 24 tackles and 15 career sacks.

“When JD (Jadeveon Clowney) comes back, he’ll have to work back into the mix. That’s not just something that’s going to be handed to him, that’s for sure,“ O’Brien had said. “Whitney’s played well enough to deserve playing time, that’s for sure, and that’ll be a competition.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The appearance of Mettenberger and possibly Clowney give some much-needed juice to a matchup between teams struggling to get wins.

Things are a bit more urgent for the Texans, who are looking to get to .500 and at least keep pace with the AFC South-leading Colts (5-2).

“We’ve got to get back on track here in terms of winning some games,“ declared Fitzpatrick. “You look at every game and all of a sudden it comes down to 3-4 plays, mistakes by us, great plays by them, whatever it is that’s the NFL for you. We’ve been on the bad end of it for the last few weeks here and we’ve got to turn that around.“

The Titans would love to do the same ahead of their bye week.

“It’s a good bonus, I think,“ Whisenhunt said of getting a victory before the weekend off. “It’s really more about getting a win than it is getting a win going into a bye week. Do we want it? Sure. Does it make the bye week a lot better? Yes, it does. We’re focused on getting a win, period, right now. That’s what’s important to us.“

Mettenberger certainly becomes a nice x-factor for the Titans, but the rookie will be going up against a tough defense and will be able to force him into making some key mistakes.

Predicted outcome: Texans 20, Titans 13


►   Eagles and Cards jockey for position at top of NFC

Sitting atop their perch in the NFC West, the Arizona Cardinals will take their swings at the visiting Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.

The Cardinals and Eagles are two of the four remaining one-loss teams.

Many believed either the defending champion Seattle Seahawks or San Francisco 49ers would be the current NFC West leaders at this juncture.

But au contraire.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has his team at 5-1, with the 49ers 4-3 and the disappointing Seahawks 3-3. The Cardinals have won back-to-back games since Denver destroyed them back on October 5, posting wins over Washington and Oakland. In Sunday’s 24-13 victory at the lowly Raiders, the Cardinals held the hosts to 220 yards and Carson Palmer threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns with an interception against his former team.

Arizona, which is 5-1 for the first time since 1976 and 12-3 dating back to last season, is first in rushing yards allowed (72.5) and limited Oakland to 56 yards on the ground. Arizona is the only team in the NFL that has yet to allow an opponent to rush for 100 yards in a game this season. It has allowed 20 points or fewer in five of six games this season.

“Every Sunday gets bigger and bigger,“ Cardinals tackle Jared Veldheer said. “It’s nothing but a good start. We need to keep the mindset of ‘We need to win every week.‘“

The Cardinals are 3-0 at home this season and 7-1 in the past eight as the host dating back to 2013. They are 9-2 at home with Arians as head coach and 7-0 in the desert against non-division opponents.

After hosting the Eagles, the Cardinals have another challenge with a trip to Dallas on the schedule. Arizona will face last year’s NFL rushing leader in LeSean McCoy, but he’s been bottled up most of the season with defenses stacking the box and forcing teams to throw. McCoy, though, ran for a season- high 149 yards on 22 carries in a win over the rival New York Giants.

McCoy (5,895) trails former Eagle Brian Westbrook (5,995) by 100 yards for second on the franchise’s all-time rushing list. He could get that Sunday.

Perhaps the stingy run defense is why the Cardinals are third in interceptions with eight and rated 31st in defending the pass. They are allowing almost 300 yards (284.8) per game through the air and the Eagles look to expose that with their No. 7 pass attack (262.3 ypg).

The Eagles are also 5-1 and enter University of Phoenix Stadium fresh off the bye week. They welcomed some familiar faces back at practice in injured offensive linemen Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis, along with all-purpose running back Darren Sproles. Neither is expected to play Sunday, but Sproles said his MCL sprain felt good after practice this week.

“If I feel the way I did today, then yeah, but that decision is up to the coach,“ Sproles said of the possibility of playing Sunday.

Quarterback Nick Foles will be under center and hopes to light up Arizona’s secondary. Foles entered the bye with an average showing in a 27-0 beatdown of the Giants on October 12, as he threw for 248 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Foles has four TD passes and five interceptions in his last three games. In his last 10 road games (8 starts), Foles has thrown for 2,774 yards with 24 TD passes and four INTs.

The Eagles, who are trying to remain steady with the 6-1 Cowboys in the NFC East, are averaging an NFC-best 30.5 points this season (3rd in NFL) and are ninth overall in total yards with 378.3. They are only one of three teams in the NFL to average at least 260 yards passing per game and 115 yards rushing.

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly can only hope his players remain focused after having a week off.

“You hope it doesn’t (affect the team),“ Kelly said of the bye. “You obviously had some time off, but I think ... you would hope they’d have a little bit of bounce in their step because they’ve had some time off, so we’ll see.

“There were a lot of guys in here (Monday) on their day off, getting treatment, checking film out on their own, so I don’t anticipate these guys not being ready to go. It’s a pretty good group that way.“

The Eagles defeated the Cardinals last December 1 in a 24-21 victory at Lincoln Financial Field and almost blew a 24-7 lead. Foles passed for 237 yards with three TDs, McCoy ran for 79 yards on 19 carries and Palmer had 302 passing yards with three scores and two picks.

Cardinals wide receivers Michael Floyd (99 yards) and Larry Fitzgerald (72 yards) both reached the end zone. Fitzgerald is tied with Don Maynard for 12th on the all-time touchdown receptions list with 88 and has owned the Eagles in his career, catching 40 passes for 642 yards and 10 TDs in six games, including the 2008 NFC Championship.

Fitzgerald has more TDs against the Eagles in the regular season than he does against any team outside the NFC West. It will be a long afternoon for Eagles corners Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher if Fitz has his way.

The Cardinals lead the all-time series with the Eagles, 57-55-5, and have won the last three matchups as the host. Arizona is 12-3 against teams outside the NFC West under Arians.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

While the Eagles offense racked up 448 yards of offense against the Giants, the defense harassed Eli Manning all night and held New York to 254 yards. The Eagles racked up eight sacks, three by linebacker Connor Barwin and two by lineman Vinny Curry.

Palmer was sacked just once against the Raiders and the Eagles will try to get to him more often before he gets comfortable in the pocket. Palmer has the aforementioned receiving threats in Fitzgerald and Floyd, and running back Andre Ellington is coming off Sunday’s performance in which he ran for 88 yards on 24 carries and caught six passes for 72 yards.

Stepfan Taylor had a rushing score and a receiving TD in Oakland.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons and they do a lot of different things on the offensive side of the ball to spread the ball around to all of those guys,“ Kelly said of the Cardinals.

The Eagles have allowed only two rushing touchdowns this season.

The Cardinals have thrown a league-best one interception. Palmer is 3-0 this season and 10-2 in his last 12 starts. He has thrown a touchdown pass in each of his previous 16 games.

Arizona poses a huge threat to the Eagles with its run defense. It could get even tougher for Philadelphia if defensive end Calais Campbell returns after missing two games with a knee injury. Campbell hopes to get in at least one practice before Sunday’s game.

Still, the Cardinals’ front line and linebackers are a stingy bunch under coordinator Todd Bowles.

“It’s the personnel they have,“ Kelly said of the Cardinals’ success stopping the run. “Obviously, Todd does a really great job with their scheme. Their scheme is somewhat unique in getting in a lot of fronts; they run a lot of looks on the defensive side of the ball, so they can confuse you a little bit.“

Kelly’s offensive scheme will be faced with a bunch of different looks Sunday.

As for the Eagles’ defense, the stop unit has scored an NFL-best three touchdowns this season and safety Malcolm Jenkins leads the team with all three INTs. He returned one for a score against San Francisco.

The Eagles also lead the NFL with seven return touchdowns, four of which via special teams. Sproles is a big part of that, but may rest another week with his MCL sprain. Running back Chris Polk has a kickoff return for a touchdown and is hoping to shake a hamstring issue so he can play in Arizona.

“I didn’t really try to open up and try to sprint, so I can’t gauge where I am, but it feels really good,“ Polk said after practice.

Philly hopes linebacker Mychal Kendricks can return from a calf injury sustained in a Week 2 win over Indianapolis. Kendricks was back at practice this week and is talented on coverage. Emmanuel Acho and Casey Matthews have been filling in admirably for Kendricks alongside veteran DeMeco Ryans.

Acho will face his brother, Sam, on Sunday.

“I started playing (football) when I was eight years old,“ Emmanuel said. “Sam didn’t play until maybe he was 13. So I started playing in fourth grade, and he didn’t start playing until sixth grade.“

In other news for Sunday’s game, Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro has made all 15 of his field goal attempts and 11 PATs. The streak of 15 consecutive field goals made without a miss to start a season is tied for the longest in NFL history by a rookie (St. Louis, Greg Zuerlein, 2012)

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Cardinals have the top rushing defense. The Eagles have struggled to run it consistently. The Cardinals are one of the worst at defending the pass. The Eagles are one of the best at airing it out.

Something has to budge Sunday.

When an unstoppable force meets and immoveable object, worlds can collide. One of the irresistible forces has to break down. McCoy and the Eagles had plenty of time to prepare for this showdown of 5-1 teams and the shifty back will make his presence felt in an Eagles win. It could get a lot worse if Sproles is healthy enough to return.

“He’s a very strong-willed individual,“ Polk said of Sproles.

Predicted outcome: Eagles 33, Cardinals 24


►   Rams and Chiefs meet for Show Me State bragging rights

The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t played at Arrowhead Stadium in almost a month and hope to give their fans something to cheer about when the St. Louis Rams come to town Sunday.

The Chiefs sandwiched two road games between their bye week and survived a visit to the San Diego Chargers with last weekend’s 23-20 victory. The Chargers had won five in a row and quarterback Philip Rivers was cooled off to the tune of 205 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Cairo Santos nailed a 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining in the game for the Chiefs, who have won three of their last four games to get back to the .500 mark at 3-3.

“For a rookie to step up…with the game on his back, that’s a tribute to him,“ Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of his kicker.

Santos made three field goals on the afternoon and safety Kurt Coleman sealed the win with an interception of Rivers, who had thrown at least three TD passes in each of his previous three games.

Reid improved to 14-2 after the bye in his career as an NFL head coach. Now the longtime Philadelphia Eagles head coach is preparing for the Rams.

“The great part about this is we still have a ton of room to improve as coaches and players to make ourselves a better football team,“ Reid said. “We’ve got a heck of football team coming in here this week. Jeff’s (Fisher) done a nice job with the Rams. They are playing at a very high level, they’re fast, they’re aggressive. We’ve got to make sure that we get ourselves ready.“

Kansas City, which is playing at home for the first time since a 41-14 rout of New England on September 29, hopes running back Jamaal Charles can continue his recent surge on the ground. Charles ran for a season-high 95 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers, and passed Priest Holmes’ mark of 6,070 career rushing yards.

Charles has 6,113 rushing yards and is the third player in team lore to record 6,000 or more rushing yards. He is averaging 89.0 rushing yards per game in the last three after running for a total of 23 in his first two games. The Chiefs are third in rushing this season with 140.3 yards per game and will face a St. Louis defense that is 28th against the rush (145.0).

During a radio inter view, Charles said he got hit pretty hard at one point and experienced a little discomfort. Charles didn’t believe he suffered a concussion and avoided the league’s protocol on those types of scenarios.

Meanwhile, the Rams will play their next three games on the road against Kansas City, San Francisco and Arizona, and are 1-4 in last five away from the Gateway City.

St. Louis ended a three-game slide with Sunday’s 28-26 triumph over the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and needed some tricks up its sleeve to pull off the upset. The Rams had a misdirected punt return in the second quarter, and the other special teams play was a fake punt late in the fourth quarter on 4th-and-3 from their own 18-yard line.

Seattle thought the ball was kicked to one side of the field, but Rams players drew the opposition away from Stedman Bailey, who returned the punt 90 yards for a touchdown. The Seahawks held on and pulled within two points on a Russell Wilson touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, but St. Louis never relinquished the lead and improved to 2-4.

“We say from time to time, it’s hard to win in the National Football League,“ Fisher said after the game. “And I’m just really grateful for the effort ... the entire team effort, coaching staff’s effort ... this week, coming out on a short week.“

The Rams dropped a 31-17 decision to the 49ers the previous Monday.

The Chiefs have a five-game winning streak going against the Rams and haven’t lost in this series since a 16-0 defeat on September 25, 1994. Kansas City posted a 27-13 win in the last meeting on December 19, 2010, as Charles ran for 126 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.

Kansas City is 6-4 all-time against the Rams and is averaging 37.8 points per game during the current five-game win streak. The Chiefs are 10-2 against the NFC West since 2002 and swept the division in 2006 and 2010.

The Rams last visited Arrowhead Stadium in 2002, a 49-10 KC triumph.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith isn’t the flashiest of NFL quarterbacks, but is known for his efficiency. Smith has thrown for 813 yards with eight touchdowns passes to just one interception in his last four games.

Because of Charles and the running game, the Chiefs really don’t have to rely on Smith as evidenced by a 30th-ranked pass attack that produces 199.7 yards per game. Still, Smith (1,270 yards, (9 TD, 4 INT) can get the job done and will try to continue his recent success against the Rams. In past three games against them, the former 49er has 559 yards and four TDs with no INTs.

Smith has connected with 14 different receivers this season, including Dwayne Bowe, who had a season-high 84 yards on five catches against the Chargers. In five games Bowe is still searching for his first touchdown reception. Smith’s favorite target is tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce leads the team in catches (24), yards (307) and touchdowns (3).

Kelce has 15 receptions for first downs and a TD in three of the last four games for the Chiefs, who have scored 14 touchdowns in 20 trips inside the 20- yard line. Look for Smith and Kelce to connect again versus a St. Louis defense rated 14th against the pass, allowing 234.0 yards per game. Smith is 33-12-1 as a starter since 2011.

Charles can play a big role in the pass game, but has just 11 receptions for 55 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Charles has 2,030 career receiving yards on 233 catches. Holmes ended his career with 251 and Kimble Anders has the most by a running back in team annals with 369.

On the other side of the ball, Kansas City will go after Rams young QB Austin Davis with two defensive stars in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Both defenders know how to get after the quarterback and have helped the Chiefs compile 17.0 sacks this season.

“We have another good one coming up this week,“ Reid said of Davis. “This young kid who’s playing for the Rams is playing well.“

Houston has five sacks in the last four games (7 total), while Hali has recorded a sack in four of his past five (4 total).

Davis has thrown for 1,517 yards, nine TDs and four INTs in his rookie campaign, and was not sacked in the win over Seattle. He was sacked nine times in the previous two games, however.

Davis had his highest rating of 128.6 versus the defending champs and completed 18-of-21 passes for 152 yards and two scores. The passer rating was the highest by a Rams QB since Marc Bulger’s 133.3 on November 20, 2005. Davis did not throw an interception for the third time this season.

“You have to tip your hat to Seattle,“ Davis said. “They’re a really, really good football team. It took a pretty flawless game in terms of turnovers and penalties, and we knew that coming in.“

Rookie running back Tre Mason ran for 85 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and filled in for injured starter Zac Stacey (ankle). Stacey leads the Rams with 240 rushing yards on 61 touches and his status for Sunday is unknown. He only had 17 yards on eight carries against San Francisco on October 13.

The Chiefs are one of just two teams (Buffalo) to not give up a rushing touchdown this season.

St. Louis’ defense will have a tough time Sunday in all phases. The unit is allowing almost 30 points a game (29.3) and has just four sacks on the season. Defensive end Robert Quinn recorded his first sack of the season on Sunday after notching 19.0 last year.

Aaron Donald leads the Rams with two sacks on the season.

The Rams have scored 28 points or more

OVERALL ANALYSIS

All wins are important in the NFL, but this is the time of year teams begin to separate from the rest of the pack. With the last weekend of football in October upon us, the Chiefs must take it to another level and stay in the AFC playoff race because winning a division is not likely.

The Chiefs have the ground game, defense and enough talent at quarterback to avoid an upset versus the Rams at Arrowhead Stadium.

“That’s the game of football,“ Smith said. “You have to trust the guy next to you. We talk about it all the time ... offensively, defensively, the guy next to you in the huddle ... you have to trust all those guys to do their job. And you have to trust that you’re going to do yours.“

KC’s beloved Royals are in the World Series and the Chiefs will keep the city’s spirits alive.

Predicted outcome: Chiefs 26, Rams 16


►   Lions bring stingy defense to London, aim to ground Falcons

The NFL is up to its marketing ways again and will send the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons to London for a showdown Sunday on the hallowed grounds of Wembley Stadium.

The league is hoping to build a strong following overseas and has two reputable franchises representing the sport on foreign soil.

Detroit enters the United Kingdom tied for first place in the NFC North with a 5-2 record, while the Green Bay Packers boast an identical mark. The Lions have put a major emphasis on defense this season and were able to squeeze out a 24-23 win over the visiting New Orleans Saints last weekend.

Down 23-10 with minutes left in the game, the Lions rallied for 14 points on a pair of touchdown passes from Matthew Stafford, including a 73-yard connection with Golden Tate. Stafford’s five-yard touchdown pass to Corey Fuller put Detroit ahead for good with 1:48 remaining. The touchdown was set up by Glover Quin’s interception of Saints QB Drew Brees and some help on fourth down.

Facing a 4th-and-5, Stafford attempted a pass to Reggie Bush and it fell incomplete, but a pass interference call on New Orleans, its 12th penalty of the game, gave Detroit new life. Stafford then connected with a leaping Fuller to give the Lions their fourth win in five weeks.

“When we needed plays at the end of the game we got them,“ Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. “It was one of those games where you keep preaching to the guys to hang in there and keep fighting.“

It was the second straight game, and win, the Lions played without star wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson has been bothered by a high ankle sprain and is in London with his teammates. Johnson’s status for Sunday’s game in unknown and the one who goes by the moniker “Megatron” has 348 yards and two touchdowns on 22 receptions.

“I’m working to get a feel each and every week, working every day,“ Johnson said. “If I’m good enough to play, I’m going to play. So I’m gonna leave it at that.“

Johnson was limited in practice Wednesday.

The loss of Johnson hasn’t been much of a strain on the Lions, whose defensive unit is one of the best in the league. The Lions are first in yards allowed (290.3), second in both rushing yards (73.4) and points allowed (15.0), and third in sacks (21.0) and interceptions (8). Quin has three interceptions, one in each of the last two games, and George Johnson leads with four sacks.

Ezekiel Ansah has recorded 3 1/2 sacks and Ndamukong Suh owns three.

Detroit, which is the only team in the NFL allowing less than 300 yards per game, will enter its bye week following its UK excursion.

The Falcons will also have their bye after Sunday’s game and have lost six straight outside the Georgia Dome. Even though they are the designated home team at Wembley Stadium, the Falcons will still be away from the comfortable confines of home.

“We’re our own enemy. Being on the road is not an easy environment to be in, so we’ve got to continue to acclimate ourselves,“ Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi said. “There are only a few more games left in the season; we need to continue to fight and get better.“

Atlanta is still in the hunt in the NFC South at 2-5 and suffered its fourth straight loss Sunday in a 29-7 setback in Baltimore. The defense has given up no less than 27 points in each of the past four losses and is arguably the main reason why Atlanta is three games under .500.

The Falcons are 27th against the run (137.7), 29th in pass defense (274.4) and 30th in both yards allowed (412.1) and points allowed (28.4). They are one of three teams in the NFL permitting 400 or more yards on defense.

“We have nine games left and I know every man in that room and every coach in that room will work their (butts) off this week to get prepared to play the Detroit Lions,“ Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. “I have no doubt what the makeup of these football players and coaches and the organization we have in Atlanta.“

Smith’s team was 2-1 at one point following a 56-14 beatdown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 18. A meeting with the Lions may solve Atlanta’s woes, as the Falcons are riding a three-game winning streak in this series and are 23-12 overall. The Falcons posted a 31-18 win on December 22, 2012 and were led by Matt Ryan’s four TD passes and no interceptions.

Ryan is 3-0 in his career against Detroit.

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White hauled in eight catches for 153 yards and two scores. Stafford threw for 443 yards with no TDs and Johnson caught 11 passes for 225 yards. Stafford needs one more touchdown pass to break Bobby Layne’s team record of 118.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Both the Lions and Falcons have struggled running the football, and Caldwell gave his take on why.

“We just haven’t been as consistent as we’d like,“ Caldwell said. “We haven’t blocked consistently well enough, we haven’t run it consistently well enough with the ball in our hands. There’s a number of different things. The blocking includes not only lineman, not only tight ends, the lead back or whomever it might be but then also on the flanks as well, the receiving corps.

“So, all of it, we’re constantly in an evaluation mode with that trying to find out what suits us best in terms of what we do best. That’s been the struggle, so we just have to stay after it.“

The Lions average 82.4 rushing yards per game and Joique Bell leads the team with 274 yards and three touchdowns on 84 carries. Bush has 171 yards and a score on 49 totes this season and five TDs in last five games against the Falcons. Look for the Lions to try and get that ground attack going against a weak Atlanta defense.

“It’s really close,“ Bell said of the ground attack. “If you look at it on film, it’s just one glitch that keeps us from having that explosive run, which is going to lead to more. We’re right there, we just need to get over that hump.“

But as Caldwell said, the Lions should do what they do best and that’s play defense and throw the football.

Golden Tate blew up for 154 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions versus the Saints and has taken over for an injured Johnson. Tate leads Detroit with 649 yards and 38 receptions, and is confident in his abilities.

“I don’t think anyone has more confidence in themselves than I do,“ Tate said. “There’s not many things I think I can’t do on a football field.

“I expected to come here and be a compliment to Calvin. Obviously, didn’t expect Calvin to be out for a few weeks, but that’s the game of football. I’ve taken it personal to step up and try to take on his role and help this team win.“

So far, so good for Tate.

The Falcons can chuck it up, too. Ryan has two dynamic receivers in White and Julio Jones. Jones leads the team with 676 yards, 49 catches and is one of three players with three receiving scores, joining White and Antone Smith. Jones has been slowed a bit the last few weeks, compiling 68 yards in a loss to Chicago on October 12, then posting 56 yards last week against the Ravens.

Jones hasn’t reached the end zone since that blowout win over Tampa Bay. White recorded his franchise-best 58th career touchdown reception Sunday to break a tie with Terance Mathis. Michael Turner holds the record with 61 total TDs.

As for their running game, the Falcons have an aging Steven Jackson (285 yards, 2 TD) and Smith (136 yards, 2 TD). They are 23rd in rushing (98.1).

Atlanta has to do a better job protecting Ryan, who was sacked five times in Baltimore and four times versus the Bears. Ryan has been sacked 15 times this season, while his counterpart Stafford has been taken down an NFL-high 24 times. Ryan will have another new center this week in undrafted rookie James Stone. Stone takes over for Peter Konz, who landed on IR this week with a knee injury suffered at Baltimore.

