The Benton Tigers are alone at the top of the District 1-4A football standings.The Tigers’ 25-10 victory over the Loyola Flyers Friday night at Messmer Stadium coupled with Minden’s 23-0 loss to North DeSoto left Benton as the only team in 1-4A without a district loss.Benton improved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in district, one game ahead of Minden and North DeSoto. The Tigers defeated North DeSoto earlier this season and host Minden next Friday.The Tigers got some big plays on special teams and a solid performance from freshman quarterback Garrett Hable against Loyola (1-6, 0-4).DorSavion Williams returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Leading 19-0, the Tigers kicked off to start the second half. Benton coach Reynolds Moore said kicker Jordan White “kind of missed it.” That proved fortunate as the Tigers recovered the ball and scored on a pass from Hable to Tyler Stephens to go ahead 25-0.Benton’s other two first-half touchdowns came on a 60-yard run by TJ Anderson and a 2-yard run by Chauncey Taylor. “In the first half we moved the ball really well,” Moore said.Hable passed for 205 yards. He struggled a bit in the second half with three interceptions.Moore said Hable earned a chance to start after coming off the bench last week and rallying the Tigers from a two-touchdown deficit in the final three minutes against Fair Park.“Here’s the deal,” Moore said “You know when you put a freshman in you’re going to get freshman mistakes, bottom line. I can live with one of them. He made the same mistake twice and we can’t do that. That’s unlike him. Even in 7-on-7 this summer he didn’t do that. If he made a mistake once he’d come back and fix it.“It’s just a matter of time and him getting some reps. I thought he looked pretty good, running the offense well. I think the kids responded to him. I like what I saw. He’s just got to progress from this week to next week. That’s what I’m looking for.”The Benton defense continued its outstanding play, limiting the Flyers to just three first downs in the first half and four in the second.Stephens had a couple of good punt returns but the Tigers failed to capitalize on one at the end of the first half.— Russell Hedges, [email protected] StanChart by CNBC CatalystBlockchain Is Changing the Game for Trade Financing. Here’s How It’s Driving Future Global Trade.StanChart by CNBC Catalyst|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTop Expat InsuranceExpat Living in Hong Kong without Health Insurance?Top Expat Insurance|SponsoredSponsoredUndoPerfect-Dating.comAre You Ready to Meet Cool Guys in Tung Chung?Perfect-Dating.com|SponsoredSponsoredUndoInstant Voice TranslatorInstant Voice Translator (43 Languages) Takes Hong Kong By StormInstant Voice Translator|SponsoredSponsoredUndoStrategyCombatIf you own a Computer, then you have to play this Game. No Install.StrategyCombat|SponsoredSponsoredUndoAppurseRemember Tiger Woods’ Ex-wife? Try Not To Gasp When You See Her NowAppurse|SponsoredSponsoredUndo
(2K Sports) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6f/14/nba-2k20-trae-young_1hj10i2ml9i901j3zs42arh205.jpg?t=378510309&w=500&quality=80 Still the king of gameplayWidely regarded as offering the best gameplay experience in the genre, the “2K” series at some point along the way became overly technical to play. It’s complicated and difficult but over time becomes exceedingly rewarding. Those who stick with it appreciate that about the game.There is a sense that “2K20” is a little more forgiving. It still isn’t a game that anyone could just pick up, play and instantly find success, but it is trending in the right direction to becoming less intimidating.It’s impressive simply to watch the AI execute an offense. Each team does so just like their real-life counterparts. It will take some time to learn to do that same thing, but getting comfortable with the pick and roll and running some basic plays is a good start for most.MORE: The biggest complaints from bug-filled “NBA 2K20” launchAmong notable improvements, there are now 27 different types of ball handlers, which adds some personality and eliminates the feeling of uniformity. Left stick movements are more effective on their own as well instead of having to combine with other controller inputs to make things happen.The biggest strategical change, however, has to do with the use of turbo, which is now more limited. Instead of turbo essentially being the default movement, it is instead now necessary to use it more sparingly and selectively. That results in various moves and blow-bys that are far more effective and a better differentiation in players based on size and speed. The only downside is that there are situations where being out of turbo shouldn’t mean the player can’t reach top speed. They should be able to hustle on fast breaks or in recovery situations regardless.There really hasn’t been anything for “2K” in terms of gameplay that required drastic intervention. Instead, valuable incremental improvements have been delivered that’ll be appreciated by those who dig deep and know how to utilize all the tools available.Single-player vs. MultiplayerMost sports gamers have come to accept that the priority from the development end are the online modes that drive engagement year-round and also can generate digital revenue. Single-player