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Covering Bucks sports

There are basically three types of sports stories we do in the Centurion:

game stories - coverage of a specific game

features - articles that profile a coach, look ahead to the coming season of a particular team, or summarize the season just ended

columns - the writer gives his opinions on a team

Game stories and features are what we need the most. Columns are fine, but a writer should cover a team at Bucks on a regular basis before trying to write a column.


Features: these stories involve an in-depth interview with either the coach or one of the players talking about the team. This can be written in a feature-like style and should be a minimum of 500 words, and probably more. See the example below:

Kevin Yorke
Centurion Staff

In sports there is an old cliche, defense beats a good offense. What is meant by this cliche is while the amount of scoring can fluctuate depending on many factors, there is always that ability to make the opposing team work hard for every opportunity. That saying holds true for Bucks men's soccer.

The Centurions men's soccer team looks to complete another successful season this year, and while the outlook is promising, Coach Justin Burroughs knows the team can play better than they have during the beginning of the season.
"Finishing is our biggest problem," Burroughs said.

"Right now we're in the middle of the pack as far as the standings go. We're in every game and our defense is the strength of our team, but when we have a chance to put away teams, we just can't find the net. Sometimes, the frustration of the team is apparent," Burroughs added.

The team has dominated the opposition in many games this season but has just not been able to score the go- ahead goal. Trouble with scoring aside, Coach Burroughs knows the team is still one of the best in the area.

"The way we're playing right now I know will help us down the road. The team's determination has really shown through this trying period," he said.

An example of this frustration can be identified with a Sept. 15 loss to Manor Junior College, when the Centurions lost 1-0 in a hard- fought match.
The team will deploy an offensive scheme that will hopefully combat this lack of scoring. With two strikers on the offensive side, Coach Burroughs seeks to take as many shots as possible from where ever possible.

"We want to overwhelm the other team," said Burroughs.

To take as much pressure off the players as possible, no spot on the offensive side of the field is off limits. The players have been instructed to shoot early, and often.

Game stories - must include the score, the records of both teams, the leading scorer(s) and an account of some of the key plays. There should be some quotes from the coach and, if possible, some of the players. Game stories should be at least 300 words.

The lead can basically follow format like this:

John Smith scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Centurion men's basketball team to a 82-78 win over Northampton Community College on Tuesday.

Notice the lead includes:

The name of the leading scorer; what he or she did; the final score; the name of the opposing team.

Obviously, for game stories it's best if you can be there for the game. But you can also put together a game story by interviewing the coach afterwards and getting the necessary information.

Here's an example from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Bryan Burnham caught two touchdown passes and returned a punt 92 yards for another score as Moorestown whipped Shawnee, 33-13, in a Burlco/Olympic Liberty Division game last night in Medford.

Burnham, a 6-foot-3 senior, now has nine touchdowns on the year - five on receptions, two on interception returns, one on a kick return, and one on a punt return.

"If I'm a Division I coach, I'm taking a long, hard look at him," Quakers coach Russ Horton said. "He's an unbelievable talent."

The Quakers improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the division. Shawnee (2-3, 1-2) came into the game seventh in the South Jersey Group 3 power-point standings and are in danger of missing the playoffs.

Burnham's first touchdown came on an 8-yard fade route from quarterback John Eller, who lofted the pass high into the air for Burnham to get.

"I just want him to throw it up there so I can make a play," said Burnham, who will visit Penn State today. "I was happy to see the one-on-one coverage."

Burnham struck again in the third quarter with the game's biggest play. He took a punt from Shawnee's Chris LaPierre and raced 92 yards for a score, hurdling LaPierre before taking it the final 10 yards. The return was set up by a fake handoff from Burnham to speedy Mikey Reynolds - something the pair decided to do on their own, Horton said.

"After the fake, the wall was just set up," Burnham said. "I had a couple of blockers out in front. They did a great job clearing the way."

The final blow from Burnham came in the third quarter. He hauled in a long pass from Eller with a textbook, over-the-shoulder grab and cruised 75 yards for a touchdown that put Moorestown ahead by 27-6.