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Latest News in Victory Gardens, NJ

Gardens To Feed Veterans In Need Get Assist From Brick Eagle Scout

American Legion Post 129's Victory Garden in Toms River was rebuilt by Rafael Gonzales and produced 800 pounds of produce for vets in need.Rafael Gonzales and some of the volunteers. (Ana María Gonzales, published with permission)BRICK, NJ — Rafael Gonzales knows that food insecurity is a tremendous problem for many people these days. There is one group of people in particular who face it and often struggle in silence."Food insecurity is a problem that veterans really struggle with," Rafael, 17, ...

American Legion Post 129's Victory Garden in Toms River was rebuilt by Rafael Gonzales and produced 800 pounds of produce for vets in need.

Rafael Gonzales and some of the volunteers. (Ana María Gonzales, published with permission)

BRICK, NJ — Rafael Gonzales knows that food insecurity is a tremendous problem for many people these days. There is one group of people in particular who face it and often struggle in silence.

"Food insecurity is a problem that veterans really struggle with," Rafael, 17, of Brick, said recently. He made it his mission to help, and in 2021 the Brick Township High School senior led the rebuilding of the Victory Garden at American Legion Post 129 in Toms River.

Rafael's project, which earned him his Eagle Scout award, now is under consideration for the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Conservation Award. That award honors projects that conserve natural resources and address a local issue. He is a member of Boy Scout Troop 39 of Brick and Venturing Crew 129 in Toms River.

In Ocean County, nearly 59,000 people were faced with food insecurity in 2020, nearly 10 percent of the county's population, according to Feeding America, a national organization that tracks food insecurity and supports more than 200 food banks across the nation that are helping to feed those in need.

Food insecurity was a problem before the coronavirus pandemic, including for the veterans who relied on the Victory Garden at American Legion 129. The pandemic exacerbated the problem, putting thousands more people in need, including veterans; Ocean County has one of the largest populations of veterans in the nation outside of Florida.

Rafael said he chose the Victory Garden project because helping veterans is important to him; his father is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army during the Persian Gulf War. Seeing people struggle to have enough food to eat after serving their country is something that shouldn't happen.

Over the course of three days, Rafael and his team of about 20 volunteers rebuilt and added beds at the Legion's existing garden site. Rafael and other scouts filled them with soil, planted seeds and assisted with the upkeep of the beds, he said.

"We go monthly to help maintain them," he said.

As a result, volunteers were able to harvest 800 pounds of fresh produce that was distributed to local veterans struggling with food insecurity. It was double the amount of produce that was harvested from the Legion's garden prior to Rafael's project, his mother said. In all there were nearly 190 hours of service involved in the project.

"Any way I can make it so they don’t have to worry as much, I want to help," Rafael said.

Patch has partnered with Feeding America since 2020 to help raise awareness in our local communities of hunger, a persistent national problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that 1 in 8 people face hunger. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.

NFL roundup: Josh Jacobs carries Raiders to OT victory vs. Seahawks

November 28 - Josh Jacobs scored on an 86-yard run with 4:20 left in overtime to give the Las Vegas Raiders a 40-34 victory against the host Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon.Jacobs carried 33 times for 229 yards and two touchdowns for the Raiders (4-7), who won in OT for the second consecutive week. Derek Carr overcame two first-quarter interceptions to complete 25 of 36 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Carr threw a 5-yard scoring strike to Foster Moreau with 1:54 remaining in regulation to tie the score.The Seaha...

November 28 - Josh Jacobs scored on an 86-yard run with 4:20 left in overtime to give the Las Vegas Raiders a 40-34 victory against the host Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon.

Jacobs carried 33 times for 229 yards and two touchdowns for the Raiders (4-7), who won in OT for the second consecutive week. Derek Carr overcame two first-quarter interceptions to complete 25 of 36 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Carr threw a 5-yard scoring strike to Foster Moreau with 1:54 remaining in regulation to tie the score.

The Seahawks (6-5) lost their second in a row and fell out of a first-place tie in the NFC West. Geno Smith was 27-of-37 passing for 328 yards and two TDs. Rookie Kenneth Walker III rushed for two scores.

