Durant High School Journalism

Wrestling Is Family For Durant Grad Hendon Haley

Hendon+Haley

Hendon Haley

Hendon Haley is a senior at Durant High School. His passion for wrestling started about 12 years ago when his oldest brother, who was a freshman at Durant at the time, introduced the sport to Haley. Haley, along with his three older brothers, has wrestled ever since.

In the wrestling season of 2019, he was Hillsborough county champion, regional champion, and placed fourth in the state of Florida. Haley is most proud of his success at the state tournaments.

“It’s the biggest thing that I’ve gotten out of all my hard work,” said Haley. “That is something I’ll never forget and something very important to me, it was really everything I wanted.”

This past year, Haley was again a Hillsborough County champion, but he also was district champion, placed third in regionals, and was a state qualifier.

“Something that motivates me would definitely be my brothers because they have always been there for me in the practice room and they’ve done very well themselves in high school,” said Haley.”

— Hendon Haley

“The hardest part about wrestling is that it is an individual sport. It is one hundred percent up to you and how you perform as a wrestler,” said Haley.

Haley has been able to progress over the years and create a positive mindset going into his matches. He strives to be the best he can be and is supported by the motivation from his brothers.

“Something that motivates me would definitely be my brothers because they have always been there for me in the practice room and they’ve done very well themselves in high school,” said Haley.

Haley came into high school naturally motivated to either match or top his brothers in wrestling. He says that it is good to look up to people who are the best at what you do and learn from them. Haley also looks up to Jordan Burroughs, Olympic athlete and four-time world champion freestyle wrestler.

He has wrestled for Durant wrestling since his freshman year and was the captain for the 2019-2020 wrestling season. All four of his brothers were also captain of the Durant team. He takes the role of being a captain seriously and works hard to make sure the team strives for success.

“It’s a very important job and that’s how you build teams, you got to start with good leadership,” said Haley.

Haley has plans to attend Florida college, a Christian college in Temple Terrace. He doesn’t plan on continuing wrestling in college, but he wants a role in the wrestling community as either a coach, referee, or as someone who helps individuals with wrestling techniques.

Haley will miss his wrestling family after high school. He plans to keep in touch with teammates and attend Durant wrestling tournaments.

“We have one of the longest seasons of any other high school sport, so to be together with guys like that every day in the room for so long I’m going to miss that family aspect of just being there and grinding through hard times,” said Haley.

About the Writer
Photo of Adamari Jaimez
Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a junior at Durant High School. She was a staffer for the Durant yearbook and then became a Staff Writer for the Pawprint newspaper to...

Hailey McKean Represents Clay Shooting at Durant

Hailey+McKean+%28center%29+is+a+student+at+Durant%2C+heavily+involved+in+clay+shooting.

Courtesy of Hailey McKean

Hailey McKean (center) is a student at Durant, heavily involved in clay shooting.

There are so many sports out there like football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and many more. With so many sports to pick from, one that gets overlooked is clay pigeon shooting, also known as clay target shooting.

Clay shooting is a of sport where participants fire at flying clay pigeon targets in the sky with a shotgun, and it all started way back in the 19th century. In the late 1800s, shooting targets started to become a very popular sport, especially over in the United Kingdom.

In fact, there was even a time where there used to be no clay at all, it would be glass balls filled with feathers, and around that same time, a man named Emile Laporte invented the machine that actually throws the targets into the air. As time has gone on, the sport has evolved into what it is today.

 This is a sport with a very wide age range, it can vary anywhere from a young teenager all the way to 65 years and older. One teenager who is involved in clay target shooting is a student at Durant High School.

Hailey McKean, a sophomore at Durant High School, started clay pigeon shooting in 2017. McKean has participated in a few competitions since then, she has even won “Highest in Female” back when she first began to compete in 2017. 

McKean has been clay target shooting for about three years now and her love for it sprouted out of her military based family. Hailey McKean believed that a great way to embrace her family’s involvement in the military would be to get involved in clay pigeon shooting, like her father. When asked about what influenced Hailey McKean to start clay pigeon shooting, she said, “The love of it from my dad.” 

There is so much involved in clay target shooting that a lot of people do not think about. According to the NRA (National Rifle Association),  some important factors that go into this sport are learning how to read the targets, learning when to slap the trigger, and much more.

A shotgun can be a very dangerous tool if not used correctly and safely, so that is something that a participant has to constantly think about when shooting clay.

Clay target shooting might not get as much glory as football or baseball, but it is just as worthy. This thrilling sport deserves just as much praise as some popular sports like basketball, baseball, and hockey because it involves just as much strategy as those sports, McKean comments on this saying, “You need to have the mindset and the accuracy and you have to train for it just like any other sport.”

Practices for this sport can include reviewing errors and correcting them, practicing one’s stance, and so much more.

  Clay pigeon shooting is very important to McKean, she expands on this saying, “I don’t do it for the competition part, I just do it so…  as a community we can all come together.”

This sport means a whole lot to McKean, when she goes out to shoot clay, she states that, “It is helping me feel like an empowered woman.”

Not only is this a way for Hailey McKean to embrace her family’s environment, but it is also helping her to grow as a person. 

About the Writer
Photo of Mattie Powers
Mattie Powers, Staff Writer

Mattie Powers is a senior at Durant High School and a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. Not only is Mattie Powers involved in the PawPrint, but...

N.C.A.A. Extends Eligibility for College Seniors

Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, all spring sports seasons were suspended due to public health concerns.

Courtesy of AP News

Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, all spring sports seasons were suspended due to public health concerns.

On March 12 many college spring sports teams were devastated to find out that the rest of their senior season was canceled and had come to an end. However, this feeling was partially lifted Monday, March 30, when the N.C.A.A. Division 1 Council announced that seniors athletes of all spring sports would have another year of eligibility due to their seasons being cut short. 

