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Sports Talks with Nick

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Photo Courtesy of Tribune News service

   This upcoming weekend the local favorite Kansas City Chiefs face off against AFC West rival the Denver Broncos.

   The Chiefs and Broncos have been rivals since 1960. The Chiefs currently lead this rivalry 64-55. 

   This week’s game should have some major excitement and emotion surrounding it as Drew Lock the Broncos new quarterback is coming back to arrowhead in Kansas City where he grew up at. 

   Lock is coming into this game undefeated as an NFL starting quarterback and looks to continue his reign of winning over his childhood favorite team.

   Look so many fades over the middle from Lock to rookie Denver tight end Noah Fant. 

   Also, be sure to watch for reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes to throw for over 300 yards on a struggling Denver secondary.

 

French Club Winter Activities

French+Club+Winter+Activities

 French Club is swinging into the holiday season at full force.

   Monday, December 16th French club is throwing their club holiday party.

   The members of french club are all excited to be able to sit back and hangout with friends in the club. 

   “All the people in the club are nice and great to be around. It has a good overall atmosphere,” President Paige Fintel said.

   Along with the upcoming holiday party, French Club is also decorating the language hallway with decorations such as snowflakes and their eiffel tower outside of the french room.

   “A lot of the stuff that we’ve done so far have been fun crafts that I personally love to do,” Fintel said.

   Decorating the hallways with holiday decorations will give a nice boost to the schools holiday spirit. 

   Fintel was chosen as the president of the French club due to her love for the language and ability to speak it well. 

   “I really enjoy being president because it’s allowed me to expand my leadership and communication skills,” Fintel said.

 

NFL Mock Draft

The NFL draft is approaching fast and will begin on April 25th. And with the first pick in the NFL draft I have the Arizona Cardinals selecting.

  Quinnen Williams Defensive tackle out of Alabama. The 303 pound defensive tackle is impressively athletic which is why I put him as the first overall pick. At the recent NFL Combine Williams ran a 4.83 40 yard dash. That is moving for a big guy like that. Williams will make an instant impact in the league as he will be able to take over a game in an instant. I compare Williams athleticism and aggressive nature to Nadomican Suh, one of the best defensive lineman in history.

  With the second pick in the draft I have the San Francisco 49ers taking Nick Bosa. The 49ers desperately need a pass rusher and Nick Bosa is the best in this class. The 6’4 262 pound defensive end is pure power and strength. Bosa will be  a game charger from day one and fix the immediate need of a edge rusher by for the 49ers.

  With the third pick in the draft I have the Jets trading their pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Jaguars selecting Heisman winning Quarterback Kyler Murray. With the struggles in the quarterback room the jaguars had this past season this is an immediate need for them. This year’s QB class is relatively weak but I believe it’s the best choice for the Jags to fix an immediate issue. I also believe Kyler Murray to be the best QB in this draft. The man has speed that will absolutely toast a defense, and a absolute rocket for an arm. He’s the best of both worlds.

  With the 4th pick in the draft I have the Raiders selecting Running back out of Alabama Josh Jacobs. Jacobs is coming from a string of absolute studs out of Alabama. The 5’11 running back not only has big play speed but also is a freaking bowling ball at 216 pounds. He is willing to put his shoulder down and fight for extra yards as well as run routes out of the backfield and catch passes. Jacobs is also a nasty blocker. This blue collar mentality will make Jacobs the perfect for the raiders heavy run scheme.

  With the 5th pick I have another trade, this between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins. I have the Dolphins moving up to pick Quarterback Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State. Haskins is the best Pro-style quarterback in this draft and would fit the vertical downfield passing system in Miami. Let’s face is Miami needs a quarterback.

  With the 6th pick I have the New York Giants selected Quarterback Drew Lock out of Mizzou. Lock has the biggest arm in the draft, and absolute cannon for an arm. The weapon the Giants have at receiver make it this gunslinger a perfect fit to take over the team for a struggling Eli Manning.