Center Joe Hawley is also on injured reserve.

“I thought James Stone did a great job of coming in and filling in for Peter,“ Ryan said. “It’s been one of the things that, this year, guys have had to step up and come in and play, especially on the offensive line, through some injuries.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Each team has to get acclimated with the time difference, field conditions, facilities, awful food and so on in London. By the time the game starts, though, the players and coaches should be adjusted and ready to go.

“Our business is to go over there and get ready to play certainly a hungry Atlanta team in a game that means a lot to us,“ Caldwell said with first place in the NFC North on the line. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.“

The Falcons and their offensive line have their work cut out as well facing Detroit’s menacing defensive front with Suh, Ansah, Johnson, Nick Fairley and Jason Jones. DeAndre Levy is a stud linebacker on the outside and the team’s leading tackler. The secondary could be challenged with Jones and White.

Detroit will keep pace with Green Bay in the division with a close win over Atlanta and may even take over the top spot because the Packers play Brees and the Saints in the Big Easy Sunday night.

Predicted outcome: Lions 24, Falcons 20


►   No time to relax for Saints as Rodgers comes calling

Something has to give in New Orleans on Sunday night and the struggling Saints are hoping it’s not their dwindling playoff hopes.

Most observers considered New Orleans a legitimate Super Bowl contender at the beginning of this season but an all too familiar pattern has emerged—the Saints simply can’t win on the road.

The good news is that the NFC South as a whole has been poor this season and despite a 2-4 record—including an 0-4 mark away from the Bayou—New Orleans is just one game behind division-leading Carolina in the loss column pending a Week 8 matchup with Aaron Rodgers and the 5-2 Green Bay Packers.

The Saints are banking on a return to the Superdome to get them back on track. New Orleans is 2-0 at home this season and has won 10 straight overall as the hosts but the triumphs in 2014 were against less than stellar opposition—Minnesota and Tampa Bay—and the Saints needed overtime before disposing of the 1-5 Bucs back on October 5

“They are better than that,“ Rodgers said when discussing NOLA’s record. “They are 2-0 at home I believe. They are better at home. They have lost some close games. (They have a) very talented offense, a very talented defense and (are) very well coached.“

The Packers, meanwhile, have won four straight after a rocky start behind Rodgers, a legitimate MVP candidate who has 13 TD passes with no interceptions along with a a stunning 137.9 passer rating during Green Bay’s current winning streak.

A-Rod also generally excels indoors, having started 23 games under a roof in his career with 56 TD passes versus only eight interceptions in those games.

Rodgers extended another historic streak last week as the Packers continued their dominance in the month of October with a 38-17 shellacking of the Panthers.

Rodgers completed 19-of-22 passes for 255 yards and three scores, joining Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with four straight games of three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Rodgers, who hasn’t been intercepted since Week 1 in Seattle, also extended a personal-best streak to 192 pass attempts without a pick.

Randall Cobb caught six passes for 121 yards and a touchdown, and Jordy Nelson made four catches for 80 yards and a score against Carolina.

The Packers have now won 10 straight games in October and 16 of their last 17.

“I thought the quarterback play was outstanding and I thought, really, offensively, we did exactly what we wanted to do,“ Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said.

Conversely the Saints are coming off their latest road implosion when Corey Fuller’s touchdown catch inside of two minutes to play capped a late Detroit comeback to give the Lions a 24-23 win over the New Orleans.

Matthew Stafford struggled for much of the game, but led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives for Detroit and finished 27-of-40 for 299 yards with two scoring passes and two interceptions.

Drew Brees went 28-for-45 for 342 yards with two touchdowns and a key interception late in the game for the Saints, while Marques Colston had six catches for 111 yards and Kenny Stills added five receptions for 103 yards and a score in the loss.

“We had opportunities down the stretch to win the game and we didn’t do it,“ said New Orleans head coach Sean Payton.“

Brees played particularly poorly in the fourth quarter, completing just 2- of-13 passes.

“Obviously we had a little bit more pressure, some man-to-man (coverage),“ Payton said. “A few of those throw always that were smart plays and yet we had a couple of opportunities in there maybe to fit in there a throw. Those percentages they include that last drive where all of a sudden you’re hoping to make a few plays but for two thirds of the game we were operating with the rhythm and efficiency we wanted. We’ll get better at that.“

The Packers have won two straight over the Saints and lead the all-time series by a 16-7 margin.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Saints have actually been as explosive as ever offensively and are tops in the NFC with 437.0 yards per game, far ahead of Green Bay (325.4 YPG), a team which is also generally regarded as one of the best offensive units around.

Brees in second in the conference with 1,916 passing yards but the issue has been ball security and New Orleans has a minus-eight turnover ratio, a stark contrast to the Packers’ NFL-best plus-10 mark.

“It’s been a staple of how we play around the here the past couple of years, taking care of the football and being in the positive,“ Rodgers said. “Mike (McCarthy) always talks about getting to double-digit turnover margin and we just there this week with plus-10. When you are taking care of the football like that than you give your football team a chance to win. Offensively we know that if we take care of it and we turn our defense’s turnovers into points we are going to have a chance to win.“

For New Orleans, Brees has been pressing at times and trying to force the issue, a troubling turn for a veteran quarterback who should know better.

“I don’t (think he’s pressing),“ Payton said. “Obviously people want to have the one interception back (against the Lions) but I felt like his decision- making and rhythm, I felt like his week of preparation and how he played all during the practice week was outstanding and he’s going to be just fine. He’s the least of our worries.“

Rodgers, who is tops in the NFC in both TD passes (18) and passer rating (117.3), hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 1 and is approaching 200 attempts without a pick. He’s particularly adept at extending plays and getting the ball down field to Nelson, who leads the conference with 712 receiving yards.

Furthermore, Rodgers has been doing all of that without the benefit of a consistent running game as second-year back Eddie Lacy has been in a bit of a sophomore slump, save for one effort against Minnesota.

The real story in this game, however, should be the defenses which are very identical statistically. Green Bay is allowing 362.7 ypg and the Saints have been 11 yards worse. Each team hasn’t been able to develop a consistent pass rush, though, despite having big name players on the edge.

Veteran Julius Peppers along with Nick Perry lead the Packers’ stop unit with three sacks apiece but veteran All-Pro rusher Clay Matthews has just 1 1/2.

Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan thought he could count on a dual threat in Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan but only Galette has produced at times with four sacks.

“I have a lot of respect for them and their defense,“ Rodgers said. “Talented group, they play really well at home, they put up a lot of points. You have to be expecting Drew (Brees) and those guys to be scoring points so we need to score touchdowns in the red zone and score some points ourselves.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Each defense will come in with a similar game plan, trying to get the QB off his spots and away from a comfort level. When they are clean and secure in the knowledge that the pass protection is going to hold up, both Brees and Rodgers can pick any defense apart, especially on a fast track indoors.

“It is a fast surface. They obviously play faster at home,“ Rodgers said when talking about the Superdome. “It is a really, really loud environment. Obviously Drew has had a lot of success there, (and) put up a lot of points there. Their offense has very high scoring potential. Defensively, every time you have a crowd that can back you with some noise it makes it a lot more difficult for the offense.“

The difference in what figures to be a shootout should be desperation and that points toward the Saints.

Predicted outcome: Saints 37, Packers 33


►   Raiders search for first win, visit Browns

It’s hard to find good things to say about the Oakland Raiders.

The Silver and Black have gone 0-for-6 in their quest for a win so far in 2014, have dropped 12 in a row since a Week 11 win last season and have won just two games in 18 tries on the road since 2012.

But if that’s supposed to impact the optimism of interim coach Tony Sparano as the team heads into Cleveland for a Week 8 matchup with the inconsistent Browns, it hasn’t.

Oakland enters the weekend after its latest missed opportunity for a streak- ender, a 24-13 home loss to Arizona in which it was outgained by 145 yards and saw rookie quarterback Derek Carr held to less than 200 for the third time in six games.

“Nobody is handed the trophy at the end of six weeks,“ Sparano said. “We have 10 games to go right now. I’ve seen teams get into this tournament with eight wins, with nine wins, whatever the case is. That isn’t really our concern right now. Our concern is getting one win and winning the next game. That really has to be our focus, because if we look at the picture down the road right now, the parade might pass us by.“

Carr is 29th among NFL quarterbacks with an 80.9 passer rating, and the team as a whole joins him at or near the bottom of the barrel in statistics like points scored (92, 32nd), yards per game (282.7, 32nd), red-zone drives (10, 32nd), first downs (94, 32nd), time of possession (25:01, 32nd) and average points allowed (26.3, 25th).

The Raiders are also last in the league in rushing yards per week (69.3), but that may be a wash against a Cleveland team that’s surrendering 155.5 on the ground, worst in the league.

The intermittent signs of progress prompted Oakland defensive end Benson Mayowa to deliver something of a guarantee for victory, though it fell a bit short of Namath-level aplomb.

“We’re building,“ he said. “Every week we come in and we’re building. We’re getting close. We just have to get a W, and that’s what we’re going to do.“

As for the Browns, a little prosperity didn’t do them much good.

Cleveland’s unlikely 3-2 start put it center stage on the Sunday morning pre- game shows last week, but the team responded with a 24-6 loss to a Jacksonville team that hadn’t won since December 5, 2013.

“We got our butts kicked,“ quarterback Brian Hoyer said. “They handed it to us.“

In fact, the degree to which it was handed - along with Hoyer’s inglorious stat line of 16-for-41, 215 yards and two turnovers - prompted some Cleveland fans to begin calling for coach Mike Pettine to pull the plug on Hoyer in favor of preseason media sensation Johnny Manziel.

Hoyer had posted a 99.5 passer rating prior to last week’s nosedive, and it was the effort through the first five weeks that caused Pettine to stand his ground and announce Hoyer as the starter for this week, though he conceded a moment of two of indecision had existed.

“Nothing’s changed,“ Pettine said. “Each week when the offensive staff gets together, and I’ll jump in with them, too, they put the (game) plan together. It’s what gives us the best chance to win. So if the situation this week maybe calls for (Manziel) to play some then that will be the case. But we’re not going to hit the panic button after one loss. While we know that the quarterback position needed to be more productive, it was more symptomatic of the entire offense.“

Indeed, it wasn’t just Hoyer alone.

The Browns took the field for the first time without injured Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and saw the running game plunge to just 69 yards on 30 carries. Additionally, Cleveland converted just four of 17 third downs and didn’t score in the second half of a game that was 7-6 at intermission.

“This one is going in a box and getting buried in the backyard,“ Pettine said after the loss. “We need to move on from it quickly. At the same time, we’re not going to ignore it. It’s not going to be one of those where we gloss over it and move on quickly because of the disappointment. There’s a lot to learn from it and it’s critical for us to leave here today knowing what went wrong, knowing how to fix it and moving forward to the next one.“

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Something’s Gotta Give

The presence of familiar names like Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield hasn’t translated to any success for the Raiders in the run game. McFadden has averaged 13 carries per week in the last three games, while Jones-Drew has just 18 attempts in the four games he’s played.

Either Oakland will find its run stride, or the Browns will leap out of the league’s run defense cellar.

A New Wrinkle

The Raiders are 12th in the league in pass defense, but the Cardinals were successful against them by going against the norm and using screen passes to attack the linebackers rather than the defensive secondary.

Cleveland’s top three runners - Ben Tate, Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell - have just nine catches between them, but it might not hurt Pettine and Co. to incorporate that approach.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

These teams are probably a little bit closer than the three-game disparity in their records might indicate.

The Browns took a step backward last week, while the Raiders have been good enough to compete - albeit not win - in more than half of their defeats. It’ll be incumbent on Pettine and his staff to get Cleveland back to the emotional high it found after Week 6, and it figures to happen at home.

Predicted outcome: Browns 24, Raiders 17



►   Dysfunctional Bears try to solve streaking Pats

Perception meets reality in Foxboro on Sunday.

The Chicago Bears think they’re good and the New England Patriots, who will be shooting for their 13th straight regular-season home win, know it.

Brandon Marshall’s emotional outburst after last Sunday’s ugly 27-14 home loss to the Miami Dolphins has placed the focus in Chicago on whether the enigmatic receiver’s relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler is strained.

What should probably be spotlighted is that the Bears are 3-4 and looking up at both Green Bay and Detroit in the NFC North.

Those searching for drama, though, put a lot of emphasis on the fact Marshall was heard ranting about all the “talent” Chicago has on the offensive side of the football without mentioning Cutler before adding that the “same mistakes” regarding protecting the football are holding the team back, perceived as a direct salvo across Cutler’s bow.

The mouthy Marshall has tried to back off in the ensuing days.

“Listen, I have a really nice condo. And guess what? Jay Cutler built that condo,“ Marshall said on Showtime’s “Inside The NFL” on Tuesday. “We’re great, we’re great. But you know, we’re like brothers. I think coach (Marc) Trestman said it the best, you know, but if I have a problem with Jay Cutler, I’m gonna go to Jay Cutler. If Jay Cutler has a problem with me, he’s going to come to me. We have that type of relationship.“

Marshall has also been trying to have his cake and eat it, too, claiming he doesn’t regret a word he said to his teammates, but wished that the doors were closed and the media assembled didn’t here his version of a reality check.

“Oh, absolutely my voice was heard,“ the star receiver said. “The only thing I regret is that the door wasn’t closed, you know, but I wouldn’t change any of my reaction because it came from my heart, and that’s how I felt, that’s how I still feel.

“I think that we have all the coaches we need, I think we have all the players that we need to get that job done. And 3-4 is unacceptable, but we have everything that we need to turn this ship right now.“

Unless Cutler plays defense, though, that really can’t explain how Miami’s Ryan Tannehill was nearly perfect during the first half in Week 7.

Tannehill completed his first 14 passes and misfired only once in the opening 30 minutes as the Dolphins built a 14-0 lead. He finished the contest 25-of-32 for 277 yards with a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions, adding 48 yards on six carries.

Cutler completed 21-of-34 passes for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception in defeat. Matt Forte totaled 109 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown catch and a rushing score for the Bears, while Marshall caught six passes for 48 yards against his former team.

“That’s a very sick locker room right now,“ said Bears head coach Marc Trestman.

New England, meanwhile, has won ugly at times this season but is in its customary spot atop the AFC East with a 5-2 mark.

In a Week 7 win over the New York Jets, the Patriots possessed the ball for less than 20 minutes but it was still enough time for Tom Brady to make it work.

Brady tossed three touchdown passes and Chris Jones blocked Nick Folk’s 58- yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game to help New England hang on for a 27-25 win over the Jets.

Brady, who has now thrown nine touchdown passes without an interception during a three-game winning streak, was 20-of-37 for 261 yards for the Pats. He also moved to 7-0 in his career on Thursdays, tossing 16 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions in those contests.

“They were 1-5 and they gave us everything we could handle,“ he said. “They played good. Played good on offense and played good on defense when they needed to. We didn’t play as well as we can and need to get back to work.“

Shane Vereen, filling in for the injured Stevan Ridley, caught five passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns and added 43 yards rushing on 11 carries. Rob Gronkowski had five receptions for 68 yards in the triumph.

The Patriots have won three consecutive games over Chicago and are 8-3 all- time versus the Bears.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Part of the Bears’ issues is a weird sense of entitlement coming from a team which really hasn’t performed all that well on a consistent basis.

“We have too much talent on this team for one, to have the record that we have, and two, to not be producing the way we should,“ Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs said on his weekly Comcast SportsNet show. “For me, it’s hard to fathom.“

Should it be?

The Bears were 10-6 in Lovie Smith’s last season as coach in 2012 and fell back to 8-8 in Trestman’s first try a season ago. In the five seasons before that, there was one playoff appearance. They rarely beat Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay and now the Lions have certainly lapped Chicago in the talent department.

Just maybe the Bears are what they have looked like under Trestman, a mediocre team which is 11-12 during the coach’s watch.

A major part of that pedestrian reality is Cutler. In a position that almost demands leadership by its very nature, the 31-year- old veteran has always been a pass-the-buck guy whose on-field antics and sideline pouting sessions when things are going bad are always front-page news in the Second City.

Cutler, has won nine of his past 12 starts against AFC foes, is definitely a guy with prodigious talent, most notably the arm strength to keep the football dry when throwing it through a car wash, and the athleticism to surprise even the most athletic of front-seven defenders in this league.

Those positives, however, are often diluted by a shoddy attention to detail, especially when it comes to the fundamentals and mechanics of playing the position.

The Patriots, on the other hand, don’t have the horses they once had but remain relevant because of the stewardship at the top, namely head coach Bill Belichick and Brady.

The high-octane explosiveness isn’t there any longer with the New England offense but Brady’s ability to protect the football has helped generate a plus-nine turnover ratio, a strong contrast from Chicago’s minus-one.

“We’re 5-0 this year when we haven’t turned it over,“ Brady said. “We’ve got to continue to do a good job of taking care of the ball. And that’s throwing it, not forcing it into coverage. It’s also taking care of it in the pocket. It’s also when we hand it to the backs, those guys do a great job of protecting it, receivers in their routes doing a great job of protecting the ball from the defenders. It’s really a team effort.“

The Pats have improved offensively over the pass three weeks, however, due to the reemergence of their tight ends. New England got only 188 total yards from Gronkowski and Co. during their 2-2 start and 391 in three games since.

There was one on-field issue with the Pats this week as star cornerback Darrelle Revis overslept on Tuesday and was told to stay home by Belichick. No further discipline is expected, however, and Revis is expected to play with Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey looming.

Finally, New England acquired linebacker Akeem Ayers from the Tennessee Titans this week to help fill the void created when Jerod Mayo was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Ayers started 44 of the 50 games he played for the Titans, who selected him in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He has compiled 254 total tackles with nine sacks and two interceptions.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

This is an opportunity for the Bears to put up or shut up against a New England team which wins with guile, experience and coaching more than anything else.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for us, but we’re excited for it,“ Brady said. “Hopefully we can go out and try to get to 6-2.“

Chicago is 3-1 on the road this season so getting away from the Windy City is probably not a bad thing. Another loss, however, and Trestman might be on the verge of losing a locker room he may have never really had.

Predicted outcome: Patriots 23, Bears 20


►   Redskins set to turn to McCoy against streaking Cowboys

Things have been coming up Cowboys in the 2014 NFL season.

The surprising ‘Boys entered Week 8 with the league’s best record at 6-1 and long-time rival Washington looming on “Monday Night Football.“ And the Redskins are expected to start their third different quarterback in just eight games.

Washington first-year head coach Jay Gruden sort of named Colt McCoy as the team’s new starter while Robert Griffin III continues to rehabilitate a dislocated ankle suffered in Week 2 against Jacksonville.

Gruden, however, is also paying lip service to a potential RG3 return but that’s likely an attempt to game a competitive advantage.

“We’re preparing for Colt to be the starter,“ Gruden said. “But we’re trying to get Robert some reps, get him ready, but right now it looks like odds are Colt will be the starter, but we’re trying to work Robert into the lineup and trying to get him reps to get him ready to go.“

If it is McCoy under center, it will be the University of Texas product’s first start since December 8, 2011 when he piloted the Cleveland Browns against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I just want to go out there and be who I am—that is who I am every day in here—be confident and play the best football I can play,“ McCoy said.

McCoy replaced an ineffective Kirk Cousins at halftime during last Sunday’s 19-17 win against Tennessee and led the Redskins on a 10-play, 76-yard game- winning drive, culminated by a 22-yard Kai Forbath field goal as time expired.

“We needed a win bad,“ said Forbath. “Colt stepped in, put me in a great position. I couldn’t ask for better field position to kick the game-winner, so hats off to our offense for getting us there.“

McCoy, who was 6-15 in his career as a starter in Cleveland, finished 11-of-12 for 128 yards and a touchdown to Pierre Garcon in the second half against the Titans as Washington halted a four-game skid.

“He’s had to learn like all back-up quarterbacks have had to do. But he’s very, very smart,“ Gruden said when discussing McCoy. “He’s been in this system before—a West Coast-type system—so he’s familiar with a lot of the pass concepts. We figured if his number was called, he’d be ready to go.“

Cousins was 10-of-16 for 139 yards with an interception over the first 30 minutes. He has thrown 10 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in six games—five starts—as RG3’s original replacement.

The Cowboys earned their sixth straight victory with a 31-21 home win over the New York Giants in Week 7.

DeMarco Murray went over the century mark in rushing yards for the seventh straight week and Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes in the NFC East clash.

Murray gained 128 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, becoming the first running back in NFL history to open the season with seven straight weeks of 100-plus yards in the process. Last week, Murray matched Jim Brown’s NFL record of six straight weeks with a 115-yard performance in Dallas’ win in Seattle.

“I think we did this as a group, so it’s hard for me to accept this individually,“ Murray said when addressing his record-breaking streak. “The offensive line is a huge part of this—the tight ends, the receivers, the entire coaching staff. But I definitely give a lot of credit to those guys. But there’s a lot of hard work that (still) needs to be done. It’s a long season.“

The surging Cowboys haven’t lost since a Week 1 setback to San Francisco in which Romo threw three interceptions. The veteran QB has tossed 13 touchdown passes against just three picks since that game, including a 17-for-23 effort with 279 yards and his fifth straight multi-touchdown game against the Giants.

Two of his three touchdowns went to tight end Gavin Escobar, who made three catches for 65 yards in the first multi-score game of his career. Dez Bryant led all receivers with nine catches and 151 yards.

This game marks the 16th meeting between the Cowboys and Redskins on “Monday Night Football,“ the second-most frequent matchup in the 45-year history of the series (Raiders-Broncos, 17 times).

Dallas leads the all-time series with a 64-40-2 advantage and has won five of the past seven meetings, including both matchups in 2013. The ‘Boys are 43-32 on “Monday Night Football.“ while the ‘Skins are under water at 27-36 on the national showcase.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Cowboys have morphed from a pass-first bunch to a team predicated on the running game under offensive play caller Scott Linehan.

Murray leads the NFL with 913 rushing yards and has more yardage on the ground by himself than 28 NFL teams. He’s also run it 187 times and that’s on pace for an NFL record 427 carries which could be an issue down the line for a player who has a significant injury history dating back to his years at Oklahoma.

It will be tough for Linehan to ease up the workload right now, though, because it’s tough to move away from the hot hand.

A big part of Murray’s success has been his dominant offensive line, highlighted by three former first-round picks, left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and rookie right guard Zack Martin.

Murray gave each of his starting linemen $1,300 iMac computers this week after breaking Brown’s record.

“That just shows how much respect he has for us, how much he appreciates us, so it’s a great gift,“ left guard Ronald Leary told the The Fort Worth Star- Telegram.

The dominant running game sets up the play-action pass and Romo has plenty of weapons, starting with Bryant and tight end Jason Witten as well as emerging stars Terrance Williams and Escobar.

