Category Archives: Sports

Best Sports Moments of the Decade, Year by Year

By Ronan Henderson

In a decade filled with some of the craziest plays ever, it would be much too difficult to pick the greatest sports moment of the decade. Therefore, starting with 2010 and going up, I will be ranking what I believe were the greatest sports moment of each year. 

2010 – New Orleans Starts 2nd half of Super Bowl with onside kick 

Image result for 2010 new orleans super bowl onside kick

In what will go down as one of the most gutsy play calls in the history of the NFL, Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints decided to kick an onside kick to start the second half of Superbowl XLIV. Whether it was a smart call or not, the play ultimately worked and the Saints went on to win the Superbowl 31-17 over the Indianapolis Colts. 

2011 – David Freese’s Heroics in Game 6 of the World Series

Image result for david freese world series 2011

With his team down 3-2 in the Series, and the Texas Rangers just out away from the title, St. Louis Cardinals’ third baseman David Freese stepped into the box. With men on first and second, it was believable to think that Freese might be able to work some magic. He did just that, hitting a two-run triple which ultimately tied the game up at 7 and forced extra innings. To make things even crazier, Freese got another at-bat in the bottom of the 11th, with the score tied 9-9. Sure enough, Freese came through again and delivered a solo shot that took the game for the Cardinals and forced a game 7. The Cardinals went on to win the Series.

2012 – Michael Phelps Thrives at London Olympics

Image result for michael phelps 2012

Michael Phelps. You hear the name and immediately think the greatest swimmer of all time, right? Phelps showcased that tremendously during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, winning four gold medals and two silver. This was one of his signature performances as a swimmer, and he will most certainly be known as the most decorated swimmer in Olympic history for decades to come. By the time he retired after the 2016 Games, he had accumulated a record-breaking 28 medals, the most of any Olympian in the history of the modern games.

2013 – Alabama Vs Auburn Ends in “Kick Six” as Time Expires

Image result for alabama auburn kick six

In what will go down as one of the craziest moments in not only college football history, but all of sports, the Auburn Tigers accomplished the unthinkable and sucked the life right out of the Crimson Tide. In the closing second of the 78th Iron Bowl, with a tied score of 28-28, Alabama head coach Nick Saban elected to try a 57-yard field goal rather than just take the game to overtime. Just as you would expect, the kick ultimately was short (it would be a difficult shot for an NFL kicker, let alone one in college) and Auburn had Chris Davis lined up under the posts. Davis would not only catch the short attempt, but take it 100 yards to the house in walkoff fashion. There has never been such a crazy ending to a college football game since.

2014 – Odell Beckham Jr. Makes Greatest Catch in NFL History

Image result for odell beckham jr 2014 catch

In the history of the NFL, it is safe to say that there have been some insane catches. It is also safe to say that Odell Beckham Jr. made one of the best. During a competitive game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, the rookie Beckham was on the receiving end of defensive pass interference by Brandon Carr. Rather than fall to the ground without looking, Beckham stayed with the play and went up for the catch, hauling it in with only three fingers. He also managed to keep both of his feet in bounds, which in itself was kind of amazing. In fact, this catch was so crazy that the jersey that Beckham wore that game is now sitting in the pro football Hall of Fame. 

2015 – Butler Intercepts Wilson with 2 Minutes Left to Clinch Patriots Super Bowl

Image result for butler 2015 interception super bowl

Super Bowl 49 was a heavyweight matchup between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks that lived up to the hype. For the majority of the game, the lead went back and forth. But with 7:55 left in regulation, the Patriots had a TD reception from Danny Amendola to make it 24-21. After a 3 and out, the Patriots got the ball back once again. On this drive, Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman with a 3-yard TD pass to make it a 28-24 game with 2 minutes remaining. Somehow, the game would get even more entertaining, with an absolute circus catch from Jermaine Kearse that set up the Seahawks perfectly for a TD. After getting stuffed on the next play, it was clear that the Seahawks were going to run the ball again with Marshawn Lynch. For some weird reason that sports fans still can’t understand to this day, Pete Caroll decided to do a slant pass. That is where the hero Malcolm Butler comes into play. With 26 seconds remaining on the clock, Butler read the pass by Wilson and ultimately picked him off, clinching the Patriots fourth Super Bowl title. As a sports fan, this game was an emotional rollercoaster, and by far the best of 2014.