offline modes that for decades were the foundation of sports games have seemingly been neglected due to that shift in resources.”NBA 2K” is the one series that has bucked that trend by continually moving its offline modes forward in substantial ways. Surprisingly, “2K20” may be the edition that is thought of more fondly by the primarily offline player rather than an online one.The exceptional gameplay is key to that, of course, and it’s more true against the CPU than in online environments and with fantasy type modes where realism starts to fade away. The highly customizable MyLeague Mode is largely unchanged but still very impressive for those seeking that true “franchise” experience.The WNBA has been added this year and the implementation was handled well. With a full season mode and unique commentary, the league was treated as more than just a marketing bullet point which unfortunately was the case with competitor “NBA Live” when that series brought on the WNBA a few years ago.Allowing for female-created characters could have been a better use of resources, though, than the WNBA, which has limited appeal. There is no option for female MyPlayers, which would have been utilized more through the various online competitive modes that feature the created characters.The online MyLeague could be considered broken at this point. Issues range from the inability to invite users to the leagues and server problems that prevent them from advancing. “The Neighboorhood,” an open-world area where created characters can interact but its true intentions are to act as a central area for product placement, did not markedly change despite marketing promises otherwise.The usual server problems have wreaked havoc in the early days of release and hopefully those will clear up soon. “2K” does not have a great track record in this area, but given that there is money involved, it’s safe to say work will be done to get things right. Many of the modes in the game entirely rely upon the servers being both up and stable.Frustration from consumers can be seen by the hashtag #fix2k20 becoming the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter during the first weekend of the game’s release. From the outside looking in, it would appear the “NBA 2K” video game series is all about flash. It heavily incorporates celebrities, has high production values delivering the equivalent of a new movie every year, includes many of the league’s stars of the past, and celebrates as much about the culture surrounding the sport as it does the product being played on it.Publisher 2K Sports has capitalized on the fandom around the “NBA 2K” series since it really took off back with “2K11.” What started the meteoric rise wasn’t that flash but instead was the realistic gameplay accompanied by the respect shown for the history of the league. Michael Jordan became the centerpiece along with the introduction of classic teams. The series first became popular with true basketball fanatics before it started being tailored for the mainstream where it took on a more online-connected focus and began being monetized through the sale of an in-game currency and plastered with heavy product placement. “NBA 2K20” is a great game for those who new to the franchise or who have taken some time away from it. The every-year purchaser, however, may not find the same value present as they’ve come to expect from 2K while stumbling upon familiar reasons for frustration. Despite that, it would be difficult not to recommend “2K20” under almost any circumstance given its authenticity and depth in a number of areas. (SN Illustration) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e0/f5/4-out-of-5-stars_5x55mzm657581fkh1a3nut6hx.png?t=-776566842&w=500&quality=80 Both hardcore fans and the more casual crowd alike should find themselves pleased by “NBA 2K20,” which is the best-playing edition of the franchise ever. There is no shortage of ways to enjoy the game, whether playing with your favorite NBA team, controlling a single character through a career, facing competition online, building a fantasy team, or controlling a franchise over multiple seasons.’NBA 2K20′ RATINGS: Full list of top overall players, rookies and more’NBA 2K20′ review (2K Sports) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e1/31/nba-2k20-kawhi-leonard-paul-george-russell-westbrook_2iv1r78zptue1buam0gv9isd2.jpg?t=378481733&w=500&quality=80 “NBA 2K20” is good enough that the series should continue to be considered the most well-rounded in the sports gaming genre. The gameplay is superb and the other areas of strength, which include the broadcast presentation, celebration of the history of the NBA, MyLeague franchise mode and MyCareer story mode, remain excellent.This year, however, it feels as though outside of subtle but effective gameplay improvements, the rest of “2K20” has failed to take significant steps forward and, in the case of one of the primary modes, has even regressed. MyGM changes so bad it seems intentionally sabotagedWhile MyLeague has been the definitive franchise mode in “2K,” the MyGM mode has proven to be a successful complement. Both were essentially franchise modes at their core but MyGM added in some text-based narrative elements, which added some levity and created unique challenges to face in running a team.In an attempt to