BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer Moreno makes it official, signs with Georgia BY DOUG McKENZIEStaff Writer JEFF GRANIT staff Middletown South’s Knowshon Moreno ended months of speculation by signing his letter of intent to attend the University of Georgia in the fall, closing the book on one of the state’s most prolific high school careers. You could see the emotion in Steve Antonucci’s eyes last Wednesday.Standing before a crowd of about 100 people at Middletown South, the head coach of the state’s top football team the past two years was obviously beaming with pride, as he announced five of the best players to ever put on an Eagle jerseys. While most of the attention was focused on star running back Knowshon Moreno, who’s college destination has been the subject of widespread speculation for the last two years, Antonucci was equally proud of the other four guys who were announcing their plans for the next four seasons — Nick Macaluso, Keith Heaney, Andrew Poulson and Mark Longo. “This is a very, very proud day for the school,” the coach said. “This has been one outstanding ride from the moment these guys got here. They’ve meant a great deal to the program, the school and community as a whole. This is a very emotional day for me.” After Poulson (Lafayette), Longo (Cornell), Heaney (Lafayette) and Macaluso (Stanford) announced their intentions, the stage was set for Moreno, widely regarded as one of the top five recruits in New Jersey and one of the top running backs in the nation, to make his decision official, thus putting an end to a wave of rumors that had swept through the Shore football community in recent weeks. And Moreno proved many of the strongest rumors true. He will be heading to the University of Georgia in the fall, where he will play for head coach Mark Richt. Moreno, the state’s all-time leader in points scored (782) and touchdowns (128) eventually chose Georgia over the University of Florida after a lengthy and sometimes frustrating courting process. “It was back and forth the whole time between the two,” he said. “I’d talk to one coach and think, ‘I’m digging this,’ then I’d talk to the other and think, ‘I’m liking this one as well.’ It was kind of hard, but it came down to a decision, and this is going to be the right one.” Georgia made it clear that they wanted Moreno to be their prized recruit after getting to know him over the last years and half. “We started really looking at him over a year and a half ago, and we thought he was the one [we wanted] since then,” said Richt. “We were looking at two running backs, to be honest with you, after not signing any last year. “We had him down here at our camp last summer and we loved him,” the coach added. “We love his personality and how mentally tough he is, and he worked real hard for us. In fact, I told my coaches that I don’t think he’ll want to come to Georgia with how hard we worked him.” Moreno actually made his verbal commitment to Georgia on Jan. 26, when the school’s recruiting director Rodney Garner visited Moreno’s home one last time. The ensuing weekend, Moreno’s grandmother and legal guardian, Mildred McQueen, visited the school, and came back with a positive impression. “She got back, we talked about it, and she helped me make my decision,” Moreno said. “She loved it down there.” Moreno added that Richt’s recent signing of an eight-year, $16 million contract extension also played a major role in his decision. “You don’t want to go to a program where the head coach or the position coaches are going to be leaving,” he said. “You want to go to a place where everything is going to be stable, and when he [signed] that, it helped me out.” Add to the picture the presence of Kade Weston, Moreno’s friend and a former All-State defensive tackle from Red Bank who red-shirted this season with Georgia, and the Bulldog program seems like a perfect fit. Now that he’s officially a Bulldog, it’s time for the talented running back to get back to work, as he said their will be three returning juniors at running back for Georgia, all of whom say significant playing time last season. “We have three fairly young guys here now that I think were scaring some [recruits] off,” Richt said. But after putting together one of the greatest scholastic careers in state history, which included finishing second all-time in career rushing yards (6,264) behind only Keyport’s Ken Cattouse and averaging an astonishing 8 yards per carry, Moreno certainly has the confidence to be a factor right away. While the possibility exists that he will be red-shirted because of the Bulldogs’ depth at running back, Moreno hopes to squash that idea with his play. “Things like that will happen on their own,” he said. “It’s going to be hard work, I know that. It’s not going to be a cakewalk. I’m ready to get working and see where I fit in. I’m prepared to go in there and compete with anyone.” And that’s what exactly what Richt wants from Moreno. “He’s got a big-play ability, and a breakaway ability that our other guys may not quite have,” the coach said. “We can get them to the safeties, but they need to be able to either break that tackle or make the safety miss, and we think Knowshon has the ability to do that. “I think he may be playing a whole lot more as a true freshman than a lot of people think. I just want him to come down here and compete immediately, and as the season goes on, we hope to he becomes a big