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According to Carp

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Archive for November, 2007

Imported Garnets

November
23

Lynette Rix, a native West Virginian and the mother of Rye High’s senior tight end/linebacker Matt Rix, noted this in an email to me a few days ago:

In last week’s state semifinal win over upstate Peru, all 24 of the Garnets’ points were scored by three kids who landed in in Rye from faraway foreign lands, whose six parents included just one U.S. native from among them.

This wouldn’t be so rare if this were a collegiate sport where kids are recruited from all over the world, or if it were a case of a school importing football players. This is totally different. These three weren’t recruited, and they weren’t really football players.

“It is a coincidence,� receiver/defensive back James Bonsall said. “We all moved here, we fell in love with the game, started playing football and ended up in the same place.�

Rix’s father, Paul, is English. Matt was actually born in Manhattan, but moved at six months old to London, and then Hong Kong, and lived in New York City and Connecticut before settling in Rye.

Senior kicker/guard Sebastian Saunders’ father Christian and mom Martina are English, and Sebastian, a senior kicker/guard, was actually born in Jerusalem, lived on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, then in Vienna and England before moving to Mamaroneck, then Rye.

Bonsall’s father Rick is from New Zealand and his mother Julia from England. James was born in Sunningdale, England “outside of Berkshire, about the same distance to London as Rye is to New York City,� he said. After a year the Bonsall family moved to Japan for five years, then to Hong Kong for a year before moving to Rye.

“I don’t know if I could put into words what they’ve meant to us,� Rye coach Dino Garr said. “We’re really fortunate and happy. They’re part of the Garnet family. It’s very special. More importantly, they’re great kids, great gentlemen.�

I wrote a column for tomorrow’s Journal News and LoHud.com about the three kids heading into Rye’s Sunday state Class B championship game against Chenango Forks.

Posted by Carp on Friday, November 23rd, 2007 at 9:01 pm |
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Grant thanks

November
21

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

I just finished a column for The Journal News and LoHud.com tomorrow on a guy who has a lot for which to be thankful, West Nyack’s Ryan Grant of the 9-1 Green Bay Packers.

As if it’s not cool enough taking handoffs from Brett Favre, Favre has compared this kid to Dorsey Levens.

But just a month ago, he was a marginal NFL player, following a great career at Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey and Notre Dame. Grant was on the Giants’ practice squad in 2005, and suffered a freak off-field accident in which he fell on some glass and severed an artery and tendons in his left arm, costing him all of his 2006 season.

After a strong training camp with the Giants, he was still fifth on the depth chart among running backs, so he was traded to Green Bay for a sixth-round pick (question: how good would he look right now in the black-and-blue Big Blue backfield?).

In Green Bay, Grant was a special teams player and backup running back, but when DeShawn Wynn injured a shoulder Oct. 29 in Denver, Grant got the call. He hasn’t stopped running yet. He had 53 yards on one critical drive in that game, and had 119 yards rushing and his first NFL touchdown two weeks later, and now the Packers have some balance to what was the most top-heavy pass offense/worst rush offense in the league. Now they have a reason to be taken seriously come playoff time, not to mention next Thursday when they have their NFC showdown with Dallas.

Speaking of which, when Grant was at Notre Dame, he had nearly 1,000 yards rushing as a sophomore, replacing the injured incumbent No. 1 back, Julius Jones. When James came back the following year, Grant went back to being his backup. Jones, as you know, is now the Cowboys’ star back.

Grant, who suffered an ankle injury last week, plans to play today in Detroit. It already is sure to be a Happy Thanksgiving for him. 

Posted by Carp on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 at 9:54 pm |
| | 14 Comments »

Don’t hold your breath

November
20

They were chanting “Fire Isiah” at the Garden tonight, booing him before the game, during the game and after the disaster of a game.

People are starting to figure that enough’s finally enough, that Jim Dolan might finally wake up and get a whiff of reality and get rid of Thomas … and everybody else, starting with Stephon Marbury.

Yeah, well I’m not buying it. I can’t say with certainty that Dolan won’t change his mind, but I’ve seen first-hand the way Dolan dotes over his guys, Thomas and Glen Sather, his hires, his guys. I think it’s more likely that Dolan is a believer in Thomas’s excuses of bad breaks and injuries and bad matchups. More likely that Dolan is convinced, by Thomas, that the Knicks are a few breaks away from having a decent record.

