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Fenton man killed in crash remembered for love of community, sports

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FENTON, MI – Parker Dagenais learned to fall in love with the place he called home no matter where it was.

“He was definitely all about his Fenton community and now the Laker community,” said Susan Dagenais, Parker’s mother.

The 20-year-old had developed a fondness for Sault Ste. Marie and Lake Superior State University after choosing to attend the school and study sports management.

He’d taken on the role of student assistant coach for the LSSU women’s basketball team, hoping one day to become a head basketball coach.

“Parker’s biggest passion was basketball,” said Jordan Dagenais, Parker’s older brother. “He was obsessed with all sports, but basketball was his favorite.”

Susan Dagenais said her son was born with a neuromuscular disease that limited his ability to play sports, but he “found other ways to capitalize” on his interest.

Parker died Oct. 13 after the 2007 Buick Lucerne he was driving crashed along I-75 in Cheboygan County.

Cheboygan County Sheriff’s deputies responded around 9:18 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13 to a reported vehicle in a ditch along the interstate near the 317-mile marker.

Another motorist pulled over to the side of the road to help, at which point the Lucerne heading northbound slid sideways into the parked vehicle.

The Lucerne then also entered the ditch and rolled onto its roof, with the impact of the collision leading to Parker’s death.

Speed and icy road conditions were factors in the crash, while alcohol was not. Parker was wearing his seat belt.

“This is an unfortunate and tragic accident and our hearts go out to the family,” said Cheboygan County Sheriff Dale V. Clarmont.

Paul Dagenais, Parker’s father, said his son was home for the weekend due to an extended break at school for Canadian Thanksgiving.

It was also the last chance he’d have to make it home for a while with the basketball season set to begin.

“Parker was a true blessing to our program and my life. He brought a joyful heart with him everyday and his positive attitude was contagious,” said Brandon Lokken, LSSU’s Women’s Basketball Head Coach, in a statement. “Parker loved our basketball program and we all loved him. We were so grateful to have him as a student assistant coach. We will miss him dearly.

While back in Fenton over the weekend, the father and son had gotten in a round of golf, a growing passion for Parker after working at a country club in Sault Ste. Marie over the summer.

Parker’s fondness for sports extended to watching football on the weekends in the fall as well as an affinity for Liverpool soccer.

“He always dreamed of going there,” said Paul Dagenais of Parker’s wish to one day visit the English Premier League football club’s home stadium in northwest England.

The 2017 Fenton High School graduate — who nabbed the homecoming king title in 2016 — also held a special place in his heart for the University of Michigan.

“All U of M, all the time. He loved (Jim) Harbaugh,” said Paul Dagenais, with Susan chiming in “He work khakis every day” like the Michigan head football coach.

Aside from sports, Parker’s sister Madison Dagenais said her brother loved to share a joke and spend time with family.

“He was the most loving and caring and passionate person ever,” she said.

Paul Dagenais said Parker “loved his brothers and sisters.”

The Fenton community that Parker also grew to love has shown their support to the family after hearing the news.

“It’s clear that the entire community is behind us. Everywhere we’ve gone since then, even to the store to buy something, everybody is supporting us,” said Paul Dagenais.

Parker Andrew Dagenais is survived by his parents, Paul and Susan Dagenais of Fenton; siblings, Jordan and Madison Dagenais of Iron Mountain and Ypsilanti, respectively; grandparents, Ray and Diane Dagenais of Fenton; many loving extended family members; and his faithful four-legged friend, Woody.

He was preceded in death in death by his sister Erin Jordan Dagenais, brother Connor Mathew Dagenais, and grandparents Larry and Patricia Jordan.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Fenton with Fr. David Harvey celebrant.

Visitation will be held from 1 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 at Sharp Funeral Homes, Fenton Chapel, 1000 Silver Lake Road. Visitation will also be held on Friday, Oct. 18 from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass at church.



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Penn State holds off Indiana to set up Ohio State showdown in Big Ten

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When everything hung in the balance at the end of this sloppy, mistake-prone afternoon, No. 11 Penn State showed an impressive dose of toughness and resolve.

With all of the their problems before, who would have expected the Nittany Lions to drive 75 yards when absolutely needed, chewing nine minutes of clock in the process?

Without their best playmaker and rugged runner.

With everything to lose coming off a debilitating defeat.

Sean Clifford and his running backs did most of the heavy lifting on the fourth-quarter drive that sealed what became a desperate defeat of No. 25 Indiana on Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

The 34-27 decision was not the finely tuned recovery act desired before heading to Columbus with the Big Ten East title on the line.

Not when next week’s Ohio State Buckeyes look like the most dominating team in the nation on offense and defense.

But this will certainly do for now.

BLAME GAME: It’s not Nick Saban’s fault Tua Tagovailoa got injured

TOUGH LOSS: Alabama’s Tagovailoa carted off field with hip injury

BIG DAY: Wisconsin’s Taylor makes NCAA history against Nebraska

It was the roughest of days, though, to get to that impressive final offensive drive.

The Lions didn’t seem to play with coach James Franklin’s hopeful “urgency” with the ball for much of the day.

Their vaunted defense displayed multiple holes and weak spots yet again. Pass defense and open-field tackling was a misadventure from the beginning.

So maybe it was a good thing they were playing Indiana, after all?

More than anything, the pass-happy Hoosiers were more giving than expected. And the Lions were more than pleased to take advantage. 

