Friday, December 31, 2010

Roundball Classic: Saginaw too much for Cass Tech, 66-47


From the time its bigger, stronger, black-and-yellow clad opponents took the floor warming up to rap artist Wiz Khalifa's signature song "Black and Yellow" on Thursday evening, Detroit Cass Tech was on the outside looking in.

And from the time the ball was tipped minutes later, Saginaw High was on the outside thinking win.

The Trojans used a handful of early three-pointers to pound Cass Tech from the perimeter and set an early tone in its 66-47 Roundball Classic victory at Birmingham Detroit Country Day.

"We weren't just open," said Saginaw coach Lou Dawkins. "We've been practicing that kind of stuff and working on it lately."

Sophomore guard Dominique Jackson hit one. Junior guard Neidermeirer Ware hit another. Senior forward Travion Babers hit one, Jackson nailed yet another and quickly, the Technicians were out of reach.

"I thought my game was going to be inside," admitted Jackson afterward. "I was just shooting and it came to me."

Saginaw led by 15 at the half, prevented Cass Tech from getting closer than 12 points the rest of the way, and ran away with a 19-point victory.

"They're a very good team," said Technicians head coach David Dixon. "We're a very young team and there's a lot of experience we gained from playing on the big stage with them."

Senior center Tommie McCune was awarded game MVP honors with 12 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Senior Marquavis Ford led the Trojans with 15 points and six assists. Babers and Jackson added 10 points each.

Senior Kris Fulwood-Davis led Cass Tech with 12 points.

HOME WRECKED: Chicago Orr senior guard Mycheal Henry didn't just try to beat his man. He tried to beat everybody.

"I just tried to get to the bucket a lot," he said after a 42-point, 13-rebound performance for the Spartans in a 71-67 overtime victory over Detroit Country Day. "I tried to go through everybody."

The Illinois-bound Henry's steal with 5 seconds left in the extra period secured the game for Orr, and his lay-up as time expired put an exclamation point on the win.

"We just weren't able to contain him at all," said Country Day coach Kurt Keener. "We knew that they had a great player and he was really just able to take over the game."

Amir Williams scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets.

DIGGING IN: It took nearly three full quarters, but Detroit Consortium finally decided to play defense.

"We had to dig in," said junior guard Deonte Smith. "We had to dig deep inside to play harder and defend."

The Cougars dug in, and then dug out of a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Benton Harbor, 62-58.

"Defense won that ballgame," said Cougars coach Al Anderson. "We got some turnovers, knocked down a couple of shots and showed a lot of grit getting back into the game."

Smith took home game MVP honors with 20 points and five assists.

"We showed up not playing hard," he said. "But we got that out of our system and dug deep."

HOOP DREAMS: Benton Harbor players are reminded of a dream every time they put on their jerseys.

Embroidered high on the back are the initials of Wilson Chandler, a Tigers alum, former Mr. Basketball (2005) and current New York Knicks small forward.

"It certainly gives them a boost," said Tigers head coach Marcus Muhammad. "They know that an alumnus went to college, is playing professionally and that it can be right in front of them."

Chandler donated the jerseys to the school and remains in close contact with Muhammad.

"We're grateful that he's given back to the program," he said.

BRIGHT FUTURE: Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was on hand to watch two of his commitments from the 2011 class go head-to-head.

Brandan Kearney and Detroit Southeastern got the best of Brandon Dawson and Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace, 72-42.

Kearney took home game MVP honors with 18 points, five rebounds and six assists. His counterpart Dawson recorded a double-double of 28 points and 11 rebounds, and heard his fair share of good-natured trash talk from his future teammate.

"We were competing and having some fun out there," said Kearney. "Having Coach Izzo there made us play extra harder."

Farmington Hills Harrison 45, Detroit Communication and Media Arts 26: Senior guard Carlos Eubanks scored 11 points, recorded six rebounds and added three steals for Harrison. Junior forward Davonta Gilmore recorded a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds for CMA.

Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy 75, Detroit Community 65: Sophomore guard Derrick Walton scored 26 points, leading Chandler Park to victory. "We jumped out on them quick and our defense took it from there," he said. Senior forward Jaylen Floyd scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Community.

North Farmington 61, Dearborn Heights Robichaud 47: Senior Urbane Bingham led all scorers with 24 points, adding 12 rebounds, and junior guard Dorrell Foster scored 13 points for the Raiders. Junior Khalig Spicer scored eight points for Robichaud.

Detroit Pershing 69, Jackson 68: Shaerron Walker scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Pershing (2-3).

More boys basketball

Birmingham Brother Rice 70, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 53: Joey Alessi scored 21 points for Brother Rice (4-2) in the Venture Classic at Bishop Foley High School. Denzel Palm scored 13 points and Drew Holinski added 12. Jordan Walker scored a game high 24 points for Bishop Foley (3-1). Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 47, Roseville 46: Steve Menrath hit the game-tying and game-winning free throws with 12.8 seconds remaining for Chippewa Valley (3-0). Traye Williams scored 21 for Roseville (1-3).

Detroit Loyola 61, Highland Park 22: In the Loyola Christmas Classic, Montel Cooks scored 22 points for Loyola (4-1). Devonte Jones scored 13 points and Justin King added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Farmington Hills Harrison 45, Detroit Communication & Media Arts 26: Carlos Eubanks scored 11 points for Harrison (3-2). Devonta Gilmore scored 10 points for CMA (2-2).

North Branch 58, Brown City 42: John LaFavor scored 21 points for North Branch (1-5) in the Harry C. Moore Classic Basketball Tournament at North Branch High School.

Richmond 57, Warren Michigan Collegiate 52: Nick Manchikc scored 24 points for Richmond (5-0) and Mario Yamaino added 13. Tre Craighead scored 13 points for Collegiate (2-3) and Cameron Williams added 12.

Girls basketball

Belleville 59, Niles Brandywine 45: Jessica Whaley-Green scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Belleville (4-2) in the Motor City Roundball Classic. Karlie Newman scored 23 points for Brandywine (6-1).

Chicago Whitney Young 67, Detroit Renaissance 36: Chanise Jenkins scored 13 points for Whitney Young (9-2) in the Motor City Roundball Classic. Arrice Bryant scored 10 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for Renaissance (4-3).

Detroit Consortium 49, Kalamazoo Central 29: Infiniti Maxwell scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for Consortium (6-1) in the Motor City Roundball Classic. Kandice Johnson scored 20 points for Central (3-3).

Inkster 56, Pewamo-Westphalia 17: Janae Jackson scored 19 points for Inkster (6-0) in the Motor City Roundball Classic.

Niles 55, Detroit Mumford 50: Nichole Sly scored 17 points for Niles (5-3) in the Motor City Roundball Classic. Raven Bankston scored 29 points for Mumford (6-1).

West Bloomfield 55, Rochester 39: Sydni Davis scored 16 points for West Bloomfield (6-1) in the Falcon Classic at Rochester High School. Jailynn Hamilton added 13 points and 13 rebounds and Ashley Zeigler scored 12 points.

Westland John Glenn 57, Southfield-Lathrup 49: Erica Covile scored 22 points for John Glenn (5-0) in the Motor City Roundball Classic and Kairi Barnes added 15.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tillman's late free throws lift Auburn Hills Avondale


Ray Tillman had no doubt.

Wednesday afternoon, with just under 2 seconds remaining in a tie game against Flint Northwestern, the Auburn Hills Avondale senior point guard stood at the free-throw line with the ball in his hands and the game on the line.

"My team needed me and I had to knock them down," he said. "I had to know I was going to make them."

Tillman made both free throws to give Avondale a 61-59 boys basketball win over the Wildcats in Wednesday's Motor City Roundball Classic at Birmingham Detroit Country Day.

"We came out here trying to make a statement today," Tillman said.

The senior led the Yellow Jackets with 24 points, added four assists and captured his second game MVP award in as many years.

Avondale opened the game on a seven-point run, took a two-point lead into the half and didn't surrender the lead until Northwestern's Jaylen Magee hit a three-pointer early in the third quarter.

The teams traded baskets throughout the fourth, with Tillman's free throws securing the victory after a Wildcats full-court heave fell short.

"This is an extremely big win," said Yellow Jackets head coach Tim Morton. "That's a Top 10 team in the state right there. It's a huge confidence builder."

STYLING: Avondale point guard D.J. Ratcliff electrified the Country Day gym late in the first half with a pretty fake on the fastbreak.

Joined by a teammate on a 2-on-1, Ratcliff faked a dump-off before laying the ball in with the same hand, during the same motion.

"It was something I've been doing since I was little," he said. "We needed a bucket and I knew he was going to bite if I faked it."

And on the court, Ratcliff wears two socks on each foot, one always higher than the other.

"It's my thing," he said. "It looks better and feels better."

HOME ON ROAD: Helped by a strong fan contingence in the stands, Petoskey hung on to defeat Detroit Southwestern, 60-52.

"We talk about not relying on outside influences to create energy," Norsemen head coach Dennis Starkey said. "But it certainly helps when you get this kind of support."

Senior forward Cory Starkey led all scorers with a double-double of 20 points and 17 rebounds, and game MVP Nick Manzer scored 17 points with nine boards.

Joining the cheerful crowd was a Petoskey radio station, broadcasting the game 250 miles north.

"You'd be surprised how many people listen to the broadcasts," Starkey said. "People are excited to watch this team play."

HARRISON WINS: Sparked by an offensive explosion in the second quarter, Farmington Hills Harrison rolled to a 54-41 defeat of Detroit Northwestern.

Senior guard Ray Hall scored 14 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists, and teammate Carlos Eubanks scored 11 points with five rebounds and five steals for Harrison.

Junior guard Jimul Haile scored a game-high 18 points for Western.

GOOD START: Goodrich head coach Gary Barns wanted to attack.

"I told the team that I wanted to deliver the first hit," he said. "That we were going to be on our toes and not on our heels and we were going to attack."

And the Martians did attack, taking a double-digit lead just minutes into its contest against Detroit Kettering, never giving that lead back and holding on for a 58-55 win.