Even with this exciting news, there are still many restrictions on athlete eligibility. Individual universities and conferences will make the decision on whether to welcome athletes back or not. The Ivy League conference announced on Thursday, April 2 that extended eligibility went against the league’s current policies. 

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the League made the following statement regarding the decision. “Existing eligibility policies will remain in place, including its longstanding practice that athletic opportunities are for undergraduates.”

Even with the given opportunity, some seniors have decided that they do not want to return, regardless of whether their college allows it or not. According to the New York Times, Molly Milligan, a senior rower undergraduate at Penn State, decided she will not return if given the opportunity. 

She plans to be a graduate assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin while earning her master’s degree. She made the following statement regarding this decision. “The trauma of the past two weeks was really challenging to deal with. It is hard now going back to change that mind-set”

Some restrictions on whether the athletes will return are strictly financial. Schools only have a limited number of scholarships they can give out among the teams, and with the combination of incoming freshmen, transfer students, and seniors staying behind, it might be more than the school can handle. 

According to the New York Times, each team has a limited number of scholarships they can give out. Andy Fee, the athletic director at Long Beach State, made a statement regarding this saying that he feels that in today’s current world, its money [universities] just don’t have. Each school only has a certain amount of scholarships that it can give out to players.

But there is still hope for current athletes. Colleges along with the N.C.A.A. have announced that they plan to extend the rosters to make room for both the incoming recruits and seniors staying behind, this way the coaches of the teams will not have to worry about making cuts on recruits already designated to join the team. 

Time will tell how each college will respond to these announcements. During times like this it is important to hang on to as much normalcy as possible. This opportunity will allow seniors the chance to complete their senior seasons in the way they have always hoped for.

About the Writer
Photo of Faith Miller
Faith Miller, Staff Writer

Faith Miller is a senior at Durant High School and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint. This year will be her fourth season on the varsity Durant...

News Updates Besides COVID-19

Beloved country singer Kenny Rogers sadly passed away of natural causes at 81 years old.

Wade Payne, Associated Press

Beloved country singer Kenny Rogers sadly passed away of natural causes at 81 years old.

COUNTRY MUSIC LOSES ONE OF ITS FINEST

Country Music star Kenny Rogers died on March 20th in his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.  Known for blurring the line between country and pop music, Rogers’ music career lasted 60 years beginning with his 1957 single “That Crazy Feeling.”  Rogers spent the early years of his career in a jazz band and later a folk music band, but his solo career took off in 1978 with “Lucille,” winning him the first of four Grammy Awards.  Rogers released his last song, “Once Again Its Christmas,” in 2015 and went on his final tour in three days later, visiting only five cities.

Rogers was briefly hospitalized in May of 2019 for dehydration, but afterwards said he planned on “sticking around through the years to come.”  However, Rogers passed under the care of hospice from natural causes according to a family spokesman.

Celebrities took to the internet mourning the death of the county legend, including Dolly Parton, who sang the hit duet “Islands in the Stream” with Rogers. “I love Kenny with all my heart.  My heart is broken,” she said.

Sarah Trahern, chief executive officer of the Country Music Association, spoke of his fame, saying, “He was a global superstar who helped introduce country music to audiences around the world.”

The Gambler is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews.

TOM BRADYT AND THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Future NFL Hall of Famer Tom Brady, 42, signed a two-year contract worthy of up to $59 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2020 season on March 20th.  After spending his first 20 years with the New England Patriots and earning six Superbowl rings, Brady comes to the Bucs “excited, humbled, and hungry,” per his official announcement of the deal on Instagram.  

Brady has made nine Superbowl appearances, but joins the Bucs, who currently have the second-longest active playoff drought and only one Superbowl win.  The Buccaneers are looking forward an added spark of the leadership as well as the postseason experience Brady can bring to the team. Following the signing, Bucs second year head coach Bruce Arians said, “Tom is the most successful quarterback in the history, but what makes special is his ability to make those around him better.”

Tampa fans have high hopes going into the 2020 season while Boston fans mourn the loss of their football star.  Codey Winters, a Buccaneers fan commented on the Twitter announcement, saying “This is the start of something special.”  Jeff Fuller, a Patriots fan, commented, saying, “From Pats fan to Bucs fan, you guys are getting the hardest working and greatest QB ever.”

FIRST LAUNCH OF THE UNITED STATES SPACE FORCE

President Trump signed legislation creating the US Space Force December 20th, 2019, thus creating the sixth branch of US armed forces.  The Space Force is the first addition to the Armed Forces since 1947, when President Truman created the Air Force.  The Space Force will maintain US dominance in space by collecting information and relaying communications around the world.  

On March 26th, the first national security mission of the USSF launched the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite (AEHF) from Port Canaveral.  A representative for Lockheed Martin, the contractor for the AEHF satellite, released a statement saying, “The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system provides vastly improved global, survivable, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. The jam-resistant system also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.”  

After a short delay Thursday afternoon due to a misreading of the hydraulic equipment, the rocket was launched with the satellite from the east coast of Florida.  The information that will be communicated from the satellite should last beyond 2030, according to Lieutenant General John F Thompson, Commander of the Space and Missiles Systems Centre in California.  

DISNEY WELCOMES ZEBRA FILLY AND PORCUPETTE

Although Disney has closed its doors to humans in the wake of the Coronavirus, they are still welcoming new animal guests to their parks.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently welcomed a female young porcupine and zebra foal to the park, making the announcement on their Instagram page.  

