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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Rage 2B — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, December 23, 2000 Remember the Titans’ defense Tennessee aims to keep Dallas under 48 points By Teresa M. Walker AP Sports Writer NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Start listing the NFLs best defenses and the Baltimore Ravens usually get mentioned first, then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Miami Dolphins. It’s time to remember the Tennessee Titans. • The Titans went to the Super Bowl last season with a defense that was middling at best by NFL standards. This season, they are having their best defensive season since the league went to a 16-game schedule. “We’re not a defense that just does one or two things,” coach Jeff Fisher said. ” We do a lot of different things.” And they’re doing them all very well. The Titans rank only behind the Ravens in both total defense and in the fewest points allowed with 191. The Titans can set a franchise record for fewest points allowed in 16 games if they prevent the Dallas Cowboys under 48 points Monday night. Keep the Cowboys to fewer than 494 total yards, and they’ll set another team record for yards What’s Up ■ WHAT: Tennessee Titans vs. Dallas Cowboys ■ WHEN: 8 p.m. on Monday ■ WHERE: in Nashville ■ TV: KSAT (ABC) allowed in a season. Opponents have scored only 20 touchdowns, a big improvement from the 26 allowed in 1991 and 1993. About the only thing the Titans haven’t done well this year is collect turnovers. Recovered fumbles — or more accurately, the lack of them — count as the Titans’ only weakness. The Ravens are plus 19 in takeovers, while Tampa Bay and Miami are plus 12. The Titans? They have knocked the ball loose 31 times but recovered only IO. “In order for us to be completely dominating, we got to turn the ball over,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “We’ve dropped balls we should be catching. We had two in our hands last week.” Pro Bowl end Jevon Kearse said it isn’t for lack of trying. “Turn on the tape and see a play downfield — no matter where the ball is you’re going to see the defensive linemen trying to run down linebackers just like a pack of wild dogs trying to get to the ball. We have one obsession, and that’s to get to the ball,” Kearse said. Because of Fisher’s years with Buddy Ryan, people like to label his defense as the ”46.” It may have started that way, but the plan now features a mishmash of ideas from Williams and the other assistants. “On the field, we’re trying to get the best matchups we can and confuse the offense,” Williams said. The Titans also think they have the best players at each position, including backups, that they’ve had since Fisher took over at the end of the 1994 season. They bolstered the middle by signing linebacker Randall Godfrey from the Cowboys, and he has had a team-high 156 tackles. Kearse has fewer sacks than last year, but the Titans are a sack ahead of last year after 15 games thanks to linemates Kenny Holmes, John Thornton, Joe Salave’a and Robaire Smith. Strong safety Blaine Bishop has played well enough that he won his first starting position in the Pro Bowl after being a reserve three other times. Pro Bowl cornerback Samari Rolle is tied for the AFC lead in interceptions with seven. Thanks to Bishop, Rolle, free safety Marcus Robertson and cornerback Denard Walker, the Titans are the NFLs stingiest against the pass. Rangers, Royals interested in Cone By Ronald Blum AP Sports Writer NEW YORK — The Kansas City Royals are interested in David Cone as their closer, the Texas Rangers as a starter. Cone isn’t sure which team he wants to play for and could consider others. “He primarily has been interested in starting and coming back,” agent Steve Fehr said Friday. “He’s interested in a contender and getting to 200 wins.” Texas general manager Doug Melvin met earlier this week with Cone and Fehr. Alex Rodriguez has pushed for the Rangers to sign Cone. BATTLE/From 1B “I would hate to characterize anything,” Fehr said. “There is mutual interest. They can use him.” Rick Helling, Kenny Rogers and Darren Oliver are the Rangers’ first three starters, Kansas City, Cone’s first major league team, would like him to make a switch to the bullpen. “What they’re saying now if their intended use for him primarily is the closer’s role,” Fehr said. Cone, who will be 38 next season, has a 184-116 career record with a 3.40 ERA, also