The Raiders got the ball first in overtime and moved to Seattle's 37-yard line before the drive stalled. Daniel Carlson's 56-yard field-goal attempt was wide right. The Seahawks went three-and-out and had to punt to Las Vegas' 14-yard line. On the next play, Jacobs went up the middle and was hardly touched on his way to the end zone.

Jaguars 28, Ravens 27

Trevor Lawrence threw three touchdown passes and Jacksonville gambled on a successful two-point conversion with 14 seconds remaining to beat visiting Baltimore.

Lawrence completed 29 of 37 passes for 321 yards for Jacksonville (4-7). With just over two minutes to play, Lawrence started the Jaguars on their eventual game-winning drive. The drive was capped off by Lawrence connecting with Marvin Jones Jr. for a 10-yard touchdown. On the two-point conversion, Lawrence found Zay Jones on a pass to the left side of the end zone.

With just 14 seconds left, Baltimore (7-4) put Justin Tucker in position for a 67-yard field-goal attempt, but his kick was short as the Ravens' four-game winning streak came to an end. Lamar Jackson totaled 343 yards of offense for Baltimore, carrying the ball 14 times for 89 yards and completing 16 of 32 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown.

Eagles 40, Packers 33

Jalen Hurts ran for a career-high 157 yards and threw two touchdown passes as Philadelphia defeated visiting Green Bay.

Hurts completed 16 of 28 passes for 153 yards. He rushed 17 times and broke the team record for rushing yards by a quarterback set by Michael Vick, who had 130 against the New York Giants in 2010. Philadelphia (10-1) rushed for a whopping 363 of its 500 total yards and matched its best start since the 2017 team that won Super Bowl LII. Miles Sanders ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

Aaron Rodgers passed for 140 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions before leaving the game with an oblique injury late in the third quarter. Jordan Love took over for Green Bay (4-8) in the fourth quarter, trailing 37-23 after Jake Elliott's 31-yard field goal. Love's third pass was a 63-yard TD to Christian Watson -- the rookie receiver's sixth score in his last three games -- to make it 37-30 with 9:00 left.

Browns 23, Buccaneers 17 (OT)

Nick Chubb ran for a 3-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left in overtime to give Cleveland a victory against visiting Tampa Bay.

The winning run was set up by a 45-yard pass from Jacoby Brissett to Amari Cooper that moved the ball to Tampa Bay's 3-yard line. Cleveland (4-7) tied it at 17-17 with 32 seconds left in regulation on Brissett's 12-yard touchdown pass to David Njoku on fourth-and-10 and Cade York's extra point.

Brissett passed for 210 yards, one TD and one interception in what was likely his final start before Deshaun Watson returns from his suspension. Tom Brady passed for 246 yards and two scores for the Bucs (5-6). Chris Godwin had 12 catches for 110 yards and a TD. The Buccaneers had taken a 17-10 lead with 7:41 left in the third quarter on Brady's 5-yard TD pass to Ko Kieft.

Panthers 23, Broncos 10

Carolina's Sam Darnold threw a touchdown pass and scored on a strange running play while the defense dominated in a victory against visiting Denver.

Darnold (11 of 19, 164 yards), who had been injured in the preseason and then was behind Baker Mayfield and PJ Walker in the pecking order, made good on his first chance in a role that he held last year. D'Onta Foreman rushed for 113 yards on 24 carries and Eddy Pineiro kicked three field goals for the Panthers (4-8).

The Broncos (3-8) were limited to 246 yards of total offense in losing their third straight game. Russell Wilson completed 19 of 35 passes for 142 yards and a late touchdown.

Dolphins 30, Texans 15

Tua Tagovailoa passed for 299 yards and a score and the Miami defense turned two turnovers into first-half touchdowns in a victory over Houston in Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Dolphins (8-3) led 30-0 by halftime -- their largest since building a 41-0 halftime lead against Houston on Oct. 25, 2015 -- and won their fifth consecutive game. Miami moved back into a first-place tie with the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.

The Texans (1-9-1) entered the game with the NFL's worst record and hoped for a better outcome after switching from second-year starter Davis Mills to Kyle Allen at quarterback. Allen completed 26 of 39 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown, but threw two interceptions and finished with a 67.8 passer rating in his first start for the Texans. He was sacked five times.