The baby porcupine, or porcupette, was born on February 25th to mother Peri.  Peri was featured during her pregnancy with vet Natalie Mylniczenko on the “One Day at Disney” documentary on Disney+.  The prehensile tail porcupette will become part of the Species Survival Plan, a plan to preserve threatened or endangered species.  The Disney veterinary team tested her small, red quills to determine her gender. Peri and her mother are staying at Animal Kingdom’s Conservation Station.

Just after the birth of the young porcupine, Disney’s zebra mother, Heidi, welcomed her first offspring.  The zebra foal is yet to be named, but, according to reports, is strong and healthy. The 65-pound filly was standing within a half hour of being born.  Mark Penning, the Vice President of Animals, Science, and Environment at Disney’s parks, said the foal will take the next few weeks to bond with her mother.  The baby will have the chance to memorize her mother’s scent and unique markings before being introduced to the Kilimanjaro Safari’s Savannah.  

About the Writer
Photo of Lilyann Belcher
Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Lily Belcher is a sophomore at Durant High School and she is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of Durant’s Flag Football team,...

Durant Hockey Team Finishes a Great Season

The+Durant+hockey+team+makes+it+all+the+way+to+the+Lightning+High+School+Hockey+League+during+the+2019-2020+season.

Plant City Observer

The Durant hockey team makes it all the way to the Lightning High School Hockey League during the 2019-2020 season.

The Durant hockey team had an outstanding season led by Captain Christpoher “CJ” Comunale. They were also led by Alternate Captains: Michael Romeo, a junior at Durant High School, Jordan Putnam, and Xander Wise, both juniors at Strawberry Crest High School. 

With Comunale being injured at the beginning of the season due to an injury, he only played 13 games. Yet, the team stepped up to make it all the way to the second round of the playoffs.

Durant has two goalies. Ryan Putnam, a freshman at Strawberry Crest High School, who was one of the best goalies in the league. He ended the regular season with a record of 8 wins, 3 losses, and 3 ties. Will Chabalowski, a sophomore at Brandon Academy, also had a great season with a regular season record of 4 wins, 1 loss, and 3 ties.

Durant’s top scorer was Jordan Putnam. He ended with 21 goals and 16 assists. Rising star, Ethan Carstens, a freshman at Durant High School, ended with 13 goals and 13 assists. With Comunale back towards the end of the season, yet only playing 13 games, he had 8 goals and 13 assists. Durant also had very strong defense and will continue to improve their game

Durant faced Bloomingdale High School’s hockey team in their final game of the regular season and won the game by a final score of 3-1. Durant would end their 2019-20 season with a record of 12 wins, 4 losses, and 6 ties.

Durant would then go on to the first round of the playoffs and they would defeat Jesuit High School 6-3. The goals in the game for Durant came from CJ Comunale, Michael Hemmeke, Colin Smargon, Xander Wise, Ethan Carstens, and Robert Noble.

 Durant went on to the division finals to face Jenkins High School. Durant would fall behind 4-1 entering the third period. Yet, the team would not go down without a fight. Durant would score four goals in the final period. Jenkins would win the game 7-5 going all the way to the Lightning High School Hockey League finals to face Seminole High School. 

Durant’s season did not end there. Durant went on to the 2020 SAHOF States tournament, a three day tournament for tier one and tier two teams that made the playoffs. Durant played a total of three games in two days. 

They then played  Boca Raton High School and Durant won the game, 8-2. The next day, Feb. 23, 2020, Durant lost to Miami-Dade High School 5-0 but later that day they were  eliminated from the tournament by Southwest Broward losing in a shootout, 4-3.

Durant had a great season and we wish them the best of luck for the next season.

Rays Make Another Interesting Swap With Padres

Hunter Renfroe joins the 2020 Tamoa Bay Rays season lineup.

Hunter Renfroe joins the 2020 Tamoa Bay Rays season lineup.

If you got déjà vu from the Rays recent trade, it’s understandable considering how similar this deal is to another trade the two teams made only a month before. In January Tampa Bay made a shocking deal to trade outfielder Tommy Pham to San Diego in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and second base prospect Xavier Edwards. Just a couple weeks later the Rays traded another established Major League player to the Pads in relief pitcher Emilio Pagan for another Padres outfielder in Manuel Margot. Also headed to the Bay is catching and outfield prospect Logan Driscoll who had a slash line of .340/.458/.797 in the Northwest league. He’ll start the 2020 season in Class-A Bowling Green for Tampa Bay. 

Why did the Rays make this trade?

Fans may be curious as to why the Rays traded Pagan, the team’s leader in saves with twenty. For starters, Tampa Bay felt confident in their many bullpen arms, including Nick Anderson, Colin Poche, Diego Castillo, and Oliver Drake. They’re also counting on a rebound year from Jose Alvarado, who struggled after a scorching start last season. On top of that if guys like Brent Honeywell and Anthony Banda can fully recover from Tommy John surgery and be effective, it’s safe to say Tampa Bay will have a deep enough bullpen. 

The fact the Rays had four outfielders before this trade occurred also makes it interesting. Margot is a defensive outfielder, primarily in centerfield, with a very similar profile to Kevin Kiermaier but from the right side of the plate. However, Margot is coming off a year in which he hit .330/.420/.466 clip against lefties, making him an ideal platoon with Kiermaier, who struggles against left handers. Outfielder Randy Arozarena, acquired from St. Louis this offseason, is affected the most by this deal as instead of having a chance to be the fourth outfielder on the Opening Day roster, Margot will take that spot. Chances are Arozarena will start the year in Triple-A Durham.

General Manager of the Rays Erik Neander told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that they had been on Margot for a while, and had tried to acquire him with prospects. When that didn’t work the Rays resorted to trading from a place of depth to acquire a needed position player. Neander also told Topkin, “We feel really good about where we stand right now.” At the end of the day this trade sends a message to Tampa Bay: We want to win now. 

