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The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 2: Timing is everything



The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 2: Timing is everything

A great man once said, it’s better to be lucky than good. And there’s no better time to get lucky in fantasy football than to have top waiver priority after the opening week of play.

We’re one of those fortunate souls. By random chance we have secured No. 1 priority for pickups this week, allowing us to claim the most sudden standout of Week 1. A player almost nobody drafted during the summer but is already being compared to last season’s revelation, the Jaguars’ James Robinson.

Say hello to the leading rusher in the National Football Conference: San Francisco rookie Elijah Mitchell.

The rookie from Louisiana was thrust into action after starter Raheem Mostert went down with a knee injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season. Mitchell rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. And there could be plenty more in the coming weeks, for Mitchell, for the 49ers, and for your humble narrator’s fantasy team.

Mitchell won’t be the only Week 1 standout coveted by fantasy mavens this week. There are these fellows:

Latavius Murray (Ravens RB) — The former Viking got a touchdown in his first game with Baltimore on Monday night. He’ll be sharing the backfield with Ty’Son Williams, but the Ravens’ running game is always strong. We’re thinking Murray will be the back of choice near the goal line.

Baltimore Ravens running back Latavius Murray (28) scores a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Mark Ingram (Texans RB) — While many thought he was long past his expiration date, Ingram ran 26 times for 85 yards and a touchdown in Houston’s win over Jacksonville. His rivals for touches, David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay, combined for a mere 12 carries for 65 yards. Ingram is worth grabbing, at least until he runs out of gas in a few weeks.

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Houston Texans running back Mark Ingram II (2) rushes for a gain against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Mike Williams (Chargers WR) — Quickly becoming a favorite of phenom quarterback Justin Herbert, Williams was targeted 12 times Sunday against Washington. His eight catches for 82 yards and a touchdown are easily repeatable in the Chargers’ offensive attack.

1631726544 733 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 2 Timing is everything
Washington Football Team cornerback Benjamin St-Juste (25) lines up against Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)

Cole Beasley (Bills WR) — He has been in the headlines for his anti-vaccine stance but Beasley was in the spotlight Sunday, being targeted 13 times by Buffalo QB Josh Allen. He caught eight passes for 60 yards and will be a reliable receiver all season as defenses focus on stopping Stefon Diggs.

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Buffalo Bills receiver Cole Beasley warms up prior to the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Orchard park, N.Y., Sunday Sept. 12, 2021. (AP/ Photo Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Jameis Winston (Saints QB) — New Orleans’ new quarterback only completed 14 passes Sunday, but a remarkable five went for touchdowns. The more remarkable number for Winston was his number of interceptions: zero. Coach Sean Payton just might be able to make Winston a star again.

1631726544 139 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 2 Timing is everything
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) rolls out to pass while being defended by Green Bay Packers linebacker Krys Barnes (51) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Jared Goff (Lions QB) — The lesser half of the Matthew Stafford trade passed for 338 yards and three TDs, mostly because Detroit was playing catchup all day Sunday. But that is going to be the Lions’ natural state all season. If you’re a fan of garbage time statistical padding, you will just love the 2021 edition of the former No. 1 pick.

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Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass against San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

How long will it be until the Giants’ Saquon Barkley is again one of the NFL’s best running backs? It certainly won’t be Thursday night, so you might want to bench him against the Washington Football Team. … Same goes for Jacksonville RB James Robinson, who was a non-factor in the opener and will have even less room to run against Denver. … Kansas City’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire also had an unimpressive opener and should be no better vs. Baltimore. … Until Tennessee’s offensive line remembers how to block for him, you should keep QB Ryan Tannehill out of your lineup, including Sunday vs. the Seahawks. … And while you should always start former Vikings WR Stefon Diggs, he will have a tough go of it against Miami’s top-notch secondary.

1631726544 521 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 2 Timing is everything
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) is tackled by Denver Broncos’ Shelby Harris (96) and Kareem Jackson (22) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Starting with Thursday night’s Washington-Giants game, there are two guys we especially like: WFT running back Antonio Gibson and Giants wideout Sterling Shepard. … Bad run defenses should be a boost for Denver’s Melvin Gordon (vs. Jaguars) and New England’s Damien Harris (vs. Jets). … Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield will bring the Texans back to reality after their surprising opener. … Justin Herbert and Dak Prescott will both post huge numbers in the Chargers-Cowboys matchup. … The Packers will bounce back fiercely after their Week 1 embarrassment, meaning big numbers for the usual suspects and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling. … And now that Ja’Marr Chase has stopped dropping the ball, the Cincinnati rookie WR should post more good numbers against an overrated Bears defense.