"We had to prove to them that we could play," Barns said. "After that, we had their attention."

But Kettering couldn't play catch up and a missed three-pointer as time expired sealed its fate.

Senior center Trevor Lucas recorded 15 points and 12 rebounds for Goodrich's first Roundball Classic victory in three years of participating.

SLAMMED SHUT: Luther Page just did what his coach told him to.

"He always told me if a guy has the ball up, swarm him and take the ball from him," the Ann Arbor Richard senior center said.

And with just under a minute left to play in overtime, Inkster point guard Davonte Carter had the ball up. With the Irish ahead by three, Page wrestled the ball out of Carter's hands, marched down the court and slammed home a 66-61 victory for Richard.

"It was like the icing on the cake," Page said.

He finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Teammate Kamari Evans led the game with 18 points and forward Darren Washington recorded eight blocks.

More boys basketball

Detroit Pershing 69, Jackson 68: Sophomore guard Khalil Felder was fouled as time expired in regulation and hit a free throw for the win.

Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace 71, Detroit Cody 66: Brandon Boston scored 27 points for Lew Wallace. Zedric Sadler had 32 points and 10 rebounds for Cody (4-2). Daniel Gladney added 10 points and eight assists.

Detroit Crockett 75, Davison 48 Markese Allen had 16 points and Lloyd Neely added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Croxckett (4-1). Branden Hendershot scored 14 for Davison (2-3).

Girls basketball

Madison Heights Bishop Foley 48, Rochester Adams 44: In the final of the Bishop Foley Christmas Tournament Jackie Bieniewicz scored 16 points and Megan VanFleteren added 12 points and 12 rebonds for Foley (6-0). Jessica Lang scored 12 points for Adams (3-3)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Inkster rolls past Renaissance at PSL Hoops Classic


Inkster head coach Peggy Carr reminded her team.

"Remember that feeling in the locker room last year," she told the Lady Vikings after each practice leading up to their Monday afternoon showdown against Detroit Renaissance.

"You don't want to feel that way again."

And after her team defeated Detroit Renaissance, 48-39, in the Detroit Public School League Holiday Hoops Classic at Cass Tech, the Lady Vikings didn't feel that way again, like they had a year earlier, with heads buried and tears bursting after a regular-season loss to the Phoenix.

"It was revenge," said Lady Vikings forward Crystal Bradford. "But it's a big win because we don't like to lose to teams two years in a row."

The senior came off the bench in the second quarter to spark an eight-point run that gave the Lady Vikings a four-point lead at the half, a lead Inkster would never relinquish.

"As usual, she gave us a big boost off the bench," Carr said.

Bradford finished with 11 points and Renaissance senior Asia Boyd led all scorers with 21 points.

FRIEND OR FOE: Boyd's game-high 21 points were no surprise to Bradford.

"That's my best friend," she said. "I know how she plays and she's real aggressive but she wasn't going to push me around."

The two met through organized basketball in their early teens, and have kept in close contact since.

"It's disappointing," Boyd said of the loss. "We're really good friends but on the court, it gets kind of serious."

They have played against each other for years, never on the same team, and now, Bradford admitted, "It's about even."

HANG TEN: Detroit Central seniors Lakia Clark and Charity Cole each scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Trail Blazers erased a late deficit and finished strong in a 55-51 victory over Detroit Northwestern.

Trailing by eight points entering the fourth quarter, Central nearly equaled its point total of the first three quarters - 29 - with a 26-point explosion in the fourth.

Clark was the game's high scorer with 22 points, and Cole added 15 for the Trail Blazers. Senior Karena Otto scored 21 for Northwestern.

WORKING OVERTIME: After playing to a tie through regulation and overtime, Detroit Pershing's Caprice Dennis knocked down a jump shot with 28 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Doughgirls a 67-64 victory over Southfield-Lathrup.

Dennis, a junior, made a free throw with just 6 seconds left in the first overtime to tie and extend the game. She finished with a game-high 21 points.

"We played smart," said Pershing head coach Shawn Hill. "This was big for us mentally, we gave up the lead but kept on fighting."

The Chargers erased a double-digit second half lead but couldn't hang on for the victory. Junior Amber McCann scored 20 points for Lathrup.

NEXT LEVEL: Two Mid-American Conference coaches were in attendance and sat courtside Monday, and both lauded the competition on display.

"You can't beat it," said third-year Akron assistant Matt Ruffing. "To get up here and see this much talent in a three-day span is unbelievable."

Alongside Ruffing was Central Michigan head coach Sue Guevara, who has been recruiting the Detroit area since 1986.

"There are always great basketball players in this city," she said. "And there are always coaches from across the country that come here to recruit."

SECOND CHANCE: Detroit Northwestern senior Brandon Moses made his mark in just his second game since returning to the team after an early season suspension.

Moses scored 35 points in the Colts' 72-65 victory over Detroit Central, propelling Northwestern to victory after scoring 20 of those points in the third quarter.

"He's a terrific player," said Colts head coach Sayligmon Staten. "He helped us a lot and took a lot of pressure off our shoulders."

Other scores

Detroit Finney 46, Communication and Media Arts 43.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chippewas knock off Ole Miss in McGuirk Arena debut

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || December 18, 2010

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – It was, as the clock dwindled on a second half scoreboard showing a sizable Chippewas lead, long overdue and worth the wait.

It was, with a double-digit lead and only minutes remaining, the Central Michigan women’s basketball team, cruising to victory in their first home game of the season, the first in nine months and the first on the floor of McGuirk Arena.

And then, when senior forward Kaihla Szunko stole the ball from her Ole Miss counterpart Tori Slusher with just under four minutes to play in Saturday afternoon’s 16-point Chippewas victory, it was historic.

“On the bench I found out,” she said. “One of our girls said, ‘Get a steal for me!’ and I’m like, ‘OK, I guess.”

She got the steal, retired to the bench and then found out that her 21-point, 16-rebound, 10-steal performance marked the second triple-double in the program’s history, and the second of the young season in a Chippewas 82-66 victory over the Rebels.

“It was because my teammates helped me out,” Szunko continued. “I didn’t do it by myself. It’s a credit to them.”

The senior led the team with 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and collected 10 offensive rebounds in the first win in as many tries at McGuirk Arena.

“Woo-hoo!” exclaimed a relieved head coach Sue Guevara after the game. “We’ve been wanting to get here, to play, and to show everyone how we’ve been playing.”

“It was nice to be home,” she said. “And really nice to see everybody in the stands and to hear people.”

The home game was CMU’s first since March 8 of last year. The Chippewas opened the regular season with a 6-3 record on the road.

Struggling to rebound early and trailing the Rebels, Guevara called an early timeout to settle her team and the Chippewas responded by taking the lead midway through the first half and never relinquishing it.

“I was a little concerned that we were going to be too hyped to start the game,” she said. “I thought we settled down and just started attacking.”

And in a reserve role, sophomore guard Jalisa Olive attacked Ole Miss from the outside, scoring 17 points, largely on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc. She added three assists.

“She’s done a great job of understanding her role,” Guevara said. “When she comes off the bench, she’s fast with the ball.”

After an eight-point CMU run near the halfway mark of the second half, capped by a Shonda Long 3-pointer, the Rebels were unable to get within double-digits.

Long, a senior guard, was sidelined with foul trouble in the first half but returned to score 14 points in the second half, for 16 total on the game on 5-of-12 shooting.

The Chippewas defense forced 30 Ole Miss turnovers and recorded two more offensive rebounds than defensive, for 40 total.

“It’s great that we started at home with a win,” Guevara said. “We won two championships on the road, it would be nice to win one here.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blog: Giants pound Vikings at Ford Field

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's Giants-Vikings game. Unfortunately, due to NFL rules, Anthony couldn't make it to Ford Field, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of Fox 2's telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blog: Lions hold off Packers

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's Packers-Lions game. Unfortunately, due to NFL rules, Anthony couldn't make it to Ford Field, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of Fox 2's telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rowdy crowd, Jalin Thomas keeps Chippewas in game for first half

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || December 3, 2010

The ball left his hand, not unlike the hundreds of times it left his hand before, from the left wing just beyond the three-point arc.

It left his hand, not unlike the previous 72 three-point attempts in Jalin Thomas’ Central Michigan career, and found the basket, not unlike his previous 23 three-point field goals as a Chippewa.

It was midway through the second half of Wednesday’s McGuirk Arena-opening game against Temple, and Thomas’ sixth triple of the game had just given the Chippewas a four-point lead in front of a sold-out home crowd and its raucous Rowdies.

The senior forward backpedaled across half-court, not unlike a countless number of times before, and threw his hands in the air – up-and-down, up-and-down – urging a pulsating population to get up and keep it up.

It was an emotion unlike anything he’s experienced before.

“I’ve never played in an arena like that,” he said afterwards, after the four-point lead disappeared, after a four-point deficit appeared, and after the crazy crowd had quieted and filed out of the first basketball game played at McGuirk Arena, a 65-53 defeat to the Owls.

“It was great,” he continued. “Just having all the fans there supporting us, I loved it. The new arena is great and it’s real noisy.”

And Thomas did his best to deliver the fans a housewarming win, scoring a game-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor and connecting on six of eight three-pointers.

“I think it affected the tempo at first,” Thomas said, “We came out and gave them a good run, it’s just disappointing that we weren’t able to finish it off.”

But despite the game’s outcome, the 5,350 in attendance came out, gave it a good run and finished it off as students in two sections stood until the final buzzer, creating a gameday atmosphere that head coach Ernie Zeigler described in one word.

“Electric,” he said. “It was electric. It was something to be a part of.”

It was something, the fifth-year head coach said, that he saw only once before on the Chippewas sidelines, when last year, a senior-laden team departed with an emotional Senior Day win against Western Michigan in the final game at Rose Arena.

“That was probably the only other thing that compares,” he said.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the inaugural game began off the court with a light-cutting introduction that included spotlights, smoke and a student section serenade of “Who Cares” for the five Temple starters.