Why did the Padres make this deal?

This one’s a little easier to explain. The main reason for San Diego agreeing to this is they wanted to bolster an already solid bullpen. MLB Network rated Padres closer Kirby Yates as the top relief pitcher in baseball and now they can throw Pagan into that mix, which should be lethal. Having a strong bullpen will be crucial for San Diego as they will need to eat up innings to back a very young and inexperienced starting rotation.

However there are negatives to this deal for San Diego as centerfield is wide open for the Pads. Without the rangy Margot in center the outfield defense takes a significant hit. Newcomers such as Trent Grisham and former Ray Tommy Pham may have to plug that hole for the Friars, both of which are used to playing the corner outfield positions. The Padres took a risk in the outfield to strengthen the ‘pen, and only time will tell if it was worth it.

What’s next for Tampa Bay?

That’s a tough question with the always innovative Rays’ front office. After the Jose Martinez trade most Rays’ fans, including me, felt the Rays were pretty much set with their roster heading into Spring Training other than a few minor league signings. Clearly we were wrong as the Rays made another significant trade only days before pitchers and catchers reported. 

However, with only about two weeks before the Rays’ Spring Training opener, I just don’t see the Rays making another big trade, especially one that removes current players from the 25-man roster. Although Tampa Bay’s front office has a knack of making surprising trades so I wouldn’t completely rule it out. One thing is for certain, the Rays want to win, and now. If they can make another trade to improve the roster significantly for the right cost, they’ll do it.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

Twitter Q&A: 2020-2021 Rays Season

Fans are rallying with excitement for the upcoming baseball season. Tickets are already on sale, more information is provided at mlb.com.

Tampa Bay Rays

Fans are rallying with excitement for the upcoming baseball season. Tickets are already on sale, more information is provided at mlb.com.

The baseball season is almost upon us, so what better way to get ready than to answer your fan questions? I asked fellow fans on twitter and many students at Durant High School to send me any questions you have regarding the upcoming Rays season, and as the old saying goes, “Ask and you shall receive.”

Do you foresee anymore trades being done before opening day?

[email protected] on Twitter

I’d be shocked if the Rays made a major trade that really shakes up the clubhouse in the next month or so. After the Martinez trade it seems like the 25- man roster is set and ready to rock. Other than a few minor league signings and invitations to Spring Training I don’t see the Rays making anymore moves leading up to March 26th.


Do you think the Rays have a good starting rotation for this upcoming season?

[email protected] on Twitter

I’d be willing to argue Tampa Bay has the best starting rotation in baseball led by the three-headed monster of Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow, and Blake Snell. They also have a very solid back of the rotation including Ryan Yarbrough, Yonny Chirinos, Brendan McKay and possibly Brent Honeywell, depending on his progression from Tommy John surgery. What’s going to determine if the rotation lives up to its potential will be health. If the Rays can avoid the avalanche of injuries they experienced last season with the starting rotation they have a real shot of doing some serious damage this season. Expect there to be managed workloads on both Glasnow and Snell to avoid injury in 2020.


What do you think the Rays fallback plan is if Mike Zunino doesn’t work out?

[email protected] on Twitter

There’s no getting around it, Mike Zunino had a horrendous year on offense in 2019. However his defense was still spectacular, possibly being the reason why the Rays re-signed him this offseason. Tampa Bay has faith in him rebounding, but if he continues to struggle with the bat the Rays could opt to give Michael Perez the primary catching job and make Zunino the backup. If Perez struggles to produce at the big-league level Tampa Bay could give Kevan Smith or Chris Herrmann a shot, both of which recently signed minor league contracts with an invite to spring training. Another route they could go down is acquiring a catcher from another team, like they did last season stealing Travis d’Arnaud from the Dodgers. If the Rays want to hoist the World Series trophy, they are going to have to figure out the catching position one way or another.


Do you think Nate Lowe has a future on the team with Choi and Martinez?

[email protected] on Twitter

After acquiring Jose Martinez from St. Louis, the first base position is extremely crowded with Choi, Lowe, and now Martinez all needing playing time. Martinez can play outfield but his defense is shaky and could fit better at first base. If he struggles with the glove in the outfield but is effective at 1st then Lowe will be in trouble as both Choi and Martinez are under control for a few more years. On top of that they make the perfect platoon as Choi hits righties and Martinez rakes lefties. If this is the case then I don’t see how Lowe could fit on the current roster and could be dangled as trade bait for a midseason need the Rays have, such as a catcher.


Will Brent Honeywell be worth the wait? 

[email protected]_ on Twitter

Absolutely, yes, he will. Not only does he provide depth to an already deep pitching staff, the guy throws a screwball, which is unheard-of nowadays.  He’s been rated highly on every prospect list for years now and is rated as the 91st overall best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He’s going to be fun to watch, that I can assure you.


Do you think we’ll see an opener being used as often as we saw it last season?

[email protected] on Twitter

Assuming the health of the rotation, I just don’t see the Rays using as many openers as last season. The opener was born out of necessity and now that the Rays have a full and healthy (hopefully) rotation the opener won’t be as necessary as it was in previous seasons. It may make an appearance here and there but don’t expect one or two per week like 2019.


Do you think Wander Franco will be called up this year?

[email protected] on Twitter

I’d be very surprised if we see him in a Rays uniform this year. Keep in mind the kid is only 18, going to be 19, and hasn’t played in Double-A yet. It’s very unlike the Rays to rush a prospect, even one of Franco’s caliber, to the big leagues. He’ll start the year in Class-A Advanced, play a few games and be promoted to Double-A very early in the year. I don’t think it’s outlandish to say he’ll be in Triple-A by year’s end and be on the Rays’ Opening Day lineup card in 2021.


