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(Kansas City) (AP) – The Kansas City Chiefs have created space on their roster for the return of right tackle Donald Stephenson by placing running back Joe McKnight on injured reserve.

McKnight became the third Chiefs player to tear his Achilles tendon when he was hurt in practice last week. He was coming off a two-touchdown game in a win in Miami.

Stephenson was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. That suspension ended with Monday night’s 41-14 victory over the New England Patriots.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said earlier Tuesday that he would wait to see Stephenson practice on Wednesday before he begins to decide whether he’ll go back in the starting lineup.

(West Plains) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team will head into this weekend’s tournament at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, with a 10-11 record after back-to-back losses.

The Grizzlies fell to 14th-ranked Indian Hills Community College 20-25, 26-28, 16-25 Monday evening, Sept. 29, in Ottumwa, Iowa, after dropping a key Region 16 match to Jefferson College of Hillsboro, Missouri, 24-26, 23-25, 25-20, 20-25 Thursday, Sept. 25, in Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.

According to the Tyler Junior College Invitational Schedule, the Grizzlies will face New Mexico Military Institute of Roswell at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, and fifth-ranked Western Nebraska Community College of Scotts Bluff at 2 p.m. that same day. On Saturday, Oct. 4, the Grizzlies will face Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas, at 9 a.m. and Western Texas College, Snyder, at 1 p.m.

Before the tournament, however, the Grizzlies have some work to do, according to Head Coach Paula Wiedemann. “We were beginning to play pretty well, but we slumped in these last two matches,” she said. “We have to begin playing with a sense of purpose and passion. We have to find that killer instinct and competitive fire. Jefferson came in and was fired up to get a win, and that was the factor that made the difference in the outcome of that match.”

Statistically, the Grizzlies didn’t play badly. They averaged nearly 19 digs per set and hit .285 as a team, it still could have been better, Wiedemann said. Freshman middle attacker Penny Liu led the team in kills with 17, in service aces with two and in points earned with 21.5. Freshman setter Susannah Kelley led the team in assists with 22. Sophomore outside attacker/defensive specialist Kaili Simmons led the team in passing rating with 2.82, and sophomore libero Alyssa Aldag led the team in digs with 27. Freshman outside attacker Pulotu Manoa led the team in blocks with 3.5, including three solo blocks.

The Grizzlies didn’t fare much better in their trip to Ottumwa, where they hit .220 as a team and mustered 14 digs per set. “Indian Hills has put together some very good things through the course of this last month,” Wiedemann said. “They’re ranked 14th right now, and they’re always hard to play at their house. They have a big crowd, and the design of their gym puts that crowd right on you. They’re also able to carry the momentum they develop into the next set. When we’ve been up two sets, we’ve had trouble continuing that momentum into the third set. Indian Hills didn’t have that problem last night.”

Statistical leaders included Liu with 12 kills, one ace, one block and 14 points earned; Kelley with 20 assists; freshman outside hitter Gabby Edmondson with 11 digs; and Aldag with a 2.43 passing rating.

“We have to find a combination of players and rotations that will allow us to put points together,” Wiedemann said. “When you run a 6-2 offense, you have the ability to distribute the ball a little more, but we have to put longer runs together to make it effective.

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/. Complete team statistics can be found at http://stats.njcaa.org/sports/wvball/2014-15/div1/teams/MissouriStateUniversityWestPlains.

(St. Louis) – The West Plains High School Cross Country teams traveled to St. Louis, Missouri for the 52nd Annual Hancock Invitational on Saturday.

The varsity girls team took home 1st place, the varsity boys took 2nd place, the junior varsity boys took 2nd place and the junior varsity girls took home 6th place.

The Zizzer Cross Country teams will join more than 80 colleges and 120 high schools at Springfield on Saturday, October 4th for the 26th Annual Chili Pepper Festival.

(West Plains) – With the West Plains Zizzers football team being 5-1, West Plains Bank and Trust Company has announced they will hand out free cowbells to the first 500 fans beginning at 5:45 PM at the Oct. 3 home game against Kickapoo.

West Plains Bank and Trust Company has always been a supporter of local schools, according to Bank President/Chief Operating Officer David M. Gohn. “With the football team’s success this year, we wanted to do something to strengthen our home field advantage,” he said. “I am very proud of Coach Ary, the football players and coaching staff. The cowbells will be one way we can help the fans support the Zizzers and help the team defeat the Kickapoo Chiefs.”

The bells will be red and feature a white Zizzer logo.

The Bank will return for the Homecoming match against Rolla on Oct. 17 for the annual handing out of free Zizzer Homecoming T-shirts. Each year, the Bank hosts a design contest among students in the Creative Design class instructed by South Central Career Center educator Scott Heidy. The winning design is then printed on T-shirts, which are given away at the Homecoming game.

