As the Mt. Union Purple Raiders look to win a 12th Division III championship, the Purple Raiders are playing well and looking strong.
Former professional quarterback and Mt. Union signal-caller Jim Ballard joined the Sam Bourquin Show Thursday to talk about the team heading into Salem, VA and their chances against St. Thomas (Minn) on Friday night.
"We took away the run (against Wisconsin-Whitewater) and we have a dual-threat quarterback in Taurice Scott, so we're in good shape," Ballard said.
Ballard says the senior quarterback out of Alliance has truly learned the position and has taken command of his team.
"He's going through his progressions, he's making his reads, he's not looking to run right away if he sees nothing downfield," Jim explained.
As far as St Thomas, he knows they will look to establish the run early.
"They have a big offensive line, look for Mount to stack the box, so we have to stop them early and make some plays."
The Mt. Union Purple Raiders are heading back to Salem, VA in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl to take on St. John's (Minn) in the Division III national championship.
Coach Vince Kehres joined the Sam Bourquin Show says his team is focused and prepared for the task at hand.
"I think we've had a couple good days of preparation," coach Kehres said. "The game plan is set, the hay is in the barn, so the bulk of the work has been done."
Finals are this week as well, so the players are not only focusing on their opponent, but making sure their classwork is taken care of as well.
The Purple Raiders defeated Wisconsin-Whitewater 36-6 in the national semifinals down in Alliance last week.
Coach says pretty much everyone is healthy heading into the title game, so they feel pretty good about where they're at as a team.
After the University of Akron Zips' tough loss to the Stanford Cardinal in the College Cup, the men's soccer season has come to a close, but their coach says the men have a lot to be proud of.
Jared Embick, the head coach of the Zips joined the Sam Bourquin Show Monday to talk about their matchup with the physical Cardinal team, and his assessment of the 2015 season.
"We didn't play our game," Embick said of his matchup with the Cardinal. "They were more physical, Stanford's pressure and physicality really got to us."
Stanford won on penalty kicks 8-7 in the College Cup out in Kansas City, Kansas.
Embick said that the future will be bright for the program moving forward, and he knows that things will be good for the Zips in the 2016 season.
"We have some kids deciding if they are staying or going, but we have one of the best recruiting classes in the country, so regardless of what happens here, we're going to have a talented team that will play Akron soccer and give us a chance to win."
Sam Bourquin sat down with The Archbishop Hoban Knights' head football coach Tim Tyrrell, and Athletic Director Joe Beyer about the Knights' Championship Season.
The Knights brought home the State Championship on December 3rd after defeating Toledo Central Catholic 33-20.
Sam talked with Coach Tyrrell and Joe Beyer about how the team worked to secure that title and the successes other sports teams within Hoban are having as well.
The Mt. Union Purple Raiders men's basketball team has grinded their way to victories in the first eight games of the season, and coming off a win last night against Ohio Northern, life is pretty good for the boys from Alliance.
Mike Fuline, the head coach of the men's hoop squad joined the Sam Bourquin Show to talk about his team and their scrappy style of play.
"We try to grind out wins and play as hard as we can," Fuline said.
Coach Fuline says his team doesn't have one superstar, but they have a collection of guys who come in with the right mindset and play the game with heart and hustle.
"This group is always trying to find a way," he said.
They are 6-2 overall and 3-0 in the OAC.
Jackson and McKinley will tip things off in boys' high school hoops tomorrow, in what is expected to be a very good matchup of two well-coached and disciplined teams.
Coach Rick Hairston of Canton McKinley joined the Sam Bourquin Show Thursday to talk about the game and how his team is doing so far this young season.
Hairston says senior star LePear Toles is expected to play against the Polar Bears despite sustaining a brusied knee in the game against Green at the Canton Memorial Fieldhouse.
"He's going to be fine," Hairston said. "He made a visit to the doctor, and he shoud be good to go."
Speaking about the Polar Bears, Coach Hairston says that they'll face a stiff challenge from Jackson.
"Tim Debevec does a beautiful job of getting his kids to play the way, the style he wants them to play," he said. "They play the way we do, they press, they have lots of talent."
For the Jackson Polar Bears themselves, Coach Debevec (who also joined the Sam Bourquin Show) said that his players will have to bring their best effort against the Bulldogs Friday night at home.
"We're excited for that, we've been practicing well,and we should be ready."
"They (McKinley) have a lot of depth, lot of skill, we just have to go execute and see what happens."
With his latest edition of the NFL Power Rankings on Bleacher Report, it's no surprise that out of 32 NFL teams, the Cleveland Browns came in 32nd. The situation is a mess and it seems as though there's no light at the end of the tunnel.
Brent Sobleski from the Bleacher Report joined Brad Russell in the Average Sports Show Wednesday to talk about the rankings and the frustrations surrounding the Browns, especially their lack of finding quality talent in the first round of the draft.
"The issues with the rookies are almost identical, when you are talking technique and lack of functional football strength," Sobleski said, referring to Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving
For the rest of the AFC, Brent says the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers are propelling themselves into playoff contention, despite injuries to key players.