Who will be the most surprising player to watch this season?

-Zander Fisk, Junior at Durant High School

The easy or more popular choices would be Hunter Renfroe or Jose Martinez but I’m going to go out of the box a little here with Randy Arozarena. In the trade that sent Liberatore to the Cards the Rays got Martinez, but they also got the less talked about Arozarena. He’s pegged to be the fourth outfielder on the Opening Day roster if he impresses during Spring Training. First of all, the kid can flat out fly, automatically making him a fun guy to watch. He can also hit for average, he’s got a cannon and Gold Glove caliber defense. The power is still developing but the tools he has right now makes him a very intriguing player for 2020.


Will the Rays win the A.L. East?

[email protected] on Twitter

Looking at the roster right now, if the Rays can stay healthy, I truly believe the Rays can and will win this division. They have a top three starting rotation in all of baseball and the best bullpen, both of which led the league in ERA last season. In addition they have a newly revamped lineup with more power and a young core of guys who are hungry to win. If Tampa Bay can figure out how to win at Yankee Stadium and bury the Red Sox like they did last year, nothing is stopping them from claiming their first A.L. East title since 2010.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

Super Bowl 54 Approaching Quickly

This could be the first win for the Kansas City Chiefs at the Super Bowl. In addition to the game J-Lo and Shakira are the halftime performance.

Forbes

This could be the first win for the Kansas City Chiefs at the Super Bowl. In addition to the game J-Lo and Shakira are the halftime performance.

Super Bowl LIV or Super Bowl 54 will take place Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 at Hardrock stadium in Miami, Fla. This years’ Super Bowl will feature the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The Kansas City Chiefs look to win their first Super Bowl as a franchise and the San Francisco 49ers look to win their sixth Super Bowl championship. 

The Chiefs are led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Since joining the Chiefs roster and being named their quarterback, Mahomes has led the Chiefs to a total of 27 wins and 8 losses. Although the Chiefs are favored to win the Super Bowl, there is hope for the 49ers. 

The 49ers have a great defense and offensive line and are led by quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo and Mahomes are two great quarterbacks, but this Super Bowl will make history as both quarterbacks have a combined winning percentage of .794, the highest combined winning percentage between two Super Bowl starting quarterbacks. The record was previously held by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks from Super Bowl 49 with a combined winning percentage of .766. 

Kansas City Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid has the sixth most wins as a coach in NFL coach with 221 wins during the regular season. This is Reid’s’ second trip to a Super Bowl with the last one time was in 2005. If he were to win this year’s Super Bowl, it would most likely put him in contention for a Hall of Fame spot and make him one of the best NFL coaches in history. For the other team is the 49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan. He and his team started the 2018 season with a record of 0-9. Despite the slow start, the 49ers had a big bounce back season in 2019, ending with a record of 13-3. 

The 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game with the final score being 37-20, putting them in this years’ Super Bowl. The Chiefs sealed the deal in the AFC championship game by defeating the Tennessee Titans with a final score of 35-24. Both the Titans and Packers played their hearts out, but the 49ers and the Chiefs were the better teams this season. With all the hype this year’s Super Bowl, it should be an amazing game with it being predicted to have a high score between the two teams. You don’t want to miss this big event at the very end of the NFL season. 

About the Writer
Photo of Jordan Dabbour
Jordan Dabbour, Business Manager

Jordan Dabbour is a junior at Durant High School and is Advertising Business Manager for the PawPrint newspaper. He is an avid sports fan, and loves to...

Sports legend Kobe Bryant Passes Away

Much of society took to the Internet to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant, as well as to mourn the other crash victims. This tragedy impacted far more people than just NBA fans.

Mashable

Much of society took to the Internet to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant, as well as to mourn the other crash victims. This tragedy impacted far more people than just NBA fans.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter, Gianna, 13, were confirmed dead in a helicopter crash Sunday afternoon.  The fiery crash took place over Calabasas, California killing all eight passengers and the pilot aboard the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.  

The helicopter crashed far from homes or roadways, but the brush fire, ignited as a result of the crash, delayed first-responders arrival at the crash site.  

Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for his entire 20 year professional basketball career, retiring in 2016 as a basketball legend.  He was a five time NBA champion, two time NBA Finals MVP, and 18 consecutive NBA All-Star.  

Bryant was active on Instagram congratulating Lebron James on surpassing him for third on NBA’s all time scoring list just 15 hours before the crash.  It would be his last social media post.  

Bryant followed in his father’s, Joe “JellyBean” Bryant’s, footsteps.  Kobe Bryant lived with his two sisters and parents in Italy while his father played in the Italian league in 1984 after his career in the NBA and was active in soccer and basketball from an early age.  

When his family moved to Philadelphia in 1991, Bryant joined Lower Merion High School’s basketball team, leading the Aces to four state championships.  Bryant was drafted as the 13th overall draft pick to the Charlotte Hornets, but was quickly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal in 1996 and won the next three NBA Championships in ’96, ’97, and ‘98.  Two years into his NBA Career with the Lakers, he was voted onto the 1998 All-Star team, becoming the youngest NBA All-Star at just 19 years of age.  After O’Neal left the Lakers in 2004, the shooting guard continued to shine, leading the league in scoring in 2006 and 2007.  

In 2008, Bryant played along side basketball stars Kevin Durant and Lebron James in the 2008 and 2010 Olympics, winning two gold medals for the US.  The Lakers won the next two NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010, the most recent NBA title for the team.  

Bryant’s final years of his professional career were plagued with injuries, including tearing his achilles in 2013, but he didn’t walk off the court immediately after the injury.  He finished the play, taking and making two free throw shots before retiring to the locker room. Tim S. Grover, Bryant’s long-time sports doctor, outlined Bryant’s resilience, especially during his 2013 games, in his novel “Relentless.”    