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) talks to Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Sept.12, 2021 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

While Mostert had the first season-ending injury of Week 1, Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was not too far behind. His hip injury could end up costing him the rest of this season, elevating Taylor Heinicke to No. 1 for the WFT. … Denver wideout Jerry Jeudy suffered a high ankle sprain that looked much worse on video. He will be out four to six weeks, which will lead to more targets for Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler. … Dallas WR Michael Gallup (calf) could miss as many as five weeks, so Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb will keep posting huge numbers. Notables listed as questionable include Cleveland WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Philly tight end Zach Ertz.

1631726544 582 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 2 Timing is everything
Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) is tackled by New York Giants’ Logan Ryan (23) and James Bradberry (24) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

While most Minnesota fans would like to forget everything about the opening week loss in Cincinnati, the game was not a total loss. We know now who will likely be the Vikings’ No. 3 pass receiving option: second-year wideout K.J. Osborn. The former Miami Hurricane caught seven passes for 76 yards and earned raves from Vikings coaches. He could find himself open regularly as defenses focus their attention on Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Pick him up, park him on your bench, and see if he blossoms.

1631726544 733 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 2 Timing is everything
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) makes a catch against the Cincinnati Bengals during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 27-24. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Giants at Washington (-3):
Pick: Washington by 7

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Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) throws the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoffs. Go to

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Native American statue removed from Cherokee Street



Native American statue removed from Cherokee Street

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A prominent statue marking the Cherokee Street business district has been removed. The 21-foot-tall statue was dedicated in 1985 as a way for the district to distinguish itself. Now local businesses say that it, “does not appropriately honor the indigenous communities that have called this land home.” Its new home will be at the National Building Arts Center located in Sauget, Illinois.

Artist Bill Christman was commissioned to create the landmark. Originally there were several options, including a trolley, that business owners thought would increase visibility. But, the statue won the vote.

Christman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2007 that he worked closely with a Cherokee Indian group to make sure it was not a stereotype. But, he eventually soured on the design, saying that it is out of proportion and, “Just doesn’t work.”

A business moving into the building at the intersection of Jefferson and Cherokee Street shared this photo of the sidewalk without the statue.

A post to the Facebook page for the Cherokee Street Community Community Improvement District states:

The Cherokee Native statue at the corner of Cherokee Street and South Jefferson Avenue was removed this morning. With a majority vote of community members at the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District public meeting and the support of the artist, the statue will be donated to the National Building Arts Center.

The statue was commissioned in 1985 by the Cherokee Station Business Association to serve as a landmark for the street and its commercial district. However, the statue does not appropriately honor the indigenous communities that have called this land home.

Once uninstalled, the statue was moved to the National Building Arts Center. Based in Sauget, Ill., the National Building Arts Center houses the nation’s largest collection of building artifacts and represents the single largest effort toward understanding the American built environment and the historical process of its creation.

Cherokee Street Community Community Improvement District

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Tay Anderson censured by Denver school board



Tay Anderson censured by Denver school board

Denver Public Schools’ Board of Education voted to censure one of its members, Tay Anderson, on Friday following an investigation released this week that found he flirted online with a 16-year-old student before knowing her age and made coercive and intimidating social media posts.

But the six-month, third-party investigation initiated by the school board did not substantiate any of the anonymous claims of sexual assault levied against  Anderson.

Just before the board met to vote, Anderson shot back in a fiery news conference with an NAACP representative and local ministers, calling his treatment a “high-tech lynching,” a phrase used by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings 30 years ago.

He then delivered a passionate defense of his actions during the special meeting, reading from a statement he’d posted online that invoked white supremacy, lynching and vile threats made against him and his family since sexual assault allegations first surfaced this spring.

“On March 26, 2021, false allegations led to my life changing forever,” Anderson said during the meeting. “That was the day I became known as a rapist to our community. Does anyone listening know how that feels? To know you didn’t commit an act you’re being accused of, but having people believe it and call for your career, your freedom and your life to be over.”

Friday’s special meeting marked the first time school board members spoke publicly about the investigation and Anderson’s actions. One by one they denounced his conduct, voting 6-1 — Anderson cast the lone no vote — to censure, or publicly reprimand, their colleague for what they’ve called “behavior unbecoming of a board member.”

