Sunday, November 29, 2015

Oakland Raiders Get The Win

(AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk)

It wasn't pretty. The wet weather in Tennessee didn't stop the Raiders and Titans from utilizing their passing games to the hilt.  It would be the Raiders offense showing poise in their ability to execute in the final minutes to score a do-or-die touchdown to win the game.  

Sure the Raiders made us fans pace back and forth while cursing them on every fourth quarter play. But in the end, thanks in part to a fourth down holding penalty against a Tennessee defensive back, the Raiders persevered.

They overcame earlier mistakes, scored when they absolutely had to and intercepted the opponent on the final offensive drive that could have forced overtime.

Bottom line, the Oakland Raiders found a way to finish a close game on the road in the rain.  They ended a three game losing streak and are still alive for a playoff birth.  With teams focusing on stopping their once high-powered offense, the Raiders are fighting through the growing pangs of what it takes to be consistently great.  

I still say the Raiders are looking to rediscover their rhythm after that bruising Pittsburgh Steelers loss four weeks ago.  If they can find that early season magic that had them looking like true playoff contenders, I could see them ending this season with at least a winning record.  When was the last time we could say that about our beloved Raiders?

Good job today team.  Game ball to my boy #10 Seth Roberts for his career receiving day with six catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns.   Seth showed just how talented a wide receiver he is on both touchdown catches. Also corner-back David Amerson played lights out defense once again.  I love it when the Raiders win.  

Win, lose or tie

Final Score
Raiders 24
Titans 21

Friday, November 27, 2015

Mission H.S. Repeats As Turkey Day Champions

Thanksgiving is made up of food, family and football. Yesterday's holiday began in reverse order for me.  I attended the cold, blustery confines of San Francisco's Kezar Stadium to watch the city high school football championship game between the Balboa Buccaneers and defending 2014 champion Mission Bears.

I've followed the Bears these past few years as they've established a winning culture after years of being almost non-existent and/or non-competitive. The boys in yellow with brown trim didn't disappoint as they captured the city championship title for the second year in a row.

The Buccaneers didn't make it easy for the defending champions as they nearly shutdown the Bears running game, a ground game that featured mostly a quarter-back option play that was unsuccessful at least 80% of the time.  But the Bears stuck with it as the play became a factor late in the game by producing first downs against a worn down Buccaneers defense.

The first quarter, with one turnover by each team, was good indication of the defensive theme the game would take on.  I counted a total of ten turnovers, four fumbles and six interceptions, advantage Bears (4-2) on interceptions and dead even on lost fumbles (2-2).     

Both teams scored amazing 22-yard touchdowns in the second quarter, the Bears a finger tip catch and run and the Buccaneers a pinpoint pass and run after the catch.

One of the interceptions by the Buccaneers was run back for a dazzling 92-yard touchdown, but a penalty after the interception nullified the touchdown, Buccaneers ball at the 8 yard line. With zero seconds left on the game clock the Buccaneers took a knee to end the first half with the score Bears 8 - Buccaneers 7.

For all the hype about the Bears offense being a juggernaut, the Buccaneers were definitely putting them to the test.  They had to be proud of their first half accomplishment in limiting the Bears to one touchdown and a two point conversion by what looked like a "Refrigerator Perry" type lineman ( #74) bulldozing two yards across the goal line with little opposition. Yes, The Refrigerator of 1985 Chicago Bears lore. #74 Lil Fridge has a future in football.

To Be Continued..........

After chowing down a cost inflated ($5) coscto-like hotdog and watching the Bears cheerleaders whip and nae nae themselves on and off the field, the half-time intermission gave way to a much anticipated second half football game. The autumn air had gotten more frigid.

The third quarter opened with the Buccaneers throwing an interception early. A beautiful Bears 46 yard pass and run for a touchdown was called back due to an illegal offensive shift penalty. The quarter saw both Teams having success in the passing games. The Buccaneers passed their way to the five yard line before fumbling away an opportunity to take the lead. It was on a broken play (mishandled handoff) that looked like daylight up the middle, but the runner seemed to hesitate and the Bears came crashing in to cause the turnover.

