Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
(Willow Springs) – The Willow Springs Varsity Volleyball team performed well at the recent Forsyth Tournament and took third place.
Willow Springs 25, 25 vs. Bradleyville 11, 7
Kyla Hutsell & Cassidy Crewse each had 5 digs in the game versus Bradleyville; Nichole McGrath had 10 kills; Allie Tooley 7 had assists; Shilo Letterman had 6 aces.
“Bradleyville didn’t attack much, so expected to do much better. We did a lot of promising things, but allowed Bradleyville to score 18 too many points. Happy to get the win, but wanted to come out playing with a little more intensity.”
Willow Springs 25, 21 vs. Ava 23, 25
Willow Springs split the match with Ava, with a Score of 25-23, 21-25.
Nichole McGrath 10 digs; Shilo Letterman 8 kills; Kelsey Stolba 12 assist; Kendra Aldridge 2 aces; Nichole McGrath & Shilo Letterman 1 block.
“Our lack of intensity carried over into this game. Ava came out strong after losing the first game to Sparta and we did not. We had to come from behind to win the first game, but couldn’t make it happen in the 2nd game. It was a nice match to watch, but we let one get away”
Willow Springs 25, 22 vs. Sparta 16, 25
Willow Springs also split the pool play game against Sparta, 25-16, 25-22.
Cassidy Crewse 9 digs; Nichole McGrath & Shilo Letterman 6 kills; Kyla Hutsell 7 assist & 2 aces; Grace Bailey 3 blocks.
“This was a solid team and a good game, we were lucky to get a split. Sparta finished in 1st place in the white pool and Willow Springs finished in 2nd place; Fordland finished in 1st place in the blue pool and Forsyth finished 2nd place
Willow Springs 20, 18 vs. Fordland 25, 25
Things didn’t go as well in the semi-finals, as they lost to Shilo in two sets, 25-20, and 25-18.
Shilo Letterman 11 digs & 13 kills; Kelsey Stolba 10 assist; Kyla Hutsell 2 aces; Allie Tooley 4 blocks; Shilo Letterman 3 blocks.
3rd Place Results
Willow Springs 25, 25 vs. Forsyth 10, 17
Willow Springs took third place against Forsyth in two sets, 25-10, 25-17.
Kyla Hutsell 5 aces; Shilo Letterman 3 blocks; Kelsey Stolba 5 assist; Shilo Letterman 7 kills; Nichole McGrath & Cassidy Crewse 8 digs—-“We bounced back after semi-final loss this was a solid win.”
Junior High on Tuesday, September 9 at Willow Springs against West Plains.
High School will play Thayer at Munford on Thursday, September 11.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams were determined not to let Adrian Peterson embarrass them again. The Minnesota Vikings found another way to catch them with their pants down.
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson ran for 102 yards on just three carries, with a 67-yard scoring run off a simple pitchout. The Vikings were impressive across the board under new coach Mike Zimmer, shutting down the Rams 34-6 on Sunday.
“There’s no way I can miss that hole,” Patterson said. “When I get the ball in my hands, I expect great things.”
Peterson rambled for 212 yards the last time the Vikings played in St. Louis in December 2012, enjoying the view on the end zone video board at the end of an 82-yard run. The star runner ground out 75 yards on 21 carries in the opener.
“We knew we were going against a good defense, especially a good front,” Peterson said. “The guys up front didn’t back down, we continued to hit them in the mouth.”
Rams quarterback Shaun Hill lasted one half as the stand-in starter for Sam Bradford, missing the rest of the game with a quadriceps injury and leaving untested Austin Davis in charge. Coach Jeff Fisher believed Hill was hurt before his last pass was intercepted by Josh Robinson with 1:09 to go in the half, setting up Matt Cassel’s 8-yard pass to Greg Jennings for a 13-0 lead.
The Vikings were in command the rest of the way.
“I like how this team works, I’ve said it numerous, numerous times,” Zimmer said after getting an ice bath from players. “I think we had a good plan, and it worked out.”
Zimmer was a defensive coordinator with Dallas, Atlanta and Cincinnati the previous 14 seasons and inherited a team that went 5-10-1. He had a defense that surrendered the most points NFL last year clicking from the start, holding St. Louis to 170 yards the first three quarters.