Jets 31, Bears 10

Mike White threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns to lead New York to a victory over Chicago in East Rutherford, N.J.

White completed 22 of 28 passes, including a 22-yard scoring strike to Elijah Moore and touchdown passes of 8 and 54 yards to Garrett Wilson, who finished with five receptions for 95 yards. The Jets (7-4) improved to 3-3 at home while Chicago (3-9) lost its fifth straight game and for the eighth time in its past nine contests.

Bears quarterback Trevor Siemian, thrust into the starting lineup after Justin Fields was inactive due to the injured shoulder he suffered in a loss to the Falcons last week, went 14-for-25 passing for 179 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Bengals 20, Titans 13

Tee Higgins caught seven passes for 114 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter to lift Cincinnati past Tennessee in Nashville, Tenn.

Joe Burrow completed 22 of 37 passes for 270 yards for the Bengals (7-4) and Samaje Perine, who started at running back for the injured Joe Mixon, gained 93 yards from scrimmage (58 rushing, 35 receiving) with a touchdown.

The Titans' Ryan Tannehill finished 22 of 34 for 291 yards. Derrick Henry was held to 38 rushing yards on 17 carries but did have three receptions for 79 yards. With Tennessee (7-4) out of timeouts after an unnecessary roughness penalty, the Bengals kneeled three times to drain the clock late in the fourth. Cincinnati won for the fifth time in six games, while Tennessee lost in regulation for the first time since Week 2.

Commanders 19, Falcons 13

Kendall Fuller intercepted a batted pass in the end zone with 1:03 left to preserve Washington's victory over Atlanta and continue its playoff drive in Landover, Md.

With Atlanta threatening to take the lead at the Washington 4-yard line, Daron Payne batted a pass by Marcus Mariota at the line of scrimmage and Fuller came down with the fluttering ball just inside the goal line. After Fuller's interception, the Atlanta defense forced an apparent three-and-out. But Adetokunbo Ogundeji was flagged for running into punter Tress Way, ending Atlanta's hopes.

In a close-to-the-vest game played in a steady rain, Taylor Heinicke threw two touchdown passes and Brian Robinson Jr. ran for a career-high 105 yards on 18 carries as Washington (7-5) won for the sixth time in its last seven games. Atlanta (5-7) was led by Mariota, who completed 15 of 25 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. He also ran six times for 49 yards.

Chargers 25, Cardinals 24

Justin Herbert hit Austin Ekeler on a 1-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds remaining, then found Gerald Everett on a two-point conversion pass, as Los Angeles bypassed overtime and pulled off a victory over Arizona in Glendale, Ariz.

The Chargers (6-5) punted on their first three fourth-quarter possessions but finished off a seven-play, 38-yard drive in the final two minutes following a 20-yard punt return from DeAndre Carter.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray played well in his return after missing two games with a hamstring injury, going 18 of 29 with 191 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Murray also had a rushing TD, while James Conner had 120 yards rushing for Arizona (4-8).

Chiefs 26, Rams 10

Patrick Mahomes threw for a touchdown and rookie Isiah Pacheco rushed for another to fuel host Kansas City over injury-riddled Los Angeles.

Mahomes connected on 27 of 42 of his passing attempts for 320 yards. He completed passes to 10 different receivers while Harrison Butker made four field goals to send the Chiefs (9-2) to their fifth straight win. Tight end Travis Kelce reeled in a 39-yard scoring pass in the first quarter for his 12th touchdown reception of the season.

Los Angeles' Bryce Perkins threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson and had a team-high 44 rushing yards while making his first career NFL start. Perkins was playing in place of the injured Matthew Stafford (neck, concussion) for the Rams (3-8), who mustered just 198 total yards of offense en route to losing their fifth straight game.

49ers 13, Saints 0

Jimmy Garoppolo passed to Jauan Jennings for the game's only touchdown and host San Francisco handed New Orleans its first shutout loss in more than 20 years.

Robbie Gould added two field goals and Garoppolo completed 26 of 37 passes for 222 yards as the 49ers (7-4) won their fourth consecutive game. Andy Dalton completed 18 of 29 for 204 yards, but Alvin Kamara had just 50 yards from scrimmage and lost two crucial fumbles for the Saints (4-8).