And on the court, the game began went off without a hitch as the Chippewas stormed to a seven-point lead just two minutes in and took an eight-point lead into the break.

“I think so,” Zeigler said about the team feeding off the crowd energy early on, “We just weren’t able to sustain it.”

“When we were going well in the first half, even early there in the second,” he said, “There was electricity there.”

But the electricity is something Zeigler hopes to sustain over the duration of the regular season, beginning with a Jan. 9 game against Toledo.

“Hopefully we can make a plea to our student section,” he said, “To come out in the same fashion when they come back for the second semester.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Live blog: Spartans trying to grab piece of Big Ten championship

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's Spartans-Nittany Lions game. Unfortunately, Anthony couldn't catch a ride to Happy Valley, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of ESPN 2's telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat.

Friday, November 5, 2010

CMU seeking fifth consecutive win against Broncos

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || November 5, 2010

Nick Bellore has been at Central Michigan for four years.

He has played in 50 games, won 30 of those, and has beaten Western Michigan three times.

“Everyone understands how much this means to the community,” he said.

Dan Enos has been at CMU for less than a year.

He has coached in nine games, won two of those, and hasn’t yet played the Broncos.

“I know how important this game is to not only the team, but to the alumni base and the community,” he said.

Both entered this season with lofty goals. A conference championship. A bowl berth. A winning season.

But as the calendar flipped from September to October and now November, those goals have gone by the wayside.

First, the Chippewas were eliminated from championship contention. Then, a winning season went out the window. And after last week’s loss to Bowling Green, a bowl berth became out of reach.

But tonight, at Kelly-Shorts Stadium, the 2-7 Chippewas will have a chance to deliver on what has become an expectation in Mount Pleasant: beating Western Michigan.

“Obviously we haven’t had the kind of success we had hoped for,” said Bellore Wednesday, two days before the final home start of his career. “But this is something we can look back on and be really proud of.”

And both the senior linebacker and rookie head coach know what this rivalry is all about.

“It’s always been a point of emphasis,” said Bellore, who ranks third in CMU history with 451 tackles, just 39 shy of the school record. “I understood exactly what was going on my freshman year in terms of what this meant.”

And his first-year head coach is no different.

“This game has been emphasized since we’ve arrived,” Enos said, noting that the team has taken time in both spring and fall camps to prepare for the game. “We’ve put a lot into this.”

This time around, the script has been somewhat flipped.

The Chippewas enter the game riding a four-game win streak against the Broncos, but sliding on a six-game losing streak of their own this season.

The Broncos come in at 3-5, and fresh off a near-upset of conference-leading Northern Illinois, falling victim to a tipped interception on the game’s final drive.

Still, the game means as much as it did last year, the year before that, or the 80 years before that.
“We all know,” Bellore said, “From freshman to fifth-year seniors, that this is a must-win game and we have approached it that way.”

Enos said practice this week was very physical and very spirited.

“We’re desperate,” he said. “We’ve been desperate for weeks now. We’re hungry for a win, it doesn’t matter if it’s Western – this week just happens to be Western – but we need to get back to our winning ways.”

And a victory would do just that, for both seniors and underclassmen.

“It’s a building block for our program,” Bellore said. “It’s looked on every year and it’s vital we win.”

And for Enos, who will get his first taste of the rivalry, tonight’s game isn’t just another one of a dozen on the season.

“It’s the only way I know how to tackle rivalry games,” he said.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Western Michigan young, but ready for CMU

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || November 3, 2010

Bill Cubit knows he has a young team.

The Western Michigan football coach knows that later this week, when his team arrives in Mount Pleasant, many in the group will be stepping foot into enemy territory for the first time.

“We have so many kids that haven’t been in this rivalry,” he said. “Our biggest thing is just preparing and not getting caught up early in the week on the little things.”

Like beating Central Michigan for the first time in four years. Or doing it on the road. Or coming into the rivalry game with a better record and as possibly as the favorite.

“They’ll get the gist of it when they walk off of the bus on Friday,” he said.

The Broncos are in an unfamiliar position. For the previous four years, they have been an afterthought in the rivalry. Now, thanks to a young and energetic starting quarterback and on the heels of a near-upset of conference-leading Northern Illinois, they have their sights set on ending the losing streak.

Last weekend, in Kalamazoo, sophomore quarterback Alex Carder passed for 360 yards and three scores before a tipped pass fell into the hands of a Huskies defender for a game-killing interception in a 28-21 defeat.

“We just didn’t finish,” Cubit said during the Mid-American Conference teleconference on Monday. “We went ahead late, they put together a great drive and we went down there and were in a position to tie it up. Unfortunately, (Alex) got hit.”

But Carder has been getting hit all year, by the likes of Michigan State and Notre Dame.
And his coach has seen the first-year starter improve “light years” since a season-opening loss in East Lansing.

“He’s kind of like a runaway colt,” Cubit said. “He’s a real energetic, passionate guy. His first college football game, he goes against Michigan State and then Notre Dame, and he rose to the occasion on both.”

The Broncos are 3-5, a game and a half better than the 2-7 Chippewas, and if credit is due to Carder, then it’s also appropriate to accolade wide receiver Jordan White, who leads the team in receiving yards and is tied for the lead with six receiving touchdowns.

“He’s made some unbelievable catches,” Cubit said of White, who injured himself in last week’s loss but kept playing. “It was pretty impressive what he did.”

And it would be pretty impressive to knock off the Chippewas this weekend.

“We have to regroup,” Cubit said. “This is a big rivalry game and going up there is always hard to play. We’re playing a very talented team and every week we have to go out there and play.
“But this week is especially important.”

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blog: Michigan State at Iowa |

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's Spartans-Hawkeyes game. Unfortunately, Anthony couldn't catch a ride to Iowa, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of ESPN's telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

COLUMN: Cliff (Lee) vs. Tim (Lincecum)

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || October 27, 2010

Probably not, he said.

I stood there, shook my head and chuckled.

I was outside of the San Francisco Giants clubhouse, and I was just turned down by Tim Lincecum.

He took my interview request – “Hey Tim, can I get a minute?” – and matter-of-factly responded to it over his left shoulder, walking through the clubhouse doors.
“Probably not.”

It was cool. You see, Tim’s kind of a big deal, and I’m kind of a big Tim fan.

So I let him slide. What was I to expect, that this cool, hippie-looking 26-year-old guy that once got pulled over with a few grams of weed in his car was going to recognize my coolness and want to talk?

Yes, that’s exactly what I expected.

So he disappointed me. And the next day, against a last-place Pirates team in Pittsburgh, he disappointed me again.

Wasn’t dominant. Wasn’t throwing hard. Wasn’t striking out guys. He wasn’t, well, being Tim.

Was this the Tim Lincecum I loved rooting for, the pitcher I’d stay up late to watch, only to be disappointed start after start after start, wondering when he’d complete a game or shut a team out?

“Probably not,” I decided, and traded him.

For Cliff Lee.

Cliff – short for Clifton – was on the Seattle Mariners at the time. They stunk. Never scored and never won.

Except when he pitched.

In those games, Cliff would take the ball, get on the mound and throw strike after strike.

He would never walk anybody, strike out everybody; he’d win games, complete games and was the fantasy ace of a manager’s dreams.

Then he got traded to Texas, did all right, got hurt, wasn’t able to pitch for my fantasy team in the playoffs, we lost, and life went on.

Still, the question loomed: Should I have traded Tim, who pitched well during the playoffs, for Cliff?

Probably not.

But after the ups and the downs, 162 games and two playoff rounds, both Cy Young-winning pitchers are still standing, saving their best for a grand ending.
And tonight, they’ll face off in the opening game of the World Series.

Tim for the young Giants, a team that beat the defending National League Champions, and Cliff for the upstart Rangers, a team that beat the defending World Series Champions.

Lincecum and Lee, a powerful San Francisco righty and a commanding Texas lefty, pitching from the same mound in October.

Anyone predict that in April?

Probably not.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blog: Michigan State at Northwestern |

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's Spartans-Wildcats game. Unfortunately, Anthony couldn't make it to Northwestern, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of ESPN 2's telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Offense falls short, defense fails to keep pace with Miami

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || October 18, 2010

There were seven minutes left in the first half.

The Chippewas were down, looked out and trailed Miami in front of a homecoming crowd.

There were missed kicks, dropped passes, an interception and a fumble. The offense couldn’t move and the defense couldn’t stop.

“They made plays when they needed to,” said head coach Dan Enos. “And we didn’t execute.”

And just a football field away, a tailgate was dying in Lot 63.

The biggest pregame crowd in two years was dispersing, lines at the Port-O-Potty restrooms disappearing and blood-alcohol levels declining, as a student body spilled from a parking lot into a football stadium.

But the Chippewas couldn’t come alive.

“It’s very disappointing,” Enos said. “The guys are frustrated, I’ll tell you that.”

Not after a Paris Cotton five-yard touchdown run moments later, not after the half, not in the third quarter, and not in the fourth when two red-zone field goals just weren’t enough to top the RedHawks.

They tried.

Miami led by 10. CMU cut the lead to three. Miami led by six. CMU cut the lead to three. Miami led by three. And then, CMU erased the lead.

But as the Chippewas tried to keep pace, responding to an early second half Miami touchdown with a Carl Volny touchdown run here, and to an early fourth quarter Miami field goal with two David Harman field goals there, something was missing.

You could see it on the field, where the RedHawks gained more yards, took care of the football and made the most of their scoring opportunities. You could see it on the opposing sideline, where Zac Dysert stood between running confident drives, making plays and passing a yard short of 400 yards.

And you could see it in the stands, as the once-packed student section began to thin out near the end of the third quarter, and you could certainly see it wherever Dan LeFevour was — in the stands, on the sidelines or wherever else at Kelly/Shorts Stadium the former quarterback was — in his return to Mount Pleasant, a sign that the high-scoring, never boring offensive days of the past had, well, passed.

With 19 seconds left in regulation, freshman defensive back Avery Cunningham drifted off of Miami receiver Andy Cruse. Cunningham peeked and Cruse streaked, 71 yards down the field.