Washington’s strength has been on the defensive side of the ball where Gruden’s club ranks sixth overall and third in the NFC, allowing 321.9 yards per game. The Redskins are farther down the list against the run, however, although still a respectable 12th, surrendering 103.3 ypg.

The unit took a major hit against the Titans when linebacker Brian Orakpo went down with a season-ending pectoral injury, the second straight year a torn pec ended Orakpo’s season prematurely.

Offensively the Redskins are also impressive on paper, third in the conference with 389.4 ypg but the issue has been turnovers and a minus-nine ratio is what sent Cousins to the bench.

Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has been getting it done with few stars and his group is also helped by the time of possession edge the Cowboys’ running game usually produces.

Adding a QB to the mix in McCoy who hasn’t started in 1,054 days also won’t hurt.

“I am really just trying to get a grasp of what they do, how they play,“ McCoy said of the Cowboys. “They have beaten a lot of good teams, a lot of good quarterbacks. So, we obviously know that this is a huge task for us as an offense.“

Gruden also wants to at least keep Griffin in the Cowboys’ thoughts.

“He’s been cleared to do just about everything,“ the coach said of RG3. “It’s just a matter of now that’s he’s doing everything, continuing his rehab, how’s he feeling? How’s it holding up? All that good stuff.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Cowboys have too many weapons on offense to lose anything other than a shootout and Washington loses the ability to push the football down the field when they make the move from Cousins to McCoy.

So, even if Colt can clean up the turnover issues, this is not the type of matchup where that will make a discernable difference.

Predicted outcome: Cowboys 33, Redskins 16


►   Lions list WR Johnson as questionable

Calvin Johnson’s status for Sunday’s game in London remains up in the air as the star Detroit Lions wide receiver continues to battle a high ankle sprain.

The Lions listed Johnson as questionable on Friday’s injury report and view him as a game-time decision to play against Atlanta, according to the team’s official website.

Johnson has missed the last two games because of the injury and was limited in practice all week.

The Lions have ruled out tight ends Eric Ebron (hamstring) and Joseph Fauria (ankle) and listed running back Reggie Bush (ankle) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (foot) as doubtful against the Falcons.

Bush sat out the last two practices and all three tight ends missed practice every day this week.

Tackle LaAdrian Waddle (concussion) returned to practice on Friday but is questionable to play. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (toe) and running back Theo Riddick (hamstring) are likely to play.

The 5-2 Lions will take on the 2-5 Falcons at Wembley Stadium in a game that’s scheduled to begin at 9:30 AM ET.


►   Extra Points: Manning is all business

Peyton Manning is revered by millions of NFL fans but those same enthusiasts who worship at the altar of perhaps the greatest quarterback in league history probably wouldn’t want to invite him to their next party.

Believe it or not, part of Peyton’s greatness stems from the fact that he is no fun.

Eli’s big brother is all football, all the time and we saw evidence of that yet again in his latest impressive performance, a three-touchdown effort during the Broncos’ 35-21 drubbing of AFC West rival San Diego on Thursday night.

Manning, the reigning and five-time NFL MVP who broke Brett Favre’s record for most career touchdown passes last Sunday against San Francisco, was back it just four days later against Philip Rivers and the Chargers, completing 25- of-35 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns to bring his career TD total to 513.

Emmanuel Sanders was Manning’s favorite target this week, snaring nine passes for 120 yards and all three TDs for the 6-1 Broncos, who matched Dallas for the NFL’s best record, pending the Cowboys Monday night matchup against Washington.

“Every week we don’t know where the ball is going to go,“ Sanders admitted. “The defense really dictates that and what Peyton is seeing. And tonight was just my night.“

Next week it may be back to Demaryius Thomas or Julius Thomas or Wes Welker or anyone else suiting up at a skill position for Denver.

By this point the numbers Manning piles up on a weekly basis are almost mind- numbing and quickly forgotten in an offensively-driven league where records have to be written in pencil with the intent on erasing them sooner rather than later.

Manning’s real greatness is only defined by those who truly watch him. He was at the height of his skills early in the third quarter against the Chargers with the ball at the San Diego 19-yard line, just inside the red zone.

Manning used one of his famous hard counts in an effort to either get the Chargers D to jump offsides or declare its intention on the play. San Diego showed enough discipline to avoid a penalty but foreshadowed an overload blitz on Manning’s front side.

The veteran quarterback calmly checked to a quick pass to Ronnie Hillman in the flat, on the opposite side of the oncoming pass rushers and the running back beat a defender in space before waltzing into the end zone for what looked like a 19-yard score.

Replays showed Hillman actually stepped out of bounds at the 3-yard line and the play ended up as a footnote to one of Sanders’ TD catches, in which the ex-Steeler was the third progression on the play by the way.

Few quarterbacks in this era or any other for that matter can step to the line of scrimmage, survey the defense and almost always get his team into the right play. That ability, more than all the passing yards and TD passes, truly defines Manning.

And that skill isn’t about arm strength or athleticism, it’s about work ethic and preparation.

Manning is all business all the time and you saw his mentality in the fourth quarter when the video board operator in Denver morphed into party DJ, imploring the crowd to have some fun during the Broncos’ latest blowout.

The Rockies’ version of Samantha Ronson flashed alternating images of Rivers and Manning, causing the crowd to ping-pong between hearty boos and wild cheers.

Even Rivers was amused.

“I really don’t know how to respond to that,“ the Chargers Pro-Bowl QB said. “Other than if you had told me when I was 10 years old they would show me in front of 75,000 and get booed, and Peyton Manning in the same clip and get cheered, I’d say that’s pretty awesome.“

Manning had a different take.

“I have no problem with our fans. Our fans are great. I’ve got a problem with our scoreboard operator,“ Manning opined. “I’m gonna have a little talk with him. I’m not sure what he’s doing.

“He was playing music, showing people—showing players dancing, getting the crowd fired up while we had the ball. I don’t think we should be doing that. I don’t think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline. I thought that was kind of disrespectful. Our fans are great, our fans are loud, so the scoreboard operators ... it wasn’t his best night.“

And that more than anything else explains Peyton—when you’re celebrating the win, he’s already thinking about the next one.

►   Colts rule out Wayne vs. Steelers

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne will miss Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh because of an elbow injury.

The 14-year veteran missed practice all week and was ruled out Friday by the Colts.

Wayne had 38 catches for 434 yards and a touchdown through the team’s first seven games.

Running back Trent Richardson also missed practice all week but was listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. He has 101 carries for 358 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

Tight end Jack Doyle (knee) is also questionable while everyone else on the Colts’ injury report is likely to play.


►   Bills WR Goodwin doubtful vs. Jets

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was listed as doubtful to play in Sunday’s road game against the New York Jets because of a hamstring injury.

Goodwin sat out practice all week for the injury-plagued Bills, who were already missing running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.

Cornerback Ron Brooks was added to the team’s injury report Friday with a groin injury but is expected to play.

Wide receiver Marcus Easley (knee) and safety Aaron Williams (neck) were limited in practice all week and are questionable to play in the AFC East clash and linebacker Ty Powell (ankle) has been ruled out.

Defensive end Mario Williams (thumb), linebacker Brandon Spikes (ribs) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (groin) are all expected to play.


►   Eagles’ Sproles, Kendricks questionable to play

Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles and linebacker Mychal Kendricks were listed as questionable for Sunday’s road game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Both were full participants in practice on Friday after being limited the previous two days.

Sproles is recovering from a knee sprain that he suffered against the New York Giants in the Eagles’ last game on October 12. Kendricks hasn’t played since Week 2 because of a calf injury.

Center Jason Kelce, who returned to practice this week for the first time since sports hernia surgery, was also listed as questionable.

Running back Chris Polk (hamstring), linebacker DeMeco Ryans (groin) and cornerback Jaylen Watkins (wrist) are probable to play in the showdown between 5-1 teams.

Wide receiver Brad Smith (groin) has been ruled out.


►   Bears LB Briggs doubtful vs. Patriots

Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs is unlikely to play in Sunday’s game against New England because of a lingering rib injury.

Briggs, who has missed the last two games, was listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report after being limited in practice all week.

Fellow linebacker Jonathan Bostic is also likely to miss a third straight game with a back injury after practicing only on a limited basis this week. He was listed as doubtful for the road game, which comes ahead of Chicago’s bye week.

Safety Danny McCray (knee) has been ruled out and tackle Jordan Mills (foot) is questionable to play.

Everyone else on Chicago’s injury report is probable.


►   Falcons WR Douglas questionable

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in London against the Detroit Lions.

Douglas has been out since suffering a foot injury in Atlanta’s Week 3 victory over Tampa Bay, missing four games.

The Louisville product, who has 12 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in three games this season, was limited in practice the past two days after sitting out Wednesday’s session.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (foot) is questionable after missing practice all week, while wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle), guard Justin Blalock (back) and linebacker Prince Shembo (knee) are all probable.


►   Ravens TE Daniels has knee procedure, out for Sunday

Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels will miss Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals after having a knee procedure on Friday.

Daniels had sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday in the hopes of healing the ailing knee.

The injury is not expected to be a long-term problem, and he might be available for next week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With tight end Dennis Pitta out for the season due to a hip injury, rookie Crockett Gilmore is expected to start for the first time. The third-round pick has three catches for 29 yards this season.

Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe (knee), guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), linebacker Daryl Smith (not injury related) and wide receiver Steve Smith (not injury related) are all listed as probable.

Monroe hasn’t played since Week 3 after undergoing an arthroscopic surgery on his knee, while Osemele missed the past two games after bruising and hyperextending his right knee.

Defensive end Chris Canty will miss his fourth straight game as he is recovering from wrist surgery.


►   Bengals’ Green questionable for Sunday

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the visiting Baltimore Ravens because of a toe injury.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection missed the last two games and didn’t practice for a second consecutive week.

Green initially sustained the injury in the season opener at Baltimore. He has 17 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season.

Defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee) is also questionable, while running back Giovani Bernard (ribs) and linebacker Vontaze Burfict (neck) are among 10 players listed as probable.


►   Pats’ Vereen questionable due to illness

New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen was listed as questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Chicago Bears.

Vereen was added to the injury report after missing Friday’s practice because of an illness.

As expected, the Patriots ruled out defensive end Chandler Jones (hip). Offensive linemen Dan Connolly (concussion), Cameron Fleming (finger) and Bryan Stork (concussion), defensive lineman Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee), defensive back Nate Ebner (finger) and special teams standout Matthew Slater (shoulder) are also questionable.


►   Texans’ Clowney questionable vs. Tennessee

Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is questionable for Sunday’s game at Tennessee.

Clowney is looking to take the field for the first time since the opening week as he had to have surgery to repair a torn left meniscus.

The top overall pick of the 2014 draft was limited in practice all week.

“I think he’s got a good shot to play on Sunday,“ Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said about Clowney.

Linebackers Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and John Simon (ankle) are also questionable.



The Gilmer Free Press

►   World Series Game Result

Final Score: Kansas City 3, San Francisco 2

A solid bullpen and strong defense have the Royals within two victories of a World Series championship. Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Finnegan, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to throw four no-hit innings of relief, as Kansas City edged the San Francisco Giants, 3-2, in Game 3 of the Fall Classic. Run-scoring hits from Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer in the sixth inning provided the visitors with a 3-0 lead, and the Royals held on after the Giants broke through with two runs against Jeremy Guthrie in the home sixth. Holland closed the door by retiring the side in order to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. It was Holland’s seventh save of this year’s playoffs, tying a single-season mark that is shared by John Wetteland (1996), Troy Percival (2002, Angels), Robb Nen (2002, Giants), Brad Lidge (2008, Phillies) and Koji Uehara (2013, Red Sox). Game 4 is Saturday, again at AT&T Park. Jason Vargas starts for the Royals, and Ryan Vogelsong toes the rubber for the Giants.

The Gilmer Free Press


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25TH


Major League Baseball - World Series
Kansas City at San Francisco, 8:07 PM - FOX


National Hockey League
Buffalo at San Jose, 4:00 PM - MSG-Buffalo, CSN-California, DSS
New Jersey at Ottawa, 7:00 PM - MSG+2, SNET-1, DSS
Boston at Toronto, 7:00 PM - NESN, CBC, NHL Network, DSS
Dallas at NY Islanders, 7:00 PM - FS-Southwest, MSG+, DSS
NY Rangers at Montreal, 7:00 PM - MSG, TVA Sports, CITY TV, DSS
Detroit at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-Detroit, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Chicago at St. Louis, 8:00 PM - WGN (America), FS-Midwest, FX-CA, DSS
Pittsburgh at Nashville, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, FS-Tennessee, DSS
Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - SunSports, FS-North, DSS
Florida at Arizona, 9:00 PM - FS-Florida, Arizona, DSS
Washington at Calgary, 10:00 PM - CSN-DC, CBC, TVA Sports, DSS


Canadian Football League
Hamilton at Toronto, 4:00 PM - TSN, ESPN3.com
British Columbia at Winnipeg, 7:00 PM - TSN, ESPN3.com


College Football
North Texas at Rice, 12:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-FL, Ohio, Detroit, MSG, ROOT
Minnesota at Illinois, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
Memphis at SMU, 12:00 PM - ESPNews
Maryland at Wisconsin, 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
UAB at Arkansas, 12:00 PM - SEC Network
Rutgers at Nebraska, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
Texas at Kansas State, 12:00 PM - ESPN
Mercer at Chattanooga, 12:00 PM - American Sports Network
Maine at Rhode Island, 12:00 PM - ASN, Altitude, NESN, MASN
North Carolina at Virginia, 12:30 PM - ACC Network, DSS
Delaware at William & Mary, 12:30 PM - CSN-Baltimore, Bay, New England, SNY
Fordham at Lehigh, 12:30 PM - Patriot League Network, SE2
Northern Ill at Eastern Mich, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
San Jose St at Navy, 1:00 PM - CBSSN
Harvard at Princeton, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
St. Francis (PA) at Sacred Heart, 1:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Samford at Furman, 1:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Penn at Yale, 1:30 PM - NBCSN
Akron at Ball State, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Ohio U at Western Mich, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Massachusetts at Toledo, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com, ESPN Game Plan
Ga Southern at Georgia State, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
UCLA at Colorado, 2:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Northern Iowa at Western Illinois, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com, DSS
Tennessee State at Eastern Illinois, 2:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Kent State at Miami-Ohio, 2:30 PM - ESPN3.com
North Dakota State at South Dakota, 3:00 PM - Midco, NBC ND
Youngstown State at South Dakota State, 3:00 PM - MV TV, ESPN3.com
Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh, 3:30 PM - ESPN U
Texas Tech at TCU, 3:30 PM - FOX
West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 3:30 PM - ESPN
Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss, 3:30 PM - CSN-Bay, Chicago, ASN
Michigan at Michigan State, 3:30 PM - ABC
Fla Atlantic at Marshall, 3:30 PM - FS1
Oregon State at Stanford, 3:30 PM - ESPN 2
Miss State at Kentucky, 3:30 PM - CBS
Boston Coll at Wake Forest, 3:30 PM - CSN-Bal, FS-S, FL, MW, YES, ROOT, DSS
Central Mich at Buffalo, 3:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State, 3:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Colgate at Albany, 3:30 PM - Time Warner SportsChannel
Charleston Southern at Coastal Carolina, 3:30 PM - American Sports Net, MASN
Holy Cross at Lafayette, 3:30 PM - Patriot League Network
Gardner-Webb at Liberty, 3:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Eastern Washington at Northern Arizona, 3:35 PM - ROOT-Northwest, Rocky Mtn
UNLV at Utah State, 4:00 PM - ESPNews
Vanderbilt at Missouri, 4:00 PM - SEC Network
Old Dominion at Western Ky, 4:00 PM - CUSA Digital
SE Louisiana at Stephen F. Austin, 4:00 PM - Southland TV, ESPN3.com
Temple at UCF, 5:00 PM - CBSSN
Arizona at Washington St, 6:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Wyoming at Colorado State, 7:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain
Syracuse at Clemson, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Texas State at ULM, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Texas-El Paso at TX-San Antonio, 7:00 PM - Sinclair, ASN, CSN-Bay
McNeese State at Incarnate Word, 7:00 PM - FCS
Indiana State at Southern Illinois, 7:00 PM - Missouri Valley TV, ESPN3.com
Ole Miss at LSU, 7:15 PM - ESPN
Alabama at Tennessee, 7:30 PM - ESPN 2
So Carolina at Auburn, 7:30 PM - SEC Network
Ohio State at Penn State, 8:00 PM - ABC
Nicholls at Houston Baptist, 8:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Montana at Cal Poly, 9:05 PM - Cowles Montana Media
USC at Utah, 10:00 PM - FS1
Arizona State at Washington, 10:45 PM - ESPN
Nevada at Hawaii, 11:59 PM - Oceanic Pay-per-view


College Hockey
Colorado College at New Hampshire, 7:00 PM - FCS
Niagara at Notre Dame, 7:05 PM - NBCSN
Bemidji State at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - FS-North+


Major League Soccer
Los Angeles at Seattle, 2:30 PM - NBC, TSN2
D.C. at Montreal, 4:00 PM - TVA Sports, DSS
Toronto FC at New England, 7:30 PM - TSN, CSN-New England, DSS
Portland at FC Dallas, 8:30 PM - ROOT-Northwest, Time Warner, DSS
Colorado at Vancouver FC, 10:00 PM - Altitude, TSN, DSS


International Soccer
Millwall FC vs. Cardiff City FC, 7:10 AM - beIN Sport
West Ham vs. Manchester City, 7:45 AM - NBCSN
Sunderland vs. Arsenal, 10:00 AM - NBCSN
Real Madrid CF vs. FC Barcelona, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
Swansea vs. Leicester, 12:30 PM - NBC
UC Sampdoria vs. AS Roma, 2:40 PM - beIN Sport


Golf
PGA - McGladrey Classic, 2:00 PM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - AT&T Championship, 5:00 PM - Golf Channel
LPGA - Blue Bay LPGA, 11:30 PM - Golf Channel


Auto Racing
SPRINT CUP - Goody’s Headache Relief 500 practice, 9:00 AM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - Kroger 200 qualifying, 10:00 AM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - Kroger 200, 1:30 PM - FS1

Delegate Brent Boggs: Voter Appreciation Picnic - 10.26.14

The Gilmer Free Press

FD600xxx003

The Gilmer Free Press

Pricetown: Old Fashion Square Dance - Tonight

The Gilmer Free Press

FPWV1011- House For Sale

House for Sale

1st Annual WV Law Enforcement Memorial Motorcycle/Car Poker Run - 10.26.14

The Gilmer Free Press

G-Comm™: Why Latinos Won’t Become White

In the lead-up to the midterms, President Barack Obama has been parroting the conventional wisdom about the GOP’s future: Republicans are doomed if they keep up their opposition to immigration reform and continue the inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric. “It’s anybody’s guess how Republicans are thinking about this,” he said during a town hall event in Santa Monica, California. “If they were thinking long term politically, it is suicide for them not to do this.”

Latinos make up 14% of the population, and their share is projected to grow to 29% by 2050. This demographic traditionally identifies with the Democratic Party; the toxic immigration debate in Washington, fueled by xenophobes in the GOP, will only increase that tendency. In 2006, 49% of Latino eligible voters identified as or leaned Democratic. By 2011, that number jumped to 67%. With the United States projected to become a majority-minority country by 2043, Republicans’ chances of winning the White House on the backs of white voters will grow ever slimmer.

But a counternarrative, one that would put Latino votes back in contention for the GOP, has begun to emerge. In the coming decades, Latinos could become “white” — a process in which cultural assimilation would presumably be followed by political realignment — opening them up to affiliation with the Republican Party. It’s a theory espoused most prominently by Slate political writer Jamelle Bouie, who argues in the winter issue of Democracy that “the future won’t be majority-minority; it will be a white majority, where Spanish last names are common.” But this vision of complete assimilation ignores the stark racial divisions in Latin American societies, in which socioeconomic status and skin color, as in the U.S., tend to fall along parallel lines.


Ethnic Attrition

The Gilmer Free Press

The idea of Latinos becoming white in the American sense — a vision of racial and cultural assimilation independent of self-identified race — isn’t a new one. Economists Brian Duncan at the University of Colorado and Stephen Trejo at the University of Texas at Austin call it ethnic attrition. As Latinos intermarry and climb the socioeconomic ladder, the theory goes, they are less likely to self-identify as Hispanic. Duncan and Trejo’s research shows (PDF) that while virtually all first- and second-generation Hispanic immigrants identify as Hispanic, in the third generation, those of mixed heritage start to self-select out of this group. Among third-generation immigrants with only two Hispanic grandparents, 79% identify as Hispanic. Among those with only one Hispanic grandparent, the number falls to 58%. Think of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, whose father is Cuban and whose mother is white, or comedian Louis C.K., whose grandmother is Mexican and whose other grandparents are Irish and Hungarian.

Racial self-identification tends to be reflected in one’s politics. A recent analysis of election-survey data by Spencer Piston, a political scientist at Syracuse University, shows that lighter-skinned Latinos, who are more likely to identify as white, vote Republican at higher rates than those with darker skin. Bouie’s prediction is that in the future, more and more Latinos will identify as white and that a substantial number of them will also identify as Republicans. Democrats’ dreams of a solid future majority could thus be imperiled.

History shows just how fluid such self-identification is. As historian Noel Ignatiev argues in his landmark work, “How the Irish Became White,” when Irish immigrants arrived in the United States in the 1800s, they faced significant discrimination at the hands of the Anglo-American ruling class. Irish-Americans were for generations a reliable Democratic voting bloc, but intermarriage and the Democratic Party’s embrace of African-American rights led to a political realignment. Irish-Americans came to view themselves — and be viewed — as part of the white mainstream. While these voters continued to lean Democratic, by the 1980s they joined the coalition that elected Ronald Reagan to the presidency.

Will Latinos follow the patterns of Irish immigrants before them? To an extent, certainly. One of the strongest pieces of evidence for this — and the reason Latinos are the group commentators most frequently talk about becoming “white” — is that interracial marriage rates are highest between whites and Hispanics. A full 80% of third-generation Mexican-Americans are the product of intermarriage. Another finding that has fueled much of the recent discussion about Latino self-identification is a study from the Pew Research Center earlier this year showing that 2.5 million Americans changed their self-identified race and ethnicity from “Hispanic and some other race” in the 2000 census to “Hispanic white” in the 2010 census.

But as Julio Varela at the blog Latino Rebels suggests, the 2.5 million Latinos who switched their identity from just “Hispanic” to “Hispanic white” most likely reflects confusion or ambivalence about how to label oneself rather than a realignment of racial identity. Case in point: The same study of census data showed that 1.3 million Latinos made the switch in the opposite direction.