In the fourth quarter, after the Bears forced two interceptions the defending champions implemented a short passing game that racked up YACs (yards-after-catch).  Good coaching adjustment on the Bears part got them to the 2 yard line where a short touchdown run put them up by seven points.  Lil Fridge couldn't duplicate his two point conversion run, but the Bears were now up by seven points with 4:53 left in regulation.

Bears 14 - Buccaneers 7

Adding insult to injury, on the next play the Buccaneers kick return runner was knocked down by his own man and lay on the field shaken up until trainers could come out and attend to him. At least he didn't fumble the ball.

With a last gasp effort and sensing the early celebratory antics of the Bears, the feisty Buccaneers led an all out attack by air and land.  Though the Bears, leading by seven, seemed almost destined to win the game, the momentum was clearly with the Buccaneers on this desperation drive with the clock winding down.

A long pass, a high jump and snag out of the air over defenders and what looked to me like a backward fall into the end zone gave the Buccaneers a touchdown with 1:22 left in regulation.  The Bears shadowy sideline and fans went silently cold. The Buccaneers side showed sunshine and unrestrained jubilation at the chance to tie or win the game.

And that is what every mind and heart was waiting for in this moment of truth taking place at frigid Kezar Stadium; trailing 14-13, what will the Buccaneers coach attempt; a field goal or a two point conversion.  Does he have a Lil Fridge secret weapon ready to be unleashed?  Does his field goal kicker have ice water running through his veins?  Can his defense hold up in overtime? Or, as many of us fans were asking, is there overtime in high school championship games?

With less time than it takes to say the Lord's Prayer, the Buccaneers offense lined up at the two yard line for the two point conversion.  It had all happened so fast that there hadn't been enough time for the Bears, nor its fans, to let tension or fear settle in.  

The snap, the hand-off up the middle.  An outstretched runner in white with an orange helmet closing in on the goal line mobbed by a sea of yellow. 

Did he make it? I and the fan in front of me agreed that from our angle it looked like he did. We fans watched the referee straddling the goal line at the pylon area.  He appeared to be surrounded by camera and video men, none of which were indicating a touchdown. The call took a lifetime. Controversy was immediately brewing, on the field and in the stands. Finally it was confirmed, he'd come up short. The two point conversion attempt had failed.

Bears 14 - Buccaneers 13

The following Buccaneers on-side kick was secured by the Mission Bears and after a few kneel-downs the horn blared out signaling that regulation time had expired. An ocean of yellow and brown rushed onto the field to celebrate a Bears championship season

The Buccaneers coach would be questioned and probably second guessed by many on the final play call to go for two points. To us fans who watched the game, we feel the Buccaneers and Bears both played like champions and represented San Francisco high school football honorably. The two squads gave us a filling start to our Thanksgiving Holiday. 

If any of the young men who played in the game should read this post, know that I and those standing in my section of the stadium, Thank and Salute you and your team for a competitive showing of commitment and character. Always remember, its more about how we measure up to the expectations we have for ourselves than how we measure up against others. Expect greatness. Give your greatest effort. Achieve success.

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender    - Vince Lombardi

11/19/2015 Giving his greatest: Balboa High football coach Edward Williams saves woman trapped in fire.

The AAA/SF Section Varsity Football annual Turkey Day championship game took place November 26 with Mission successfully defending their title with an exciting 14-13 victory over Balboa. The surprising defensive battle culminated with the Bears stopping the Buccaneers a half yard short of the goal line on a two point conversion try with a minute remaining. The victory not only gives Mission the section crown, but also sends them off to the CIF NorCal playoffs December 5th against a yet to be determined opponent. Congratulations to both teams on a very entertaining game, and all the best to the Bears as they head off to battle for a State title!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Warriors Ambush Lakers, Snatch Record

The Golden State Warriors now own the NBA record for most consecutive wins (16-0) to open a season. They did it with a laugh-er against Bobe Kryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Just a few years ago what Warriors fan in their right mind woulda thought that a visiting Lakers team could mean an early rest for the home team starters. Beating Annihilating teams like the Lakers, who've dominated the Warriors for decades, is just plain old poetic justice.