pitching for the New York Mets, Kansas City and Toronto. He won the AL Cy Young Award with the Royals in 1994. something a lot of people don’t understand. They would be a great football team without him. Having him puts them over the top.” Celina is trying to become the first team to win three straight 2A titles. A win would tie the third-longest winning streak in state history, eight shy of the state record held by Abilene. In other games Saturday, Katy (15-0) plays Tyler John Tyler (12-3) for the 5A Division II title, Ennis (13-2) plays West Orange-Stark (15-0) for the 4A Division II title and Stratford (15-0) plays Burkeville (10-4) for the IA title. Katy beat John Tyler 28-10 in the season opener. In the 14 games since, John Tyler has allowed less than IO points per game and not given up a touchdown in seven of them. They’ll have to stop Katy quarterback Jared Kaspar, who has completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,083 yards and 17 touchdowns. Most importantly, Katy is 19-2 when he plays quarterback. “He is the most important factor of our football team, without a doubt,” coach Mike Johnston said. “Looking beyond the stats, people don’t understand how much we put on him as far as the checks he has to make. He has to read the defensive fronts and always has to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. “Not a lot of kids can do that as well as he can, but we’ve been blessed over the years to have quarterbacks who have that ability. He’s certainly one of the best we’ve had.” ' ~ - ' v K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Sophomore guard Chase Shipley drives to the hoop during a game earlier this season at SVHS. The Rangers, who were scheduled to play San Antonio Lee on Friday, defeated the Rebels on Thursday 67-64. ALL-STATE/From 1B RANGERS/ From 1B 34-27. The half ended after a Lee player hit one of two free-throws. The Volunteers closed the gap, 34-32, but failed to capture the lead as Potter put in a lay-up off an assist by Niles. The Ranger defense tightened and the Volunteers were forced to use a timeout to prevent a turnover. Trailing 39-38 after two free-throws, the Volunteers got called for another goal-tending violation to extend the Ranger lead. After two missed free throws by Potter, Lee captured their first lead of the half with a little over one minute remaining in the quarter. Niles then hit two from the charity stripe giving the Rangers a 48-47 lead going into the fourth. A basket by Gregory gave the Rangers the lead they would not give up for the rest of the game. After a Smithson Valley timeout, Niles and Gregory both hit baskets to push the Rangers ahead 54-49. The Volunteers took a 5-0 run to pull them within two with over three minutes left in the game. A minute later, Niles got a basket and a foul to give the Rangers a five-point lead. Lee responded with two layups, but Potter hit the second of two free-throws to give the Rangers a 62-59 lead. A long 3-pointer by Lee tied the game with 31.5 seconds left. After another basket by Lee tied the game at 64, Niles hit his buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Rangers the win. The Rangers (6-9) play in the Uvalde tournament begining Thursday. was conducted during the playoffs. Benson wasn’t the only repeat performer on the Class 5A all-state team. Mission senior defensive back Eddie Vazquez was a first-team pick for the second year in a row. This season, he was also selected as the 5A defensive player of the year after having 52 tackles and 13 interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He also returned two punt returns and a kickoff return for touchdowns. The other two all-state running backs were McKinney senior Donta Hickson and Ra’Shawn Mosley (2,094 yards rushing) of San Antonio Southwest. While Benson has verbally committed to play at Texas, Hickson (2,243 yards and 28 touchdowns) has said he will play another Big 12 school, Oklahoma. Abilene Cooper senior quarterback Jordan Neal (157-of-235 passing for 2,185 yards, 28 touchdowns and six interceptions) also was named first-team all-state, along with receivers Thomson Omboga of Grand Prairie (50 catches for 1,027 yards and nine touchdowns) and Keiron Stevenson of The Colony (68 catches for 977 yards). The offensive line consisted of five seniors: Copperas Cove’s Josh Edwards, Houston Washington’s Adrian Henderson, Abilene Cooper’s Charles Mock, Carter’s Jonathan Scott and Temple’s Dominique Steamer. The all-state defensive linemen