Patterson broke at least four tackles on the 67-yarder that put the Vikings up 20-3 late in the third quarter. He had carries of 23 and 12 yards in the first half and added three receptions for 26 yards.
Last year, Patterson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and led the NFL with a 32.4-yard average.
The Vikings kept the Rams down in the second half with four of their five sacks, and Harrison Smith’s 81-yard interception return made it 34-3 late in the fourth quarter. It’s the third career interception return for a touchdown by Smith, beginning his third season.
Brian Quick had seven catches for 99 yards for St. Louis. The Rams didn’t help themselves with sloppy play and were penalized 13 times for 121 yards.
“These guys put in way too much work for this to end up like this,” guard Rodger Saffold said. “I feel sorry for everybody in this room, and I know that next week it’s going to be a bloodbath because I know nobody’s going to want this to happen again.”
Robinson intercepted an underthrown pass by Hill looking like the primary receiver, tapping the turf with his right foot before going out of bounds. Cassel needed four plays and 48 seconds to find Jennings.
The 34-year-old Hill made his first start since 2010 and was 8 for 13 for 81 yards. After the game, he was guarded about his status and also declined to discuss how he was hurt.
“I’m going to leave all comments about the injury up to coach Fisher,” Hill said.
Davis, who was 16 for 23 for 192 yards and an interception, has been with the Rams at least parts of the last three seasons.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Titans were implementing a new offensive system under Ken Whisenhunt, a new defensive system under coordinator Ray Horton, and trying to make a whole bunch of new pieces fit.
Things couldn’t have gone much better in their regular-season debut.
Jake Locker threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns, the Titans’ new-look defense picked off Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith three times, and Tennessee rolled to a 26-10 victory over the Chiefs on Sunday.
“I don’t want to sound arrogant,” Locker said, “but I think we expected it to (go smoothly). We felt that way through minicamp, into fall camp and in the preseason. That was one of our expectations, that we were able to execute and we were going to be efficient on offense.”
Locker picked apart a Kansas City defense that lost Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson and starting defensive tackle Mike DeVito to Achilles injuries. He finished 22 of 33 while connecting with eight different players, including former Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster.
“Jake did great,” Whisenhunt said. “All those things we’ve worked with, footwork-wise and technique-wise, and you saw it. That’s really exciting. But it’s just one game.”
Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker had TD catches for the Titans, and Ryan Succop was perfect on four field-goal attempts against the team that released him last weekend.
“There’s no question this was a special day,” Succop said. “It was an awesome day. Great to come back to Kansas City. I’m very thankful the day went the way that it did.”
Smith, who signed a four-year, $68 million extension last weekend, was just 19 of 35 for 202 yards in a haphazard performance by a Kansas City offense weakened by suspensions.
Leading wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was forced to miss the game following an arrest last November, and right tackle Donald Stephenson served the first game of his four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The Chiefs didn’t reach the end zone until Anthony Fasano’s TD catch in the fourth quarter.
Running back Jamaal Charles, who is the Chiefs’ biggest game-breaker, was a non-factor. He carried seven times for 19 yards and had four catches for 15 yards.
“All those things we did last year to win, we didn’t do them today,” Smith said. “We didn’t execute, didn’t execute in a lot of phases, especially offense.”
After Kansas City jumped out to a 3-0 lead, when Cairo Santos banged a 35-yard attempt off the right upright and through for the first field goal of his career, just about nothing went right. Santos missed a 47-yarder moments later and the Titans seized control.
Locker led his team 62 yards for a go-ahead touchdown, an easy toss to Walker in the back of the end zone. Succop followed with a field goal later in the half for a 10-0 lead.
Johnson went down with his Achilles injury just before the half, and DeVito was lost to a nearly identical injury on the first drive of the second half.
Locker capped that drive with a short TD pass to Wright, who managed to contort his body just enough to touch the pylon as he was going out of bounds. The touchdown gave Tennessee a 17-3 lead and started a shower of boos from a crowd that had been full of optimism.
“Those are guys who are kind of staples of their defense,” Locker said. “They were in there almost every snap, especially Derrick. You understand that’s going to change up their personnel a little bit. Yeah, you look at it and maybe understand where you can gain an advantage.”
