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HS football: BB&N serves notice to ISL with 34-0 win over Belmont Hill

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Lawrence air game the difference in 37-26 win at Andover

CAMBRIDGE — The Independent School League is only four games into this season, but one thing is pretty clear: if BB&N is not the best team right now, the Knights are pretty close.

On Saturday, BB&N rolled to a 34-0 whitewashing of Belmont Hill where the Knights made big plays on offense, defense, and special teams. It was an impressive all-around showing, and senior linebacker and fullback Tyler Martin did not mince words when asked about the legitimacy of his squad.

“Absolutely (it feels like a special season). I think not only not having last year makes it a little special,” said Martin, a verbal commit to the University of Arizona. “But obviously these seniors, we’ve been here for a while. A lot of us have been here four, five years. I’m real excited for it. I’m excited. The ISL should be, I think, a little worried. I think we’re the team to beat right now. But we’ve got to just keep coming to work every day and doing it.”

Although his coach, Mike Willey, winced a little at the “worried” comment, he is in line with his players in terms of Martin’s last sentence about working hard to achieve their goals.

“I like where we are because our guys practice hard,” said Willey of his 4-0 group. “Our guys go to practice every day hard. We’ve got Nobles coming up this week, which is a good challenge. They’re a 3-1 football team. They’re going to be a good challenge. I think our guys will come on Monday and start working hard. So that’s the reason I like where we’re at.”

Against a Belmont Hill team that usually plays BB&N very tough, the Knights took control in the second quarter and never let up. Leading the way was running back Bo MacCormack, a freshman who finished with 151 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Ty Harding did not score but took five handoffs on jet sweeps and end-arounds for 91 yards. Quarterback Shane Hanafin completed 7 of 15 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Martin was the leader on defense with an interception and some big hits. He also caught a 5-yard touchdown pass.

After a 40-yard Harding run, MacCormack cashed in with a 12-touchdown run over right tackle late in the first quarter. Belmont Hill went three and out and MacCormack added a 4-yard score.

On the ensuing kickoff, Harding recovered a BB&N squib, and Hanafin hit Brett Elliott wide open over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown to help make it 19-0 Knights with 8:33 to play in the half.

The teams traded interceptions, and Martin got his to set up MacCormack’s 1-yard score. Martin punctuated the win with his 5-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.

Belmont Hill made four trips inside the BB&N 30-yard line but never scored. That made the win extra sweet for Martin.

“It’s probably the best feeling ever (to get the shutout),” Martin said. “Out of five years now playing for BB&N, I’ve never shut them out. Speaking to coach WIlley, I don’t know if BB&N’s ever shut them out. It’s awesome. It was such a team win. They were down in close a few times, but we work on that stuff in practice, bending and not breaking. I think we’ve got one of the best defenses in New England.”

BB&N 34, Belmont Hill 0

Belmont Hill (1-3) 0 0 0 0 — 0
BB&N (4-0) 7 20 7 0 — 34

BB — Bo MacCormack 12 run (Vince Snoonian kick)
BB — MacCormack 4 run (kick failed)
BB — Brett Elliott 20 pass from Shane Hanafin (pass failed)
BB — MacCormack 1 run (Ronan Hanafin from S. Hanafin)
BB — Tyler Martin 5 pass from S. Hanafin (Snoonian kick)

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Timberwolves starting to get healthy

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Timberwolves starting to get healthy

The Timberwolves weren’t at full strength Monday against Atlanta, but they do finally seem to be trending in that direction.

Minnesota got Jaden McDaniels and Karl-Anthony Towns back in the lineup, while Patrick Beverley is quickly working toward his return.

McDaniels had a serious bout with the flu, in which Timberwolves coach Chris Finch joked the forward “lost the whole 10 pounds (he gained) all summer, which he could ill afford to do.” The illness knocked McDaniels out to the point where he was in bed for several days and unable to join the team on the road.

Saturday was the first day the forward finally felt “normal” and he was able to practice Sunday. Finch said McDaniels looked “pretty good” in the practice after missing two games.

Beverley was originally expected to miss at least two weeks with his groin injury, and then be re-evaluated at that point. That would’ve meant the Wolves looked at him at the end of this week, but he was questionable for Monday’s contest before he was eventually ruled out prior to tip-off.

Finch said the veteran guard played 5-on-5 hoops with the team’s low-minutes guys and a few coaches earlier in the day Monday.

“He had a really good run,” Finch said. “He’s inching closer and closer.”

A return to action Wednesday against Utah looks possible.

D’Angelo Russell missed Monday’s game with an ankle injury. That meant the Wolves were down three point guard options in Russell, Beverley and Jaylen Nowell. That pushed rookie guard Leandro Bolmaro into the starting unit.