were Duncanville senior Rishone Evans (78 tackles, 20 for loss, and eight sacks), Killeen Ellison senior Chuck Fisher (122 tackles), Marshall senior Jason Franklin (IOO tackles) and Friendswood Clear Brook senior Thadis Pegues (13 tackles for loss and nine sacks). Another Killeen Ellison defender, senior Kevin Patrick (134 tackles), was an all-state linebacker, along with senior Matt Bose of Midland and senior Mike Kipper of The Woodlands. Vazquez was joined in the defensive backfield by Rosenberg Terry senior Tony McClain (102 tackles and eight interceptions), Plano senior Trevor Nelson (77 tackles and seven interceptions) and Westlake senior Huston Street (seven interceptions). Richland senior place-kicker Russ Davis (24 extra points and nine field goals) and Friendswood Clear Brook senior punter Mike Northen (44.3 average on 36 punts) were the all-state kickers.ScoreboardNFL NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE All Times CST AMERICAN CONFERENCE East WLT Pct PF PA Miami 10 5 0 .667 296 202 Indianapolis 9 6 0 .600 398 316 N Y. Jets 9 6 0 .600 301 287 Buffalo 7 8 0 .467 273 327 New England 5 10 0 .333 252 311 Central WLT Pct PF PA x-Tennessee 12 3 0 .800 315 191 x Baltimore 11 4 0 .733 299 145 Pittsburgh 8 7 0 .533 287 234 Jacksonville 7 8 0 .467 342 299 Cincinnati 4 11 0 .267 178 343 Cleveland 3 13 0 West .188 161 419 WLT Pct PF PA x-Oakland 11 4 0 .733 427 290 x-Denver 10 5 0 .667 447 360 Kansas City 7 8 0 .467 342 325 Seattle 6 9 0 .400 297 363 San Diego 1 14 0 .067 248 406 NATIONAL CONFERENCE East WLT Pct PF PA y-N.Y. Giants 11 4 0 .733 300 221 x-Philadelphia 10 5 0 .667 335 238 Washington 7 8 0 .467 261 266 Dallas 5 10 0 .333 294 330 Arizona 3 12 0 .200 207 423 Central WLT Pct PF PA x-Mmnesota 11 4 0 .733 307 340 x-Tampa Bay 10 5 0 .667 374 252 Detroit 9 6 0 .600 287 284 Green Bay 8 7 0 533 336 309 Chicago 4 11 0 West .267 193 335 WLT Pct PF PA y-Ngw Orleans 10 5 0 .667 333 279 St LOUW 9 6 0 600 514 450 Carolina 7 8 0 .467 301 258 San Francisco 6 9 0 .400 379 384 Atlanta 3 12 0 .200 223 400 x-clinched playoff spot y-clinched division Saturday s Games Jacksonville at N.Y. Giants, 11:30 a m. San Francisco at Denver, 3 15 p.m. Buffalo at Seattle, 7:20 p m Sunday s Games Kansas City at Atlanta, noon Arizona at Washington noon Chicago at Detroit, noon N.Y Jets at Baltimore, noon Miami at New England, noon St. Louis at New Orleans, noon Tampa Bay at Green Bay, noon Cincinnati at Philadelphia, noon Pittsburgh at San Diego, 3:05 p.m. Minnesota at Indianapolis, 3:15 p.m. Carolina at Oakland, 3:15 p.m. Open: Cleveland Monday’s Game Dallas at Tennessee, 8 p.m.Bowl Games COLLEGE BOWL GAMES " All Times CST Wednesday, Dec. 20 Mobile Alabama Bowl Payout: $750,000 Southern Mississippi 28. TCU 21 Thursday, Dec. 21 Las Vegas Bowl At Las Vegas Payout: $800,000 UNLV 31, Arkansas 14 Sunday s Game Oahu Bowl At Honolulu Payout: $750,000 Virginia (6-5) vs. Georgia (7-4), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) Monday’s Games Blue-Gray Classic At Montgomery, Ala. Blue vs. Gray, 11 a.m. (ABC) Aloha Bowl At Honolulu Payout: $750,000 Boston College (8-5) vs. Arizona State (6-5), 2:30 p.m. (ABC) Wednesday’s Games Motor City Bowl At Pontiac, Mich. Payout: $750,000 Marshall (7-5) vs. Cincinnati (7-4), 3 p m. (ESPN) Bowl At Houston Payout: $750,000 Texas Tech (7-5) vs. East Carolina (7-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Thursday's Games Humanitarian Bowl , At Boise, Idaho Payout: $750,000 Boise State (9-2) vs. Texas-EI Paso (8-3), 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Music City Bowl At Nashville, Tenn. Payout: $750,000 West Virginia (6-5) vs. Mississippi (7-4), 3 p.m. (ESPN) Bowl At Miami Payout: $750,000 Minnesota (6-5) vs. North Carolina State (7-4), 6 p.m. (TBS) Bowl At Phoenix Payout: $750,000 Iowa State (8-3) vs. Pittsburgh (7-4), 6:30 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Dec. 29 Liberty Bowl At Memphis, Tenn. Payout: $1.25 million Colorado State (9-2) vs. Louisville (9-2), 12:30 p.m. (ESPN) Sun Bowl At El Paso, Texas Payout: $1 million UCLA (6-5) vs. Wjsocnsin (8-4), 1 p.m. (CBS) Peach Bowl At Atlanta Payout: $1.8 million Georgia Tech (9-2) vs. LSU (7-4), 4 p.m. (ESPN) Holiday Bowl At San Diego Payout: $1.9 million Texas (9-2) vs. Oregon (9-2), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl At San Antonio Payout: $1.2 million Nebraska (9-2) vs. Northwestern (8-3), 7 p.m. (ESPN) Sunday, Dec. 31 Silicon Valley Classic At San Jose, Calif. Payout: $1.2 million Fresno