Sports News-August 30, 2012

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Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno's voluminous FBI file contains threatening letters sent to him and his staff years ago but nothing about his former assistant Jerry Sandusky, convicted of molesting boys.  Paterno's 868-page file contains the fallout from a series of threatening letters from someone dubbed A Bitter Father.  The author blames Paterno for family problems that apparently emerged after his son left the football program.  Another letter suggests Paterno is responsible for an assistant coach's "tragic accident."  A 1977 FBI memo says Paterno found the letters troubling.  The FBI posted the file online in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from media outlets.  The Washington Times first reported on the file yesterday.  Paterno died in January, months after losing his job. Sandusky awaits sentencing in his sex abuse case but maintains his innocence.

Nebraska senior place-kicker and punter Brett Maher earned his second preseason All-America honor yesterday, when he was named the place-kicker on's 2012 Preseason All-America team.  Earlier this summer, Athlon tabbed Maher as its second-team preseason All-America place-kicker.  In his first season as Nebraska's place-kicker in 2011, Maher connected on 19-23 field goal attempts, including 16-17 from inside 50 yards.  His 19 field goals ranked second in school history.  Maher was the first-team All-Big Ten place-kicker last season and was the Big Ten Kicker of the Year. also tabbed him as its first-team All-America kicker last season.  After earning a spot as a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2011, Maher is one of 30 preseason candidates for the award again this season. A native of Kearney, he is also a talented punter, as is one of 25 preseason candidates named to the Ray Guy Award watch list.  Maher is one of only two kickers nationally to be on the watch lists for both the Lou Groza and Ray Guy awards, presented annually to the nation's top place-kicker and punter, respectively.

Southern Miss is the obvious underdog when it travels to face 17th ranked Nebraska on Saturday, but with a new coach, new quarterback and a revamped defense, the Golden Eagles hope to use the unknown to their advantage.  First-year coach Ellis Johnson hasn't been particularly secretive during preseason camp, but he's been just vague enough with the team's progress to keep the Cornhuskers guessing.  Johnson announced on Monday that junior Chris Campbell would start at quarterback against Nebraska, but also acknowledged that Anthony Alford and Ricky Lloyd could take snaps.  Of course, the 60-year-old Johnson has been around a long time and isn't a complete unknown.  The veteran defensive-minded coach says the Golden Eagles must match the Cornhuskers' physical nature to have a chance at the upset.

Former Wayne State College women’s basketball standout Ashley Arlen recently signed a pro contract to play with BCT Alexandria of the Romanian Basketball League.  Arlen, a 6-2 forward from Iowa, had a standout three year career with the Wildcats from 2009-2012, helping Wayne State to an 84-12 record and three trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.  She scored 1,724 points and grabbed 821 rebounds in 96 games at Wayne State resulting in career averages of 18.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.  Arlen’s BCT Alexandria team is one of 16 in Division A of the Romanian Women’s Basketball League with her first league game scheduled to start September 23rd.

The Nebraska School Activities Association announced yesterday the qualifying criteria for the inaugural NSAA wrestling dual championships in February.  The winning teams from each four district sites in each class will automatically qualify for the meet.  In addition, four wild-card berths will be awarded in each class based on each school's performance at the district meet.  Each of the four wild-card teams must have a minimum of ten wrestlers to qualify for the dual championships.  The NSAA will use a formula combining a school’s district championship team points with ten points for each wrestler entered into the district tournament, and give five bonus points for each wrestler who qualifies for the individual state meet.  All eight teams qualifying for the championships will be seeded in an eight-team bracket, according to a wild-card point system.  Each school will wrestle three matches in the one-day event, with the winning and losing teams advancing to first-, third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches.  In 2014-15, the qualifying criteria will take into consideration regular-season dual competitions.  The dual championship meet is set for Feb. 23 at Nebraska-Kearney's Health & Sports Center.  The individual championships are Feb. 14-16 at CenturyLink Center Omaha.

The Omaha World Herald has released its preseason high school volleyball rankings.  Class “A” Two-time Defending State Champion Papillion La Vista South is number one in the “Nebraska Top 10” & Class “A” while Omaha Gross is ranked first in Class “B”.  In Class “C-1”, Kearney Catholic is the preseason number one, Columbus Scotus is second, and Norfolk Catholic is ranked sixth.  In Class “C-2”, Hastings St. Cecilia is ranked first, Hartington Cedar Catholic comes in second, Lutheran High Northeast is ranked third, and Twin River is ninth.  In Class “D-1”, Howells/Dodge is ranked first, West Point Guardian Angels is third, and O’Neill St. Mary’s is ranked ninth.  In Class “D-2”, Humphrey High is the preseason number one, Ewing is fifth, Stuart is ranked sixth, and Winside is eighth.  The Lincoln Journal Star released their Class “A” & “B” rankings.  Two-time Defending State Champion Papillion La Vista South is number one in Class “A” while Waverly is ranked first in Class “B”.

The Omaha World Herald has released their preseason volleyball rankings for Classes “C” & “D”.  In Class “C-1”, Norfolk Catholic is ranked sixth.  They were 27-6 last season reaching the State Tournament.  The Lady Knights lose three seniors to graduation but return ten players from last year’s squad.  Norfolk Catholic opens their season tonight at home in a triangular with Schuyler & Pierce.  They play Schuyler at 5:30 and Pierce at 7:30.  The two-time Class “C-2” Defending State Champions Lutheran High Northeast Lady Eagles are ranked third in their criteria.  They return only one starter this year in Megan Gebhardt.  The Lady Eagles were 34-1 last year en route to the title and have recorded a 70-3 record over the last two years.  Lutheran High Northeast opens their campaign at the Northeast Nebraska Classic this evening.  In matches at Pender, they play Wakefield at 5:30 and Oakland/Craig at 6:30.

The Omaha World Herald updated its high school softball rankings today.  Millard West remains first in the “Nebraska Top 10” & Class “A”.  Omaha Skutt stays at number in Class “B”.  In Class “C”, Wahoo is once again first, West Point Guardian Angels falls from fifth to seventh, Wayne slips from sixth to eighth, and Logan View/Scribner-Snyder stays at number ten.

Local Schedule:  Bishop Neumann at Nfk Cath (FB-7:00); Nfk High at Fremont (SB DH-5:00); Nfk High at Papillion La Vista South Inv. (CC-1:00); Nfk Cath & LHNE at Wisner/Pilger Inv. (CC-5:30); Omaha Storm Chasers at Memphis (Bsbl-1:05).

Friday Night:  The Norfolk High football team entertains Kearney at 8:00.  Pregame coverage at 7:30 on 106 KIX &

Saturday Morning:  Sportstalk on 106 KIX & from 9:00-10:00 AM from Hy-Vee East.  Get the lowdown with the coaches.

Local Scores:  Omaha Storm Chasers 6 Memphis 2 (Bsbl).

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