OMG!! Yipes, Stripes!!

Shots In the Darke

Can you believe it, all of you long-suffering Bengal fans? What a great comeback from 18 points down in the first half against the powerful Chiefs on their home turf! Cincinnati made  play after play beginning in the second quarter to stun not only Kansas City but all of the NFL  in rallying for the win to earn the trip to Super Bowl LVI. 

Samaje Perine got things going by turning a short pass into a 41-yard touchdown, cutting  the deficit to 21-10. Then a goal line stand to end the first half gave the Bengals momentum heading into the third quarter. The defense shut down the high-powered Chiefs’ offense while Joe Burrow once again showed why he was the number one selection in the 2020 draft, guiding the offense to 17 second-half points in leading the team to the overtime win. And what else can you say about rookie kicker Evan McPherson? 

Head coach Zac Taylor has proven the faith that the Brown family had in him (6-25-1 record  in his first two seasons) by leading his squad to the Promised Land on February 13th in Los  Angeles. What a dramatic turnaround as a result of coaching, great draft picks, wise free agent signings, hard work, and a few doses of good luck!! 

The Bengals opponent will be the Rams, who snapped a six-game losing streak to their instate rivals the 49ers. Los Angeles will be only the second team in Super Bowl history to play the title game on their home field, the spectacular SoFi stadium. The Rams parlayed the leadership of Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald into an NFC championship and became the early 3.5 points betting favorite according to Las Vegas. I wouldn’t bet against the Stripes, this seems to be the year that things are breaking their way!! 

A few random thoughts about the game— 

Odell Beckham, Jr. should count his lucky stars after basically forcing his release from the Browns and signing with the Rams in mid-season. He adds another weapon to the Rams attack. 

Defensive backs are great athletes but are mostly wannabe wide receivers who can’t catch  a football! How many balls that seemed destined to be interceptions were dropped over the weekend in both games? 

I remember being a sophomore at Miami in the fall of ‘68 when the Bengals first played as a member of the American Football League, which merged into the NFL in 1970. No one quite knew what to make of the new team that first season other than that the legendary Paul Brown was their coach. Who was the team’s first QB? Answer later in the column! 

Let’s take a look at high school basketball league standings as the regular season enters the final weeks with tournament seedings and pairings soon to be determined. In the MVL boys Miami division Tipp leads the way at 9-1 with Piqua second at 8-4; in the Valley division Sidney has a comfortable lead at 12-2. In WOAC boys play Tri-Village sits at 9-0 followed by Preble Shawnee at 5-1 and Arcanum at 7-2; the Patriots host the Arrows Friday night in New Madison in a huge late season matchup. Meanwhile New Bremen’s boys by virtue of the upset of Versailles last Friday night pace the MAC at 6-0 with the Tigers at 6-1and Marion Local at 4-1.

On the girls side of things, Butler and Troy are both 13-3 in MVL Miami play while Sidney sits at 12-2 in the Valley. The Lady Patriots of T-V are 10-0 with Arcanum at 9-1 and Shawnee at 7-2 in WOAC action. In MAC standings New Knoxville leads the way at 7-0 while Marion Local and New Bremen have 6-1 marks. 

On the local college scene in men’s basketball Dayton is 14-7 (6-2 A10), Ohio State 13-5  (6-3 Big Ten following a heartbreaking loss to Purdue), Wright State 12-10 (9-4 Horizon), and  Miami 9-10 (3-5 MAC). Lots of college hoops coming up as teams jockey for league tournament seedlings.  

If you get a chance, check out the ice sculptures in downtown Richmond on the promenade  of Main Street before they melt, well worth the drive! I remember flying over Richmond in the spring of ‘68 the day of the tragic explosion that leveled quite a bit of the downtown area; do some of you old-timers recall that event? 

 The Bengals first starting QB was John Stofa, backed up by future Bengals’ head coach Sam Wyche. I would say that Joe Burrow is a significant improvement, wouldn’t you? Who Dey!! 

  

Dr. Alex Warner | Correspondent for Darke County Now

Dr. Alex Warner / Correspondent

Alex Warner is a retired Greenville chiropractor as well as a former educator and high school coach. He has over 30 years experience in broadcasting high school sports on both radio and public access television in addition to producing over 50 episodes of the local television series “Our Town”. A man of many interests, he is naturally curious with a “gift of gab”. He currently writes the weekly sports column “Shots in the Darke” and hosts “Talk of the Town” featuring people, places, and events that make Darke County the place we choose to reside.

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