It was an important opener for the injury-prone Locker. The Titans declined their fifth-year option on him in in the offseason, so the pressure is on Locker to perform this season.
He certainly did against a Chiefs defense that was full of questions entering the season, and has even more after a pair of serious injuries to key defensive players.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Reid and this football team and these fans,” Whisenhunt said. “We didn’t do great all the time, but we did enough. I’m very happy for that.”
Notes: Titans LB Zach Brown left with a shoulder injury. … Jason McCourty had two interceptions for Tennessee. “Those were big for us,” he said. “That last one sealed the game.” … McCluster ran for 29 yards and had one catch for 17 yards. … Chiefs S Eric Berry had a career-high 14 tackles. … Chiefs RT Jeff Allen left with a strained biceps.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Brewers had finally gotten to Adam Wainwright in the ninth when St. Louis manager Mike Matheny came to the mound to check if his ace right-hander was tiring.
Matheny didn’t expect an honest answer. Wainwright stayed in the game anyway.
Wainwright got Gerardo Parra to bounce into a double play for his fourth complete game of the season, and the Cardinals beat sliding Milwaukee 9-1 on Sunday.
“I told him he had a short leash. I’m still waiting for that day when I go out there and he’s actually honest if he doesn’t feel good,” Matheny said.
The Cardinals won three of four at Miller Park and lead the NL Central by 4 1/2 games over Pittsburgh, which beat Chicago 10-4 at Wrigley Field on Sunday.
“Now’s the time we’ve got to keep the throttle down,” Matheny said. “This game can reach up and grab you.”
The Brewers are well aware of how quickly fortunes can change. Losers of 11 of 12, their freefall continued after spending nearly five months atop the NL Central before dropping into second on Sept. 1.
They fell into third after Sunday’s loss, leapfrogged by Pittsburgh. The Pirates also moved a half-game ahead of Milwaukee for the second NL wild card.
“There’s no excuse … it’s tough,” outfielder Carlos Gomez said. “We know we’re not playing like a team. Just put it in the past and come tomorrow and win the … game.”
St. Louis grabbed a 4-0 lead with four in the fourth against rookie Jimmy Nelson (2-7). Peter Bourjos had the big blow, a triple to left-center that drove in Yadier Molina and Oscar Taveras.
It was more than enough support for Wainwright (17-9), who is tied for the major league lead in victories. The right-hander allowed seven hits in his 20th career complete game.
Wainwright had allowed at least three runs in each of his previous three starts, failing to get out of the sixth each time.
But feast-or-famine Milwaukee managed just an RBI single by Gomez.
“Today was obviously a big win for our team, but you know just a realization of all the little steps I’ve been taking over the last few weeks – I knew it was a matter of time,” Wainwright said.
And on cue, the Cardinals are in the middle of another September surge.
They held the Brewers scoreless until Gomez’s pinch-hit single in the ninth drove home Scooter Gennett from second. It was Gomez’s first at-bat in a week after being sidelined with a left wrist injury.
The Brewers helped out Wainwright by grounding into three double plays and committing three errors.
“We do this once in a while, and I sure don’t like to see it. They don’t like it. They work hard, they give a good effort and then we play this sloppy,” manager Ron Roenicke said.
Milwaukee’s first miscue came at the start of St. Louis’ four-run fourth, when Nelson’s pickoff attempt of Jon Jay squirted past Jonathan Lucroy at first. Jay then scored on Matt Adams’ sacrifice fly.
Later, Bourjos’ liner landed in the gap in left-center and bounced to the wall. The speedy outfielder had more than enough time to sail into third after driving home two runs for a 4-0 lead.
“I don’t think we’ve always been clicking on the right cylinders,” Bourjos said. “Everybody’s clicking right now.”
Cardinals SS Jhonny Peralta got the 1,500th career hit with a fourth-inning single. He added his 20th homer of the year with a two-run shot in the ninth.
Cardinals: LF Matt Holliday got a day off. Holliday has gone hitless in four of his last five games, with the exception being a three-hit outing on Thursday night in Milwaukee.