Diverse Identities

By assuming uniform motivations, the “today’s Latinos, tomorrow’s whites” framework also flattens a racially diverse group — one that includes light-skinned people whose ancestors hail from Spain; indigenous South Americans; blacks in the Caribbean, Brazil and Colombia with roots in Africa; Asian immigrants to Latin America; and those with mixed European and indigenous heritage.

Immigrants hailing from the 20 countries south of the U.S. border, tend to share certain characteristics. Reflecting a history of colonization, they tend to speak Spanish or Portuguese and practice Catholicism; their families tend to be bigger; Latin American cultures tend to be more collectivist. In the U.S., attacks on immigrants have increasingly made those with roots in Mexico and Central and South America see their political fates as intertwined. But if asked, most Latinos in the U.S. refer to themselves by their national-origin group — Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban. And while it doesn’t look like immigration reform is passing any time soon, if it does, Latinos may be even less likely to use the pan-ethnic Latino label.

This isn’t to say that light-skinned Latinos of European descent won’t increasingly assimilate into the white mainstream as Irish (and Italian) immigrants did. That’s already happening, to an extent. But whether this will be the case with other subgroups is an open question, in part because there isn’t much data on it. Because of the persistence of the United States’ limited black/white/Asian/Latino classification system, we don’t know the intermarriage rates between black Hispanics and whites or whites and Hispanics of indigenous descent. Nor do we know the racial composition of Hispanics who checked — or did not check — the “white” box in the 2010 census.

Finally, a simple but important factor that often gets overlooked in discussions about Latino racial identity is the persistence of discrimination, which tends to strengthen existing racial categories. (Remember that even highly successful mixed blacks such as the president continue to face discrimination, and while Obama jokes about standing out as white among blacks, most of the American public considers him black.) To ask whether Latinos will see themselves as Latino or white in the future is also to ask how long the GOP will continue to be dominated by the likes of Iowa Rep. Steve King, who said that for every undocumented minor who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another hundred out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

~~  Gabriel Arana ~~

Bon Appétit: The Easiest Beef Stew Ever

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaf
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, sliced into half moons
4 potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 (14-1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cup beef broth


Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; add beef and stir until evenly coated.

Place beef in slow cooker and add remaining ingredients, including remaining salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on High 4 to 5 hours, or on Low 10 to 11 hours.

GFP - 10.25.2014
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G-MM™: Meditation Moment

image

The Lord grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end.
Amen

Our help is in the Name of the Lord;
The maker of heaven and earth.

Let us confess our sins to God.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father: We have sinned against you, through our own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, and in what we have left undone. For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us all our offenses; and grant that we may serve you in newness of life, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

May the Almighty God grant us forgiveness of all our sins, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Psalm 91
1   He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, *
abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
2   He shall say to the LORD, “You are my refuge and my stronghold, *
my God in whom I put my trust.“
3   He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter *
and from the deadly pestilence.
4   He shall cover you with his pinions, and you shall find refuge under his wings; *
his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.
5   You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, *
nor of the arrow that flies by day;
6   Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, *
nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.
7   A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, *
but it shall not come near you.
8   Your eyes have only to behold *
to see the reward of the wicked.
9   Because you have made the LORD your refuge, *
and the Most High your habitation,
10   There shall no evil happen to you, *
neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
11   For he shall give his angels charge over you, *
to keep you in all your ways.
12   They shall bear you in their hands, *
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13   You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; *
you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.
14   Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him; *
I will protect him, because he knows my Name.
15   He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; *
I am with him in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honor.
16   With long life will I satisfy him, *
and show him my salvation.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Psalm 134
1   Behold now, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, *
you that stand by night in the house of the LORD.
2   Lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the LORD; *
the LORD who made heaven and earth bless you out of Zion.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Lord, you are in the midst of us, and we are called by your Name: Do not forsake us, O Lord our God. Jeremiah 14:9,22

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit
For you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.
Keep us, O Lord, as the apple of your eye;
Hide us under the shadow of your wings.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.

Lord, hear our prayer;
And let our cry come to you.
Let us pray.

We give thanks, O God, for revealing your Son Jesus Christ to us by the light of his resurrection: Grant that as we sing your glory at the close of this day, our joy may abound in the morning as we celebrate the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Lord, you now have set your servant free *
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations, *
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us. Amen.

Lowell Thomas Davis

The Gilmer Free Press

Lowell Thomas Davis

Age 81, of Weston, WV passed away on Friday October 10, 2014 in the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital.

He was born in Roanoke, WV on September 05, 1933, son of the late Esker Weese Davis and Bernice Hawkins Davis.

In 1956 he married the former Ruth Dale “Turtle” Brockleman who survives along with two sons: Doran Davis and Esker Davis; one daughter-in-law, Cheryl Davis; five grandchildren: Tara (Todd) Arnold of Weston, Corey Davis of Clarksburg, and Shane, Ciara and Zoe Davis of Weston; one great-granddaughter, Alivia Reese Arnold; one sister, Mary Margaret Mason of Ellenboro; one brother, Linn (Patricia) Davis of Atwater, CA; one sister-in-law, Kay Davis of La Canada, CA; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two daughters: Chana Dawn Davis and Laticia Dale Davis; and one brother, Esker K. Davis.

He was a 1951 graduate of Weston High School and served as a surgical nurse in the U.S. Army for three-years in Trieste, Italy, and Bad Kreuznach, Germany. He attended WVU and Kent State University.

He was a member of the St. Matthew United Methodist Church, a 50-year member of the Weston Masonic Lodge #10 A.F. & A.M., the Lewis County Shrine Club and the Weston Chapter #40 Order of the Eastern Star. He was a previous owner of Lake Riley, and Davies auto-parts store for many years and was also the co-owner of D&L Amoco Service Station in Kent, OH for 20-years. He loved calling square dance figures, hunting and fishing with Soc Rose at Stonewall Jackson Lake.

Lowell’s request to have his body donated to the West Virginia University Human Gift Registry was honored.

His friends and family will gather for a Memorial Service at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Weston at 4:00 PM on Saturday, October 25, 2014 with Reverend Jonathan Nettles and Reverend Joseph Shreve officiating.

Following the service friends and family will gather for a Celebration at The Pink Moon.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Matthew United Methodist Church 120 E. Third Street, Weston, WV 26452 or to the Roanoke Reunion, c/o Emma Snider, 954 Bens Run Road, Orlando, WV 26412.

The Pat Boyle Funeral Home and Cremation Service at 144 Hackers Creek Rd. in Jane Lew is honored and privileged to assist the family of Lowell Thomas Davis.

Ruby (Hardbarger) Tracewell

The Gilmer Free Press

Ruby (Hardbarger) Tracewell

Age 99, of St. Petersburg, Florida, passed away Tuesday, October 21, 2014, at Westminster Suncoast Nursing Home in St. Petersburg.

She was born in Harrisville, WV, a daughter of the late George and Nora (Price) Hardbarger.

She was a homemaker and was a seamstress during WW II making parachutes. Ruby enjoyed cooking and spending time with her family.

She is survived by a son, Larry Tracewell (Betty) of Columbus, Ohio; daughter, Shirley Blume (Charles) of St. Petersburg, FL; four grandchildren, Jennifer Hylton of St. Petersburg, Matt and Andy Tracewell of Columbus, Ohio, and Lori Conway of Granville, Ohio; and eight great-grandchildren, Kenner, Shelby, Sarah, Nicholas, Christopher, Addison, Raleigh, Evelyn, and Amelia.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Augustus Kenner Tracewell; and seven brothers and sisters.

Services will be 11 AM Monday, October 27, at Leavitt Funeral Home, Parkersburg, with Pastor Jim Tracewell officiating.

Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery North.

Visitation will be 2-5 PM Sunday, October 26, at the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to Suncoast Hospice, Attention: The Coral Group, 3050 1st Avenue S., St. Petersburg, FL 33712.

George Gregory Cunningham

The Gilmer Free Press

George Gregory Cunningham

Age 48, of Clarksburg, WV passed away October 23, 2014 at United Hospital Center.

He was born January 19, 1966 in Parkersburg, WV the son of the late George and Helen Louise James Cunningham.

George graduated from Harrisville High School in 1984 and WVU in 1989. He worked for 20 years for the Federal Bureau of Investigations as an Information Technology Specialist. He was a life member of WVU Alumni Association. He loved genealogy and he collected comic books and baseball cards.

He is survived by sisters, Anita Minks (Gene) of Cairo, Shirley Mossor of Harrisville and Mary Binder (Charles) of Harrisville; brother, James Cunningham of Point Pleasant and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by sisters, Patricia Ann Elliott, Eleanor Nay and Linda Cnota.

Funeral services will be held at 1 PM, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at Raiguel Funeral Home Harrisville with Pastor Robert Perine officiating.

Burial will follow in the Cairo IOOF Cemetery.

Friends may call at the funeral home Monday from 4-7 PM.

Comics

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer Public Library: WE TOOK THE PLEDGE !!

Gilmer Public Library

WE TOOK THE PLEDGE !!
The Gilmer Free Press
Be a Buddy not a Bully!

Gilmer Public Library took the pledge and so can you.

Come on down and pick up your “Break the cycle of Bullying!“ activity book
(appropriate for elementary ages).

Take your pledge, complete your book and return to our library for a PRIZE!

Weston: Third Annual Kids’ Safety Festival at SJMH - 10.25.14

For the third year in a row, the Marketing Department and Emergency Department at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH) are coordinating a Kids’ Safety Festival at the Hospital from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Children and parents are invited to learn about a number of safety issues.

The first 100 children will receive a free bike helmet.  Each child can also enter into a drawing for a new bike.

Kristy Aldridge will provide face painting for the event and there will also be a clown entertaining the children.

The Gilmer Free Press
Lisa Murray of the SJMH ED - Co-chair of the third annual Kids’ Safety Festival


The Weston Volunteer Fire Department will have the department’s “Smoke House” to educate children on issue of fire safety.

The Lewis County Emergency Squad and Lewis County 911 Center will also be available with displays and educational materials.

The Lewis County Girl Scouts and 4-H groups will have activities for children.

Dr. Shafic Sraj will be talking to participants about sports safety with the national “Stop Sports Injury” safety program.

Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital will also have games on proper hand washing Dental hygienist Tammy Thomason will be providing fun information on good dental care of children.

The Lewis County Family Resource Network will also be available with fun and safe children’s games.

Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital will have free refreshments for participants. 

Babcock State Park’s Glade Creek Grist Mill Featured on U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail® Stamp

The iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill at Babcock State Park, a favorite of photographers from around the world, is now featured on a stamp issued by the United States Postal Service.

On September 29, 2014, in Danese, West Virginia, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Priority Mail® stamp, priced at $5.75, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 10 stamps.

The stamp went on sale to the public that same day.

The Gilmer Free Press


Babcock State Park is located in Clifftop in Fayette County. The park’s most popular attraction is the grist mill. Cabins, campground, riding stables, hiking and fishing also are part of the park’s appeal.

The park is open mid-April through October. A live webcam focused on the mill and showing peak fall foliage is online at www.babcocksp.com.

The Glade Creek Grist Mill is a 1976 re-creation of an old mill that once stood nearby.

It was constructed of parts from three historic West Virginia mills.

The stamp art captures the beauty of the structure in its pristine setting along Glade Creek in Babcock State Park, in autumn.

Designed by art director Derry Noyes, this stamp features the work of illustrator Dan Cosgrove.

To learn more about the stories behind U.S. postal stamps, visit uspsstamps.com and uspsstamps.com/stamps/glade-creek-grist-mill.


About the Glade Creek Grist Mill Stamp

From www.uspsstamps.com:

With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service® celebrates one of West Virginia’s most photographed landmarks, the Glade Creek Grist Mill.

The stamp art captures the historic, aged beauty of the mill in its pristine setting along Glade Creek. The water flows by the mill and around boulders and rock formations along the creek bed. Surrounding the mill are trees in early autumn colors of greens, yellows and oranges.

Located in Babcock State Park in Fayette County, West Virginia, the mill looks as though it has existed on that site for hundreds of years. In reality, it is a modern re-creation, completed in 1976, of a mill that had once stood nearby on Glade Creek. The look is authentic, however, as the new mill was constructed from parts taken from three historic West Virginia mills.

The Stoney Creek Grist Mill provided much of the basic structure. The 1890s mill was moved to Babcock piece by piece from its location near Campbelltown in Pocahontas County. Other parts came from the Onego Grist Mill, located near Seneca Rocks in Pendleton County. The water wheel was salvaged after a fire destroyed most of the Spring Run Grist Mill near Petersburg in Grant County.

Mills were once the center of local farming communities, offering the necessary service of grinding wheat, corn and other grains, a backbreaking task when done by hand. The mill stands as a monument to the more than 500 West Virginia gristmills that were in operation at the turn of the 20th century. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp with original art by Dan Cosgrove.

The Glade Creek Grist Mill stamp is being issued at the Priority Mail® price.

G-FYI™: West Virginia Law Enables Real Property to Pass to Beneficiary Without Probate

The Gilmer Free Press

A West Virginia law now enables real property to pass simply and directly to a beneficiary, without going through probate.

The new law, called the West Virginia Transfer on Death Act, is in line with the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act (URPTODA), which has been adopted by more than a dozen states across the country. The new law’s impact touches nearly all West Virginia residents seeking to leave their real property (possibly their major asset), such as a house, farm or oil and gas mineral rights, to their children or other beneficiaries. It is expected to become an important tool in estate planning, nursing home planning, Medicaid planning, and Elder Law.

The Transfer on Death Act builds upon existing state statutes, where an individual routinely passes personal property to a named beneficiary outside of probate. Common examples include a beneficiary designation in a life insurance policy or pension plan, registration of securities in a transfer on death (TOD) form, and a payable on death bank account.

The new law also details the operation and effect of the TOD deed and provides a standardized method for the straightforward non-probate transfer of real property.

During the owner’s lifetime, the owner may name a beneficiary of a TOD deed, although the beneficiary has no immediate interest in the property and the owner retains full power to transfer or encumber the property or to revoke the deed. On the owner’s death, the property passes to the beneficiary, much like the survivorship feature of joint tenancy and the personal property mentioned above.

The TOD deed presents several advantages over joint tenancy. Because the TOD deed does not convey an immediate interest to the beneficiary, the property is not subject to partition or to the beneficiary’s creditors. The deed remains revocable, enabling the owner to make a different disposition of the property. It does not trigger an acceleration clause in a mortgage or a property tax reassessment during the transferor’s life. In addition, it does not create adverse Medicaid consequences for either the owner or the beneficiary.

The TOD deed also may be preferable to an inter vivos trust (living trust) in many circumstances. If the decedent’s only significant asset is the family home, for example, the TOD deed provides a simple, inexpensive, understandable means for the decedent to pass the property directly to heirs without probate.


Summary:

Prior to the law’s adoption, West Virginia law did not contain a straightforward mechanism to pass real property outside of probate, directly to a beneficiary at death.

Now, with the law enacted, West Virginia residents are afforded an uncomplicated, reliable and affordable means of passing real property, which may be the decedent’s major asset, directly to a beneficiary.

~~  Paul L. Hicks - Bowles Rice LLP - Parkersburg Office ~~

WV Fall 2014 Foliage Report: Coopers Rock, Cheat Lake and Panhandles Offer Best Fall Color This Week

The Gilmer Free Press

State foresters say Coopers Rock State Forest, Cheat Lake and West Virginia’s Northern and Eastern panhandles are the best bets for fall color this weekend.

oliage in Coopers Rock State Forest turned a bit late this year, and foresters recommend a drive along Interstate 68 this weekend through the forest to see the best color of the season.

While in the area, be sure to check out the leaves along Cheat Lake.

In the state’s Northern Panhandle, foliage in Marshall, Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties is reported to be 100% peak and showing lots of yellows and reds.

Foresters say any drive along the Ohio River will be beautiful.

A drive along U.S. Highway 250 from Wetzel County through Marshall County also is recommended.

Foliage along that route is mostly past peak, but areas of bright color remain.

In the Eastern Panhandle, foliage in Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties also is reported to be 100% peak.

Foresters recommend following WV Highway 9 along the Cacapon River with a stop at the Panorama Overlook.

Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area is another recommended point of interest this weekend in the Eastern Panhandle.

U.S. Highway 60 is colorful between Gauley Bridge and Charleston, as is a drive south along Interstates 64 and 77 from Charleston to Beckley.

WV Highway 5 is the recommended drive in Calhoun and Gilmer counties.

U.S. Highway 33 is recommended in Gilmer and Roane counties.

Gilmer County Commission Regular Meeting – 10.24.14 - Today

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GILMER COUNTY COMMISSION  
REGULAR MEETING AGENDA
October 24, 2014 @ 9:00 AM
Gilmer County Courthouse Annex – Glenville, WV

I. CALL TO ORDER


II.  PLEDGE of ALLEGIANCE TO THE U.S. FLAG


III. PUBLIC COMMENTS


IV. APPOINTMENTS

              09:15 DARLENE CRANE, Little Kanawha Transit Authority – RE:  Changes to Medicaid Paid Ridership of Bus

              09:30 FRANK JOHNSON – RE:  Oil & Gas Drilling Safety

              10:00 WILLIAM HAWKINS, “WV Your Way” – RE:  Online Directory


V. ROUTINE BUSINESS:

        Discussion and/or action on:

              1) Exonerations and/or Consolidations

              2) Approve Estate Qualifications and Estate Settlements

              3)  Board Appointments and/or Resignations:

                      a)  Board Seats remain open on the:

                              ** Unsafe Buildings & Lands Enforcement Agency - Dekalb/Troy & Sand Fork Corporation

              3) Budget Revisions

              4) Budget Control Report

              5) Approve invoices for payment

              6) Approve County Commission Minutes for September 02, September 17, October 02, October 09

              7) Receipt of County Board Minutes:

                      a) Gilmer County Ambulance Authority 08.14.2014

                      b) Lewis-Gilmer Addressing Report September 2014

                      c) Lewis-Gilmer E-911 Advisory Board September


VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

              1) Recreation Center Gas Bill From Hayden Harper-Update

              2) Right of Way on Kanawha Street, Camden Flats Subdivision as Inquired by Pat Golden-Update

              3) Review of Designated Smoking Location on Courthouse Property

              4) Presentation for Payment of North Central Regional Emergency Medical Services, Inc. for FY 2014 EMS Assessment in the Amount of $434.65

              5) NACO Membership Dues in the amount of $450

              6) Signed Agreement received from the USPS for placement of mailboxes at Tanner Community Building


VII. NEW BUSINESS:

        Discussion and/or action on:

              1) Consider the change of time of 11.05.214 Commission meeting to 10:30 AM due to post election duties of County Clerk’s Office

              2) Office of Emergency Management’s Request for Exchange of IRP Radios

              3) Set date for Canvas of Votes on Monday,  November 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM in the Commission Office


VIII. OTHER BUSINESS


IX.    ADJOURNMENT - NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday, November 05, 2014 at _______ AM. 

West Virginia News

The Gilmer Free Press

HARRISON COUNTY CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER SET TO MOVE OPERATIONS TO LARGER FACILITY

A group in Harrison County helping child victims of abuse will soon be expanding the scope of their operations.

The Child Advocacy Center in Clarksburg has been striving to assist in the defense of the defenseless throughout the entire county.

“We provide services to child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect and also support their protecting care givers,“ Jayne Landacre, Executive Director for the Child Advocacy Center said. “We help law enforcement investigate the cases and then we provide victim advocacy all the way to final disposition of the case.“

Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Shaffer said the services they provide have been in integral part of their ability to bring justice to those who harm children through their methods of providing a safe environment for children to speak with trained professionals about incidents of abuse without being intimidated by the presence of others.

“We have a state-of-the-art facility that is comfortable for children that is big enough to accommodate law enforcement officers that are investigating a case,“ he said. “An assistant prosecuting attorney can view the interviews from a one-way glass so that the child’s not intimidated.“

The current facility located in the Masonic Building on West Pike Street in Clarksburg can also allow for visitation for parents who may have temporarily lost custody of their children and create a more relaxed working environment than would be present without the center.

“It makes everyone’s job a lot easier,“ Shaffer said. “If you can bring down the tension of the law enforcement officer, the assisting prosecutor, the alleged victim, the parent or guardian of the alleged victim, if you can bring all of that tension down, it makes it a lot easier to get to the facts of the case.“

The center is now looking to expand and improve its services. On Thursday, the Harrison County Commission approved $10,000 in funding to assist in moving the center to the Chase Building on Main Street.

Beyond increasing the facility size from 900 square feet to one which is 3,100 square feet, allowing the housing of new services and agencies, it will allow them to coordinate with government agencies more quickly.

“It will make us in closer proximity to the courthouse, also City of Clarksburg Police Department and [after the construction of the new government building in Clarksburg] the West Virginia DHHR,“ Landacre said. “So we’ll be in the center of activity.“

The funding from the county commission will move the center into the new building, but it will not fully assist them in establishing their services to full capacity and further. Landacer said she will be searching for assistance from various municipalities in that regard.

Anyone seeking more information on the center can call 1.304.620.0375.


WV STATE POLICE IDENTIFIES VICTIMS IN FATAL BARBOUR COUNTY ACCIDENT

The West Virginia State Police has identified the three victims of a Tuesday night accident involving a fire engine in Barbour County.

Joseph Kuzinar, age 75, Linda Diane Kuzinar, age 65, and Jessica L. Paczek, age 38, all from Morgantown, were travelling in a 2010 Honda CR-V and attempted to pull out onto U.S. Highway 250 from 4-H Camp Road near Philippi.

According to witness statements provided to the State Police, at around 9:00 PM, the vehicle went into the path of a City of Philippi fire engine which was responding to a structure fire southbound on 250 with lights and siren activated.

The truck was unable to stop before colliding in a T-bone fashion with the Honda. The three passengers in the SUV died from injuries sustained during the crash.

Five members of the Philippi Fire Department were occupants of the involved fire engine and were taken to Broadus Hospital for evaluation and later released. 

The ongoing investigation into the accident is being conducted by Cpl C. B. Shrader of the State Police Philippi Detachment.


LEWISBURG NAMED ONE OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE TOWNS

Lewisburg is getting some national attention.

The Greenbrier County city is in the top three on Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Towns list. It’s ranked only behind #1 Beaufort, North Carolina and #2 Ogunquit, Maine.

The rankings are based on a survey from Travel + Leisure that asked people to rate towns across the U.S. in several categories that included friendly locals, barbecue, art scene, romance and affordability.