further differentiate MyGM from MyTeam, the mode was fundamentally changed in “2K20,” and the byproduct has been near-universally loathed.At the heart of what’s gone wrong is the introduction of online leaderboards to add a competitive element. Because of this, everything has to remain uniform so that the rankings prove to be relevant.That means there is no changing any setting, including difficulty or quarter length, and no use of custom rosters or draft classes. Also problematic is that the quarters are locked to 6 minutes but any simulated games run 12-minute quarters and stats are not being normalized between the two.Taking a page out of mobile games, the idea to force choice in what to focus on as a GM does make some sense going in, but it’s simply not fun or at all realistic to have to pick between completing a basic task and playing an actual game.The changes appear to have been well-intentioned given that it really did need something new to differentiate it further from MyLeague, but MyGM has essentially been killed off in the process and one has to wonder whether it’ll survive to “2K21.”New story for MyCareer Mode more grounded but anti-climaticSeven years ago, the “NBA 2K” series introduced a narrative-driven story mode called MyCareer. Since then, 2K Sports has recruited some of the biggest names in Hollywood for involvement in MyCareer mode, both in front of and behind the camera.For “2K20,” the narrative-driven MyCareer involves the likes of Idris Elba, Rosario Dawson, and Thomas Middleditch. Several NBA stars also cameo.None of them have a huge presence, though Middleditch seems to get the most screen time and is a pleasant surprise in that he isn’t the typical scumbag who agents have been portrayed as in all past installments. Elba and Dawson provide some motivation for the main character and emotional grounding. They are solid in their roles though they aren’t given much to work with.What has been most appreciated about the story is that it avoids the usual character cliches. There isn’t even a true villain this time around.It was startling how anti-climatic the NBA Draft turned out to be after all the buildup to it, however. It comes and goes in an instant and the main character doesn’t even get to walk on stage after waiting in the green room. There’s a call to say he’s been drafted and then it cuts right to a team press conference.Enjoying that the #NBA2K20 MyCareer story is avoiding character cliches and is more grounded in real events in the lead up to the NBA Draft, but then I was stunned by how anti-climatic the actual Draft turned out. Now on the way to the Hawks! pic.twitter.com/798vH3KJ3W— Bryan Wiedey (@pastapadre) September 6, 2019MyCareer remains one of the most anticipated ways annually to play “2K,” not just for the story portion but going beyond that and utilizing the character in other ways online. It’s important to have such a mode that is accessible, unlike much of the rest of the game which requires a higher level of knowledge and skill to find success.Monetization pressures eased but still present2K Sports has faced numerous controversies in recent years regarding the manner in which the games have been heavily monetized. Currency can be used to improve the skill of MyCareer characters, purchase things like animations or apparel, and to obtain new players in MyTeam.It hasn’t simply been that many people feel they’ve already paid $60 and then are being asked for more, but the way in which design decisions have been made in an effort to artificially create the need or desire to pay to get past intentionally placed barriers so that the game becomes more fun.Legislators are now debating whether to go forward with an attempt to ban all monetization in video games, and 2K putting the spotlight on gambling-like mechanics in one of the trailers was a very bad look and horrendous timing. Outside of the pack openings, which could be argued is a form of gambling, those visual elements don’t involve actual wagering but are used to deliver rewards.The card-collecting MyTeam mode is built upon a foundation of spending money or earned currency, but in the end it can easily be avoided by those who don’t want to be involved in that. The bigger issue for “2K” has always been the way its virtual currency negatively influenced the game design.”2K20″ offers some relief as the currency is worth more when applied to MyPlayer characters. 100K VC ($25 worth) in “2K19” would take a character from a rating of 65 overall to 75 overall. With “2K20,” it takes that same character from 65 overall to 82 overall. Thankfully, it appears as though the grind isn’t as demanding as it has been, but it’s unlikely to eliminate completely the frustration many have felt about the influence of monetization on the game.Overall rating (2K Sports) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/1c/38/nba-2k20-donovan-mitchell_wmbcduvg7znk1o7lqwygr381p.jpg?t=378451605&w=500&quality=80 “NBA 2K20” is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. A digital copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of review, which was completed using an Xbox One X.Bryan Wiedey posts sports gaming news and analysis daily at Pastapadre.com, is co-founder of the sports gaming site HitThePass.com, hosts the “Press Row Podcast” and can be reached on Twitter @Pastapadre.