“To the young women who participated in this investigation, who are watching right now to see if your experiences and stories mattered to us: They do. And you do,” board member Rev. Bradley Laurvick said. “I hear you. I see you. I believe you.”

Board member Jennifer Bacon spoke in raw terms about being the only other Black school board member, and how she and Anderson are “inextricably linked” because of the color of their skin.

“White supremacy is real,” Bacon said. “But some of us can only take people so far. And we also need to recognize that personal actions need to be held accountable, too.”

Angela Cobián, another board member, said Anderson’s actions do not “merit a seat on this board,” adding that she hoped he “reconsiders his position as (the board’s) secretary.”

The 23-year-old vowed to remain on the school board.

“I will not resign,” Anderson said at the news conference before the vote. “Let me say that one more time — I will not resign.”

After Anderson concluded his remarks during the meeting, board member Barbara O’Brien said she “hoped this would be a bit more of an opportunity for introspection, but apparently it’s not going to be.”

At his pre-meeting news conference, Anderson gathered a collection of Black leaders who lambasted his treatment in explicitly racial terms.

Dr. Tony Bradley, representing the NAACP chapter for Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, said that the organization was “deeply troubled” by the censure vote and it opens up the school board to a civil rights inquiry.

Bishop Jerry Demmer, president of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, called the investigation a “witch hunt.”

“… When you can’t find something to go your way, you come up with a lot of false allegations,” he said during the news conference.

As Anderson stepped to the podium Friday, he was met by a protester shouting through a megaphone, “Tay Anderson is not a victim,” and calling for his resignation.

Anderson has remained defiant in proclaiming his innocence in the face of the allegations that first surfaced in March that he had sexually assaulted an anonymous woman.

“My body has hung from a tree long enough,” he tweeted before Friday’s censure vote, “let’s get today over with.”

He opened his remarks to the board Friday by referring to a DPS parent — who in May alleged before a state legislative committee that Anderson committed rape, sexual assault or sexual misconduct against 62 students — as “my Carolyn Bryant.” (Bryant admitted to lying about allegations she made against a 14-year-old Black boy named Emmett Till, whose horrific 1955 lynching in Mississippi helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.)

In his speech to the school board, Anderson said the censure “raises questions about the precedent being set for future DPS board actions and parameters around potential future investigations.”

“This is unprecedented and reeks of anti-Blackness and is rooted in systems that uphold white supremacy,” Anderson wrote in a blog post published Thursday.

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‘Man Behind the Monster’ Shows There Was More To Boris Karloff Than Halloween Scares



‘Man Behind the Monster’ Shows There Was More To Boris Karloff Than Halloween Scares
16th February 1965: Veteran horror actor Boris Karloff (1887 – 1969), famed for his role as the definitive monster in the 1931 version of ‘Frankenstein’. (Photo by Larry Ellis/Express/Getty Images)

On a happy but nervous day in 1969 I moved into my first serious home in one of New York’s most famous, historic, glamorous and coveted Victorian landmark buildings, The Dakota.  It would have been a big step under any circumstances for a fledgling novice, new in town, green as chlorophyll, and just beginning a hopefully successful writing career, but I was doubly excited because my new next door neighbor was the one and only Boris Karloff!

Unfortunately, my timing was lousy.  Because, you see, the crowning monarch of movie horror had just died at age 88, and although The Dakota was also home to John Lennon, Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Nureyev and other notables, Karloff was the one I wanted to know most.  I found a cache of his fan letters in a garbage can near the service elevator but was too respectful to rescue them for posterity (and possibly sell them on eBay).  So I would never meet the Frankenstein monster in person.  Glumly, I confided my disappointment to the doorman.  “I’ve always loved him and now I live so close and yet so far and I will never meet him,” I confessed.  Without missing a beat, the doorman soberly replied: “He’ll be back.”

(4/4 stars)
Directed by: Thomas Hamilton
Written by:Thomas Hamilton, Ron MacCloskey

Starring: Boris Karloff,
Running time: 1 hour, 39 mins.

And so he will—every year at Halloween, when a whole new generation discovers the art of his madness and mayhem all over again in an annual marathon of his greatest hits from The Black Cat to The Old Dark House and everything in-between.  Now he’s back to stay in a terrific documentary called Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster that sheds new light on the darkness that has shrouded him in mystery for nearly nine decades.  Fastidiously researched and directed by Thomas Hamilton, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ron MacCloskey, it unmasks the true identity of a soft-spoken British gentlemen born William Henry Platt but known throughout the civilized world as the most terrifying man alive and the father of the horror film industry.  Proceed at your own peril.

