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Sports
Packers tame Lions 35-17

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP)— Aaron Jones caught three of Aaron Rodgers’ four touchdown passes and rushed for a fourth score, and the Green Bay Packers had a welcome return to normal after an embarrassing opening-week loss, beating the Detroit Lions 35-17 on Monday night.

Green Bay (1-1) won its ninth straight home opener. The Packers, who got thumped 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, looked more like the team that went 13-3 in each of coach Matt LaFleur’s first two seasons.

Rodgers went 22 of 27 for 255 yards and surpassed John Elway for 10th all-time in passing yards with 51,633. Rodgers has followed up each of the Packers’ last five regular-season losses by throwing four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his next game.

Jones became the first Packers running back to catch three touchdown passes in a game since Andy Uram against the Chicago Cardinals in 1942. He had 17 carries for 67 yards and six catches for 48 yards.

Detroit’s Jared Goff completed 13 of his first 14 passes but struggled the rest of the way as the Lions (0-2) blew a 17-14 halftime lead. Goff finished 26 of 36 for 246 yards. He connected on touchdown passes to Quintez Cephus and T.J. Hockenson but also threw an interception and lost a fumble.

Green Bay scored touchdowns on its first three second-half possessions to seize control.

The Packers faced third-and-12 on their opening series of the second half when Rodgers threw a 50-yard completion to Davante Adams, who ended the night with eight catches for 121 yards.

Lions rookie cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu injured his thigh on the play, further weakening a secondary that already lost cornerback Jeff Okudah to a ruptured Achilles tendon in Detroit’s season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Green Bay dominated the rest of the way.

Rodgers capped that drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Robert Tonyan. Detroit’s next series ended when Goff threw an incompletion on fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 25.

Rodgers threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jones to extend the Packers’ lead to 28-17.

Green Bay’s Krys Barnes recovered Goff’s fumble at the Detroit 23 on the Lions’ next snap. Jones scored on a 1-yard run and that was that.

Injuries

Lions: WR Tyrell Williams missed the game with a concussion. ... Melifonwu did not return after the thigh injury.

Packers: TE Josiah Deguara was out with a concussion.

St. Brown vs. St. Brown

The Packers activated wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown from the practice squad, giving him the chance to play against his younger brother. The Lions selected receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown out of Southern California in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Amon-Ra had the better stat line with three receptions for 18 yards, while Equanimeous had one catch for no gain.

Packers’ line changes

Green Bay’s Lucas Patrick, who started at left guard against New Orleans, was active after getting out of concussion protocol. But he wasn’t on the field for the opening series.

Jon Runyan Jr. was at left guard instead in the 2020 sixth-round pick’s first career start. Runyan’s father was an All-Pro tackle who went on to represent New Jersey in Congress from 2011-15.

In memoriam

The Packers wore a helmet decal to honor Ted Thompson, who worked as the team’s general manager from 2005-17 and died Jan. 20 at the age of 68. The Packers also honored Thompson during a halftime ceremony.

Up next

Lions: Host Baltimore (1-1) on Sunday. The Ravens are coming off a Sunday night victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Packers: At San Francisco (2-0) on Sunday night. This will be the fourth time in the last three seasons the Packers have played at San Francisco. They won 34-17 last season. Two years ago, the Packers lost 37-8 to the 49ers in the regular season and 37-20 in the NFC championship game.


Hononegah’s golf team didn’t have its best day on the links by far Monday afternoon, but they still had more than enough in the tank to defeat Rockford Lutheran in a non-conference match, 200-207, at Macktown Golf Course in Rockton. the No. 1 player for the Indians, Lexi Bach, watches her drive here.


Sports
Polizzi's Bellator victory a huge one

BELOIT—The stakes were once again high for Alex Polizzi heading into last Saturday night’s Bellator 266 fight in San Jose, Calif.

With a split decision over previously undefeated and seventh-ranked Grant Neal, the Beloit light heavyweight likely rose into the top 10 rankings in Bellator Mixed Martial Arts and hopefully secured a new contract with the fighting organization. The Neal fight was his last on his current deal.

Polizzi improved to 9-1-0 as a pro and 3-1-0 in Bellator while Neal dipped to 8-1-0 overall and 6-1-0. Neal was moving up the ladder in Bellator expecting to climb from the prelims to the main card.

Now it’s Polizzi who can argue for a larger platform while he negotiates a new contract.

“I like to be a little more decisive than leaving it to the judges,” Polizzi said afterward. “That’s the way it goes. Grant is a really tough opponent and he stuffed me on some real good shots. We were going at it. You could tell I was kind of feeling (fatigue) with my hands dropping a little. I think he was feeling the same way as I. We were pushing each other and we were able to finish the fight and I scraped by.”

Grant had the upper hand in the first round, but an adjusting Polizzi began to assert himself in the second into the third.

“If you notice I’m getting better technically you have to throw it out to my cornermen,” Polizzi said. “They are relentless in making sure I’m doing the right thing. Not just during training camp, but out there on the fly. I’m able to keep standing and do the athletic stuff, but if you see there’s something that looks technical and you’re thinking, oh man, that was a smart move by Polizzi, it’s all those guys.”