 

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, right, brushes himself off as teammates Alex Smith, left, and Eric Fisher watch after scoring on an 8-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, right, brushes himself off as teammates Alex Smith, left, and Eric Fisher watch after scoring on an 8-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs gave their neighbors across the parking lot a little bit of inspiration with their impassioned performance against New England.

Jamaal Charles returned from an ankle injury to score three touchdowns, Alex Smith threw for 248 yards and three scores, and the Chiefs routed the Patriots 41-14 on Monday night, getting the sports week off to a smashing start in Kansas City with the Royals preparing to open the baseball playoffs on Tuesday.

“To have back-to-back events like this, Monday night football and a home playoff game, yeah, it’s special,” Smith said. “Right next door to each other.”

Arrowhead Stadium, which was packed to the brim in red-clad Chiefs fans, is just a short walk from Kauffman Stadium, which will surely be packed with blue when the Royals end a 29-year playoff drought against the Oakland Athletics in the AL wild-card game.

Several members of the Royals even showed up for the Chiefs-Patriots game, including starting pitcher James Shields, drawing huge roars when they were shown on the big screens. And some of the Chiefs said they were thinking about returning the favor, including wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Regardless, the Chiefs will be able to spend Tuesday in a celebratory mood.

They held the Patriots’ Tom Brady to 159 yards passing and a touchdown, picking him off twice and returning one for a touchdown. Brady was also strip-sacked by Tamba Hali to set up a Chiefs field goal, capping off a miserable night for the two-time NFL MVP.

“It was just a bad performance by everybody,” Brady said. “We need to make sure we never have this feeling again. We’ve got to figure out what we have to do better.”

The Chiefs forced the Patriots to air it out by stuffing Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. And when Brady dropped back, their front seven ran roughshod over New England’s suspect offensive line.

It hardly helped the Patriots offense that it was trying to operate on the same night Chiefs fans were trying to reclaim the record for loudest outdoor sports venue. The record was set in the first half, when Guinness World Records noted a noise level of 142.2 decibels – breaking the mark of 137.6 that Seattle Seahawks fans set last season.

“My ears are still ringing,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said with a smile.

Kansas City had 303 yards of offense by halftime, the most against any Belichick-coached team in the first half of a game. That includes his years coaching in Cleveland.

“We just never got anything going. Nothing,” Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “They just executed. They executed perfectly. We were always out of the game, it seemed.”

Here are a few of the reasons why the Patriots were thumped so soundly:

RUN, RUN, RUN: Charles looked just fine on his sprained right ankle, running for 92 yards. He was spelled by Knile Davis, who added 107 yards on 16 carries. “We kept each other fresh,” Davis said. “When he went in, he did his thing. When I went in, I did my thing.”

TENSE MOMENT: Charles briefly went to the locker room after stumbling into the end zone on his third touchdown of the game. He appeared to grab his hamstring, and Reid said that he received an IV, indicating that he might have been cramping. “I feel sore,” Charles admitted afterward.

BRADY’S STRUGGLES: Brady is completing just 59 percent of his passes through his first four games, his worst rate since becoming the Patriots’ starter in 2001. He is also averaging less than 200 yards passing per game. “I wouldn’t say we’ve had a very productive four games to start, but hopefully we can learn from it and understand the things that we’re doing wrong,” he said. “There’s nobody going to dig us out of the hole. We’ve kind of created it for ourselves and we’re going to have to look each other in the eye and see what kind of commitment we’re willing to make.”

KELCE STARS: Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who is quickly becoming one of Smith’s favorite targets, had eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. “We know what we can do on our offense and our defense,” Kelce said. “Our defense got a lot of turnovers today, and that was awesome to see.”

GAROPPOLO PLAYS: Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got into the game in the fourth quarter for New England, when the outcome was already decided. He was 6 of 7 for 70 yards with a touchdown. “I am a relief pitcher, pretty much,” he said, “so that is my job.”

In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, football fans cheer before the start of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, football fans cheer before the start of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Arrowhead Stadium is once again the loudest outdoor venue in sports.

After claiming the record last season, and then losing it to the Seattle Seahawks, the fans of the Kansas City Chiefs reclaimed the mark with a reading of 142.2 decibels in the first half of their game against the New England Patriots on Monday night.

Guinness World Records was on hand to record the noise level. The record had been 137.6.

To put that in perspective, a jet engine at 100 feet is about 140 decibels, which means the sustained noise in the stadium was enough to jeopardize the hearing of the fans.

Among them were several members of the Kansas City Royals, who will play the Oakland A’s in an AL wild-card game across the parking lot at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Royals fans, their team, and the city itself are getting a crash course on what playoff baseball is all about.

The wild card game on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics marks the return of postseason baseball to Kansas City for the first time since 1985, when the Royals won the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Many young Kansas City residents have no memories of that magical year, or the I-70 series. They rely on YouTube searches or their parents’ nostalgic retellings of umpire Don Denkinger’s blown call in Game 6 that sent the Royals toward their title.