Dysert would find him, wide open, feed him, wide open, and the game was over, a 27-20 Central Michigan defeat while the remains of a student section dissolved in a quiet hush.

The Chippewas are 2-5. They have lost four in a row. Three conference games for the first time since 2005. Homecoming for the first time since 2004.

“We can still make a bowl game,” said senior linebacker Nick Bellore. “As a senior that’s what I want to try to do. That’s what we do here, is go to bowl games.”

“I can’t go to Detroit now,” he said. “And that’s tough enough to take.”

That, and that there is no time left in the first half.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

CMU drops homecoming game against Miami, falls to 1-3 in MAC

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || October 16, 2010

It wasn’t a happy homecoming.

Saturday afternoon, as the waning seconds ticked off of a fourth quarter clock, Miami sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert dropped back to pass.

He dropped back, felt unfamiliar pressure from the Chippewas defensive line, stepped up in the pocket and spotted a wide open Andy Cruse downfield.

Way downfield.

Dysert lofted the ball, Cruse caught it, and with 19 seconds remaining, a crowd of 24,761 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium came to a collective hush as the Redhawks sophomore wide receiver scored the deciding touchdown in a 27-20 Miami victory.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos. “They made plays when they needed to and we didn’t execute.”

The loss is the Chippewas fourth straight, third in Mid-American Conference play, and almost certainly eliminates them from a berth in the conference championship game.

“The guys are frustrated, I’ll tell you that,” Enos said.

After trailing by a field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter, CMU was unable to capitalize on its red zone opportunities late in the game, and two late field goals by David Harman were not enough.

Harman’s 23-yard field goal at the 4:33 mark of the final frame tied the game at 20, but after each team squandered a game-salvaging drive, the ball was back in Miami possession, and in the hands of Dysert.

The 71-yard touchdown pushed the sophomore quarterback to 399 yards on the day, on 29-of-47 passing. Cruse recorded eight catches for 179 yards and scored twice.

“It was kind of shocking,” senior linebacker Nick Bellore admitted about seeing the ball in the air with the receiver wide open down the field. “Everybody was making mistakes today.”

The RedHawks took a lead early in the second quarter on a 10-yard pass from Dysert to Cruse.

CMU eventually returned the favor, on a Paris Cotton five-yard touchdown run, but failed to score from what Enos called ‘the one-inch line’ minutes earlier, when Cotton was stripped at the goal-line and Miami recovered.

Down by three at the half, Miami opened the second half scoring just five minutes in, on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dysert to redshirt freshman Nick Harwell.

Senior running back Carl Volny answered with a one-yard touchdown run eight minutes later, but all game, the CMU offense had difficulties running the football, which resulted in a career-high 52 passing attempts from quarterback Ryan Radcliff.

“There was the lack of ability to run the ball,” Enos said. “It’s a field position game.”

Harman, who replaced sophomore kicker Richie Hogan after an early missed field goal, connected on two field goals in the fourth, but ultimately, the game was decided by Dysert and Cruse, hooking up on third-and-14, with under a minute left to play.

“He played very confidently,” Enos said of Dysert. “It’s a win on them and a team loss for us.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

Heart at Home

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || October 15, 2010

Think back to the last time Central Michigan lost to Ball State.

“Well uh,” you’re thinking. “That was two weeks ago.”

Why yes, it was. Now think back to the last time, before the Cardinals two-touchdown win Oct. 2.
Flip the calendar back a couple of years.

Nov. 19, 2008. National television. Nate Davis versus Dan LeFevour. The Chippewas would lose that game, 31-24, and the next two, to Eastern Michigan and Florida Atlantic, respectively, in the Motor City Bowl.

It was the program’s last three-game losing streak. And it’s something the program certainly would like to put an end to in order to save any chance at the Mid-American Conference championship.

This year, CMU lost a heart-breaker to Northwestern. Then they lost that Ball State game. And then the follow-up at Virginia Tech.

Now, it’s homecoming and the team walks in with a 2-4 record, two wins and two losses different than most forecasted.

And in the beginning, the forecast was sunny with a chance of big, puffy clouds. Breeze through MAC play with a loss or two at the most, and lose to Northwestern and Virginia Tech.

But that was before the team went searching for a kicker. Before the defense couldn’t handle the Cardinals run attack and before the Chippewas couldn’t parlay big plays with points against Virginia Tech.

These days, the forecast is a little less sunny, a little more cloudy, with the possibility of rain on the way.

But unlike recent seasons, without a standout quarterback, an established offense and a veteran head coach, Mount Pleasant is due for a small shower or two.

And just like there’s never a good time to lose to Ball State, there’s never a good time to lose four straight, especially against a team that just got beat 45-3 by your former coach.

With still an outside shot to make waves in the conference, the forecast looks good for a midseason Chippewas resurgence.

And the forecast for Saturday?

63 degrees and sunny.

Happy Homecoming.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How I (almost) bet on CMU against Ball State

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || October 13, 2010

It was just a crisp, dark green bill sitting in the back of my wallet, no different-looking than the $20s, $5s, and $1s in front of it, and no harder to hand over the betting counter.

It was two weeks ago and I was lounging in a plush leather chair, just behind the sports book at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Nev., a drink in one hand and probably a cigarette in the other, talking with a few former co-workers over a table of betting sheets, pencils and parlay cards.

Tennessee, underrated. $20. Notre Dame, gotta win someday. $30. Wisconsin, because Michigan State isn’t THAT good. $40. So on and so forth, taking down numbers that totaled well over half of the cash I brought with me to Las Vegas.

“What about this, T.G.?” one of them asks me. (It’s a nickname. Long story.)

His name is Rob — 50-something with glasses and a deep voice. He leans over, pointing a mini yellow pencil at a circled game.

122 C MICHIGAN -16 Sixteen? Ball State? What?

I look at the sheet closer, thinking the game was more suited to a 19-or-20 point Chippewas spread, but predictably, nothing had changed.

122 C MICHIGAN -16

“All day,” I reply, having to be some kind of authority on the team I’m supposed to cover. “All. Day.”

Rob is a writer and admittedly hasn’t bet as of late.

“That might be the game of the year so far,” he says, with a little bit of enthusiasm.

He’s sitting to the left of me, and another guy, Andy, is sitting in front of me.

“But they ain’t got LeFevour,” says Andy, in a Kansas drawl.

Blasphemy, I think, flipping to the back of the page. Team should be 3-1, undefeated against the spread, accumulating 400-plus yards against a team that allows 400- plus yards. Sixteen? Coming off of a tough loss to Northwestern?


“They definitely cover this,” I say. “Definitely.” Immediately, I cross games off.
Florida? Too young. Virginia Tech? Too scared. Michigan State? Well, they still aren’t THAT good. $20.

This guy needs room for a hundred, because if he can’t make Las Vegas money at Central Michigan, then he will certainly make Las Vegas money on Central Michigan.

Besides, it’s just $100.

Just a few weeks worth of support for a nicotine addiction. Just a couple dozen fast food meals. Just an, OK, you get it — $100 is a lot of money.

But in Vegas? In Vegas, it’s JUST $100. In Vegas, it’s not drinks at the club. It’s just getting into the club. It’s not gambling; it’s just placing a chip on black.

So we left, without me placing a single bet (“Will later,” I said), and later that night went to a club where we drank, danced, smoked and saw Dontrelle Willis.

The next day, I woke up around 12:15 in just the kind of way you wake up when you’re in Vegas.

I grabbed a shirt, some shorts, booked it down an elevator and through a casino, but couldn’t get to the ticket window on time. Good thing, right?

Well, then I walked by a blackjack table.

Hey, it was just $100.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hagit Limor traces journey to top of SPJ

By Anthony Fenech

Hagit Limor remembers the Six Day War like it was yesterday.

She remembers the air raid, with sirens swirling and missiles flying, as she ran to a shelter in the middle of the Israeli night, a first-grader with a heart beating out of her chest.

“I do remember that very clearly,” she said. “I grew up innocently, feeling completely safe until that war broke out.”

It was June 1967 in Tel Aviv, Israel, and, during the war, Limor saw her hometown transform into a very different place.

“I grew up in a little town where nobody locked their doors,” she said. “It was a different time.”

She remembers dancing in the streets a week later, in celebration of the war’s end, but what she remembers most is the adrenaline of the whole experience.

Four decades later, that adrenaline has taken Limor overseas, across the United States and to the top of the Society of Professional Journalists as the organization’s 92nd president.

“I just fell in love with the whole adrenaline of the journey,” she said.

The child of a father who survived the Holocaust and a mother from Russia, Limor began composing poetry at age 4, before she could even write, by memorizing words as her parents translated them into Hebrew.

At 6, she was writing poetry. At 8, she was writing songs, a Jewish girl in the music heaven of Nashville, Tenn., where her family had since moved.

By 10, she was writing constantly.

“I think I was meant to be a writer,” Limor said. “I wrote and I wrote and I loved it before I could even form the alphabet.”

So she kept writing — all the way to Northwestern University, where she eventually received a master’s degree in journalism. Intent on a future in news reporting, she stumbled across a broadcasting class in her final year as an undergraduate at Northwestern.

She liked it, so she tried an internship. She liked that, so she tried another one.

“They were great,” Limor said. “That’s when I realized I’m really enjoying this broadcasting thing.”

She graduated in 1983, with double-digit unemployment and a job market eerily similar to today’s. She took her resume and tapes and packed into a beaten car, traveling to every television station within five hours of Nashville, a trip she dubbed the “Broadcast Tour of America.”

Limor would call ahead to set up interviews or sit in the lobbies of stations that didn’t answer those calls until they would see her. She did this for two weeks, staying in hotels that Limor said she “wouldn’t want my own children to stay in.”

Eventually, the hard work paid off with a minimum-wage gig in Bristol, Va., where she did everything from reporting to producing to sports play-by-play.

“In some ways, that job was almost better than the master’s degree,” she said. “It was just the best training I could ask for.”