Here is the full Top 25 list:

1. Beaufort, North Carolina

2. Ogunquit, Maine

3. Lewisburg, West Virginia

4. Aspen, Colorado

5. Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

6. Charlottesville, Virginia

7. Breckenridge, Colorado

8. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

9. Paso Robles, California

10. Tybee Island, Georgia

11. Bayfield, Wisconsin

12. Traverse City, Michigan

13. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

14. Pawleys Island, South Carolina

15. Glenwood Springs, Colorado

16. Lake Placid, New York

17. San Luis Obispo, California

18. Bar Harbor, Maine

19. Gulf Shores, Alabama

20. Sonoma, California

21. Hood River, Oregon

22. Estes Park, Colorado

23. Park City, Utah

24. La Jolla, California

25. St. Augustine, Florida


FEDERAL INMATE CHARGED WITH WITNESS TAMPERING BY GRAND JURY

A federal inmate has been charged with witness tampering while incarcerated.

Tobias Lynn Bennett, age 41, of Buckhannon was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of aiding and abetting along with witness tampering.

An investigation conducted by the West Virginia State Police revealed Bennett discouraged two potential witnesses from testifying at a fellow inmate’s sentencing hearing, while serving time at Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

Bennett faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each charge.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history of the defendant.


CAMC CANCER CENTER ON SCHEDULE FOR MAY 2015 OPENING

Members of the board of trustees of Charleston Area Medical Center took a tour of the still-under-construction CAMC Cancer Center Wednesday. The three-story building in Kanawha City will eventually house all the hospital’s cancer programs.

“We plan on opening in May of next year so we’re more than half way from when construction started,” said CAMC President and CEO David Ramsey.

The hospital system broke ground on the cancer center in the summer of 2012. The goal is to consolidate all the cancer programs into one building rather than scattered throughout the three hospitals. Ramsey said the cancer center will be state-of-the-art. It will also provide creature comforts to make patients feel more at home while they’re receiving treatment.

Work on the first floor of the building continues. During Wednesday’s tour board members got to see work on the elevator shaft, drywall going up and walls being moved into place. Some spots on the second floor are already getting their first coat of paint. It’s an exciting time for Ramsey.

“It’s such a treat to see it in this phase and to know what it will look like down the road when it’s totally done,” Ramsey said.

The front entrance will be a wall of glass. There’s also a stone fireplace that reaches the ceiling with plenty of room for seating. The breast cancer center will occupy the entire third floor.

Currently the project is on schedule. It’s located at the former home of Watt Powell Park just across MacCorkle Ave. from CAMC Memorial.

“(The builders) should turn it over to us about the end of March. It will take about a month to clean it and move all the equipment in,” said Ramsey.

The grand opening is for May. Ramsey said unfortunately there will be a lot of people coming and going from the building in the future.

“Regrettably, the incidence of cancer just continues to increase mostly because we’re living longer.”

Ramsey stressed the cancer center is a building that will serve the hospital system long into the future.


NEW SUPERINTENDENT PASSIONATE ABOUT STUDENT ATTENDANCE

New West Virginia State School Superintendent Michael Martirano became passionate Wednesday when addressing state lawmakers for the first time since taking the job last month. The topic was student attendance.

Martirano said research shows the problems that result in dropouts begin in elementary school.

“The first factor to emerge that indicates that a child has a predictive rate of dropping out of school down the road is attendance. They stop showing up for school and they start falling behind,” he said.

Martirano spoke to a legislative interim committee meeting at the state capitol. He said the value in West Virginia must be that all students show up for school every day ready to learn.

“It’s non-compromising. It’s the law,” Martirano said. “We can’t drop back and say, ‘It’s okay because you have a headache today or you stayed up too late last night, it’s okay.’ No, when I grew up in the mountains of western Maryland (it was), ‘Get to school. It’s important. It’s your job.’”

Martirano told lawmakers about his plan to improve student achievement called “One Voice, One Focus: All Students Achieving Together.” A big part of that plan is student attendance.

“I need every parent in this state to embrace that value because if we don’t have children in school we can’t do the work necessary,” he said. “And I’m convinced if we can turn that around we are going have a better shot improving the academic achievement for children who need it the most.”


THREE STUDENTS EXPELLED FROM WVU

Three West Virginia University students were expelled from campus Thursday (October 23) for various acts of misconduct following Saturday’s WVU-Baylor football game.

Other students may also face University sanctions as various law enforcement agencies complete their investigations and reports and provide that information to the University. These cases are independent of any state or local criminal penalties and fines the students may face.

“We have made it clear that this University will hold students accountable for their unlawful behavior,” President Gordon Gee said. “We will not allow individuals to remain enrolled who commit these crimes and damage the reputation and achievements of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and community.”

The expelled students, who were among 14 charged earlier this week by various local law enforcement agencies, were immediately prohibited from accessing University property and activities pending further proceedings under the Student Conduct Code.

Nearly six hours after the Mountaineers upset the then-fourth-ranked Baylor Bears, disturbances began in Sunnyside, a neighborhood heavily populated by students, and then spilled into downtown Morgantown.

Anyone with further information that could help identify suspects should contact Lt. Laurie Burks at the University Police Department at or call 304.293.COPS (304.293.2677).


ACLU CRITICIZES PARKERSBURG’S PANHANDLING SIGNS

Parkersburg’s panhandling signs are drawing criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia.

The signs discourage people from giving to panhandlers, saying it contributes to drug and alcohol abuse.

ACLU of West Virginia executive director Jennifer Meinig tells The Parkersburg News and Sentinel that the signs are defamatory. She says they suggest that all panhandlers suffer from drug and alcohol issues.

Mayor Bob Newell had the signs placed in three areas of the city earlier this month. He tells the newspaper that the signs are an attempt to educate the public.

Newell says money given to panhandlers might not be used as donors believe it will be used.

He says he doesn’t believe anyone is defamed by the signs.


LEADERS GATHER TO DISCUSS WV’S ENERGY FUTURE

State leaders are gathering to discuss West Virginia’s energy future.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is holding a two-day energy summit at the Stonewall Resort in Roanoke beginning Thursday.

Tomblin, Senator Joe Manchin and Representative Shelley Moore Capito are set to speak at the event.

The summit also will feature presentations from various businesses and groups in the energy sector, including the West Virginia Coal Association and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.


WV AIRPORT LOOKS FOR PEOPLEXPRESS REPLACEMENT

A West Virginia airport has stopping promoting a PeoplExpress flight and is looking for other airlines to provide the service.

The nonstop flight from Charleston’s Yeager Airport to Orlando, Fla., was scheduled to begin October 16. Newport News, Virginia-based PeoplExpress suspended flights in late September because of problems that included a shortage of crews and only one plane.

Yeager spent about $18,000 of a $400,000 federal grant to promote the flight. Media outlets say Yeager executive director Rick Atkinson told the airport’s governing board on Wednesday that he has rescinded using funds from the grant to promote the service.

Atkinson said the airport is looking for other airlines to provide the nonstop service.

He says Yeager could enter into a new agreement with PeoplExpress if the airline resumes flights.


BLUEFIELD STATE, MERCER SCHOOLS PLAN NEW PROGRAM

A new program will allow Mercer County high school students to get college credit for pre-engineering courses.

Students can transfer credits to Bluefield State College for certain classes they complete in the Project Lead the Way program and in drafting concentrations.

Bluefield State will accept these students into its associate of science or bachelor of science engineering technology program.

Media outlets report that Bluefield State and Mercer County Schools officials signed a memorandum of agreement on Wednesday to offer the program.


WVU GETS $10.7M FEDERAL GRANT FOR STROKE RESEARCH

West Virginia University is getting a major federal grant for stroke research.

The Morgantown school says it has been awarded a five-year, $10.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Officials say the funding will help bolster its faculty and scientific research to mitigate the effects of a stroke.

The American Heart Association ranks stroke as the fourth highest killer in the nation and one of the leading causes of long-term disability.

West Virginia University says the burden of stroke in West Virginia is particularly heavy, with the state having one of the highest incidence rates in the country.

Movie Review: ‘Felony’

There is a moment in the Australian film “Felony” when the main character, Malcolm, has to make a split-second decision whether to do the right thing. Played by Joel Edgerton (who also wrote the screenplay), the police officer sits in his stopped car, looking in the rearview mirror at a kid lying in the road. Edgerton manages to convey so much panic without making a sound as he ponders his situation: It’s late, he’s drunk and he’s just hit the kid, who was delivering newspapers on a bike.

It’s this kind of quiet, charged moment that makes “Felony” not just a straight­forward suspense film, but also a thought-provoking drama about how our moral failings can affect the people around us.

The movie starts with a surge as Malcolm runs through a warehouse on a drug raid; he ends up chasing a man while a shaky handheld camera captures the pursuit. When Malcolm jumps from a high ledge onto a pile of boxes, he inelegantly topples to the ground — Jason Bourne he is not.

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Malcolm gets shot during the chase, but he’s saved by his bulletproof vest and is immediately hailed as a hero. Of course, drinks at a bar follow, and it’s after this celebration that Malcolm ends up in his moral quandary. He decides to call in the accident, but claims he had nothing to do with it; he just found the kid in the road. Meanwhile, two detectives stumble upon the scene. One — an old-school type named Carl (Tom Wilkinson) who knows Malcolm — figures out what really happened and helps Malcolm lie. But Carl doesn’t clue in his new partner, Jim (Jai Courtney), which is just as well since Jim is a stickler for the rules.

The child ends up in a coma, and guilt begins to eat away at Malcolm. Meanwhile, Jim begins to piece together the true story, and Carl worries that Malcolm will come clean, jeopardizing the older detective’s career.

The three actors excel in their roles, and director Matthew Saville gives additional insight into the men through small yet informative details. Yes, Jim might be annoyingly by-the-book, but he’s morally in the right; he also compliments his mother on her cooking and clears the table after dinner, so how bad can he be? And as Malcolm, who is the strong silent type, begins to unravel, the camera zooms in on his subtle, pained expressions showing the cracks in his tough exterior.

Edgerton is a talented leading man, but “Felony” shows what a versatile artist he can be. The movie is the first feature he has written alone. (He has co-writing credits on “The Rover” and “The Square.”) Let’s hope he keeps at it. It’s a rare treat to see a suspenseful crime drama delivered with so much nuance and restraint.

★ ★ ★

Unrated. Contains strong language and some violence. 105 minutes.

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Sports News - 10.24.14

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►   Glenville State vs. Notre Dame College

The Pioneers went on the road and took care of business as they defeated UVa-Wise 35-9 this past Saturday. This week GSC returns home as Norte Dame College travels to Glenville with kickoff at 1:00pm.

Rahmann Lee rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown and Sean Steele threw for four touchdowns to lead Glenville State past UVa-Wise, 35-9, at Carl Smith Stadium.

Glenville State, winners of three of its last four, improved to 3-4 overall and 3-4 in the MEC. UVa-Wise dropped to 0-7 overall and 0-6 inside the league.

Lee carried the ball 22 times and averaged 7.1 yards per carry for the Pioneers. Steele was 14-of-28 for 244 yards and hit four different receivers for his touchdown passes.

Gary Henderson led the Glenville State defense with 10 tackles, including a pair of sacks. Jordan Kesson added eight solo stops and a tackle for a loss.

Jeremy Eubank was 17-of-27 for 102 yards for the Cavs. Von Purvis had 70 yards rushing on 17 carries and a touchdown. UVa-Wise struggled on third downs converting on just 5-of-19 attempts. Zack Blair led UVa-Wise with nine tackles, including a game-high three for a loss.

Rahmann Lee is also just 378 yards from becoming GSC All-Time Leading Rusher.

Notre Dame comes into the match-up after defeating #8 Shepherd this past Saturday, 35-34.

Notre Dame (5-2, 5-1) was led by quarterback Ray Russ who threw for 459 yards on 22-of-44 passing with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The Falcons rushed for just 34 yards in the game.

Last year’s match-up between the Pioneers and Falcons was a good one. GSC walked away with a 20-16 road win. Lee rushed for 88 yards in the win and had two touchdowns while Notre Dame QB Ray Russ threw for 155 yards and a touchdown.



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►   Week 9 High School Games in the Area

Class A

Gilmer County (3-4)  at   #5 Notre Dame (5-2)

Calhoun County (2-6)  at   Wirt County (0-7)

#5 Doddridge County (6-1)  at   #15 Valley - Wetzel (5-2)

#1 St. Marys (7-0)  at   South Harrison (4-3)

#8 Tyler Consolidated (5-2)  at   Magnolia (2-5)

Parkersburg Catholic (2-5)  at   #11 Williamstown (5-2)


Class AA

Webster County (2-5)  at   Braxton County (2-6)

Ritchie County (3-5)      BYE WEEK

Herbert Hoover (4-3   at   Roane County (3-4)

#9 Ravenswood (6-1)  at   Clay County (4-3)

#11 Robert C. Byrd (5-2)  at   North Marion (0-7)

#1 Bridgeport (7-1)      BYE WEEK

Sissonville (4-3)  at   #15 Liberty - Harrison (5-3)

Lincoln (2-6)  at   Grafton (3-4)

#6 Nicholas County (6-1)  at   Midland Trail - A (0-7)

Philip Barbour (1-7)      BYE WEEK


Class AAA

#12 Lewis County (6-2)  at   Elkins (3-4)

#13 Fairmont Sr. - AA (5-2)  at   #14 Buckhannon-Upshur (5-2)

#10 Parkersburg South (5-2)  at   Greenbrier East (4-4)

Parkersburg (3-4)  at   George Washington (4-3)


►   Gilmer County (3-4) at Notre Dame (5-2)

Gilmer County is coming off a bye week. Last time out, the Titans lost 29-28 on the road at Doddridge County back on October 10.

Three of the Titans four losses have come on the road.

It is an extremely young Gilmer County team with just four seniors among the 21 players listed on the roster.

The Irish ran their winning streak to five with a 49-21 win over Madonna last week.

“After that 0-2 start we had a heart to heart talk with all of our seniors,” said Notre Dame coach Sam Alvaro. “We had a week off as well which was at the perfect time. After that, our seniors decided to play and everyone just followed right along and we’ve played very well since then.”

Notre Dame started the season with five consecutive road games. Alvaro made a plea to his team going into a week three game against Bishop Donhue.

“I told them this was the most important game of our season,” Alvaro recounted. “It was huge. 0-3 would have pinned our backs against the wall. The players raised up and played very well.”

The Irish haven’t lost since.

Notre Dame and Gilmer County are meeting for the first time since 2009.

The teams split the last two meetings in ’08 and ’09.


►   Lewis County (6-2) at Elkins (3-4)

The Lewis County defense continued to play well as the unit allowed just one touchdown in a 16-7 loss at University last week. The Minutemen finished that game without a couple of key players as linebacker/wingback Isaac Kemper and cornerback/receiver Ryan Watson were both injured in the UHS contest. Lewis County will try and lock down a playoff spot as it plays its final two games on the road at Elkins and Shady Spring.

Elkins has won two in a row following a four game losing streak. Mo Kelly had 239 yards rushing and four touchdowns during a 34-14 road win at Oak Hill last week. Kelly has nearly 13-hundred yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. Elkins has a deep offensive backfield as seven different backs say action in that game last week.


►   Doddridge County (6-1) at Valley (5-2)

Both teams head down the stretch harboring playoff hopes.

Doddridge County has won five in a row and it played well on both sides of the ball in a 20-0 win over Philip Barbour last week. The Bulldogs got a combined 277 yards rushing from Wyatt Ford and Brandon Stewart. The defense came up with three interceptions while holding the Colts to 35 yards of total offense.

The path for Valley figures to be a little more difficult as the Lumberjacks last three opponents have a combined record of 14-7. Valley, has, however, surpassed its win total for the past two years combined.


►   Herbert Hoover (4-3) at Roane County (3-4)

In a game they really needed to have, the Roane County Raiders fell one point short in a 7-6 loss to Tolsia on Friday. With a week one forfeit factored in, the Raiders are now 3-4 with games against Wirt County and Williamstown after this week’s meeting with the Huskies. Making the playoff isn’t an impossible task, but it would’ve been an easier one with a win against Tolsia.

So the Raiders go back to the drawing board this week to see what they can do against Herbert Hoover. After back-to-back losses, Herbert Hoover finds themselves needing to pile up as many wins as possible in an effort to reach the postseason themselves. Perhaps most impressively, Herbert Hoover stayed within 14 points of Wayne last week in a 28-14 loss to the Pioneers.

This game is another that could serve as an elimination game for the team that falls short this week. Homefield advantage may push the Raiders over the top in this one, but it won’t be easy.


►   Parkersburg South (5-2) at Greenbrier East (4-4)

After scoring 14 points total in their last two games – with one of them being a win – Parkersburg South’s offense had quite the breakout in a 45-13 win last Friday against Brooke. The Patriots racked up 536 total yards with quarterback Garrett Gilkeson throwing for 331 of those – just five yards fewer than the number of total yards Brooke finished with all night.

Gilkeson fired four touchdown passes – two each to Cole Day and Brendan Schwendeman. Schwendeman added a rushing touchdown as well. To be fair, Parkersburg South’s last two games came against Point Pleasant’s stifling defense and John Marshall, a team jockeying for position themselves.

Even so, head coach Mike Eddy and staff have to be pleased with the effort. This week, the Patriots make their longest trip of the season – and their only remaining game to be played outside Wood County – when they visit Greenbrier East.

The Spartans come in off a 42-19 win against Logan last week. It was the first time in over a month that Greenbrier East eclipsed the 40-point mark and just the second time all season. After a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season, the Spartans have back-to-back wins and are making a late-season surge.

If Greenbrier East wants any chance to make the postseason, Friday’s matchup with Parkersburg South is a must-win. Their biggest challenge will be to stop the Patriots’ passing attack, and if last week was any indication, that’s a passing attack that’s operating like a well-oiled machine at exactly the right time of the year to do so.

Parkersburg South has wins in four of their last five games and if they can survive the long road trip, they stand a good chance to pick up another.


►   Parkersburg (3-4) at George Washington (4-3)

Parkersburg fell behind 27-0 before reaching the end zone in an eventual 41-6 loss to the Huntington Highlanders. The Big Reds piled up rather anemic offensive numbers in the loss with just five first downs and 85 total yards of offense. Defensively, the Big Reds surrendered more than 400 yards. 257 of those came on 50 carries, showing that the Highlanders had no trouble with the idea of running the Parkersburg into submission.

For Parkersburg, if a winning season or a playoff berth is a possibility, answers must come quickly. So maybe this isn’t such a horrible time to pay George Washington a visit. The Patriots have dropped back-to-back contests and at 4-3, George Washington needs a win to stay in the postseason hunt with Capital looming in Week 11.

Last week, the Patriots fell 49-7 to a Cabell Midland squad that’s piled up some prolific offensive numbers this year. The Big Reds will need to bring one of their best defensive efforts of the season, because there’s no margin for error this week. George Washington must control the pace of game and find the same weaknesses in the Parkersburg defense that others have exploited this season.

This is a winnable game for both sides and it may be decided by the kick or punt return teams from one of these schools. Either way, it could serve as an elimination game for whichever school finds themselves on the short end of the stick.


►   Ravenswood (6-1) at Clay County (4-3)

Ravenswood played tough against one of the best Class AAA teams in the state before succumbing in the second half in a 37-20 loss to Point Pleasant. The Red Devils actually grabbed a lead in the middle of the second quarter on Rhys Jelich’s second touchdown run of the night. However, Point Pleasant’s Jon Peterson ran the ensuing kickoff to the house from 78 yards out to stem the tide of the visitors from Jackson County.

A two-point conversion tied things at 14 and Ravenswood would draw no closer. Point Pleasant outgained Ravenswood 447 to 254, but the 20 points Ravenswood scored are the most anyone has scored in a single game against the Big Blacks all year.

So with that as slight consolation, the Red Devils turn their focus to Clay County – a team with playoff hopes teetering on the brink after a 27-20 loss to Sissonville last week. The Panthers have struggled with consistency all season. With a Week One win coming as a result of a forfeit, Clay County has spent the rest of the year alternating wins and losses.

And those wins have come by the narrowest of margins in some cases. They include two shutouts by scores of 8-0 and 14-0 and a one-point victory against Fayetteville two weeks ago. Defensively, Clay County has slipped in the last three weeks, allowing 82 total points in a 1-2 stretch.

Ravenswood is a team that can score points aplenty and expect the Red Devils to do so as they get things readjusted heading down the stretch.


►   St. Marys (7-0) at South Harrison (4-3)

Addison O’Brien helped spark a St. Marys team that trailed at halftime for the first time all year in a win against Magnolia on Friday. O’Brien hauled in a pass that led to a 60-yard touchdown play to tie things early in the third quarter. Then, O’Brien’s 55-yard punt return on the final play of the third quarter gave St. Marys a lead they wouldn’t lose in a 27-7 win against the Blue Eagles – a win that all but sank Magnolia’s playoff hopes.

Corey Stewart would add a pair of fourth quarter rushing touchdowns to put things out of reach for the Blue Devils. It was a grind it out effort last week for St. Marys, picking up 184 rushing yards on 42 carries. But a win is what St. Marys needed in their toughest road test of the year, aside from Williamstown. And with that, the Blue Devils play what they hope is their final road game in a very long time, if not the rest of the season, with a trip to Lost Creek to face the South Harrison Hawks.

Brad Jett’s Hawks have won three of their last four and moved above .500 on the season with a 28-0 win over Webster County last Friday. Three of South Harrison’s four wins this year have been shutouts and two of their three losses have come by six points or fewer. So while this is an improved team from where things were a year ago, it’s still a South Harrison team on the cusp of so much more.

They’ll face what is without question their toughest test of the year this week. And for a team known for racking up some big numbers in the run game, St. Marys will be looking to top their 184 rushing yards from last week. And against a Blue Devil defense that’s allowed just 58 points through seven games, they’ll need a big night offensively and to slow the game to a crawl to get past St. Marys.

Expect St. Marys to take their peerless record back home for what will be a HUGE showdown on Halloween Night against the Ravenswood Red Devils.


►   Tyler Consolidated (5-2) at Magnolia (2-5)

In the middle of their second year under head coach Ryan Walton, the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights are 10-7 since Walton became head coach of the Silver Knights. Off to their best start in years, there will be no greater measuring stick for this program than Friday’s game at Magnolia.

Though the Blue Eagles have five losses, the losses have been close – with the exception of last week’s 20-point setback to St. Marys – and they’ve come against very good teams. Tyler Consolidated had last week off after a 6-0 win against South Harrison and is poised to prove that they’ve arrived as a program on the Class A scene in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Playoff fever is in the air around Tyler County. If Tyler Consolidated’s two-headed offensive monster of Jordan Baker and Jace Reed can get things going against the Blue Eagles’ defense, then the Silver Knights could pull away with a victory. But remember, Magnolia held the dominant St. Marys running game scoreless in the first half last week.

The Blue Eagles stand a very solid chance to get a victory in a game that would only be a big upset on paper if Magnolia can pull off the win. If Tyler Consolidated plays like it’s record indicates they’re capable of, then the Silver Knights will show they’ve arrived – at least in some measure – as a legitimate contender in the area.


