Super Bowl 54: Battle of the differences

Nazim Trammell-Wells | Staff Writer

The Super Bowl is almost upon us. If your team is watching on a couch like you are, it can be a bummer; but it’s still a fun time of the year. Fans are set up for quite a show with the super-loaded Chiefs offense vs. the shutdown defense from the 49ers. 

This past Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cinderella squad Tennessee Titans 35-24. Later on in the evening, the San Francisco 49ers beat the GreenBay Packers 37-20. 

Super Bowl 54 has a lot of marquee matchups. The most prominent will be the duel of two young quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo. Both QBs will be making their Super Bowl debuts. There’ll also be a battle between two of the league’s best tight ends, KC’s Travis Kelce and SF’s George Kittle. Where Kelce has proven that he is an elite pass-catcher, George Kittle has been more physical and dominant in both blocking and run after the catch. 

 Kansas City coach Andy Reid hasn’t been to the Super Bowl in 15 years, back when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles and lost to the Patriots. Reid has been known to be an offensive genius, and historically he loves to throw the football with a mobile quarterback, which makes having Mahomes almost a match made in heaven. 

On the other sideline will be Kyle Shanahan, a young coach who is known to be offensive-minded also, but his team’s personnel take on another identity which is their defense. Many believe the game is ultimately going to come down to the defense. 

“I want the Chiefs to win, but I really don’t see that happening,” Hampton University senior Tony Wright said. “San Francisco’s defense has had an answer for almost everyone in the league.” 

The 49ers defense, who is led by future Hall of Fame cornerback Richard Sherman and former top draft pick defensive end Nick Bosa, have taken down many big offensive talents this year. They include top-tier quarterbacks Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers (twice). 

The 49ers having someone like Sherman is a huge bonus. He’s been to two Super Bowls with the Seattle Seahawks and knows what it takes to win. The Chiefs, on the other hand, are young, and they often struggle defensively, allowing opponents more than 20 points per game. Ultimately, Kansas City wins games by simply scoring at a ridiculous rate, averaging close to 30 points per game. 

“If you had to ask me, I’m taking the 49ers,” Hampton Senior Justin Whitner said. They’ve been the more consistent team on both ends. The Chiefs defense just doesn’t have enough for me.”

The game appears as if it will be a matter of which defense can slow down the opposing team’s high-powered offense. 

    

  

L.A. stories, Bucks lead the way at NBA’s midway point

Justin Whitner | Staff Writer

As the NBA season approaches the All-Star break, we are just past the midway point in the 82-game marathon. Let’s take a look at the three most dominant teams and the three most disappointing squads in the league.

Dominant

The Los Angeles Lakers 

Rob Pelinka’s overhaul in the NBA offseason has proven to be a good move for the Lakers. LeBron James has returned healthy and in his dominant form again. Alongside him now is a healthy Anthony Davis. The two have led the Lakers to the top spot in the Western Conference.

The Los Angeles Clippers

The other team in Los Angeles has proven to be just as formidable as the Lakers. While the Clippers often rest players and use “load management,” they’re still a team that beats the best. In their two meetings with the Lakers, they’ve won both matchups. Although the Clippers lose more games than they should, come playoff time, NBA analysts expect them to be contending for an NBA title.

  Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are once again dominating the East and the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo refined his skills in the offseason and once again has Bucks competing for a title. Even with Milwaukee losing what were thought to be key components to their team, new players have stepped up and taken on new roles. With Giannis’ leadership and the Bucks’ role players playing well, the Bucks are looking to go farther in the playoffs this season.

Disappointing

 Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers appear to have fallen flat on their backs after making an appearance to the Western Conference Finals last season. The Trail Blazers do not currently occupy a playoff spot, even after adding longtime NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony. With less than 40 games left in the season, Portland will have to make serious changes schematically or through personnel, if they’d like to clinch a playoff spot.

 Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets had the biggest summer of any team, adding Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. Still, with Durant and Irving both dealing with injuries, the Nets have fallen below .500. Durant will be out for the remainder of the season, and Irving has missed significant time with a shoulder injury. The Nets were not expected to be title contenders this year, but being a bottom seed was also not a part of the plan either.

San Antonio Spurs

Ever since the departure of Kawhi Leonard, the San Antonio Spurs have seemed to have an identity crisis. DeMar DeRozan has been good but not quite good enough to take the Spurs to the next level. They currently do not occupy a playoff spot and are on the outside looking in. San Antonio is known for building teams quietly but not during the season. During the offseason, the team did not make many moves, and with that, analysts don’t expect the Spurs to make many moves.

LSU takes the victory against Clemson in 2020 National Championship

Amber Anderson | Staff Writer

Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers defeated the Clemson Tigers during the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship, finishing with a final score of 42-25. LSU finished with an undefeated record of 15-0. 

The Tigers dominated Clemson throughout the game, Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s head coach gave them their props for playing like champions throughout the game. 

“There offense this year was special and they did an amazing job. Again, they made some plays tonight that you just have to tip your hat to them, cause the ball was in the only place that their guy could catch it,” Swinney said during a press conference after the game. 

LSU’s quarterback Joe Burrow ended his season perfectly, making six touchdowns during the national championship. This was such a historic season for Burrow, winning a national championship, winning the Heisman trophy and ending his final year with an undefeated season. Burrow is projected as the number one overall draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in April’s NFL Draft. 

It was a disappointing loss for the Clemson Tigers, especially for their quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence even admitted to not being on his a-game during the national championship match-up, saying that some of his throws did not hit their mark. 

“I think the worst thing is that you don’t get to go back and play with this group…but, were going to be fine, we’re going to be back,” Lawrence said during a press conference after the game. 

Along with Lawrence, Clemson’s fans were also disappointed to see the team lose in the championship match-up, even a few Hampton students. 

“I was upset to see them lose due to Trevor Lawrence’s win streak. It would’ve been cool to see him add a national title to his streak,” said Ian Oakley. 

Stephen A. Smith was confident that Clemson was going to remain National Champions again. Many blame Lawrence for the loss but Smith doesn’t agree.

“I’m not saying he had a good game by any stretch because clearly, he didn’t, but I’m gon’ put some responsibility on the people around him and I’m gone put some responsibility on Coach Dabo…yes there were thirteen overthrows but, there were also a whole bunch of folks that were not getting open,” Smith said during ESPN’s First Take. 

Even though this season didn’t end for Trevor Lawrence as expected, with him making a return next season Clemson will have a good chance for a comeback. This’ll be Lawrence’s junior year and he’ll be a prime candidate for the Heisman trophy.

Former NFL played opened up about his battle with depression before death

Staff Writer: Amber N. Anderson

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Photo Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Former NFL player George Atkinson III died Dec. 2 at age 27, one year after the suicide of his twin brother, Josh Atkinson. Currently, there is no reported cause of death for Atkinson. During his NFL career, George Atkinson III played for the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns.
In October, Atkinson released an open letter published by the Unsealed, titled, “How I Turned My Losses into Lessons.” He addressed the letter to kids going through adversity. Within the letter, Atkinson discussed his battle with depression, his traumatic upbringing and how the sport of football changed his life.
Atkinson struggled with expressing himself, not opening up about all that he was going through and just continued to move forward.
“I felt like I had to be this tough guy and show no emotion,” Atkinson wrote in the open letter. Growing up, he and his twin brother had an unstable household. The two dealt with a mother who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia while also having to from house to house.
At the age of 10, he became aware that the way he was being treated was not right. At one point he had to call the police on his mother because she was getting violent toward him and his brother.
The two were taken away from their mom, living with their uncle for two years, and eventually their father, former NFL player George Atkinson II, stepped up to the plate and moved the boys in with him.
Moving in with their father created stability for them. The two then began playing football in high school. Atkinson and his brother ended up with scholarships from schools all across the country but decided that the University of Notre Dame was the place for them to continue their football careers.
Although they were on the road to success, the two were still carrying a lot of pain with them. Last October, their mother died from complications from Crohn’s disease. That same year on Christmas, his twin brother committed suicide by hanging himself.
Atkinson also checked into a mental institution because he had attempted to harm himself.
Battling with depression and struggling with expressing his emotions, he sought out help and began seeing a psychologist.
“We all must make sure we don’t find the easy way out, like using alcohol or drugs to numb our pain,” Atkinson wrote. “That will lead us nowhere. We have to face our problems head-on, whether that is talking to people, praying or listening to motivational speeches. Whatever helps you get through a tough time, that’s what you’ve got to do, and that’s what I have to do, too.”