Bryant’s final injury came in January of 2015 when he tore his rotator cuff.  Nine months later, he announced he would retire at the end of the 2015 season.  After his retirement, Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner said, “Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game.”  

Bryant wrote a short poem entitled “Dear Basketball” at the end of his career, which was turned into a movie of the same title.  The Disney produced movie went on to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2018.

Bryant partnered with After-School All-Stars, a non-profit after school program for kids and ran a summer school camp for young, aspiring basketball players after his retirement.

His second daughter, Gianna, was following in her father and grandfather’s footsteps with hopes to be in the WNBA.  Bryant proudly coached his daughter and her AAU teammates in California and was reportedly on his way to a travel ball game.

Bryant was as inspirational off the court as his play was on the court.  His death reverberated across the country and tributes flooded social media for the father of four.  The game will miss him, but, as he said in “Dear Basketball,” “its time to say goodbye.”

Gianna and Kobe Bryant are survived by his wife Vanessa Bryant and their three other daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. 

About the Contributor
Photo of Lilyann Belcher
Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Lily Belcher is a sophomore at Durant High School and she is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of Durant’s Flag Football team,...

MLB faces major scandal

Owner of the team Jim Crane, was dissapointed, and had higher expectations for the members of his organization.

Yi-Chin Lee

Owner of the team Jim Crane, was dissapointed, and had higher expectations for the members of his organization.

On Monday, January 14th the Houston Astros were handed one of the harshest penalties in baseball history since the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. Eight White Sox players were given life bans for throwing a World Series for money from gamblers, who were betting against the White Sox in the Fall Classic.

The Astros, who were being investigated for cheating electronically using a centerfield camera to decode signs given by the opposing catchers, then banging on a trash can to tell the Houston batters that an off-speed pitch was coming.

Commissioner Rob Manfred caught the Red Sox in 2017 using a smart watch to get signs from the Yankees and were given a light suspension and fine. Manfred declared that if he caught a team cheating electronically again the penalty would be massive.

On Monday night he didn’t disappoint as Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were both suspended a year from baseball, the Astros lost all their first and second round draft picks for 2020 and 2021 and were fined 5 million dollars, the most a team can be fined under the MLB constitution. 

The report released by Major League Baseball Investigation Unit, stated that the main perpetrators included but were not limited to current managers Alex Cora of the Red Sox, who was the bench coach at the time, Carlos Beltran of the Mets, who was the designated hitter for Houston, as well as Hinch and Luhnow.

Cora and Beltran both actively participated and relayed signs to the dugout and batter, while no evidence linked Hinch and Luhnow to participating in the cheating, the two still made no efforts to stop the activity. No players were suspended by MLB for the scandal, thus Beltran was not penalized.

Once Manfred announced the penalty the Astros immediately fired both Hinch and Luhnow as owner Jim Crane had “higher standards for the city and the fans.”

The Boston Red Sox, who were also being investigated for electronically cheating, followed suit as they fired their manager Alex Cora on Tuesday, before MLB released Cora’s punishment.

According to Major League Baseball’s report Cora ran the cheating operation in Houston, as he relayed the signs from the monitor in the clubhouse to a player or coach in the dugout, who would then proceed to bang on a trash can to inform the batter of the incoming pitch.

After leaving Houston to manage the Red Sox in 2018 he continued to cheat in Boston using a similar system, and proceeded to win the World Series. 

After the Astros and Red Sox both let go of their respective managers for a clean slate the Mets were feeling pressure from their fans to fire their manager Carlos Beltran, who had just been hired this offseason and hadn’t even managed a single game.

Finally, on Thursday, January 16, Beltran reportedly “stepped down” from being the manager of the New York Mets, ending the fallout of this cheating scandal which took three managers and a general manager who may never work in baseball again.

It’s very obvious this wasn’t an accident, this was a refined system used for cheating electronically and directly influenced the outcome and the integrity of the game. Reaction from the baseball world was split, reporters such as Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark felt the penalty was plenty harsh. “The goal of this punishment was to prevent teams from doing this again, I think this accomplished that,” Stark said on MLB Network.

However former players such as David Freese felt MLB needed to go further as on Twitter he simply said, “Should’ve taken the ring,” referring to the 2017 World Series title the Astros won, their only title in franchise history and it will forever be tainted by this scandal. 

It was a momentous day for baseball, one we had never seen the likes of and hopefully never have to see again. When the integrity of the game comes into question it’s the commissioner’s job to restore it, and the punishment handed out to Houston will hopefully deter other teams from trying to cheat electronically and never force fans to question whether the game was played fairly again.

Scandals like these don’t just make the Houston Astros or the Boston Red Sox look bad, it’s much bigger than that. It makes the game of baseball look bad, its reputation tarnished. Yes it was a sad day for baseball, the Astros, A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow, but most of all it was a sad day for the fans. A day that made them question the fairness and integrity of this great game, the game they love. It was hopefully a day we never have to experience again.

About the Writer
Photo of David Fackson
David Fackson, Staff Writer

David is a junior and is a Staff Writer for the Durant PawPrint Newspaper. He is a huge baseball fan, specifically a Rays fan who loves writing about the...

MLB award season ends

The Rawlings Gold Glove is one of the most prestigious awards given by the MLB. The best players in each field position win a Gold Glove annually.

Minor League Baseball

The Rawlings Gold Glove is one of the most prestigious awards given by the MLB. The best players in each field position win a Gold Glove annually.