►   Parkersburg Catholic (2-5) at Williamstown (5-2)

It’s almost like Dakota Watson decided to make up for the offensive output he didn’t put forth during a bye week in Williamstown’s 72-8 win over Wirt County. After having the previous week off, Watson made up for lost time with a five-touchdown performance against the Tigers. He ran for two scores, threw for two more and even returned an interception 69 yards for a score late in the first quarter.

Mason Adkins ran for three second-half touchdowns for the Yellowjackets as well. All told, it was a Williamstown offensive effort that tallied 438 yards of total offense and spurred the Yellowjackets to a 50-0 halftime lead. With two losses coming before that bye week, Williamstown needed a big effort to drive a late-season push. That’s exactly what they got.

This week, the Yellowjackets face a talented, but overmatched Parkersburg Catholic squad in a battle of Wood County’s two Class A teams. The Crusaders are talented, but lack depth. On Saturday, they dropped a 33-14 decision to a Belpre, Ohio team that boasts one of the area’s best running games.

It’ll be a matchup of Williamstown’s defense versus the speed of Parkersburg Catholic on the perimeter. And when you factor in the lack of depth that Parkersburg Catholic has, that’ll swing the pendulum in favor of the Yellowjackets in what has always been an intensely-fought game.


►   Fairmont Senior (5-2) at Buckhannon-Upshur (5-2)

The Polar Bears came off a bye week to beat Braxton County 35-15 last week.  Joseph Toothman scored three touchdowns including one on a return of a blocked punt.

Buckhannon led Lincoln County 12-7 at the end of one quarter last week despite not running a single offensive play from scrimmage in the first quarter. Brandon Mallett had a 78 yard interception return for a touchdown and an 71-yard kickoff return for a score in that first quarter. Mallett finished with four touchdowns on five touches of the ball in the Bucs 46-21 victory. Defensive leader Marcus Lofton intercepted his sixth pass of the season in the win.

The Fairmont/Buckhannon series was resumed last year following a one year hiatus. Fairmont Senior won the game 49-7 at Buckhannon. The Polar Bears have won seven in a row in the series with Buckhannon’s last victory coming back in 2005.


►   Robert C. Byrd (5-2) at North Marion (0-7)

RCB has outscored its last three opponents 155-7 following a September 19 loss to Bridgeport. The Eagles defense has posted back to back shutouts. RCB rolled up seven sacks as it held Lincoln to under 100 yards of total offense last week.

The Huskies have three opportunities remaining to try and get that first win. This one will be a tough matchup as the Huskies offense has struggled. North Marion has scored seven points or fewer in five of their seven games so far.


►   MSAC commissioner: “The blame goes on me. I messed up.“

Mountain State Athletic Conference Commissioner Fred Aldridge took responsibility on Wednesday’s MetroNews High School Sportsline for the unscheduled officials last week in Beckley for Woodrow Wilson-Capital, a game that has since been cancelled.

“The buck stops with me, I messed up. I missed the game. I did not assign the officials,” Aldridge said. “It bothers me deeply that the situation occurred because there were so many people involved. Apologies need to go out to Capital High School and to Woodrow Wilson, the student athletes, the bands and what have you.”

Ultimately, a system of checks and balances fell through after Aldridge initially failed to schedule the game back in the winter.

“When I meet with the principals and athletic directors, I always give them the schedule and assignments, I ask them to check all the games on the list so I can make the adjustments so we don’t have a situation like we had this weekend,” he said. “But it would have never happened and this game would have been played if I would have scheduled (the officials) back in February when I do those things.”

Aldridge said his office worked to reschedule the game on either Saturday afternoon, Saturday night or on Monday night with the MSAC covering the expenses. Saturday was thrown out because both schools had athletes visiting colleges.

“For some reason, it couldn’t be worked out,” Aldridge said. “No reasons were given to me (for playing the game on Monday). I said that we must play this game, but the two principals talked with their coaches and decided to cancel the game completely. I did not want the game to be cancelled and I still don’t understand why the game was cancelled.

“But again, the person at fault and the person to blame is me, because when I was assigning officials, I missed that game,” he continued. “It slipped through our check and balances. A lot of people were affected. Woodrow Wilson lost that gate and it was homecoming. I did everything in my power to still get that game to be played.”

Capital was No. 1 in the Class AAA WVSSAC rankings released this week and the missed game likely won’t have an impact on the Cougars’ seeding if they win out. A loss for Woodrow Wilson, however, would have put the Flying Eagles in a difficult spot to make the playoffs.

Beckley is at No. 18 this week with a 3-3 record and games remaining against Princeton, Oak Hill and Hedgesville. The Flying Eagles would likely make it into the playoff field if they win out – something that could have an impact on several other teams vying for the final few playoff slots.

One of those teams is Musselman. The Applemen enter this week at No. 16 in Class AAA with a 5-3 record and have games remaining against Washington and then at Martinsburg.

“It’s kind of frustrating in a way,” Musselman coach Brian Thomas said. “I put myself in those shoes and I know if something happened with us and Martinsburg like that, I’m doing everything in my power to play on a Saturday. If we can’t play on a Saturday, I’m going to play on a Monday. We’ll try to play wherever we can.

“I would try to play a game at all costs,” he continued. “I would think at the same time that our kids would want to know why we weren’t playing. I just know if I was in that situation, I would do everything under my power to play a game and anything to help our kids out.”



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►   Holgorsen insists ‘We’re not satisfied’

Dana Holgorsen sees value in his team returning to the top 25 rankings for the first time in 23 months. He just doesn’t want players accepting the additional exposure as a milestone.

West Virginia entered the AP poll at No. 22 this week, buoyed by a 41-27 win over then-No. 4 Baylor. In the coaches poll, the Mountaineers debuted at No. 25.

“It’s positive for the program, it’s good for national recognition. All that is good, and I’m not going to deny that,” Holgorsen said Tuesday. “It probably gets us talked about more … but it doesn’t adjust anything that we do.

“We’re not satisfied with where we’re at. We’re not interested with people telling us that we’re good or any of that. We’ve got to just keep doing our job.”

The job, and West Virginia’s road to a potential Big 12 championship, remains thorny starting with Saturday’s trip to Stillwater, where Boone Pickens Stadium now encompasses one of the nation’s biggest home-field advantages. Oklahoma State has gone 22-2 there during the past four seasons, with both losses decided in the final 27 seconds.

Holgorsen has lived the Stillwater experience from both sides. He made four trips there as a Texas Tech assistant before serving one year as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator—a stint he leveraged into the West Virginia job in 2010.

During the 2012 season, Holgorsen led West Virginia back into Boone Pickens and lost 55-34, dropping his record as a visiting coach to 1-4.

This time around the Cowboys and Mountaineers own identical 5-2 overall records and 3-1 conference marks, but OSU is trying to rebound from a spotty two-game stretch that sent it tumbling out of the top 25. First came a 27-20 scare at Kansas before last weekend’s 42-9 humiliation at TCU.

Having watched Mike Gundy average nearly 10 wins during the past six seasons, Holgorsen expects a strong bounce-back effort from Oklahoma State.

“They’re going to be ready to play,” he said. “It’s homecoming. It’s going to be sold-out. It’s going to be loud.”

After beating a top-five opponent for the first time since 2003, West Virginia could be hardpressed to match last week’s enthusiasm. Holgorsen understands the psychological pitfall and senses his team is equipped to guard against it.

“I think if we had a very young and immature team, then that would be a huge challenge,” he said. “But we have a very experienced, older team that likes each other, plays hard for each other and understands what we’re trying to accomplish. Really, what we’re trying to accomplish is to win the next game.

“I basically asked the guys if they were satisfied with the (Baylor) win, and it was a unanimous ‘not satisfied.’”



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►   Marshall ready for athletic Owls

Doc Holliday has long had the reputation of plucking athletes from Florida and building around them, see Rakeem Cato, Tommy Shuler and about two dozen other players on Marshall’s roster. He better understands how deep the talent pool in Florida is than most and that’s the reason he expecting a very athletic FAU football team in Huntington on Saturday.

“They have athletes everywhere,” said Holliday. “They won six games a year ago and were bowl-eligible and most of those guys are back.  I have said many times, anytime you’re located in Boca or Miami and all the players around them, they are going to have really good players. They are athletic and can run. We are going to have our hands full.”

Marshall pulled out a 24-23 win over the Owls last year in Boca Raton. Justin Haig booted a 41-yard field goal as time expired to keep Marshall in contention for the C-USA East Division title.

“I was on the sideline with my head backward and not looking,” recalled center Chris Jasperse.

Marshall produced a season-low 355 yards of total offense and Rakeem Cato was limited to 216 yards passing, 70 of which came on the final game winning drive. FAU held on to the ball for 35:11and outgained Marshall 395-355.

“That was a great game and something that we weren’t expecting to go down to the wire like that,” admitted tight end Eric Frohnapfel. “We made the plays when we needed to. It was a rollercoaster of emotions type game.”

And while the FAU program has gone through numerous changes, including a new head coach, since last year’s game, many of the same players are back with a year of development under their belt. That includes quarterback Jaquez Johnson who is the first FAU quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000. Johnson rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown against the Herd last year.

“Their quarterback, Jaquez Johnson, he is a pain in the neck. He can run it, he can throw it,” said Holliday. “Not only can he run it but he does a good job at keeping his eyes down the field on the open receivers. We have to make sure our guys do a great job of, number one, containing him and, number two, when you tackle him you better wrap him up. He is bigger now than he was a year ago, to be honest. He ran through us a year ago when we were trying to get him on the ground. I’ve seen him running through people this year. He hasn’t changed.”

Johnson accounted for 420 yards of total offense in a comeback win last week against Western Kentucky. Johnson threw for 325 yards and ran for 95 more.

Johnson’s top target is senior receiver Lucky Whitehead. He leads Conference USA in receptions per game and all-purpose yards. He’s also No. 1 in the country in combined return yards.

“They make an effort to get the ball in his hands and, after seeing him play, I can see why,” said Holliday.  “They just try to find ways to make sure that he gets touches throughout the game. They do a good job of giving him the ball. We have to make sure we do a great job of getting him on the ground when he gets the ball in his hands.”

Much like FIU last week, FAU has speed and talented athletes but matching up play for play with Marshall is another story.



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►   Manning leads Broncos past Chargers

Peyton Manning didn’t have much time to savor his latest NFL record for career touchdown passes, but he added to that record on Thursday night.

Manning threw three touchdown passes to Emmanuel Sanders in the Denver Broncos’ 35-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

The reigning and five-time NFL MVP broke Brett Favre’s record for most career touchdown passes in a 42-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday. On Thursday, Manning completed 25-of-35 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns to bring his career TD total to 513.

Manning was not happy with the scoreboard operator late in the fourth quarter.

“I have no problem with our fans. Our fans are great. I’ve got a problem with our scoreboard operator,“ Manning said. “I’m gonna have a little talk with him. I’m not sure what he’s doing.

“He was playing music, showing people—showing players dancing, getting the crowd fired up while we had the ball. I don’t think we should be doing that. I don’t think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline. I thought that was kind of disrespectful. Our fans are great, our fans are loud, so the scoreboard operators ... it wasn’t his best night.“

Sanders caught nine passes for 120 yards for the Broncos (6-1), who have won four in a row. Demaryius Thomas caught eight passes for 105 yards.

“Every week we don’t know where the ball is going to go,“ Sanders said. “The defense really dictates that and what Peyton is seeing. And tonight was just my night.“

Ronnie Hillman carried the ball 20 times for 109 yards and Juwan Thompson rushed for 24 yards and two scores on seven carries.

Philip Rivers connected on 30-of-41 passes for 252 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Chargers (5-3), who have lost two straight since a five-game winning streak.

Keenan Allen caught nine passes for 73 yards and a score for San Diego. Antonio Gates became the franchise’s all-time leader in receiving yards after catching five passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

Last season in week 15, San Diego came away with a 27-20 win in Denver. However, the Broncos eliminated the Chargers from the playoffs a month later.

After each team punted twice to start the game, the Broncos started from their own 31-yard line. Sanders and Thomas caught passes of 38 and 16 yards to move the ball to the San Diego 2-yard line. On 3rd-and-goal, Manning rolled to his right and found Sanders in the back of the end zone with 13:35 remaining in the second quarter.

The Chargers answered with a touchdown of their own following a punt from each team. A defensive pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-6 allowed San Diego to pick up a first down. Allen caught two passes to account for 23 yards before Eddie Royal made a 15-yard catch. Gates moved the chains with a 31-yard grab on 3rd-and-20, and Allen capped the 13-play series with a 2-yard TD catch.

San Diego almost got the ball right back when Andre Caldwell lost control of the football on the ensuing kickoff. Replay showed Caldwell’s elbow hit the ground first and the initial call of a fumble was reversed. Denver found the end zone eight plays later, as Manning hooked up with Sanders for a 31-yard score.

Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. picked off Rivers on the opening possession of the second half. The Broncos quickly moved the ball to the San Diego 30- yard line thanks to linebacker Donald Butler being called for unnecessary roughness. Hillman’s 16-yard catch ended with him stepping out at the 3-yard line. Sanders followed with his third touchdown catch of the game to make it 21-7 with 10:53 left in the third stanza.

“We can’t give a good football team like the Denver Broncos the opportunities we gave them,“ Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. “That span there of a big touchdown at the end of the half, turnover to start the second half and then points for them. Once we settled down we got back in rhythm a little bit. But that’s a good football team and we gave them too many opportunities.“

The home team scored another touchdown on its next possession to essentially seal the game. After Hillman had a 33-yard TD run called back due to offensive holding, the Chargers were called for defensive pass interference. Thompson rumbled into the end zone from two yards out with 7:34 to go in the third.

San Diego responded with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that Gates capped with a 4- yard score. After a defensive holding call nullified Eric Weddle’s interception of Manning, Thompson scored from one yard out to make it 35-14 with 13:29 to play.

Gates kept the Chargers alive with a 10-yard TD catch. After Denver kicker Brandon McManus missed a 53-yard field goal, Rahim Moore picked off Rivers to secure the victory for the Broncos.

Game Notes

Denver leads the all-time series by a 59-49-1 margin ... Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers (concussion) missed the game ... Broncos linebacker Von Miller extended his NFL-best sack streak to six games ... Branden Oliver carried the ball 13 times for 36 yards for San Diego, with 23 yards coming on the final play of the game.


►   NFL Game Result - Week 8

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23

Final Score: Denver 35, San Diego 21

Peyton Manning didn’t have much time to savor his latest NFL record for career touchdown passes, but he added to that record on Thursday night. Manning threw three touchdown passes to Emmanuel Sanders in the Denver Broncos’ 35-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers. The reigning and five-time NFL MVP broke Brett Favre’s record for most career touchdown passes in a 42-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday. On Thursday, Manning completed 25-of-35 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns to bring his career TD total to 513. Sanders caught nine passes for 120 yards for the Broncos (6-1), who have won four in a row. Demaryius Thomas caught eight passes for 105 yards. Ronnie Hillman carried the ball 20 times for 109 yards and Juwan Thompson rushed for 24 yards and two scores on seven carries. Philip Rivers connected on 30-of-41 passes for 252 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Chargers (5-3), who have lost two straight since a five-game winning streak.



The Gilmer Free Press

►   Nothin’ but Net: Season Preview Part II

On Tuesday, I documented the 14 teams destined to miss the postseason (http://tinyurl.com/ca6jmnp), although I believe three teams - Pelicans, Nuggets and Rockets - are better than some Eastern Conference playoff-bound squads.

Part II - it’ll be as good as “Back to the Future II,“ but not quite “The Godfather: Part II.“

16. BROOKLYN NETS

One season ago, I bought big time on the Nets. My bad.

The team actually advanced to the second round of the playoffs as Jason Kidd improved as a coach. Then, he lost his mind, tried to outflank general manager Billy King, ended up as head man of the Milwaukee Bucks. That move, like his failed coup de tat in Brooklyn, was shady and duplicitous because Larry Drew was already the coach.

The Nets shed themselves of a potential headache in the form of Kidd. However, Paul Pierce also bolted Brooklyn for a better deal with the Washington Wizards.

That doesn’t leave the cupboard bare for the Nets. Brook Lopez is back after his second major foot surgery in a few years, but, stop traffic, he already sprained his foot in the preseason. Lopez was playing at an All-Star level until the injury and he’ll be needed.

Speaking of lower appendages, Deron Williams’ ankles are apparently in working shape. Joe Johnson is still wildly overpaid, but still contributes. It’s very hard for shooting guards to stop someone as strong as Johnson.

Then there’s Kevin Garnett. Most (me, actually) assumed he’d retire when Pierce left town, but he’s still around. There’s actually a strong group of veterans in Brooklyn.

And I like Lionel Hollins a lot. He left Memphis after guiding the Grizz to the Western Conference Finals mostly because of his dispute with management over analytics. He’s a strong coach with great defensive principles.

Problem in Brooklyn is this group hasn’t fit well in one season. Lopez should be the man here, but Williams and Johnson make obscene money and have the ball in their hands. It should be better with a second camp under their collective belt and a better leader in Hollins, but this group makes the postseason because a.) eight do in the East, and b.) there’s enough offensive talent.

15. ATLANTA HAWKS

If people forgot about Lopez, Al Horford is like that wonderful ‘80s song you hear during a random trip to the grocery store.

Horford missed 53 games last season and 55 three seasons ago, both because of torn pectoral muscles. What you forgot is that a healthy Horford is a wonderful two-way big man. He can score inside, has a decent mid-range game, plus he’s a strong interior defender and decent rim protector. Getting him back is a gigantic improvement.

And Atlanta could use some good news. The Hawks’ summer was dominated by racism from the owner (“too many blacks on the kiss cam”) and general manager Danny Ferry, who inexplicably read a scouting report of Luol Deng which claimed he had some “African in him.“ Ferry is still away from the team, so there’s disarray.

On the court, the Hawks have been mired in the eternal purgatory known as a subpar, but good enough to make the playoffs, Eastern Conference team. That’s never good.

The Hawks have Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll in the starting lineup. There bench consists of solid pieces like Thabo Sefalosha, Elton Brand, Pero Antic and Mike Scott, a personal favorite of mine. I loved Adreian Payne, their first-round pick.

Horford will help, but the Hawks are still stuck in no man’s land out East. They are postseason-worthy, but have little chance of advancement unless they get a fifth or sixth seed, which seems high.

14. PHOENIX SUNS

Last season, I ranked them 29th, ahead of only the 76ers. What a doofus.

The Suns narrowly missed a playoff berth in the loaded Western Conference, but they will get over that hump this season. Isaiah Thomas was their big free- agent move, which made sense to hedge their bet if Eric Bledsoe didn’t return. He did, so Phoenix has the best backcourt depth in the league.

They also ooze athleticism, but in a good way. They ranked in the top 10 in scoring, field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Offensively, the Suns are very good.

Defensively, Phoenix was 21st in opponents’ scoring, but 14th in opponents’ field-goal percentage and second in opponents’ 3-point percentage. That’s sort of a weird balance.

So, the Suns can play defense. What makes them different than say a Mike D’Antoni team that would run up and down the floor is, this Suns squad does it because no one can match up with their athletes.

Thomas, Goran Dragic, Bledsoe, the Morris twins, P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green, Zoran Dragic, T.J. Warren, Tyler Ennis, even Miles Plumlee is a decent enough athlete. This team is put together to compete and run and defend.

Their style will win some ball games, but isn’t built to compete in the postseason. Jeff Hornacek was great last season at maximizing his roster’s talents and it should be more of the same. They have some interesting pieces to possibly move if a star became available because that’s the only thing separating Phoenix from being a fringe contender.

This team may not lead the league in opponents’ scoring, but they’ll lead in the league in most times getting an opponent to vomit on the bench due to sheer exhaustion.

13. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

They have a gritty defensive team, anchored offensively by a great low-post scorer, a throwback in a sense, named Al Jefferson. They feature a woefully underrated point guard in Kemba Walker, then some other pieces.

Until Lance Stephenson came to town.

Stephenson is a stat sheet marvel, who is also a defensive presence and a big- game performer. He played on winning teams with the Indiana Pacers and can teach these Hornets how to take a step forward.

Also, worth mentioning, he is, as Liz Lemon from “30 Rock” once said, “staunchly in favor of Coco-Puffs.“

That on-going internal battle for Stephenson’s mind and soul determines the Hornets’ fate this season. Good crazy is fine. That’s intensity and passion. Bad crazy is not. Stephenson has been bad crazy at times, including last season’s East Finals against the Miami Heat. Remember when he blew on LeBron’s face? You do. But you don’t remember his pressure defense that turned games in Indiana’s favor.

Stephenson can be the next piece in the Hornets’ puzzle. A nucleus of Jefferson/Stephenson/Walker/Gerald Henderson/Noah Vonleh/Cody Zeller/Michael Kidd-Gilchrist/Marvin Williams/Gary Neal/P.J. Hairston is very good. It’s not a championship contender, but it’s good enough to contend for a home playoff series.

There are a few things that need to happen for Charlotte.

Stephenson has to be smart about his craziness. Kidd-Gilchrist needs to develop a jump shot, or possibly lose rotation minutes. Jefferson needs to stay healthy. Same for Walker. The bench needs to produce. Zeller and Vonleh, who will miss time at the start of the season and could be in danger of never getting his spot back, need to help out.

Enough should happen to make Charlotte a tough team every night.

12. MIAMI HEAT

Losing LeBron James is like getting punched in the solar plexus by an elephant. Then it’s like getting stomped in the nether region by same elephant.

But Pat Riley did a nice job in rebuilding the roster with James gone.

Luol Deng is LeBron-lite. He scores in a variety of ways, rebounds and defends. He just doesn’t do them at the same level James does, nor is a quarter of the playmaker James is.

Josh McRoberts has a niche and can shoot.

After that, Riley brought most of the same players back.

Chris Bosh is overpaid. We can all agree on that, although I defend him more than most because I think he completely changed his game to benefit the Heat. Do I think Bosh wants to bang on the blocks with bigger guys every night? Heck no. Do I think he can still be a No. 1 scorer on a good team? Yes, a good team, not a great one.

And that’s what Miami is now in the absence of LeBron. They’ll be good. They’ll make the playoffs and I see a little of the Boston Celtics when the Big Three was dying in this Heat incarnation. They’ll be the team no one really wants to face in the postseason with their experience and pedigree.

It all hinges on Dwyane Wade.

He missed 28 games during the regular season in 2013-14 and still didn’t look great in the postseason with all of that down time. Wade can’t miss that kind of time this go-around or Miami will sink. James isn’t there to bail the franchise out and, without any knowledge, I believe that wore on James. If I could inject James with truth serum, or Jagermeister, I think he’d say that not only playing every game, but having to carry the entire load, was enough.