The Warriors put on a basketball team clinic tonight that had them up by as many as 40 points.  Almost everyone on the squad got into the mix and if you ask me, the fat lady was singing way before the first quarter ended with the Warriors leading 30-11.

As I post this they're winning 108-70 with 4:20 left in the game.  Like I said, a laugh-er. With former Warriors star Jason Richardson being honored at (R)oracle Arena, the night was made for record breaking championship basketball.

There's still a lot of basketball left to play in the season, but for now the defending NBA Champions can proudly stick this 16-0 record in their caps as they continue muscling their way toward another league championship. 

Oaktown, Oaktown!      Go Warriors!

Final Score
Warriors 111
Lakers 77

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday's Prayer - "OTHERS"

Dear Lord, 

Help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer will be for - Others.

Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I do for You
Must needs be done for - Others.

And when my work on earth is done
And my new work in heaven begun
May I forget the crown I've won
While thinking still of ---  Others.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Solo Tha Secret

Long Beach Beats Ya'll

Thursday, November 19, 2015


In a different game with the same results, last night Steph led the Warriors to an unbelievable come-from-behind victory against the L.A. Clippers.  The defending Champions are now 13-0 on the season and receiving all the praises due a great basketball team.  

Even Warriors-hater analyst Charles Barkley, who proudly praised the Clippers formula for stopping the Warriors when they had them down by 23 points, acknowledged the dominance of the Warriors jump shooting as a team. All analysts agreed that Harrison Barnes play was key to the comeback.  

What I see in fourth quarter games once the Warriors start hitting those three-pointers are opponents fears and total shock at being .........Warriorized. They know it's coming and are unable to stop it.

It's official folks, the Golden State Warriors are UNSTOPPABLE!

Final Score
Warriors 124
Clippers 117

“We never feel like we’re out of it,” said Curry, who atoned for seven turnovers with 40 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals. “Whether we’re going to win the game or not, you never know, but the mentality of our team and the way that we play is to play like we’re never out of it and to keep fighting.”

Sunday, November 15, 2015

UFC 193 - Wowwee HOLM

Challenger Holly Holm takes down Ronda Rousey with a devastating kick to the head to win UFC title. The kick was setup by Holm's great footwork, spacing and plan of attack

Rousey appeared completely knocked out after going down from the kick, as the referee had to stop Holm from pummeling her face into oblivion. With Rousey's lip split in half, probably from an earlier Holm elbow delivered perfectly, she had to be helped up off the canvas and taken to a Melbourne, Australia hospital as a medical precaution. 

Holly Holm wakes up this morning not only as a new Champion, but as the Buster Douglas of 2015. Her win against the crowned queen of UFC was unexpected and the way in which she won was simply legendary.  

Prefight event with Holly (team Holm) in jeans

AttaGirl Holly, I never cared much for all the Rousey hype.  Her in the sexy black dress with the belt slumped over her shoulder kinda rubbed me funny. Promotion shot or not. She's already got two guest appearances in movies scheduled for production in 2016.  But Ronda is a tough cookie and I expect to see her back in the ring challenging for the title in the very near future.

Holly Holm ladies and gentleman.  Eye of the Tiger!

Friday, November 13, 2015

1965 Pontiac GTO Tempest

Some automobiles, like women, hold their charm, beauty and elegance well into their 50's and beyond. Happy 50th Birthday you sexy beast.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Steph's New Nickname: Ri·dic·u·lous

He's just frickin ridiculous in the way he launches basketballs from anywhere on the court and more times than not the shot goes through the hoop.