BY DOUG McKENZIE Correspondent “Myself included,” admitted head coach Bob Generelli, who boasts an impressive career 95-43-2 mark at Raritan. “But I really think it was just a matter of this team growing up and taking its lumps last year.”With a number of underclassmen starting on both sides of the ball a year ago, Raritan lost the majority of its games as a result of a lack of experience, rather than a lack of talent. The Rockets still have a similar caliber of players than they had when they made three straight NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II final appearances prior to last year.”A lot of the games we lost last year were to very good teams, state-tournamentcaliber teams (Freehold Borough, Rumson- Fair Haven, Manasquan, Keansburg and Point Boro, among others),” Generelli said. “We were in a lot of those games, but against some of the more high-powered offenses, we just struggled to score enough points to keep up with them.”The result was the type of rebuilding season that most teams undergo every once in a while. Only at Raritan, the expectations are higher. To a coach and to a player, the Rockets expect to be considered one of the top programs in the Shore every year.This season, they expect to prove that they belong in that elite category once again.”We’re eager to get the respect back,” Generelli said. “There seems to be a sense of urgency with the players, a little bit more focus. I think these kids were stung by the 2- 8 record because it was uncharted waters for us.”Through the preseason, Raritan looked more like the championship-level teams of the past, and less like last year’s version.”We have looked much improved so far,” the coach said. “I think some of the nine sophomores we started last year have really stepped up. But we still have a lot of work to do. I will say that what we’ve seen this preseason has been very encouraging.”I think we’re really starting to develop some good team chemistry, which will be very important moving forward. The key, as always, is to stay healthy.”Injuries played a huge role in last season’s struggles, as Raritan lost its starting quarterback, Brian Kalarjian, who suffered a foot injury in the season opener that plagued him all season, while his backup, Mark Stancati, broke his collarbone shortly thereafter.A number of other injuries to key players left the Rockets’ depth in question, and it came back to burn them on a number of occasions.This year’s Rocket offense has a number of capable playmakers, led by starting tailback Jesse Raymond, a junior, and his backfield mate Jerome Dean, a senior fullback. Anthony DiNardo and Bennett Jackson are also expected to get some carries in Raritan’s multiple attack.Stancati returns at quarterback, where he boasts a good arm and mobility. However, last year’s injury robbed him of some valuable experience, so he will be learning under fire a bit this year.Among targets for Stancati in passing downs will be Jackson and senior Chris VanFechtmann, as well as senior Brian Schmeer, senior Brett Bodner and sophomore Tim Pizanie.Stancati will also frequently look for junior Matt Facendo, a big tight end with good hands, who is also the team’s punter.Raritan will need some improved play from its offensive line, which is anchored by two returning starters — junior right guard Dan Gibson and senior center Nick Hungerford. They will be joined this year by senior Nick Sparacello at right tackle, junior Brendan Costelo at left tackle and junior Carlo Caponetta at right guard.As the Rockets get ready for the postseason, the offense remains a bit of a question mark for the head coach, though Generelli has been pleased with what he’sseen.”I think the questions for this team is on the offensive line, which we’re rebuilding, and at quarterback, where we haven’t had a lot of experience,” he said. “Those have been the areas of emphasis thus far.””I think the defense is a little bit ahead of the offense at this point, but in order for us to be successful, it’s got to be a total team effort,” he added.The Raritan defense is a more experienced group, led by a strong defensive line that features seniors Cliff Gabriel and Victor Santos at the defensive end positions, and senior Brian Flynn and Caponetta at the tackle slots.The linebackers in the Rockets’ 4-3 set are seniors Chris Raitano and Dean, along with junior Marc Cogliano.The Rockets’ athletic secondary should also be a strength, as Raymond and junior T.J. Murray will play safety, along with junior Sonny Cogliano and sophomore Anthony Bayer. The corners are Jackson, VanFechtmann, DiNardo and junior Vinnie Yeager.While Raritan certainly faces a tough National Division schedule this year, Generelli is confident that his team is ready to compete for a division title with the likes of Point Boro and Manasquan.”We had to improve in our secondary and on the offensive line, and I think we’ve done that,” he said. “A lot of that is a consequence of these kids getting a year older, being in the weight room in the offseason, being in the system for a year, and really just understanding what’s expected of them. A lot of these guys were thrown into the fire before they were ready, but they certainly learned from that.”While Generelli is not ready to say this team is ready for another run at a state championship, he is certainly prepared to predict a return to the winning ways we’ve grown accustomed to from Raritan.”It’s tough to put a number of wins on this team,” he said. “I think we should be vastly improved, because I do know that we’re a better football team than last year. Whether that translates into more wins remains to be seen.” FILE PHOTO The Raritan High School football team is out to avenge last year’s difficult 2-8 season. The Rockets start their season of redemption Friday night against Mater Dei. As the Raritan High School football team was struggling through a 2-8 season a year ago, fans throughout the Shore Conference football community were left shaking their heads, wondering how a program that had grown so accustomed to success could slip so much in a year. Raritan suffered through numerous injuries a season ago
Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the season, the Italian team announced on Tuesday.“This is a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best,” team principal Mattia Binotto said in a statement.“It was not an easy decision to reach, given Sebastian’s worth as a driver and as a person.”Vettel, who joined in 2015 with the dream of emulating boyhood hero Michael Schumacher in winning titles with the sport’s oldest and most glamorous team, is out of contract at the end of the year.Where the 32-year-old German will go now, and indeed whether he will remain in a sport whose delayed season has yet to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are the big questions.“The team and I have realised that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season,” Vettel said.“Financial matters have played no part in this joint decision. That’s not the way I think when it comes to making certain choices and it never will be.”“What’s been happening in these past few months has led many of us to reflect on what are our real priorities in life,” he added.Vettel said he would now take time “to reflect on what really matters when it comes to my future”.German media, who flagged up the departure on Monday night, reported Vettel had rejected the terms being offered by Ferrari.Italy’s Gazetta dello Sport newspaper recently reported Vettel, who won 14 races with the team and is their third most successful driver, had been offered a one-year extension with a salary reduction.The German, who won his titles with Red Bull, told reporters last month he could have a new deal done before the start of a season delayed by the coronavirus outbreak.Ferrari had also said the German was their first choice to partner Charles Leclerc.Binotto said there was no one reason that led to the split “apart from the common and amicable belief that the time had come to go our separate ways in order to reach our respective objectives”.Leclerc, who won two races last year and is only 22, has a contract until 2024 and is seen as Ferrari’s future and likely first champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.The Monegasque outperformed Vettel last year in his first season at Ferrari, finishing ahead of him overall and taking more points, poles, podiums and wins.Australian Daniel Ricciardo, at Renault, and McLaren’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz have been installed as the leading candidates to take one of the most coveted seats on the grid.Six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton has also been linked to Ferrari but has repeatedly indicated he intends to stay with Mercedes.
Last week saw Valve release three official bits of news relating to the future of where it saw gaming on the PC. They included Steam OS, Steam Machines, and a Steam Controller. Such news may excite some, but it’s the unofficial news coming out of Valve this week that’s really grabbing people’s attention.Yesterday it was revealed that Valve had filed for the Half-Life 3 trademark–you know, that game just about every gamer has wanted to exist since they finished playing the second game in the series launched back in 2004. However, a trademark on its own doesn’t mean much, but an internal software leak at Valve has confirmed Half-Life 3 is most definitely in development.There’s a piece of software Valve uses internally called the Valve User Picker. It is used for project management and bug tracking, and splits employees into their active teams. It is not publicly accessible, but someone managed to gain access to it yesterday and revealed not one, but two Half-Life 3 teams.The first of those is called Half Life 3 Core and consists of 10 people. The second is simply called Half-Life 3 and has 46 people listed. So in total, Valve has 56 people 47 people counting overlaps working on the game right now. It seems likely the Core team is focusing more on actually getting the game up and running as well as finalizing the (core) gameplay and story line. Interestingly, the first name listed on both team’s pages is Adam Foster, who produced the Minerva mod for Half-Life 2. As for what the other team is doing, I’d guess most of them are on content creation duties . So level modeling, character modeling, texturing, and scripting the levels in their basic form.There’s no clues given as to how far along the project is, and I’d suggest 47 people is still a pretty small team. Valve is either taking its time with a small team, or has yet to ramp up to full production on the project just yet.