Brewers: Gomez had been used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement in recent days before his pinch-hitting appearance Sunday. Roenicke said Gomez was due to see the team doctor Sunday to determine if his star outfielder was ready to return to the starting lineup Monday.
Cardinals: Shelby Miller (8-9) gets the ball for the start of a four-game series Monday against Cincinnati. Matheny said he expected another wave of minor-league reinforcements to join the team then.
Brewers: Yovani Gallardo (8-8) opens a four-game series at home against Miami. He is 5-0 against the Marlins in seven career starts.
NEW YORK (AP) — Kansas City players tipped their caps to Derek Jeter when the retiring New York Yankees captain walked up to the plate in the first inning. Then the Royals went back to work trying to make some history of their own.
Yordano Ventura pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, and the AL Central leaders beat the Yankees 2-0 Sunday on a pair of unearned runs for their second shutout in the three-game series.
Trying for its first playoff berth since winning the 1985 World Series, Kansas City increased its AL Central lead to 2 1/2 games over the second-place Tigers, who hosted San Francisco on Sunday night. The Royals headed to Detroit for a three-game series that starts Monday.
“We’re playing great baseball,” manager Ned Yost said. “We’re pitching, and we’re playing defense and scoring runs and winning ballgames, and that’s all I can ask.”
Kansas City scored due to errors by pitcher Shane Greene in the second inning and right fielder Carlos Beltran in the third. The Royals won 1-0 Friday night on an unearned run following third baseman Chase Headley’s error and went 4-3 against the Yankees this year to take the season series for the first time since 1999.
And they won on Derek Jeter Day, when many Yankees stars of the past returned for a 45-minute ceremony that also included NBA great Michael Jordan and baseball ironman Cal Ripken Jr. Video messages from athletes, celebrities and even astronauts in space were shown throughout the day.
“Oh, man! That was, honestly, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas said. “Any time anyone came on that board or anyone they announced, I got chills.”
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie suggested to his teammates that they tip their caps.
“He was my favorite player growing up,” Guthrie said. “I was there for the final game at (the original) Yankee Stadium. I was there when he recorded his 2,723rd hit that broke the hits record for the Yankees. … And now to be here for this – I’ve seen quite a few really cool moments.”
Kansas City, which hasn’t been in first place this late in a season since 1989, hopes to give its fans a reason to celebrate this fall.
Ventura (12-9) won his third straight start, leaving after a leadoff walk in the seventh – his fourth of the game.
“When I was able to throw the curve for a strike, it really helped all of the other pitches and made for quick innings,” he said through a translator. “When the curveball wasn’t getting over for a strike, that could have been the difference in the walks.”
With closer Greg Holland sidelined by a strained right triceps, Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis combined for one-hit relief.
Kansas City went ahead in the second when Josh Willingham reached on an infield single near the mound, advanced on Moustakas’ single and scored with two outs when Nori Aoki hit a slow roller that Greene (4-3) threw wildly past first base.
Beltran dropped Alex Gordon’s easy fly leading off the third, and Gordon stole second before scoring on a single by Eric Hosmer, his first RBI since July 29.
“Any way you can score runs is a good way,” Moustakas said. “It doesn’t matter how they get across as long as you’re scoring.”
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy headed back to Kansas City for an MRI of his sore left shoulder. Yost said Holland played catch, “felt much, much better today” and will have his status re-examined Monday.
Yankees: OF Brett Gardner missed his second straight game because of a lower abdominal strain.
Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (10-10) is slated to pitch Monday, with Justin Verlander (12-12) on the mound for the Tigers.
Yankees: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-8) starts Tuesday’s series opener against Tampa Bay RHP Chris Archer (8-8).
Pitching on his 29th birthday, Davis got his second save of the series – and his big league career. After Beltran singled over first leading off the ninth, Davis struck out Brian McCann on a 3-2 pitch, retired Mark Teixeira on a soft grounder to third and fanned Stephen Drew on another full-count pitch. Davis has 94 strikeouts in 63 1-3 innings this season and has allowed one run in 53 innings dating to late April. That run scored when he hit the Los Angeles Dodgers’ A.J. Ellis with a bases-loaded pitch on June 25.
Kansas City is 6-0-1 in its last seven road series.
