digest.3b

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Whitney claims Carr Trophy

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- The Poplar Bluff Letterman's Club awarded the Carr Trophy to Jackson running back Mario Whitney Wednesday night.

The Carr Trophy is awarded to the top football player in Southeast Missouri.

Whitney helped the Indians to a 12-1 record and a Class 5A semifinal appearance this year, while racking up numerous individual records, including a state-record 463 rushing yards in a single game. Whitney ended up with 2,782 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns, 41 of them rushing, one receiving and another on a kickoff return. He also threw a touchdown pass.

Travis Dambach, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound tackle who helped clear the path for Whitney was named the SEMO North Conference's lineman of the year.

Hakim gets vote of confidence from Martz

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz said Wednesday that Az-Zahir Hakim is in no danger of losing his punt return job.

Hakim has five fumbles this year, two on punt returns. He accounted for the first of the Rams' five turnovers in a 24-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night, and on Tuesday Martz said the fumbling had become "an issue, more than I want it to be."

Martz began his Wednesday news conference with a vote of confidence for Hakim, who has two career punt returns for touchdowns -- one each in 2000 and 1999. He's also the Rams' third wideout.

"I don't know how this got started, but his status hasn't changed," Martz said. "He's our starting punt returner and he's our nickel guy.

"I don't know who started it or why it was started but it's just completely false."

On Tuesday, Martz seemed to be placing Hakim on notice, but he said that wasn't so.

"I've got every confidence in him in the world," Martz said.

Before practice, Hakim declined comment.

Manning upset by Mora's postgame tirade

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, upset over Jim Mora's disparaging remarks after Sunday's game, fired back at the Colts coach Wednesday.

Without citing Manning by name, Mora blamed the Colts' 40-21 loss to San Francisco on five turnovers.

Manning threw four interceptions as Indianapolis (4-6) moved closer to falling out of the playoff hunt. Although Manning accepted the blame for the defeat, he took exception to the tirade.

"I was fully responsible for that loss. (But) to be called out in front of the whole country, where that press conference is going to be played over and over again ... that bothers me. It really does," Manning said in a conference call with beat writers of the Baltimore Ravens, the Colts' opponent this Sunday.

Manning said Mora "was speaking to me directly" when the coach ripped the team during his postgame news conference.

Virginia-Michigan State called due to wet floor

RICHMOND, Va. -- The game between No. 9 Virginia and No. 22 Michigan State was postponed with 15:04 left in the second half Wednesday night because of condensation on the floor at Richmond Coliseum.

The game, played with the court on top of the ice rink used by a minor league hockey team, was deemed too dangerous to continue because the condensation made it unsafe.

Virginia was ahead 31-28 when the game was called.

Just before the second half began, lead official Andre Pattillo said the game would be called if moisture that caused several players to slip during the first half continued to be a factor.

-- From staff, wire reports

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