The MLB award season has just finished. The American League and National League Gold Glove winners were announced on Nov. 3, 2019. On Nov. 4, 2019, the American and National League Most Valuable Player, Cy Young Award for the best pitcher from each league, Manager of the Year for best manager from each league, and the Rookie of the Year winners were announced. 

Starting with the American League, the MVP finalists that were named are Mike Trout from the Los Angeles Angels, Alex Bregman from the Houston Astros, and Marcus Semien. The National League MVP finalists were Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals, Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and reigning National League MVP, Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers. On Nov. 14, 2019, the winners were announced. The winner representing the National League was Cody Bellinger. Bellinger hit 47 home runs and had 115 runs batted in. Yelich was the runner up and Rendon was placed third. The winner representing the American League is Mike Trout. Trout, 28, hit 45 home runs and had 104 runs batted in and a batting average of .291. Bregman finished second and Semien finished third. 

The Cy Young Award for the American League was very tough choice this year. The finalists were Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, both representing the Houston Astros and Rays’ Charlie Morton. The National League Cy Young Award finalists were Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals, Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, and Hyun-Jin-Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The winners were announced on Nov. 13, 2019. The winner representing the American League was Astros, Justin Verlander. Verlander, 36, has added more hardware to his Hall of Fame career as he wins his second Cy Young Award. Verlander had twenty-one wins and six losses with an earned run average of 2.58 and had 300 strikeouts. Verlander’s fellow teammate, Gerrit Cole, 29, was very close to winning but finished in second place. Cole elected free agency, meaning he’ll go to another team the day after Verlander won. Morton finished third place. The winner representing the National League was New York Mets pitcher, Jacob deGrom, who won the Cy Young Award last season, wins it again this season. deGrom held an earned run average (ERA) at 2.43 with eleven wins and eight losses. deGrom also had 255 strikeouts. Hyun-Jin-Ryu finished second in voting, with Scherzer finishing third in voting. 

The American League Manager of the Year finalists were Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins, Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees, and Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays. The National League finalists were Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers, Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves, and Mike Shildt of the St. Louis Cardinals. On Nov. 12, 2019, the winners were announced as the winner representing the American League was Rocco Baldelli. This was Baldelli’s first season with the Twins and he won 101 games during the season. But don’t leave out Boone and Cash as great managers. Boone had 30 of his best players on the injured list throughout the season and had to call up many prospects. Despite all the injuries, 

Boone led the Yankees to 103 wins. Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays won 96 games and pushed the Astros to the limit in the playoffs. The Rays entered the season as the team with the lowest payroll and had at least 24 million dollars to sign players. Cash is smart when it comes to baseball, as he uses a bullpen pitcher to start a game and they won most of the games. Boone finished second and Cash finished third. The winner representing the National League was St. Louis Cardinals manager, Mike Shildt. Shildt is the first manager to win the award and never play professional baseball. Craig Counsell, finished second, while Brian Snitker finished third. 

The Rookies of the Year finalists for the American League were Houston Astros Yordan Alvarez, Tampa Bay Rays’ Brandon Lowe, and Baltimore Orioles’, John Means. The finalists for the National League were Pete Alonso from the New York Mets, Fernando Tatis Jr. from the San Diego Padres, and Mike Soroka from the Atlanta Braves. The winners were announced on Nov. 12, 2019. The winner representing the American League was Yordan Alvarez from the Astros. Alvarez, 22, hit 27 home runs and ended with a batting average of .313. and won the award unanimously. Means finished second and Lowe finished third. The winner representing the National League was Pete Alonso. Alonso hit 53 home runs, a new regular season rookie home run record, and had 120 runs batted in. Soroka finished second in voting and Tatis Jr. finished third. 

The MLB awards were very competitive this year and were awarded to highly elite players who can get things done on and off the field.

About the Writer
Photo of Jordan Dabbour
Jordan Dabbour, Business Manager

Jordan Dabbour is a junior at Durant High School and is Advertising Business Manager for the PawPrint newspaper. He is an avid sports fan, and loves to...

Swinging for the fences: 2019 Rays season Overview

The+Rays+celebrate+their+valiant+efforts+throughout+the+eason.

The Rays celebrate their valiant efforts throughout the eason.

The 2019 MLB season found the Rays in a familiar spot: a few new faces, a few returning players, and fewer fans in the stands in St. Pete’s Tropicana Field. Little did 2019 AL Manager of the Year Kevin Cash know that 2019 would be the first time the 22-year-old Rays would make it to the postseason since 2013.

The Rays season began on an optimistic note with a series win against eventual 2019 World Series runner up, the Houston Astros.  However, a rash of injuries swept through the Rays’ clubhouse mid-April, sending Blake Snell (fractured right toe), Austin Meadows (right thumb sprain), Joey Wendle (hamstring sprain), fan-favorite Ji-Man Choi (calf tightness), and veteran Matt Duffy (pulled hamstring) to the Injured List (IL). Surprisingly, Kevin Kiermaier, known for his extended annual stints on the IL, avoided getting injured, but did miss games in the middle of the season with a variety of injuries. The Rays ended April with a 19-12 record, including a sweep against the Red Sox.

The Rays won 16 of their 27 games in May, including two series against the New York Yankees and a series against the Cleveland Indians.  Riley Brown, a sophomore at Durant High School, says that the Yankees were the toughest opponent for the Rays to face this year, alluding to the few games the Rays won against their division opponents.  Tampa Bay also led sweeps against cross-state rivals, the Miami Marlins, and international opponents, the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Rays avoided their common summer slump, winning more than half of their games in June.  However, behind the scenes, Rays’ ownership was exploring a future deal with Montreal (who lost their MLB Franchise when the Expos became the current Washington Nationals), due to low profit from low attendance at Tropicana Field.  Stadium deal rumors, such as this, have become a common headline in Tampa for many years, so much that Rays’ fans are accustomed to the threats to draw baseball away from the west coast of Florida.  The rumors have yet to amount to any action. 