"Soul Cider," is 'ridiculous' spelled backwards or sideways, however you wanna look at it.  

That is what Steph Curry is to the champion Golden State Warriors; a quenching Cider for the soul of a 9-0 NBA team thirsting for another title. And believe it or not, the Cider is tasting better than last season.

Final Score
Warriors 100
Grizzlies 84

update: Following Night Steph Curry Goes For 46pts in 129-116 win over Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.


deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd.
"when you realize how ridiculous these scenarios are, you will have to laugh"



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

We Love Them For Their Sacrifice

We American sports fans can sit back comfortably and watch our favorite teams compete thanks to the men and women of our military services.  It is their sacrifice that allows us a civilian life of comfort and protection. Imagine, just for today, what our daily routines would require of us had we not the protection of our armed services.

What If you were required to stand guard over the borders of your city or state. To walk patrols at daybreak praying that a sniper bullet might leave you enough mental and bodily function to return to your family with some semblance of the person you left as. 

You'd be recruited, trained and assigned to guard against and engage any enemy threat, foreign or domestic, to your community. Your responsibility comes with the knowledge that the safety of friends, family and fellow citizens depend on your being able to carry out your duty successfully.

When not on patrol you'd do your best to adjust to normal civilian living, marrying and having kids, always aware of the destructive threat awaiting your family should fellow soldiers falter in your absence. Its a threat that keeps you sleepless at night and paranoid throughout the daytime. You almost wanna cut short the supposed Rest & Relaxation time with your family and return to the front lines early just to know that all is safe and sound for today. 

If not for the responsibility and affections of your loved ones, death would probably be a welcome respite from the stress of having to kill and/or be killed. Its not about courage, honor or loyalty; its about survival. There are evil forces outside your perimeter that want the territory and resources where you live, regardless of how small. You are a part of the home forces that stand between them and the annihilation of community life as you know it. 

And so you serve your community with a pledge to sacrifice your life, if necessary, in defense of it.  

And someday, when you've fulfilled your military obligations and received an honorable discharge from active service,  you'll find yourself holding your sobbing wife as your 18-year old son walks out the front door of your home to begin his military training. Part of you is proud to watch your little boy walking toward a life that's sure to strengthen his manhood. But another part is full of fear, doubt and anger knowing the dangers he'll face and the loss of innocence that comes with such a duty. Did you prepare him well? Does he know how much you love him? It seems only yesterday. My boy.

As you console your wife, tears have welled up in your own eyes; tears not only for the concern for the safety of your child, but also from the realization that your being forced too soon, to let go of that child so that he can grow, live and prayerfully survive the horrors that life might have in store for him. 

Flashback thirty years and you're seeing your young self in the departing shoulders and being of your son, leaving behind the sobbing sounds of mom and dad as you walk away from home to commence military training.You remember that day like no other and it is then that you join your wife in uncontrollable sobbing. 

For the hardest of men can sometimes become like crying babies when faced with the realization of just how much he loves his child and family. As with discovering the grace of God, it can take a lifetime or only seconds; it is God who decides the time.

For those who serve and their loved ones. You are not alone.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Raiders Go Toe-To-Toe In Blitzburgh

Yes, we lost the game.  But what a loss it was as the Oakland Raiders took blow after blow from the Steelers in Pittsburgh and just kept getting up off the canvas to continue fighting. Sure some of the wounds were self inflicted, but the fact that they overcame their mistakes and fought through injuries to tie it up 35-35 late in the fourth qtr. was gutsy. 

Today we saw a young football team respond mightily again and again to adverse situations in one of the hardest stadiums for visitors to win at. The Pittsburgh Steelers gave everything they had and would be the first to tell folks that the 2015 Oakland Raiders are a team to be reckoned with. 

If you look at the Steelers offensive stats you'd think the game was a blowout. Their rushing and receiving yards were off the charts, thanks in part to an explosive young receiver with the initials A.B.  And yet it was the Oakland Raiders knocking Big Ben out of the game and then tying the score with 1:15 left in the game.  