New Orleans reached a first-and-goal twice in the fourth quarter, trying to avoid the shutout and pull within one score, but the 49ers defense stood strong both times. It was the first time New Orleans failed to score in 333 games, dating back to Week 17 of the 2001 season against the 49ers.

--Field Level Media

Princeton’s Big Al Invitational Up Next for Swim & Dive

SALT LAKE CITY – Only one event remains on the schedule for the University of Utah swimming and diving team before the calendar flips to 2023 and that final meet of 2022 is Princeton's Big Al Invitational, which will be held from Dec. 2-4 at the DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, N.J."I want to see us show up with a great attitude," said coach Jonas Persson, "and be compet...

SALT LAKE CITY – Only one event remains on the schedule for the University of Utah swimming and diving team before the calendar flips to 2023 and that final meet of 2022 is Princeton's Big Al Invitational, which will be held from Dec. 2-4 at the DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, N.J.

"I want to see us show up with a great attitude," said coach Jonas Persson, "and be competitive in all aspects. I know that we've trained really hard and we've stepped up our game this fall and I think its going to show this week. I'm excited to see people swim fast, I know they're excited to swim fast and its going to be fun see our divers step up as well."

The Utes also made the trip to the Garden State for this meet in 2021 and finished atop the leaderboard in the both the men's and women's competitions. Over three days, Utah claimed more than a dozen victories and added several new entries to the program record book. One of the highlights of the weekend was Ben Smyth's performance on the platform, where he finished with a score of 398.95, a new DeNunzio pool record.

The Utes will be competing in a field that includes the Tigers, as well as George Washington, Denver and CSU Bakersfield.

Last Time Out It has been nearly a month since the last time the entire team was in action, hosting UNLV in a dual meet that ended with Persson earning his first victory as head coach by a combined score of 389-206. In 32 events, Utah came out on top 25 times, including all four relays, on their way to victory.

Finn O'Haimhirgin, Hilja Schimmel and Evan VanBrocklin each came in first in a pair of races, while Summer Stanfield was the meet's only competitor to pick up three victories. This marked the third time in Stanfield's career she left a meet with three triumphs, snagging the top spot in the 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley.

Eight more Utah swimmers finished the day with at least one first-place finish to their credit and that list included Sydney Even, Katie Hale, Andrei Ungur, Reagan Cathcart, Erin Palmer, Preston Planells, Marko Kovacic and Baylor Lewis.

For the Utes' divers, their last meet was the Texas Diving Invite, which was held on Nov. 16-19. The Utes started this invitational with a team event that saw both their men's and women's squads finish ahead of teams from Stanford. On days two and three, Holly Waxman surpassed the NCAA championship qualifying marks, first in the 3m, then in the 1m. When the focus shifted to the platform on the final day, Ben Smyth, Luke McDivitt and Holly Waxman all performed well enough to earn zone scores, while Smyth logged his team's highest finish, coming in fourth.

Looking Ahead After returning from New Jersey, the Utes' schedule has them back at home on Jan. 6-7, hosting Colorado Mesa at the Ute Natatorium.

Follow the Utes! For fans of the Utah men's/women's swimming and diving programs, follow the Utes on Twitter (@UTAHswimdive), Instagram (@utahswimdive) and Facebook (@UtahUtesSwimDive).

Devils happy to get ‘spark’ back in Hudson River rivalry: ‘It’s just great to beat the Rangers’

Standing in the locker room after the Devils’ victory over the Rangers on Monday, Nico Hischier glanced at the ceiling as a grin stretched across his face.Hischier, reflecting on the game, raved about his team’s performanc...

Standing in the locker room after the Devils’ victory over the Rangers on Monday, Nico Hischier glanced at the ceiling as a grin stretched across his face.

Hischier, reflecting on the game, raved about his team’s performance, spoke to where they could improve, but mostly focused on one thing: how special it felt to win at Madison Square Garden in front of a sold-out crowd packed with Devils fans.

“They show up here, it’s fun to see them here and I’m sure they enjoy the win as much as we do,” Hischier said. “It’s fun playing here – to see some Devils fans here show up.”

“It’s just great to beat the Rangers.”