2016 – Chicago Cubs Break 108-year World Series Drought

Image result for 2016 cubs world series

In one of the most exciting World Series matchups in recent memory, this 7-game heavyweight battle featured everything a sports fan could want. The Chicago Cubs’ return to the World Series had all sports fans wondering if it was finally the end of the curse. For the last 108 years, the Cubs had never won a World Series and had several “scapegoats” such as the Steve Bartman incident (a fan grabbed a foul ball that was still catchable in game 6 of the 2003 NLCS) and the black cat incident (feline runs in front of the Cubs dugout, cursing them and causing them to lose their divisional lead late in the 1969 season). The Cubs played with fans’ hearts when they went down three games to one to the Cleveland Indians. Two wins later, they found themselves 9 innings – or, in this case, it happened to be 10 innings – between either breaking or continuing the curse. The Cubs went up early in game 7, taking a 6-3 lead into the eighth inning. The Indians responded with an offense of their own and tied it up at 6. After a 15-minute rain delay that just completely killed the flow of the game, the 10th inning began. It ended with the Chicago Cubs as 2016 World Series champs. This whole series must be counted as one of the most entertaining ever, especially when you consider the rarity of a series ending in extra innings.

2017 – Patriots Comeback From 28-3 Deficit in Super Bowl

Image result for patriots 28-3 comeback

This was an obvious pick, considering it was one of the greatest comebacks in all of sports history. Trailing 28-3 with 2:08 left in the third quarter, it would have been easy for Patriots fans to give up. Like many other fans, though, I thought, “This is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. . . if anyone can make a 25-point comeback, it’s them.” A quarter later, the entire NFL fan base (aside from those rooting for the Atlanta Falcons) realized this was the greatest game ever played and that Tom Brady had solidified himself as the greatest quarterback of all time. Two James White TDs, a Danny Amendola TD, and a couple of 2-point conversions later, it was 28-28 headed into overtime. With this momentum, the whole world knew that if the Patriots won the coin toss they would drive the length of the field and score. Wide receiver Matthew Slater called “heads” and, sure enough, the Patriots won the toss. A series of 10-yard chunks and a 13-yard penalty put the Patriots in scoring position. (Insert Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” music) White ran to the left and kept on running to the New England Patriots fifth Super Bowl title. This game was not only the best sports moment of 2017, but in the history of the NFL.

2018 – #1 Seeded Virginia Upset by #16 UMBC in First Round of March Madness

Image result for virginia umbc 2018

Prior to the 2018 March Madness tournament, no 16th-seeded team had ever upset a top seed. To put that into perspective, teams seeded 16th have a 1-135 record vs number one seeds since the tournament was born. This was one of the craziest feats to happen this decade, especially considering that every March the headline is, “Will this be the year a 16th seed advances to the second round?” It is especially crazy to think that not only did the UMBC Retrievers upset Virginia, but it was a blowout. The final score was 74-54 in what will go down as one of the most historic games in NCAA basketball history.

2019 – Tiger Woods Wins the Masters

Image result for tiger woods 2019

In what is one of the most feel good stories of the decade, Tiger Woods won his first Masters since 2005. After jumping onto the scene in 1997 by winning his first major championship, Woods immediately won over golf fans with his elite play and energetic charisma. He continued to dominate for the better part of 15 years, winning 14 major championships. Unfortunately, after a series of personal scandals and injury after injury, both Tiger’s play – and the love he received from the fans – fell off the map. Finally, after 11 years without a major championship, Woods wrote the ultimate redemption story, thriving in his Sunday red en route to his 5th masters win. For a guy that had been through so much, you can’t help but love this story for both Tiger and for the sport of golf itself.

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/02/sports/world-series-score-cubs-indians.html

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2278065-odell-beckham-jr-makes-ridiculous-1-handed-td-catch-while-being-dragged-down

https://www.si.com/golf/2019/12/16/tiger-woods-2019-moments-masters-win-comeback

https://www.espn.com/nfl/game?gameId=400927752

https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22800763/umbc-pulled-most-unforgettable-did-just-see-upset-ncaa-tournament-history-knocking-no-1-overall-seed-virginia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upOmjohOvb4

https://www.mlb.com/news/memories-of-david-freese-2011-world-series

https://www.espn.com/nfl/game?gameId=400749027

 

Boston Players, Fans Primed for Stanley Cup Final

By Drew Murphy

To say the Boston Bruins have been amazing this year is an understatement. Tonight, they begin their 19th Stanley Cup Final and have a shot at winning their 7th NHL championship.

