The truth is in the play, On Sunday, the Seahawks arrived firmly in the playoff mix with a 30-27 defeat of the Carolina Panthers that was their second straight victory conjured from an apparent defeat.
“We have come a long way,” an ebullient Pete Carroll said. “We have a lot of young guys playing. We don’t feel like we have young guys playing anymore.” The victory makes the Seahawks 6-5 and catapults them over the Panthers, who are also 6-5, in the wild-card racefor now. And the Seahawks have a critical edge going into December — they play four of their final five games at home, and have two games against the punchless 49ers and one against the Cardinals. The Panthers, who have now lost three in a row, still have to face New Orleans twice in the final three weeks of the season, with the Saints unlikely to be able to rest players to stay ahead of the Los Angeles Rams for home-field advantage in the NFC.
“I take it personally,” a disgusted Cam Newton said after Sunday’s loss. “If somebody had said three weeks ago this would have happened, I would have slapped them.”
“We’re already in the playoffs as far as we’re concerned,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks’ rushing attack, which entered the game ranked first in the league, quarterback Russell Wilson enjoyed the kind of time and his receivers the sort of space that lend themselves to big plays. When Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson was injured and left the game on the first drive, Wilson went to work on the backups. The results: He was 22-of-31 for 339 passing yards and two touchdowns — and he hit two of the gutsiest throws you’ll ever see with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter.
On third-and-5, with the clock down to just a minute and no timeouts remaining, Wilson dropped back. The safe route would be to try for the first down to keep the drive going and to perhaps set up a game-winning field goal. But Wilson had long seconds to consider his options, and he saw Tyler Lockett down the right sideline. He launched a rainbow and the Panthers’ defensive back in coverage, Captain Munnerlyn, seemed to struggle to track the ball. He never turned around and Lockett caught the ball for a 43-yard gain. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 31-yard field goal as the clock ran out.
“We knew as soon as Tyler caught that ball, we are taking a knee, we are going to kick and win and go home,” said center Justin Britt. “We flew way too far to fly back with a loss. We came here with a mission, and we took care of it.”
Several dozen of those Inland Northwest fans who claim the purple and gold, rather than the crimson and gray, will pack into a charter ready to make the 75-mile trek to cheer for the underdog Washington Huskies in the 111th edition of the Apple Cup.
It’s Apple Cup weekend.
This will be the 111th matchup between the football teams from Washington and Washington State and a lot is on the line, with the winner claiming the Pac-12 North title.
The game kicks off at 5:30 p.m. in Pullman and will be broadcast on Q13 Fox.
Here’s a look at a few historical numbers ahead of the big game:
“I’ve had people calling this week to see if there’s room, which is great,” said Stephanie Fleisher, a 2008 graduate of the University of Washington who serves as assistant director of Spokane and Eastern Washington relations for the school. “We have Husky fans coming from Southern California to ride the bus.”
Such road trips have been infrequent in recent years, said Steve Lamberson, a local attorney and UW alumnus from 1978. Lamberson estimated he’d been to 40 Apple Cups over the years, including the contests in the early and middle 2000s when the two teams taking the field hadn’t performed anywhere close to the two top-15 powers that will battle Friday night.
“From 2000 to 2015 – we called them the dark years,” Lamberson said. “The Huskies just went through numerous coaches.”
The Huskies won 10 of those 15 contests but fell in the 2008 game in Pullman to round out the first winless season in Pac 12 play in 28 years. Known colloquially as the “Crapple Cup,” because Washington State’s victory only pushed them to two wins on the season, most Husky fans say now they’re just happy Friday’s game will take on some meaning.
“I’m glad we’re a long way from that scenario,” said Mark Ostersmith, a 1990 graduate of UW who now is the chapter lead for the school’s alumni association in Spokane.
Ostersmith won’t be watching the game in Pullman – he has Thanksgiving plans with the in-laws. But don’t count the Spokane native among those who hope for a close contest. Even with the compelling story of WSU’s breakout star quarterback, and a season that has defied all expectations for the Cougars, Ostersmith wants a blowout.