     With the aid of Karloff’s only daughter Sara, much of the film concentrates on his most celebrated role—the menacing monster made of nails, bolts and human organs in Frankenstein, James Whale’s 1931 classic adaption of Mary Shelley’s novel that turned an unknown actor into the stalking robotic freak of the title.  The movie made him a star, but the years of struggling to make ends meet, the accidental way he got the role, and the numerous problems encountered while making the film are catalogued with riveting detail.  A gentle man, he hated the scene where the monster throws the innocent child picking daisies into the black waters of the lake to drown.  He called it “wanton brutality” and managed to get it deleted, alienating the director and causing havoc.  He wasn’t even invited to the premiere.  But hidden behind hours of daily makeup without a word of dialogue, he became a phenomenal overnight sensation, and went on to play assorted vampires, mummies and even a Chinese sadist with realistic demonic powers that made audiences scream (and scream for more) without losing any of his own sense of humor. When an interviewer asks him if he spoke any Chinese on the controversial 1932 film The Mask of Fu Manchu, the real voice of Karloff laughs it off incredulously: “Good lord, no.  It was a shambles—simply ridiculous!

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Boris Karloff as the monster sitting lakeside with little girl in a scene from the film ‘Frankenstein’, 1931. (Photo by Universal/Getty Images)

Biographical details are sketchy, and I would prefer fewer references to film technology and juicier personal anecdotes.  But what’s there is mesmerizing.  His father was a diplomat in Bombay with seven children who brutalized his family and left them penniless.  His Anglo-Indian heritage subjected him to racist insults.  He had bow legs, a lisp and a stammer which never qualified him for stardom but he never bothered to correct them. He left home and ended up as a Hollywood extra in silent films in 1920, where his dark complexion and penetrating eyes made him a standout in ethnic and exotic roles.  Struggling through the Depression with no money and no work, he was instrumental in unionizing the studios, which won him admirers among fellow actors, but prosperity and fame came slowly. There were lean years and eight marriages, then Frankenstein changed everything.  Teaming up with his close friend Bela Lugosi in The Black Cat (1934) and speaking for the first time as the monster in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) certified his status, but eventually he grew tired of type casting. Stuck in a rut, the way out was Broadway.  So he gambled with a comedy called Arsenic and Old Lace, playing a man “who looked like Boris Karloff”.  It ran for three years.

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At the Children’s Hospital, British actor Boris Karloff (born William Henry Pratt, 1887 – 1969) reads to a young patient as she drinks a glass of milk, Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1948. (Photo by Rae Russel/Getty Images) (Photo by Rae Russel/Getty Images)

But there was more to Karloff than “Boo!”  He played Captain Hook to Jean Arthur’s Peter Pan and in one of his most distinguished stage appearances he was nominated for a Tony award opposite Julie Harris’ Joan of Arc in Lillian Hellman’s adaptation of The Lark, which he repeated for NBC’s Hallmark Hall of Fame (an entire scene in the documentary is worth the price of admission alone).  In 1966, when he was retired and almost dead from severe emphysema, his career soared again with his recording How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and in 1968, one year before he died, he surfaced again, winning fresh raves as a retired horror film star whose life parallels the story of the mass murderer perched on top of the tower of the University of Texas in Austin.   Some of the rare footage from his late career includes Karloff spoofing his image by singing to a severed head on the Dinah Shore Show and discarding his wheelchair and oxygen mask to perfectly perform a musical number with Vincent Price and Red Skelton.  Not a wasted or superfluous moment anywhere.

  This movie honors both requirements of any documentary you can call memorable.  It educates and entertains at the same time.  I still live next door to the scariest man in the morgue.  But after Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster I now have another reason to smile every time I pass his front door after midnight.

Observer Reviews are regular assessments of new and noteworthy cinema.

‘Man Behind the Monster’ Shows There Was More To Boris Karloff Than Halloween Scares

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Actor Sung Kang revealed a huge detail about his ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ character



Sung Kang Star Wars

Actor Sung Kang let slip a big detail about his character in the upcoming Disney+ series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” while sharing a story about his childhood adoration for the “Star Wars” franchise.

