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In the locker room in the moments after their upset of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants guard Chris Snee told reporters what could be expected in the National Football Conference championship game Sunday in Green Bay.
"We'll go in there and fight," Snee said. "We know what type of team we have in there. We'll be underdogs and we'll fight to the end."
As it turned out, the Giants fought beyond the end of regulation time. They used a 47-yard field by Lawrence Tynes 2:35 into overtime to turn back the Packers, 23-20, and earn a shot at the Super Bowl February 3 against the unbeaten New England Patriots in Phoenix.
Tynes made up for two missed field goals and helped get Snee off the hook for a holding penalty just before the two-minute warning that wiped out a potential game-winning touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw.
Snee, a former all-state lineman at Montrose, was again a big part of a potent Giants running game. From his right guard position, he helped the team produce 134 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The Giants controlled the ball, building a time of possession advantage of 40:01-22:34.
With three straight road playoff wins, New York won its last 10 games away from Giants Stadium after an opening loss in Dallas.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Elk Lake picked off the challengers one at a time to clinch the first-half title in Lackawanna League Division 3 boys' basketball before losing the final game of the half, 43-40, at Montrose Thursday night.
Alan Charles scored 12 points and Bill Stranburg added 11 to lead the Meteors, who held the Warriors to four points in the first quarter.
In their previous three games, the Warriors had held off Forest City, 58-52, by going 14-for-17 from the line; overcome a 30-point effort by Pat Lambert to beat Mountain View, 52-43; and avenged a tournament championship game loss by beating Susquehanna, 69-58.
Jeff Madrak, who sat out the fourth quarter of the Susquehanna County Tournament final after receiving a technical foul, made his presence felt this time. Madrak had 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter of the game that clinched the first-half championship.
Elk Lake, which is 11-3 overall, finished the half with a 6-1 record, a game in front of Lackawanna Trail at 5-2.
Mountain View finished alone in third place at 4-3 with the help of Lambert's 33-point effort in a 63-51 win over Carbondale.
Forest City, Susquehanna and Montrose all went 3-4.
Forest City got starter Dave Shollock back from a shoulder injury late in the half.
Susquehanna suffered two of its losses in overtime, including 63-61 to Lackawanna Trail January 11. Brent Keyes had 21 of his 27 points in the first half against Lackawanna Trail.
Abington Heights and Holy Cross won the other first-half titles in the Lackawanna League.
The first half of the girls' season also came to an end.
Montrose finished with the best record among Susquehanna County teams, going 5-2 to finish second in Division 3 behind unbeaten Carbondale.
Julia Koloski led the Lady Meteors to wins in the final two games of the half.
Koloski made a steal and scored with 2.4 seconds left in a 41-39 win over Mountain View. She had 12 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter of a 57-45 victory over Elk Lake.
Chelsea Lunger hit two free throws with 39 seconds left to tie the Mountain View game. Koloski had 13 points in that win.
Erika Lewis led Mountain View with 11 points.
Monica Turner had 12 points and 11 rebounds against Elk Lake.
Karley Caines led Elk Lake with 10 points.
Susquehanna and Mountain View finished 4-3 to tie for third in the division. Elk Lake was 3-4, followed by Lackawanna Trail and Blue Ridge at 2-5 and Forest City at 1-6.
Abington Heights and Dunmore won the other division titles.
In professional hockey, the Binghamton Senators put together a four-game winning streak with three of the victories coming last week. The latest was Saturday's 5-3 win over the American Hockey League East Division-leading Philadelphia Phantoms.
The Senators scored three short-handed goals, including two by Justin Mapletoft, who now has a team record of seven on the season.
Rookie Shawn Weller had a goal and three assists in a 5-3 win over Syracuse.
The Senators ended Portland's four-game winning streak Wednesday with a 2-1 shootout victory.
Brian Elliott matched his career-high with 46 saves then stopped six of seven attempts in the shootout.
"Our chances were not just thrown in his direction, we had good chances," Portland coach Kevin Dineen said.
Denis Hamel returned from missing 13 games with a broken foot to play a key role in all three wins.
Hamel won the shootout by flying up ice and ripping a hard shot from about 20 feet out to beat goalie Mike McKenna.
"I'm not surprised because it's Denis Hamel," McKenna said. "It's well known that Denis Hamel has an absolute rocket, but I was thinking he was going to fake that shot."
Hamel had two goals and an assist Friday then had the other short-handed goal in Saturday's win.
Leah Simko, a sophomore from Mountain View, is part of the Keystone College women's basketball team that won three straight games to improve its season record to 5-7.
Simko has played in 11 of the 12 games, starting twice. She averages 3.0 points per game by going 13-for-35 (37.1 percent) from the floor, 4-for-11 (36.4 percent) on 3-pointers and 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from the line.
THE WEEK AHEAD
First-place Elk Lake is home against second-place Western Wayne Thursday night in a wrestling match that could decide the Lackawanna League Division 2 title.
The American Hockey League All-Star Classic is scheduled for the Broome County Arena in Binghamton with the Skills Competition set Sunday night and the All-Star Game on Monday.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
The Racing Reporter
Pay NASCAR $2 And Go Racing – Rex White, the 1960 NASCAR Grand National Champion is one of the drivers that raced on both the old Daytona Beach road course and new Daytona International Speedway.
He was there in 1958 when the last beach race was run, and the following year, he was at the new facility.
