HIGH SCHOOLS

Bonny Eagle High senior Thomas Horton announced Sunday that he will join the University of Maine football team. The 6-foot-1, 255-pound two-way lineman dominated on both sides of the ball for the Scots, with 42 knock-down blocks as an offensive guard and 72 tackles, 13 for loss at nose guard.

On Saturday, Horton was named the winner of the Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman Award and the $5,000 scholarship that comes with it. A Varsity Maine all-state selection, Horton is also one of three finalists for the James J. Fizpatrick Award, given annually to the top senior high school football player in Maine.

Horton is the first lineman to be named a finalist for the Fitzpatrick since 2001. Only one lineman, Gerry Raymond of Lewiston following the 1977 season, has won the Fitzy, first handed out in 1971. The 2021 winner is expected to be announced in mid-March.

Horton told the Portland Press Herald he had narrowed his college choice to either UMaine or Division III Western New England. He intends to study mechanical engineering.

Horton becomes the third in-state player to commit to new UMaine Coach Jordan Stevens. Last week, Thornton Academy quarterback Jack Emerson and Bonny Eagle running back Zachariah Oja announced they had accepted preferred walk-on offers from Maine.

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BASEBALL

MAJORS: Mets GM Billy Eppler said he spoke to Yankees GM Brian Cashman well before hiring away Eric Chavez as the team’s hitting coach and that both sides had an understanding that Chavez may end up in Queens.

The 44-year-old Chavez was hired by the Yankees in November as one of two assistants to new hitting coach Dillon Lawson – and projected to take on a role beyond his title. A few weeks later, the Mets hired the 17-year big leaguer to be their primary hitting coach.

Eppler said he was in contact with Cashman before the Yankees hired Chavez, and that the Bronx Bombers knew Chavez might not end up in pinstripes if he was offered a greater role on the Mets’ staff.

“I had an understanding that if the lead role opened here, and he won the day, that he would get their blessing,” Eppler said. “And so, that’s ultimately what happened.”

MEDIA

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ESPN: Dick Vitale announced he will not be appearing on ESPN for the remainder of the college basketball season due to ongoing treatment for precancerous dysplasia on his vocal cords.

Vitale first announced in late December that he needed to take a break to rest his ailing voice.

While Vitale said in a statement that the rest has helped, he will need surgery to treat the ulcerated lesions on his vocal cords. Vitale previously disclosed in October that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and that he was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. He made an emotional return to the airwaves on Nov. 23 for the Gonzaga-UCLA game in Las Vegas.

The last game Vitale called was on Dec. 12 between Villanova and Baylor.

SOCCER

AFRICAN CUP: Gambia upset Guinea 1-0 to reach the quarterfinals at Yaounde, Camerron, in a game that saw both teams have a player sent off in the final few minutes.

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Musa Barrow gave Gambia the lead with a smoothly taken goal in the 71st minute.

Gambia had Yusupha Njie sent off in the 87th minute for elbowing an opponent as they went up for a header, but Egyptian referee Amin Omar also gave Guinea’s Ibrahima Conte a second yellow in injury time.

• At least six people have died in a stampede outside the stadium.

Naseri Paul Biya, governor of the central region of Cameroon, said there could be more casualties.

The stampede happened as crowds struggled to get access to Olembe Stadium in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde to watch the host country play Comoros in a last 16 knockout game in Africa’s top soccer tournament.

Officials at the nearby Messassi hospital said they had received at least 40 injured people from the stampede.

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“Some of the injured are in desperate condition,” said Olinga Prudence, a nurse. “We will have to evacuate them to a specialized hospital.”

Soccer officials said around 50,000 people had tried to attend the match. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but it was not meant to be more than 80% full for the game due to restrictions on the size of the crowd because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cameroon won the game 2-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Claudio Ranieri was fired by Watford after 3 1/2 months in charge of the team that has just slipped into the relegation zone.

Watford won two of its 13 league matches under the 70-year-old Ranieri. A 3-0 home loss to Norwich dropped Watford into the bottom three for the first time this season.

Watford is looking for its third permanent manager of the season, having already fired Xisco Munoz, and its 16th in the last 10 years.

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CYCLING

CRASH: Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal broke his femur and kneecap in a training accident Monday and underwent surgery to repair the damage, a hospital near Colombia’s capital said.

In a statement, the University of La Sabana Hospital said Bernal received reconstructive surgery on his right leg. It said he also had sustained injuries to his chest and neck.

Bernal collided with a bus parked on a roadside outside Bogota on Monday morning while training with his team Ineos Grenadiers, police said. They said the accident was under investigation.

Bernal had been training with several members of his team recently near his hometown of Zipaquira, which is 8,600 feet above sea level. He was preparing for the Tour de France in July, but experts said he might not be able to recover in time for the race.

OBIT

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GYMNASTICS: Former Olympic champion Szilveszter Csollany died Monday at the age of 51 after spending weeks hospitalized with COVID-19, Hungarian sports officials said.

The Hungarian Olympic Committee and the country’s gymnastics federation issued a joint statement confirming the death of Csollany, who won a gold medal in the men’s rings competition at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He also won silver in 1996 in Atlanta and a world championship gold in 2002.

He was a six-time medalist at the European gymnastics championships, and the recipient of Hungary’s “Sportsman of the Year” award in 2000 and 2002.

Csollany had been hospitalized with COVID-19 since early December, and spent several weeks on a ventilator.


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