Grant Greenwell, a sophomore at Durant says “[the Rays] are probably gonna move pretty soon or are gonna be a two-city team at least.”  Rays fans have mixed opinions on the matter.  Austin Haley, a Durant Chemistry teacher, says that he hopes the rumors will result in reopening talks to keep the Rays in Florida, but at a better location.  However, the Rays need a lot more than a few passionate fans to keep them in Tampa Bay.

Despite the stadium drama, Rays’ players remained focused on the game and managed to get three players elected to the AL All-Star game on July 9: utility player, Brandon Lowe, Charlie Morton, and rookie sensation, Austin Meadows.  Lowe and Morton were unable to play in the game due to an injury and the pitching schedule, but Meadows represented the Ray, entering the game in the 4th inning playing outfield for three innings and an at bat. 

Facing the second half of the season, the Rays had one thing in mind: the playoffs.  Rays ended July playing the Red Sox for the fourth time in 2019.  Tampa Bay swept the Olde Towne Team at Fenway Park in four games, leading them into August on another high note, being the first team to win eight games at Boston in one season since 1966.  Catcher Travis D’Arnaud had an outstanding July, batting .304 and hitting 25 RBIs.

With a pitching staff largely on the IL, the Rays managed an impressive performance in the post season push.  The Rays relied on an innovative pitching approach with an “opener”, but without many of their starters, their approach was limited.  The offense managed to drive the Rays to 17 wins in 27 games.  Rays’ shortstop Willy Adames continued his stellar sophomore year, hitting .304 with 28 hits. 

Rays’ fans, players, and coaches were watching the Wild Card standings, knowing their performance in September would control their post season fate.  Their pitchers were finally getting healthy and batters were swinging for the fences.  September began by completing a sweep against the Cleveland Indians, followed by 15 more wins.  Left fielder Tommy Pham closed out the season setting five 2019 team records, including 25 stolen bases and 33 doubles.  The last win in the regular season came against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 27.  Not only did the Rays beat the Blue Jays 6-2, they clinched one of the two Wild Card spots, followed by an extensive champagne celebration in Toronto’s visitor’s locker room.  The Rays would be playing in October for the first time since 2013. 

Austin Haley, “[the Rays’] run differential was great this year,” and contributes that to their offensive success.  Throughout regular season, the Rays were only outscored in the month of August and outscored opponents 796-656 overall.

The Rays faced the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card game on October 2nd, sending Charlie Morton to lead the defense for the first five innings, but they didn’t have to rely on their pitching and defense alone.  Yandy Diaz, returning third baseman, had an excellent performance hitting two back to back homers.  Avisail Garcia and Tommy Pham contributed to the offensive assault leading the Rays to a 5-1 victory over the Athletics, taking them to the American League Divisional Series.

After one day off, the Rays flew to Houston for the first two games of the series.  Rays fans weren’t giving up hope, even after dropping the first two games to Houston, being outscored 9-3.  Back on their home turf, the Rays challenged the Astros in a spectacular offensive show.  Kevin Kiermaier, who had had a rather quiet bat in the regular season, matched Altuve’s solo homerun with a three-run homer in the bottom of the second.  Aces Ji-Man Choi, Austin Meadows, Tommy Pham, Brandon Lowe, and Willy Adames contributed seven more runs bring the final score to 10-3.  The Rays were making a comeback. 

The fourth game was just as exciting for Rays’ fans.  Justin Verlander would be pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his career-a major mistake by Astro’s management.  Started by Diego Castillo, the Rays pitched a shutout through eight innings spoiled by a solo homerun by Houston catcher Robinson Chirinos.

Unfortunately, a sharp eye from the Astros’ dug out ended the Rays’ post season battle.  The Astros decoded Tyler Glasnow’s pitching positions, allowing them to read the pitch before it was thrown.  The Astros’ beat the Rays 6-1 in the decisive game 5 of the ALDS.  The Rays would be heading home after an impressive and unexpected fight with the Houston Astros.

Nevertheless, the Rays saw their regular and post season performance as a team victory.  In an interview with ABC, Eric Sogard voiced his praise for the 2019 Rays saying, “I think we surprised a lot of people. We believed in ourselves the whole way, we believed we could have done it. We went up against the best team, we gave them a fight in five games.” 

The Rays performance this year was not about winning the World Series; it was about perseverance, fighting, and impressing every baseball fan. 

About the Writer
Photo of Lilyann Belcher
Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Lily Belcher is a sophomore at Durant High School and she is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of Durant’s Flag Football team,...

Leave a Comment
Navigate Left
  • Denim Hughes

    Features

    DHS Senior, Denim Hughes, Encourages Underclassmen to Make the Most of Their Durant Years

  • Christopher Dello Russo Wins Gold Key at 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

    A & E

    Christopher Dello Russo Wins Gold Key at 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

  • Colby Sommer

    Features

    Sommer Has Big Plans After Graduation

  • Camryn Drummond

    Features

    Camryn Drummond Inspires Others

  • Emma Poole

    Journalism

    Emma Poole is in Top Ten

  • Miranda Bihler

    Journalism

    2020 Valedictorian Graduates With 7.56 GPA

  • Rebekah Lorentzen

    Journalism

    Lorentzen Graduates in Top Ten

  • Emma Henry

    Journalism

    Emma Henry in Top Ten of 2020 DHS Class

  • Durant Theater Company

    A & E

    Durant Theatre Company Steals the Show

  • Senior Brianna Thompson

    Features

    Brianna Thompson Graduates in Top Ten of 2020 Class

Navigate Right
Connecting you to the Durant beat