EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 3, 2012

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Traveling Oriakhi

Former Brooks School star Alex Oriakhi, who moved around quite a bit in high school, has surfaced quite nicely at the University of Missouri after transferring from UConn. Oriakhi is averaging career highs in points (11.8) and rebounds (8.8) and has helped the Tigers (8-1) move from 228th in offensive rebounds last year to 17th.

Flynn steps down

Peter Flynn has stepped down as Billerica’s head football coach after 23 years during which he compiled a 150-96 record which included two Super Bowl titles. Flynn, who had only four losing seasons during that time, was known for developing top quarterbacks.

Gate City wins, again

For the fifth straight year, the Gate City Striders captured the overall title in Sunday’s 28.3-mile Mill Cities Relay, followed by the Somerville Road Runners, Greater Lowell Road Runners, the Winners Circle and the Whirlaway Racing Team in the 20-team field.

Somerville had the top five-man relay team, finishing in 2:25:32, followed by the Whirlaway Brats team (2:28:0) of Pat Ard, Scott McGrath, Kevin Alliette, Jose Ortiz and Chris Hamel.

Nice job, Andover

In retrospect, Andover’s 20-0 loss to St. John’s Prep last week looks much more impressive. Andover, after all, had several chances to score and, for the most part, played the Eagles tough — especially when you consider St. John’s 48-28 blasting of Brockton in Saturday’s EMass. Division 1 Super Bowl. St. John’s was ahead 41-12 at halftime.

Boudreau keys win

Andover’s Nicole Boudreau had 14 points Sunday to lead Boston College to an impressive 58-56 victory over traditionally strong Rutgers. Former Central Catholic great Katie Zenevitch scored 11 for the Eagles.

‘Black’ Tuesday

It was not a good night for local teams or those tied to local teams last Tuesday in the first round of the high school football playoffs.

Not only did Andover lose to St. John’s Prep, Tewksbury got blasted by Reading (42-6), Masconomet got ripped by Everett (42-14), falling behind 35-0 at halftime, Amesbury was no match for Lynnfield (35-14) and Shawsheen got blasted by St. Mary’s (36-8).

Two days later, Greater New Bedford added to the area misery by defeating Greater Lawrence 20-6 to raise its record to just 6-6.

Long contract insanity

The insanity of giving college or pro coaches long-term contracts was underlined again last week when the University of Colorado fired head football coach Jon Embree. He was the third coach bought out since 2005 meaning that the school must pay well over $8 million to coaches no longer associated with the school.

Want them to lose

After witnessing the rebirth of the Indianapolis Colts under the quarterbacking of Andrew Luck, there is a strong contingent of New York Jets fans who are pushing for the Jets to lose the rest of the way. Apparently, there is not a lot of confidence in Mark Sanchez as a franchise quarterback, particularly after his pathetic three-interception performance Sunday that led to his second-half benching.

Plenty of plaudits

Maybe Andover’s Bill O’Brien knew what he was doing after all.

When he left the New England Patriots staff last year to become head coach at Penn State, many people questioned the wisdom of the move. He was replacing Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, who was fired in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky.

With suspensions looming and some players transferring (18 players left since last offseason), it seemed like a no-win situation. But O’Brien proved everyone wrong by leading the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record, including 6-2 in the conference and being named Big Ten Coach of the Year. He is currently a very popular guy on the Penn State campus.