Author Topic: Feedback would be greatly appreciated  (Read 505 times)

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Offline shawn-o-meter

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Feedback would be greatly appreciated
« on: November 08, 2010, 07:07:37 PM »
I'm thinking about submitting a sports freelance clip to a potential employer down the road.  I was hoping someone could critique this game story I wrote a few months just to see if this is something that I should submit or scratch from consideration. I had not written a game story in a few years before this one.

Alcorn State senior wide receiver Edward Johnson was instructed to play out of position for much of Saturday’s match up versus Mississippi Valley State.

Doing so was a gamble.  But a risk that helped pave the way for the Braves 27-9 thumping of the Delta Devils in the 13th annual Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field.

Johnson stood on his own 30 midway through the first quarter for the first time in his college career as a punt returner.

The maiden voyage ended 70 yards later in the south end zone to put Alcorn State up 7-0.

“It was my first time (returning punts),” Johnson said, who all week lobbied with head coach Earnest Collins Jr. during practice to use him in that role. “It was a game-time decision.”

For his 130 all-purpose yard performance, Johnson was named the game’s offensive MVP. The Braves (2-0, 1-0) special teams unit continued to give the Delta Devils (0-3, 0-2) its in the first quarter when cornerback Kirderra Hall blocked Carlos Sanchez’s punt.

The loose ball was scooped up by freshman Jacque Caldwell and run back for a touchdown to increase the Alcorn State advantage to 14-0.

“We saw some laws in their punt protection and we tried to exploit it, “Collins Jr. said. “It ended up working out for us. “People say special teams are only one-third of the game, but we work really hard on it during practice, and it paid off for us."

Although the special teams squad provided early points, the second-year head coach replaced senior starting quarterback Terrance Barnes in the second quarter after several lackluster drives for true freshman Brandon Bridge.

The Canadian-born signal-caller provided an immediate spark by rushing for 67 yards and throwing for another 127, including a 1-yard strike to Johnson just before halftime that extend the lead to 21-0.

“I feel like I can make plays both ways, “ Bridge said of his ability to beat the defense with both his right arm and scrambling ability. “It feels good that the coaches have a lot of confidence in me.”

Braves’ running back Gabriel Nash chipped in with 81 rushing yards and a touchdown. Not much could be said for a Mississippi Valley State offense that came into the game a week after being outgained in total yards 489 to 44 in a 44-0 whitewashing at South Carolina State.

Playing without starting quarterback Carl Davis who is out for the season with a broken leg, Holmes Community College transfer Oliver Hughes went 18-for-37 for 152 yards and an interception.

The offense was aided by three Alcorn State turnovers, but unable to capitalize on rare opportunities to attack with a short field, going 3-of-15 on third down conversions and 0-for-3 on fourth down.

Mississippi Valley State finished the game with more total punting yards (274) than total yards on offense (265).

The Delta Devils scored their lone touchdown on a Christopher Watkins 14-yard scamper in the early stages of the fourth quarter. It was the first of the season for the beleaguered group that has now scored just 15 points through three games.




Offline HandsomeHarley

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Re: Feedback would be greatly appreciated
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2010, 09:10:58 AM »
Don't normally do this, but I've been encouraged that I'm not bad at it, so I'll take a stab:

Alcorn State senior wide receiver Edward Johnson was instructed to play out of position for much of Saturday’s match up versus Mississippi Valley State.

matchup (match up is a verb. Matchup is a noun. It's that way in just about every instance.)
use "versus" sparingly. I would go with "against"

Doing so was a gamble.  But a risk that helped pave the way for the Braves 27-9 thumping of the Delta Devils in the 13th annual Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field.

one sentence. Your second sentence is an incomplete sentence. Avoid starting sentences with "And" or "But" when possible.
Braves'[b/] Avoid using nicknames when having to put an apostrophe afterward. Interchange team name with team nickname. (...for Alcorn State's 27-9 thumping ...)
WHEN at Soldier Field? Saturday? Friday?

Johnson stood on his own 30 midway through the first quarter for the first time in his college career as a punt returner.

First reference, use 30-yard line. You can say "30" on future references.
collegiate career
move "as a punt returner" after "30" -- "Johnson stood on his own 30 as a punt returner ..."

The maiden voyage ended 70 yards later in the south end zone to put Alcorn State up 7-0.

Here's where you can use "...put the Braves up 7-0.

“It was my first time (returning punts),” Johnson said, who all week lobbied with head coach Earnest Collins Jr. during practice to use him in that role. “It was a game-time decision.”