part of our offense.” Another player hoping to make an immediate impact with his new team is Macaluso, who was the top defensive player in the Shore Conference the last two years. From his linebacker position, Macaluso keyed an Eagle defense that was as dominant as any unit in the state, with 208 career tackles, 14 career sacks, and 35 tackles for a loss. He is being hailed as Stanford’s top linebacking recruit, and he’s obviously looking forward to proving himself at the collegiate level. “When I walked in here as a freshman, all I wanted to do was go play college ball at some small northeast school close to home so people could see me,” he said. “I never imagined anything like this, playing on a national stage like this. I’m just thrilled that I get to go play football for the next four years. And you can’t beat the Pac-10.” Macaluso said that his decision came down to Stanford and Northwestern. “Stanford was my last official visit that I took, so I had a chance to compare it to everybody else,” he said.” Once I got out there, I had a gut feeling that this was the place for me, so I decided to go for it. And that decision came, he said, after changing his mind “about 1,000 times. Whatever school I talked to last was the school I wanted to go to. But in the end, I decided that ultimately Stanford had everything I wanted, both academically and athletically.” Moreno said the decision-making process was draining, but was glad that he didn’t rush the decision. “You’ve got to keep things kind of low-key and take it one day at a time,” he said. “You can’t get ahead of yourself and think about what could happen. You have to pace yourself. I did that, and it was a great experience.” The process was almost as intrusive for Antonucci. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” he said. “This has been quite an experience, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the process.” Antonnucci’s work isn’t done either. While the five players that signed last week were the marquee names from the record-breaking Eagle team, the coach reminded everyone at the press conference that their are more signings to come. “We had 19 seniors on this year’s team, and 14 or 15 of them will be playing football at the next level,” he said. Obviously, Knowshon wasn’t the only Eagle people were watching over the last three years.
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By Zoran MilosavljevicWhen 17-year-old Wayne Rooney became the youngest player to score for England in a Euro 2004 qualifier, he looked destined for a long and illustrious international career.Now poised to win his 100th cap and just six goals behind Bobby Charlton’s all-time England scoring record of 49 goals, the bare statistics suggest he has achieved that.But the strong suspicion remains that he has rarely delivered in an England shirt when it has really mattered.The 29-year-old Manchester United striker hinted at some dissatisfaction himself before he reaches the 100-cap milestone in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia on Saturday (7pm).“I could sit here saying I’ve got 200 caps and 100 goals for my country, but the ultimate is to win a trophy and that’s what we all want to do,” Rooney said.“To be England’s greatest ever goal scorer would be massive. The record has stood for so many years, there have been plenty of players who haven’t been able to break it.”Rooney has developed a reputation as football’s equivalent of a flat-track bully, regularly plundering the likes of San Marino, Andorra and Liechtenstein but rarely finding the net against the world’s best sides.He failed to score in a major tournament between Euro 2004 and a 1-0 win over co-hosts Ukraine in Euro 2012, his only goal against high-profile opposition on the biggest stage coming in a 2-1 defeat by Uruguay in theis year’s World Cup which condemned England to an early exit.Rooney has been England’s pack leader for some years but that role underlines both the team’s shortcomings against top-drawer opponents and his own failings when asked to trouble the world’s best defences.His best performances and the bulk of his trophies in a Manchester United shirt came when he played alongsideCristiano Ronaldo, whose superior skill and ability so often gave Rooney the space he rarely creates for himself in big games.Rooney has, however, fully deserved the unreserved faith of his managers at club and international level for his work rate and selfless readiness to play in less preferred positions for the greater good.Asked to accommodate Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy before him and Robin van Persie in the current United team, Rooney has often been moved out wide or asked to bolster the midfield.His present England role also requires that kind of personal sacrifice with young lions Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck staking their claims up front, while the gifted Raheem Sterling looks like a natural number 10, a position Rooney is often deployed in.With such talent and a relatively easy qualifying group also including Switzerland, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino,England’s qualification for Euro 2016 is almost a foregone conclusion.But once there, Roy Hodgson’s men will have to be a different team if they are to have a shot at glory and Rooney must rediscover the spark of his early international days if he is to earn his place among the country’s true greats.