Both defenses were exploited throughout the game, with the last big offensive play coming from again, "That" Pittsburgh wide receiver with the initials A.B. Lucky for the Steelers no time was left for Raiders QB Derek Carr to get back on the field.  Ask any Steeler player and they'll tell you, Carr is a beast.

The Raiders are at home against the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday.  Vikings starting QB Teddy Bridgewater suffered a concussion today and probably will not play next week.  I pity the purple fools. The Raiders come home bloodied and bruised from a hard fought battle between men; not divas, not specialists, but men. Brave Men returning home from a test of their beaten bodies, fighting spirits and wills to win. Men who truly understand that when you play football for the Silver & Black, it's not just a game.

Raider Nation Salutes Your Fighting Efforts Today Soldiers. 
Strength & Honor

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Champion Warriors Clip Clippers

Golden State Warriors' Harrison Barnes scores against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, in Oakland, Calif.  The Warriors won 112-108. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Oakland's Golden State Warriors hosted the Los Angeles Clippers last night.  I hate L.A. teams.   The Warriors did us bay area fans proud by weathering their closest game to date this season.  They look almost better than the championship team of last season.

With both teams coming into the matchup sporting 4-0 records, and with the previous four Warriors games ending in blowouts, we spoiled fans just didn't know what to expect.  What we got was a back and forth, down to the wire competition that showed exactly why the Warriors are champions.

A champion must be able to overcome adversity, pick itself up after being down, trust its talent and skills and finish strong.  The Warriors as a team did just that last night in defeating the Clippers.  They found themselves in a 10pt. hole against a hungry rival. They made adjustments, got tough and finished the victory in championship Warriors fashion; lock-down defense.

While the sensational #30 Steph Curry did his thing as usual, it was the one and only Harrison 'The Black Falcon' Barnes who swooped down and put the team on his wingspan to get them back into the game. Interim head coach Luke Walton should also be credited with recognizing when to go small and put pressure on the Clippers.

It was an exciting game against two playoff caliber teams.  The Clippers actually looked damn good and nearly unstoppable at times. However, sometimes the best defense is a killer offense in basketball. The Warriors offense is fast, synchronized and lethal in scoring.  Unless opponents can figure out how to keep Steph Curry from shooting three-pointers without letting others step up and kill you, the Championship ring wearing Warriors will continue to role through the 2015-16 NBA season as the team to beat.

In boxing, if you wanna be the champion you have to beat the champion. As long as the Warriors don't start beating themselves, they be that champion to beat.

Final Score
Warriors 112
Clippers 108

Monday, November 02, 2015

World Series Disappointment

Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals for a well deserved World Series victory.  But I'm still not convinced that the New York Mets couldn't have pulled off the upset with better management and a more relaxed style of play; like the San Francisco Giants of past maybe. Never let the size of the stage affect your performance while acting on it.

Case and point, leading game five 2-0 going into the top of the ninth, there's no way Giants manager Bruce Bochy would allow an emotional starting pitcher to bully his way into returning to the mound to close out the game.  And even if Bochy did let him pitch, he would of been on a short leash and pulled after giving up a lead-off walk, no hesitation.  Mets manager Terry Collins did neither as the wheels began coming off the New York world series cart at an alarming rate and at the worst of times. 

When the dust cleared the Kansas City Royals had scored five runs in the top of the twelth inning. New York would go down in the bottom half of the inning on three of four hitters striking out; two swinging and the final looking. Promising Mets rookie left fielder Michael Conforto did get one of his two hits of the night in that final gut wrenching, series ending inning.

Its easy to say what Collins as manager should've done after the fact, but his decision to keep starting pitcher Matt Harvey, with 100 pitches already thrown, in a win or go home game will be second guessed for years to come.  And as manager he's paid to live with those type of decisions. 