  With the 7th pick in the draft I have the New York Jets selecting offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor out of Florida. This 6’5 350 pound beast in an absolute mauler in the run game and has the footwork and arm length to drop step and pass block against the some of the best pass rushers in the league. Although the Jets don’t have an immediate need on the line it could never hurt to protect their young franchise QB Sam Darnold.

  With the 8th pick in the draft I have the Detroit Lions selection defensive lineman Rashan Gary. The Lions biggest need this off season is a pure edge prospect with the risk of Ziggy Ansah not returning to the team. Gary isn’t the typical end player as he has the size and strength to play on the inside as well. I compare Gary to Aaron Donald, just much larger at 6’5 and 282 pounds.

  With the 9th pick in the draft i have the Buffalo bills taking Wide Receiver D.K. Metcalf out of Ole miss. The 6’4 230 pound receiver is a vertical threat in the pass game with his muscular frame making him hard to cover. Along with his 4.33 40 yard dash he’ll be able to burn the best corners in the league. A big wide out such as Metcalf is the perfect type for the bills and their young gunslinger Josh Allen to rifle the ball to.

  With the 10th pick in the draft I have the Denver broncos selecting Linebacker Devin White out of LSU. The broncos have struggled in past year with covering opposing tight ends and adding a quick and big backer such as White. White is 6’4 and 240 pounds and has great sideline to sideline speed. His size and speed makes him a hard hitter who can also fill the hole fast. The broncos are likely to lose current backer Brandon Marshall so adding a threat like White is an ideal situation.

  Expect many surprises in this year’s draft as many teams have big needs in the  off season.

Changing The Game

Changing+The+Game

   Football is a dangerous game. A game so dangerous that the National Football League (NFL) recorded 281 concussions last year according to ESPN.com. The NFL is making strides this year to possibly help combat this.  The NFL has, for years been fighting the rise of concussions by patrolling head to head hits. Despite the NFL’s efforts, the number of concussions has continued to rise. This season two new rules have been put into play on the gridiron to hopefully help lessen the amount of concussions we see in this NFL season. The rule making heads turn around the league and causing arguments all over the Internet is Rule 12 Section 2 Article 8 in the NFL rule handbook that states, “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.” according to operations.nfl.com.

  This rule makes it clear that any lowering of the helmet will result in a penalty, but what’s not clear is for whom and when does this apply?

  Anytime linemen go to battle on the line of scrimmage and a player’s helmet is “lowered” then is that a penalty? When an offensive player lowers his head to run over a defensive player is it a penalty?  This rule is unclear on so many levels. The NFL    has made it unclear how the rule will be officiated.  During the NFL pre-season there were countless penalties called under this rule. Frankly some of the hits looked as if they were by the book tackles without any head to head, or helmet contact at all.

   A safe tackle is considered one in which the head is up and the tackler can see what they hit. In the heat of the moment, in a fast paced scenario, it’s very unlikely for a tackle to be made with perfect form.  With questions around the league about how this rule will be officiated, will players be penalized for ducking their head to avoid injury to themselves?

From reading the rule, to watching it in effect during the NFL preseason, the rule is going to be one that continues to cause issues.    The rule itself may be foggy, but the main objective is clear: cut down on concussions in the NFL.

  The second rule implemented by the NFL this year is Rule 6 Section 1 Article 6, that states “Before the kicker approaches the ball and the ball is kicked, all kicking team players other than the kicker must be lined up and remain in their established positions no more than one yard behind the restraining line.”

  This rule is in effect during the kickoff play, which is, arguably the most dangerous play in football.

  In years past players on the kicking team had a five yard allowance to run before the ball was kicked, allowing build up of momentum before breaking the restraining line (where the ball is placed on the kicking tee). Now with only one yard between the players and the restraining line, as well as players not being able to move before the ball is kicked, kicking team players have little to no time to build up speed and momentum before reaching the first line of blockers.

  “League studies showed that concussions were five times more likely to occur on a kickoff than an offensive or defensive snap,” according to Sportingnews.com

  With concussions being five times more likely on this one play, then should the NFL not call even more attention to this phase of the game?

 Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is more and more of a real and frightening thought for past and present players alike.