Not a costume anymore: In an interview with Screen Rant, Kang, 49, said he dressed up as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader almost every day from the ages of 8 to 13. He also reminisced on how he and his friends would play pretend with lightsabers made out of cardboard toilet paper tubes.

  • The Korean American actor said, “…to be able to be on set and see Darth Vader and see the Star Wars Universe in front of me, I mean – just as a fan to be able to be part of that history is pretty amazing.” He added, “I kept pinching myself to go, ‘How did I end up here?’ and, my character has a lightsaber, to go, ‘What? This is.. It’s not a toy. It’s actually the real thing, right?’ so pretty cool.”
  • Kang’s revelation has raised some questions about his character in the show. Collider speculated he could be a Jedi who survived Emperor Palpatine’s Order 66, a scavenger who accidentally found a lightsaber lying around or even a Sith.

Just a little tease: Kang gave an interesting clue into his character’s personality during an interview in July, Movie Web reported.

  • I can tell you, since I am playing it, that there is a sexual deliciousness to the character,” he said.
  • Kang will also be working with Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin and Darth Vader in the prequel films from the 1990s. 

The series is expected to be released sometime in 2022. 

Featured Image The Fast Saga (left), G (right)

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Week 2 football preview: Early showdown coming between Central Catholic, St. John’s Prep



Week 2 football preview: Early showdown coming between Central Catholic, St. John’s Prep

Rarely does a football team allow more than 40 points in a game and wind up with the win.

No. 3 Central Catholic and No. 4 St. John’s Prep managed to pull it off.

These two teams meet Saturday (1 p.m.) and it’s reasonable to predict if one of these talented teams allow 40 points, they aren’t going to leave the field undefeated. St. John’s Prep enters the game having beaten Central Catholic four straight times, twice in the postseason.

Central Catholic gave up 52 points, but managed to drop 67 on Springfield Central. If there is any solace, the Raiders were far better on defense in the second half, allowing just a pair of touchdowns, while forcing three turnovers.

“I liked our team character in the second half,” CC coach Chuck Adamopoulos said. “Everyone knows that Ayden Pereira had a great game, but we had a lot of different guys step up, people like Justice McGrail and Mathias Latham.

“We’re going to have to better because St. John’s Prep is very explosive on offense. They can run the ball on one series, then open it up on the next one.”

St. John’s Prep required a little more drama to defeat Marshfield. Leading the entire game, the Eagles watched as Marshfield took a 42-41 lead with 35 seconds left. The visitors proceeded to drive 73 yards with Jack Perry capping off the winning drive by connecting with Jesse Ofurie on a 26-yard TD with five seconds left to give them a pulsating 47-42 win.

“I give our guys a lot of credit for keeping their poise,” St. John’s Prep coach Brian St. Pierre said. “We work on a lot of those scenarios in practice, two-minute drill, one-minute drill, going without timeouts. It was nice to see them take what we worked on in practice and do it in the game.”

Not surprisingly, both coaches feel the game will come down to which side can neutralize the other more.

“We struggled on defense last week, but I think we will be better this week,” St. Pierre said. “Central Catholic has a big-play offense and their quarterback will have to be our focus – he’s a very good player.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, Wellesley and Milford come off solid opening-week wins and will meet in Wellesley.

The Friday schedule is loaded with terrific matchups. A juicy Patriot League crossover game pits No. 13 Scituate at No. 9 Duxbury. The Dragons haven’t lost to a PL opponent since Hingham defeated them in 2007.

The Catholic Conference will be in the limelight as No. 1 Catholic Memorial hosts LaSalle (RI), No. 5 Xaverian travels to Bridgewater-Raynham, while BC High hosts a talented Springfield Central squad. In Central Mass., St. John’s (Shrewsbury) looks to get back on the winning track when it takes on rival Shrewsbury.

A trio of terrific nonleague matchups headline the Middlesex League slate. No. 10 Barnstable takes the long road trip to Reading to meet the 12th-ranked Rockets, No. 6 Lincoln-Sudbury visits Melrose and St. Bernard’s heads to Stoneham.

An old school Bay State Conference rival is on tap as Walpole travels to No. 14 Natick. East Boston and Brighton meet in an early-season battle for bragging rights in the city, while Nantucket and Mashpee is the premier matchup on the Cape.

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Gophers receivers have a motto. It’s found on a can of root beer



Gophers receivers have a motto. It’s found on a can of root beer

Gophers receivers coach Matt Simon has an unopened, room-temperature can of A&W Root Beer sitting on his desk inside the Larson Football Performance Center. It’s a prop, not a thirst-quencher.