Approximately 46.6 million adults in the U.S. endure the reality of managing a mental illness every day, meaning that 1 in 5 will live with a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime, according to Athletes for Hope. People are often under the impression that athletes don’t have mental health struggles due to all the success, wealth, fame and being able to play the sport that they love. In reality, athletes do have mental health struggles, from the pressures of having to ensure their performance in the game is excelling, family issues, living their life in the public eye, and specifically for
college athletes finding the balance between being an athlete and a student.
According to the Athletes for Hope, 33 percent of all college students experience significant symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. Out of that percentage, only 10 percent of student-athletes seek out help.
Among professional sports, Athletes for Hope said 35 percent of elite athletes suffer from a mental health crisis which may manifest as stress, eating disorders, burnout, or depression and anxiety.
Lanece Carpenter, a first-year sports management manager with a minor in leadership studies, thinks that sports teams need to increase their counseling offerings.
“They can support athletes in terms of mental health by meeting the growing demand of sports psychologists and providing mandatory counseling for all athletes,” Carpenter said.

Rivalry week hectic for Hampton

Staff Writers: Roderick McLean and Nazim Trammell-Wells

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Photo Credit: Roderick McLean

From The Battle of the Bay to HU vs HU, the past week has truly been hectic for the
Hampton Pirates men’s basketball team.

During DMV week, the Pirates faced off with the University of Richmond, Howard and
Norfolk State. The team ended up going 1-2 on the week, but the atmosphere was exciting for every game.

The Pirates went into the week shorthanded as star guard Jermaine Marrow (24.9ppg) is
out four to six weeks with an apparent hand injury. With this team having seven new faces, this week forced them to find a new identity.

With a lot more ball movement and dependability on a motion offense, sophomore
forward Ben Stanley emerged as a beast. Averaging 28.6 ppg on the week, Stanley showed the promise that many of his coaches raved about before the season.

The week started with Richmond. Stanley led the Pirates with 24 points and 13 rebounds
on 10-of-14 shooting. The game was close for much of the evening until the Spiders’ Blake
Francis found his groove and ultimately led Richmond to a second-half scoring outburst fromwhich the Pirates could never recover. The Pirates lost, 80-63.

“This game was closer than it looked,” HU senior Justin Whitner said. “There was good
energy in the convocation center, and I thought we were in it until midway through the second
half.”

The Howard vs. Hampton game followed two days later. The heated rivalry met all
demands as the game went into overtime, but the Bison left Convocation Center with a 94-91
win.

Hampton’s Ben Stanley was nearly unstoppable. He led all scorers with a career-high 40
points on 15-of-19 shooting. Junior guard Davion Warren had a double-double with career highs of 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Bison guard Charles Williams had 23 points and forced OT with a fading 3-point jumper. The Bison forced 16 Pirates turnovers.

Now with Hampton and Norfolk on losing streaks, The Battle of the Bay game was a
must-win game for both teams. Coming into the game the Spartans were on a six-game losing streak, while the Pirates had lost five in a row. During their most recent meeting, the Spartans defeated the Pirates 94-89 in double overtime last year in Norfolk.

This time, the Pirates started off slow out the gate as the Spartans jumped out to a 9-0
lead in the first five minutes before Stanley got the Pirates on the board. The first half was a low-scoring game. Pirates guard Dondre Griffin made a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer as HU took the lead 22-19.