After Bristol, she reported in Asheville, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., before heading to WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, where she has been for the past 16 years, winning awards while anchoring the station’s investigative reporting unit and running SPJ’s Cincinnati Pro Chapter for the past four years.

She is married and has a 5-year-old son, Jake.

Her experience with SPJ includes stints as secretary-treasurer on the national membership committee and as a board member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

As SPJ president, she wants to spread the word about First Amendment freedoms for the press and focus on helping the public appreciate why having a free press is important.

“I fully expect that Hagit will take the reins and SPJ will be in an even better position than they are now,” said outgoing president Kevin Smith.

Limor is excited about her new leadership role at SPJ.

“We don’t just represent our members, but we speak for every journalist in the country. And we fight for laws that would support anyone that goes after the truth, not just journalists,” she said.

New president Limor takes the reins of SPJ as conference closes

By Anthony Fenech

Another successful Society of Professional Journalists National Convention is in the books.

Tuesday night, inside a ballroom at Planet Hollywood’s convention center, Hagit Limor was officially installed as the 92nd SPJ president.

“Here I am standing before you and I’m truly humbled,” Limor said. “We’re all here for a reason. We have all been drawn to this room at this moment by a common denominator.”

Her installation was the final display in a night that included laughs, cheers and raw emotion on the podium.

In his final speech as president, Kevin Smith said, “We did more than just weather the storm. We built an ark.”

Carol Rosenberg, a reporter at the Miami Herald, was one of three awarded the SPJ First Amendment Award. Rosenberg fought for access to public records involving the Guantanamo Bay controversy.

“It hasn’t been easy,” she said, her voice trembling. “They banned me, they smeared me and they tried to get my editors to take me off the case.”

There were two winners of the First Amendment Awards. Lawyer Herschel Fink was honored for his work to keep Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter out of jail for refusing to reveal his sources. Dave Cuillier, a professor at the University of Arizona, was honored for his work as chair of the Freedom of Information committee.

“The First Amendment means everything to us,” Cuillier said. “I’ve seen it with my eyes. Journalism is not dead, it is alive and well.”

Smith also presented Cuillier with a President’s Award in the form of a statue of the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, known as a staunch defender of the Constitution.

David Perlman, a 91-year-old science writer from the San Francisco Chronicle, won the Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Perlman started a 78-year journalism career at age 12 with his junior high paper but was unable to attend the banquet, instead blaming his “mean editors” through Chronicle city editor Audrey Cooper, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Newspaper-closing casualty regroups, returns with InvestigateWest

By Anthony Fenech

Rita Hibbard didn’t realize how much she loved journalism until she lost her job.

Hibbard was assistant managing editor for news at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer when the newspaper closed its doors in 2009. On Monday, at the Society of Professional Journalists conference, she summed up those feelings by displaying a picture of a young girl shielding her face from a wicked rainstorm.

“Doing a good job isn’t good enough,” she said, at the “Crap! My Paper Closed!” session.

Hibbard led staff investigations that won several prestigious awards, including the 2009 George Polk Award for Military Reporting and the 2009 Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“Doing good journalism is important, but it’s not enough,” she said. “It’s not enough for survival.”

In the hourlong workshop, Hibbard detailed how she rebounded from her job loss by founding a startup investigative news organization called InvestigateWest.

InvestigateWest is comprised of three staff members, three contributors, four student interns and a host of board members spread across the country. The site is gaining attention in media circles around the Pacific Northwest – a region that, according to Hibbard, lost 35,000 jobs between September 2008 and August 2009, and 1,000 journalism jobs since 2004.

“It’s all a risk,” she said. “From day one, part of that risk is being willing to change.”

And the risk seems to be paying off.

The organization’s first story, an investigation into health care workers’ exposure to chemotherapy that resulted in cancer, was sold to

“I think it’s fabulous,” said Lucy Reed, who attended the session. “Obviously she has passion and wasn’t going to give up no matter what. She’s doing this and making it work.”

InvestigateWest tries to work every story into multiple platforms, and the non-profit organization collaborates with other news organizations to spread its name.

“It’s all about learning,” Hibbard said. “Learning new business models as the industry is in transit.”

Other stories InvestigateWest has covered include cruise lines dodging state rules by dumping water in Canada and sexual assaults on college campuses.

Despite the long and difficult hours, along with challenges such as gaining familiarity with the public, building social networks and learning new business skills, Hibbard summed up her present-day feelings with a picture of a beach, which she calls her “sabbatical.”

“I don’t think I’m out of the storm yet,” Hibbard said. “Just a little sheltered and a lot happier.”

To learn more about InvestigateWest, visit

Outgoing leader Smith to continue shield law push

By Anthony Fenech

Somewhere high in the sky between Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, Kevin Smith stopped what he was doing to think for a minute.

He thought about his past year as president of the Society of Professional Journalists, about all the places he had gone, all the people he had met and all the hard work he had put in.

“And I’m thinking, ‘Really? Was that really a year ago?’” he said Monday.

It really was a year ago when Smith took hold of the most prestigious position on SPJ’s board of directors. And it really will end Tuesday after 13 months on the job.

“It seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago,” he remembered thinking during that six-hour journey to the West Coast.

“It has flown by, it really has,” he said.

Smith’s time as SPJ president is ending, but he isn’t going anywhere. He plans to remain active, particularly on pushing Congress to enact a federal shield law.

He sat inside an empty conference room at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Monday, wearing a colorful tie with ribbons dangling from his name tag, and gave at least one reason that he won’t fade away after his term as president ends.

“I wish we had the shield law passed,” he said. “That was my number one focus.”

Never mind that under Smith’s presidency, SPJ increased membership, created a budget surplus for the first time in a few years and opened its first international chapter in Qatar.

He still wants a federal shield law to protect journalists who use anonymous sources from prosecution or jail time. Some states already have such laws to protect journalists.

Smith wants a free flow of information from the press to the public and he wants two senators to stop holding up the bill.

He said the law is about more than protecting journalists.

“This is about believing in democracy, and if you believe in democracy and the citizens’ right to decide, then the citizens deserve the information to make those decisions,” Smith said.

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles E. Schumer of New York have blocked the bill for months over concerns about extending protection to bloggers and others who do marginal amounts of journalism.

The fate of the bill is “out of our control to a certain degree,” Smith said. “You can advocate it and work with people, but it’s ultimately Congress’ decision and sometimes it’s an enormous dinosaur to move.”

He was on Capitol Hill last week, handing out letters and urging senators to support the bill.

A native of West Virginia, the 53-year-old Smith is divorced and lives in Harrisonburg, Va., a few hours away from the nation’s capitol. He plans to continue pressing for the shield law and has approval from Hagit Limor, SPJ’s incoming president, to do so.

Limor and Joe Skeel, SPJ’s executive director, spoke highly of Smith’s leadership. Skeel met him in the back of a bus in Seoul, South Korea. Limor met him in a boardroom in Cincinnati.

Both said they instantly knew Smith had the makings of a leader.

“I knew by the end of the bus ride,” said Skeel.

Limor said Smith “made a great first impression.”

Smith was inducted to Sigma Delta Chi (SPJ’s former name) as a college student in 1978. He joined SPJ’s ethics committee in 1988, and spent 18 years there before leaping to the board of directors.

Perhaps fittingly, Smith will ease into his role as immediate past president by serving as chair of Limor’s ethics committee.

The new position will give him a chance to boost SPJ’s ethics policies, including promoting and marketing the organization’s new ethics book being released in January.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Journalism Expo showcases graduate schools and talking geckos

By Anthony Fenech

Why is Karen Burns here, at a journalism expo inside the grand ballroom of Planet Hollywood’s convention center, sitting behind a desk crowded with car insurance goodies?

Burns is an event coordinator for Geico, the car insurance company most famously known for its gecko mascot that reminds television viewers “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.”

Today, she is sitting in the back corner of the ballroom, behind a desk littered with Geico letter openers, Geico hats and yes, Geico gecko pens.

“I’m here to spread the word,” she says.

She’s here to spread the word about Geico, about car insurance, and about membership benefits some Society of Professional Journalists convention-goers might not know about. SPJ members may be eligible for the savings depending on what state they live in.

“It does turn some heads,” she admits, “Especially if it’s my first time at a place.”

Monday was Burns’ first time working at a SPJ convention and with an organization that can save you up to eight percent on car insurance with Geico.

It’s a slow day for her, but a fast day for her ballroom neighbor, Leon Braswell III.

Braswell, director of admissions and financial aid at Columbia University, travels to conventions across the country to meet prospective graduate students.

“Even with the light traffic right now, this year has been the best for me,” he says, nearing 5 p.m. “In years past, it has been tumbleweed slow.”

But the first of three expo days for Burns has been slow, not exactly tumbleweed slow, but slow.

“There were some people earlier,” she says, “But I heard it’s supposed to be busier tomorrow.”

She points at two stacks of black Geico hats to the left of her.

“And let’s hope so, because I have 250 of these hats to give away.”

She hands out pens that look – and talk – like the Geico gecko and funny ribbons that convention goers can stick to their name tags, reminding others that “I know what you did last convention.”

“A lot of the people aren’t aware of the benefits,” she says. “This stuff gets more people to the booth.”

And it’s that stuff that keeps the journalists coming to a car insurance booth among media companies, colleges, advocacy groups and government agencies.

“It’s worthwhile being here,” Burns says. “These are the people that we want to get to.”

From pro chapter to national: the journey of new SPJ President-elect Hagit Limor

By Anthony Fenech

They were two journalists sitting inside of a boardroom in Cincinnati, talking about life, journalism and the future.

It was the summer of 2007 and Kevin Smith, then-Society of Professional Journalists’ region 4 director, had a message for Cincinnati Pro Chapter President Hagit Limor: We want you.

Smith saw how the award-winning WCPO-TV investigative reporter had resurrected a chapter that was once breathing its last breath.

He knew that SPJ needed someone to step into the secretary-treasurer role. He thought Hagit Limor (Hah-‘GEET LEE-more), 50, was the woman for the job.