(New York) (AP) – Brandon McCarthy won for the second time in six starts, and the New York Yankees feasted on Kansas City’s bullpen in a 6-2 win Saturday after Royals starter Danny Duffy left because of an injury following his first pitch.
A night after a 1-0 loss in the series opener dropped them 4 1/2 games back for the AL’s second wild card, the weak-hitting Yankees scored as many as six runs for the first time since Aug. 29.
McCarthy (6-4) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings with four strikeouts and a walk. He was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts before the Yankees acquired from Arizona on July 6.
Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances and David Robertson combined for hitless relief. New York relievers have thrown 11 innings of scoreless, three-hit relief in their last four games with 14 strikeouts and no walks.
Martin Prado, obtained from July 31, played for the first time since straining his left hamstring Tuesday and had three hits, raising his average to .309 with the Yankees. He hit .270 with the Diamondbacks.
Kansas City, which had won four in a row, remained two games ahead of Detroit in the AL Central. The Royals are in first place in September for the first time since 1985 – when they won the World Series in their last postseason trip.
Duffy, 8-11 and third in the AL with a 2.42 ERA, threw a ball to Jacoby Ellsbury and walked around the mound in discomfort, causing catcher Salvador Perez to motion toward Kansas City’s dugout.
Manager Ned Yost went to the mound with training staff. After a brief discussion, Duffy handed the ball to Yost and walked off the field. It was the first time in Royals history a starting pitcher failed to complete facing at least one batter and the first time a Kansas City starter didn’t get any outs since Rick Reed against Boston on July 22, 1992.
Duffy was relieved by Liam Hendriks (1-1), who retired Ellsbury and Derek Jeter, then allowed Prado’s double and Mark Teixeira’s RBI single. Hendricks lasted four innings, giving up four runs – three earned – and seven hits in a defeat that dropped his career big league record to 3-14 over four seasons.
Brandon Finnegan made his major league debut for the Royals in the sixth and pitched two perfect innings, becoming the first player from June’s amateur draft to appear in the major leagues. The left-hander from Texas Christian was the 17th pick overall and signed for a bonus of $2,200,600.
After Alex Gordon’s RBI bloop single tied the score in the third, the Yankees went ahead for good in the bottom half on Ellsbury’s RBI triple and Derek Jeter’s sacrifice fly.
Chase Headley make it 4-1 in the fourth when he scored from third after Perez overthrew third base for an error on a pickoff attempt. Carlos Beltran doubled in a run in the fifth and scored on a single by pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki.
Mike Moustakas had a sacrifice fly in the seventh, ending McCarthy’s day.
Royals: RHP Greg Holland was missed his second straight game due to a tight right triceps. “Hopefully a day or two or three recovery and be ready to go,” Yost said. . DH Josh Willingham returned Saturday after missing six games because of a sore back and went 1 for 4.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka threw a 34-pitch bullpen session. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the club needs to see Tanaka pitch in a game this season to know whether he can pitch without surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. . C Francisco Cervelli missed the game because of a migraine.
Yankees RHP Shane Greene (4-2) opposes Royals RHP Yordano Ventura (11-9) in the series finale after a pregame ceremony on Derek Jeter Day.
(Stillwater) (AP) – Daxx Garman couldn’t even remember the last game he played in, it was so long ago.
In his first game action since his junior year of high school in 2009, Garman went 16 of 26 for 244 yards and two touchdowns to help lead Oklahoma State to a 40-23 victory over Missouri State Saturday.
Garman entered the contest late in the first quarter, for injured starter J.W. Walsh, with OSU leading 10-6.
“It’s a great feeling to get back out there. It’s been a while, but I still practiced that whole time,” Garman said. “It’s just something that I’ve been patient with, just staying steady, and when the time came today, to just go and do the best I could for my team.”
Tyreek Hill ran for 62 yards for Oklahoma State (1-1), while Rennie Childs added 39 yards and two touchdowns.
“It was a good win for us,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy. “We talked about our youth quite a bit this pre-season and I think it showed up today. We got a chance to work in some young players.”
Kierra Harris threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-21 passing, and ran for 45 yards, for Missouri State (1-1), which falls to 1-30 against FBS opponents.