The second half had seven ties and six lead changes. Pirates forward Amir Smith got
the crowd off their seats with his posterizing dunk on Spartans forward Chris Ford. The Pirates went on a 13-5 run to close the game. Hampton defeated Norfolk 64-53 to snap its losing streak. Stanley had another double-double for the Pirates with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Smith contributed to HU’s win with 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Pirates next game will be on Dec. 18 as the team travels to face Southern Illinois.

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Photo Credit: Roderick McLean

10 Impactful Black Athletes of The Decade

 

Staff Writer: Justin Whitner

An athlete can have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone
else or something. In the 2010s, there were hundreds of events, statements and moments that
impacted people all over the world. In football, basketball, track and gymnastics, black athletes
have inspired people worldwide. Let’s take a look at 10 athletes and what they did this decade
to influence many generations moving forward.
Russell Wilson: In the Super Bowl era, there have only been two black quarterbacks to win a
Super Bowl. Doug Williams won in the 1987 season, and Russell Wilson won in 2013. A family
man who is one of the most positive players in the sport, Wilson is living nearly a perfect
lifestyle.
Cam Newton: The NFL MVP of the 2015 season who won the national championship for the
Auburn Tigers, Newton hosted his 8th Annual Cam’s Thanksgiving Jam in 2019, where he
treated more than 1,300 underprivileged children and their families to an all-out feast.
Odell Beckham Jr: OBJ is one of the NFL’s most popular players. It began with “the catch”
against the Dallas Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football,” and continued to the dance moves in
online videos and in the end zone.
Russell Westbrook: To accomplish something that hasn’t been done since 1962 is remarkable,
but to do it more than once is something special. Furthermore, he honored Nipsey Hussle in a
game where he accumulated a 20/20/20 game that hadn’t been done since Wilt Chamberlain.
“Twenty plus 20 plus 20,” Westbrook told TNT’s Jason Terry during an on-court postgame
interview. “They know what that means, man, and that’s for my bro,” he said, according to The
Ringer.
Tiger Woods: Tiger Woods is this generation’s icon in golfing, and his comeback story in the
2019 Masters was the tip of the iceberg.
Usain Bolt: “The Fastest Man Alive” is said to have saved athletics. He brought the love back to
track for many people, but his legacy lived on further in Jamaica. Don Quarrie was one of
Jamaica's best-known track and field athletes after he won gold in the 200 meters at the 1976
Olympics, and he knew about the impact of Bolt. "Everybody from every part of the world knows
where Jamaica is right now, and everyone knows who Usain Bolt is, and it's not just because of
his speed but because they're captivated by whom he is," Quarrie told CBC.
Simone Biles: The most decorated Olympic gymnast ever, Biles can be in the discussion for
the greatest athletes ever. At 22 years of age, Biles surpassed Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo's
record for the 23 world medals he won in the 1990s.
Serena Williams: Pure dominance in the sport of tennis, Williams has won an Open Era-record
23 Grand Slam singles titles. One of her biggest stories is her 14-month maternity leave
comeback, where she returned just as dominant.
Colin Kaepernick: Kneeling during the national anthem led to many things that were not
always pretty for Kaepernick. His impact did not stop when he was no longer in the NFL. What
Kaepernick did began a whole revolution, and he will forever be a legend for the way he spoke
about how he felt.

LeBron James: From his I Promise School to the “I Am More than an Athlete,” there isn’t
another athlete who is as impactful off the court in his community as he is on it. “I will not shut
up and dribble,” James told ESPN’s Undefeated. “I mean too much to my family and all these
other kids that look up to me for inspiration and try to find a way out.”

HU poll: Patriots, 49ers and Saints are favorites

Justin Whitner | Staff Writer

The NFL season has passed its halfway point, and no team is undefeated.

What will happen the rest of the way? Who will be the MVP?

It’s prediction time again.

The 49ers suffered their first defeat in a 27-24 overtime thriller against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday. That game was just the first tough matchup in the Niners’ schedule in the next 30 days. They play the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 24, the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 1 and the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 8. All three of those teams are potential Super Bowl contenders for the rest of the season.