The Bruins started out by grinding out the regular season, finishing second in their division and second in the whole league with over 100 points on the season. In the first round of playoffs, they faced the Toronto Maple Leafs,a league rival and Original Six foe. Over the years, the Bruins have consistently beaten the Leafs in the playoffs, including a miraculous comeback in 2013 when the Bruins scored four goals in the dying minutes of the first game of the opening round series . This year, the two teams went to seven games in a grueling battle that ended with suspension, bruises and blood. 

Next up was the Columbus Blue Jackets, another very tough team who happened to be coming off the most historic first-round ever. As the last-seeded team in the playoffs, the Blue Jackets beat the top seed in a four-game sweep. The Bruins again faced a team that would give them a run for their money.  The Bruins had a 3-2 lead in the series heading into game 6, which started off extremely fast-paced with plenty of scoring chances for both teams. Eventually, veteran forward David Krejci put one home, giving the Bruins momentum and the rest of the game was theirs. David Backes and Marcus Johansson scored and the Bruins won 3-0. 

In the semifinals, they faced the Carolina Hurricanes, an unlikely opponent that grinded its way through the early rounds. The Bruins took care of them in a four game sweep, getting contributions from all four lines and especially Tuukka Rask, the goaltender having one of the best performances in the playoffs.

Going into the finals against the St. Louis Blues, the Bruins are locked in and focused and know what they need to do to win. With contributions from 1st line All-Stars Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak to 4th line standouts Sean Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom, Noel Accarica and Chris Wagner,  the Bruins will be in great shape. The fans and the team are ready for the Boston Bruins to bring home their seventh Stanley Cup.

SENIORS: Friendships Forged Through Sports

By Joe Clinton

Senior Staff Writer

Sports have been a huge part of my four years at Hanover High. I’ve played baseball, soccer, basketball and rugby, and I couldn’t imagine not being a part of these teams. 

I made my closest friends on these teams. Your teammates become your family for three straight months and they take you through ups and downs of the season. This past fall, I started playing soccer with all kinds of new kids that I was never really close with. And when the season ended, I had 20 new friends that I would’ve never met outside of high school sports. 

Along with the family feel of high school sports comes a unique opportunity that you will never again have in your life. This opportunity is being able to wear your hometown team across your jersey and see the community rallying around you. This was something I truly took for granted until the end of my final basketball season. After playing my last game in the sold-out Hanover High gym, I realized how much it really meant. How much our teams mean to the community. How much our teams shape the youth athletics of this town. Representing the place you have lived in your whole life is really only something you get with high school sports.

Featured photo used with permission of DJ Meads Photography

Hopkinton Clinches D3 South Boys Hockey Title

By Kyle Faherty

Monday marked the end of another hard-fought South Sectional in Division 3 Boys Ice Hockey, as Hopkinton defeated Ashland 6-2 at John Gallo Arena.

Division 3 South is regarded as one of the stronger sections in MIAA boys ice hockey as more than 20 teams compete in the tournament that eventually leads to the Eastern Massachusetts championship. The Eastern Mass. champ moves on to the state championship at the TD Garden.

Unfortunately for Hanover fans, the Indians’ post-season was cut short. After winning the D3 South championship in 2018, Hanover had a strong season this year and earned top seed going into tournament. But in the quarterfinals March 2, 9th seeded Ashland beat Hanover 2-0, with both goals scored by senior Jackson Hornung.

Hopkinton, the 11th seed, outscored opponents 20-2 in the tournament, including three shutouts. On their way to their first D3 South title, Hopkinton beat teams that were heavily favored over them, including North Quincy, Bishop Stang, Coyle Cassidy, and finally, Ashland.

Hopkinton’s high-powered offense will continue into the Eastern Massachusetts championship where it will face Lowell, the D3 North champion. Lead by senior defenseman Steve Simoes and junior forward Sean Walsh, the Hillers will look to beat Lowell and advance to their first state championship in program history.