More likely that Dolan doesn’t think this streak is the real Knicks, and that better days will just naturally arrive in due time. Of course, everybody else knows better.

I will give Thomas credit for this: A coach who takes on his star player, who doesn’t let his No. 1 guy get away with murder, who isn’t afraid to bench and fine his top acquisition, well, that says something. Many bad coaches will only go after the second-tier players and will allow a double standard to fester.

I also think Thomas is smarter than a lot of people give him credit for being. But he is stubbornly confident. Dolan eats that up, and is easily convinced by Thomas that all is well … or it will be soon.

I will still be surprised if Dolan fires Thomas any time soon.

Posted by Carp on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 at 11:39 pm |
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Rye-Forks IV

November
17

Is it unbelievable, or what, that Rye will play Chenango Forks in the state Class B championship football game for the fourth time in five years?

Or that Forks is going to the state championship game for the sixth time in seven years?

Well, that was the theme of the day at Dietz Stadium yesterday, where all six Eastern semifinalists had such steep state-tournament tradition. Rye beat Peru 24-7 in B, Dobbs Ferry pounded Cambridge 47-0 in C and Monroe-Woodbury snuck past New Rochelle 22-16 late in AA.

Consider:

* Dobbs Ferry was in the state semifinal for the seventh year in a row, and will go to the Dome for the sixth time in those seven years, looking for a fourth state championship. The Eagles have won 77 of their last 80 games, and nobody on the current team has experienced more than one loss (the ‘05 state championship game), and quarterback Trevor Saunders says they are looking to break the odd-year curse — state titles in ‘02, ‘04 and ‘06, losses in ‘03 and ‘05.

* Cambridge was in the state tournament, which only began in 1993, for the ninth time, and the eighth time in the semifinals (with four trips to the finals and one championship in ‘99). Cambridge, formerly a D school, had been Tuckahoe’s nemesis, three itmes eliminating the Tigers.

* Rye was in the state semis for the fifth year in a row, and advanced to a fourth trip to the Dome in that span. The Garnets lost to Forks in ‘03 and ‘04, won in ‘05, which snapped Forks’ winning streak at 38 games. Forks is now 60-3 in its last 63 games, Rye is 57-3 in the last five years, with two of those losses to Forks.

* Peru was in the tournament for the 11th time in 15 years, and the ninth time in the last 10. Peru was eliminated by Rye in ‘03, and won a championship in ‘01 going through Harrison and Forks on the way.

* New Rochelle was in the tournament for the fifth time in eight years and the fourth in the last five, with three previous trips to the state championship game, winning in ‘04 and losing in ‘00 and ‘04.

* Monroe-Woodbury was in the semifinals for the fourth year in a row (47-2 over that time) and earned a third straight trip to the AA state title game, having lost to New Rochelle in ‘04, beating North Rockland in ‘05 and beating New Rochelle in ‘06 and now ‘07. M-W won the state championship in ‘05 and lost the title game by a PAT in overtime last year.

Posted by Carp on Saturday, November 17th, 2007 at 11:46 pm |
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0 for 2

November
17

Section 1’s five football champions got off to an awful start tonight in the state semifinals, as both Haldane (Class D) and Ossining (A) were blown out.

Ossining was run off the fast artificial turf by an explosive Lansingburgh, 49-20 in the Class A semi, after Haldane was sent home by Ticonderoga, 35-8 in Class D.

Section 1 has three more reps playing here tomorrow at Kingston’s Dietz Stadium — Dobbs Ferry (C), Rye (B) and New Rochelle (AA).

Haldane was the least likely of the teams to get to the Carrier Dome.

It wouldn’t have been considered a miracle, but it sure would have been surprising. Heck, it was pretty stunning to see the Blue Devils one step away from Syracuse.
It just wasn’t impossible because the path wasn’t especially difficult.

Haldane knew from the summer, or from last November, or forever, that it would play Tuckahoe for the Section 1 Class D championship at Mahopac, no matter what it did during the season. It just needed a date and time, because there are only two D football schools in the section.

So the regular season be darned. It was a tough one, against a Class C schedule, in which the Blue Devils began 0-2, then beat Croton and Blind Brook, before losing their last three games. They went into the postseason 2-5.