For a city that typically turns Chiefs’ red with the start of the NFL season, football – for now – can wait.

After all, Kansas City baseball fans have waited long enough.

“STARVED FOR A WINNER”

Longtime Royals fans had high hopes this season, after the team finished 2013 with a winning record but again fell short of the playoffs. But with more 100-loss seasons (four) than winning seasons (three) since 1993, fans were bracing themselves for more heartbreak.

Not a talk-show caller named Shannon. The woman had a hard time keeping her excitement in check in June after the Royals moved into the AL Central lead for the first time. The show’s hosts were, shall we say, less than comforting.

“She called into the postgame show and was crying,” said Danny Parkins, who was co-hosting the 610 Sports show with Josh Vernier. “She said, `Vern, this means everything to me.’ We just couldn’t stop laughing about the absurdity of it: a half-game up in June, with all of July, August and September to go. Ninety games left in the season and they had won exactly nothing.

“It spoke to how long this city has been starved for a baseball winner.”

UNCHARTED TERRITORY:

A popular theme in pro sports is to “act like you’ve been there.”

But for the Royals front office, it’s not that easy when many key staffers were still in grade school the last time the team made the playoffs. After season-ticket holders got first dibs for a home wild-card game and every potential home series after that, tickets went on sale to the rest of the public on Sept. 18.

Only minutes after online sales began, transactions ground to a halt for some who weren’t sure if their request had gone through or if they were being billed for something they wouldn’t get. The first 10 minutes had overwhelmed the computer system’s ability to meet demands, team spokesman Toby Cook said.

Sales started flowing again within a half-hour, but Royals officials spent the weekend reaching out to fans whose ticket problems weren’t resolved.

“We’re all doing this for the first time with this level of intensity,” Cook said.

ANYTHING FOR SALVY’S SIGNATURE:

Half an hour after catcher Salvador Perez sat down for an hour-long autograph session at an Independence, Missouri, sporting apparel store, a line of fans was still wrapped around the store’s interior, out the door and down the sidewalk.

Among those waiting for Perez’ autograph was Lorrie Arnold, a 52-year-old Oak Grove, Missouri, resident who has been fighting some form of cancer since being diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma at age 22.

Her 77-year-old father brought her more than two hours early to make sure he could take pictures of his daughter with her favorite player.

“This is awesome,” Arnold said. “I’m going through chemo right now and it’s very hard for me to get to the games.”

MOVE OVER, CHIEFS:

On a gorgeous Saturday after the Royals clinched a wild-card spot, blue-clad fans invaded the annual medieval-themed Renaissance Festival in nearby Bonner Springs, Kansas. Chiefs’ red was tough to find, even though the football team was on the national stage Monday night against the New England Patriots.

“I say no Red Friday until baseball’s over,” said Mike Novak, 51, of Blue Springs, Missouri, referring to the area tradition of wearing red on Fridays before Chiefs games. Novak got a large henna tattoo of “Royals” across his forearm. It’s supposed to last two weeks, which would see him through the divisional championship series.

“Kansas City needs this,” he said.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Take it from Kenny Reitz: He was definitely not taking one for the team.

There hasn’t been a no-hitter at Busch Stadium, old or new, home team or visitor, since 1983 when Bob Forsch notched his second no-no.

If you think that’s a long wait, Forsch’s first career no-hitter in 1978 ended a 54-year drought on the St. Louis Cardinals’ home field. And conspiracy theorists will forever believe it’s tainted.

Reitz, slow afoot but known for his prowess at third base in the AstroTurf era, was charged with a fielding error on a hard-hit grounder in the eighth inning by the Phillies’ Garry Maddox that scooted under his glove. Thirty-six years later, the memory remains fresh.

Though he’d been caught by surprise, anticipating a high, true hop on the ersatz grass, Reitz maintains it’s a play he makes 99 times out of 100.

“It was probably two feet to my left and I got to it, but it stayed down,” Reitz said in a recent interview with The Associated Press as the Cardinals were wrapping up a trip to the postseason. “I thought it was an error all the way. I just came up like I normally would and it didn’t come up with me.”

Reitz had been playing in so Maddox wouldn’t bunt in an effort to break up the no-hitter, which was more of an acceptable tactic then.

Official scorer Neal Russo didn’t hesitate to call it an error, saying: “It was an ordinary play, maybe a step to Reitz’s left. There was no doubt in my mind.”

According to STATS, only the Cubs (1972) and Brewers (1974) have gone longer without a no-hitter at home. Milt Pappas dominated the Padres for the last no-hitter at Wrigley Field on Sept. 2, 1972. The last no-no in Milwaukee was June 19, 1974, by the Royals’ Steve Busby at old County Stadium.