Gymnastics League Meet is Highlight of Strong Season

BFor the second straight year, the Varsity gymnastics team won the Patriot League Championship. In a season full of highlights, the league meet on Feb. 9 stands out for the dedication and heart shown by the athletes.

The league meet features all South Shore Patriot League high school gymnastics teams, which includes Hingham, Pembroke/Silver Lake, Plymouth, Scituate, Whitman Hanson, and Hanover. Coached by Keriann Hart and led by senior captains Julia Leskow and Abby Stone, the Hanover team entered the meet with an 11-1 season record. This meet was the team’s opportunity to demonstrate its strongest athletes’ skills and abilities and reward themselves with their progress.

By Juli Cocomazzi

This year, Pembroke’s Massachusetts Gymnastic Center hosted the meet. The Leagues meet is not only the largest, most challenging, and most competitive meet of the season, it is also the last meet of a senior’s high school career. It is a night of excitement, emotion and dedication. The whole team comes together and gives it there all no matter if they’re on the floor or cheering on their teammates. Gymnastics is a sport which requires concentration, willpower, and skill. Our talented athletes rise to the challenge and display their well honed skills they have been working on all season.

Pembroke/Silver Lake placed first with a score or 139.9, Hanover finished second with a 136.45, and Hingham came in third with a 134.9.

Placing second with a score of 136.45 in this arduous competition was no easy feat. Sophomore Kayleen Boutin and junior Sydney Thai were named All Stars, Boutin for vault and Thai for floor. Boutin  placed first on the vault, third on bars and first on floor. Paige Leigh, a junior, tied for third on beam. Thai tied for second on floor. Sophomore Delaney Condon finished fourth in the All Around competition. Senior Meghan Rice earned the Sportsmanship Award, and Leskow was named Scholar-Athlete.

Winter Sports Roundup

Boys Hockey

By Ralph Stephens

Despite a strong season, the team bowed out of tournament play in the D3 South quarterfinals. With a record of 16-2-2, Hanover earned top seed going into tournament play. They received a first round bye and beat 16th seed Nantucket 4-2 on March 1 to advance to the quarterfinals. In a tough contest March 2 against 9th seed Ashland,  who finished the regular season 13-5-3, Hanover lost 2-0.

It was a disappointing finish a year after making it to the D3 State Final, but the season had a lot to cheer about. Senior captain Lucas Lanagan helped lead the team, and senior Kevin Chandler was solid in the net.

Girls Hockey

By Ralph Stephens

Seeded 20th in Division 2 South tournament, the team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the first round to end the season. Up against 13th seed Bishop Fenwick on Feb. 26, the squad trailed until midway through the third period before tying it up with two goals within a minute. The game went into double overtime before Bishop Fenwick pulled off the 3-2 win.

Boys Basketball

By Ralph Stephens

Some observers never expected Hanover, which graduated several key seniors, to be a contender this year. But the team played relentlessly all season, compiling a 17-3 record and winning the Patriot League Fisher Division title on Senior Night. Seeded 3rd in the Division 2 South tournament, Hanover kicked off the post-season with a nail-biting win over 14th seed Milton on Feb. 28.  The game came down to the final minutes, when Hanover pulled ahead 56-53. Junior Pat Damon had 21 points, while senior captain James Clarkson added 15.

In the quarterfinals March 3, Hanover hosted  6th seeded Scituate, a tough competitor in the regular season. In front of a standing room only crowd, the teams fought hard, exchanging their hold on the lead until Scituate pulled away late in the 4th quarter. Scituate took the game, 62-56.

The team was led by Clarkson, the Patriot League MVP, who also was named a league All Star along with Damon and seniors Michael Simon and Steven Simon. Clarkson also captained the team with seniors Joe Clinton and Andrew Carroll.

Girls Basketball

By Ralph Stephens

Led by a strong roster of returning players, Hanover played with heart all season but fell short of making the tournament.  The team was led by senior captains Erin Flynn, Janey Devlin and Kathryn Fallon. While the team will be graduating five seniors, sophomore starters Clare Connolly and Emily Flynn, as well as two freshmen who made varsity, help lay a solid foundation for next year.

