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Wednesday 01/28/2015
Atlanta Braves sign outfielder Dian Toscano
Posted: January 28, 2015

ATLANTA, Ga. - The Atlanta Braves have agreed to terms with Cuban free-agent outfielder Dian Toscano on a four-year Major League contract through 2018, with a fifth-year club option for 2019. The deal was formally confirmed by Major League Baseball today and financial terms were not announced.

Tuesday 01/27/2015
NGAC Basketball: Late free throws nail down Gordon Lee win
Updated: January 27, 2015 - 11:20 pm

The Gordon Lee Trojans connected on just 11-of-24 free throw attempts Tuesday night.

Lady Bobcats cancel Thursday home game
Updated: January 27, 2015 - 11:16 pm

The Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats have cancelled their scheduled upcoming home game against Welch College, which had been slated for 6 p.m. on Thursday.

NGAC Basketball: Saddle Ridge girls lock up second win
Updated: January 28, 2015 - 12:48 pm

The Saddle Ridge Lady Mustangs waited nearly two years to get their first basketball win.

Monday 01/26/2015
GOLF: LaFayette golf teams in need of sponsors for spring tourneys
Updated: January 26, 2015 - 4:09 pm

The LaFayette High School boys’ and girls’ golf teams will be hosting tournaments this spring and hole sponsorships are currently available to any individual, family, or business that is interested in supporting these two teams.

‘PSI: New England’ a welcome change from pre-Super Bowl blahs
Updated: January 26, 2015 - 4:03 pm

Generally, the week before the Super Bowl is the worst week of the entire football season.

Saturday 01/24/2015
Slow second half start bogs down Bobcats
Updated: January 24, 2015 - 11:23 pm

A very cold spell early in the second half doomed the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats on Friday night as they dropped a 74-49 decision to the Southern Crescent Tech Tigers in Griffin.

Lady Bobcats drop road contest
Updated: January 24, 2015 - 2:43 am

The Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats traveled to Griffin on Friday, still in search of their first win of the year. However, homestanding Southern Crescent Tech would stretch out a four-point lead at halftime and go on to a 57-39 win.

Friday 01/23/2015
Baseball: Ringgold set to hold Meet the Tigers
Posted: January 23, 2015

Baseball season is just around the corner.

Thursday 01/22/2015
NGAC Basketball: CVMS girls, Rossville boys claim big wins
Updated: January 22, 2015 - 11:04 pm

The Chattanooga Valley Lady Eagles continued one of their best seasons in recent memory by beating Rossville on Thursday, 44-21.

Patriots coach says he doesn't know how balls were deflated
Posted: January 22, 2015

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday he doesn't know how footballs became deflated during the game that got his team to the Super Bowl.

But Belichick declined to answer questions after saying he knew nothing until Monday morning about accusations that his team cheated with underinflated footballs in its win against the Colts in the AFC championship game on Sunday night.

The NFL is investigating. Belichick said the team is fully cooperating.

"I had no knowledge of this situation until Monday morning," said Belichick, who said he was "shocked" to learn the news.

"I would say I've learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew or have talked about it in the last 40 years that I've coached in this league," Belichick said during an 8 1/2-minute opening statement during an 11 1/2-minute news conference. "I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls and process that went through."

Belichick did not specify who in the Patriots organization was responsible for the underinflated balls, or absolve anyone besides himself of potential wrongdoing.

Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw and catch, and quarterbacks, specialists and equipment managers are known to have very individualized preferences in how footballs are readied for games. Belichick said he was unaware of the process for game balls until the accusations were raised.

Belichick said he sometimes hears quarterbacks, kickers and other specialists talk about their preferences.

"I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy from me whatsoever on that subject. Zero," Belichick said.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is expected to address reporters later Thursday.

"Tom's personal preferences on his ball, footballs, are something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide," Belichick said. "I can tell you that in my entire coaching career I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure."

The NFL requires balls to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pound per square inch. Under league rules, each team provides 12 balls for use on offense. Referees approve the balls more than 2 hours before game time, then keep the balls until they're turned over to ball handlers provided by home teams just before kickoff.

Belichick said the balls used by the Patriots offense are inflated to the "12 1/2-pound range" and "any deflation would then take us under that."

Going forward, he said, the Patriots will inflate footballs to a safe level to prevent them from dropping under allowable air pressure during games.

"We will take steps in the future to make sure that we don't put ourselves in this type of situation again," he said.

The coach who has won three Super Bowls said he generally forces players to practice under bad-ball conditions.

"Anytime players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make it worse and that stops the complaints," he said. "We never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever or kick with whatever we have to use."

The issue has drawn strong reaction from around the game and its fans as the Patriots prepare to play the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona, for the NFL title.

Several players said it would not distract them in preparing for the game.

"It's unfortunate. We'd rather be celebrating our trip to the Super Bowl," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "It's important to us that we respect the game and deal with things in a way that's considered professional."

Belichick declined to answer several questions after his opening remarks, answering several of them by saying: "I've told you everything I know," and "I don't have an explanation."

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/ap_nfl

Martinez's Hall plaque to have Red Sox cap, Smoltz's Braves
Updated: January 22, 2015 - 2:25 pm

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Pedro Martinez's Hall of Fame plaque will have the cap of the Boston Red Sox and John Smoltz's will have the Atlanta Braves.