“She’s amazing,” Smith said. “What a fantastic job she did of taking that chapter and making it viable again. That really stood out.”

And so, in town that day as a congratulatory gesture, Smith told Limor she had done a great job. He told her she’d make an excellent addition to the board of directors and asked her to think about it. He told her she should give it a shot.

“Now I’m here,” Limor said Thursday, days before becoming president of SPJ, the nation’s largest journalism organization, with about 9,000 members. “I have to give credit to him.”

Limor will take the presidential reins from Smith on Wednesday.

“It’s the biggest honor I can imagine,” Limor said. “To think about the tens of thousands of people in this country working to get the truth out to their communities, I’m deeply honored.”

Her journey to the top of SPJ began as a student at Northwestern University in the 1980s, as part of Sigma Delta Chi. That journey was put on hold during the two decades that followed as she moved from Bristol, Va., to Asheville, N.C., to Tampa, Fla. in pursuit of a broadcasting career.

That all changed in 2006 when she took over the Cincinnati Pro Chapter, which – with not a lot of money in the bank and not a lot of members in the fold – was on the verge of extinction.

Things began to change quickly under Limor’s watchful eye.

Membership increased. Bankroll exploded. According to Smith, the once-crippled chapter became one of the country’s best.

“We were able to show that you can take a chapter from nowhere and quickly ramp it up if you get excited about the mission at hand,” Limor said. “I think people on the national level took notice of that.”

And they did.

“What she did there showed a lot of character and a lot about her leadership abilities,” Smith said. “I think it was perfect training to give her the kind of perspective to be a leader.”

Smith said he told Limor, a native of Israel, all the right things and that, these days, he tells her something else.

“I tease her,” he said, laughing, “And I let her know that she owes everything she’s earned in SPJ to me.

“I’m happy because she’s marvelous, energetic and will be a fantastic president,” Smith said

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Live blog: Wolverines improve to 4-0

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Michigan wins, 65-21

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's Michigan vs. Bowling Green game. Anthony couldn't find a ride to Ann Arbor, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of ESPN2's telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat. Enjoy the game, everyone!

First quarter

Robinson scores on a two-yard keeper, 7-0 Wolverines.

UM up 14-0 with 9:28 left, another rushing touchdown by Robinson.

Another huge run by Robinson but he's hobbling after play. Devin Gardner is the new Michigan quarterback.

Touchdown by Gallon, call stands after review. Wolverines up, 21-0, with 4:21 left.

Quarter ends, same score, 21-0.

Second quarter

With 11:30 to go, Bowling Green on 1-yard line.

2nd and goal for BG, penalty on offense.

Bowling Green breaks through on 4th down, touchdown with 8:53 left.

Michigan leads, 21-7.

Penalty on Molk calls back Gardner touchdown pass for Michigan.

UM turns it over on downs. BG capitalizes, scores with 5:07 left. Michigan leads, 21-14.

Forcier now in at QB for Michigan.

1st down for Michigan with 1:44 left.

Shaw touchdown with 42 seconds left. U-M up 28-14.

Third quarter

Second half under way.

Bad snap to punter for Bowling Green; Michigan safety. Wolverines lead, 30-14, with 13:38 left.

Forcier TD pass to John McCogan, Michigan leads 37-14 with nine minutes left.

Vincent Smith breaks a tackle, heads to the end zone, Michigan up 43-14 with 7:21 remaining in third quarter. Extra point good.

Fourth quarter

On 4th and goal, Bowling Green's Hopgood runs in for a touchdown after good stops by U-M defense. Michigan leads, 44-21.

Vincent Smith scores again, Wolverines lead, 51-21 with 13:27 left in the game.

Toussaint runs for 61 yards, down to BG 6-yard line. And scores one play later, 58-21.

Gardner in at QB, runs for touchdown with 3:11 left. U-M leads, 65-21.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Friday Feature: James Batcheller runs Chippewa Marching Band like a championship team

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 24, 2010

What the heck, he thought.

Why not come home to Michigan, after a healthy cross-country trip to Florida, Montana, Oklahoma and back? Why not come back to his alma mater to direct the same marching band he once marched in?

“So I threw my hat into the ring,” said James Batcheller, a 1986 Central Michigan graduate and director of the Chippewa Marching Band. “And I’ve been here ever since.”

He’s been here, coaching music on a practice football field just off East Campus Drive since 2000, when he joined CMU as associate director of bands, replacing Jack Saunders after his retirement.

“It’s been coming back to a place that I know and I love,” he said.

This is a post-anniversary year of sorts for Batcheller who, last year, celebrated both his 50th birthday and 10th consecutive year at Central Michigan, the latter of which he received “a nice little pat on the back for.”

These days, he oversees a band of 275 members, about 50 more than when he started a decade ago.

“We just don’t have any more uniforms,” he said, laughing behind thin-rimmed glasses on a warm and sunny September afternoon. “We’re at capacity.”

He grew up listening to great music: his mother played the coronet, his aunts and uncles all played instruments, his grandfather was a pianist, and his father, well, his father likes to say he was the first guy on his block to have a stereo amplifier.

He said his career in music was a natural fit.

A championship team

“Putting a marching band together, putting any kind of music ensemble together is very much like putting together a championship football team,” he said. “There’s a level of dedication from every member of the group, and when you don’t have that, there can be no real success.”

It’s Batcheller’s job to not only sustain success, but to set the bar higher from year to year,

“Generally, the band gets better every year,” he said. “It’s the motto of the band.”

Which is why on Thursday, he watched with a close eye with a white whistle around his neck as an army of musicians practiced, played and rehearsed, for a stretch of performances not unlike the football team’s stretch run.

“Every rehearsal should be better than the last one, every performance better than the last one,” he said. “So every year should be better than the last.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Unsung heroes: Staten, Petrucci, Tipton step up when needed

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 22, 2010

They know their roles.

Armond Staten is just a backup linebacker. Mike Petrucci is just a backup linebacker. And Zurlon Tipton, he’s just a “punk freshman.”

“That’s my role this year,” Tipton said. “I’m just out there to get the team a win. Wherever they need me, whenever they tell me to go in, I do what I can to get the job done.”

And it’s going to take whatever these three can give for the Chippewas to get the job done this season. The trio made their presence felt loud and clear in Saturday afternoon’s 52-14 victory against Eastern Michigan.

“The more guys that can play in games like that, the better off your football team is going to be,” said CMU head coach Dan Enos.

Against Hampton, Staten recovered a fumble. Against Temple, Petrucci filled in for an injured Nick Bellore.

And against EMU, Tipton scored in his first game back in over a year, after an injury ended his season last year and a suspension began his season this year.

They ran, they tackled, they scored and unfortunately for head coach Dan Enos, put together a nice little highlight tape of plays to show the rest of Central Michigan’s opponents that if and when the next Chippewas starter gets injured, there is an army of backups ready to step in and perform.

“For any position on your football team, the more guys that can play in games like that, the better off your football team is going to be,” Enos said. “You need to have capable backups, and we’re very fortunate.”
And it didn’t take Enos very long to see just how fortunate the team was.


“It’s my job to stay consistent and ready to back up,” said Petrucci, a junior linebacker that put a defensive exclamation point on Saturday’s win with a 43-yard fumble recovery touchdown earlier in the fourth quarter. “It’s been good to be able to contribute.”

On the play, Petrucci trailed sophomore linebacker Alex Smith on a strong side blitz. After Smith clobbered Eagles quarterback Devontae Payne in the backfield, the ball fell into Petrucci’s hands.

And then, in front of his mom, dad, brother Pat and a couple of his friends, he ran.

“I was just going as fast as I could,” he said. “To be honest, I thought I was going to get run down and caught.”

He didn’t, and the Chippewas defense had their first touchdown of the year.

“We knew that if he was given the opportunity he would step up to the plate,” Enos said. “He’s played very well the past two weeks, is very capable and works very hard.”

One of the first to greet Petrucci on the sidelines was fellow junior linebacker Armond Staten, who recorded a team-high and career-high 13 tackles in CMU’s win Saturday, playing most of the game as he continues to work to secure his spot as starting linebacker.


“I didn’t even know about it until the reporters told me afterword,” he said of the milestone. “I was just doing my job.”

After seeing limited time in his first two years, Staten came into camp with a starting job this fall before injuries derailed him.

“He was up-and-down in the fall and nicked up,” Enos said. “He ended up losing his job but to his credit, Armond didn’t pout or anything. He just kept working. He’s a team guy and a hard worker.”

And as of Tuesday night, he’s listed atop the team’s depth chart at strong side linebacker.

“Compared to when I first got here,” he said, “I’m a completely different person and player.”


Just like Zurlon Tipton.

Tipton, a redshirt freshman from Detroit, was injured on a kickoff return in CMU’s game against Alcorn State last season. He was granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA, and worked last season to rehab his injured left wrist, which at one time saw a bone popping out of his arm, and another time, had pins screwed into that bone.

“I feel good now,” he said. “Especially coming back to play football. Sitting around wasn’t going to help anything, so I just got in the weight room everyday and got stronger.”

It’s shown. He busted two runs for 10 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown, the first of his career, in the fourth quarter.

“It felt real good,” he said of getting back on the field. “When you’re out for a year, you step out there and it feels real good. That touchdown was just a plus.”

Enos, who had to suspend Tipton for a violation of team policy earlier this season, sees the running back getting better each day.

“The sky’s the limit for him potentially,” Enos said. “The more he plays, the more he’ll get better and we think he’ll be a very, very good back by the end of the season.”

So whether it’s Armond Staten, Mike Petrucci, Zurlon Tipton or any of the second-and-third string cast of characters that make up the infrastructure of a college football team, the backups should be ready.

“Like I tell the guys,” Enos said. “You’re going to be given an opportunity at some point and you just want to make sure you continue to prepare yourself, so when you get that opportunity you are successful.”

Until then, these guys know their roles.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Runaway: Cotton career day leads CMU to first MAC win

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 20, 2010

YPSILANTI, Mich. — Paris Cotton ran.