“Some people say, ‘I just want it to be a good game,’ ” he said. “To heck with that, I want to win by 40 every time.”
That sentiment is shared by father and son Jay and Brayden Underwood, who will both be traveling to Pullman on Friday, but not on the alumni bus. The pair said they wanted a big Husky win, but acknowledged that WSU had earned its national prominence by performing at a high level all year.
“I live here, so I’m one of those Husky fans that, I don’t always root for the Cougars but I have actually rooted for them this year and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Jay Underwood. “I am envious.”
“I’m optimistic that the Cougs aren’t really as good as they look, and that the Huskies – ” Jay Underwood continued, before his son cut him off on the phone line.
“Well, we’re really only a few plays away from having the same record as them,” Brayden Underwood, a 2016 graduate of the university who now lives in Seattle, said. “It’s all just kinda crazy how college football works in that sense. For me, I don’t know if I’d say I’m envious.”
Most Husky fans agreed while there’s some good-natured ribbing between the two fan bases in Spokane, it’s not as difficult to cheer for their alma mater in Eastern Washington as in other rivalries.
“One thing the Cougars and Huskies share in common is their hatred for Oregon,” said Jay Underwood. “But I think there’s no denying that the Cougar/Husky rivalry is bigger than that, we just don’t like to admit it.”
Lamberson said in his many visits to Pullman over the years as a Husky fan he’s never faced any unreasonable heckling.
“It’s hostile, in a good-natured, good-spirited way,” Lamberson said.
Ostersmith remembered back to growing up as a Husky fan in Spokane, and how his brother, Sean Smith, reacted following a Cougar upset victory. He estimated it was the 1982 contest, when Washington State knocked off the heavily favored, fifth-ranked Husky squad 24-20 in Pullman to deny the favorites a trip to the Rose Bowl.
“All these Cougs came out of the woodwork,” Ostersmith remembered, laughing. “And my brother wrote this poem, ‘Ode to the Closet Coug.’ I think it was therapeutic for him.”
The Husky faithful all agreed making a clear prediction in what promises to be an Apple Cup for the ages was difficult.
“I hope it’s a blowout,” Ostersmith said. “But, if you asked me, gun to my head, I have no clue how this game is going to go.”
Gonzaga found itself in the same position as Duke’s first five opponents: appearing helpless as the Blue Devils and their rim-rattling freshmen ran past and flew over them.
The Zags never panicked, never looked up in awe at the bouncy Blue Devils. They have too much experience to get rattled, even against college basketball’s most talked-about team.
Playing with poise and grit down the stretch, No. 3 Gonzaga turned back top-ranked Duke’s late-game charge to win the Maui Invitational title game 89-97 on Wednesday.
“Experience plays a big role in this,” said Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr., who had 18 points. “We came down the stretch and got some stops. We knew we were winning it on the defensive end.”
Gonzaga (6-0) put on an offensive show in the first half and battened down on defense after Duke made a second-half charge, blocking four shots in the final 46 seconds to win its second Maui title.
Rui Hachimura scored 20 points and the Zags beat a No. 1 team for the first time while ending the Blue Devils’ unbeaten streak on the Valley Isle (17-1).
Dubbed a Final Four contender when Killie Tillie returns, Gonzaga already looks like one — even with one of their best players on the bench in a walking boot.
“The lights were on us tonight and we played good, which you have to against Duke,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “You have to pretty much play great. I thought we played great.”
Five-time Maui champion Duke (5-1) made it look easy the season’s first five games, its fantastic freshmen soaring through the spotlight, not cowering away from it while looking all but unbeatable.
The experienced Zags gave them a lesson in ball movement, orchestrating a master class in free-flowing, position-less basketball while building a 14-point first-half lead.
Duke’s Maui run, done.
Well, not just yet.
The Blue Devils fell behind by 16 in the second half before firing up the Blue Devil express with a series of head-above-the-rim dunks and drives.