“Kierra did a really good job,” said Bears coach Terry Allen. “He’s really getting a handle on the offense and does a nice job with it. Other than a couple times really, I thought he handled the pressure well and looked like a solid quarterback.”
Garman’s first college touchdown was a thing of beauty, an 87-yard pass thrown on the run across his body to Brandon Sheperd on a third-and-19 midway through the second that put the Cowboys ahead 24-6. It was the second-longest completion in Oklahoma State history.
“I’ve seen him do that many times before (in practice), so when he did, I expected the ball to be thrown in the right place,” said Sheperd, who amassed 131 yards on four receptions. “That’s just Daxx. He’s going to put the ball where it needs to be.”
Oklahoma State was already missing starting running back Desmond Roland, who was injured in the squad’s season-opening 37-31 loss to top-ranked Florida State last weekend.
Walsh gained 42 yards on four rushes and was 5 of 9 for 30 yards before leaving. He seemed to get hurt when Missouri State’s Andrew Beisel stopped him at the end of an 8-yard run that put OSU on the MSU 2. Two plays later, with Walsh still in, Childs scored to give the Cowboys a 10-0 lead.
Walsh later returned to the Oklahoma State sideline on crutches, wearing a boot on his right foot.
Garman was ruled ineligible for his senior year of high school before attending the University of Arizona, where he red-shirted in 2011. After transferring to Oklahoma State, he had to sit out the 2012 season before serving as a depth backup last year, but he showed few signs of rust.
“I thought he played very well for his first game,” Gundy said of Garman. “He’s had a lot of reps built, he’s really ready to play. He made some mistakes but he also made some throws.”
Gundy indicated that Walsh would be further evaluated on Sunday, and noted that as well as Garman played, Walsh would still be the starter next week if healthy.
Oklahoma State excelled in special teams, blocking three Missouri State kicks in the first half to set a new school record. It was also just the second time in NCAA history, after Oregon State did it to USC in 1996, that a team has blocked a field goal, a point-after attempt and a punt in the same game.
The Cowboys were leading just 3-0 when sophomore Jordan Sterns blocked Chris Sullens’ punt near midfield and returned it 19 yards to the Missouri State 21-yard-line. That possession led to Childs’ first touchdown and a 10-0 advantage.
Missouri State scored on the following drive to regain some momentum, but James Castleman blocked Marcelo Bonani’s point-after attempt to keep the score at 10-6.
Later, with OSU up 17-6 in the second, Ofa Hautau turned away Bonani’s 39-yard field goal attempt.
“A lot of people take those plays off and that’s what separates us from a lot of teams around the country. We’re going to go hard no matter what the play is,” Sterns said. “That can make a difference in a game – one point or three points. Anything on special teams can really change the game.”
(St. Louis) (AP) – No one could get enough of Michael Sam’s trail blazing role at St. Louis Rams training camp. The fellow rookie who outplayed him to win a backup spot has a pretty nice back story, too.
There was zero hoopla accompanying the 15 undrafted free agents who arrived anonymously, unlike the fanfare that accompanied the historic seventh-round pick. Four of them made the 53-man roster, among them a decorated defensive lineman from a directional school.
Soft-spoken Ethan Westbrooks, the Division II defensive player of the year in 2012 at West Texas A&M, had been confident he’d done enough. He was pleased to learn Sam had been signed to the Cowboys’ practice squad.
“I know how hard it is to make an NFL roster, or just even get into camp,” Westbrooks said. “I’m definitely happy to see he made it to another team.”
Westbrooks had 19 1-2 sacks in 2012, one shy of the D-II record, and was among 15 players from the school located in Canyon, Texas who were in NFL training camps this summer, including Rams veteran end Eugene Sims. Westbrook jumped ahead of the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL early on and impressed coaches with production and versatility.
Sam got the second-most snaps among defensive linemen, trailing only Westbrooks. All of them were at defensive end, and the Rams are loaded at that spot. Westbrooks, listed as a tackle in the media guide, was used at all four positions.
“It was cool, I enjoyed it,” Westbrooks said. “I’ve been enjoying playing the whole D-line since college, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
He enjoyed watching the media throng that followed Sam, too.