After an abysmal opening series on offense, the Lions punted away the ball — only to have Indiana’s top player, Whop Philyor, inexplicably let the bouncing ball hit him before backing away.

The Lions recovered and scored five plays later.

Even worse, the Hoosiers badly bungled and fourth-and-1 situation in the third quarter. They called a timeout, then attempted a fake punt run that was doomed from the start.

The Lions scored two plays after that.

Even more painful? When Indiana got the ball back again it drove deep, only to have receiver Donavan Hale drop the ball in the end zone. The Hoosiers settled for a field goal.

Certainly, Penn State ran the ball more effectively for a second straight week behind Journey Brown and Clifford (combined 155 yards).

But the thin pass game took a huge hit when star receiver and returner KJ Hamler was lost for the game in the first quarter after landing awkwardly on a kickoff return, possibly suffering a concussion.

Meanwhile, promising tailback Noah Cain did not play yet again with an apparent ankle injury, even though Franklin had said he was “90 percent” last week.

It got to the point where Clifford and the offense were trying to hold on in the fourth quarter with runs from Brown and hopeful passes … to someone. Even heralded tight end Pat Freiermuth could not find space or any type of groove (one catch).

Clifford was not prolific by any means but, once again, played smart and gutsy, running when the opportunity arose, eluding pass rushers to find receivers downfield and throwing the ball away when necessary. 

He took some hard hits and got up each time.

The defense played to hold on at the end, too.

Indiana came into the game known as possibly the most improved passing team in the Big Ten and beyond. Penn State planned for this and still struggled to stop it.

Peyton Ramsey completed 31-of-41 passes for 371 yards, spreading the ball among nine receivers. He produced all three touchdowns (one passing, two running) and kept the Lions scrambling and lunging all afternoon.

The Lions answered last, though. Clifford took the final snap on fourth down of that drive and barreled in for the clinching score with less than two minutes to play.



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Yu Darvish, Christian Yelich Spar on Social Media as Controversy Swirls Over Sign Stealing

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Major League Baseball may be in its offseason, but Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich took to social media to discuss one of the league’s hot button issues.

In a recent report, The Athletic alleged that the Houston Astros were using technology to steal signs during the 2017 season, during which the team won the World Series.

The story has generated shockwaves throughout the sport and has sparked an investigation by the league, and one of the players most affected by the alleged sign-stealing happens to be Darvish.

At the time of the incident, Darvish was pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and was shelled during two World Series starts against the Astros, giving up eight earned runs in just three innings of work in the series.

Darvish, in a video posted to his YouTube page earlier this week, didn’t blame the alleged “sign-stealing” for his struggles, but said he was never satisfied with the Astros’ explanation that he was tipping his pitches.

“I feel that if I absolve myself and say it was the Astros’ fault I was bad in Game 7, in the World Series, I can’t develop as a person,” he said in the video. “Because I had that experience, I was able to work hard these last two years and become the person I am now.”

After the Astros’ story broke, the spotlight turned toward other potential instances of sign stealing. The popular Cubs blog Bleacher Nation published a tweet showing Darvish step off of the mound while Yelich was batting during a game at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, and while some alleged that it was evidence that Darvish suspected that the Brewers’ slugger was stealing signs, Darvish wasn’t as sure:

“I’m not sure what he is trying to do,” he said. “But to be clear his eyes move first. That’s why I stepped off.”

As some fans pointed out in replies to the tweet, the bullpen at Miller Park is in left-center field, the same direction that Yelich appeared to look in the video. In a follow-up tweet, Darvish said that he did not mean to say that the Brewers were conclusively stealing signs, but Yelich did not take too kindly to the inference, saying that “nobody needs help facing you” and calling on Darvish to “be better:”

Darvish replied to Yelich’s tweet:

“Easy man,” he said. “I’m not saying you are stealing signs.”

The sign-stealing discussion will likely last through the remainder of the offseason and into the regular season, but Atlanta Braves slugger Josh Donaldson tried to inject some levity into the situation by replying to Yelich’s tweet:

After Donaldson asked Yelich for help in facing Darvish, the Cubs pitcher responded, saying that he didn’t think Donaldson “needed help” in the batter’s box.

With the sign-stealing story seemingly generating new headlines every day, this likely won’t be the last time that a team has to face questions about its practices, but the Brewers have not been formally scrutinized. 





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Saturday’s Sports Transactions – The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Claimed RHP Eric Yardley off waivers from San Diego.

COLLEGE PARK SKYHAWKS — Waived G Ronshad Shabazz. Claimed F Nick Ward off waivers.

FOOTBALL
National Football League

ARIZONA CARDINALS — Signed TE Maxx Williams to a two-year contract extension.

CINCINNATI BENGALS — Placed CB Dre Kirkpatrick on the IR. Signed LB Hardy Nickerson and WR Damion Willis from the practice squad.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS — Released OT Gerhard de Beer from the practice squad. Signed OT Cedrick Lang to the practice squad.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS — Placed DT Cortez Broughton on the non-football illness list. Signed LS Matt Overton.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES — Placed RB Darren Sproles on IR. Signed RB Jay Ajayi.

HOCKEY
National Hockey League

WASHINGTON CAPITALS — Assigned G Ilya Samsonov and D Tyler Lewington to Hershey (AHL). Recalled F Travis Boyd and G Vitek Vanecek from Hershey.





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