Taking advantage of Gonzaga big man Brandon Clarke’s fourth foul, Duke pulled within a basket as Blue Devils fans sent an earthquake of noise off the rafters of tiny Lahaina Civic Center.
Hachimura put Gonzaga up 89-87 with a strong move at the basket with 75 seconds left, but the Zags kept giving Duke chances by missing four free throws. Clarke clanked two with 30 seconds left and Hachimura came up empty on two more with 10 seconds left.
Gonzaga’s defense made up for it.
Hachimuru and Clarke each had two blocked shots in the final minute, capped by Clarke’s swat of R.J. Barrett’s driving attempt at the buzzer.
A seated Barrett raised his arms, wondering why no foul was called. The Zags leaped in celebration after a game with a Final Four feel packaged in a small-town rec center.
Barrett had 23 points and Zion Williamson scored 22 for the suddenly humbled Blue Devils.
“We finally started to fight in the last 14 minutes, whereas before we had just come to play and we weren’t as emotionally ready as Gonzaga,” said Duke’s Javin DeLaurier, who had six points and six rebounds.
This was the game everyone expected when the Maui Invitational got another marquee title game between the what-will-they-do-next Blue Devils against the electrically efficient Zags.
Duke and its future lottery picks steamrolled San Diego State and outlasted No. 8 Auburn to reach its sixth Maui title game in six years. Gonzaga survived Illinois’ frenetic attack and put on a second-half show to beat Arizona in the semifinals.
The Blue Devils ran roughshod over one top-5 team to open the season, making then-No. 2 Kentucky look like a JV team.
The Zags not only didn’t back down, they threw the first punch.
Forcing Duke defenders through one ball screen after another, Gonzaga played the position-less basketball game better than the Blue Devils. The Zags all but took Duke big man Marques Bolden, who had seven blocked shots in the semifinals, out of the game with their ball movement and created numerous open looks for themselves.
“They were just dictating the flow,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I mean we were not playing good defense, but they were playing great offense.”
When Clarke went to the bench with his fourth foul midway through the second half, Gonzaga went into a stall. Duke put together a run, a sixth Maui title within reach.
The Zags swatted Duke’s bid away.
For the past seven weeks, a group of 46 players, including many of the Mariners’ top young prospects took part in a High Performance Camp at the club’s Spring Training facility in Peoria, Ariz.
Players used the time to expand their minds in mental-skills and meditation classes. They refined their bodies with a heavy dose of weight-room work. For the most part, the focus wasn’t on hitting and pitching in the immediate aftermath of their long seasons, but on thinking and conditioning.
Yet, not all the work revolved around helping themselves and their budding careers. For the Mariners, helping others is part of the process, as well. Which is why the entire group spent one day at a food bank packing Thanksgiving meals for the homeless, another at a local park playing baseball with kids with disabilities in a Miracle League program and another taking part in a Phoenix Alzheimer’s Association walk to raise funds for teammate Braden Bishop’s 4MOM charity.
“It’s just to remember that not everything is about you,” said 20-year-old third baseman Joe Rizzo, the Mariners’ No. 15 ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline. “As players for the Mariners, we’re very privileged to have what we have, and do what we do. So going out and helping people in the community is a good reminder that we can help others, too.”
Rizzo returned Saturday to his offseason home in Virginia, where he was greeted by snow in the air and a reminder that Thanksgiving is near. And he carried that fresh reminder of what the holiday spirit is about.
“It’s fun working with kids and helping people,” he said. “I’m not big on charity events just to put pictures on social media and all that, because that just puts it back on you. But to spread joy to others, that’s a great feeling.”
And that is music to the ears of Andy McKay, Seattle’s director of player development, who is a big believer in the benefit of teaching young players the positive impact of helping others as they are integrated into the Mariners’ system.
McKay said community service has been a “major year-round push” throughout all levels of the organization, with an extra effort recently at the High Performance Camp in Arizona as well as in the Dominican Republic last week where bench coach Manny Acta’s foundation, ImpACTA, put on a clinic for 90 kids with help from the Mariners.
