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By Sonny Jones

Was that Cam Newton or Sam Darnold rambling 13 yards to the 3, then keeping the ball and running it into the end zone for a touchdown Sunday?

OK, that’s a ridiculous comparison. Newton, when healthy, was a dual threat and among the top quarterbacks in the NFL in the mid 2010s. Darnold, who, like Newton, gave the ball to a kid in the stands after his score, has done a terrific job over the past month managing the game in helping Carolina keep its playoff hopes alive.

D’Onta Foreman ran for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown and Chubba Hubbard ran for a career-best 125 yards Saturday as the Panthers dominated the Detroit Lions 37-23 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. Carolina had a franchise-record 320 rushing yards as interim head coach Steve Wilks has changed the culture and won half of his 10 games.

If the Panthers (6-9) can win at Tampa Bay and at New Orleans, they will be the NFC South champion. Yes, the division is woeful, but the idea is to get in the tournament. At the end of September, the team had a better chance to get the No. 1 pick in the draft than make the playoffs. Now, there’s hope again in the Queen City.

Hopefully, Elizabethtown’s Larrell Murchison will be on the active roster today when the Los Angeles Rams host the Denver Broncos. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. The game will air on CBS. Rams’ defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Marquise Copeland will not play. Murchison was inactive Monday in the Rams’ 24-12 loss at Green Bay. It was his first game with the team after being picked up off waivers following his release by the Tennessee Titans.

West Bladen (8-1) will play Pamlico (3-6) to cap off Wednesday’s opening round of the Bladen Offroad Christmas Tournament. The three-day, eight-team boys’ basketball tournament will have games each day at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at West Bladen High School. Admission will be $6 per day. The tournament opens Wednesday with Scotland (6-1) playing North Brunswick (5-5) followed by Dillon Christian (5-3) playing St. Pauls (3-5) and Wilmington Laney (10-0) playing Whiteville (0-6) before the Knights’ game.

West Bladen To Host Bladen Offroad Christmas Tournament Dec. 28-30

Registration for the Lil Knights Basketball League has opened. The league will play on five consecutive Saturday mornings beginning Jan. 7. It’s open to boys and girls in grades first through eighth. Registration fee is $35 prior to Dec. 30 and $45 after Dec. 30. Make checks payable to West Bladen Athletics Association. Click here for a printable registration form.


The drive to watch every bowl game continues. Streaming is my friend. Have watched them all, thus far, but it’s about to get much tougher.
Games played: 17 (through Dec 24). Games watched live: 9. Games streamed: 8.

HAWAII BOWL: Middle Tennessee 25, San Diego State 23
(Played Saturday, Dec. 24, watched Saturday, Dec. 24)
The traditional Christmas eve night game returned after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a great way to spend time while guarding the milk and cookies left for Santa. Zeke Rankin’s fourth field goal, a 37-yarder with 2:05 remaining, was the game-winner for the Blue Raiders. It came after Jack Browning’s bowl-record 52-yard kick had given San Diego State a 23-22 lead with 5:43 remaining.


• 2008 — New Orleans guard Chris Paul has his NBA-record steals streak end at 108 games in the Hornets’ 88-68 loss to Orlando.


• NBA: Philadelphia at New York, noon, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2

• NFL: Green Bay at Miami, 1 p.m., FOX

• BASKETBALL: Diamond Head Classic 7th-place game, 1:30 p.m., ESPNU

• NBA: L.A. Lakers at Dallas, 2:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN

• BASKETBALL: Diamond Head Classic 5th-place game, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU

• NFL: Denver at L.A. Rams, 4:30 p.m., CBS

• NBA: Milwaukee at Boston, 5 p.m., ABC, ESPN

• BASKETBALL: Diamond Head Classic 3rd-place game, 6:30 p.m., ESPNU

• NBA: Memphis at Golden State, 8 p.m., ABC, ESPN

• NFL: Tampa Bay at Arizona, 8:15 p.m., NBC

• BASKETBALL: Diamond Head Classic championship game, 8:30 p.m., ESPNU

• NBA: Phoenix at Denver, 10:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com.

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