Riffing off head coach P.J. Fleck’s array of slogans and acronyms, Simon came up with “actions over words” formula for what he wants from his position group during the 2021 season. He gave each receiver a can of A&W to serve as a reminder.

“Our actions are going to be way more important than our words,” Simon said in an training-camp interview with the Pioneer Press. “Yes, people are going to talk about us as a group and … try to put labels on us, on how young we are or what we maybe haven’t accomplished. We can say we’ve changed, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t (do it).”

Through two games, there have been more words than actions when it comes to the U’s receivers. Minnesota abandoned the passing game in the second half of the 31-26 win over Miami (Ohio) last Saturday; they had six third-quarter passes fall incomplete and didn’t attempt a throw in the fourth.

The Gophers have run the ball on nearly 70 percent of offensive plays this season and will likely need more balance against Pac-12 Conference foe Colorado (1-1) at noon Saturday at Folsom Field in Boulder.

Minnesota lost only one offensive starter from last season, and it was a big one: first-round NFL pick Rashod Bateman. They had Tyler Jonson go to the league after 2019 and current top target, Chris Autman-Bell, went down with an ankle injury in camp. It has kept “CrAB” sidelined for the first two games.

This has meant veteran quarterback Tanner Morgan has had to find new or lesser-known targets, and they’ve gotten off to a slow start.

Texas A&M transfer Dylan Wright has had 15 targets, eight catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns in two games. But in the third quarter against Miami, Wright slipped on a route and Morgan’s pass fell incomplete. Wright received medical attention and was held out of the game, but it wasn’t so much a physical injury as a mental hurdle.

“I think we have to continue to build … that mental toughness,” Fleck said on the topic postgame. “We were really good in 2019 mentally, but if you go back to 2018 and 2017, with Tyler and Rashod, we had a lot of drops and a lot of different (issues with) inconsistent play.”

Wright is expected to return Saturday, while Autman-Bell appears likely to make his season debut. It could be a boost for a passing offense that is outside the top 100 in the nation in yards per game (158), completion percentage (52.4) and total attempts (42).

While the body of work hasn’t been complete, there have been successes. Wright, who’s first name is pronounced Day-lynn, had an impressive leaping touchdown catch in tight coverage against Ohio State in a season opening, 45-31 loss. It was the first TD catch of his career.

Daniel Jackson, a four-star recruit and second-year player from Kansas, has seven receptions for 88 yards on 12 targets. He scored his first collegiate touchdown against Miami and afterward, Morgan had a message for him in the end zone: “It’s the first of many.”

“It’s a cool moment to celebrate it,” said Morgan, who’s next TD pass will be the 50th of his career. “But at the same time, it’s a part of the game. You have to keep going.”

On Tuesday, Fleck clarified his “mental toughness” postgame quote.

“I’m talking about just overcoming adversity, next-play mentality, being able to not flush the last play and forget about it, learn from it immediately and then move on,” the coach said. “I’m not about ignoring what happened, never been about that. … The minute that play is over, ‘What did I learn? What did I gather? Boom, got it, next play, let’s go.’

“That’s with young players in general. The faster they can get better at that, the better they’re going to be.”

Morgan has been working to stay positive with the receivers, knowing he wasn’t an all-Big Ten caliber quarterback when he got his first action in 2018.

Compared to January, Fleck has been impressed with how quickly Wright, listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, has improved since joining the program. While he was a four-star recruit out of Texas and went to the SEC, he was raw in the eyes of Fleck.

“There was no way when that kid came on campus in January I thought he would ever play this year,” Fleck said on his KFAN radio show. “That is a credit to Matt Simon, Mike Sanford for the development of him to where he is now. I think he’s one of the better ones we’ve had.”

Autman-Bell is on track to be the Gophers’ next star receiver and has shown good chemistry with Morgan. Hel has caught at least one pass in 32 career games, with a grab in 27 straight. He should be the go-to possession receiver once he comes back.

Before the Miami game, Autman-Bell warmed up as if he would play but returned to the locker room before kickoff to change into street clothes. Since Saturday, he has been participating in practice, Fleck said.

The Buffaloes, who held No. 7 Texas A&M until a late touchdown in a 10-7 loss in Denver last week, will likely force Minnesota to pass. If they can can air it out successfully, Simon might mention a certain root beer brand postgame.