McKay said the benefits are two-fold for both the young prospects and the Mariners’ organization.
“One, it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that need help and we’re trying to provide services. And two, we’re trying to develop character in our people. In their, at times, individualized pursuit of getting to the big leagues, which is perfectly understandable, you have to balance that with activities that remind it’s not always about yourself.”
McKay was hired as farm director by Jerry Dipoto three years ago and said Dipoto encouraged the community involvement from day one. It helped immensely, he said, that the Mariners already had a strong history of community service at the Major League level and longtime Mariners like Dan Wilson and others already had deep connections in that area.
Now young players like Rizzo, Bishop and the rest are quickly learning the value of community involvement as well.
“Our guys now know, especially ones that have been here, that it’s part of the program,” McKay said. “You find people that have different niches. There’s different ways to help. Not everybody is comfortable reading a book in front of a first-grade class. And that’s OK.
“But between schools, hospitals, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, there’s lots of ways to get that internal reward of feeling good about yourself for helping others and that begins to build over into teams. Who can I help today in the locker room to make our team better?”
Rizzo spent his regular season with Class A Advanced Modesto in the Cal League and said his club did work nearly every week with the area Boys & Girls Club and also took part, en masse, in a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise awareness of domestic violence.
He said when he was drafted out of high school in the second round by the Mariners in 2016, he knew charity work was done by Major League stars, but has been surprised to see the emphasis runs throughout the entire system.
“I didn’t know it was such an organizational thing,” Rizzo said. “I knew a lot of higher-up guys did stuff that way. I didn’t know it spread so deep.”
Jimmy Van Ostrand, who oversees mental-skills coaching throughout the Mariners’ Minor League system, said the focus on community-service work and developing leadership skills is one of his favorite parts of the job.
“It can be humbling at times,” Van Ostrand said. “The ability to have a positive impact on other people can really shine through. Sometimes we picture that being these huge, crazy activities and fundraisers. But a lot of time, if you just help somebody’s day a little, that can go a long way.”
The Seahawks held four players from practice on Wednesday, the team’s second workout of the week as it readies for Sunday’s road game against the Carolina Panthers.
Linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), wideout Doug Baldwin (groin), defensive end Dion Jordan (knee), and cornerback Justin Coleman (not injury related) did not participate in practice Wednesday. Safeties Delano Hill (quadriceps) and Bradley McDougald (knee) were limited, as were defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (foot), guard D.J. Fluker (knee), and running back Mike Davis (knee).
On Wright, who was held out of last week’s game against Green Bay, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll offered “he’s working his way back” when asked about Wright’s status on Tuesday. Baldwin, meanwhile, was held out of Wednesday’s workout but prior to Tuesday’s practice Carroll said the receiver heads into the Week 12 matchup against Carolina feeling “the best he’s felt.”
“He feels great,” Carroll said of Baldwin on Tuesday. “He really feels great and I talked to him this morning. He really feels the best he’s felt. He really doesn’t have any concerns right now at all so he’s practicing hard and working hard and really energized by that.”
The Seahawks are off Thursday for Thanksgiving and will return to work for a Friday practice before boarding a plane for Charlotte Friday afternoon.