Wade won’t play a full season, so if he misses 12-15 games, the Heat should be fine.

11. TORONTO RAPTORS

The Toronto Raptors are a very good team. They play defense, score in various ways and have a top three backcourt in the league with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. They have underrated parts like Amir Johnson and Lou Williams.

They are good and could advance in the postseason. Also, they have a lot of expiring contracts at their disposal, so they could be players at the deadline.

It’s a star league. DeRozan was an All-Star last season and is blossoming into a bona fide leader and star. Lowry should’ve made the All-Star team, but didn’t. He stayed on a reasonable contract, however, the old Lowry could have reverted back into a mild headache once he became happy.

Jonas Valanciunas is the biggest key to Toronto’s improvement. He can score on the low post and is a very underrated athlete and strong man. His defense will need to improve, but his career arc is trending upward. Valanciunas will become the third star and that’s a necessary component for serious success.

The Atlantic Division is the weakest in basketball. Toronto should cruise to a second consecutive title, but the Raptors need to guard against that feeling that the division will be their’s no matter what. They aren’t quite that good.

10. WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Bradley Beal’s wrist injury hurts this team early. When healthy and complete, the Wizards could be really strong.

Beal made the claim he and Wall are the best backcourt in the league. It’s debatable and I for one don’t agree. Golden State and Toronto have a better claim, but this pair of guards are dynamic. Wall is the fastest player in the league and Beal might become the best shooter in the NBA.

The rest of the roster is built for the long haul.

Paul Pierce was a magnificent signing. He can still score, especially in crunch time and he can teach this group a thing or 12 about winning. That’s his main role.

Nene and Marcin Gortat are fantastic big men with swagger and skill. The bench has been bolstered with the signing of Kris Humphries (who is hurt) and the acquisition of DeJuan Blair. Couple those two with Martell Webster and Andre Miller and that’s a very solid bench.

Washington is going to have a very good season. Randy Wittman isn’t exactly John Wooden, but this roster is built for a season-long trek. It’s a very good team, but not one that’s better than the Cleveland Cavaliers or Chicago Bulls.

9. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

I admit, I can’t be objective about the Grizzlies. I love them.

I love Marc Gasol. He changes games defensively, is one of the two best passing big men in the sport and his basketball IQ is astronomical. To me, Gasol is the best center in the league when healthy. His game is complete.

I love Zach Randolph. He can score inside and out, rebounds ferociously and has come to grips, to an extent, with things he can’t control.

I love Mike Conley. He’s a top defensive point guard, good facilitator, improved long-range shooter, a wonderful gamer and emerging big-stage performer.

I love Vince Carter. He’s been robbed in NBA Sixth Man Award voting in recent seasons as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, but he can still score and shoot from deep.

I love Tony Allen. Who couldn’t love the best defensive wing player in the league?

I love Quincy Pondexter. He got hurt early last season right when he was on the precipice of breaking out a bit. He’s a shooter. Memphis needs them.

I semi-love Dave Joerger. His public dustup with the organization, then public flirting with the Minnesota Timberwolves job, was unnecessary, but he stayed. He won 50 games his first season with the Grizz and that came with Gasol missing a huge chunk of the schedule. In the Western Conference, that’s impressive.

It’s not all glorious in Memphis. Courtney Lee needs to prove he’s a starting shooting guard in the league and Tayshaun Prince is done. All in all, this is once again a strong group built on reliable means to win games.

8. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

This was a last-second audible. Originally, my crush, the Grizzlies were ahead of the Warriors. Talent is key and Golden State is loaded with talent.

Steph Curry is elite. He’s the league’s best shooter and his assist number rocketed up to 8.5 per game last season, a full 1.5 per game higher than his previous best season.

Klay Thompson is the key. The Warriors wouldn’t part with him in a prospective deal for Kevin Love. That’s high praise and it may bit them in the fanny. Love and Curry running pick and pops would be diabolical.

But Thompson, along with Denver’s Kenneth Faried, really emerged as pleasant surprises on the grand scale of this summer’s World Cup. Thompson was largely regarded as a shooter with decent playmaking skills. His defense is top-notch and that should be used by new head coach Steve Kerr.

He, too, is something of a wild card. Kerr has no previous head coaching experience. He did play significant periods of his career under Phil Jackson, who he jilted very publicly when he turned down his offer to coach the New York Knicks, and Gregg Popovich, who he probably didn’t jilt at all.

Kerr inherited a strong, but incomplete roster. The first five - Curry, Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut and David Lee - is talented. Thompson, Iguodala and Bogut are great defenders and the Warriors were one of the league’s best defensive squads. Lee and Curry can score easily.

Depth is a little bit of an issue, but the Shaun Livingston signing was smart. He can provide much-needed relief at either backcourt spot. Livingston is tough and with Draymond Green (a top-five agitator in the league), Marreese Speights (a top-five chucker in the league) and Festus Ezeli, the group is not horrid.

The other big bench piece is Harrison Barnes. Former coach Mark Jackson dropped him from the starting lineup when the team signed Iguodala before last season. Kerr needs to keep Barnes engaged.

If Kerr is great immediately, the Warriors will be tough. They still seem to miss something come playoff time. It might be intensity or toughness, but Golden State is still loaded and its sneaky-good defense, assuming Kerr emphasizes it, should be enough to flirt with a top-four seed out west.

7. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

The Blazers seemingly came out of nowhere last season. They advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs and have two big-time studs, a great start for any team.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are both All-Stars. They’re also not afraid of the stage. A contending team can be built around this pair.

Wesley Matthews is very good. Niclas Batum might be better than very good and Robin Lopez is a serviceable big.

Problem for Portland is, this starting unit is excellent, but the bench stinks. Aldridge, Lillard and Batum finished in the top 20 in minutes played last season. The Blazers’ bench finished dead last in points per game and minutes per game.

Add here’s why Portland can’t be ranked any higher - the Blazers didn’t significantly improve the unit. Chris Kaman and Steve Blake are pros, but not enough of an upgrade to matter.

At some point, the Blazers’ second unit is going to kill them, or one of the starting five will collapse from exhaustion.

6. DALLAS MAVERICKS

This team had the best offseason short of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Acquiring Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons will help this team tremendously in different ways.

Chandler will be the defensive anchor, like he was on the Dallas title team of 2011. He still can protect the rim and run the defense from inside the lane.

Parsons will get a lot of looks from the perimeter. He was a underrated playmaker in Houston and he’ll get a chance to be great under a great coach like Rick Carlisle.

Dirk Nowitzki is still a stud. Last season, he averaged 21.7 points per game, and he’s indicated he was working on quickening his release, which is terrifying considering he’s a 7-footer who shoots the ball from so high up already.

Carlisle is a genius. He got so much more out of Monta Ellis last season than other coaches ever did. Can Carlisle get as much out of Jameer Nelson, who looked decent last season in Orlando? Tough call, but Raymond Felton is also with the Mavericks and Devin Harris can still play some point. He might be the one who’s out there in the fourth quarter.

Depth might be an issue for Dallas. Harris, Brandan Wright, Felton, Jae Crowder and Al-Farouq Aminu is not exactly the best second unit in the sport, but in Dirk and Rick we trust.

5. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Kevin Durant’s injury is potentially crippling in several ways.

Long story short, if the Thunder struggle badly in Durant’s absence, they could slip to sixth or seventh in the Western Conference. Yeah, the conference is that good.

That’s not to say OKC can’t win in that slot in the postseason, but it’ll be much harder.

I’m firmly in the camp that believes Oklahoma City will be in trouble without Durant. If you can get past the obvious nature of that statement, I’ll elaborate.

Russell Westbrook will be the primary scorer, a role he’ll have no qualms about embracing. He’s going to shoot the ball a lot. A whole lot. That’s going to be tough to get out of his system once Durant returns.

Once Durant does come back, OKC should be just fine. The Thunder will win a lot of games because Durant is just that good. He’s not as complete as James, but he’s the league’s best scorer and his overall game improved during his MVP campaign of last season.

The real problem for the Thunder this season might be that they didn’t improve much from last season. Oklahoma City lost out on the Pau Gasol sweepstakes and their big move in the offseason was the signing of Anthony Morrow. He’s most likely the starting shooting guard because Sefolosha left for Atlanta.

Reggie Jackson is still going to be the primary two when a game matters, but Kendrick Perkins is on the decline. He’s still the starting center. Andre Roberson, Perry Jones or Lance Thomas will replace Durant in the starting lineup.

The Thunder weren’t good enough last season and didn’t improve. Durant’s injury makes them slightly worse this season.

4. CHICAGO BULLS

A healthy Derrick Rose makes the Bulls a title contender. The Derrick Rose of the last two seasons makes the Bulls the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

He looks good on the court. If that is the case, the Bulls are going to be tough every night. Head coach Tom Thibodeau is the best defensive mind in the sport, so you’re always going to get a tough draw against Chicago.

There’s a reason why I like the Bulls more this season, again, assuming Rose is healthy. They improved.

The Bulls were a mess offensively, especially late in games. Rose will help that, but Chicago also desperately needed more skill on that side of the court and, if a shooter came along, that would be great.

Enter Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic.

Gasol will replace Carlos Boozer and that’s a win for the Bulls. Gasol may be oldish, but he put up some decent numbers last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Plus, he’s probably over the moon to not have to deal with D’Antoni’s system which did not maximize his talents a little bit.

McDermott was acquired in a draft-night trade. He has incredible range. Will he play a lot in the rotation? That remains to be seen, but I hope he does. Great shooters should have a role no matter how bad he is defensively.

Mirotic came from overseas and is a highly skilled big man with handle. Again, does Thibs trust him out of the gate? Hopefully, because if both these men play, the Bulls are legit 10 deep.

Joakim Noah is one of the best defensive players in the league, an incredibly gifted passer and the possessor of the worst-looking jump shot outside my two- year-old.

The Bulls have the correct mix for a championship run. Again, if Rose stays healthy.

3. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

The Clippers have to be excited about this upcoming season. Not only are they loaded, they don’t have the burden of the Donald Sterling nonsense to deal with DURING THE PLAYOFFS, like last season.

Steve Ballmer is the owner and he’d get me excited to eat sushi. The team loves him and, most of all, the fan base is going to love him. They’re also going to love this team, but the roster is packed to the gills with talent.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are MVP candidates in a LeBron-less world. They might cancel each other out in voting, but both are deserving.

Paul is the best point guard in the world, an underrated defensive force and angry about how the postseason ended (his mistake).

Griffin is a freak tornado that comes through town. He’s improved his range, which was long my problem with his game, and vows to handle things better when other teams push him around to get a rise out of him.

The other biggest problem the Clippers faced last season was a lack of depth behind Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, who is in a contract year. Spencer Hawes was signed and he’s going to be really effective. He’s a great passer and shooter for a big man and he’ll back up both players and see a lot of playing time.

Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick, Glen Davis, Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Jordan Farmar round out the roster. They’re a little thin at small forward, but Crawford will play at the end of games.

Doc Rivers is a top-two coach in the league and now that everything is good in Clipper-ville, this team has a very real chance of winning the NBA title.

2. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

LeBron James decided to put the city of Cleveland on his shoulders. He indicated it would take longer than in Miami to win a title, but that was before Kevin Love came to town.

James, Love and Kyrie Irving make the best trio in the league. Defending this team will be a nightmare. Any combination of the three in a pick-and-pop scenario will be impossible to stop.

Imagine Love throwing those amazing outlet passes to a streaking LeBron. Oof.

The Cavs aren’t perfect. Love and Irving have never been in the spotlight, nor have they ever been in the playoffs. Those are both reasonable concerns. Thank goodness LeBron is there to lead them.

Also, depth is an issue in Cleveland. Anderson Varejao is the starting center, but hasn’t played near a full season since 2009-10. Dion Waiters has been a combustible element for his whole career. Mike Miller is so-so.

I loved the Shawn Marion signing and maybe he could play in a small lineup with Love and James.

There’s also the fact that David Blatt has never been a head coach in the NBA. His first gig is with the traveling circus and expectations are staggering in Cleveland.

But the Cavs have earned the preseason adulation. They are extremely potent on offense. They will have issues on defense because James, Marion and maybe Tristan Thompson are good defensively.

It all won’t matter since James is so clearly at the top of his game. No matter what team he signed with would have become a contender, except for Philadelphia. The team bolstered the roster with the Love trade and should be the best team in the East.

For a team with so many mild question marks, having James as the leader means the world. He makes everything better. He’s handled everything in his career, from mild adversity, inexperienced head coach and suffocating expectations.

1. SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Take the defending champions, who embarrassed the Big Three in stunning fashion, add very little, take away nothing, and you have the best team in the sport.

The Spurs’ biggest summer move was Tim Duncan staying active. Tony Parker signed a contract extension. Manu Ginobili skipped the World Cup to heal a stress fracture in his leg.

Kawhi Leonard is fresh off a Finals MVP and ready for a max deal. Boris Diaw, the revelation of the Finals with his passing skills, re-upped.

The only bad thing is that Patty Mills, the electrifying guard off the bench, will miss a few months with a shoulder injury. Other than that, nothing hideous happened to the defending champs.

Admittedly, motivation might be hard for a group that won five titles in 16 years. The spark for last season’s title came from the heart-wrenching loss in the previous Finals.

The motivation comes from Gregg Popovich - the master and commander.

Pop is the best in the world. He’s the best professional coach in sports. He tweaked the starting lineup in the Finals and pummeled the Heat. He gave Leonard a pep talk and he won MVP. If motivating this self-starting group was ever to be an issue, Pop would make sure it wasn’t.

When you don’t mess with greatness, you stay great. The Spurs are greatness.  ~~  Jim Brighters ~~



The Gilmer Free Press

►   Rounding Third: Royals follow familiar script to even series

The Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants are in the World Series because of their bullpens.

In Game 2 on Wednesday one of those units delivered, the other did not and now the best-of-seven set will head to the Bay Area tied at a game apiece.

Kansas City’s bullpen was once again phenomenal, while San Francisco’s relief corps imploded, as the Royals scored five times in a wild sixth inning en route to a 7-2 win.

Ladies and gentlemen ... we have a series.

The Royals’ historic triumvirate of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland came into this matchup having pitched to a 0.61 ERA this postseason. It was more of the same in Game 2 for the group some are saying might be the best of all-time.

They certainly looked the part on Wednesday, tossing 3 2/3 more masterful innings, recording six of the 11 outs via strikeout.

With the score tied at 2-2, Herrera came on in relief of young Yordano Ventura with one out and two on in the sixth. He quickly got out of the jam and had to work out of another one in the seventh, as he walked a pair of batters. But Davis struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth and Holland closed it out by striking out three in the ninth.

As good as Kansas City’s bullpen was, San Francisco’s was just as bad, particularly flamethrower Hunter Strickland, who served up a postseason record-tying fifth home run. He then embarrassed himself even further by yelling at Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who had scored on Omar Infante’s two-run homer.

San Francisco tied a World Series record by using five pitchers in the sixth.

Statistically, the Giants’ pen entered the Series with better numbers than the Royals’ group. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, though, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d argue they were the better unit.

Maybe the bigger story was the fact that the Royals were able to find some offense after managing just five runs in their previous three games and looking absolutely lost against Madison Bumgarner in Game 1.

On Wednesday, though, they stuck to the script that got them here. They got timely hits, Lorenzo Cain was involved, they used their speed to their advantage, and, of course, hit a home run.

They even flashed a little leather.

It was the type of win we’ve become accustomed to this postseason from the Royals.

As much momentum as the Giants had after Bumgarner’s marvelous effort, you almost get the feeling that they might not win again until the next time he takes the hill.

By that time they could be facing elimination.

STARTERS STRUGGLE

The bullpens played such a big role in Game 2 because neither starter was able to get out of the sixth inning.

Ventura gave up a leadoff home run to Gregor Blanco, but settled down until that sixth frame. He came into the series with questions surrounding his shoulder, but he hit 100 mph on the radar gun in the first inning.

Something worth noting going forward, the 23-year-old rookie has now thrown over 200 innings this season.

As for San Francisco starter Jake Peavy, well, he looked as if he wouldn’t last two innings, but the former NL Cy Young winner managed to gut his way through five-plus innings and was charged with four runs and six hits

Peavy’s numbers in eight postseason starts: 29 ER, 47 hits, 37 innings, 7.05 ERA.

You have to wonder if he gets another shot in this series.

GAME 2 WINNERS

This marks the 57th time that the Fall Classic has been knotted at one game apiece.

Of the previous 56 times it has happened, the winner of Game 2 has gone on to capture the Series on 29 occasions. However, that has been the case on just two of nine occasions since 1993, those being Anaheim in 2002 and the New York Yankees in 2009. The 1993 Phillies, 1997 Indians, 2003 Yankees, 2006 Tigers, 2008 Rays, 2011 Rangers and 2013 Cardinals all won Game 2 to square the Fall Classic but went on to lose the Series.

The team winning Game 3 in a 1-1 series, though, has gone on to win the title in four of the last five and 11 of the last 13 instances.

PANDA CONTINUES TO ADD TO POSTSEASON LEGACY

With his double in the fourth inning, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval has now reached base safely in a franchise-record 25 consecutive playoff games dating back to Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS.

The only players with longer postseason on-base streaks are Miguel Cabrera (31) and Chase Utley (27).



The Gilmer Free Press

►   Diagnosing the need for a blockbuster trade

To decide whether or not to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade might be one of the hardest decisions in fantasy football.

As great as some waiver wire acquisitions are, they often only help keep the status quo. Making a splash with the right trade will give many teams that missing championship piece.

Before even thinking about trades, owners have to do heavy analysis of their team. There are four major ways I evaluate my teams: overall record, points scored, the median score, and position-by-position.

No explanation is needed for the importance of record, but it often does not tell the whole story.

Points is probably the best indication of how well a team is really performing. Even if a team is sitting at 4-3 or 3-4 going into Week 8, there is no need to worry if that team is ranked in the top half of the league in scoring. As long as the team can maintain that pace for points scored, the record should begin to reflect the points.

Points, though, also does not tell the whole story. Some teams may be 5-2, have the second most points scored, thus giving that team also the second best mean average. But perhaps two monster point totals the first two weeks of the season is keeping that average high.

That’s why the median score is also important. The median average, or three middle scores out of seven, will give owners an even better idea of their team’s expected production every week.

But when it comes down to it, when diagnosing trades, an owner has to go with his gut. Even though there are no locker rooms in fantasy football, an owner needs to have the pulse of his team and react on instinct.

My instinct told me my 4-3 team, even ranked second in points and not far behind in median score, needed a lift.

I have a plethora of running back depth with Le’Veon Bell, Andre Ellington, Branden Oliver, Ben Tate, Joique Bell and Ronnie Hillman. Before you send compliments my way, it’s an eight-team league. Philip Rivers has been my everyday quarterback, but with Tony Romo joining the squad this week, I expect to run the classic Jim Leyland platoon at quarterback.

Demaryius Thomas, Kelvin Benjamin, Michael Floyd, Keenan Allen, and Kendall Wright are my wideouts. Dwayne Allen is my replacement at tight end until Jimmy Graham is healthy again.

The depth of this team is its strength, but my instincts told me it needed something to put it over the top. Trading for Arian Foster took me to the summit in 2010, and acquiring Antonio Brown did the same last season. Sitting at 4-3 but with the second most points scored, I felt like my team needed a jolt.

Dez Bryant is the type of player that will give your team a jolt.

I had to give up some depth in Oliver and Floyd, and normally I like to wait a few more weeks to make sure my team is not hit with the injury bug before shedding depth. Running Thomas and Bryant out on the fantasy field as my two wide receivers, however, was too tough to pass up.

There is one other form of evaluation I mentioned above: position-by-position. WR2 has been the weakness position on my team.

Bryant averages 11.9 points per game and has an even higher median. My WR2 in seven games, a combination of Cordarrelle Patterson, who has since been dropped, Allen, and Benjamin, averaged 5.01 points. Bryant’s lowest score of the year is higher than that.

Two of my three losses this season were by eight or fewer points. Bryant would have likely won me those games.

As great as the Chargers offense has been, the move also allows my team to not be so San Diego centric. It is hard for me to part ways with Oliver. He has averaged 18.8 points in the last three games, which is excellent production for a FLEX, but he is not going to win me a championship.

Ryan Mathews plans to return Week 11, so Oliver may see a reduction in carries. Even if Oliver maintains his production, our league’s playoffs are Weeks 15 and 16. San Diego takes on Denver and San Francisco those Sundays. With a championship on the line, I want no part of those running defenses.

As for Floyd, he is a viable WR2 option even in a eight-team league, but with his quarterback issues this year, he hasn’t been able to crack my starting lineup. Meanwhile, Bryant gives me the best wide receiver tandem in the league.

Final analysis, Bryant is a huge upgrade at WR2 while Bell and Tate should fill in sufficiently at the FLEX and provide enough depth in case of injury. With a championship or bust mind set, it is the best move.

After careful evaluation of the statistics and pulse of my team, my football intellect and gut told me to go for the big splash trade.


►   Week 8 player fantasy rankings - quarterbacks

It doesn’t take a lot of inside information or studying to select Peyton Manning as your top quarterback most weekends.

It’s even easier when he’s playing as well as he has been over the past year and a half. Add in that his opponent, San Diego, is likely missing two pieces of their secondary (Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett) and you can’t select anyone other than Manning as the top choice in Week 8.

Manning and his Broncos will start the week off on Thursday night hosting the Chargers.

The Green Bay Packers will face off in New Orleans on Sunday for a battle between two elite quarterbacks and fantasy owners need to be involved in this one.

Smart fantasy owners will have one of the two quarterbacks in their lineup, or failing that, a top receiver as this game figures to light up the scoreboard (O/U is 56) and fill up the box score.

Aaron Rodgers has thrown 17 touchdown passes in his last six games without a single interception. He’s thrown for at least three scores in his last four contests. The only thing fantasy owners can complain about is that Rodgers has earned the 300-yard passing bonus just two times this season. He’s our No. 2 choice in Week 8.

On the other sideline from Rodgers will be Drew Brees, who has thrown for 340 yards or more in three consecutive games. He’s also thrown two touchdowns passes in five straight games. In five career games versus the Packers, Brees is averaging 380.8 ypg with 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’ll come in at No. 4.

Andrew Luck has been the best fantasy quarterback in the league over the first seven weeks, cracking the 300-yard mark in six of seven games. With the Pittsburgh Steelers defense not up to it’s usual standards and a short work week off the Monday night game in Week 7, Luck should continue to roll.

This might not be the week to start Jay Cutler. The Bears locker room doesn’t appear to be a happy place after a Brandon Marshall blowup following a 27-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 7. Rumors have angry words between Marshall and his favorite quarterback. Marshall will in all likelihood be lined up against Darrelle Revis and after his tongue lashing, Cutler figures to try harder than usual to get him the ball. Challenging Revis is rarely a good idea. That’s why Cutler is ranked all the way down at No. 13 this weekend.

