Bronco football: Redemption and extension

Two Boise State players with diametrically-opposed finishes to the 2019 season made the watch list Friday for the Maxwell Award that goes to the college player of the year. Hank Bachmeier’s nightmare in the Las Vegas Bowl loss to Washington is seen as an aberration, as rust led to a 119-yard performance on 15-for-26 passing with two interceptions. Bachmeier surely hopes the start of this season isn’t postponed, so he can begin proving that the Maxwell hype is legit. What George Holani did at the end of last season is viewed as a harbinger of things to come, especially the big night he had at Utah State in late November. That’s when Holani exploded for 178 yards on just 16 carries and scored two touchdowns in the Broncos’ 56-21 rout of the Aggies.

IS THE THIRD YEAR A CHARM FOR WILSON?

DallasCowboys.com has a series going called “Names To Know” as NFL training camps open, spotlighting unheralded players who could impact the Cowboys this year. Columnist Rob Phillips zeroes in on former Boise State star Cedrick Wilson, who finally got on the field last season after missing his entire rookie year following shoulder surgery in 2018. He appeared in six games, with all five of his career catches coming in a 24-22 road loss to the Jets. “In the fourth quarter,” Phillips notes, “Wilson made a key third-down conversion on an 11-play, 84-yard touchdown drive that cut the Jets’ lead to five.” Phillips likes Wilson’s chances to stick this season. “New head coach Mike McCarthy likes versatile receivers,” writes Phillips. “He’s also the only player on this year’s roster who returned a punt last season.”

UPHILL BATTLE FOR VANDALS & BENGALS

We go to the land of low expectations: the Big Sky. At least when it comes to Idaho and Idaho State in 2020. The Vandals are predicted to finish eighth by the media and ninth by the coaches in the 13-team conference. The Bengals are picked 11th in both polls. Former Boise State coach Dan Hawkins’ UC Davis Aggies are sixth on both lists, while Weber State is a strong favorite to repeat as champion. Idaho did land two players on the preseason All-Big Sky team in linebackers Christian Elliss and Tre Walker. ISU was shut out in all-league honors.

CUBS STILL WELL-STOCKED WITH HAWKS

Major League Baseball is back, with cardboard cut-out fans and fake crowd noise. But you gotta do what you gotta do. There were 25 former Boise Hawks on Opening Day rosters, and an amazing nine Boise alums are still active with the Chicago Cubs. Kyle Schwarber, the fourh overall draft pick who started his pro career with the Hawks in 2014, has already hit his first home run, as has Willson Contreras—a 451-foot shot in the Cubs’ 9-1 win over Milwaukee on Sunday. The other former Hawks suiting up for Chicago are Javier Baez, Albert Almora Jr., David Bote. Dillon Maples, Duane Underwood, Janes Norwood and Kris Bryant, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft. Bryant has started the season 1-for-14.

A BRONCO WINS THE MEN’S STATE AM

The Idaho State Amateur tournaments—men’s and women’s—are in the books. And that’s sayin’ something this year. Both were played at Elkhorn, with Boise State’s Hugo Townsend winning the men’s crown Saturday with a four-under 68 to top University of Idaho golfer Colt Sherrell by two shots. Townsend trailed Sherrell and Broncos teammate Skyler Eubank by one entering the final round. Five Boise State representatives finished in the top seven. On the women’s side, Eagle High’s Brooke Patterson rode her first-round three-under 69 and held on Saturday to edge Payton Fehringer of Pocatello by one stroke. Patterson is going to be a junior this fall. That’s what I call an upward trajectory.

A LEGENDARY LION PASSES

The weekend began with the news that legendary Borah High football coach De Pankratz had passed away at the age of 90. Pankratz was as competitive as they come, and the Lions reflected that during the 20 seasons he was head coach (1967-86). Borah lost only two games during Pankratz’s first five seasons and compiled a 34-game winning streak, winning the mythical state title each year as Idaho’s top-ranked team. The Lions did it again in 1975, 1976 and 1978. State championships at the A-1 level (now 5A) became official in 1979, and Pankratz’s Borah squad won two of the first three. He relished testing his program against regional dynamos of the time. In fact, on Thanksgiving of 1971, Borah traveled to Honolulu to face Hawaii power Punahou—and won 27-12.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by COMMERCIAL TIRE…keeping you and your family on the road.

July 27, 1986: Sacramento cyclist Greg LeMond becomes the first non-European to win the Tour de France since the event began in 1903. LeMond crossed the finish line along the Champs-Elysees in Paris with a winning margin of three minutes. He’d go on to win the Tour twice more, in 1989 and 1990—an unthinkable feat for an American until Lance Armstrong strung together his historic (but now tainted) seven championships from 1999 to 2005.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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