I feel the difference in a manager like Bruce Bochy, with his post season experience, is in not letting the emotions of the moment overtake his baseball manager's judgment.  Players can afford loose emotions in big games, managers gotta stay even keel and stay at the helm to guide the ship safely to shore. One misjudgment or loss of command moment and all could be lost.

The Matt Harvey moment was just one of the many moments that led to the Mets losing the World Series. The team as a whole, pitching, hitting and fielding just looked as if they ran out of gas. Maybe that's also true for manager Terry Collins; through all the adjustments needing to be made on this big stage that is championship major league baseball, he simply ran out of gas.  It was one helluva ride though, for New York and all of baseball.  

Final Score (Royals win series 4 games to 1)
Royals 7
Mets 2

Raiders Blow Up Jets #1 Defense

#22 Taiwan Jones 59-yard TD catch and run

Excuse and disregard, 
If I make you uneasy or come off hard, 
My only intentions are, to let you know it's over.
The Raiders hosted the New York Jets at the Oakland Coliseum. The silver and black simply kept the autumn winds a blowing as they knocked the Jets 'round and upside down and laughed when they conquered and won.

The 34-20 Raiders victory has finally gotten the attention of NFL sports analysts as they're now recognizing a strong possibility of a silver & black playoff berth. All week the Jets were being toted as the best NFL defense with a strong running attack that barely lost to an undefeated New England Patriots last Sunday. They were expected to beat up Raiders QB Derek Carr to a pulp, stuff the Raiders running game and ground the dynamic aerial attack. 

What actually happened was a reversal of roles.  The Raiders knocked starting Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick out of the game with a hand injury in the first offensive series. And it seems the Jets are using that as an excuse for losing and everything else that went wrong. Last I checked Fitzpatrick doesn't cover receivers, stop the run or open running lanes for running backs; all skill sets that were missing in the Jets arsenal yesterday. The Jets lost because they came up against a confidant Raiders team that has everything clicking.

Come on, who could've predicted that former running back, converted to defensive back / special teams, converted back to running back, Taiwan Jones would shake and bake Jets tacklers for a 59 yard after the catch touchdown run? 

Or that WR Andre "Hey" Holmes two pass receptions on the day would both go for touchdowns? Pretty touchdowns.  

#15 Michael Crabtree Touchdown Catch & Run
How is it that on a day that Raiders rookie sensation WR Amari Cooper (5 rec  46 yds   9.2 avg) was held mostly in check that WR Michael Crabtree would look Cooper-like in a catch and run for a touchdown and overall receiving numbers on the day (7 rec  108 yds   12.0 avg)?

And as for the Jets defense beating up second year quarterback Derek Carr, the young captain hit on 23 of 36 pass attempts for 333 yds in guiding the Raiders to 4 touchdowns and 3 Janikowski field goal attempts, 2 made.  Raiders offensive line allowed zero sacks. Zero!

So I suppose I could see where blaming injured quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and backup Geno Smith for the loss would come in handy for the Jets; they're simply in shock and/or denial of that so-called #1 defense getting dominated by an autumn wind of silver & black offense.  

Did I mention that the Raiders also held the Jets bruising rushing attack to just 74 yards while their own RB Latavius Murray trounced the #1 defense for 113 rushing yards?  The Jets first 100 yd rusher allowed this season. Who's to blame for that? President Barak Obama? Come'on Man!

The Oakland Raiders coaching staff gets my game ball.  Sure they could've run the ball more in the second half to run time off the clock, but man, when an offense is clicking like it was on Sunday you just wanna rev up the engine full blast and see what kind of high performance results it'll give you.  And the results have the Raiders win/loss record at 4-3 with more track ahead to be burned up.  

Final Score
Raiders 34
Jets 20

All Blacks 2015 Rugby World Cup

The All Blacks of New Zealand pulled off a repeat performance in securing back to back World Cup Rugby Championships.  

The team is truly a champion in their pride, power and performance. An unbreakable brotherhood. And they dress in Black!

Congratulations to the All Blacks 2015 Champions