Swimming & Diving

Senior diver Lauren O’Sullivan ended the season as the undefeated Patriot League Champion.  Led by captains O’Sullivan, Danielle Taft, Dan Greene and Olivia Reddish, the team sent several swimmers to the Division 2 State meet. The 200 Free Relay of senior Danielle Taft, freshman Caris Mann, sophomore Kelly Taft and junior Sarah Gavin finished 14 in the 200 Free Relay and 19th in the Medley Relay. Mann earned 9th place in the 200 IM and 25th in the 100 Breast. Danielle Taft finished 27th in the 100 Back.

Gymnastics

By Ralph Stephens

For the second straight year, the team won the Patriot League Championship. They defeated a tough Pembroke/Silver Lake team in their final meet of the season for the title. At the championship meet, sophomore Kayleen Boutin  placed first on the vault, third on bars and first on floor. Paige Leigh, a junior, tied for third on beam. Junior Sydney Thai tied for second on floor. Sophomore Delaney Condon finished fourth in the All Around competition. Team captains were seniors Julia Leskow and Abby Stone.

Wrestling

The team earned MIAA Educational Athletic Awards for Community Service on Feb. 1.

Senior Matt McLeod broke the school record for career pins while also earning his 100th win. He finished 6th in the D3 Divisional Meet in the 160 lb. weight class and earned a trip to All States.  McLeod also led the team as a captain, along with senior Pat Brown. Jack Long, a junior, won the South Sectional championship in the 195 lb. weight class.  Jack is only the second sectional champ in recent years.

Dance Team

by Ralph Stephens

The team hosted youth dance clinics and performed at home basketball games  all season to perfect their routine before competitions began. The hard work paid off, with a first place finish at the Braintree Winter Invitational on Feb. 16. The state competition takes place March 5 at Weymouth High School.

Indoor Track

Senior captain Alyssa Nee was voted MVP of the Patriot League. At the Division 4 All State Meet, she finished 7th in the 1000m with a time of 3:08.36. Sophomore Chris Pacino finished 13th in the mile with a time of 4:46.75

Ski Team

This team seems to fly under the radar every year, but its members don’t seem to mind. They’re having too much fun on the slopes. This year’s captains were seniors Mathew Meads, Harry O’Brien, Haraden Bottomley and Mikayla Chabot.

Patriots Capture 6th Super Bowl Title

By Andrew Carroll

Going into Super Bowl LIII, many people expected the matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams to be a  high-scoring shootout. But the Pats’ 13-3 win over the Rams on Sunday ended up being a defensive battle instead.

With the score only 3-0 at the half, many were starting to question what was going on with both offenses. On the Patriots’ first drive, they moved the ball well until an ill-advised throw by Tom Brady led to an interception by Cory Littleton. But the Rams went nowhere with the ball and had to punt it away. On the second drive, the Patriots moved the ball well again and got within field goal range only to have Stephen Gostkowski miss a 46-yard kick to keep the game scoreless going into the second quarter. Gostkowski eventually returned to get the Patriots on the board with a successful 42-yard field goal kick before the half ran out. The Rams punted on their first eight possessions of the game, while the Patriots were able to move the ball with Julian Edelman, who caught every pass that came his way. He could not be covered the entire game and finished with ten catches for 141 yards and the Super Bowl MVP. 

In the second half, the Rams finally moved the ball into field goal range and Greg Zuerlein nailed a 53-yarder to tie the game at 3. The rest of the third quarter was back and forth, without a lot going on. But in the fourth quarter, the offenses started to move the ball and make plays. The Patriots brought pressure in the fourth quarter to make Rams QB Jared Goff think faster, and when he did, he struggled. The Pats sacked Goff four times and he was either pressed or hit on most of his throws. 

When the Patriots got the ball with about 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter, they needed a vintage Brady drive to score a touchdown to take the lead. The drive started on their own 31-yard line, and Brady hit Gronk on an 18-yard touch pass to get the drive going. After that, Brady went to Edelman on a 13-yard catch over the middle for another first down. You could see that Brady and the Pats started to figure out this Rams defense and Brady found his rhythm. A few plays later, on Tom’s best throw of the night, he hit Gronk down the seam for 29 yards on a perfect pass that landed the Pats on the two-yard line. On the next play, Sony Michel punched it into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, making it 10-3. The Rams got the ball and moved it all the way to the Patriots’ 24 yard line. On 2nd and 6, the Pats brought a blitz and when Goff tried to throw it up to Brandin Cooks, he was intercepted by Stephen Gilmore. It was the play the Patriots needed to close out the game.

