February 11

Disgraced soccer star Alfredo Pacheco killed in his native El Salvador

Alfredo Pacheco, who played in more soccer games for El Salvador than anyone else, is dead at age 33. He was shot and killed early Sunday morning at a gas station in his hometown of Santa Ana, in the northwestern part of the country.

Police say the two people who were with Pacheco at the time were wounded. There has been no motive given for the shooting. El Salvador has already set a record for homicides this year with 6,500 murders reported, an average of 17 murders a day. Police blame gangs for much of the violence.

Pacheco played 86 games for El Salvador between 2002 and 2013. He also played on top clubs in his native country. He spent part of the 2009 season in the United States while on loan to the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer.

His career came to an abrupt and embarrassing end in 2013 when he and 12 other players were banned for life by the Salvadoran Football Federation for match-fixing. Both the Federation and the Red Bulls offered their condolences to Pacheco’s family and friends. He leaves behind a wife and five children.

Pacheco is the second high-profile Central American soccer player to be murdered this month. 26-year-old Honduran international Arnold Peralta was killed in the parking lot of a shopping center in his hometown on December 10. Reports say he was hit with 18 bullets. According to a United Nations report last year, Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world.

Source:http://www.examiner.com/article/disgraced-soccer-star-alfredo-pacheco-killed-his-native-el-salvador

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February 11

Green Bay Packers find reliance in young talent

Noted as one of the NFL‘s youngest teams heading into the 2015 season, the Green Bay Packers understand just how important young talent is to their football team. In correlation to their recent struggles, several of these young players have seen increased playing team, and increased trust from the Packers’ front office.

After Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Packers were sent back to Green Bay broken, and beat up from the hostile Cardinals. However, in the three games prior, the Packers found prosperity and reliance behind several key youngsters.

“He can get open,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of Jared Abbrederis according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “He’s a good route-runner. He needs to be on the field more.”

Since the injury to Jordy Nelson this preseason, the wide receiver position has been casted blame due to their unexplainable dropped passes and inability to get open. Here, several players were merited a chance to prove their worth, including second-year wide receiver Abbrederis.

Abbrederis got his shot earlier this season after spending a majority of his rookie season sidelined with an ACL tear. Now, seemingly healthy for the first time in his NFL career, Abbrederis has seen time as a slot receiver for the Packers’ offense, and has provided a productive role for the Packers offense. In fact, Abbrederis has caught over 60% of the passes thrown to him over the span of his last five games played, earning endorsements from Rodgers for more playing time.

Similarly, undrafted rookie John Crockett has seen expanded playing time after unproductive play from the Packers’ rushing attack. Crockett, who finished second in the FCS all-time rushing yards (4,309), has provided an unforeseen spark of emotion out of the Packers’ backfield since the hindering play of Eddie Lacy and James Starks of late.

“At the end of the day, you’re preparing yourself for this moment, having the mindset to stay hungry and stay ready. Crockett noted after his debut against the Lions, according to Packers.com. “This game is so crazy. Anything can happen, you just have to be ready for the opportunity.”

In particular, Crockett has seen only two games of playing time after spending a majority of the season on the Packers’ practice squad. Although his current career-rushing total is at a trivial nine carries for 21 yards, Crockett may see more involvement late in games.

Lastly, a weekend Green Bay defense has caused several inexperienced players to step up in critical situations. In particular, the Packers have provided three rookie cornerbacks with increased playing time, including backups Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter.

These moves come in tribulation of the concussion sustained by veteran cornerback Sam Shields against the Dallas Cowboys in week 14. However, Shields is likely to return against the Minnesota Vikings next week, pending further concussion examination.

Regardless of the recent moves made by the Packers, one thing is for certain; they will have to defend their home field against the Vikings on Sunday night to sustain their recent streak of containing the NFC North throne.

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Source:http://www.examiner.com/article/green-bay-packers-find-reliance-young-talent

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February 11

Oakland Raiders are better off in Oakland than in Los Angeles

The Oakland Raiders are better off staying in Oakland than moving to Los Angeles according to a recent report. During the last months, rumors have it that the Raiders are set to move back to LA and share a stadium with the San Diego Chargers.

It was reported on Monday that Mark Davis and his Raiders are better off staying in Oakland than moving to Los Angeles. The reason is that the team will not prosper as much as many say it will. It is estimated that the Raiders will be worth $2 billion if they relocate to LA. In Oakland, they are currently worth $1.45 billion.