  Boston University CTE center defines CTE as a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma (often athletes), including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms.”

  CTE can only be diagnosed after death so it is impossible to gauge how many past and present players are affected by the disease. One thing is certain, CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head and this includes but is not limited to concussions.

  With the NFL being under so much fire from fan bases and past players alike, about claims of CTE and other brain injuries, this brings up the question, does the NFL really care about player safety or are they just trying to cushion the blow of outside criticism?

  With the new rule changes this year in the National Football League, the league is hopeful that the number of concussions this season will be much less than last years. Hopefully the new rules will impact the game for future generations and make it a safer game for all to play.

All photos courtesy of Tribune News Service.
About the Contributor

Springfield Food Leader

Takeout food is a large part of our everyday lives. Being on the move for most of us means either McDonald’s , Wendy’s, or another large fast food chain. With a simple call ahead most restaurants will put together a carry out, or to go order, which could be a much healthier option other than the fast food restaurants on every corner. The Springfield Food Leader reviewed Yum Yum Bowl, Hinode, City Butcher, and Houlihan’s. We ordered two meals from each of the restaurants. The majority of these restaurants prioritize sit down customers, but we ordered all our food for carry out, but made sure to take note of freshness, taste, and customer service. Yum Yum Bowl was the first restaurant we reviewed, they are located at 4808, 706 Battlefield Rd, Springfield, MO 65807, or you can reach them at 417-882-3644. We ordered Yum Yum bowl over the phone and then went to pick it up. When we showed up at the restaurant about 15 minutes later, the food was almost ready for us. The girl who was working at the front counter was very nice and treated us with kindness and professionalisim. The two meals we ordered from Yum Yum Bowl were the orange chicken with fried rice and the bourbon chicken with steamed rice. The so called “bourbon” chicken had good texture and was not dry at all, but the flavor was not there. The bourbon flavor that was supposed to be infused in the meat was basically non existent. Everyone who sampled the chicken said that it was very bland, and the chicken almost tasted like it had the aroma of carrots and other assorted vegetables with it. The steamed rice that came with the bourbon chicken was actually pretty decent, a tad over cooked, but as a side dish it did its job. The orange chicken was cooked similar to the bourbon, very moist and tender. The orange chicken was very flavorful unlike the bourbon, which in our opinion wasn’t a good thing. The chicken was drowned in a processed orange flavored sauce which almost gave a similar flavor of orange fruit snacks. The sauce; very candy tasting, really did not have much of a bite to it, as orange chicken generally does. Fried rice was the side that came with the the orange chicken. The fried rice really lacked the typical fried rice flavor, it tasted more like the steamed rice they serve, but doused in soy sauce. Fried rice traditionally is served with vegetables and egg mixed in which really is what gives it the distinct flavor, the fried rice at Yum Yum bowl on the other hand did not. Hinode The second restaurant we reviewed was Hinode which is located at 4301 S National Ave, Springfield, MO 65810 and can be reached at 417-877-1777. The two meals ordered at Hinode where the Chicken and the Sirloin steak lunch specials. When we showed up at Hinode, we had already called in and we ended up waiting for a while. We walked in and we talked to the hostess who barely smiled at us. We thought she was a little rude, and did not want to take care of us. Once we paid and we were waiting she did not say anything else to us, and then we got our food and left. The chicken in the chicken special was somewhat dry. The sauce that it was in was a very good teriyaki, so it leveled out the score for the dry chicken. The chicken portion was also very small, so there was not as much food given compared to Yum Yum Bowl. The sirloin steak in the other special we ordered was cooked to a perfect medium. Whatever sauce the steak was marinated in was phenomenal, we practically drank the juice to figure out what was in it, we could only detect garlic and teriyaki. The sirloin steak well exceeded expectations. The food at Hinode did come with more sides, both the chicken and the steak came with real fried rice, noodles, and vegetables. The fried rice was delicious and was completely a breath of fresh air compared to Yum Yum Bowl. The noodles were also delicious, they were cooked with butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. They were a great side for this dish. The vegetables were crunchy and were in the same sauce as the chicken which tied the whole meal together. When comparing these two meals which are in the same category of food, Hinode definitely won the prize. The food was great and even though the service did not match the food quality, the food made up for it. We’ve been to Asia with hinode and Yum Yum bowl, now we are headed over to Italy by visiting Bambinos Cafe located at 2810 Battlefield Rd Suite D, Springfield, MO 65804, or reachable at 417-881-4442. Bambinos At Bambinos we ordered two dishes as well, the toasted ravioli (a midwestern delicacy) and “The Bambino”, and every order at Bambinos is served with a side of sliced bread.