Top-25 Quarterback Rankings

—————————————-

1) Peyton Manning, Denver

2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

3) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis

4) Drew Brees, New Orleans

5) Tom Brady, New England

6) Tony Romo, Dallas

7) Russell Wilson, Seattle

8) Nick Foles, Philadelphia

9) Philip Rivers, San Diego

10) Joe Flacco, Baltimore

11) Matt Ryan, Atlanta

12) Matt Stafford, Detroit

13) Jay Cutler, Chicago

14) Cam Newton, Carolina

15) Ryan Tannehill, Miami

16) Carson Palmer, Arizona

17) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

18) Andy Dalton, Cincinnati

19) Brian Hoyer, Cleveland

20) Alex Smith, Kansas City

21) Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay

22) Colt McCoy, Washington

23) Derek Carr, Oakland

24) Austin Davis, St. Louis

25) Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota


►   Week 8 player fantasy rankings - wide receivers

Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is the hottest player in fantasy football. Not the hottest receiver. The hottest of anyone, anywhere, including his well-publicized, record-setting quarterback.

Thomas has put together three monster games in a row, beginning with a 226- yard, two-touchdown performance against Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals. He then caught 10 balls for 124 yards and a score in New York against the Jets. Finally, last Sunday night he toasted the 49ers secondary for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

That’s a total of 521 yards and five touchdown in three games worth 105.1 fantasy points (35 ppg).

He’ll be facing a San Diego secondary minus two pieces, Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett and on a short work week, which makes them particularly vulnerable to a Peyton Manning air assault.

Green Bay’s top receiver this season is Jordy Nelson and the Packers’ receiver should put up big number down in New Orleans Sunday night. His quarterback, Aaron Rodgers has been spectacular of late with four consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes. Nelson has caught at least one of those scores and cracked the 100-yard mark in every “even-numbered week.“ In what should be the highest scoring game of Week 8, Nelson should be it’s top receiver.

What can’t Antonio Brown do. So far this season he’s proven to the best fantasy receiver, he’s also a top punt returner and last Monday night he threw a touchdown pass to Lance Moore. Sunday his Steelers with have to put up a big point total if they want to stay with the Indianapolis Colts and their fantasy star Andrew Luck.

The Week 8 ranking does not include Calvin Johnson, who is in London with his Detroit Lions teammates, but still questionable and likely a game-time decision. At least the good news is that you will know whether he is playing or sitting before any other Sunday game due to the 9:30 AM ET start and can adjust your lineup accordingly. As of Thursday, we do not expect him to start as Detroit (5-2 and leading the NFC North) has a bye in Week 9 and can afford to wait until he is completely healed when the Lions return to the field for a Week 10 matchup against Miami.

With Johnson expected to sit again, Golden Tate will continue to be a top-10 fantasy wideout. He has posted three 100-yard plus receiving totals in the last four games.

Two guys who were expected to produce in a big way in 2014, Keenan Allen and Percy Harvin, continue their downward slide.

Allen was a pleasant surprise last season as a rookie, posting 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. Unfortunately, defenses have adapted to him by using press coverage and he’s struggled over the first seven games. He probably won’t come out of it Thursday either, as the Broncos huge pass rush is likely to force Philip Rivers into a short-passing game.

The Jets’ newly-acquired Harvin will play his first game for his third team in two seasons. He has as much talent as anyone, but hasn’t been able to turn that into points for fantasy owners on a consistent basis. Given the short time to learn the Jets offense, he’ll likely be limited to just a few plays this weekend. You will find Harvin at No. 44 for Week 8.

Top-50 Wide Receiver Rankings

——————————————-

1) Demaryius Thomas, Denver

2) Jordy Nelson, Green Bay

3) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh

4) Julio Jones, Atlanta

5) Brandon Marshall, Chicago

6) Dez Bryant, Dallas

7) Randall Cobb, Green Bay

8) T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis

9) Golden Tate, Detroit

10) A.J.Green, Cincinnati

11) Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia

12) Mike Wallace, Miami

13) Alshon Jeffery, Chicago

14) Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore

15) Emmanuel Sanders, Denver

16) Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina

17) Michael Floyd, Arizona

18) Sammy Watkins, Buffalo

19) Doug Baldwin, Seattle

20) Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay

21) Pierre Garcon, Washington

22) Julian Edelman, New England

23) Andre Johnson, Houston

24) Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

25) Terrance Williams, Dallas

26) DeSean Jackson, Washington

27) Roddy White, Atlanta

28) Wes Welker, Denver

29) DeAndre Hopkins, Houston

30) Marques Colston, New Orleans

31) Keenan Allen, San Diego

32) Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati

33) Eric Decker, New York Jets

34) Malcolm Floyd, San Diego

35) Kendall Wright, Tennessee

36) Brandin Cooks, New Orleans

37) Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland

38) Andre Holmes, Oakland

39) Torrey Smith, Baltimore

40) Brian Quick, St. Louis

41) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay

42) Davante Adams, Green Bay

43) Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville

44) Percy Harvin, New York Jets

45) Justin Hunter, Tennessee

46) Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota

47) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City

48) James Jones, Oakland

49) Eddie Royal, San Diego

50) Miles Austin, Cleveland


►   Week 8 player fantasy rankings - running backs

It really is not a tough decision in deciding who our No. 1 running back for Week 8 is, yet again.

After rushing for at least 100 yards in each game, through the first seven weeks of the NFL season, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray finds himself not only in the league MVP chatter, but also atop our running back rankings.

Owners do need to be aware that Dallas’ opponent, the Washington Redskins are fifth best in points against running backs (12.68 fantasy points per game), according to Yahoo. However, with the way the Cowboys’ offensive line is playing, we have confidence that Murray will be able to put up another big total.

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte continues to be as steady as they come, and as a result, he comes in as our second-ranked tailback of the week. Believe it or not, Forte has rushed for over 100 yards just once this season, yet he still has compiled the second-most fantasy points amongst halfbacks, with 116.4, behind only Murray.

The reason why Forte is able to produce at such a high level is because he excels in the passing game, having compiled 52 receptions for 436 yards and two scores. That ranks 21st in the NFL in receiving yards, among all players, while no other running back is in the top-45.

Boy, oh boy, do we love Marshawn Lynch heading into Week 8. He has a juicy matchup against the Carolina Panthers, who give up the second-most fantasy points to running backs (24 points per game), and with the Seahawks on a two- game losing streak, we feel it is time for the team to get back to what has made them so successful over the past few years. That’s pounding the ball on the ground with Lynch. He has not rushed for a 100 yards since Week 1, and owners should expect that trend to come to an end this week in Carolina.

There are a few high-risk, high-reward players ranked in the area from No 10 through No. 20 in our rankings this week.

The first guy to take note of is Denver running back Ronnie Hillman. He has started the past two games for the Broncos, and has produced admirably, with a total of 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns. To go along with his success on the ground, Hillman has also contributed in the passing game, catching seven balls for 45 yards, during that span. As long as he is able to hang onto the football, he’s had fumbling problems in the past, we feel that Hillman will continue to climb up the chart, while Montee Ball is sidelined. And even when Ball returns, we are not convinced that he will regain the starting job. As a result, owners should continue to start Hillman with confidence.

The New England Patriots continue to frustrate fantasy owners. Coming into Week 7, almost everybody felt that Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen would be the benefactors of the unfortunate injury to Stevan Ridley.

While Vereen produced his best game of the season with 23.4 fantasy points, Bolden barely even saw the field. Rookie Jonas Gray took on the role that Bolden was expected the receive, but nevertheless the Patriots’ backfield continues to be a mystery, as Gray still only saw three total carries. So, even after a breakout performance by Vereen, and while we feel he will continue to put up numbers for the duration of the season, we cannot put him in our top-15 until we see more of what New England’s plan of attack is. Coach Bill Belichick is as unpredictable as they come, making it necessary for owners to keep one eye on New England’s rushing strategy every Sunday.

Top-50 Running Back Rankings

——————————————

1) DeMarco Murray, Dallas

2) Matt Forte, Chicago

3) Marshawn Lynch, Seattle

4) Arian Foster, Houston

5) Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh

6) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City

7) LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia

8) Andre Ellington, Arizona

9) Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati

10) Ben Tate, Cleveland

11) Eddie Lacy, Green Bay

12) Lamar Miller, Miami

13) Branden Oliver, San Diego

14) Ronnie Hillman, Denver

15) Alfred Morris, Washington

16) Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota

17) Shane Vereen, New England

18) Justin Forsett, Baltimore

19) Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis

20) Joique Bell, Detroit

21) Denard Robinson, Jacksonville

22) Reggie Bush, Detroit

23) Trent Richardson, Indianapolis

24) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay

25) Darren McFadden, Oakland

26) Chris Ivory, New York Jets

27) Bishop Sankey, Tennessee

28) Mark Ingram, New Orleans

29) Jonathan Stewart, Carolina

30) Bryce Brown, Buffalo

31) Khiry Robinson, New Orleans

32) Tre Mason, St. Louis

33) Jonas Gray, New England

34) Antone Smith, Atlanta

35) Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati

36) Steven Jackson, Atlanta

37) Anthony Dixon, Buffalo

38) Darren Sproles, Philadelphia

39) Benny Cunningham, St. Louis

40) Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland

41) Chris Johnson, New York Jets

42) Bernard Pierce, Baltimore

43) Zac Stacy, St. Louis

44) James Starks, Green Bay

45) LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh

46) Matt Asiata, Minnesota

47) Storm Johnson, Jacksonville

48) Alfred Blue, Houston

49) Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay

50) Darrin Reaves, Carolina


►   Week 8 player fantasy rankings - tight ends

It is hard not to like any member of the Denver Broncos’ offense, and the guy who starts at tight end for this team, is no exception.

Julius Thomas comes in as our top-ranked tight end, which should come as no surprise, since he leads the NFL with nine touchdown receptions. He is clearly one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets in the red zone, and with how dynamic the offense really is, Thomas continues to see favorable matchups throughout each game. Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers should be no different, as we expect Thomas to find the end zone at least one more time.

Greg Olsen has quietly put together an impressive season, thus far, and according to Yahoo, he is second in fantasy points among tight ends, with 79.3 points, trailing only Thomas (84.4). He leads all tight ends with 493 receiving yards on 41 receptions (tied with Martellus Bennett), and combined with scoring five touchdowns, Olsen is an easy choice for us to rank in our top-two. With Carolina facing off against Seattle at home, Olsen has an enticing matchup, as the Seahawks have given up the third most fantasy points, to opposing tight ends, allowing 12.68 points per game. Owners have no reason to keep Olsen out of their lineups, not only for Week 8, but also for the rest of the season.

One of the only sure things on the New England Patriots’ offense, is Rob Gronkowski. While he is not on pace for a 20-touchdown season, Gronkowski has been solid in 2014. He is fifth among tight ends with 64.9 fantasy points, and is fourth in receiving yards (409). Owners would like to see Gronk’s touchdown total go up, as he has only four. However, we feel that those numbers could be coming at any moment because he seems to be fully healthy, and with Tom Brady finding his groove, New England’s quarterback trusts nobody more in the red zone, than Gronkowski.

One player that is trending down is Titans’ tight end Delanie Walker. He has not scored a touchdown since Week 4, and has also failed to produce more than 5.7 fantasy points in a game since that week as well. With the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position in Tennessee, all of the playmakers have been clearly affected, and Walker is simply part of the crew. The Titans face off against the Houston Texans, who let up only 6.52 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, and while we still have Walker ranked in our top-10, if owners have other options, it may be time to consider them.

A guy who could be a potential sleeper this week is Miami tight end Charles Clay. He is coming off his best game of the season, as he had four receptions for 58 yards and his first touchdown. While those numbers are nothing to write home about, Clay is coming off a 2013 season where he had a solid 69 catches for 759 yards and six scores. Those numbers prove Clay can produce in the NFL and with a plus matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who give up the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (12.12 points per game), we feel that Clay is clearly on the rise.

Top-25 Tight End Rankings

————————————-

1) Julius Thomas, Denver

2) Greg Olsen, Carolina

3) Rob Gronkowski, New England

4) Martellus Bennett, Chicago

5) Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

6) Jordan Reed, Washington

7) Antonio Gates, San Diego

8) Jordan Cameron, Cleveland

9) Delanie Walker, Tennessee

10) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

11) Jason Witten, Dallas

12) Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis

13) Owen Daniels, Baltimore

14) Heath Miller, Pittsburgh

15) Coby Fleener, Indianapolis

16) Charles Clay, Miami

17) Travis Kelce, Kansas City

18) Jared Cook, St. Louis

19) Clay Harbor, Jacksonville

20) Jace Amaro, New York Jets

21) Ben Watson, New Orleans

22) Andrew Quarless, Green Bay

23) Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati

24) Eric Ebron, Detroit

25) Tim Wright, New England


►   Week 8 player fantasy rankings - kickers

Round up all the usual suspects at place-kicker for Week 8.

Stephen Gostkowski, Dan Bailey, Adam Vinatieri, Caleb Sturgis and Blair Walsh all face teams that rank in the top 10 most fantasy points allowed to kickers. Each one should have big weeks.

Cody Parkey, Chandler Catanzaro and Justin Tucker also find themselves in the top 10 this week due to recent hot streaks. Parkey had a bye last week, but had back-to-back double-digit fantasy totals in Weeks 5 and 6.

Tucker has posted at least nine fantasy points the last three weeks and Catanzaro, the Cardinals rookie, has not scored lower than seven fantasy points in any game this season.

Catanzaro is 15-for-15 kicking field goals with a long of 51 yards to start his career.

Nick Folk lands just outside the top 10 for Week 8 only because of his team. The New York Jets offense averages just 17.3 points per game, which is tied for fifth lowest in the league.

If there are owners that believe Folk can continue to have fantasy success, like he did in New England, despite the Jets offense, Folk is definitely a top-10 kicker. We, however, do not have faith in Geno Smith.

Folk was 4-for-5 with an extra point against the Patriots in Week 7. His only miss was blocked on a 58-yard desperation try in the final seconds to win the game.

Brandon McManus, Nick Novak and Matt Bryant all average seven fantasy points per game, but they each have tough matchups this Sunday. It would be wise to stay away from them in standard 12-team leagues.

Top-25 Kicker Rankings

———————————

1) Stephen Gostkowski, New England

2) Dan Bailey, Dallas

3) Cody Parkey, Philadelphia

4) Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis

5) Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona

6) Justin Tucker, Baltimore

7) Steven Hauschka, Seattle

8) Caleb Sturgis, Miami

9) Mason Crosby, Green Bay

10) Blair Walsh, Minnesota

11) Matt Prater, Detroit

12) Billy Cundiff, Cleveland

13) Nick Folk, New York Jets

14) Shayne Graham, New Orleans

15) Brandon McManus, Denver

16) Nick Novak, San Diego

17) Matt Bryant, Atlanta

18) Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis

19) Randy Bullock, Houston

20) Cairo Santos, Kansas City

21) Graham Gano, Carolina

22) Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh

23) Dan Carpenter, Buffalo

24) Robbie Gould, Chicago

25) Mike Nugent, Cincinnati


►   Week 8 player fantasy rankings - defense

The top defense for Week 8 is only owned in about half of all Yahoo leagues and that is after a 37 percent increase on Tuesday.

The Miami Dolphins will head up I-95 to visit Jacksonville on Sunday. Even in the Jaguars victory last week, Jacksonville allowed eight fantasy points against Cleveland. In the previous six games, all losses, Jacksonville allowed double-digit points.

Miami had double-digit points on the road versus the Bears last Sunday, so stick with the Dolphins another week.

Detroit has been the second-best fantasy defense this season. Keep in mind, the Lions are playing in London in an unprecedented 9:30 AM ET start, but that should not prevent Detroit from putting pressure on Matt Ryan. The Falcons will be starting an undrafted rookie center, a beat up left tackle, a veteran left guard coming off a back injury and a struggling right tackle.

Actual real-life Lions at The London Zoo do not have easier feeding times.

Seattle falls out of the top-10 even against the average Carolina offense due to the lack of big plays for the Seattle defense this season. The Seahawks have just five turnovers this season and are in the bottom 10 in fantasy points. They haven’t scored double-digit points since Week 1 and have two games with negative points.

The Buccaneers, Jets and Redskins defenses all have favorable matchups, but we would still rather start the Cardinals, Broncos and Chargers defenses in bad matchups. Don’t overanalyze the matchup, start the better defense.

Top-25 Defense/Special Teams Rankings

——————————————————-

1) Miami Dolphins

2) Detroit Lions

3) Houston Texans

4) Buffalo Bills

5) New England Patriots

6) Philadelphia Eagles

7) Indianapolis Colts

8) Dallas Cowboys

9) Kansas City Chiefs

10) Green Bay Packers

11) Cleveland Browns

12) Seattle Seahawks

13) Baltimore Ravens

14) Minnesota Vikings

15) Tennessee Titans

16) Arizona Cardinals

17) San Diego Chargers

18) Denver Broncos

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20) New York Jets

21) Washington Redskins

22) Jacksonville Jaguars

23) Cincinnati Bengals

24) Atlanta Falcons

25) Pittsburgh Steelers

The Gilmer Free Press


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24TH


WVSSAC Football
 
Class A
Gilmer County (3-4)  at   #5 Notre Dame (5-2)
Calhoun County (2-6)  at   Wirt County (0-7)
#5 Doddridge County (6-1)  at   #15 Valley - Wetzel (5-2)
#1 St. Marys (7-0)  at   South Harrison (4-3)
#8 Tyler Consolidated (5-2)  at   Magnolia (2-5)
Parkersburg Catholic (2-5)  at   #11 Williamstown (5-2)
 
Class AA
Webster County (2-5)  at   Braxton County (2-6)
Ritchie County (3-5)      BYE WEEK
Herbert Hoover (4-3   at   Roane County (3-4)
#9 Ravenswood (6-1)  at   Clay County (4-3)
#11 Robert C. Byrd (5-2)  at   North Marion (0-7)
#1 Bridgeport (7-1)      BYE WEEK
Sissonville (4-3)  at   #15 Liberty - Harrison (5-3)
Lincoln (2-6)  at   Grafton (3-4)
#6 Nicholas County (6-1)  at   Midland Trail - A (0-7)
Philip Barbour (1-7)      BYE WEEK
 
Class AAA
#12 Lewis County (6-2)  at   Elkins (3-4)
#13 Fairmont Sr. - AA (5-2)  at   #14 Buckhannon-Upshur (5-2)
#10 Parkersburg South (5-2)  at   Greenbrier East (4-4)


Major League Baseball - World Series
Kansas City at San Francisco, 8:07 PM - FOX


National Basketball Association - Preseason
New York at Toronto, 7:30 PM - MSG, TSN2
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:00 PM - CSN-Chicago
San Antonio at Houston, 8:00 PM - CSN-Houston, NBA TV
Miami at Memphis, 8:00 PM - SunSports
Sacramento at LA Lakers, 10:00 PM - Time Warner Cable
Portland at LA Clippers, 10:30 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, NBA TV


National Hockey League
Dallas at New Jersey, 7:00 PM - FS-Southwest, MSG+, DSS
Tampa Bay at Winnipeg, 8:00 PM - SunSports, TSN3, DSS
Vancouver at Colorado, 9:00 PM - SNET, Altitude, DSS
Carolina at Edmonton, 9:30 PM - SportSouth, SNET-West, DSS
Columbus at Anaheim, 10:00 PM - FS-Ohio, Prime Ticket, DSS


Canadian Football League
Montreal at Ottawa, 6:30 PM - TSN, RDS, ESPN3.com
Saskatchewan at Calgary, 9:30 PM - TSN, ESPN3.com


College Football
So Florida at Cincinnati, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Troy at South Alabama, 7:30 PM - ESPN U
BYU at Boise State, 9:00 PM - ESPN
Oregon at California, 10:00 PM - FS1


College Hockey
Michigan at Massachusetts-Lowell, 7:15 PM - NESN
Bemidji State at Minnesota, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network


Major League Soccer
Houston at Chicago, 8:00 PM - NBCSN


International Soccer
Fulham FC vs. Charlton Athletic FC, 2:40 PM - beIN Sport
CONCACAF Semifinal (Women’s), 7:30 PM - FS1


Golf
PGA - McGladrey Classic, 2:00 PM - Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - AT&T Championship, 5:00 PM - Golf Channel
LPGA - Blue Bay LPGA, 11:30 PM - Golf Channel


Auto Racing
SPRINT CUP - Goody’s Headache Relief 500 practice, 12:00 PM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - Kroger 200 practice, 1:30 PM - FS1
CAMPING WORLD - Kroger 200 practice, 3:00 PM - FS1
SPRINT CUP - Goody’s Headache Relief 500 qualifying, 4:30 PM - FS1

Halloween Masquerade Dance - 11.01.14

The Gilmer Free Press

Logan Gage Bennett

The Gilmer Free Press

Bradley Bennett and Laura Smith of Weston, WV announce the birth of their son, Logan Gage Bennett.

He was born Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital of Weston.

The little boy weighed 6-pounds, 6-ounces.

He is the couple’s first child.

The mother is a homemaker and the father is employed by Aero Communication, Inc.

The maternal grandparents are Deborah and George Smith of Weston, WV.

Paternal grandparents are Douglas Bennett, Becky Haney of French Creek, WV and Charlotte Hall of Buckhannon, WV.

G-OB™: Little Kanawha Bus Is Now Hiring One Full Time or Part Time Driver

The Gilmer Free Press

Little Kanawha Bus Is Now Hiring One Full Time or Part Time Driver to Work in Gilmer County

Minimum Qualifications:

Individual must be 23 years of age or older. Individual must be able to pass a physical examination and be certified medically acceptable for work by the examining physician. Individual must be able to pass a back ground check and have no serious accidents in the past five years. Individual must be able to pass a Pre-Hire Drug test and enter a Random Drug and Alcohol Pool with other LKB employees upon their employment. Individual must be willing to take training in CPR, First Aide, PASS and other trainings requested. This position could be an asset for a retired individual that would like to supplement their income. Starting salary will be $8.00 an hour. Full time driver would receive vacation and sick leave. Insurance also available. Part time drivers do not receive benefits.

This position will be to transport in Gilmer County area and transport to Clarksburg, Flatwoods, and Weston on specific days and drive in Calhoun if needed on other days if hired for a part time position. If hired for a full time position individual would work in the office helping answer phones on days not driving.

Please call toll free at 1.866.354.5522 with any questions. Little Kanawha Bus is an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.


LETTERS OF INTERST AND RESUME MUST BE RECEIVED no later than 4:00 PM on October 31,  2014 TO THE FOLLOWING:

Darlene Crane/Manager
PO Box 387
Grantsville, WV 26147

Can also email: or fax to 304.354.6225

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