“I see the 49ers losing four games the rest of the season,’’ Hampton University senior Kiatre Kately said. “Just look at their schedule and understand that these aren’t easy matchups anymore.”

In an Instagram survey asking 81 Hampton students to answer who would win the Super Bowl this season, 27 said the New England Patriots, 20 the 49ers and 19 the Saints.

The Patriots have the advantage in voting even after the 37-20 loss to MVP candidate Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Although the Patriots have the most votes, the most well-rounded team in the league right now is the New Orleans Saints. They have one of the most efficient quarterbacks of all time back in Brees and the team will only improve with time.

In another Instagram poll asking Hampton students who they think would be their favorite to win the MVP, the votes were split between Jackson, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and the Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffery.

“I think Christian McCaffery has to get the MVP if he keeps this level of play going,’’ Carolina native Hunter Miles Davis said. “His numbers are the best by a running back I have seen since LaDainian Tomlinson. That speaks volumes.”

The other two candidates faced off Oct. 20. Jackson got the best of Wilson in Seattle, 30-16. Russell has the better numbers than Jackson throwing the ball, but Jackson’s running game is what can send him over the top. Jackson’s win against the Patriots while scoring three touchdowns put the world on notice that he is ready to take the next step with the Ravens.

WNBA expands its reach

Amber Anderson | Staff Writer

wnba articlePhoto Credit: Flickr User Lorie Shaull

The WNBA in September announced legend Lisa Leslie will be honored with a statue outside Staples Center.

Leslie will make history as the first female athlete to be honored with a statue outside of the arena. She also will be the first in WNBA history to have a statue outside the team’s home arena. Her statue will be alongside other Los Angeles legends, such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Wayne Gretzky.

It will be a historic moment for women’s basketball.

In a recent interview with the female hosts of CBS: We Need to Talk, Leslie spoke about the importance of women in sports and the growth of the WNBA. Leslie discussed the humble beginnings of the league, expressing how grateful she was not only for her career but for the men who stood up and supported the WNBA. Leslie also mentioned that being one of the first to sign with the WNBA, alongside Rebecca Lobo and Sheryl Swoopes, meant she had an obligation to set the standard for future athletes to come.

“When you look at the WNBA Finals, these players are more talented than the talent that we had in 1997,” Leslie said.

She also went on to express how proud she is of Washington Mystics Forward Elena Delle Donne for being the first in the WNBA to join the 50-40-90 club. That meant that Delle Donne shot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the 3-point range, and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

Lanece Carpenter, a Hampton University freshman majoring in sports management, thinks the WNBA has made significant strides.

“I do believe the WNBA is making progress,” Carpenter said. “In terms of popularity, the WNBA gets more viewers and makes more money every year. Even though the progress they make may look nonexistent in comparison to the NBA, they are making continuous progress to have female professional sports leagues be as coveted as male professional sports leagues.”

Carpenter thinks the WNBA is working diligently to prove the longevity and desire for female professional sports leagues.

The WNBA has indeed been working hard to progress through making themselves more notable in the media to become more recognizable to basketball fans across the globe.

Ayonna Chambers, a freshman journalism student at Hampton, has taken note of the WNBA becoming more prevalent.

“A couple of years ago, I wasn’t even about to name a woman’s basketball player,” Chambers said. “Now I see them all in the headlines, commercials, and sponsorships and can recognize their face. Also, they are now featured in NBA 2K20 for the first time.

“They never had this opportunity because no one had eyes on the WNBA, but now they do.”

The new Golden Age in San Francisco isn’t looking so golden

Nazim Trammell-Wells | Staff Writer

Golden Age, 73-9, Rings, Goats and a dynasty. These are all words commonly associated with the Golden State Warriors.

For years, the Warriors ran the NBA, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green securing a championship in 2015. Then, by adding superstar Kevin Durant, Golden State claimed two more titles in 2017 and 2018.