Starting off with the Toasted ravioli, and I’ll have to admit I was slightly disappointed with what I had received. The ravioli is one of the meat filled variety. I was slightly disappointed by that fact. The breading on the ravioli was nothing special, for a restaurant that claims to be the best italian in Springfield, they could step up their toasted rav game. To top it off, the ravioli was overcooked and even burnt on the bottom. The marinara sauce served with it was really watery and did not have many different elements of taste. My ravioli experience at Bambinos was sub par to say the least. The second dish was a pasta called “The bambino”, a Cavatelli pasta cooked in a stellar meat and tomato sauce with and endless depth of flavor, the dish was even topped off with melted provel cheese, which added to the flavor. The sauce was seasoned well with hints of garlic and chopped onion. The meat sauce didn’t skimp out on the meat portion of the sauce either, making this meal extremely hearty. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente to add to how amazing this dish was. The addition of the melted cheese and toasted provel cheese on the top really made this the type of food that will stick to your ribs and remind you of grandmas cooking. HEAVY STATEMENT ALERT, this was the best pasta dish I have ever eaten. To finish out my review of Bambinos, I have got to say the toasted rav was below expectations, the pasta was amazing in every sense of the word and the service was decent at best. After being to Asia twice with a journey to Yum Yum bowl and Hinode, then heading over to Italy with a visit to Bambinos Cafe, we are finally taking a trip back to American with some good old fashioned BBQ from City Butcher and Barbeque. They are located at 3650 S Campbell Ave, Springfield, MO 65807 and can be reached at 417-720-1113. City Butcher At City butcher you can only make call in orders before 10:30 AM, so unless you call in before, then hopefully it is your lucky day and they still have meat whenever you come in. We actually ordered three items here because the sandwiches did not come with sides so we got a medium container of coleslaw along with a brisket sandwich and a burnt ends sandwich. Getting things rolling let’s start off with the coleslaw. Just like most coleslaws it was made with cabbage, vinegar, mustard, mayo and some spices. I thought personally that there wasn’t enough flavor and the cabbage really overpowered the sauce and traditional flavor of coleslaw. Even though the coleslaw was not very flavorful, the lettuce was crunchy and wasn’t impossible to eat. The brisket and the burnt ends where very similar, the only difference being that the burnt ends are a typically fatter chunk of meat adding to the flavor, and the charred crust around the meat. On the burnt ends there was also a lot of added seasoning which made for a bolder taste. Both the brisket and burnt ends where smoked to perfection and where as tender as could be, you could even see the smoke ring around the exterior of the meat proving it’s been cooked low and slow for hours. The seasoning is obviously a black pepper base and gave the meat another great spicy flavor. The bun both sandwiches were served on was a buttery flavored bun, I mean its a bun, it did its job, held the meat. Since the meat was so delicious, I think that the bun should have been higher quality. It was just a regular hamburger bun. The flavor all in all was so amazing, barbeque sauce was not even needed, all though the sauce they served had a nice mild spicy to it and was extremely good. The downside to this sauce (besides the fact it was not needed) was it had all most a jelly like consistency. All in all City butcher did not disappoint and holds true to what I’ve been told, the best barbeque in Springfield. Not to mention as soon as I walked into the door I was greeted with a smile. Overall, we were able to eat some very good food and the restaurants overall did a very good job. They all gave us the right food, it had somewhat of a decent flavor, and all of the workers were very kind to us. Even though we did not enjoy some dishes, the overall experience was very pleasant and positive, and I would definitely try all of these restaurants again.
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Nick Devereaux