Finch said Bolmaro — who wasn’t in the rotation as recently as two weeks ago until Beverley went down — was “really excited” about the opportunity. Finch said the Wolves needed Bolmaro’s size and defensive acumen to guard Trae Young.

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Gophers welcome back Kirk Ciarrocca as offensive coordinator

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Gophers welcome back Kirk Ciarrocca as offensive coordinator

The Gophers football program has officially brought back Kirk Ciarrocca as offensive coordinator, the school said Monday.

Ciarrocca will return as OC and quarterbacks coach, a role he had under head coach P.J. Fleck at Minnesota from 2017-19. Ciarrocca left Minnesota after the 2019 season to become offensive coordinator at Penn State in 2020 and offensive analyst at West Virginia in 2021.

“Kirk is one of the best offensive coordinators in the game, but he is also a tremendous person,” Fleck said in a statement. “We have a long professional history of working together, and I look forward to reuniting with him.”

The Gophers play West Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix on Dec. 28, and while Ciarrocca restarted at Minnesota on Monday, he will not coach in the bowl game after conversations with Fleck and Mountaineers coach Neal Brown.

“We both agreed to not have Kirk coach in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl with his knowledge of both teams’ personnel,” Fleck continued. “When we made the decision to hire Kirk, we did not yet know our bowl opponent. Coach Brown and I both thought this would be best to avoid any awkwardness for both sets of student-athletes. It’s the right thing to do.”

Matt Simon, the U’s wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator, will call offensive plays during the bowl game. He previously called plays in the Outback Bowl win over Auburn on New Year’s Day 2020.

Ciarrocca replaces Mike Sanford Jr., who was let go last week after the U’s performances didn’t come close to matching the heights of Ciarrocca’s best season in 2019. Sanford was at the end of a two-year contract paying him $663,000 per year.

Ciarrocca left Minnesota when he was set for a raise to $1 million per year in 2020; terms of his new deal were not shared, and the Gophers added his hire is pending Board of Regent approval.

Brown has known Ciarrocca for 20 years and had a lot of praise for him during a virtual bowl game news conference on Sunday.

“I think if you are talking about a system, the best thing that I can use is he is efficient,” Brown said. “If you look throughout his career, he’s been extremely efficient. I think he’s been able to find unique ways to run the football at every stop, regardless of what his personnel is. … He’s efficient, so when you are talking about an offensive coach. I think that is what we are all hunting and he’s done it better than most.”

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Pence’s former top aide cooperating with Jan. 6 panel

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Pence’s former top aide cooperating with Jan. 6 panel

By MARY CLARE JALONICK and JILL COLVIN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence is cooperating with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Marc Short was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and accompanied Pence as he fled his post presiding over the Senate and hid from rioters who were calling for his hanging. Short is cooperating with the panel after receiving a subpoena, according to the person, who was granted anonymity to discuss the private interactions.

Former President Donald Trump was openly criticizing his vice president even as the insurrectionists broke into the building because Pence had said he would not try to unilaterally reject the electoral count as Congress certified President Joe Biden’s victory. Pence didn’t have the legal power to do so, but Trump pressured him anyway.

As Pence’s top aide, Short was also present for several White House meetings ahead of the insurrection. At one point, Trump banned Short from the White House grounds because he objected to the pressure on Pence to reject the legitimate election results.

CNN first reported Short’s cooperation and subpoena.

Some people close to Pence were furious about the way that Trump tried to scapegoat the former vice president on Jan. 6 and became even more incensed after Pence, his closest aides and his family were put in physical danger by the rioters.

Alyssa Farah, who served as Pence’s press secretary before taking on other roles and left her job at the White House before Jan. 6, voluntarily met with Republicans on the House select committee and provided information.

In a series of tweets as the insurrection unfolded, Farah urged Trump to condemn the riots as they were happening and call on his supporters to stand down. “Condemn this now, @realDonaldTrump,” she tweeted. “You are the only one they will listen to. For our country!”

The panel in November subpoenaed Keith Kellogg, who was Pence’s national security adviser, writing in the subpoena that he was with Trump as the attack unfolded and may “have direct information about the former president’s statements about, and reactions to, the Capitol insurrection.” The committee wrote that according to several accounts, Kellogg urged Trump to send out a tweet aimed at helping to control the crowd.

The Jan. 6 panel has spoken to more than 250 witnesses, most of them voluntarily, committee leaders said last week, and plans a series of open hearings next year to make many of their findings public.

The committee has deposed a wide range of people, from Trump’s own aides to organizers of his massive rally that morning to allies outside the White House who strategized how to overturn Biden’s legitimate victory.

The panel has also interviewed election officials in crucial swing states such as Georgia, Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania who were pressured by the former president and his allies as he pushed false claims of election fraud.

Trump has derided the committee’s work and continued to make claims about fraud that have been widely rejected by courts and election experts.

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