No one has a good explanation why the NL Central has the top three destinations.

The Mets had been No. 1 on the list before Johan Santana no-hit the Cardinals in 2012 for the first in their home ballpark since the Pirates’ Bob Moose did it in 1969. The latest one has an asterisk, too, with Carlos Beltran’s drive to left stirring up chalk but ruled foul.

The Cardinals had a pair of road no-hitters during Tony La Russa’s 16 seasons as manager from 1995-2011 – in 2001 by Bud Smith at San Diego and in 1999 by Jose Jimenez at Los Angeles.

But Forsch’s no-hitter 31 years ago was the Cardinals’ first at home since Jesse Haines beat the Braves on July 17, 1924, with Casey Stengel making the last out.

Rookie Michael Wacha took his bid to the final out against the Nationals in a playoff tuneup last September before Ryan Zimmerman bounced an infield hit just beyond the 6-foot-7 pitcher’s outstretched glove.

“I thought for sure he was going to pitch a no-hitter,” fellow rookie starter Shelby Miller said. “He was locked in, throwing great pitches all day. I’m sure he wasn’t happy giving it up.”

Official scorer Gary Mueller is in his 15th season in St. Louis. Sooner or later, he’ll say about a no-hitter here.

“Maybe tomorrow,” he says.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An autopsy performed one year after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his 22-year-old girlfriend and killed himself found signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain injuries.

Belcher, 25, killed Kasandra Perkins on Dec. 1, 2012, in the couple’s home while his mother was caring for his baby daughter in a nearby room. He then sped from the residence to the Chiefs training facility, where he shot himself in the head in front of then-general manager Scott Pioli and then-coach Romeo Crennel.

Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd, filed a lawsuit in December in Jackson County Circuit Court in Kansas City alleging her son was subjected to “repetitive head trauma,” and that the Chiefs failed to provide adequate medical care before he killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide.

That lawsuit and similar actions by more than 30 plaintiffs – many of them former Chiefs players – has been moved to federal court and subsequently set aside while a $765 million settlement between the league and various lawsuits is going through the approval process.

“We’re coming now within weeks of a decision where all of the NFL players have to make a decision to stay in our opt out of the settlement,” said Dirk Vandever, an attorney for one of three law firms representing plaintiffs in head-injury lawsuits against the Chiefs.

The autopsy was performed last December at the request of lawyers for Zoey Belcher, the daughter of Jovan Belcher and Perkins. The results, sent in February to the attorneys and released to the media Monday, showed signs of CTE, which was also found in former NFL players Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, who both committed suicide.

“The microscopic findings of neurofibrillary tangles in young person are fully consistent with the pathological presentation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy as it is reported in the available medical literature,” the report concluded.

Vandever said the law firms released the report now because of a heightened awareness of domestic abuse in the NFL after incidents involving top names like running backs Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.

“In the past month five different NFL players implicated in horrendous episodes in domestic violence,” he said.

Ken McClain, whose firm also is involved in the lawsuits against the Chiefs, said the autopsy findings support what the plaintiffs have been saying all along: that repeated head trauma can cause players to become angry and lose control of their impulses.

“The Chiefs knew he and his significant other were having major domestic violence issues and he had a major concussion two weeks before this happened,” McClain said.

In a statement, the NFL said: “The NFL has a long history of a changing the rules of the game to make it safer on the field, providing players the best medical care, and updating protocols on diagnosing concussions, treating concussions, and returning to play after a concussion.”

Chiefs spokesman Ted Crews declined to comment about the report, citing the ongoing litigation.

Wa (This photo was provided by Missouri State University Sports Information Director Rick Kindheart)

Allen Phillips and Eric Judd (This photo was provided by Missouri State University Sports Information Director Rick Kindheart)

(Springfield) – Former Grizzly standouts Allen Phillips and Eric Judd were inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on September 25, with members of the 1998-99 then-Southwest Missouri State University “Sweet 16” Men’s Basketball Team during a special basketball tipoff luncheon at the University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield.

Phillips and Judd, who helped guide the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzlies to their first ever NJCAA Region 16 Championship in March 1998, completed their collegiate careers with the Bears and played key roles on the Steve Alford-coached team that made the impressive NCAA national tournament run in 1998-99. The Bears lost to perennial national power Duke University in the round of 16, but not before Phillips turned in an impressive performance scoring 16 points and grabbing four rebounds against a team that featured six future NBA draft choices.

Phillips earned Chevrolet Player of the Game honors for the Bears in that contest. Judd, a West Plains native who helped guide the Zizzers to a second place finish in the 1996 Class 4A State Basketball Championships, returned to West Plains following graduation and is employed at West Plains Bank and Trust Company. Phillips lives in his hometown, Little Rock, Arkansas, and works as a realtor.