Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak Harper, Hupp, Defense lead Lady Devils to fourth consecutive sectional championship West Union Elementary recognizes Students of the Month for January Second Healthy Hero awarded by Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition Coal company files to intervene in power plant closings Senior Profile: Jessica Sowards Senior Profile: Dennis Welch Dorothy E Walls Mabel Chamblin Michael R Jones Marie I Simmons Ray Johnson One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic

Ring the bell, it’s time for Round Three

Ali-Frazier, Tyson-Holyfield, Balboa-Creed. All of those rematches pale in comparison to the epic battle which will take place on Saturday night in the Queen City. Unless you have been buried in a sports hole for the last few days or just don’t pay any attention to professional football, you know that the most dastardly villains in the NFL, those dirty thugs, otherwise known as the Squealers, oops I mean Steelers, will be making a return trip to Paul Brown Stadium.

I have no love lost for the black and gold and those stupid towels, and that has little to do with their current rivalry with the beloved Bengals, Let me roll the tape back to the 1970’s when my football life lived and died with one man-#12 on the Dallas Cowboys, then my favorite and still my favorite and the one athlete to this day that I would give about anything to sit down and interview. Two dates made me despise Pittsburgh to this day-Jan. 18, 1976 Steelers 21 Cowboys 17 and Jan. 21, 1979 Steelers 35 Cowboys 31 (anyone remember Jackie Smith?) Yes, those two heartbreaking days have carried over to this day when every season I can only hope the Squealers go 0-16.

So here we go on Saturday night in prime time and my distaste for that team in the black and gold has carried over for 36 years. It will be a Royal Rumble for sure, last man standing wins. To be brutally honest as a Bengals fan, I would have much rather played the Broncos or Patriots in the first round instead of the dastardly villains, but as they say, “it is what it is.” You have to play the hand you are dealt and if you went into last Sunday’s NFL action thinking that there was going to be any other match up than the Bengals and the bad guys, then you may have been delusional. Just like Kentucky always seeing Louisville in the NCAA tournament, you don’t think the big whigs in the NFL were salivating at a Bengals-bad guys battle in prime time.

Sitting her typing this on a Tuesday morning, I will honestly say that I am not feeling real confident about our chances on Saturday night. First and foremost, the Bengals have to get over two mental stumbling blocks-one, the lack of success in the playoffs in recent years, and two, the team on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Granted, the Bengals beat the bad guys in their place and most likely if Andy Dalton hadn’t gotten hurt and Tyler Eifert had been available, they would have beaten them a few weeks ago. Those things we will never know but one thing for sure is that the orange and black better be ready to go on Saturday. Marvin needs to play big-time motivator, which worries me too as you know that Marvin is not the emotional coach in the league, at least not publicly.

My thoughts are that if the Bengals are to break the playoff losing streak on Saturday, it will have to be with a monumental defensive effort. Big Ben may be big, but he also doesn’t like to be knocked around and if the Cincinnati defensive line can get to him early, the whole game could change. Hopefully, tempers won’t flare like the last meeting, but you have to think that it is a dream. We hope that Vontaze Burfict keeps his cool because he can dominate the game when his mind is on the right track. Force Ben into a couple of interceptions, as he has been prone to recently, and the hometown boys will be in good shape.

On the offensive side of the ball, the big question still remains as of this Tuesday morning-who will play quarterback for the Bengals? The news this morning is that the cast has been removed from Dalton’s thumb, but as usual, that is all the information the Bengals are releasing. So that takes us back to A.J. McCarron, who has been a decent job in his three starts, but a prime time playoff game against the bitter rival is a whole new story. Not that McCarron hasn’t played in some pretty important big stage games at Alabama, but this is a whole new ball game. Would he be up to it? Many Bengals fans are torn on this one, including myself. If McCarron plays, a great deal of responsibility will then fall on the Bengal running backs to get the ground game going and make things easier for the rookie quarterback. It might also be nice for A.J. Green to make a showing in a playoff game against a weak bad guys’ secondary.

There are about a million “ifs” facing Bengals fans this week as nervousness and trepidation about what could or might happen Saturday night dominate their minds. I have a very good friend who says that she can put the voodoo on the opposing team, so I hope she has all her magic spells ready this weekend. I was in attendance at many playoff games in Riverfront Stadium in my younger days, surviving the Freezer Bowl and the Ickey Shuffle and Kimo the Horrible, and cheering the Bengals to a pair of Super Bowls. Saturday night I will likely break out the Ickey shirt and watch from the comfort of my living room as our Bengals break the curse and send the bad guys back up the Ohio River with their tails wagging.

OK, that’s my wish for this weekend, but the Bengals have broken our hearts in the past four years and my fingers are crossed that it will all be different on Saturday night. Yes, Bengals fans would rather lose to anyone than the bad guys in black and gold and they would certainly want more than anything love to knock their bitter rivals out.

I don’t make predictions. Mainly, because sports is too unpredictable and I am always wrong. All I can say is bring Michael Buffer to the 50-yard line, give him a microphone, and “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

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Mark Carpenter

Sports Editor

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2016 People's Defender