The Hall of Fame made the announcement Thursday. It said last week that Randy Johnson's will have the cap of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Craig Biggio, the other player to be inducted on July 26, did not present an issue: He spent his entire 20-year major league career with the Houston Astros.

Jeff Gordon to retire as full-time driver after 2015 season
Updated: January 23, 2015 - 12:40 am

Jeff Gordon, the charismatic four-time NASCAR champion who became the face of the stock car racing as the sport exploded in popularity a generation ago, will retire as a full-time driver after the 2015 season.

Wednesday 01/21/2015
NGAC Basketball: LaFayette teams sweep Rossville
Updated: January 21, 2015 - 1:25 pm

The LaFayette Middle School Ramblers improved to 18-0 after a 54-28 win over Rossville on Tuesday.

NFL investigation into deflated footballs ongoing
Updated: January 21, 2015 - 9:37 am

The NFL says its investigation into whether the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in the AFC championship game is ongoing after a report Tuesday night claimed the league found 11 balls were not properly inflated.

Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president for football operations, told The Associated Press that the "investigation is currently underway and we're still awaiting findings."

Vincent was responding to an ESPN report that cited anonymous league sources saying 11 of the Patriots' 12 allotted game footballs were under-inflated by 2 pounds per square inch of air. ESPN did not say how that occurred.

Vincent said earlier Tuesday he expected the probe to be concluded by the end of the week. The last thing the NFL wants after a difficult season off the field is a potential cheating scandal that disrupts Super Bowl week. New England faces Seattle on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona.

The Patriots, who beat Indianapolis 45-7 for the AFC title, said they were cooperating with the league, and a Seahawks spokesman said the team would defer to the league on the matter.

The NFL began looking into the issue not only because doctoring the footballs could provide a competitive advantage, but because it would compromise the integrity of the game.

Deflating a football can change the way it's gripped by a player or the way it travels through the air. Under NFL rules, each team provides balls each game for use when its offense is on the field. The balls are inspected before the game by the officiating crew, then handled during the game by personnel provided by the home team.

Social media responses were quick late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

"11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! #Just Saying" was the tweet from Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice.

"So we get to play the game again or nah? ??" tweeted Colts cornerback Darius Butler.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on ESPN radio in Milwaukee that he didn't like how referees who inspected balls before games take air out of the game balls.

"I have a major problem with the way it goes down, to be honest with you," Rodgers said. "The majority of the time, they take air out of the football. I think that, for me, is a disadvantage."

Rodgers said referees have a set range in which they "like to set game balls," and that he always liked the higher end of the range because of his grip.

"I just have a hard time throwing a flat football," Rodgers said. He thought a slight majority of quarterbacks like footballs on the flatter side.

"My belief is that there should be a minimum air-pressure requirement but not a maximum," Rodgers said. "There's no advantage, in my opinion. We're not kicking the football. There's no advantage in having a pumped-up football."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said the investigation is the least of his worries. And tight end Rob Gronkowski tweeted a photo of himself spiking the ball with the words: "WARNING GRONKING MAY CAUSE DEFLATION."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Tuesday deferred questions about the investigation, saying reporters should ask league officials. Belichick earlier said he wasn't aware there was an issue until Monday morning and promised to "cooperate fully with whatever the league wants us to, whatever questions they ask."

Belichick, of course, was fined $500,000 in 2007 for having an assistant spy on the New York Jets' defensive signals.

Special teams captain Matthew Slater said the Patriots "try to do things the right way. We work hard at our jobs, our professions, to be successful and it's unfortunate that things like this come up, but that's life, that's the world we live in."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he did not notice issues with the football and didn't specify when asked whether the Colts had reported the issue to officials.

"We talk just like they talk to officials (before the game)," he said. "We have an opportunity to talk to the officials about a lot of things."

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman said the balls didn't feel different than usual.

And defensive tackle Vince Wilfork seemed amused by the matter and didn't shed any light on it.

"I don't know anything about that," he said. "I don't touch footballs. I tackle people."

___

AP Sports Writers Howard Ulman, Tim Booth and Genaro C. Armas contributed to this report.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Bobcats snap skid, sink Scots
Updated: January 21, 2015 - 2:32 am

The Georgia Northwestern Bobcats used a big second-half run to pull away from the Covenant College junior varsity Scots and snap a seven-game slide with a 79-65 victory at the Rossville Athletic Center on Tuesday night.

NGAC Basketball: Gordon Lee girls fall to Lakeview
Updated: January 21, 2015 - 1:30 pm

The Lakeview Middle School Lady Warriors pulled away from Gordon Lee in the fourth quarter on Tuesday afternoon and claimed a 50-31 victory.

NGAC Basketball: CVMS girls win again, boys complete sweep
Updated: January 21, 2015 - 2:20 pm

The Chattanooga Valley Middle School Lady Eagles jumped out to a 24-9 lead at halftime and moved to 9-2 overall with a 42-21 victory over visiting Saddle Ridge on Tuesday.

Tuesday 01/20/2015
Watch the Atlanta Hawks rocking choir-assisted starting lineup intro from MLK Day
Posted: January 20, 2015

The Atlanta Hawks are doing just about everything right these days.

Middle School sports: Lakeview Middle has 'some special players'
Posted: January 20, 2015

Coach Wendell Clowers again has his Lakeview-Middle School boys' basketball team headed towards another successful season.

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