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Hochul welcomes Afghan refugees in NY with 100 coming to Albany



Hochul welcomes Afghan refugees in NY with 100 coming to Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Kathy Hochul welcomed the Afghans who will be resettling in New York communities. Local agencies including in Albany are stepping up to help these families rebuild.

The Afghans, including some that have already arrived, are expected to be placed in their new communities between now and March 31. This is expected to include up to 100 in Albany, 335 in Buffalo, 240 in the New York City area, 200 in Rochester, 248 in Syracuse, and 20 in Utica.

Those arriving in New York will be assisted by agencies funded by the Bureau of Refugee Services, which is located within the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. “We have a strong desire to welcome as many families as want to relocate here to the city of Albany,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Hochul pledged to offer the refugees assistance via state-supported resettlement agencies as they rebuild their lives. They will be offering free support to find a job, learn English and help with legal assistance.

Sheehan says they want to get them back on their feet. “We want to help them find housing, get a job, become news employees, and get their children enrolled in our schools,” she said.

RISSE is a non-profit organization in Albany that serves refugees and immigrants. They are dedicated to helping refugee families build sustainable lives through teaching English, job assistance, and so much more. Operations Director Francis Sengabo says they are here to equip refugees with life skills and help them adapt to U.S. culture.

“Yesterday, we helped two families get a job through RISSE. So we are ready to help them with whatever they need,” said Sengabo.

Mayor Sheehan says one challenge may be finding housing for refugees. The city of Albany is looking into temporary options. “Whether that be in partnership with some of our hotels that still are seeing pretty big occupancy availability,” Sheehan said.

RISSE says they are always looking for volunteers. The Office for New Americans also has a hotline that can connect immigrants and refugees to free services across the state. The hotline can be reached at (800) 566-7636 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays, with assistance available in more than 200 languages.

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Enterprise Center requiring vaccination proof or negative test to Blues games, other events



Enterprise Center requiring vaccination proof or negative test to Blues games, other events

Posted: Updated:

According to J&J, the booster dose of the vaccine “generated a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies” 28 days after the primary single-dose shot in participants between the ages of 18 and 55 and in those 65 years and older. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, file)

ST. LOUIS– The St. Louis Blues will require proof of vaccination or negative tests results within 72 hours for fans at Enterprise Center starting on Oct. 15.

The St. Louis Blues says the policy is also in effect for other events at the Enterprise Center and the Stifel Theater.

The policy applies to fans ages 12 and older. The measure is intended to protect the health and wellness of fans, guests, sponsors, staff, players, and others.

The policy will take effect ahead of the Blues’ regular-season home opener on Saturday, Oct. 23, vs. the Los Angeles Kings.

The Blues are the 16th team in the National Hockey League to introduce a policy requiring fans to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result to attend games.

“We all want the same thing – Blues hockey as it was meant to be,” Chris Zimmerman, President and CEO of Business Operations of the St. Louis Blues. “We want everyone getting back together as one, with players and fans alike feeding off the energy as we remember it not that long ago. The same holds true for a concert or performance. The experience of enjoying a headlining act is something we’ve missed, and we look forward to again hosting the biggest artists and tours at Enterprise Center and Stifel Theatre this fall and beyond.

Key information related to the policy includes:

  • Fans and guests ages 12 and older will be required to show printed or digital proof of full COVID‑19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test administered by a healthcare professional within 72 hours prior to the event. The test results must include the ticketholder’s name and the date of the test.
  • Fans and guests 11 and younger will be permitted to enter Enterprise Center and Stifel Theatre without proof of vaccination or a negative test result, provided they wear a mask at all times while inside the venue.
  • The Enterprise Center and Stifel Theatre policy at all times will be subject to health and safety guidelines or policies as determined by the City of St. Louis and the NHL. As an example, the City of St. Louis continues to require all to wear facial coverings when indoors and within enclosed public buildings and spaces.
  • COVID-19 tests will not be made available at Enterprise Center and Stifel Theatre on the dates of games or events.

You can get more information about fans and guests by visiting

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CU Buffs vs. Minnesota football: 4 things to know, key matchups and predictions



CU Buffs vs. Minnesota football: 4 things to know, key matchups and predictions

Minnesota (1-1) vs. Colorado (1-1); 11 a.m. Saturday, Folsom Field

TV/Radio: Pac-12 Network/630 AM

Line: Colorado -2.5, 48.5 over/under

Weather: 77 degrees, sunny

What to know

Broussard back. All indications are CU running back Jarek Broussard will the available Saturday. But will he be effective? A blindside hit to his legs knocked the Buffs’ lead back out of last week’s loss to Texas A&M, and the offense clearly missed him. Coach Karl Dorrell declared Broussard “fine” earlier this week, but they’ll need him to be more than that if the Buffs are going to move the ball consistently Saturday.