The reason why the Oakland Raiders are having problems with their worth value is that they do not own their stadium. So, the team does not get money from the O.co Coliseum’s naming rights or revenue from the concession stands during home games.

With the current plan in LA, the Raiders would have to share the naming rights of the stadium and revenues with the Chargers. However, with a new stadium in Oakland, the Raiders would get it all and be more valuable that what they are expected to be in LA.

On Christmas Eve, the Raiders defeated the Chargers in what could have been the last football game in Oakland. The Raiders’ lease is now over with the O.co Coliseum and a new home has not been established. Still, during the game on Thursday against the Chargers, many Raiders’ fans held signs that said “Stay in Oakland” despite the team not reporting on having a new place to play for next season.

Additionally, both Oakland A’s and Raiders owners have agreed that the city of Oakland needs to give the two teams a new stadium each since the O.co Coliseum is dilapidated. The answer has not been given yet to solve this problem.

However, the Raiders would be better off in Oakland if the city is able to manage a plan to give the team a new stadium. The fan base is there and then some—droves of fans coming from Sacramento, Fresno, and Los Angeles itself. So, the money would flow in, and even better with a new stadium since the Raiders have one of the most loyal fan base in the league, hence the Raider Nation.

The team’s value would definitely go up since the stadium would be theirs and would not be wasting money on rent. Also, the team would not be sharing any profits with another team sharing a stadium.

In the end, Oakland has failed to come up with viable plans to keep the Silver and Black in town. So, the question of relocation still remains. As for the Raiders, their new home is still to be announced and, hopefully, all this will be over soon. Plus, the Oakland Raiders already share a stadium with the Chargers—this happens when both teams play in San Diego at the Qualcomm Stadium once a year.

Source:http://www.examiner.com/article/oakland-raiders-are-better-off-oakland-than-los-angeles

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February 11

Cardinals maul Rodgers, Green Bay in lopsided laugher

The Arizona Cardinals treated Aaron Rodgers like their own personal hand puppet on Sunday afternoon, pummeling the Green Bay Packers, 38-8, at University of Phoenix Stadium during Week 16 in the NFL. The Cards (13-2) sacked A-Rod eight times, knocked him down a baker’s dozen more times and basically abused the reigning MVP for the 51 minutes he was at the helm.

Mike Daniels' interception of Carson Palmer late in the first half Sunday was one bright spot in Green Bay's 38-8 loss to the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Source:http://www.examiner.com/article/cardinals-maul-rodgers-green-bay-lopsided-laugher

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February 11

Local Saint Louis County hockey coach charged with child porn & child enticement

In Kirkwood, Missouri, a local Saint Louis County hockey coach has been charged with possession of child pornography and attempted Sexual Exploitation of a child. Ian Mackie, 39, of Ballwin and a father himself, is accused of attempting to convince one of his male athletes, 14, to send him sexually explicit photos of himself. Mackie, a graduate of Parkway School District and the University of Missouri Saint Louis (UMSL), was a coach with the Kirkwood Youth Hockey Association during the time of his arrest. Mackie is also a store manager with Office Depot in Ballwin and before that he worked for years at Target Stores. It is unknown at this time if other victims exist but parents of children who are current or former athletes of Coach Mackie are asked to talk with their children and if there are any suspicions, parents are asked to contact St. Louis County Police at 314-889-2341 or go to their local police agency.

A warrant was issued for Mackie’s arrest on December 22, 2015. The hearing is set for January 7, 2016 under Judge John Borbonus, If convicted, Mackie will most likely be ordered to register as either a Tier II or Tier III sex offender. Tier I offenders must register for 1 year; Tier II offenders must register for 25 years; and Tier III offenders who are typically considered high risk, must register for life.

“The Kirkwood Youth Hockey Association (KYHA) board was made aware of a situation regarding an assistant coach on one of our teams. According to news reports, the coach is in custody due to serious charges involving a minor that mandates we take immediate action. As a result, the KYHA board suspended the coach indefinitely as soon as we learned of the situation. It is also worth noting that the KYHA board had no previous knowledge of any issues with this coach. He passed the Missouri Hockey background check and completed the USA Hockey SafeSport training program, both requirements for all KYHA coaches in accordance with the Missouri Hockey and USA Hockey guidelines. We will continue to monitor this situation and will cooperate with local law enforcement officials as we learn more. Please direct all inquiries regarding this matter to the KYHA board.”

