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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 23, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Contact Sports Editor Bryan Adams at 625-9144 ext. 223. Sports Thursday January 23, 2003 IBSV’s Clark changes commitment to Texas A&MColorado loses Rangers top offensive lineman By Bryan Adams Sports Editor Smithson Valley senior offensive lineman Corey Clark shunned Colorado fans Wednesday when he retracted a pre-season verbal commitment to play for the Buffaloes and instead elected to jump on the Dennis Fran-chione band wagon at Texas A&M. “I just felt like it was a better place to go,” Clark said. “Deep down I really wanted to stay in Texas, but I really didn’t want to go to any other schools. Plus, A&M has a really good school, a lot of my friends are going there and I really like the new coaching staff.” Clark, a 6-foot-6, 323-pound guard for the Rangers, visited College Station this past weekend. “I had been up there before, but I had never seen the whole town,” Clark said. ‘The players took me around the town and showed me a bunch of stuff I hadn’t seen before. I met a bunch of players and learned about all of the new facilities going up. I just fell in love with the whole thing.” Clark, who said he grew up a Longhorn fan, also received offers to play at Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Texas Tech and Baylor. Nebraska CLARK showed a high-level of interest, but did not offer a scholarship. ‘Tve always dreamed of playing for UT, until I went there and found out what the coaches are like. I just didn’t like what they did around there,” Clark said. “I’ve always liked the Aggies, but everybody always used to make fun of them and you kind of learn not to like them because of adl the jokes. Everybody in my family are really big UT fans, and they kind of warped my mind into loving the Longhorns. But, not any more.” Clark, who attended camps at Texas A&M, Colorado, Texas Tech and Texas this past summer, said he gave an early verbal commitment to the staff at Colorado because it was the best offer at the time and he wanted to get the hassle of the recruiting process out of the way before his senior season started. ‘That helped take away some of the pressure and let me focus on high school,” Clark said. ‘I really wasn’t considering any other schools until Colorado offered me.” Clark was one of the top players on a Smithson Valley team that advanced to the 4A state finals in 2001 and the 5A state finals in 2002. The Rangers averaged 202.6 yards on the ground and 156.4 yards through air in 2002. “Obviously his strength and size give him a chance to control the line of scrimmage. He has great feet for a big man," Smithson Valley head coach Larry Hill said. “I think he’s pass-blocking skills are going to nothing but get belter. He’s going to be a good fit for what th£y (Tsxas A&M) are trying to do on offense.” See CLARK/2B Raiders brought in experienced winners for edgeBucs went for fiery Gruden By Barry Wilner AP Football Writer SAN DIEGO — The Oakland Raiders found a missing ingredient in guys like Rod Woodson, Bill Romanowski, Sam Adams and Jerry Rice — all owners of NFL championship rings. The Tampa Bay Buc-cancers needed fire and flare and got it from their coach, Jon Gruden. Two franchises that made regu-Super Bowl GRUDEN lar visits to the playoffs in recent years were smart enough to recognize their deficiencies and then set about fixing them with vastly different approaches. “I think whoever makes the personnel decisions for the Raiders did a great job,” Romanowski said Wednesday. “We have the right chemistry on this team. “I think people feed off guys that make plays, when your action talks. This is a great group of football players that feeds off what we all do on the field.” Romanowski has done enough to win four Super Bowls with, oddly, two of the Raiders’ most-hated rivals, San Francisco and Denver. His experience and leadership made him a prime candidate to help Oakland over the hump. So the outside linebacker now in his 15th NFL season was signed as a free agent. So was Woodson, who had another All-Pro season at free safety. So was Adams, who along with Woodson won the Super Bowl two years ago with Baltimore. They joined Rice, who came aboard in 2001 after 16 superior seasons in San Francisco NFL PLAYOFF GLANCE All Times CST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS Sunday, Jan. 19 NFC: Tampa Bay 27, Philadelphia 10 AFC: Oakland 41, Tennessee 24 SUPER BOWL Sunday, Jan. 26 Oakland vs. Tampa Bay, 5:18 p.m. (ABC) where he helped the 49ers win three titles. Together, that quartet has lent an air of achievement to the Raiders, who made the playoffs the last two seasons, but haven’t been to the big game in nearly 20 years. They bring stability to the younger guys,” said rookie linebacker Napoleon Harris, a starter as a rookie. He believes the addition of Woodson, Romanowski and Adams, a tackle, to the defense established the unit’s combative personality. They bring a lot of experience and knowledge. They’ve played in the big game and won it. They know the answers." It might not be the young players who have benefitted most from the presence of so many Super Bowl winners. Tim Brown, like Romanowski now in his 15th season, thinks many of the veterans learned some new lessons, as well. That group includes Rich Gannon, the league’s most valuable player, Charlie Garner and lincoln Kennedy. “Because of our age and maturity, we stuck together,’ Brown said. “When we lost four in a row, those were some of the