Polizzi said the pace of the fight wasn’t always to his liking, nor was Neal’s ability to counter some of his best strikes.

“He was leaving me at a little bit of a standstill,” Polizzi said. “There was a moment in the second I was able to get on top of him and able to do some ground and pound. My best stuff is when I can get in nice and close.”

Polizzi said style of fighting had a lot to say in the outcome.

“My game plan is to keep pressure on them and tire them out,” he said. “I think the difference between our styles is that when I get on top of a guy I’m looking to do some damage and look for the jiu-jitsu moves. If you’re going to take a guy down and just hang onto his legs I don’t see how that is furthering your game.

“Later in the fight, anyone who watches freestyle wrestling knows I did a classic crotch lift and got him on his back.”

The aggressiveness and grit at the finish pulled out the fight for Polizzi, the former Beloit Memorial and Northwestern wrestling standout who trains in McFarland.

“It is awesome to be out there and press my skill and competitiveness against fighters of Grant Neal’s caliber,” Polizzi said. “I know there were a couple of times in that Grant Neal fight where things got a little slow and there wasn’t the full violence I like to promise fans. Next time we’re pushing for the full 15 and I’m going to make sure it’s jam-packed full of violence.”

Polizzi didn’t walk away unscathed. He sported a puffy right eye afterwards, but he laughed it off.

“He got a good hit, no doubt, but it’s a little squeaker just to remind me how much fun we were having,” he said. “It will be there about a week.”

Famous for wearing temporary tattoos rather than permanent ink, Polizzi was asked after the fight about one in particular. Diisplaying an Arby’s logo on his right shoulder, he was asked if that’s where he was heading to celebrate his victory or whether he was working on a new sponsorship deal.

“If we’re picking up steam, I’m here,” said Polizzi, channeling Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights. “I’m ready. I’m hungry. Let’s make something happen.”

He hasn’t forgotten his hometown, either. Before signing off he told his fans who watched the fight on Bellator’s UTube channel at the bar, “Grab a couple of beers and raise them high. We got the ‘W’ and we’re bringing it back to Beloit.”


Sports
Balderas leads 3-1 SoBos attack

SOUTH BELOIT—Fernando Balderas still isn’t in love with eight-man football.

It might, however, be in love with him.

Balderas, the senior South Beloit running back, is running roughshod over the 3-1 SoBos’ competition thus far this year.

He has rushed for at least 100 yards in three of the team’s four games and has 806 yards, 339 of those coming in the SoBos’ 50-24 win over Hiawatha Friday night.

Balderas, who excelled as a sophomore in the 11-man game before a dominant alternate fall season last spring as a junior, said he’s doing his best to enjoy this version of ball.

“If it were up to me, we’d still be playing 11-man,” Balderas said. “But those decisions aren’t up to me. I’ve just got to make the best of it and roll with what we have.”

What he has is a dominant style that veteran coach Jim Morrow has a lot of respect for.

“I was in the NIC-10 for more than 20 years,” Morrow said. “And Fern is as good as any of those guys. Eight-man or 11-man, the kid can flat out play.”

Morrow, in his first year at South Beloit knew he had a gem even before he saw Balderas.

“I saw him on film and when I saw he was coming out again for his senior year, I knew right away I was going to build the offense around him. And I didn’t know how he feel about it, but he’s just had a great year.”

Morrow said it took a while for Balderas to reveal his personality to him.

“When I first met him, he was a pretty guarded individual,” Morrow said. “It took a while to crack him. But he’s so passionate about the game and he’s so coachable. He comes out to practice every week to get better, and you can definitely see it on film.

“He had a key fourth-down stop on a pass breakup, and last week he wouldn’t have made because he wasn’t getting as deep in his drops. He worked on it all week, and he made the play. He absorbs everything you tell him.”

Balderas is also an ace linebacker, averaging around eight tackles per game.

“I really like playing defense,” Balderas said. “It’s pretty easy in eight-man for me. I just have to read the guards, and go make a play.”

The SoBos have a showdown coming up Saturday in Orangeville, a 4-0 squad that just defeated a previously undefeated Aquin team last week.

“We know it’s going to be a great game,” Balderas said. “I’m going to get after it and give it everything I’ve got.”

The team’s improvement has as much to do with their mentality as their physical skills.

“We’ve just come out and been really aggressive every game,” Balderas said. “We should be 4-0 (their only loss came in an overtime game in which they committed five turnovers and didn’t force any), and I’m still thinking about that game. But having that mentality has been huge for u s. We’ve got five games left, and we’re going to try and win as many of those as we can.”

Balderas said he’s interested in playing at the next level, but hasn’t explored his options too much at this point.

“That’s definitely my dream to play college football,” Balderas said. “I’m just not sure where to start. If any college showed interest, I’d be happy to talk to them.”

South Beloit running back Fern Balderas has helped lead the team to a 3-1 record. The SoBos play at Orangeville Saturday. Senior has run for 806 yards already


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