Peebles Elementary hosts PBIS showcase NAES student starting Christmas Card project Try and tell them that nobody cares Senior Profile: Ethan Thompson 15-point lead vanishes, Hounds fall in season opener Deer Gun Season results down all across Ohio Hometown Christmas in Peebles rings in the holiday season Manchester Elementary receives 2016 Momentum Award Drug bust in West Union Stephen C Foster Donna Rivers WUES students perform as part of Honor Choir Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak access completed Hall of Fame Christmas in Portsmouth Thyme to trim the Christmas Tree Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES
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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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