After the pick, the Patriots got two huge runs by Rex Burkhead and Michel. Both went for 26 yards leading to a Gostkowski 41-yard field goal to make the score 13-3. After a last attempt by the Rams, the Patriots got the ball back, and Brady took the snap, kneeled down and won himself his 6th Super Bowl. It is the most titles by any one player in NFL history, and tied the Pittsburgh Steelers with most wins by a franchise. This team was doubted all year long. I never shied away because as long as they have Brady and Belichick, they are always going to be in it.

Patriots Strive for Another Super Bowl Win

By Andrew Carroll

The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in the last five years, and for the ninth time in the Brady-Belichick era. Many thought the Patriots wouldn’t get there this year, but their 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship clinched the spot. If you ever doubted Brady and Belichick, then you were wrong. Since 2001, this has been the most dominant dynasty in sports history.  Nine trips to the Super Bowl, five wins, and now a chance for their sixth Lombardi Trophy, which would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers as the winningest franchise in the NFL. No sports team in the salary cap era will ever be able to replicate this. The way the Patriots have been able to compete for the Super Bowl year in and year out is unlike anything ever seen before. Belichick is arguably the greatest coach in the NFL, and Brady is the best player in league history.

In Super Bowl LIII next Sunday, the Pats will face the Los Angeles Rams, who defeated the New Orleans Saints in overtime for the NFC Championship. The Rams are led by a 33-year old head coach Sean McVay, fourth-year quarterback Jared Goff,  running back Todd Gurley (an MVP candidate), and Aaron Donald, one of the best defensive players in the league. No strangers to the game, I believe the Patriots will not be impacted by all the “Super Bowl distractions” this week. But the Rams, on the other hand, will be dealing with media day, an extra week of practice, and an extended halftime — all of which could all be a factor in the game. In an early prediction, I am going with the Patriots because of their outstanding play of late. But the Rams, who definitely have the firepower to shut down the Patriots, should not be counted out.

Side Note: The Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, 20-17, which started this unbelievable run.

YEAR IN REVIEW: 2019 Sports Predictions

By Joe Clinton

The year of 2018 left us with a lot of memorable sports moments that one can only hope 2019 can live up to. The Philadelphia Eagles won their first ever Super Bowl, the Boston Red Sox  took the World Series after an 108-win season, and breakout superstar Kylian Mbappe led France to the the World Cup crown. Add in championships by the Washington Capitols, Golden State Warriors, Alabama, and Villanova, and 2018 was a tough year to beat. Will 2019 measure up? Here are my predictions for the new year starting off with a few sports that are already in season.

NFL

Already in the divisional round of playoffs, there is less for me to predict here. But I think the Super Bowl this year will be a contest between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. It was very hard to resist throwing the Eagles in that mix, as they seem to have that “it” factor to make it through the playoffs as an underdog. But I think that the Saints will top the Patriots, 35-28. The dominant offense of Brees, Thomas, Ingram, and Kamara will be too much for the Patriots defense to handle when it comes to crunch time.

NBA

The question everyone asks is whether there will be a team capable of competing with the Golden State Warriors. Although their 27-14 record so far this season is a rough start by their standards, I still believe there is no one who will be able to top them when it comes to June. My Eastern Conference Championship will be the Boston Celtics over the Toronto Raptors in seven games. The Celtics, of course, have had their issues early on but all that talent and strong coaching will come through during the playoffs. I see the Warriors from the West topping the Houston Rockets in six games and then ultimately winning the NBA Finals in six games as well.

NCAA Basketball

This is always a hard prediction as there are just so many teams out there and so much that can change in the season. I’m going to start off with predicting my Final Four with Duke, Michigan, Gonzaga, and Texas Tech. Teams to still watch closely include Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan State, and Kansas, all currently ranked higher than Texas Tech. I think the defense of Texas Tech will set them apart from the others during the tournament. My championship game will be Michigan beating Duke, 75-70, behind a 25-point outing from Ignas Brazdeikis.

NHL

I don’t know much about hockey so I just took a peek at the standings and saw the Bruins in third place in their division. This is good enough for me to believe they’ll make a run in the playoffs and find their way into the Stanley Cup again. I predict they’ll face off against the Calgary Flames. And sure, why not? I predict they’ll win the whole thing this year simply because I don’t know enough to say anyone else.

