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FOLLOWING the abandonment of their semi-final clash, defending champions Sparta Boss and Leopold Street will clash for a place in the final of the Georgetown Zone of the Guinness ‘Greatest of the Streets’ competition this afternoon, at the National Cultural Centre tarmac, starting at 17:00hrs.The winners will meet West Front Road ‘Gold is Money’ in the final set for Saturday at Demerara Park, opposite Thirst Park.The reigning title-holders will look to players such as Gregory ‘Jackie Chan’ Richardson, Eusi Phillips, Sheldon Shepherd, Cleon Forrester and Denis Edwards to lead their charge for victory.On the other hand, Omallo Williams and Okanie Fraser are the marquee players for Leopold Street and how they perform could prove pivotal in their quest to make the final.The overall winners of the G/town Zone will receive $500 000, a trophy and an automatic berth in the national playoffs, while second-, third- and fourth-place finishers will take home $250 000, $200 000 and $100 000 along with trophies.Colours Boutique on Robb Street is also on board the event. The organisers and coordinators commend the ranks of the Guyana Police Force for their solid support throughout the tournament.Patrons are being urged not to attend the games with firearms or any offensive weapon.
It’s hard to believe, but when Wisconsin battles Michigan tomorrow it will be the last time Badger fans make the walk down to Camp Randall Stadium to watch UW in 2009.Honestly, it seems like just yesterday I was telling readers how improved this team was after UW escaped with a week one victory, and now here we are, nine games later, about to use our last ticket vouchers.But what’s even harder to believe for most Badger fans is that after a 2008 season that went so wrong, we have enjoyed a 2009 season that has UW back in the Top 20.And we owe the revival of the football program in 2009 to a specific set of individuals — two of the seniors making their last appearance tomorrow on the FieldTurf at Camp Randall.Now there are plenty of reasons why we saw such an improved product on Saturdays this season, aside from the obvious help of a favorable schedule.Head coach Bret Bielema and his staff preached discipline and accountability at the start of the year and it paid off. We’ve watched a resilient team that has become one of the least penalized groups in the Big Ten.Added to the new mentality is the wealth of young talent on this team that is already producing.But with Senior Day taking place tomorrow, there is no better time to show some appreciation for the leadership and productivity of Chris Maragos and O’Brien Schofield — two defensive captains, and two of the biggest reasons why UW is sitting near the top of the conference.Have you noticed the lack of big plays given up by the Badgers this season, or the improved tackling in the secondary?It’s Maragos who has been so reliable as the last line of defense, limiting big plays and making sure-tackles when opponents reach the second level.The former Western Michigan wide receiver found a home at UW and his play has made fans forget about former Badger Shane Carter, and the two-hand-touch they were accustomed to seeing at the free safety position. Thanks for that Chris.And Maragos has done more than limit big plays; he’s been making plays of his own all season long.Early in the year it was the interceptions against Northern Illinois and Fresno State that kept a zero in the loss column, and his most recent interception against Indiana was one of the most impressive breaks on a ball I’ve seen from a UW defensive back in quite some time.While Maragos has been patrolling the secondary, as its one truly consistent playmaker, Schofield has been anchoring a rock solid defensive line.Coming into the year, critics looked at the UW defensive line and saw a depleted unit that was thrown together. They were just a bunch of no-names that were filling the void left by the graduation of multi-year starters.Well, Schofield has made a name for himself. And it’s a name offensive coordinators now hate to see on the opposing depth chart.Schofield is among the nation’s leaders in tackles for loss with a mind-blowing 18.5, and he leads UW in sacks with 7.5. He has commanded double-teams, freeing up teammates along the line to make plays and that’s a major reason why UW’s rush defense is tops in the Big Ten. Not too many people saw that coming.Schofield is having one of the most impressive senior seasons for UW in recent memory, and what makes it even more inspiring is the fact that it came out of nowhere.Throughout his first few years in the program, Schofield was buried in the depth chart after switching from linebacker to defensive end. Last season he made strides and worked opposite Matt Shaughnessy, but as the lone returning starter along the D-line, it was crazy to think he could produce an All-Big Ten season. Not with so much inexperience surrounding him.Shows you what hard work in the offseason can do.Schofield came into 2009 more motivated, more physical and more confident and his leadership has rubbed off on the entire team.If you get to the game before kickoff (I know for some that’s a lot to ask) just watch the team as they huddle together after warm-ups. The team circles around the captains, but there is one voice that has the attention of all those dawning the cardinal and white. It’s Schofield who commands his team’s attention, and who now serves as a model of perseverance and leadership for the Wisconsin football program.When Schofield and Maragos run out of that tunnel for the last time tomorrow there will be a painful reminder staring directly at them lined up on the other sideline.The maize and blue encapsulates everything that went wrong for this team just a season ago.In last season’s matchup, backbreaking penalties, god-awful tackling, inexcusable drops and an unforgettable collapse took place in Ann Arbor, Mich., as the game, and the Badgers’ season fell apart right in front of them. After starting the season 3-0 in 2008, UW went on to lose four of their next five.It’s fitting that it’s Michigan who serves as this team’s Senior Day opponent. Schofield and Maragos were on that field in Ann Arbor, they were part of the defense that gave up that 19-point halftime lead and tasted that miserable defeat.For the 2008 Badgers the game against Michigan was the beginning of the end. For the 2009 edition, this matchup is one step closer to the end of the line for a couple of seniors intent on getting this program, and this defense, back on its feet. Tomorrow they get the chance to avenge last year’s collapse in Ann Arbor, and show just how much this team has grown.They have the opportunity to do it in front of the home crowd, for the last time.We don’t know how this season will end. We don’t know what bowl game awaits (let’s pray its not the Champs Sports again). Who knows if Iowa will lose two more, or if Penn State will falter at MSU?But what we do know is this team has proved the doubters wrong by bringing toughness and a sense of urgency back to the defense. UW is once again playing physical football, and the Badgers are in the running for a New Year’s Day bowl game.And for that, it’s the seniors — Maragos and Schofield — who we have to thank.Max is a junior majoring in journalism. Want to share your memories of the senior class? E-mail him at [email protected]