But in Class D, the record means nothing until the playoffs begin.

One of the ultimate rags-to-riches stories played out just last season, and it played out on the big-schools stage, when upstate Auburn High failed to gain a berth in the Section 3 Class AA playoffs with a 3-3 record.

But Corcoran High was booted from the tournament for using an ineligible player, and Auburn replaced Corcoran.

Then it simply ran the table, reeling off six straight wins, including a classic 27-26 overtime victory over Monroe-Woodbury, the defending champ which had knocked off New Rochelle in the quarterfinals (and plays New Rochelle in a semifinal rematch tomorrow night).

Posted by Carp on Saturday, November 17th, 2007 at 1:16 am |
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What? He lied?

November
15

Holy mackeral, is Barry Bonds in trouble now.

Four counts of perjury and one of obstruction of justice against the all-time home run king in an indictment that came down today.

 Maybe now all of those people can be quiet and go awa, those who cried, “but he’s never tested positive” or who complained that all those allegations, backed up so strongly by published reports and leaked testimony and the all-damning book “Game of Shadows” were made up because people didn’t like Bonds’ personality, or because they were racist.

Bonds used steroids to make a fortune, to break all the greatest records in baseball. And he dared everybody to try to prove he cheated. Well, a grand jury is leaving no doubt. They say that he lied every time he was asked about his performance-enhancing drugs.

Now he might be done with baseball, and if he’s found guilty on the 19 lies that led to the counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, he might be done as a free man for a long time.

Yeah, he was a jackass, and yeah, a lot of people didn’t like him even before he started cheating. But being a jackass isn’t illegal. Buying illegal steroids and drugs and using them illegally, and lying to a grand jury, all of that is illegal. Now he may have to pay for all of that.

Posted by Carp on Thursday, November 15th, 2007 at 11:40 pm |
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Pay-Rod’s back, or is he?

November
14

Whew. For a couple of weeks there, I was wondering what we’re all going to write about 24/7/365 if Alex Rodriguez actually lands in another baseball city.

Now it appears that A-Rod’s coming back to the Bronx, back to the team his agent stabbed in the back during the final game of the World Series, when he opted out of the last three years of A-Rod’s contract. Opted out without telling the Yankees he was doing so. Opted out 10 days earlier than he needed to opt out — in other words, telling the Yankees to take a hike. Opted out, costing the Yankees $21.3 million in salary the Texas Rangers were going to subsidize under the previous contract. Opted out, telling the Yankees that, in order to begin negotiating with Rodriguez, the initial offer was going to have to be $350 million.

Now it appears that A-Rod is swallowing some pride and not going for every last nickel (as Boras would do) in order to come back to the Yankees, for slightly less money — but still the most money any athlete has ever made in the history of North American sports.

Or is he? I’m not totally buying that Rodriguez, maybe even Boras, is using this ploy to get other teams into the bidding. I’m not going to be shocked if another team or two leap in, or if A-Rod lands elsewhere, having used the inexperienced Sons of Steinbrenner to get his mega-deal … which apparently wasn’t coming without the Yankees’ involvement.

But I also think the Sons of Steinbrenner realized that it was going to cost a fortune in money and untold fortunes in young pitching prospects to reasonably fill the giant hole at third base, and even more gigantic crater in the middle of their suddenly power-challenged lineup. I think Sons of Steinbrenner changed their minds (or is it mind?) and agreed to negotiate, especially once A-Rod made it sound like he wants less money to be happier in the Bronx than he would have been elsewhere.

Again, I’m not totally buying that. I do know the Yankees are better off with A-Rod, and they are much better off with A-Rod and all their young arms. I also know Rodriguez’s antics, though Boras, are going to cause him to come under more scrutiny than ever before. On the other hand, some fans will buy this as advertised, will look at it as Rodriguez taking less to remain a Yankee — even after the back-stabbing opt-out — and they will applaud him. They will say he may finally be earning his pinstripes.

We’ll see. But he’d better not go 0-for-8 at any time next season, and he’d better not go 0-for-3 in any postseason loss ever again.

Posted by Carp on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 at 9:34 pm |
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NHL’s Mess

November
12

Hockey has done it again. It has taken a great moment and treated it like a CIA secret. It shot itself in the skateboot, as it usually does.