MLB

With Opening Day still far off, this discussion really is up in the air. So my ALCS will be a rematch of last year, the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. The Yankees will fall short simply because the American League will be such a powerhouse next year. Unfortunately, I do not see the Red Sox returning to the World Series, and predict a matchup between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the Dodgers, it would be their third trip in a row to the title game.

Featured image from nbcsports.com

YEAR IN REVIEW: Fantasy Football

By Ronan Henderson

In a year that featured plenty of draft day studs like Todd Gurley and waiver wire gods like Phillip Lindsay, it’s safe to say that the 2018 fantasy football season was like no other. The one interesting element about fantasy football is that you really only gain confidence from your weekly projections, which often don’t mean a lot. What it really comes down to is an owner’s ability to use their gut and make the right call. This past season left many owners forced to take gambles due to the shortage of reliable tight ends in the league. With the injury plague early on with players like Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen, and bust draft picks like Jimmy Graham, many were left scavenging the waiver wire. On the other hand, those who took a gamble on George Kittle (led TE in receiving yards) or Eric Ebron met with a pleasant surprise as they both enjoyed breakout campaigns this year.

Image result for leveon bell
complex.com

Another interesting element this season was the holdout of Le’veon Bell. Many owners, myself included, were left without our first round pick for the entire season. While some see this as the fall of Bell, others see it as the rise of James Conner. This past season featured other running backs breaking out such as favored rookie of the year candidate Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Phillip Lindsay, Sony Michel, and Gus Johnson. While these young players made a big splash in the league, some veterans continued their dominance. Gurley had an immaculate campaign, as did Alvin Kamara, Melvin Gordon, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, and even Super Bowl LI hero James White. It was also interesting to see backs like Adrian Peterson turn back Father Time to have a 1,000-yard campaign even at age 33. One of the most frustrating players to watch this year was Derrick Henry, who was just horrid for the the first 13 weeks of the season, only to average 33.6 points per game in the fantasy football playoffs.

As we make our way over to the wide receiver category, it would be a sin not to mention the greatness of Tyreek Hill this season. The speedy receiver led all wideouts in fantasy points this season, finishing with 346.26 points. When it comes to receivers in the NFL, there is always a strong consistency among the top dogs. That was no different this year, as Deandre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Adam Thielen, and JuJu Smith-Schuster all had dominant seasons at the position. As far as breakouts go, Tyler Boyd, rookie receiver Calvin Ridley, and Mike Williams all played huge roles for fantasy teams down the stretch. It was also nice to see Larry Fitzgerald turn his season around after a tough start in what may have been his last season in the NFL.

Image result for patrick mahomes
si.com

Moving on to the quarterbacks, there is simply one name that needs to be said: Patrick Mahomes. The stud player, in just his second year, led all of fantasy football in scoring with an absurd 434.08 points. To put that into perspective, the next highest point total of the season was 390.8 points scored by Saquon Barkley. While it’s obvious that Mahomes has locked up MVP this season, other play callers that really thrived this year in fantasy included Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Jared Goff, Drew Brees, and Deshaun Watson. I know most of the readers must be wondering “where’s Tom Brady?” but in reality he did not have an outstanding fantasy football season. We still love you, Tom! This season featured several breakout rookies playing at an elite level, including Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen. As some players soared this season, we also saw some who bombed, with Ryan Fitzpatrick as a prime example. “Fitzmagic” was the leading scorer in fantasy points for the first three weeks of the season, only to get benched for Jameis Winston and virtually lose all value. Another quarterback who suffered from a benching this year was Joe Flacco, a stable QB2 for most of the season before Lamar Jackson was handed the reigns. The quarterbacks certainly did their part for owners this year, with 28 finishing inside the top 100 in season point totals.

As far as next year goes, my advice to owners is to go after running backs early and often in your fantasy drafts. Running backs have become a huge part of the passing offense in the NFL in recent years. I also recommend owners draft a TE early on because, in today’s NFL, there is the elite tight ends, then 80 feet of pure mediocrity at best, followed by inconsistency at its finest. Overall, if  your fantasy season didn’t go your way, don’t get down on yourself, get smarter. While injuries are unpredictable, you still should be able to get a general feel for what a solid playoff contender team should look like. Just always  remember, you’re only as good as your next team, not your last.

featured image from Sportingnews.com