Not only did the Devils’ victory net them the most points in the NHL (38), it also reestablished themselves as a force over their Hudson River rivals. It looked bleak early in the night– the Rangers jumped to a 2-0 lead three minutes into the first period– but the Devils piled on four straight goals en route to a 5-3 win.

Hischier, like several of his teammates, has only played on one postseason Devils team in 2017-18. Compare that to the Rangers – who advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season – and you can see why some pundits discredited the rivalry during the past decade. But this year feels different – which has some players eager for future cross-river battles.

“The history of these two teams goes way back,” said Miles Wood. “It’s nice to get that spark back in that rivalry.”

For others, the rivalry never ceased. Even when both teams were in the draft lottery, the animosity between them always created intriguing storylines and lasting memories. Hischier, for example, loved seeing the crowd pumped, but has never lost his Blueshirt hatred.

“Back? It was always there,” Hischier said. “For me, it was always a rivalry.”

Coach Lindy Ruff, who was a Rangers assistant coach before accepting the Devils gig in 2020, viewed Monday’s game as a benchmark win. He understands how tough results are in front of a raucous crowd, so he believes this will teach his club moving forward.

“It’s a hard building to win in,” Ruff said. “A lot of energy in this building, they’re a tough team to play against. We know that coming up here, more division games are coming up, more against teams in our conference, and it’s just going to continue to get tougher.”

As giddy as Wood was in the dressing room, he still sided with his coach. The Devils are 7-1-0 when trailing first in games, a testament to both their resilience and constant sluggish starts in matchups. Wood hopes to see more energy from opening puck drops as the season progresses.

“It’s a mindset that we have to overcome,” he said. “We’re a quarter of the way done here and I don’t want to say it’s unacceptable, but we have to get our spark from the drop of the puck. And we haven’t had that. We’ve talked about it in the past and hopefully next game we can make strides in that department.

“We like our play right now, but we can’t get cocky about it. Because things can slip and we have to hold each other accountable here. It’s off to Nashville.”

The Devils (19-4-0) have a day off on Tuesday before returning to morning skate on Wednesday and facing the Nashville Predators in Game 24 on Thursday.

MORE DEVILS:

-’I don’t regret one bit of it’: Martin Brodeur finally talks about his Devils grudge and forgiveness, that brief Blues stint and his GM dreams

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Miami Heat at Boston Celtics odds, picks and predictions

The Miami Heat (10-12) are set to face the Boston Celtics (18-4) Friday at TD Garden. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. Below, we analyze Tipico Sportsbook’s lines around the Heat vs. Celtics odds, and make our expert ...

The Miami Heat (10-12) are set to face the Boston Celtics (18-4) Friday at TD Garden. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. Below, we analyze Tipico Sportsbook’s lines around the Heat vs. Celtics odds, and make our expert NBA picks and predictions.

The Heat suffered a 134-121 loss to the Celtics Wednesday as they failed to cover as 9.5-point road underdogs. Miami had a 3-game win streak before the loss but has still lost 5 of its last 8 games.

The Celtics covered the spread for the 5th straight game with the win Wednesday. Boston is amid a 5-game win streak and has won 9 of its last 10 outings.

Heat at Celtics odds

Provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Claim your risk-free bet up to $350. Catch the excitement and start betting with Tipico Sportsbook! New customer offer in CO and NJ. 21+, see Tipico.com for Terms and Conditions. Bet now!

Heat at Celtics key injuries

Heat

Celtics

For most recent updates: Official NBA injury report.

Heat at Celtics picks and predictions

Celtics 121, Heat 110

Just PASS on the moneyline in this game because the Celtics (-330) are so heavily favored at home. The risk of taking Boston straight up isn’t worth the return you’ll receive if the Celtics secure the victory.

The CELTICS -7.5 (-115) are the superior team right now and they own an 11-1 record at home. The Heat don’t have anyone that can contain F Jayson Tatum, who put up 49 points against Miami Wednesday.

The Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall and the Heat are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings with the Celtics.

While both of these teams are predicated on playing formidable defense, OVER 225.5 (-110) is the ideal wager in this game. The Heat and the Celtics have a combined 25-18-1 record to the Over this season.

The Over is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings between theses teams in Boston.

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