Here’s Wednesday’s practice report for both teams:
Did Not Participate
LB K.J. Wright (knee)
WR Doug Baldwin (groin)
DE Dion Jordan (knee)
CB Justin Coleman (NIR)
S Delano Hill (quadriceps)
S Bradley McDougald (knee)
DT Shamar Stephen (foot)
G D.J. Fluker (knee)
RB Mike Davis (knee)
Did Not Participate
S Mike Adams (rest)
DE Mario Addison (shoulder)
CB James Bradberry (shoulder)
WR Devin Funchess (back)
C Ryan Kalil (rest)
TE Greg Olsen (rest/foot)
DE Julius Peppers (rest)
LB Shaq Thompson (shoulder)
QB Cam Newton (right shoulder)
WR Torrey Smith (knee)
Western Washington Junior Football Power Top 10 Rankings
*7 Unlimited Weight Leagues*
Rankings will be release Bi Weekly
1. Kent Knights (GPSYFL)
2. Rainier Ravens (NW Premier)
3. Benson Bruins (NW Premier)
T4. Olympia Bears (TCYFL)
T4. River Ridge Hawks (TCYFL)
6. Parkland Raiders (GPSYFL)
7. 5 Star Cougars (NW Premier)
8. G-K Eagles (Narrows)
9. Federal Way Hawks (GPSYFL)
10. Enumclaw Hornets (Narrows)
1. Puyallup RoughRiders (GPSYFL)
2. Kamiak Knights (NSJFL)
3. UP Vikings (Narrows)
4. Orting Cardinals (NJFL)
5. Parkland Raiders (GPSYFL)
6. Lake Stevens Grey(NSJFL)
7. G-K Eagles (Narrows)
8. Lake Stevens Gold (NSJFL)
9. Tahoma Blue (NJFL)
10. Bonny Lake Raptors (NJFL)
T1. Benson Bruins (NW Premier)
T1. Federal Way Hawks (GPSYFL)
3. Auburn Panthers (NW Premier)
4. Bellarmine Lions (Narrows)
5. G-K Eagles (Narrows)
6. River Ridge Hawks (TCYFL)
7. Sumner Wolfpack (GPSYFL)
8. Capital Cougars (TCYFL)
9. Timberline Blazers(TCYFL)
10. Steilacoom Sentinels (TCYFL)
1. Parkland Raiders (GPSYFL)
2. Marysville Tomahawks (NSJFL)
3. Chehalis Jr Cats (TCYFL)
4. Tumwater T-Birds (TCYFL)
5. Federal Way Titans (NJFL)
6. Tacoma Panthers (GPSYFL)
7. Stanwood Spartans (NSJFL)
8. Federal Way Hawks (GPSYFL)
9. Orting Black (NJFL)
10. Lincoln Abes (Narrows)
1. Tacoma Panthers (GPSYFL)
2. G-K Eagles (Narrows)
3. Tulalip Heritage Hawks (NSJFL)
4. Tumwater T- Birds Green (TCYFL)
5. Tumwater T- Birds White (TCYFL)
6. Federal Way Hawks (GPSYFL)
7. Benson Bruins (NW Premier)
8. SeaTac Sharks (NW Premier)
9. Lynnwood Royals (NSJFL)
10. Bellarmine Lions (Narrows)
1. Puget Sound Lancers (NW Premier)
2. Stanwood Spartans (NSJFL)
3. Lake Stevens (NSJFL)
T4. Puyallup RoughRiders (GPSYFL)
T4. Sumner Wolfpack (GPSYFL)
T4. Parkland Raiders (GPSYFL)
7. Auburn Riverside (NJFL)
8. Yelm Tornados (TCYFL)
9. Bellarmine Lions (Narrows)
10. Lakewood Lyte (NW Premier)
NW Premier League- 3rd 5th 7th 8th
Greater Seattle League 3rd 5th 7th 8th
Narrows 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
Nisqually League 4th 6th 8th
Greater Puget Sound League 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
North Sound Junior Football 4th, 6th,7th,8th
Thurston County Youth Football 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Chambers Bay will replace its fine fescue putting surfaces with perennial Poa annua in a decision that will immediately improve daily playing conditions and ensure the ability to conduct an exemplary USGA Championship in 2021, officials for Chambers Bay recently announced. Chambers Bay — site of the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, 2015 U.S. Open and the 2010 U.S. Amateur championships — will close play on Oct. 1 and reopen in March 2019. The golf course closure will not impact operations of the Chambers Creek Regional Park.
The ongoing turfgrass project will provide long-term benefits to the facility, which is an important asset to the community and region, according to Matt Allen, General Manager. Chambers Bay is owned by Pierce County and operated by KemperSports.