guys who made sure we didn’t fall apart.” Gruden never has won a championship as a coach or coordinator in the NFL. Still, when the Bucs fired Tony Dungy and couldn’t convince Bill Pamelia, a two-time Super Bowl winner, to come aboard, they pursued him. And they got exactly what they wanted. Grizzlies snap losing streak against Spurs, 98-93 Next Five Gasol gets 28 points, grabs 17 rebounds SAN ANTONIO (AP)'— The Memphis Grizzlies are so young, they didn’t even know when the losing streak started. They just knew they needed a win against the San Antonio Spurs. Pau Gasol had 28 points and 17 rebounds as the Grizzlies defeated San Antonio for the first time in nearly six years, snapping a 21-game losing streak to the Spurs with a 98-93 victory Wednesday night. “I only lost six times to this team,” Gasol of his two-year tenure with the team. “I felt really good to get a win against them, especially on the road. We’re trying to build for the future; get this team in the right direction.” Memphis hadn’t defeated the Spurs since Feb. 12, 1997, when the franchise was based in Vancouver. The Grizzlies are now 4-26 against San Antonio. “With a young team like we are, the DUNCAN effort and willingness to learn has been terrific,” Grizzlies head coach Hubie Brown said. Tbnight’s win definitely shows how hard they have worked down the stretch.” The loss ended the Spurs’ four-game win streak. “When you play a team you’re supposed to beat, in a strange way, teams have to focus more than when they play a team with the same record,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “Its a tough loss.” Jason Williams added 18 points, IO assists and no turnovers, while Drew Gooden started in place of Shane Battier and had 12 points. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 30 points and 21 rebounds despite double-team coverage. He also added five assists and four blocks. “Putting up 30 or more points and 20 rebounds in any kind of a defensive situation is amazing,” Brown said. “I felt though, our double-teaming was effective in slowing down the rest of the team.” Memphis did just that as they held the Spurs to 37 jvncent shooting from the field. Stephen Jackson scored 17, David Robinson ll Tbny Parker IO and Malik Rose IO. The game was close all the way, with 14 lead changes and 20 ties. SA. SPURS SCHEDULE Friday, Jan. 24 Spurs at Utah Jazz, 8 p.m. on KENS. Saturday, Jan. 25 Spurs vs. Detroit Pistons, 7:30 p.m. on FXSN. Monday, Jan. 27 Spurs at Minnesota Tlmberwolves, 7 p.m. on KRRT. Wednesday, Jan. 29 Spurs at Indiana Pacers, 6 p.m. on KRRT. Friday, Jan. 31 Spurs at Orlando Magic, 7 p.m. on KRRT and ESPN. TICKETS (210) 223-3865 Hornets sting SV Rangers’ fourth-quarter rally comes up short in 66-56 loss By Bryan Adams Sports Editor SAN ANTONIO — Smithson Valley dug a 12-point hole early in Wednesday’s game at East Central and almost climbed out of it, but came up short in the end, 66-56. “We got off to a good start, but Smithson Valley has been playing everybody really tough, and we knew they could make an impact in this district race,” East Central head coach Stan Bonewitz Sr. said. “We’re very fortunate we had just enough of a lead early to win.” The Hornets (15-9 overall, 3-1 in District 27-5A) went on an 11-0 run in the first quarter and the Rangers (9-17, 0-4) trailed by 12 going into the second period. East Central forward Wendell Mulkey, who was the San Antonio area’s second-leading scorer going into the game, scored IO of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter. “We didn’t think going in that they shot the ball really well from the perimeter,” Smithson Valley head coach Allan Miller said. “We were going to sit back in our zone and try to stop Mulkey from penetrating, because that’s what he likes to do.” That strategy worked in the second quarter as the Rangers outscored the Hornets 10-7, but still trailed 26-17 at halftime. “That worked for awhile, but there in third quarter they hit three straight threes and Mulkey hit two of them. All of sudden a 7-point game goes to a 13-point game and we’re battling our tails off to get back in it,” Miller said. East Central, which shot I-of-13 from the floor (8 percent) and 0-of-7 from 3-point range in the second quarter, shot 8-of-16 (50 percent) in the third period and drained four 3-pointers. East Central took its biggest lead of the game, 43-25, with three straight 3-pointers and back-to-back transition buckets by Brett K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Smithson Valley senior post Josh Gregory (4) goes up for a shot and tries to fight off East Central’s Brandon Strey (14) during Wednesday’s game in San Antonio. The Hornets defeated the Rangers 66-56. Jewasko, who finished with 22 points. Smithson Valley then started the fourth quarter with a 14-5 run to cut East Central’s lead to five midway through the fourth quarter. “We finally started shooting the ball a little bit better," Miller said. “I think that was our downfall in the first half. We just have to be able to shoot better early on.” Smithson Valley’s Erie Icke hit 6-of-9 shots in the fourth quarter, including two three-pointers, and finished with a team-high 21 points. He also had seven rebounds in the game. The Rangers shot 10-of-20 (50 percent) in the fourth quarter. “It was just a matter of guys feeling more comfortable on the floor and just making shots in the fourth quarter,” Miller said. “Basketball is not a game that you have to be a rocket scientist for. lf they’re going to press us, we need to put certain people in certain spots See RANGERS/2B ;