State (7-4) vs. Air Force (8-3), ep.m. (FOXSN) Independence Bowl At Shreveport, La. Payout: $1.1 million Texas AAM (7-4) vs. Mississippi State (7-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN) Monday, Jan. 1 Outback Bowl At Tampa, Fla. Payout: $2 million Ohio State (8-3) vs. South Carolina (7-4), 10 a m. (ESPN) Cotton Bowl At Dallas Payout: $2.5 million Kansas State (10-3) vs. Tennessee (8-3), 10 a.m. (FOX) Gator Bowl At Jacksonville, Fla. Payout: $1.4 million Virginia Tech (10-1) vs. Clemson (9-2), 11:30 a m (NBG) Citrus Bowl At Orlando, Fla. Payout: $4 million Michigan (8-3) vs. Auburn (9-3), noon (ABC) Rose Bowl At Pasadena, Calif. Payout: $13.5 million Purdue (8-3) vs. Washington (10-1), 3:30 p.m. (ABC) Fiesta Bowl At Tempe Arlz. Payout: $13.5 million Oregon State (10-1) vs. Notre Dame (9-2), 7 p.m. (ABC) Tuesday, Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl At New Orleans Payout: $13.5 million Florida (10-2) vs. Miami (10-1), 7 p.m. (ABC) Wednesday, Jan. 3 Orange Bowl At Miami Payout: $11-13 million Oklahoma (12-0) vs. Florida State (11-1), 7 p.m. (ABC) 17 9 .654 1 1/2 15 9 .625 2 1/2 14 12 .538 4 1/2 9 18 .333 10 7 19 .269 11 1/2 NBA NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION All Times CST EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlantic Division W    L    Pct    GB Philadelphia    18    8    .692    — New York    16    12    .571    3 Miami    14    14    .500    5 Orlando    11    14    .440    6 1/2 Boston    11    15    .423    7 New Jersey    9    17    .346    9 Washington    5    21    .192    13 Central Division W    L    Pct    GB Charlotte    18    9    .667    — Cleveland    15    9    .625    1 1/2 Milwaukee    13    12    .520    4 Toronto    14    13    .519    4 Indiana    12    15    .444    6 Detroit    11    15    .423    61/2 Atlanta    8    18    .308    9 1/2 Chicago    ,    3 .23 .115    141/2 WESTERN CONFERENCE Midwest Division W    L    Pct    GB Utah    19    8    .704    — San Antonio    17    9    654    1 1/2 Dallas    18    11    .621    2 Minnesota    15    12    556    4 Houston    13    12    .520    5 Denver    13    13    .500    5 1/2 Vancouver    8    17    .320    10 Pacific Division W    L    Pct    GB Sacramento    17    7    .708    1/2 L A. Lakers    20    9    .690    — Portland Phoenix Seattle L.A. Clippers Golden State Thursday’s Games Orlando 99, Chicago 88 Milwaukee 80, New Jersey 78 Boston 92, New York 86 L.A. Lakers 99, Houston 94 Friday’s Games Utah 109, Indiana 101 Atlanta 78, Toronto 72 New York 91, Philadelphia 71 Miami 103, Cleveland 95 L.A. Lakers 108, Dallas 103 Charlotte 83, Minnesota 74 San Antonio 105, Golden State 87 Portland at Denver Washington at Seattle Sacramento at Vancouver Saturday ’s Games Indiana at Atlanta, 6:30 p.m. Chicago at Detroit, 6:30 p.m. Miami at New Jersey, 6:30 p.m. Cleveland at Orlando, 6:30 p.m. San Antonio at Charlotte, 6:30 p.m. Utah at Minnesota, 7 p.m. Boston at Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m. Golden State at Houston, 7:30 p.m. Denver at Phoenix, 8 p.m. ■Washington at Portland, 9 p.m. Seattle at Sacramento, 9:30 p.m. Vancouver at L.A. Clippers, 9:30 p.m. Sunday's Games No games scheduledTransactions Friday’s Sports Transactions By The Associated Press BASEBALL American League BALTIMORE ORIOLES—Acquired RHP Jorge Julio from the Montreal Expos for 3B Ryan Minor. CLEVELAND INDIANS—Agreed to terms with OF Karim Garcia on a minor league contract. SEATTLE MARINERS—Agreed to terms with C Tom Lampkin on a one-year contract. National League MILWAUKEE BREWERS—Agreed to terms with OF Jeffrey Hammonds on a 3-year contract. PITTSBURGH PIRATES—Named Pete Mackenin manager and Bob Milacki pitching coach of Hickory of the South Atlantic League. Named Glenn Bremmer coach of Williamsport of the New York-Penn League. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS—Signed Mark Lamping, president, to a three-year contract extension, through 2003. Agreed to terms with OF Quinton McCracken on a one-year contract. BASKETBAl I PHILADELPHIA 76ERS—Signed G Kevin Ollie. Waived G Vernon Maxwell. FOOTBALL NFL—Fined Tampa Bay WR Keyshawn Johnson, TE Dave Mooreand TE Patrick Hape $5,000 each, for dancing in the end zone in a game on Dec. 18.CEDAR ALLERGIES? We need volunteer! for a research study involving an investigational medication. Qualified patients will be paid. CENTRAL TEXAS HEALTH RESEARCH Frank C. Hampel, Jr., M.D. NEW BRAUNFELS 629-9036 SAN MARCOS SEBUIN/SAN ANTONIO 396-3101    830-609-0900 ;