“It was entertaining,” Westbrooks said, “to say the least.”
Things to watch for in Vikings-Rams:
ZIMMER’S DEBUT: Mike Zimmer makes his head coaching debut for Minnesota after serving as defensive coordinator in Dallas, Atlanta and Cincinnati the previous 14 seasons. The Bengals made the playoffs the last three years and averaged 10 wins. Leslie Frazier was fired after the Vikings started 1-7 and finished 5-10-1, but there’s promise with seven first-round picks the last three drafts, and everybody’s No. 1 fantasy draft pick in 29-year-old RB Adrian Peterson. Preseason records mean nada, but still it has to be a confidence builder going 4-0.
“The administrative stuff is obviously different. Thinking about the 46-man game-day roster, the communication with the referees, those things are all different. The football part I’ve been doing a long time,” Zimmer said.
Fisher has 156 wins, third on the active list, but says he’s just as excited as he was before his first game in the middle of the 1994 season when he replaced Jack Pardee in Tennessee.
PETERSON RULES: The All-Pro running back embarrassed the St. Louis defense at home with 212 yards rushing in the last meeting in December 2012. He was so far in the clear at the end of an 82-yard touchdown run there was time to sneak a peek at the video board. “Yeah, yeah, I was able to see myself,” Peterson said.
New Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has players braced for the challenge. End Chris Long remembers Peterson “just destroying the game plan.”
“He doesn’t avoid contact and if you’re a DB, he’s going to find out if you like to hit people or not,” Long added.
WAIT FOR IT: As a rookie, Cordarrelle Patterson was the NFL’s best kickoff returner and set a franchise record with a 32.4-yard average and two touchdowns. Naturally, the Rams are wary.
“If you want to create problems for yourself, give him a returnable ball,” coach Jeff Fisher said on a conference call with Minnesota reporters.
Patterson didn’t buy it, citing a conversation he had with Fisher this summer in Los Angeles.
“I told him, `Just make sure you kick me the ball, man,’” Patterson said. “And he told me, `Just be ready.’ So I’m ready for that.’”
NO BRADFORD: Sam Bradford missed the final nine games last season with a torn left ACL, and appeared to be completely back before reinjuring the same knee in the third preseason game. The offense is now in the hands of 34-year-old journeyman Shaun Hill, who has thrown just 16 passes the last three seasons.
CASSEL’S TIME: Veteran Matt Cassel earned the starting nod over first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater, getting the edge based on experience and leadership. Cassel was among three quarterbacks who started in 2013, and returned with the assurance he needn’t fear looking over his shoulder after every mistake.
PASS RUSH: Robert Quinn led the NFC with a franchise-record 19 sacks and the Rams have plenty more who can make a quarterback flinch in Long (8 1-2), Michael Brockers (5 1-2), Williams Hayes (5) and Kendall Langford (5). Plus, pass-rushing tackle Aaron Donald was a first-round pick this year.
NEW YORK (AP) — Kansas City starter Danny Duffy lasted just one pitch against the New York Yankees on Saturday, leaving because of left shoulder soreness.
Duffy threw a ball to Jacoby Ellsbury and walked around the mound in discomfort, causing catcher Salvador Perez to motion toward Kansas City’s dugout.
Manager Ned Yost went to the mound with training staff. After a brief discussion, Duffy handed the ball to Yost and walked off the field.
Duffy was relieved by Liam Hendriks, who retired Ellsbury and Derek Jeter, then allowed Martin Prado’s double and Mark Teixeira’s RBI single.
Duffy is 8-11 and third in the AL with a 2.42 ERA in 22 starts and six relief appearances.
NEW YORK (AP) — Left-hander Bruce Chen has been released by the Kansas City Royals.
The 37-year-old pitcher was designated for assignment Aug. 29, a day after he gave up six runs in the 10th inning of an 11-5 loss to Minnesota.
Chen began the season in the rotation, went on the disabled list with a back injury and finished 2-4 with a 7.45 ERA in 13 games. He had a 47-43 record with a 4.53 ERA in six seasons with Kansas City.
Chen is 82-80 with a 4.91 ERA in a big league career that also has included stints with Atlanta, Philadelphia, the New York Mets, Montreal, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore and Texas.