— Steven Williamson, President of the Kirkwood Youth Hockey Association (KYHA)

Charges include:

  1. Atmp-Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor Child (Class B Felony)
  2. Atmp-Possession Of Child Pornography (Class D Felony)

Bond has been set at $250,000 (cash only)

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February 11

Can USC’s O-line control the line of scrimmage and move the Badgers

National Funding Holiday Bowl
12/30/2015
7:30 pm PST

The (8-5) USC Trojans have arrived, 120 miles south of Los Angeles returning to San Diego, CA to play the (9-3) 23rd ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the 38th annual National Funding Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. As a matter of fact, this contest is definitely not the desired Rose Bowl, although it does provide the traditional Pac 12 versus the Big Ten matchup for the second year in a row. This meeting is the first Holiday Bowl for the Badgers. The Pac 12 South Champion Trojans have won all six meetings with the Badgers, including a 38-3 home win for USC in 1966. This contest will be the Badgers’ 14th consecutive bowl appearance, the Big Ten’s longest active streak.

USC and Wisconsin twice played in the post season with Trojans victories in the 1953 & 1963 Rose Bowls (by 7-0 & 42-37 scores). The most memorable battle between the two combatants; the 1963 Rose Bowl, the #2 ranked Badgers nearly came all the way back from a 42-17 deficit behind Quarterback Ron Vander Kelen’s legendary MVP performance before falling to #1 ranked USC, Coach John McKay’s first National championship team. In the finale of the 2014 season, 55,789 fans witnessed a game that featured 1,040 yards of combined offense in addition to the final outcome, USC beat Nebraska 45-42 in the Holiday Bowl.

The USC Trojans, one of the nation’s premier bowl teams, with an overall post-season record of 33-16. The Cardinal and Gold have lost just twice in its past 11 bowl games. The USC Trojans have played 15 true freshmen this season, six have started games. In the first place, 2015 was a tumultuous year for the Trojans; 8-5 overall, 6-3 in Pac 12 play winning five of their last eight games since the administration named Clay Helton the interim Head Coach on October 12th after the dismissal of former Head Coach Steve Sarkisian ( then later the permanent Head Coach) finishing as the Pac 12 South Champions and playing for the conference Championship.

The outcome of the 38th annual National Funding Holiday Bowl comes down to the Trojans 31st ranked offense, averaging 35 points per game, scoring against a Badgers defense ranked first nationally in scoring defense (13.1 points per game), second in pass efficiency defense (95.12), third in total defense (267.1), fourth in rushing defense (97.9) and sixth in passing defense (169.2). Equally important and raising the level of difficulty, the month of October was not kind to USC as the program lost senior center/guard Max Tuerk and guard Viane Talamaivo to season ending injuries. With this in mind, these Trojans offensive line from left to right, left tackle Zach Banner, left guard Damien Mama, center Khaliel Rodgers, right guard Chris Brown and right tackle Chuma Edoga. In order for offensive success for USC, these Trojans must control the line of scrimmage and move the crowd.

The Trojans need to know exactly where Badgers outside linebacker Joe Schobert is at all times, Schobert the Big Ten’s linebacker of the year, tied for seventh nationally posting 18.5 tackles for loss, nine and a half sacks and a school record five forced fumbles in 2015.

Team Stats

USC Wisconsin

Points per game 34.9 27.1

Points Allowed 25.9 13.1

Total Yards 449.6 377.3

Yards Passing 273.5 229.3

Yards Rushing 176.2 148.1

Yards Allowed 401.3 267.1

Passing Yards Allowed 254.2 169.2

Rushing Yards Allowed 147.2 97.9

The Trojans are 3-2 in their last five games, scoring on average 31 points and allowing 32.8 points.In their last five games, the Badgers are 4-1, scoring on average 28 points per game and allowing 16.2 points per game. As a matter of fact, USC has faced three ranked opponents (#23 Oregon, #22 UCLA and #7 Stanford) in their last five games in contrast the Badgers have faced only one ranked opponent (#20 Northwestern). Trojan quarterback Cody Kessler, a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Senior Class Award finalist, is in USC’s all-time Top 4 in TD passes, completions, passing yards and total offense (surpassing Matt Lienart’s school career records for completion percentage & interception rate).

In 2015 Kessler completed 280 of 414 passes for 3,315 yards, 28 TD passes and six interceptions. Kessler leads an offense that is averaging 450 total yards and 35 points per game. USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kessler’s main target, is in the Top 15 Nationally in receiving yards and receiving TD’s (85 receptions for 1,389 yards and 10 TD’s). The Trojans rushing attack; a combination of Junior Tailback Justin Smith (157 carries for 875 yards, 5 TD’s, averaging 5.6 yards per carry) and Freshman All-American candidate Tailback Ronald Jones (145 carries for 940 yards, 8 TD’s, averaging 6.5 yards per carry), both players have a shot at a 1,000 yard rushing year.

