High school football
UK commitment Towles, Highlands 'D' hold off CovCath
No. 1 Highlands stopped No. 3 Covington Catholic inside the 20-yard line twice in the second half Saturday and held on for a 42-37 road win. The teams combined for 917 yards and punted just one time each, according to the Kentucky Enquirer, but it was the Bluebirds' defense that came up big when it counted most.
Up 28-21 in the third quarter, Highlands quarterback and Kentucky commitment Patrick Towles lost a fumble, and the Colonels (3-2) recovered at the 1. But the Bluebirds (5-0) forced a field goal, and the teams traded touchdowns on their next two possessions to make it 35-31 early in the fourth quarter.
Then Towles, who completed 8 of 14 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown and uncharacteristically rushed for 113 yards on 12 carries, scored one of his three rushing TDs after scrambling and getting free for 46 yards to the end zone.
"It's just a difference when you've got Pat on your team," Highlands Coach Dale Mueller told the Enquirer. "He is such a dynamic player. He can execute the offense, but he can also create things."
CovCath running back Gabe Gray, who finished with 167 yards on 30 carries, cut it to 42-37 on a 13-yard run with 6:20 left in the fourth. Then, after missing on a two-point conversion and recovering another fumble, the Colonels threatened again with the ball at Highlands' 18 in the closing minutes. But Charlie Mader knocked away Blake Bir's third-and-9 pass, and Bir's fourth-down throw to the end zone was just out of reach for receiver Clint Massie.
Towles, a 6-foot-5, 232-pound senior who committed to the Cats on April 1, has completed 59 percent of his passes this season for 1,393 yards, 12 touchdowns and one interception, according to the KHSAA. He was leading the state in yards per game (294) coming into this weekend. And though Towles had only 96 yards rushing through the first four games, he had already shown a nose for the end zone with five TDs on the ground before Saturday's breakout performance.
Wall says he's not going overseas — yet
Former Kentucky star John Wall isn't ready to take his game abroad. If the NBA lockout continues to drag on, though, he just might.
"Maybe down the road, but not right now," the former No. 1 overall pick said Saturday night when asked about the possibility before a loosely organized exhibition game in Indianapolis. One day after league officials announced the postponement of training camp and the cancellation of 43 pre-season games, 16 NBA players — including 10 former first-round picks — participated in a game that could become the new normal for NBA fans. Most participants played high school, college or pro ball near Indianapolis. The proceeds from Saturday's Indy Pro Am Lockout League game will benefit charitable foundations headed by new Pacers player George Hill, former Indiana Mr. Basketball Eric Gordon and WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings.
Officials wore gray shirts with an NBA logo but were not sanctioned by the league, and team officials were not allowed to attend.
Nyad ignores shark on Cuba-Florida swim
Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad pressed on Saturday despite painful stings from a Portuguese Man o' War and a visit from a curious shark, completing about a third of her journey from Cuba to Florida. More than 24 hours after setting off from a Havana marina, Nyad was more than 35 miles from the Cuban coast and stroking through favorably calm waters, her team said. She is hoping to complete 103 miles (166 kms) to Florida, besting her own record for an open-water swim without a shark cage by about a half-mile (1 km). Nyad's assistants, who are updating fans and well-wishers around the world via social media, downplayed the afternoon encounter with the finned predator.
"Around 1pm — and don't everybody get excited here — an Oceanic white tipped shark was spotted near Diana in the midst of the three-boat flotilla. ... Rob MacDonald, one of (her safety) divers, swam towards the shark, where they faced off within 10 feet of one another," read a post on Nyad's Web site. "I guess he thought I was more aggressive than him, and he turned in the other direction," MacDonald was quoted as saying.
Without a cage to protect her, Nyad is relying on equipment surrounding her with an electrical field that is harmless but deters most sharks. Nyad's nighttime run-in with the Man o' War left her with stings on her face, arms and side.
U.S. comes back to tie at Solheim Cup
The United States staged a dramatic rally to win the afternoon fourball session 3-1 Saturday and tie Europe 8-all at the Solheim Cup in Dunsany, Ireland. The Americans rallied to win the last three matches, leaving the sides tied heading into the 12 singles matches on Sunday. The U.S. is trying to win its fourth consecutive Solheim Cup. Europe won the morning foursomes to extend its lead to 7-5 over the Americans in the biennial match play competition.
Sports in the courts
Flanagan's suicide wasn't his 1st attempt
Police records show former Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan threatened to kill himself several times before committing suicide. Flanagan won the Cy Young award in 1979 and was a member of the Orioles' 1983 world championship team. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound outside his Baltimore County home last month. Records obtained by The Baltimore Sun reveal that Flanagan had previously threatened to shoot himself and had walked outside with a gun several times. His wife, Alex, had discouraged him from suicide each time.
Ex-U.S. coach Bradley signs with Egypt
Former United States coach Bob Bradley signed a contract to take over the Egyptian national team on Saturday. He'll be charged with reviving the fortunes of a team that recently failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations. Bradley, 53, agreed to a deal worth $37,000 a month until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"I'm proud to take over as coach of Egypt," Bradley said at a news conference. "I'm looking forward to dealing with the players."
Bradley was fired as U.S. coach in July after more than four years in charge and replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann.
Women's soccer drops SEC opener
The Kentucky women's soccer team dropped its Southeastern Conference opener 4-1 at 22nd-ranked Auburn on Friday night. In falling to 7-2 overall, Kentucky allowed more than two goals for the first time since a 5-1 loss to South Carolina on Sept. 26, 2010. Auburn (7-1-1, 1-0-0 SEC) outshot UK 14-4 in the first half but scored only one goal. Auburn put the Cats away with goals in the 55th minute and the 60th minute. UK scored in the 77th minute when sophomore Danielle Krohn shot from about 40 yards away high into the back of the net for her first career goal. Kentucky returns to action Sunday with a 2 p.m. game at Alabama. The Crimson Tide (6-2-1) won their SEC opener 2-0 over Vanderbilt on Friday night.
The last word
San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh has revealed that when he was 9 years old, he plunked an opposing batter — a girl — in the back with a pitch during a Little League game. His brother and Baltimore Ravens Coach, John Harbaugh, explained to HBO's Andrea Kremer that what happened was just part of the game:
"The parents start booing. 'Get him off the mound! He's a big bully!' She was crowding the plate, Andrea. He had to back her up a little bit."