BYU Legend Lavell Edwards Dies At 86

By Chandler Guadagnin

I am a huge Brigham Young University fan. As such, I was saddened to hear that former BYU Football Head Coach, Lavell Edwards, passed away today at the age of 86.

Over 29 seasons at the helm, Edwards led the Cougars to a record of 257-101-3 overall, making him the sixth winningest coach in FBS history. Coach Edwards guided Brigham Young to 22 bowl games and 19 conference championships.

On Christmas Eve, Edwards suffered a fall, breaking his hip; which allegedly, contributed to his death. The Hall of Fame coach, received national coach of the year awards in 1979 and 1984.

As a tribute to the great coach, the home of BYU Football, was renamed Lavell Edwards Stadium, prior to the final home game of the 2000 season.

Sources: www.byucougars.com and www.espn.com

Mark Cooley’s vision fulfilled with State Championship for Pleasant Valley

 

Whether you were there in person or watching from a Periscope account, the Pleasant Valley Viking football team provided one of the great sports thrills the North State has ever seen.

Trailing by ten late in the 3rd quarter and then seemingly down for the count with just over two minutes to go and trailing by eight, the Vikings rallied with the guts and guile their head coach has been telling them they had to have since they stepped on Pleasant Valley High campus four years ago.

When Mark Cooley took the helm of Viking Football his resume was already impressive. Numerous stand-out seasons at Hamilton High and a reputation as a no non-sense leader of young men. It didn’t take long to see the change in the program. Cooley emphasized togetherness, bond, community and brotherhood. The change didn’t come without some challenges, but the long-term plan was in place and as many in the North State Football community could see, the Vikings were coming.

So as Enterprise High grabbed the headlines and won a couple of North Section titles, there was a belief that the youthful Vikings were on their way. This was the year it was all supposed to come together

It did.

As Viking faithful saw St. Anthony’s take an interception to the house for a 42-34 lead with just over two minutes to go, many thought this was the beginning of the end, but not the Vikings.

A 4th and 10 conversion and then a tremendous strike with quarterback Kyle Lindquist hitting Trevor Owens cutting the deficit to two. More heroics were to come when Lindquist being flushed out of the pocket on the two-point try had to throw off his back foot and hit ole’ reliable Peyton Williams in the back of the end zone as Williams dove to convert the tying two-point try.

As the two teams headed to overtime, one thing was clear for Head Coach Cooley, “if they scored and kicked the extra point we were going to go for two, no doubt.” After the Saints of St. Anthony scored that TD on a 10-yard run and predictably kicked the extra point, the stage had been set.

Pleasant Valley’s Lindquist would find Owens again for the touchdown in overtime and that is when PV went for two. The play was designed to hit Quaine Rhoades but he was covered. Lindquist then checked down to his second and third options and he had them both open. “I really had my choice. They were both so wide open. I was nervous but I just stuck with it and hit Siebert,” said Lindquist.

Siebert would say that as the ball sailed toward him, “I knew I better catch it.” Cooley said the throw hung in the air for what seemed like, “forever.” Even UNLV-verbal commit and star offensive lineman Ashton Morgan would say, “that ball was in the air forever.” Siebert would grab it, sending Viking faithful in Long Beach and 500 miles north into a frenzy.

I would interrupt a tight Sonoma State and Chico State rivalry basketball game on AM-1290 KPAY to calmly exclaim, “the Pleasant Valley Vikings are State Champions.” Fans could be seen throughout Acker Gym high-fiving and slapping hands in celebratory fashion.

This amazing group that would finish off one of the more improbable four year runs in North State high school football history. From their freshman year to Saturday’s incredible win the Vikings lost ONE GAME against North Section opponents. That one game came earlier this year against Paradise High. Ironically it came on the final play of the game on a two-point conversion. This senior group lost one game against their North Section peers in four years. We may never see the likes of this again.

Under the tutelage of Mark Cooley the Pleasant Valley Football program has become much more than Aaron Rodgers alma mater. He has created an atmosphere where players are absolutely committed to their school and their bond. To find someone who can take a bunch of young men and mold them into a group that plays passionately for one another is special. It doesn’t happen every day. Many programs will give it lip service, but with the Vikings and their constant mantra of togetherness, you truly believe it.

Not everyone can be as talented as the Vikings, but when you create an atmosphere that embraces positivity, caring and brotherhood, don’t be surprised when a group of young men do something special. A lot of things can be achieved when you believe and play for the guy on your left and to your right.

 

Report: Giants Sign Mark Melancon

By Chandler Guadagnin

From the outset of the 2017 offseason, San Francisco began their search for a closer to anchor the back end of their bullpen. In the 2016 regular season, with Santiago Casilla as their closer, the Giants blew a Major League high 30 saves. All things considered, the toughest blown save to swallow came in NLDS Game 4 when, with a 3 run lead in the ninth, the Giants bullpen surrendered four runs to the Cubs, ending their season abruptly. The Orange and Black have now filled this major need in their bullpen.

According to reports, the Giants have agreed to terms with right-handed closer, Mark Melancon, on a 4-year, $62 million deal. The deal includes a $20 million signing bous with the possibility of an opt-out after 2 years. Melancon spent 2016 with both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals, posting these numbers:

mark-melancon-2016-stats

Over his eight year stint in the Major Leagues, Mark Melancon has compiled these numbers:

mark-melancon-career-stats

The 31 year old, has spent eight years in the Major Leagues. The three time All-Star (including a selection in 2016), was considered the third best closer on the open market this offseason. The right-hander, has eclipsed, or met, the 30 saves mark three times in his career.

Due to splitting the season between two different organizations, Melancon was not attached to a qualifying offer. San Francisco reportedly beat out the Washington Nationals in the Mark Melancon sweepstakes.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com and www.baseball-reference.com

CBA Finished, WS Format Altered

By Chandler Guadagnin

The Cubs won 103 games in 2016; however, they did not host last year’s World Series due to the National League falling to the American League in this past All-Star Game. The Collective Bargaining Agreement, agreed to on November 30, 2016, has solved that issue.

The way in which to determine what team hosts the World Series has been a topic of debate for 13 years. The system, in which the team from the League that won the All-Star Game would host the World Series, has been in place beginning in 2003. The previous format was implemented the year after the 2002 Mid-Summer Classic ended in a tie. Many have suggested that the World Series be played on a neutral site.  However, for at least the next five years, Games 1 and 7 of the Fall Classic will be hosted by the team with the best regular season record.

Several argue that the disparity between the competiveness in each League will compromise the integrity of this format. Take for instance, the schedule strength of this year’s World Series teams. The Cleveland Indians, who finished the season 94 and 68, played 57 games against sub-500 teams. Conversely, Chicago played 76 of its 162 games against teams below the “equator”. In inter-league play, the Indians posted a 13-7 mark, while the Cubs went 15 and 5 against the AL.

The tentative agreement is set to expire in 2021.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com and www.espn.com