By Andreas VouApollon all but booked their place in the third qualifying round of the Europa League with a 4-0 win over FK Trakai in the first leg of their second-round clash in Larnaca on Thursday night, while Omonia played out a respectable 0-0 draw away to Jagiellonia Bialystok.Apollon’s Georgios Kolokoudias had a frustrating night in front of goal in last week’s encounter against FC Saxan and looked keen from the offset to make amends against the Lithuanians. On 20 minutes, the Cypriot international got his reward for his perseverance with a well taken finish – his first official goal for the club since joining from Ayia Napa.Apollon were dominant in the first half and perhaps should have gone into the break with a bigger advantage. Their patience paid off however as, just seven minutes into the second half, Luka Stojanovic doubled their lead with a close range header. Twelve minutes later, Kolokoudias doubled his personal tally from the penalty spot to put Apollon out of sight.Just when Apollon thought the night could not get any better, substitute Farley Rosa capped off the evening with a spectacular overhead kick to make the Limassol club’s progression to the next round a formality.Omonia travelled to Poland to take on Jagiellonia who boast an impressive home record and their 8-0 win in last week’s first-round second leg served as a stern reminder for the Cypriots that, despite being favourites, caution would be required.Backed by an intimidating crowd of around 15,000 supporters, the Poles were the ones forcing the issue while Omonia were content to absorb pressure and attempting to break on the counter-attack.In what was a cagey affair throughout, there were few significant chances. The clearest opportunities both came in stoppage time of both halves, both falling to Jagiellonia and both denied by impressive work from Omonia’s 20-year-old goalkeeper Constantinos Panayi. Towards the end of the first period, an in-swinging cross caused confusion in the penalty area and was heading towards the far corner of the net until an excellent stop from Panayi onto the post kept the score level.And in the final minutes of the match, a whipped cross into the box fortunately ricocheted into the path of Patryk Tuszynski but Panayi was quick to read the situation and stopped the striker with a sliding tackle, giving Omonia a positive result going into next week’s return match in Nicosia.Results from the UEFA Europa League Qualification Round 2 first leg matches on Thursday:Jagiellonia Bialystok (Poland) – Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus) 0-0 Apollon Limassol (Cyprus) – Trakai (Lithuania) 4-0 West Ham (England) – Birkirkara FC (Malta) 1-0Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) – UCD (Ireland) 1-0Spartak Trnava (Slovakia) – Linfield (Northern Ireland) 2-1Lokomotiva Zagreb (Croatia) – PAOK Salonika (Greece) 2-1Trabzonspor (Turkey) – FC Differdange 03 (Luxembourg) 1-0FC Vaduz (Liechtenstein) – Kalju Nomme (Estonia) 3-1Charleroi (Belgium) – Beitar Jerusalem (Israel) 5-1Kukesi (Albania) – Mladost (Montenegro) 0-1FC Copenhagen (Denmark) – Newtown (Wales) 2-0AIK Stockholm (Sweden) – Shirak Gyumri (Armenia) 2-0Beroe Stara Zagora (Bulgaria) – Brondby (Denmark) 0-1Cherno More Varna (Bulgaria) – Dinamo Minsk (Belarus) 1-1Koper (Slovenia) – Hajduk Split (Croatia) 3-2Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic) – Stromsgodset IF (Norway) 1-2Hapoel Beer Sheva (Israel) – FC Thun (Switzerland) 1-1Shakhter Soligorsk (Belarus) – Wolfsberger AC (Austria) 0-1Dacia Chisinau (Moldova) – Zilina (Slovakia) 1-2Randers (Denmark) – Elfsborg Boras (Sweden) 0-0Skonto FC (Latvia) – Debrecen (Hungary) 2-2FK Jelgava (Latvia) – Rabotnicki Skopje (FYR Macedonia) 1-0Kairat Almaty (Kazakhstan) – Alashkert (Armenia) 3-0
The last time they met was during the final group-stage game at Canada in 2014 where the Asian side secured a crucial 2-1 victory.This time, Mexico had the upper hand with more technique.Mexico scored through Jacqueline Crowther and Kiana Palacios both in the second half.The first half was a tough encounter where both teams displayed tough defense.Mexico had more possession of the ball right throughout the match while Korea Republic only had 44 percent ball possession.Tough defense on both sides prevented goals in the first 45 minutes of the game with four minutes additional time.Mexico came back fighting in the second half with lots of footwork skill technique which allowed them to pass through the Koreans backline.The team in green wasted no time scoring its first goal 1-0 through Crowther in the 55th minute of the match.Crowther found the net, thanks to a perfect set up by Maria Sanchez right in front of the goal mouth.The Mexicans second goal 2-0 came from Palacios in the 88th minute.Despite the five minutes additional time, Korea Republic struggled with the ball and couldn’t breakthrough Mexico’s strong defense.Live Your Goals Player of the Match was awarded to Sanchez of Mexico for her outstanding performance.