Rex White, 1960 NASCAR Grand National champion
Photo courtesy of Rex White
“Yes, I ran four years on the old beach course,” he said. “The closer you ran to the water, the better the traction was. The sand was harder out next to the water. You ran right where you was almost in the water, because you could get better traction. Some of the guys ran right in the water, but I think the water could hurt you, especially if you didn’t have things fixed so the water didn’t get on the engine and cause it to start missing.
“I don’t know how many cars started the beach races, but they started everybody that came. (Note, in 1954, the field was limited to 125 cars. Prior to that, sometimes, there were 175 cars that started the race). If you had a car that had a roll bar in it and a number, all you had to do was join NASCAR by paying $2 and go racing.”
By the end of 1958, the France family had completed their new two and one-half mile Daytona International Speedway with 31-degree banking. The 1959 Daytona 500 was the first race held at the new facility. For some drivers the size and immensity of the track was intimidating.
“It was just another race track,” continued White. “Naw, I wasn’t afraid of it. I ran 135 miles per hour on old tires, and there was nothing to it. In the race where you had all the cars around you it was different. You could run around there by yourself at 135, and still be able to light a cigarette.
“At Daytona you didn’t worry about changing tires, because you could run the whole race on one set of tires. All it took was one person to put gas in. We didn’t think about changing tires. In 1959, I still used a four-way lug wrench. I won the pit crew race at Charlotte in 1960, using a lug wrench.
“Speed Week has always been a big thing at Daytona, even when they raced on the beach. You’d go down there all week long. There were big crowds. People drank and partied. They did all kinds of things like ride up and down the beach in cars. It was really an enjoyable week, but it was a very busy time for the local police.
“We went to the track either on Tuesday or Wednesday, and qualified on Thursday. So we were there five or six days.
“A lot of drivers, including Lee Petty (winner of the 1959 Daytona 500), said he was afraid of it. I think some of them were afraid of going that fast, because we had never been on a track that size. To me, it was just easy driving.
“But in ’59 we learned about the draft. The 1959 Thunderbird was a big, boxy thing. If you came up behind someone in a ’59 T’bird, and didn’t turn out quick, you’d run into the back of him, because you’d catch the draft and it would pull you into him. But of course, he could hook on to you, and come right back by you.
“When you’d pull out to pass, you’d get the side draft, and you would bounce back and forth, especially if you were two or three abreast.
“I liked the Daytona track, but I never had the horsepower to run it. The only time I might have won was in 1963. I led the race twice, but after blowing a head gasket, I had to stop and put water in the radiator. I ran second to Johnny Rutherford in the 100-mile race, and if the head gasket hadn’t blown, I might have won.”
White, who now lives in Atlanta, was attending a meeting of the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame Association, Sunday, January, 13 in Tifton, GA. White’s autobiography, “Gold Thunder,” is available on his website, www.rexwhiteracing.com.
Hendrick Should Be Stronger In 2008 – If you’re tired of drivers from Hendrick Motorsports dominating NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, you might be in for a long season. After two weeks of preseason testing, the four Hendrick teams appear to have picked up where they left off in 2007.
Jimmie Johnson, last year’s winner and runner up, Jeff Gordon, were both strong in practice. It was evident that they still have last year’s momentum.
Johnson was fastest in each practice session last week.
“There is more pressure on us to win,” said Chad Knaus, Johnson’s crew chief. “Once you start winning races, you’re expected to win. That’s why we have the facilities that we’ve got, the engine program, and the drivers.”
Gordon was not the fastest, but he finished in the top-10 during every practice.
“I think we (Hendrick Motorsports) have really done a good job in getting the most out of the new car,” said Gordon. “Our team has put a lot of pressure on itself to win, but the entire Hendrick organization has contributed.
“We’ve tried to be ready. That has meant a lot of testing, engineering, and hard work. We did pretty good last year, but we know we must find something different and better, because the other teams didn’t take the winter off.
“Last year we had pressure on us to step our program up. This year we’re ready to take it to the next level.”
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the series most talked about driver, replaced Kyle Busch at Hendrick, and is expected to get back in victory lane, after going winless in the past 62 races.
“I don’t want to sit here and guess how many races we’re going to win, but we’ll win some races, and I expect to win soon,” he said. “I’m a good driver with a good team, and if we don’t make mistakes on a Sunday we should have great finishes and win some races.
“I’ve got a really good owner that makes me feel comfortable, and so that eases a lot of other pressures.”
Crew chief Tony Eury, Jr. predicted Earnhardt’s No. 88 team will win four races this season.
“I’m not guaranteeing anything. But I’m going to be disappointed if we don’t win at least four,” said Eury. “I know what kind of equipment we’ve got around here and know what kind of people we have. I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t be our goal, and it should be a reachable goal.”
Casey Mears moved to the No. 5 car after Kyle Busch was cut loose. Mears got his only career win in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in 2007, but his Hendrick teammates think he might win a couple more this season.
Mears’ might be the weakest team in the Hendrick stable. But don’t forget, last year’s team, with Kyle Busch as the driver, finished fifth in the final Cup standings.
If you’re not a Hendrick Motorsports fan, 2008 doesn’t look good for you.
Racing Trivia Question: J.J. Yeley was released from Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2007 season. Who will Yeley drive for in 2008?
Last Week’s Question: Who will be driving the No. 88 Hendrick Chevrolet this season? Answer: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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