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Charleston Daily Smell, September 28, 2008
Cannons Bounce Back With 23-17 Win Over Albany
Take Lead to Stay on 54-Yard TD Run by Lynch
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Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, September 28, 2008
Cherries Shut Down Syracuse in 2nd Half, Prevail 22-14
7th Straight Win Ties Team Record
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Washington Postage Stamp, September 28, 2008
Sproles, Law Lead Capitols Past New York, 27-10
Force Pennington into Numerous Blunders
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Baltimore Sunk, September 28, 2008
Bolts Roll, 34-6, Over Philadelphia For 5th Straight
Roethlisberger and Watson Combine on 3 TD Passes
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Hartford Crude Rant, September 28, 2008
Comets End Slide, Dispatch Richmond, 22-18
Early 14-Point Lead Holds Up Despite Rebels’ Rally
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Harrisburg Pay and Rot Ooze, September 29, 2008
Hershey Bars Notch 5th Win, 23-19, Over Providence
Boller Hits Mason For Go-Ahead TD With 10:26 Left
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Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, September 28, 2008

Rip Snorter

Controversial Call Detracting from Cherries’ Accomplishment

As hot as Syracuse coach John Heim was on the sideline immediately after a controversial call last night went against his team, he was even hotter in his post-game press conference.

Using language too colorful for this family newspaper — so I’m not directly quoting him — Heim questioned whether the officiating crew, led by veteran referee Grant Justice, should ever be assigned to do another game. No doubt the transcript of Heim’s commentary will be scrutinized in the league office.

You can’t blame the guy. The call was indeed questionable and was, as it turned out, pivotal in the Crush’s 22‑14 loss to the Cherries. Heim has to be frustrated. With the defeat the two-time defending EFL champions fell to a dismal 1‑7. Although they have been respectable statistically, too often they’ve failed to make big plays when they’ve needed them.

Had the 2nd and 13 play early in the third quarter stood as a Philip Rivers turnover, Syracuse would have been poised at the Cherries 29 to extend their 14‑13 halftime lead. As it was the personal foul against defensive tackle Kevin Williams negated what appeared to be a fumble recovery by linebacker Kawika Mitchell and moved the ball into Crush territory at the 48. The Cherries went on to score the go-ahead touchdown on the drive to take the lead to stay, 19‑14.

Heim and Crush partisans felt Rivers did not have possession of the ball at the moment the back of his helmet was brushed by Williams’ arm on its way to knocking the ball to the turf. It’s easy to understand that point of view, for Rivers, having bobbled his second consecutive snap, held the ball by one of its ends. Replays were inconclusive as to whether Rivers’ hand was truly gripping the ball when Williams’ arm made contact with the helmet — and that is the crux of the controversy.

Jon Brams wasn’t apologetic that the call went the Cherries’ way. “Philip had the ball. Look. The league is trying to keep quarterbacks healthy. All of the officiating crews who’ve worked our games have, without fail, called penalties when defenders made contact with the quarterback’s helmet — and that’s what happened here. We’ve had it happen to us. I admit it couldn’t have been easy for Philip to hold the ball by the end — but somehow he had it.”

It’s a shame the controversial call is detracting from the Cherries’ having won 7 straight games, tying a team record set only once before — 1983. There were a number of positive developments to point to in last night’s game:

Add to these positive developments the good news from Washington, where the Caps laid a 27‑10 beat-down on the Emps, putting New York 2 games behind the Cherries in the division for the first time this season. I’ll tell you: This Delaware team isn’t dominating like last season but to me the chemistry is better — which could bode well for (shhhh!) the post-season.

The assist the Cherries have gotten from the schedule maker of late can only help. When the Cherries go for a new team record 8th straight win in Hershey Saturday, they will, for the 4th consecutive week, be facing a team coming back on short rest. Baltimore the next week will make it five straight. The league may want to put a check in their scheduling process to prevent that type of unfair advantage going forward. For now Brams and company are no doubt happy to be the beneficiary.