The two respective British No 1s are expected to comfortably progress to round two despite enduring indifferent clay court seasons.Murray faces Andrey Kuznetsov, the world No 73, in Paris aiming to reproduce some of the stellar tennis which saw him reach the French Open final 12 months ago where he lost to Novak Djokovic.Murray, the three-time major champion, suffered successive early exits at the Madrid and Rome Masters to Borna Coric and Fabio Fognini respectively.Ivan Lendl has been a prominent sight during Murray’s practice sessions before the second major alongside regular coach Jamie Delgado and Murray will be hoping that Lendl’s presence will bring out the best in him.Murray appeared to have proved his doubters wrong last year on clay, his supposed weakest surface, but he has not been able to replicate his aggressive brand of tennis which proved so successful last year. A series of injuries and illness have not helped Murray’s cause over the past few months.One factor going in Murray’s favour is the nature of Grand slam tennis where matches are decided over five sets. Murray can be a slow starter, both in tournaments and matches, but will hope he can rediscover his form throughout the tournament.A potential third round meeting with Argentina’s big serving Juan Martin del Potro, another injury plagued player, promises to be some contest but on current form will be a tough obstacle to overcome.Meanwhile Konta, the world No 8, has only won two matches during her three clay court tournament appearances this season but should overcome Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei.The 26-year-old is aiming to build upon her recent strong major performances which included her run to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January where she succumbed to Serena Williams.This year’s French Open is widely regarded as wide-open with numerous players capable of going all the way and Konta possesses the ability to trouble the women’s draw.Despite Konta’s meteoric rise in the rankings over the past couple of years she still has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros but that could change tomorrow.Konta’s movement and calm mindset will be pivotal tools if the 26-year-old is to become a contender for the title during the next fortnight but the ability is not in question.Should Konta, coached by Wim Fissette, secure a second round place she would book a meeting with either American Taylor Townsend or qualifier Miyu Kato of Japan.Kyle Edmund, world No 49, is another Brit to begin his French Open campaign on Tuesday when he faces world No 125 Gastao Elias of Portugal.Edmund, 22, has the credentials to do well on clay and is known to be a fan of the surface but he has failed to reach the third round in his last seven tournaments. However, the British No 2 performed admirably in taking a set off Rafael Nadal, the eventual champion, at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.Edmund’s prize for a second round spot would be a difficult match against France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who arrives in Paris in full confidence following his tournament victory in Lyon last week.Aljaz Bedene, who has enjoyed a productive clay court season this year, moved into the second round at Roland Garros with a four set victory over America’s Ryan Harrison. The British No 3 will next face Jiri Vesely.
Chairman of the PNGRFL, Sandis Tsaka said the agenda will include the 2017 PNGRFL Annual Reports and Audited Financials.He said a general meeting will be held after the AGM to discuss other rugby league matters.Tsaka reminded eligible delegates that travel to and from the AGM plus accommodation costs will be met by the PNGRFL and subsistence and other costs are the responsibility of the delegates and their respective leagues.He said that only the presidents or their nominated representatives from each eligible affiliate leagues in the country will be allowed entry into the AGM.The AGM will take place at the Holiday Inn starting at 8:30am.
The current NSL champions have made it four from four, putting them on top with 12 competition points. Following closely behind is Madang FC on 10 points.FC Morobe Wawens are making their presence felt, registering their second win last weekend to put them in third spot.Besta PNG United FC and Southern Strikers FC are in fourth and fifth place respectively and have both racked up three points each.Bringing up the rear are FC Momase and Buang FC.Matches in round six will be played in Port Moresby and Lae this weekend.The current standings:
Photo Getty Images. Caption: England captain Harry Kane Kane is the highest scoring player at the World Cup with six strikes to his name, leading the Three Lions to an unexpected semi-final against Croatia.But five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the year Marta highlighted there is more to the Tottenham striker’s game than simply putting the ball in the net.”I was convinced before the World Cup that Harry Kane would have a good tournament – and he has not failed me,” Marta wrote in The Guardian.5 – Only Harry Kane (6 goals) has been involved in more goals at the 2018 World Cup than Antoine Griezmann (3 goals, 2 assists). Famous. #FRA #BEL #FRABEL #WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 10, 2018″We can all see the difference he has made for England, not only with his goals but also because of his great movement, which creates so many chances for team-mates.”He knows this is his and England’s chance to achieve something incredible. But despite this he has not displayed any signs of nervousness or fear – only a desire to score goals and for England to win.”He is playing his best football and he is making a difference to a team. He is showing all the attributes to be a world-class striker.”Harry Kane has shown us what he is capable of at this tournament but he has to retain his focus. The whole England team have to keep their minds on their goal. Only then can they win the World Cup. Four years is a long time to wait for the next chance.”England will set up a final showdown against France on Sunday if they overcome Croatia, with Belgium awaiting the losers in the third-place play-off.
These players have impressively remained injury-free