In early 2017, turfgrass health issues surfaced on three putting greens (No. 7, No. 10, and No. 13), and the decision was made to re-sod those greens with a local source of Poa annua. Results of that sod work prompted conversations between KemperSports, Pierce County, and the USGA about the prospect of re-surfacing every green. By the end of the year, consensus had been reached that such a project would not only ensure better putting surfaces for future championships, but would improve the every-day experience for our customers.
“We acknowledge the foresight and initiative of everyone at Chambers Bay for undertaking this work,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s Senior Managing Director of Championships.
Overwhelmingly positive feedback has been received from customers and stakeholders about the new Poa annua greens.
“The people I have talked to have been nothing but positive about the new greens they have played,” said Larry Gilhuly, USGA Agronomist. “Players think the greens are spectacular. They’re firm. They have good pace.”
“Any concerns that Poa annua would not be conducive to the firm and fast conditions that are hallmarks of links golf have quickly been erased,” said Eric Johnson, Director of Agronomy at Chambers Bay.
While the course is closed, the clubhouse, golf shop, and restaurant will remain open Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information or to book a tee time at Chambers Bay, visithttp://www.chambersbaygolf.com/.
About Chambers Bay:
Located just south of Tacoma, Washington, on the shores of Puget Sound, Chambers Bay is widely recognized as one of the finest municipally owned golf courses in the United States. When it opened in 2007, Chambers Bay was recognized by GOLF Magazine and Travel+Leisure Golf as the top new golf course in America. As the site of the 2015 U.S. Open Championship, Chambers Bay features 18 holes of scenic and challenging links golf, with vistas of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains to the west and of iconic Mt. Rainier to the east. Chambers Bay is owned by Pierce County, and is managed by KemperSports. For information and tee times call 1-877-295-4657 or visit chambersbaygolf.com.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson had himself a ballgame Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Cowboys. From the first snap of the game, Carson remained steady, logging 102 total yards on 32 carries and a touchdown in his Week 3 performance.
The second-year back scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on a five-yard run in the fourth quarter to effectively seal the win for the Seahawks.While Seattle’s run game struggled in the first two games of the season, the Seahawks posted a total of 113 yards rushing on 39 attempts on Sunday.
In the air attack, quarterback Russell Wilson completed 12 of 20 attempts for 145 yards, with a 52-yard touchdown to Tyler Lockett and a 16-yard strike to Jaron Brown.
A huge part of Wilson’s success can be credited to his pass coverage. After allowing a league-high 13 sacks through the first two games, Seattle’s offensive line did not allow a sack in the first half.
The Seahawks had a new look up front, with J.R Sweezy sliding over to the left side in place of Ethan Pocic, who was out with a knee injury. D.J. Fluker made his regular-season debut at right guard, and Joey Hunt started at center, filling in for Justin Britt.
A strong second half from the offensive line should help Seattle avoid an 0-3 start with a victory in their home opener.
With Doug Baldwin still sidelined, the Seattle Seahawks have relied heavily on fourth-year wide receiver Tyler Lockett this season. Also tasked with return duties, Lockett has stepped up in a big way through Seattle’s first three games.
Lockett has 12 receptions for 196 yards and three touchdowns in 2018. The three touchdowns match his total from the last two years combined and it’s now only three games into the season. His 16.3 yards per reception would be a career-high, should it hold up.
The big play has been Lockett’s friend so far in 2018, as he has two touchdowns for 50+ yards. The first one came in Seattle’s opener, a 51-yard strike down the middle. The second one came on Sunday, when Seattle took advantage of Dallas safety Jeff Heath’s absence and targeted Lockett down the sideline for an easy score.
The Seattle Seahawks head to the desert this weekend to face the Arizona Cardinals for their third road trip of the season. Seattle’s defense will now be preparing to square off against a rookie quarterback.
On Monday, Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks named Josh Rosen the starting quarterback for the Week 4 matchup.