Local Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Richey invited to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Juneau-Douglas High School football coach Reilly Richey will be in Canton, Ohio, later this week as Alaska's representative in the NFL's Youth Football Summit, which is part of the 2003 Hall of Fame Weekend.

Richey, who has been the state's football coach of the year twice in the past five years, will be at the Youth Football Summit from July 31 to Aug. 3. This is the third year of the summit, which brings together one honored high school coach from each of the 50 states. There also will be more than 100 other coaches and supporters of youth football at the summit.

"I'm just happy to go," said Richey, who leaves Juneau on Thursday for the summit. "I guess each state gets a representative and I think Beeson (Kenai coach Jim Beeson) went last year. I guess it's my turn in the rotation. But I'm happy to go. It's an all-expense-paid trip to the Hall of Fame, and I've never been there before."

The summit features educational seminars to help the coaches build youth football programs in their communities. The participants will hear a keynote address from former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh, as well as talks from former Dallas Cowboys personnel chief Gil Brandt, and other key figures in football, sports psychology and other fields.

"We have more than 1,600 players on our NFL rosters," NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in a press release. "They have one thing in common. They received guidance from high school coaches. The Youth Football Summit is one way that we can offer our resources on an annual basis to help maintain the quality of coaching throughout the country."

On Aug. 4, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct five new members - running back Marcus Allen, defensive end Elvin Bethea, offensive guard Joe DeLamielleure, wide receiver James Lofton and coach Hank Stram.

Dean heads to New Zealand with Collegiate All-Americans

Juneau's Josh Dean is one of 25 rugby players heading to New Zealand this weekend as the USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans take on two college teams in early August.

Dean, who will be a senior at the U.S. Air Force Academy, plays the No. 8 position, which is the player who starts the team's offense after the ball comes out of the scrum. Dean was on a similar trip last summer to South Africa, where he earned the Doug Edwards Best Tourist Award for his play on the field and his character off it during the tour. He also won the Goff on Rugby/Tullamore Dew Player of the Month Award for September 2002.

In May, Dean captained his Air Force Zoomies to the USA Rugby Collegiate National Championship with a 45-37 victory over Harvard. In the semifinals, Dean scored a try (rugby's version of a touchdown, worth four points) as Air Force upset 12-time defending national champion California 46-28.

Air Force coach Rob Holder will lead the All-Americans, who just completed six weeks of training. The All-Americans will play Victoria University on Aug. 1 in Wellington, New Zealand, and they will take on Massey University on Aug. 6 in Palmerston North.

Local baseball players help Shockers claim Connie Mack state title

Recent Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Joe Ayers shared the tournament's MVP award with teammate Ryan Strieby of Brier, Wash., and Juneau's Zach Kohan was the winning pitcher in the championship game as they helped the Edmonds (Wash.) Shockers claim their second straight state Connie Mack Baseball title last week.

Kohan went the distance in the if-necessary game as the Shockers beat the East Side Harleys 13-5 in a game called after six innings because of an eight-run mercy rule. "Zach Kohan pitched a great game, he threw about 120 pitches," said Jim Ayers, the Juneau-Douglas High School baseball coach.

Joe Ayers, the team's starting shortstop, made the defensive play of the game in the third inning when the bases were loaded and the Harleys led 5-4. Ayers dove for a ball, came up to his knees and threw the guy out at first to end the threat. In the bottom of the inning, Ayers singled, stole second and scored on a bloop grounder to make it 7-5.

Two other Juneau players were on the Shockers' Connie Mack team (age 17-19). Evan Scandling went 3-0 with a couple of saves and also played first base, while Geno Vick pitched about nine or 10 innings, Jim Ayers said. Joe Ayers started at shortstop and hit fifth for the team, while Kohan saw action at third base when he wasn't pitching. Kraig Bailey of Ketchikan also pitched for the team.

The Shockers, who had never won a Washington state title until last year and have now won two straight, are in Irvine, Calif., for the Western Region tournament. The winner of the regional will advance to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M.

There were three other Southeast baseball players on the Shockers' Mickey Mantle team (age 15-16), which went through the losers' bracket to take second place in its Washington state tournament. Outfielder Ryan Gorle and pitcher-first baseman Zach Mixson, both of Juneau, were on the team, as was pitcher Michael Meacock of Ketchikan.

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