I can’t remember the last time we strung together nine straight days of highs in the 80’s in July. When we strung together a record-tying nine straight 100-degree days ending on the 4th of July, we wondered what the rest of this summer would be like. Yikes. Well, today could be our ninth straight day of high temps in the 80’s. In July? I’m sure it’s happened before, but I can’t remember when. This could not have worked out any better for organizers of the Basque Soccer Friendly Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium between Athletic Bilbao and Club Tijuana. The current forecast for Saturday says mostly sunny with a high of 82. That’ll sell some tickets. It’s going to feel like mid-September out there. Those sun-washed seats on the east side of the stadium won’t be so bad after all.
On September 27 last year, Boise State wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck took the field in Colorado Springs with exactly zero catches for the season—and very few balls thrown his way. Since that night, when star wideout Matt Miller was injured in the loss at Air Force, Sperback has made 51 catches for 877 yards. He helped lead the Broncos to nine straight victories, including the one over Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl. Sperbeck was Offensive MVP of that 38-30 victory, hauling in 12 receptions for 199 yards. Now the junior from Carmichael, CA, has been named to the watch list for the Fred Biletnikoff Award that goes to the nation’s best wide receiver. A pretty impressive rise to prominence for Sperbeck.
Boise State watch list announcements have been coming fast and furious the past week and a half. Senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes has named to another watch list for an award that combines achievements academics, athletics and community service, the Wuerffel Trophy. The popular Williams-Rhodes has spent a lot of time in the community the past three years, particularly with the Optimist Youth Football program, where he mentors at-risk youth. SWR was also named a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Tuesday. Last week he was tabbed to the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award.
More from watch list season: in addition to the four Boise State players named to the Rotary Lombardi Award list, there was Idaho linebacker Marc Millan. The Vandal senior led the team in tackles the last two seasons and has 192 stops for his career. Idaho junior punter Austin Rehkow was named to the Ray Guy Award watch list late last week. The two-time Walter Camp All-American led the nation in punting as a freshman and was second last season.
It’s feeling like San Diego State will be tabbed the West Division favorite at Mountain West Media Days the week after next. The thing holding Fresno State back is its unsettled quarterback situation. The Bulldogs got a reinforcement Tuesday when they announced that former West Virginia QB Ford Childress has transferred in and is expected to compete for the starting job right away next month. Childress, a 6-5, 230-pounder, spent last season at a junior college in Texas but didn’t play due to a pectoral injury. With Brian Burrell having departed the program, Fresno State’s roster quarterbacks consist of sophomore Zach Greenlee, who played in three games last season, redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson and true freshman Chason Virgil.
I said yesterday one should not diss the French football team at the IFAF World Championships. Well, the USA team coached by former Boise State head man Dan Hawkins wiped France out 82-0 last night in the semifinals of the tournament at Canton, OH. That’s more points than Coach Hawk ever scored at BSU (tops was the 77-14 win over San Jose State in 2003). Former Bronco Bryan Douglas had two punt returns for 35 yards and added a 10-yard sack last night. The Americans have a rematch set with Japan in the gold medal game Saturday night.
Graham DeLaet shot a one-under 71 this morning in the first round of the Open Championship (I’m finally transitioning from calling it the “British Open”). The former Boise State star’s round was solid until he posted bogeys on the 17th and 18th holes. DeLaet has some competitive familiarity with the Old Course at St. Andrews. He hasn’t played it in an Open Championship but he has played tournament golf there twice during the Alfred Dunhill Links. “It’s a special place for sure,” DeLaet said earlier this week. “I love this golf course—it’s the best championship in the world. Every time I’ve played it’s been early October, so it’s a little bit of a different beast.”
We hit the Web.com Tour reset button now that the Albertsons Boise Open is behind us. Going into the Stonebrae Classic today at Hayward in the Bay Area, Nos. 1 and 2 on “The 25” remain the same. Patton Kizzire tied for ninth at Hillcrest last Sunday and is still tops on the money list with $274,700; Peter Malnati stays in second, just $6,200 behind after tying for seventh in Boise. Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge, named the Web.com Tour Player of the Month for June, is ninth on The 25. Elsewhere, Vallivue High grad Chad Pfeifer, the Iraq War veteran and amputee who played the Boise Open last week, is in the field this week for the American Century Championship. Pfeifer finished fifth in the Lake Tahoe event last year—his odds to win, according to the sportsbooks, are 10-1.
It looked like a familiar refrain last night. The Boise Hawks scored first, but Salem-Keizer scored more—until the top of the eighth inning, when Carlos Herrera smacked a two-run homer to tie the game with the Volcanoes at 4-4. Could the Hawks possibly change their karma? Uh, no. Salem-Keizer’s Ronnie Jebavy led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off homer on the first pitch, and the Hawks dropped the first of a three-game road series to the Volcanoes, 4-2.
Former Boise State star Derrick Marks has indeed opted to play in Italy for Orsi Derthona Basket and may be en route as we speak. He didn’t join the Philadelphia 76ers entry in the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League. Fellow guard Pierre Jackson did, and he’s now been signed by the Sixers. The former Idaho Stampede and College of Southern Idaho standout is currently averaging 12 points per game and is shooting 50 percent from three-point range in Vegas. Jackson was originally the 42nd overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2013 NBA Draft before his rights were traded to New Orleans. During the 2014 draft, his rights were dealt back to the Sixers. Jackson had a record-setting season for the Stampede in 2013-14, leading the team with 29.1 points per game and scoring a D-League record 58 points in a February contest versus Texas.
June Daugherty has hired an old colleague as an assistant coach on her Washington State women’s basketball staff. It’s Rod Jensen, who was Bobby Dye’s right-hand man with the Broncos—and later head coach—while Daugherty was coaching the BSU women. Jensen returns to WSU after taking last season off; nhe was swept out with the men’s staff when the Cougars fired coach Ken Bone following the 2013-14 season. The ol’ “minister of defense” was head coach at the College of Idaho from 2010-13. Incidentally, Daugherty’s husband, Mike, is still her associate head coach, just as he was at Boise State 20 years ago.
This Day In Sports…July 16, 2008:
In the wee hours of the morning, the previous night’s All-Star Game finally comes to an end after four hours and 50 minutes with a 4-3 American League victory. It was staged amidst a plethora of pageantry at Yankee Stadium, which was in the middle of its final season, and it lasted 15 innings. Every available player was used in the game, as the AL improved to 6-0 since the Midsummer Classic began determining homefield advantage in the World Series.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)