Ronald Jones also holds the USC freshman season rushing record; formerly held by Heisman Trophy winner Charles White, as well as being among in addition to the contribution of senior Tailback Tre Madden (85 carries for 452 yards, 5 TD’s, averaging 5.3 yards per carry). USC’s defense led by outside linebacker/ strong safety Su’A Cravens (In 3 years Cravens posted – 199 career tackles, including 166 solo stops, 34 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, nine interceptions for 133 yards, a 14.8 yard interception return average) has had their issues; however the Trojans defense has won the turnover battle (+0.9), had 14 takeaways, 5 defensive scores and ranks 15th in the nation in sacks (USC has 27 under Helton).

Under first year Head Coach Paul Chryst, Wisconsin features a top defense led by OLB Joe Schobert, an offense with senior QB Joel Stave (in 2015; 207 completions on 343 attempts for 2,470 yards, 10 TD’s and 11 interceptions) at the controls, who has led the Badgers to a school record-tying 30 wins. Stave is second in Wisconsin history in career passing yards, touchdowns, completions and attempts. Wisconsin’s top receiving threat and Stave’s main target, WR Alex Erickson an All Big Ten performer (72 receptions for 924 yards and 3 TD’s), leading rusher Dare Ogunbowale (181 carries for 769 yards and 7 TD’s).the senior has that has effectively moved the ball and a team that has lost three close games. This is a compelling post season matchup, competitive throughout destined to go down to the wire for a thrilling finish with two quarterbacks playing their college football finale’s.

Prediction: USC 27 Wisconsin 21

Source:http://www.examiner.com/article/can-usc-s-o-line-control-the-line-of-scrimmage-and-move-the-badgers

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February 11

Charles Woodson announces retirement from NFL

Now in his 18th season, former University of Michigan standout Charles Woodson announced yesterday (Monday, Dec. 21) that he will retire at the end of this National Football League campaign. Woodson, the first mainly defensive player to earn the Heisman Trophy, will conclude his professional career with the Oakland Raiders, the team that drafted him number 4 overall in the 1998 NFL Draft. Woodson, 39, returned to the Raiders for the 2015 season, after having played for the Green Bay Packers from 2006-2014.

At U-M, Woodson not only played cornerback, he also played significant time at wide receiver his last two years wearing the Maize and Blue, a dual role that helped him earn the college game’s top honor as a junior for his stellar performance during the 1997 season. He also has grabbed numerous NFL honors, including Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, and this season was named the league’s defensive player of the month for October.

The only player in NFL history with at least 50 interceptions and 20 quarterback sacks, Woodson began his pro career as a cornerback but later switched to safety, his current position with the Raiders.

Read more about Woodson’s retirement in an article on ESPN.com. It includes a link to a separate article that spotlights the Wolverine great’s top NFL stats.

Source:http://www.examiner.com/article/charles-woodson-announces-retirement-from-nfl

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February 11

49ers offense falls flat, scores no second half points in Lions loss

The 49ers offense came out with a heavy ground and pound attack in the first half. On 20 carries, San Francisco racked up 122 yards from the backfield, but that was the end of the line for the units production. In the second half, the 49ers failed to score any points whatsoever, and were -1 yards on three carries.

 Blaine Gabbert #2 of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by Devin Taylor #98 of the Detroit Lions in the third quarter at Ford Field
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Source:http://www.examiner.com/article/49ers-offense-falls-flat-scores-no-second-half-points-lions-loss

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February 11

Tomsula concerned about now, 'I'm going to coach until someone tells me I'm not'

Reports surfaced Monday that Mike Holmgren would be interested in coaching the 49ers, should a vacancy become available—the Super Bowl winning coach is credited with the developments of quarterbacks such as Steve Young, Brett Farve and Matt Hasselbeck. Holmgren previously served San Francisco as a quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator—Hall of Famer Joe Montana won both his MVP awards under the direction of Holmgren.

Jim Tomsula said Monday that he expects he’ll be in the same position next year as he is now: head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. In the first year of a four year contract, Tomsula said during his press conference that while he hasn’t received any type of reassurance from CEO Jed York or general manager Trent Baalke, but will continue to do what he knows best.