Catching fire. A dependable pass catching threat has yet to emerge for CU early in the season. At least one option is off the table with La’Vontae Shenault suspended indefinitely. So who among Dimitri Stanley, Daniel Arias and Brenden Rice is ready to step up? Arias had a chance to make a big play last week against Texas A&M, but his drop of a Brendon Lewis deep ball doomed a drive. Until a playmaker emerges on the outside, this offense will be limited.

Bruising line. For the second straight week, CU faces a big, physical offensive front. And this one brings plenty of experience to Folsom Field as well. The Gophers’ O-line has more combined starts (193) at the FBS level than any program in the country. They also boast one of the nation’s top tackles in 6-foot-9, 380-pound senior Daniel Faalele. Another big challenge awaits the Buffs in the trenches, who passed last week’s challenge against Texas A&M with flying colors.

Row your boat. After the USC job opened up this week, Minnesota coach PJ Fleck immediately emerged as a candidate to fill the vacancy at Heritage Hall. As much as Fleck might want to downplay those rumors — the Boat Rower’s among the betting favorites to get the gig — there’s no doubt his players are hearing them, too. Coaches hate distractions, and this is a big one for a program that prides itself on rowing in the same direction.

Key matchups

Gophers O-line vs. Buffs defense. This much is clear through two weeks: the CU run defense is as sturdy as they come. Led by linebackers Nate Landman and Carson Wells, the Buffs rank 13th in the nation at 58.5 rush yards allowed per game. The Gophers lost top back Mohamed Ibrahim for the season in Week 1. If replacement Trey Potts (178 yards, 2 TDs vs. Miami, Ohio) can’t find room to run Saturday, it could be a long day for the run-first Gophers.

QB Brendon Lewis vs. Gophers defense. The CU passing game enters Saturday ranked 126th in the country at 95.5 yards per game. With the 103rd pass defense (265.5 ypg) coming to Boulder, the time is now for Lewis and his receivers to get right. Minnesota has a pass-rushing force in OLB Boye Mafe — both he and OT Daniel Faalele made Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks List” — but there are holes to exploit. The Buffs must find them.


Kyle Fredrickson, sports reporter: CU 24, Minnesota 21

A late field goal lifts CU to a huge win; more evidence the Buffs will be bowling this year.

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SpaceX Inspiration4 Completes First Day in Space: Take a Look Inside the Passenger Cabin



SpaceX Inspiration4 Completes First Day in Space: Take a Look Inside the Passenger Cabin
SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew shares their experience in space. Inspiration4/Twitter

SpaceX on Wednesday evening successfully launched a crew of four amateur astronauts into space in a fully automatic Crew Dragon spacecraft. The mission, called Inspiration4, is the first full-civilian orbital flight ever launched. On Friday, the crew sent back their first snapshots of the space journey through the mission’s Twitter account.

Photos posted on Inspiration4’s Twitter page showed the four passengers floating in zero-gravity inside a modified SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule (with a glass dome) with our home planet in the background.

The crew has been in Earth’s orbit for just a day, but have already seen the sun rise and set 15 times, the mission’s Twitter handle posted early Friday.

One of the crew members, Haley Arceneaux, a physician’s assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, shared a 30-second video through St. Jude’s Twitter account of herself giving a virtual tour of the passenger cabin, especially the glass cupola, which SpaceX designed specifically for this mission to allow a better view from space.

Arceneaux is one of three passengers invited by the fintech billionaire Jared Issacman, who bought the entire flight. The other two passengers are Chris Sembroski, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and Sian Proctor, a planetary science professor at the South Mountain Community College in Arizona.

The Inspiration4 crew will spend three days in Earth’s orbit at an altitude of 357 miles, about 100 miles higher than the average orbital height of the International Space Station.

The crew is scheduled to give a live in-orbit update about their journey so far at 5 p.m. Friday. You can watch the event on SpaceX’s YouTube channel.

SpaceX Inspiration4 Completes First Day in Space: Take a Look Inside the Passenger Cabin

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