Awkward. "...returning punts)," said Johnson, who ..."

For his 130 all-purpose yard performance, Johnson was named the game’s offensive MVP. The Braves (2-0, 1-0) special teams unit continued to give the Delta Devils (0-3, 0-2) its in the first quarter when cornerback Kirderra Hall blocked Carlos Sanchez’s punt.

all-purpose-yard performance
New paragraph after first sentence. The two sentences are unrelated.
Alcorn State's special teams unit
If Devils is a nickname, it's "...Delta Devils THEIR..."
their WHAT?

The loose ball was scooped up by freshman Jacque Caldwell and run back for a touchdown to increase the Alcorn State advantage to 14-0.

This sentence needs to go with the last sentence in the previous graf.
"run back" is awkward. I would use "returned"
"to increase Alcorn State's advantage..."

“We saw some laws in their punt protection and we tried to exploit it, “Collins Jr. said. “It ended up working out for us. “People say special teams are only one-third of the game, but we work really hard on it during practice, and it paid off for us."

I assume you mean "flaws" in their punt protection.
Either omit the open quote before "People" or start a new paragraph.

Although the special teams squad provided early points, the second-year head coach replaced senior starting quarterback Terrance Barnes in the second quarter after several lackluster drives for true freshman Brandon Bridge.

Reverse "after several lackluster drives" and "for true freshman Brandon Bridge"

The Canadian-born signal-caller provided an immediate spark by rushing for 67 yards and throwing for another 127, including a 1-yard strike to Johnson just before halftime that extend the lead to 21-0.

“I feel like I can make plays both ways, “ Bridge said of his ability to beat the defense with both his right arm and scrambling ability. “It feels good that the coaches have a lot of confidence in me.”

Braves’ running back Gabriel Nash chipped in with 81 rushing yards and a touchdown. Not much could be said for a Mississippi Valley State offense that came into the game a week after being outgained in total yards 489 to 44 in a 44-0 whitewashing at South Carolina State.


You don't chip in WITH -- you just chip in.
489-44

Playing without starting quarterback Carl Davis who is out for the season with a broken leg, Holmes Community College transfer Oliver Hughes went 18-for-37 for 152 yards and an interception.

...Carl Davis, who ... watch your commas.
18 for 37. Only use hyphens when it is an adjective modifier ("...an 18-for-37 performance..." "...18-of-37 passing..."
AND a touchdown, WITH an interception. Interceptions aren't positive stats.

The offense was aided by three Alcorn State turnovers, but unable to capitalize on rare opportunities to attack with a short field, going 3-of-15 on third down conversions and 0-for-3 on fourth down.

"...turnovers and was unable to capitalize..."
3 of 15 on third down ... and 0 for 3 on fourth down

Mississippi Valley State finished the game with more total punting yards (274) than total yards on offense (265).

The Delta Devils scored their lone touchdown on a Christopher Watkins 14-yard scamper in the early stages of the fourth quarter. It was the first of the season for the beleaguered group that has now scored just 15 points through three games.


Hope that helps.
My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son of a bitch.

can you help me remember how to smile ... make it somehow all seem worthwhile ... how on earth did I get so jaded ... life's mystery seems so faded


Offline ringer

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Re: Feedback would be greatly appreciated
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2010, 01:39:07 PM »
With all due respect to the previous post (which made some great points), if it was already published, you can't edit it so...

I think I'd look for something stronger. It was an interesting hook, but it kind of fell flat because it lacked perspective (i.e. how rare was it for someone to play out of position) and the quotes didn't really pop.

Just my opinion.

It's better to submit a story that will leave a lasting impression on the editor (either because of its unique subject or because of your memorable style).

Offline shawn-o-meter

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Re: Feedback would be greatly appreciated
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2010, 03:06:21 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. This was the only sports story I have written in the last few years. So I was thinking about submitting it for versatility.  Are there some tips you guys can give me that will help me   produce better game stories down the line? My editor says I have some potential if I just stick with it.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 03:11:27 PM by shawn-o-meter »

Offline HandsomeHarley

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Re: Feedback would be greatly appreciated
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2010, 03:38:37 PM »
I always try to find something about the game that even those watching might not have noticed.

Talk to parents. Hell, some of my best stories happened because someone came up to me and asked me if I knew that kid's grandparent just died yesterday.

See a kid trying to hide a limp? Grab an inhaler during time out?
My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son of a bitch.

can you help me remember how to smile ... make it somehow all seem worthwhile ... how on earth did I get so jaded ... life's mystery seems so faded