“Yeah, I’m going to coach until somebody tells me I’m not.”

The 49ers record sits at a dismal 4-11, which puts them at the bottom of the NFC West table, something that has not happened since 2005. Tomsula comes in contact with members of the team’s front office daily, and assured members of the media Monday that the only types of conversations that take place are those concerning how the team can cater to the head coach to make his job flow easiest.

“I see people every day and we talk. The biggest thing that I get asked is, ‘Can we help? Is there anything we can get for you? You need anything?’ That’s what I get asked constantly,” Tomsula said. “And quite frankly, from that end of it, they couldn’t give us any more than they’re giving us.”

The 49ers have lost five of their last six games while expanding the role the youth has played on the team. Injuries have plagued the 49ers this season—they’ve fielded 19 different players to catch passes, and have had a slew of running backs become available and disappear. Carlos Hyde has remained out due to a stress fracture on his foot, Reggie Bush required season-ending knee surgery, and Shaun Draughn, who San Francisco signed to fill the void, injured his knee, effectively ending his season after starting six straight games.

With all of this apparent, Tomsula has turned to the youth of the roster, and looked to expand their roles in games.

“In a lot of areas with the way things have gone, and injuries and things like that, we’ve gotten a lot of people on the field -– young guys,” Tomsula said. “We’ve gotten them reps. Where we’re at, the way I see it, we’re definitely on a one-week calendar in terms of this team and where we’re going and what we’re doing preparing to win a game.

The young guys have made an impact, according to Tomsula. Players such as Jimmie Ward, outside linebacker Eli Harold, safety Jaquiski Tartt and nose tackle Ian Williams have all been labeled as standouts this season. They’ve forged a bond amongst the chaos of the season.

“That’s what we want. We’re building,” Williams said. “It may not be a 12-4 season, or 10-6 season, but we’re getting there.”

Williams, who has quickly become one of the defense’s most consistent players, says San Francisco’s poor record should not put a blight on the hard work Tomsula has brought, and the culture he has created in the 49ers locker room.

“He’s building something. We all see it. You guys see it,” Williams said. “The record may not show it, but the culture here, in the locker room, just what we’re trying to do, it’s going to be seen. And I’m hoping everything works out.”

David Barclay is a 49ers Insider for Examiner.com. E-mail: djamesbarclay@icloud.com Twitter: @DJamesIII

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February 11

College basketball Top 25 AP Poll: Kentucky Wildcats rejoin the Top 10

The college basketball Top 25 AP Poll released their updated rankings on Monday. Due to a light schedule over the Holiday weekend, there wasn’t much movement in the rankings. The No.1 Michigan State Spartans remained unbeaten, and garnered 64 first place votes. Still, the Spartans will be without guard Denzel Valentine for a couple of weeks.

The No.2 Kansas Jayhawks only loss came to the Spartans this season. They received the other first place vote. The Jayhawks are followed by the another Big 12 team. The Undefeated Oklahoma Sooners come in as the No.3 team in the country. After winning the Diamond Head Classic, the Sooners are a true contender as the top ranked team in college basketball.

The rest of the Top 10 almost remained intact. The No.10 Kentucky Wildcats moved up to No.10 after their win over No.18 Louisville Cardinals. Although the Wildcats have a pair of losses, the AP Top 25 had no problem sliding the SEC Champions up.

Overall, the ACC has five teams in the AP Top 25 Poll. The No.5 Virginia Cavaliers are the highest rated team. They are joined by No.7 North Carolina Tar Heels in the Top 10. One of the most surprising teams has been No.13 Miami Hurricanes. They are followed by the No.15 Duke Blue Devils and the aforementioned Cardinals.

Here is the entire AP Top 25 Poll.

1. Michigan State Spartans
2. Kansas Jayhawks
3. Oklahoma Sooners
4. Maryland Terrapins
5. Virginia Cavaliers
6. Xavier Musketeers
7. North Carolina Tar Heels
8. Arizona Wildcats
9. Butler Bulldogs
10. Kentucky Wildcats
11. Iowa State Cyclones
12. Providence Friars
13. Miami, Fl Hurricanes
14. Purdue Boilermakers
15. Duke Blue Devils
16. Villanova Wildcats
17. SMU Mustangs
18. Louisville Cardinals
19. West Virginia Mountaineers
20. Texas A&M Aggies
21. Utah Utes
22. Cincinnati Bearcats
23. Baylor Bears
24. South Carolina Gamecocks
25. UCLA Bruins

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