He ran right, he ran left, he ran into the end zone — three times — and on Saturday afternoon at Rynearson Stadium against the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the junior running back ran the Chippewas to their first division win of the season.

And he might still be running.

“I’m coming out here to play for my teammates,” Cotton said. “All the 10 guys on the field did their job and made it a lot easier for me.”

Powered by an offensive attack that produced like the Chippewas of yesteryear, Central Michigan defeated EMU 52-14 in front of 20,348 fans in Ypsilanti.

Cotton’s three touchdowns, on a day where he ran for a career-high 209 yards on 21 carries, was more than enough for a stout CMU defense that rendered the Eagles offense powerless all game long.

With the Chippewas leading by a pair of touchdowns at the half, Cotton broke the contest wide open on a 61-yard touchdown run just a minute and a half into the second, streaking untouched down the CMU sideline for a 28-7 lead.

The score was his third of the day, after a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter followed by a one-yard run late in the second.

“I approach every game the same way,” Cotton said. “I’ll do everything I can to win.”

He averaged 10 yards per carry and added three receptions for 36 yards.

“The thing about Paris is that’s how he practices,” said head coach Dan Enos. “Full-speed, all the time. It doesn’t surprise anyone.”

Offense clicks

The sophomore combination of quarterback Ryan Radcliff and wide receiver Cody Wilson also enjoyed productive days as Central Michigan had its highest-scoring game since last season’s victory over Toledo.

The duo connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to open the scoring.

“It was nice to take some shots today and air it out a little bit,” Radcliff said. “I’m glad that was in our plans today.”

Wilson recorded three catches for 100 yards on the day, all in the first half. The touchdown was his second of the year.

After Cotton’s first touchdown run of the game with 47 seconds remaining in the quarter, Eastern Michigan responded with a two-yard touchdown run from running back Dwayne Priest, cutting the lead in half.

The Eagles were unable to muster any offense the rest of the way, save a 52-yard touchdown pass from Alex Gillett to Donald Scott halfway through the third quarter.

“I can’t say enough about them,” Enos said of the defense. “They hung in there and we were able to get after them.”

Never more so than when freshman linebacker Mike Petrucci returned a fumble for a 43-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, giving CMU a commanding 42-14 lead.

Junior linebacker Armond Staten recorded a team-high 13 tackles for the defense.

“We really challenged our players this week,” Enos said. “And they responded by playing well.”

Radcliff finished with 254 yards on 15-of-23 passing and threw for two touchdowns, including a 14-yard strike to senior wide receiver Kito Poblah at the 4:20 mark of the third quarter.

Redshirt freshman running back Zurlon Tipton returned from a two-game suspension with 55 yards on 11 carries, and scored on a 20-yard touchdown run late in the game.

“I thought we came back from our disappointing loss well,” Enos said.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chippewas rout EMU, 52-14, to even MAC record

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 18, 2010

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Central Michigan Chippewas used an impressive rushing attack Saturday to defeat Eastern Michigan, 52-14, at Rynearson Stadium.

CMU was led by junior running back Paris Cotton, who rushed for a career-high 209 yards on 21 carries, scoring three times.

The Chippewas (2-1, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) didn’t appear to be tested, racking up 523 yards of total offense against EMU, who has now lost 15 consecutive games.

“We really challenged our players this week,” said head coach Dan Enos. “And they responded by playing well.”

Picking up where they left off last week against Temple, the sophomore combination of quarterback Ryan Radcliff and Cody Wilson connected for a 21-yard touchdown late in the first quarter and the Chippewas never looked back.

Cotton added a 13-yard touchdown run

three minutes later, after a long pass play from Radcliff to Wilson put CMU in the red zone.

Wilson caught three passes for 100 yards on the day, all in the first half, and Radcliff completed 15-of-23 passes for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“It was nice to air it out a little bit,” Radcliff said.

Cotton put an exclamation point on the victory just 1:30 into the second half, breaking a 61-yard touchdown run down the right sidelines to give CMU a healthy 21-point lead.

“The thing about Paris,” Enos said, “Is that’s how he practices. Full speed, all the time. It doesn’t surprise anybody on our staff.”

Eastern Michigan (0-3, 0-2 MAC) was unable to muster any offense the rest of the way, save a 52-yard touchdown pass from Alex Gillett to Donald Scott halfway through the third quarter.

The offense responded to EMU’s long touchdown strike with an air strike of their own four minutes later on a 14-yard pass from Radcliff to senior wide receiver Kito Poblah.

Poblah recorded four catches for 55 yards. The touchdown was his first of the season.

Continuing an early-season trend, the Chippewas defense put the clamp on its opponent and made plays, forcing two Eagles fumbles, including a Mike Petrucci fumble recovery of 43 yards that resulted in a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

“I can’t say enough about them,” Enos said. “Our defense hung in there and we were able to get after them.”

In his first game back following a two-game suspension, redshirt freshman running back Zurlon Tipton rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries.

Tipton scored on a 20-yard rush in the fourth quarter.

“We thought we came back from our disappointing loss well,” Enos said.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back in the Saddle: Joe Kinville returns to CMU football team

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 17, 2010

He wasn’t thinking about football, not while fishing and not while hunting on his buddy’s property in Clare, and certainly not while living the college life.

Joe Kinville wasn’t thinking about football. He swears.

“I was happy with my decision,” he said. “And I didn’t regret leaving for a minute.”

No, the Central Michigan sophomore defensive end wasn’t thinking about football last January, while driving south on U.S. 127 in his white Ford F-150, on the way to his little brother’s wrestling tournament.

But football was thinking about him. And so was his little brother.

“It was overwhelming,” Kinville said. “It all just came back at a moment. I wanted to play.”

Just a year after leaving the Chippewas as a redshirt freshman following the 2008 Motor City Bowl, Joe Kinville wanted to play again.

He admits a return first started creeping into his head when head coach Dan Enos began recruiting his younger brother Mike, and he’ll tell you his departure had nothing to do with the previous coaching staff, but whatever it was that was keeping Kinville away from football, whatever it was that was keeping him in the gym and off the football field, it disappeared on that long stretch of two-lane highways to Lansing.

“Everything clicked,” he said Wednesday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, just a few days before his third consecutive start of the season at a position he’s known for a whole nine months. “I lost sight of how much I loved the game.”

So he walked into a wrestling tournament in Holt and told his parents and couple of others. Shortly thereafter, Mike, a Detroit Catholic Central senior just minutes from a Division 1 high school match in front of Eastern Michigan football coaches, found out from a teammate that his older brother was coming back to football.

Then he heard it from his brother.

“I’m going to play,” Joe said. “Now you need to come up to Central.”

Needless to say, Mike took home first place that day.

“I was really excited,” Mike Kinville said. “I’ve always been playing because he was playing.”
Now, they would be playing together.

Meeting Enos

‘Hey coach, I’m Joe. Remember me?’

Dan Enos remembered Joe Kinville. He remembered the big frame, the thick eyebrows and the athletic ability from recruiting Joe at Catholic Central as an assistant at Michigan State and, truth be told, he was hoping that Joe would show up.

And he did, on this cold, January day inside the warmth of Enos’ newly-occupied office in the Indoor Athletic Complex.

“I was wondering if I could walk on the team,” he said.

“Well Joe,” Enos asked, “Didn’t you didn’t quit once already?”

The nervous college sophomore nodded his head.

“So what makes us think you’re not going to come out here and quit again? You’re going to have to give us a pretty good reason.”

That reason lies somewhere in the knit-tight family life of the Kinvilles, a working-class family from Northville, and someplace in the sometimes-lonely world of a football player without a football field to play on.

“He just wasn’t happy,” said Mike Kinville. “He’s always been playing and when you’re not playing, it’s kind of tough.”

And tough is an embedded characteristic of the Kinville brothers, both successful wrestlers in high school.
“They’re workers, coming from a blue-collar, salt of the earth type of family,” Enos said.

And as the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But Joe Kinville’s reason wasn’t tough. It wasn’t about hard hits, sacking quarterbacks or glory on the gridiron.

“Coach,” Joe said. “My kid brother is coming here to play football. What type of example would I be setting if I didn’t do the same thing and work just as hard?”

And with that, Joe Kinville was back on the CMU football team.

Change of heart

To say Joe Kinville never thought about football, ever, during his hiatus from the sport as he lived the college experience would be inaccurate.

He thought about football on Friday nights as he sat in the stands with his family and watched Mike dart sideline-to-sideline, and he thought about football when he reminisced about how his little brother would mimic big brother on the field as they grew up.

“Man,” he would think those nights. “He’s out there playing and I’m not.”

And it irked him.

“It was different,” he said. “I had the chance to play and quit. That’s not a good example to set for your little brother.”

So after Enos’ blessing, which included the not-to-be overlooked remarks about needing a defensive end the upcoming fall, and thinking the now 6-foot-2, 248-pound player would look mighty fine putting on a few more pounds, Joe Kinville got to work on setting the example straight.

In the weight room this winter, Enos said that Joe Kinville, “Drove in that first day and worked as hard as anybody.”

Throughout the spring and summer, the former linebacker worked and worked to transition to the defensive line, and on Sept. 2, Joe Kinville recorded his first collegiate sack in his first collegiate start, completing an unlikely journey from redshirt freshman to out of football and back.

“He seems happy now that he’s back playing football,” Mike Kinville said.

Older brother agrees.

“Having the time off made me a stronger player,” he said. “Now I’m back. I’ve missed it, I know I need it and I have both feet in now.”

These days, Joe Kinville is back to thinking about football.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bellore 'probable' Saturday against EMU

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 15, 2010

Nick Bellore can hear the clock.

“Time is precious,” he said Tuesday as he stood on a tender right ankle at Kelly-Shorts Stadium.

Time is also ticking.

And Bellore, the Chippewas senior linebacker who was forced out of CMU’s 13-10 loss at Temple on Thursday with a sprained ankle, knows it.

“You have 12, 13, maybe 14 games a year,” he said, “And a lot of it goes unbelievably quick. You miss a quarter here, a quarter there, it’s just a lot.”

