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  • Written by Frank Gogola

Vikings, Rams will repeat opening football act

  Maybe the second act will go off without a hitch.
  A much-anticipated inaugural meeting between St. Laurence and Reavis on the football field created quite a pregame buzz among fans in Burbank last August. But when game night arrived along with it came rain — lots of it, accompanied by enough thunder and lightning to make playing more perilous than pleasurable.
  So Friday night’s kickoff got postponed until Saturday, which did nothing to slow the Vikings, who collected a 44-16 victory to begin what they hoped was a playoff-qualifying campaign. St. Laurence ultimately fell short of that goal, as did the Rams, but both will enter 2014 with renewed hopes.
  And once again their first test will come against each other. The Vikings host Reavis Aug. 29 at Kavanagh Field, and the anticipation for Round 2 runs just as high.
  “It’s always big to play a neighborhood school [because] it’s big for bragging rights,” St. Laurence coach Harold Blackmon said. “Some of the players know each other so that adds a little more to the game. This year we’re playing at home so we’re hoping for an electric atmosphere that night.”
  Actually more than bragging rights could be at stake. With both squads legitimately eyeing a postseason berth, getting off to a successful start is crucial, particularly since everyone only gets nine opportunities to prove themselves playoff-worthy.

Coming up aces

  • Written by Frank Gogola

Palos Heights’ Murphy a hole-in-one machine

  When it comes to holes-in-one Bob Murphy has done what LeBron James once promised to do for Miami Heat fans.
  Not one, not two, not three ...
  The Palos Heights resident did something highly unusual when he registered two aces within six days while playing rounds at two different courses in June. But that was only part of the 23-year-old’s stunning links tale.
  When that happened, Murphy already had a pair of holes-in-one to his credit. But if you think he has taken that machine-like efficiency for granted, think again.
  “I didn’t realize what was going on because it was hard for me to comprehend how it was possible to get two hole[s]-in-one in six days,” said Murphy, a course assistant at Bolingbrook Golf Club, the site of his most recent ace.
  “I was just numbed by the feats I had accomplished.”

Summer baseball roundup

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Crusaders put all the pieces together

  Like jigsaw puzzles, baseball teams need every piece in place to make a satisfying whole.
  For Brother Rice, the 2014 summer baseball season could be described as an unfinished picture. Missing was one very important part: a reliable offense.
  While the Crusaders’ pitching and defense have been steady, an often-meager attack relegated Rice to more defeats than it probably deserved. Certainly, no opponent had really teed off on the Crusaders, yet their ledger entering last week was below .500.
  No more, however. With a suddenly vibrant offense complementing its other two phases, Rice swept past four foes in a row. None of them got any closer than five runs.
  The Crusaders’ most impressive outing came last Tuesday against Class 3A champion Lemont, which suffered a 13-3 defeat to Rice. The latter also took down Evergreen Park (9-0), Andrew (8-1) and Hinsdale Central (7-2).

Bartosh

Cup-generated interest will runneth dry 

Last week’s power outage was certainly inconvenient but not being able to watch the World Cup because of it didn’t bother me at all.
I just substituted watching my unrefrigerated food spoil for viewing excitement.
I know my opinion might be in the minority right now, but I’m willing to wait. Millions of Americans will return to the dark side with me once Cup fever subsides. And trust me it will.
However, not everyone in my profession thinks so. One Chicago Tribune columnist reported on the high TV ratings the 2014 World Cup broadcasts have garnered. And a woman who writes for the New York Times News Service was positively gushing about the U.S. team following its elimination loss to Belgium.
Specifically, Juliet Macur focused on U.S. goalie Tim Howard, who made 16 saves in the match. I won’t deny that was a great performance, but Ms. Macur’s post-match hyperbole was enough to make even the most seasoned PR professional blush.

Community sports news

Beverly Hills cycling race set for July 24

The historic Beverly neighborhood will be transformed into a high-speed race course when nearly 200 world-class cyclists compete in the 12th annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic on Thursday, July 24.
Presented by the Beverly Area Planning Association, the event is part of the Prairie States Cycling Series. It will take place at 107th Street and Longwood Drive with start times of 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. In addition to the races, the event will feature live music, food and drink.
For more information, call (773) 233-3100 or visit www.bapa.org.