The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are in full swing and some teams are wheeling and dealing, and the Cleveland Indians might be in the process of making some deals themselves.
Tribe broadcaster Jim Rosenhaus joined the Sam Bourquin Show to talk about the annual meetings in Nashville and some of the goings-on there.
One of the major pieces for the Indians when it comes to any sort of deal is what it's going to cost them and what quality starting pitcher they might need to give up in order to get a quality bat in the lineup.
Some of those rumors include the Cincinnati Reds unloading third baseman Todd Frazier, whom both Sam and Jim think would be a key addition if that were to happen.
With the college football season set to go to the bowl season here soon, Brian Pedersen of Bleacher Report is getting ready for one of the most enjoyable times of the year for college football fans.
He took time out of his day to join the Sam Bourquin Show Wednesday to talk about the bowl schedule, are there too many bowls, and who is walking away with the Heisman.
When asked about 6-6 teams and 5-7 teams being in the bowl season, Pedersen said there are teams who haven't been to bowls in years and need to be rewarded at the end of the year for working hard.
He also weighed in on the Big 12 making some moves schedule-wise to ensure when you are setting up your out of conference schedule, you have competitive matchups worth seeing.
"They (the Big 12 Conference) are essentially trying to make sure they don't schedule like Baylor with to FCS opponents and two of the worst teams in D-I within their state," he said.
The Big 10 will be well represented this bowl season, and with Michigan State being in the College Football Playoff, 2015-16 was a solid year for the conference.
Sean Merriman from BTN.com joined Brad Russell in the Average Sports Show to talk about the Spartans being in the Big 10 Championship, their win over Iowa, and their chances in the playoff coming up this bowl season.
"They(the committee) puts a big emphasis on the conference championship game, and while it wasn't a dominating performance by Michigan State over Iowa, it was a win," Merriman said.
Michigan State, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Alabama will be the four teams in the playoff this season.
Moving ahead to the Fiesta Bowl, Merriman likes the Ohio State/Notre Dame matchup on Jan 1. "These are two strong programs, such rich history and tradition, I'm very excited for this game."
The University of Akron will be competing in the College Cup after their defeat of Creighton 3-2 at the Infocision Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.
UA Coach Jared Embick joined the Sam Bourquin Show Tuesday to talk about being in the College Cup once again and the feeling of emotion and adrenaline after their win over Creighton.
The Zips draw Stanford in the semifinals and coach Embick said his team will be in for a fight.
"They have the guy Jordan Morris who is on the U.S National team, he's got good size and speed, we're going to have to try and contain him," Embick said. "They do have other good players and they won the Pac-12, so it should be a good, attacking game."
The Mount Union Purple Raiders will meet up with an old foe for the right to go to Salem, VA in the Division III National Championship Game.
Head football coach Vince Kehres joined the Sam Bourquin Show Tuesday to talk about the win over Wesley last weekend and their semifinal matchup with Wisconsin-Whitewater in Alliance this Saturday.
Coach Kehres said his team will be prepared defensively to stop the run from the Warhawks, which is their bread and butter offensively.
For the Raiders themselves, they know that in the special teams department, teams will try to kick it away from Tim Kennedy.
"We will try to win the field position battle other ways and try to get the ball in Tim's hands other ways," he says.
Coach said the atmosphere in Alliance for gameday is going to be electric, but the coaching staff and the players will be focused on the task at hand.
"If you're a fan of football, I encourage you to come out and see two pretty good teams slugging it out on Saturday," Kehres said.
If they win, the Purple Raiders will play in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl against either Linfield or St.Thomas next Friday at 7 p.m.
The Browns are known for their loyal fans throughout the sporting world, and one of those fans has written a book detailing her journey as an ultimate fan and inspiring others to find their passion in life.
Debra Darnall, AKA "The Bone Lady" joined Sam Bourquin in the studio to talk about the book, her costumed journey with the Browns, and how she found her self-worth through the "Bone Lady" persona.
Fans identify with the Bone Lady and others because of their passion and love for the Browns.
"There is this persona of ultimate fandom and people like seeing you at games and being part of their experience," she says. Darnall says she boycotted the NFL from the time they left until 1999 when they returned. She entered a 4th of July parade as "The Bone Lady" with full costume and her car painted orange with a bone on top.
She's been frustrated with the Browns, as we all have, but she says she'll always be a fan no matter what. You can find the book on Amazon.com or whereever books are sold.
As Championship Saturday in college football kicks off tomorrow, there's plenty of exciting matchups that will determine who will be in the College Football Playoff and in the New Year's Six Bowls.
Bill Connelly from SB Nation joined Aaron Coleman as he filled in for Sam during the Sam Bourquin Show to break down matchups in the American, the Pac-12, the ACC, the SEC, and the Big 10.
He says that the championship slate is pretty straightforward this year, as opposed to years past.
"It almost feels strange, we're used to knowing nothing when it comes to college football, but it seems unless there's an upset or two, we know how this is going to work, we'll see," Connelly said.
He sees the Big 10 title game between Michigan State and Iowa will be the most intriguing game of the evening, which will not only determine the champion of that conference, but perhaps a part of the playoff.