He injured his right ankle in the second quarter, after wrapping up an Owls running back, when his right foot was in the air, left exposed to a pile of football players coming his way.

“It happens almost every play in every game,” he said. “Just unlucky.”

CMU head coach Dan Enos said the chances of his standout linebacker being on the field Saturday against Eastern Michigan are “probable,” adding, “there’s a good chance he’ll play.”

And after playing only three quarters against Hampton in the season opener before missing the second half against Temple, Bellore can also feel his time on the sidelines ticking away.

“I’m chomping at the bit,” he said after missing his second practice of the week. “I want to be out there.”

Today, he will be out there, scheduled to practice on the injured ankle for the first time since the injury, after long days of 10-12 medical treatments and of course, rest.

“It’s just a matter of getting better day-to-day and focusing on the next day,” Bellore said.

To date, Bellore has started 43 consecutive games for the Chippewas. This season, he has recorded 13 tackles, third highest on the team.

He said that watching from the bench during the second half of Thursday’s game was tough, especially in a game of that magnitude.

“Being a huge game, it was hard,” Bellore said. “But I had full confidence in everyone out there. They’re tough players and they’re good.”

The process of getting the ankle back to game speed includes various medical treatments, light exercises and between 4-8 meetings with an electronic stimulating machine each day.

Bellore said the 10-day break after the Temple game is “awesome,” adding that if the team only had a week break, there would be “no way” he could play on Saturday.

“It feels pretty good,” he said of the ankle. “It’s getting there. Obviously, I’m going to try and go out.”
In that regard, coach and player are on the same page.

“If he is able to go, he’ll go,” Enos said, dismissing any notion that the team might be better served holding the linebacker out until a week later, when they travel to play a higher-caliber opponent in Northwestern.

“This is a MAC West opponent, we’re 0-1 and we have to get to 1-1.

“Nick feels the same way,” Enos added.

Kickoff time announced

CMU’s Sept. 25 game at Northwestern will kick off at noon and air on the Big Ten Network. The game marks the Chippewas seventh television appearance of the 2010 season.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Missed opportunities cost CMU game against Temple

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 10, 2010

Cody Wilson pushed for five more yards. Cedric Fraser caught a pass and then threw a defender off of him. Paris Cotton cut a 14-yard loss in half.

The Chippewas offense had it Thursday night. They had the ball, they had the game and they knew it.
“We were doing everything we could to win,” Wilson said.

They had it, but they didn’t. And after a 13-10 overtime loss at Temple, their first Mid-American Conference opening loss in six years, they knew that as well.

“We tied it up,” he said. “We just couldn’t finish today.”

In the end, the same missed opportunities that put the offense to sleep in the first half would ultimately sink the Chippewas when, with only seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the football escaped sophomore quarterback Ryan Radcliff’s hand and trickled to midfield, where the clock would expire on regulation, the play noting an offense’s biggest missed opportunity with an exclamation.

The Chippewas outgained Temple by 86 yards, but they turned the ball over twice as much. They tallied two more first downs, but committed three more penalties.

CMU drove into Temple territory on the first three drives of the game, yet all they had to show for it was a punt, an interception and a turnover-on-downs.

It didn’t get much better, save a 70-yard hookup between Radcliff and Wilson and its complementing one-yard touchdown run from Cotton, the offense sputtering and kicker Paul Mudgett’s kicks fluttering, but there they were, in the fourth quarter, with a chance to win the game.

“It was a big part of the game,” Wilson said afterwards.

And suddenly, Radcliff was leading an offense, completing pass after pass as the Chippewas marched down the field for its longest drive in terms of plays, and second-longest in terms of yardage.

“He has a really good demeanor with our team,” head coach Dan Enos said of his quarterback’s performance with the game on the line.

Pinch-kicking, David Harman knocked one through the uprights with 1:11 remaining; the offense finally feeling gelled, hoping for another chance with the ball.

They had it, and then they didn’t.

“I thought we kind of left a lot out there,” Wilson said. “But we will learn from that and come back next week even stronger. I think good will come from this.”

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Live blog: Tigers wrap up White Sox series with a win

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's game between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox from Comerica Park.

This will be our final Tigers live blog of the season. Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat. Enjoy the afternoon of baseball, everyone!

1st inning

• Johnny Damon singles home a run and Will Rhymes scores on a double-play ball. Tigers 2, White Sox 0.

3rd inning

• Ryan Raburn drives in a run on a fielder's choice and Jhonny Peralta singles in Johnny Damon. Tigers 4, White Sox 0.

4th inning

• Alex Rios hits a two-run home run to get Chicago on the board. Tigers 4, White Sox 2.

• Alex Avila scores on an infield single by Ryan Raburn. Tigers 5, White Sox 2.

7th inning

• Paul Konerko scored on a wild pitch. Tigers 5, White Sox 3.

• Jhonny Peralta hit a sacrifice fly to score Johnny Damon, Tigers 6, White Sox 3.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Temple turned into winner under Al Golden

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 08, 2010

The improvement is there.

That much is evident by looking only at Temple’s win totals during the past four years under the watchful eye of head coach Al Golden.

In his first season, the Owls won only a game.

Competing as an independent, Temple lost its first eight games of the Golden regime in 2006 and just missed setting a school-low mark for futility by beating Bowling Green to snap a 20-game losing streak, one shy of a school-record for consecutive losses.

The next season, the Owls won four games. Then five. And last year, after winning nine regular season games, Temple earned its first postseason appearance in 30 years, losing to UCLA, 30-21, in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington, D.C.

But mention the Central Michigan Chippewas to the fifth-year Temple coach and he will tell you just how much improvement remains to be made in Philadelphia.

“We’re a long way away,” Golden said Monday during the Mid-American Conference coaches teleconference. “They are far and away better than anyone else in the (MAC) now and really, the one established program in the conference.

“When you win 27 out of 31 MAC games and you’re champions three of the past four years,” he added, “The resume speaks for itself.”

And a Thursday night victory over the Chippewas and in front of its home fans would certainly help bolster the national profile of a program once expelled from the Big East.

“I’m just glad we’re relevant in terms of getting picked and with the media,” Golden said. “For us, we have to learn to do it day in and day out.”

On Sept. 3, Temple learned how to do it in an unfamiliar role, narrowly missing an upset at the hands of defending NCAA Division 1 FCS champion and neighboring Villanova.

And after its nine-win performance last year, which included a second-place finish in the MAC East, the Owls needed a field goal from sophomore Brandon McManus with three seconds remaining to top the Wildcats, 31-24.

“We won the first one and we were lucky to do that,” Golden said. “We have a long way to go, but we hung together and finished the game strong.”

The crowd of 32,193 at Lincoln Financial Field was the second-largest to watch a Temple game at the venue.

“As you go on the road the first time, there’s always new things for the new guys,” said CMU head coach Dan Enos. “The good news is that we have a lot of veteran players that have played in a lot of venues and played on the road a lot, and we’re going to need that type of leadership of focus from our older guys that will filter down to our younger guys.”

Thursday’s game will be the first road trip for the Chippewas on the season, against a team many picked to win the conference, and senior linebacker Nick Bellore is relishing the early-season opportunity.

“It’s right here for us in the second game,” Bellore said. “We don’t have to look ahead to playing them.”

But the Owls, who have lost to CMU twice under Golden, have been looking forward to the game, one that will test just how far their once-shunned program has come.

“They’ve been the best team, and that’s what we’re trying to be,” Golden said. “We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go to reach that level.”

Three former CMU football players make NFL rosters

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 08, 2010

It didn’t take long for Dan LeFevour to land on his feet again.

On Sunday, just a day after being cut by the Chicago Bears, the former Central Michigan quarterback was claimed by the Cincinnati Bengals off waivers and placed on their regular roster.

“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” LeFevour told the Bengals website. “I was just keeping an open mind. Luckily, I landed in a place like Cincinnati where at least I have some connections and know some guys on the team, so the transition won’t be that bad.”

During the preseason, LeFevour, who was drafted by the Bears in the sixth round of April’s NFL Draft, completed 19-of-41 passes for 204 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

In Cincinnati, he will serve as the third-string quarterback behind eight-year veteran Carson Palmer and his younger brother, Jordan.

There, the 23-year-old will be reacquainted with rookies Geno Atkins and Jordan Shipley, who share the same agency, and University of Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones, who coached LeFevour for three years at CMU.

Brown, Zombo make NFL rosters

LeFevour’s main target during his stay in Mount Pleasant has also found a home.

Wide receiver Antonio Brown, a sixth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, made the team’s 53-man roster on Saturday.

Brown, who left school for the NFL Draft after his junior year, amassed nearly 3,200 receiving yards at CMU. He was a force on both the offensive side of the ball and special teams, where he scored five times during his collegiate career, and expects to make an impact on the Steelers offense this season.

Brown ranked third on the team in receiving this preseason, catching nine passes for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 11.4 yards/return average on punt returns led the team.

Brown and LeFevour are joined by linebacker Frank Zombo, who made the Green Bay Packers 53-man roster over the weekend, as three former Chippewas will suit up on Sundays this fall.

“I was very impressed with Frank,” Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said in a press conference on Sept. 5. “I think he competed very, very well. We’re counting on him helping the team this year.”

Zombo, an undrafted rookie from Sterling Heights, recorded 18 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble this preseason, but it was an early-camp ankle injury on Aug. 5 that impressed most on Thompson.

“He was hurting and still practicing,” Thompson said on Sunday, “And that’s very admirable.” But, Thompson added, “The reason he made our team is because he showed that he can play at a high level at that position.”

Zombo earned first team All-Mid-American Conference honors in 2008 and 2009 and ranks second in CMU history with 25.5 sacks.

He was unable to be reached for comment.

Other players cut

Former CMU players Eric Ghiaciuc and Andrew Hartline were cut over the weekend by the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins, respectively.

Ghiaciuc was drafted by the Bengals in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft and has played in 48 career NFL games. Hartline was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Packers in 2009 and spent most of last season on the Dolphins practice squad.