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The Sports Report: Recapping Sunday’s activity

Chargers Football
Jerry Tillery
(Associated Press)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell. Judging by my emails, there aren’t a lot of Lakers fans thrilled about the rumor the team can talk to Dwight Howard about reuniting. Don’t worry, it’s not happening.

Chargers

First-round draft pick Jerry Tillery was a standout Sunday when the Chargers lost to the New Orleans Saints, 19-17, in an exhibition game. In his first game action, he responded almost immediately by sacking quarterback Taysom Hill.

Other notable performances, according to Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller.

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Cardale Jones, competing for the job as No. 3 quarterback, led a 10-play, 98-yard drive that ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Andre Patton.

—Patton, one of the candidates to provide wide receiver depth, finished with four catches for 62 yards.

Troymaine Pope returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown. He’s battling for the third running back job.

Jaylen Watkins intercepted a tipped pass near the goal line in his first game action since last preseason. He missed 2018 because of an ACL injury.

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Dodgers

It looked like the Dodgers were headed to a victory and a series win over the Atlanta Braves when the bullpen struck again, this time turning to a new face to fall apart: Dustin May.

May, who was relieving Pedro Baez who relieved Tony Gonsolin, started the sixth with a 3-1 lead. Then he served up a grand slam to Rafael Ortega to give the Braves a 5-3 lead that allowed them to claim the series victory. Was this series a preview of the NLCS?

“It was a good series,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Those guys came in to win a series. They played well. And that was fun. But as far as a barometer, I don’t really think it was [one].

“This is something that we didn’t expect to just be seamless,” Roberts said of employing May in relief. “[This is] to kind of give him an opportunity to learn and get his feet wet.”

Angels

Griffin Canning, relying heavily on a fastball that touched 95 mph and a sharp-breaking slider that touched 91 mph, allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking one, in the Angels’ 9-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Matt Thaiss backed Canning with three hits, including a three-run homer in the second and an RBI double in the sixth, and Kole Calhoun (solo shot in the fourth), Shohei Ohtani (two-run shot in the seventh) and Anthony Bemboom (two-run shot in the eighth) added homers.

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Rams

Micah Kiser, a projected starting inside linebacker for the Rams, suffered a left pectoral injury in Saturday’s preseason defeat by the Dallas Cowboys that will require surgery Tuesday, and there is no timeline for his return. Kiser’s absence leaves a potential hole in a defense was expected to improve with the additions of veteran safety Eric Weddle and linebacker Clay Matthews.

Kiser is expected to be replaced by Bryce Hager, a seventh-round draft pick in 2015 who carved a niche on Rams special teams and developed into a valuable reserve.

UCLA football

Last season was a horrible season for the Bruins’ special teams unit. This season? Keep it simple, stupid.

“If you can count one to three, A, B, C,” defensive back Jay Shaw said Sunday, “you already know what you’re doing.”

The Bruins’ overhaul of special teams began in January when tight ends coach Derek Sage was also made their special teams coordinator after the departure of Roy Manning, who now coaches cornerbacks at Oklahoma.

“He’s done it before, and he was really good at it,” coach Chip Kelly said. “We discussed and looked at candidates, and we had a really good candidate in-house, so that’s what we did.”

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Players have praised Sage for his attention to detail. He starts meetings by asking players to clap in sync, and if the energy is not sufficient, everyone must repeat the process. Running back Martell Irby said players are taught how to contribute to returns even on plays in which they get beat by their counterparts.

“We know that special teams is one-third of the game, and we’re really going to treat it like that,” long snapper Johnny Den Bleyker said. “So we’re taking a lot of time in meetings to emphasize things, emphasize drill work, emphasize film. If a guy makes a mistake, we’re going to point it out, we’re going to correct it.”

High school football

Times high school sports columnist Eric Sondheimer is counting down to the season by picking the top players at each position. Today, he moves on to defensive lineman. Take it away, Eric.

Defensive lineman Jordan Berry, Narbonne

Jordan Berry, who is 6 feet 4 and 315 pounds, looks indestructible wearing his green Harbor City Narbonne High football helmet while protected by shoulder pads and knee pads. He’s usually the one inflicting punishment on smaller, weaker opponents from his defensive tackle position.

So imagine how his mother, Shenae, felt last fall during a state playoff game when she discovered it was her son laying motionless on the ground as emergency personnel worked to determine the extent of his injury.

“I was terrified,” she said.

She came down from the bleachers at San Diego Cathedral Catholic High, walked toward the end zone and waited to see her son. Coach Manuel Douglas called to say he’d be OK and it was protocol to call an ambulance because he was suffering from a possible concussion and neck sprain.

“I hit the dude, fell to the ground ... it was head-to-head contact,” Berry said.

He had briefly lost consciousness and was transported to the hospital.

“I can’t see where my mom was and I’m a momma’s boy,” he said. “I got to the hospital and she wasn’t there. It was very scary being there myself.”

Berry spent four days hospitalized for observation to make sure his blood pressure was under control. Narbonne lost the playoff game 24-21. Berry’s mom later wondered about the wisdom of her son playing football.

“I wanted him to say, ‘Let’s take senior year off. You have 10 scholarship offers,’” she said.

“Mom, I can’t,” her son answered.

“I could say, Jordan, you’re not going to play, but at the end of the day, it’s up to him,” she said.

Berry, who committed to Louisiana State, said his scare last fall taught him to be more serious.

“It makes me pay attention,” he said. “It makes me open my eyes more.”

Top defensive linemen

Player, School | Ht. | Wt. | Yr. | Comment

Tusi Adams, Palos Verdes | 6-3 | 290 | Sr. | Had nine tackles for losses

Jordan Berry, Narbonne | 6-4 | 315 | Sr. | Louisiana State commit is tough to move out of the middle

Korey Foreman, Corona Centennial | 6-4 | 245 | Jr. | Let’s see who can block him

Ja’Quez Harvey, Locke | 6-4 | 245 | Jr. | So athletic that he’s also playing quarterback

Lance Keneley, Mission Viejo | 6-5 | 247 | Sr. | Relentless pass rusher

Kobe Pepe, St. John Bosco | 6-2 | 270 | Sr. | USC commit had 68 tackles

Anthony Ruvalcaba, Garfield | 6-4 | 230 | Sr. | Had 18 sacks

Jake Shipley, Shadow Hills | 6-3 | 270 | Sr. | Oregon commit has lots of strength

Tuli Tuipulotu, Lawndale | 6-2 | 220 | Sr. | Had nine sacks for 14-2 team

Soane Toia, Grace Brethren | 6-1 | 275 | Sr. | Recorded 11.5 sacks

Odds and ends

Column: Saints’ Taysom Hill is a do-it-all quarterback still perfecting his game.... Column: FSW/Prime Ticket executive: High school sports coverage ‘is in our network’s DNA’.... Phil Mickelson’s Sunday: lightning, fire, police and then some golf.... Raiders GM: Antonio Brown must move past helmet issue and be ‘all-in or all-out’.... Golf: Justin Thomas wins the BMW Championship.

Today’s local major sports schedule

All times Pacific

Angels at Texas, 5 p.m., FSW, 830 AM

Born on this date

1931: Jockey Bill Shoemaker (d. 2003)

1934: Tennis player Renee Richards

1935: Baseball player Bobby Richardson

1958: Baseball player Gary Gaetti

1959: NBA player Ricky Pierce

1960: NFL player Bobby Hebert

1960: NFL player Morten Andersen

1960: Baseball player Ron Darling

1971: Tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez

1973: NBA player Roy Rogers

And finally

The final race and retirement of Bill Shoemaker. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me by clicking here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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