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AP-TX--Texas Sports Digest 12 am, TX

October 12, 2018

Good morning! Here’s a look at AP’s Texas sports coverage. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP Dallas bureau at 972-991-2100, or at 1-800-442-7189. Email aptexas@ap.org. Jamie Stengle is at the desk after 5:30 a.m.

Reminder: This information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Central.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.






NEW YORK — A government witness at a college basketball corruption trial has testified that he made a secret $40,000 payment to the inner circle of a North Carolina State recruit through an assistant coach at the school. Testifying in federal court in Manhattan, self-described recruitment facilitator Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola told a jury he delivered the money in cash to the coach, Orlando Early, on a trip to Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2015. He said the coach told him he was going to give it to a personal trainer for highly touted point guard Dennis Smith Jr. as a way to get it to Smith’s family. Smith now plays for the Dallas Mavericks. By Tom Hays. SENT: 550 words. Moved on general, financial and sports news services.




BOSTON — Alex Cora led Boston to a victory over the hated Yankees. Next up for the first-year Red Sox manager: The team he left after winning a World Series as a bench coach last season. “I’ve been talking about them the whole season, so now we go,” he said after the Red Sox beat New York 4-3 in Game 4 of the AL Division Series to earn the right to play the Houston Astros for the pennant. “Best of seven. They know me. I know them. It should be fun.” By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 720 words, photos.


HOUSTON — Ask Houston manager AJ Hinch to name the best thing about George Springer and he rattles off a laundry list of qualities he admires in the outfielder. “I’m not sure there’s a perfect player,” Hinch said. “But he’s pretty close.” Last year’s World Series MVP hit three homers in the ALDS and the Astros look for him to continue his hot hitting as they prepare for Boston’s powerful offense in the ALCS beginning Saturday. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 650 words, photos.


BOSTON — The Red Sox hope home-field advantage makes a difference after consecutive Division Series eliminations. Boston began the postseason 0-2 on the road at Cleveland in 2016 and again at Houston last year. By winning a club-record 108 games this season, the Red Sox ensured home-field advantage through the postseason. They split at home against the Yankees last weekend, swept a pair of games in New York to advance and open the AL Championship Series against the World Series champion Astros on Saturday night. Chris Sale starts for the Red Sox and Justin Verlander for the Astros. By Kyle Hightower. SENT: 620 words, photos.




Chris Sale is all set to start Game 1 at Fenway Park. If the Boston Red Sox later need him for middle relief, he’s ready. Or a setup spot, sure. “I mean, it’s postseason baseball. You have to be prepared for anything,” the All-Star lefty said. Especially when it comes to pitching, particularly after seeing the likes of Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and other All-Star aces working in unusual roles during recent Octobers. Because as managers’ moves this month have proven — some worked, some didn’t — the winning strategy might be getting the best guy on the mound at the key moment, no matter when that comes. By Baseball Writer Ben Walker. SENT: 980 words, photos.


— BBO--LCS UMPIRES — Gerry Davis, who has umpired a record 144 postseason games, will be the crew chief for the NL Championship Series. Joe West, whose 5,194 regular-season games are second to Bill Klem’s 5,375, will be the AL Championship Series crew chief, the commissioner’s office said. SENT: 220 words.


— BBA--RANGERS-MANAGER SEARCH — The Texas Rangers have done their first interviews in the search to replace fired manager Jeff Banister. By Stephen Hawkins. SENT: 140 words.




HOUSTON — DeAndre Hopkins has made a lot of great catches in his time with the Houston Texans, but his latest one might be his best. The 49-yard catch and run that included two nifty spin moves has inspired memes and internet tributes, and Buffalo coach Sean McDermott, whose team visits Houston on Sunday, said: “I didn’t sleep much (Sunday) night because of watching that.” By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 670 words, photos.


HOUSTON — Everyone agrees that Deshaun Watson took far too many hits last week against the Dallas Cowboys. That doesn’t mean Houston’s quarterback is going to change the way he plays on Sunday when the Texans (2-3) host the Buffalo Bills (2-3). Many of those hits against Dallas came on runs when he simply refused to slide, something that he won’t apologize for. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 800 words, photos. Moved for weekend use.


FRISCO, Texas — Dak Prescott took plenty of time away from the cameras trying to explain why he thinks the Dallas offense is close to breaking through the struggles most responsible for the Cowboys’ losing record. The quarterback at one point looked for help in his description from Cole Beasley, the receiver who sounded off recently about the frustration his group feels in a sound bite that was perceived as a shot at Prescott. In short, Prescott sees no issues of unity with the Cowboys (2-3) trying for the third time to get back to .500 with a home game coming off a rough road trip. Jacksonville (3-2) visits Sunday. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 800 words, photos.


ARLINGTON, Texas — With Blake Bortles piling up passing numbers like never before in his career, Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone wants to get the Jaguars back to running. Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys have the opposite issue heading into a Sunday matchup with familiar faces on both sidelines. Bortles has a chance to be just the fifth NFL quarterback with at least 375 yards passing in three straight games after establishing a career high in consecutive weeks. He also had a career-high four interceptions last week, which helped explain a 30-14 loss to undefeated Kansas City. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 800 words, photos. Moved for weekend use.


WATFORD, England — The Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Dickson knows his unconventional punting style is likely to catch the eye of a few kicking enthusiasts in England. Punts don’t score points, though, so he believes the fans might be a bit more dazzled by placekicker Sebastian Janikowski. “The drop kick is cool,” Dickson said. “You do that in rugby a lot. I don’t know if we’ll be doing it too much ... so (Janikowski) hitting a few field goals will probably get the crowd pretty happy, I’d say.” Dickson found himself in the spotlight on Sept. 17 when he tried a drop kick during a kickoff, and later an onside kick, in the Seahawks’ 24-17 loss to the Chicago Bears. On Sunday, the rookie from Sydney by way of Texas will take his technique to London as the Seahawks face the Oakland Raiders in the first of three NFL games to be played at Wembley Stadium this season. By Zac Boyer. SENT: 780 words, photos.



FORT WORTH, Texas — Jett Duffey ran 38 yards for a touchdown with 7:02 left in the game as Texas Tech beat TCU 17-14. By Stephen Hawkins. SENT: 700 words, photos.


— FBC--GEORGIA SOUTHERN-TEXAS STATE — Wesley Fields rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown, helping Georgia Southern beat Texas State 15-13. SENT: 160 words.

High School




Women’s World Cup

— SOC--JAMAICA-CUBA — Jody Brown scored three goals and Jamaica routed Cuba 9-0 in their final group stage match at the CONCACAF women’s World Cup qualifying tournament. SENT: 140 words.


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