Cubs

Comeback kids: 16 point rally lifts Maine South

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Comeback kids: 16 point rally lifts Maine South

Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
11:20 PM

By Matt Harness
YourSeason.com

Jimmy Frankos called Saturday's 29-22 win over Loyola in Wilmette the best game he's ever played in.

It's not hard to believe him after the Hawks scored 16 points in the game's final 2:43 to come from behind to beat the Ramblers and earn the Park Ridge program's third consecutive trip to the Class 8A championship game.

"We stuck with it," said the junior, who kicked three field goals. "That's probably the best game in Maine South history."

After sophomore quarterback Matt Alviti scored on a three-yard run to get Maine South within 22-19, junior linebacker Tyler Fahey recovered Spencer Perry's fumble in the end zone on Loyola's first play of the next series.

Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver, whose 64-yard touchdown run with 5:09 seemingly put the game out of reach at 22-13, then fumbled the ball away on a sack. The Ramblers turned the ball over four times in the second half that resulted in 13 points.

Frankos followed Weaver's turnover with a career-long 43-yard field goal. But the Ramblers, who trailed 10-0 in the first half, weren't finished, either.

Peter Pujals, in for an injured Weaver, marched Loyola all the way to the five-yard line. The game ended when Connor Klein leaped over the line to swat down Pujals' final pass.

"I'm still in shock," said Klein, who started on last season's title team. "Nobody hung their heads when we were down. We just came up big in the end. It was awesome."

Maine South coach Dave Inserra admitted some nervousness when Loyola got a two-point conversion to put the Ramblers up two scores at 22-13. "Being down nine there was a little scary," he said.

Maine South (11-2) went up 13-7 midway through the third quarter on Frankos' 33-yard field goal.

But Weaver, who ran nine times for 78 yards, willed the Ramblers (11-2) to the lead with two scores in the fourth quarter. He left the game for good with a leg injury after his fumble. Weaver struggled against Maine South's secondary, finishing 5-for-21 for 42 yards and two interceptions.

Perry carried the ball 20 times for 72 yards. His longest run of the afternoon was nine yards.

Alviti didn't have his best game, but he performed when it mattered most. He went 18-for-42 for 242 yards. Scott Derrick caught eight passes for 152 yards.

"I too pumped up to think," said junior running back Paul Preston, who only rushed 12 times for 20 yards. He scored the game's first points.

"That was a great turnaround. It shows our heart."

Albert Almora Jr. gave another example of his all-around game

Albert Almora Jr. gave another example of his all-around game

Albert Almora Jr. might be in the middle of a breakout season. The 24-year-old outfielder continues to show his impressive range in center field and is having his best year at the plate.

In Sunday's 8-3 win against the Giants, Almora had three hits and showed off his wheels in center to rob Evan Longoria of extra bases. The catch is visible in the video above.

"Defensively, right now he's playing as well as he possibly can," Maddon said.

On top of the defense he has become known for, he is hitting .326. That's good for fifth in the National League in batting.

"He's playing absolutely great," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's working good at-bats. His at-bats have gotten better vs. righties.

"The thing about it, is there's power there. The home runs are gonna start showing up, too."

There's also this stat, which implies Almora is having a growing significance on the Cubs as a whole:

There may be some correlation, but not causality in that. However, with Almora's center field play and growing accolades at the plate, the argument is becoming easier and easier that he is one of the most important players on the Cubs. That also goes for Almora's regular spot in the lineup, which has been up in the air with Maddon continuing to juggle the lineup.

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

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USA Today Sports Images

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

Dion Sims is still here, which is the outcome he expected but perhaps wasn’t a slam dunk — at least to those outside the walls at Halas Hall. 

The Bears could’ve cut ties with Sims prior to March 16 and saved $5.666 million against the cap, quite a figure for a guy coming off a disappointing 2017 season (15 catches, 180 yards, one touchdown). But the Bears are sticking with Sims, even after splashing eight figures to land Trey Burton in free agency earlier this year. 

“In my mind, I thought I was coming back,” Sims said. “I signed to be here three years and that’s what I expect. But I understand how things go and my job is come out here and work hard every day and play with a chip on my shoulder to prove myself and just be a team guy.”

The Bears signed Sims to that three-year, $18 million contract 14 months ago viewing him as a rock-solid blocking tight end with some receiving upside. The receiving upside never materialized, and his blocking was uneven at times as the Bears’ offense slogged through a bleak 11-loss season. 

“The situation we were in, we weren’t — we could’ve done a better job of being successful,” Sims said. “Things didn’t go how we thought it would. We just had to pretty much try to figure out how to come together and build momentum into coming into this year. I just think there were a lot of things we could have done, but because of the circumstances we were limited a little bit. 

“… It was a lot of things going on. Guys hurt, situations — it was tough for us. We couldn’t figure it out, along with losing, that was a big part of it too.”

Sims will be given a fresh start in 2018, even as Adam Shaheen will be expected to compete to cut into Sims’ playing time at the “Y” tight end position this year. The other side of that thought: Shaheen won’t necessarily slide into being the Bears’ primary in-line tight end this year. 

Sims averaged 23 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns from 2014-2016; that might be a good starting point for his 2018 numbers, even if it would represent an improvement from 2017. More important, perhaps, is what Sims does as a run blocker — and that was the first thing Nagy mentioned when talking about how Sims fits into his offense. 

“The nice thing with Dion is that he’s a guy that’s proven to be a solid blocker,” Nagy said. “He can be in there and be your Y-tight end, but yet he still has really good hands. He can make plays on intermediate routes. He’s not going to be anybody that’s a downfield threat — I think he knows that, we all know that — but he’s a valuable piece of this puzzle.”