You remember 1994. The Rangers won the Stanley Cup. Mark Messier delivered. The curse was broken. Brian Leetch was the first American to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. Millions saw the parade up the Canyon of Heroes. Sports Illustrated, and every other major media outlet, soon placed hockey on a par with the Big 3 team sports. All of New York, it seemed, touched the Cup, and when it went to Yankee Stadium with Messier and Leetch, it was bigger than the Yankees.

And just when hockey was ready for its zenith, it decided, “Hey, this is a good time for a labor stoppage.” So the NHL locked out its players to start the 1994-95 season. And it’s been downhill ever since … down an especially steep and slippery slope since the next lockout, which killed off the entire 2004-05 season.

It was during that non-season that Mark Messier, Scott Stevens, Al MacInnis and Ron Francis had their careers end. We assume they would have retired anyway. Messier was 45. Stevens and MacInnis were injured. But the cancelled season made their retirements a sure thing.

So tonight all four went into the Hockey Hall of Fame, as good a class, arguably, as has ever been inducted together. One of the top five or 10 players in league history, and three other great, courageous leaders and superstars.

So what does hockey give us? Nothing. No TV. No spectators. Nada. The inductions were televised by something called NHL Network and a backup channel in Canada. Versus, the NHL’s still-anonymous TV partner, didn’t show it. Just another example of how hockey continues to live in the dark ages and how, indeed, it continues to go backward.

I wrote a column about this topic for The Journal News and LoHud.com tomorrow. I know first-hand that hockey fans are the most loyal sports fans on the planet. I would love to know what you are thinking out there. 

Posted by Carp on Monday, November 12th, 2007 at 9:51 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Championship weekend

November
4

Ossining won its first Section 1 football championship since 1997 today, 41-0 over a Fox Lane team that had beaten it 35-6 in a turnover-fest less than a month earlier.

Obviously the main difference in the game was that Ossining took care of the football this time, that it was healthier, that it had implemented a better defensive scheme for strong-armed quarterback Mike Mathews. And that the loss to the Foxes had jump-started a turnaround to Ossining’s season.

Also, the difference was that this time the negative momentum got rolling in the wrong direction for the Foxes, who had been shut out for the last half of their win over Eastchester earlier in the week.

That momentum turn began on the Foxes’ first possession when Jajuan Perez, the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder slapped a Mathews pass right back into his face, and it set a tone for the day.

On one sequence late in the first half, Perez batted two more passes, and 6-foot-5 Jeff Ward batted another one, and Christian Federico ended the drive with an interception (the first of two he had) at the goal line.

It had been 10 years since Ossining won a football championship, back in 1997, when head coach Dan Ricci was an assistant to Joe Variano and it beat Suffern for the title. A year earlier, Ossining lost in the championship game, just as it had in 2006.

Ricci remembered that ‘97 team had only 19 players total.

“It was ironman football,� Ricci said.

When Ossining succumbed in the final last year, it hurt. And then came graduation; the cost: 20 seniors. Ricci said he couldn’t compare this team to that one, implying that that one might have been better … and that this one will be really good again next year.

But Ricci completed a rare coaching double-dip. He now has won Section 1 championships as a football coach and a girls basketball coach. And the circumstances around those were similar.

“This is very reminiscent for me of what happened to me in basketball because we lost when (in 2003 to Ursuline in the Class AA final) I had two Division 1 players in Whitney McDonald and Shannon Minter. Shannon graduated and we came back the next year and won it (over Mount Vernon).�

For the record, Ossining got to a third consecutive girls basketball title game, and lost in ‘05 to White Plains.

Today, Ossining celebrated in far more enthusiastic fashion than either Rye or Dobbs Ferry had done the day before. It deserved to celebrate.

Posted by Carp on Sunday, November 4th, 2007 at 10:32 pm |
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About this blog
Rick Carpiniello is a sports columnist for The Journal News and LoHud.com. His blog will encompass the world of sports, from Pee Wees to the Super Bowl in a style that can be serious, sarcastic or even silly, and on which encourages feedback from its readers on any and all sports-related topics.
About the author
Rick CarpinielloRick Carpiniello For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002. READ MORE

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