Critics knew the 2018-2019 season was going to be difficult for Golden State for a plethora of reasons. There are obvious signs that the team was growing apart, and also there was no possible way to pay everyone for their services.

Adding on to the misfortune in the latter part of last year, the Warriors caught the injury bug, with Durant and Thompson going down with a torn Achilles and an ACL tear, respectively — injuries that ultimately lost them a chance to three-peat as champions. After the departure of Durant to the Nets and Thompson sitting out for the majority of the season, this year’s team is very different from last year’s.

Which leaves critics wondering: Will there be a new Golden Age in San Francisco?

Curry and Green are the only real returners coming back and will have to lead a young squad. Curry recently broke his hand, so he’s going to miss significant time as well. The Warriors are not left with just scrubs. Newly acquired All-Star D’Angelo Russell brings a lot of optimism to the organization, but many still think that D-Lo isn’t enough to help the Warriors be successful.

“We don’t have Klay, KD left and Steph is hurt,” said Hampton University student Harrington Gardiner, a Warriors fan. “Sure we got D-Lo, but he isn’t Klay Thompson, and I don’t think we have enough to compete in the Western Conference.

“I’m not optimistic for this season. We suck.”

These are hard words coming from a fan who’s used to seeing his team win 60-plus games each season.

The Warriors started 2-6 and have rolled out a lineup full of second-round and undrafted talent.

“Being faced with plenty of adversity due to injuries as well as moving pieces, I thoroughly believe the Warriors realize their current state and are making decisions for the future,” HU student Jonathan Mack said.

“I genuinely feel that we have not seen the last of the Warriors dynasty, and similar to the Spurs when they drafted Tim Duncan, after this season, I expect Golden State to add a key young lottery pick to fit into their franchise, and once they return to full health, they will be a strong contender again.”

Pirates pummel Presbyterian, taste Southern discomfort

Roderick Mclean | Staff Writer

IMG_0147Photo Credit: Media Specialist Marcel Jones

Hampton University earned its first Big South victory of the season 40-17 against Presbyterian on Nov. 2 at home but then fell 27-20 in overtime at Charleston Southern on Nov. 9.

The Pirates are 5-5 (1-3 in the Big South).

The Pirates started off slow against a Presbyterian team looking for its first win of the season. The Pirates were only up 6-3 in the first quarter, as the Blue Hose’s plan was to contain running back Shai McKenzie. In the second quarter, Pirates coach Robert Prunty decided to change up plan for the running game. He went with freshman running back Darran Butts to start the second quarter, then went back to McKenzie.

“Speed to power, we changed it up,” Prunty said. “They were stacking the box, and that’s how they were tackling Shai, so we decided to run it to the outside.”

Eventually, Presbyterian’s defensive line got worn down, and McKenzie was able to take advantage.

“It’s like thunder and lightning with those two,” Prunty said.

The Pirates took control and did not look back.

Hampton started off strong against Charleston Southern (4-6, 2-2, fourth place in the Big South). It only took six plays for the Pirates to score as quarterback Deondre Francois threw a 33-yard touchdown strike to Jadakis Bonds. HU, which has had trouble on special teams all year, missed the extra-point attempt. Still, the Pirates led 13-3 going into the second quarter.

Charleston Southern closed the gap with a 2-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Darius Douglas. Then Douglas gave Charleston Southern the lead with a 19-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter.

In the fourth, the Pirates answered back with another TD connection between Francois and Bonds.

In overtime, Douglas found Garris Schwarting for a 24-yard game-winning touchdown.

For Hampton, Francois finished with 298 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Bonds had 10 catches for 91 yards and three touchdowns. He leads the nation this season with 14 receiving touchdowns.

Hampton’s 20 seniors and the rest of the Pirates face a tough test against Kennesaw State (8-2, 4-1 Big South) on Senior Day this Saturday at 1 p.m. The Pirates finish the season Nov. 23 at conference-leading Monmouth (8-2, 5-0).

“We’re in a good position,” Prunty said. “We have a chance to go fight.”