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GameDay… Next man Up.


Next man up has kinda been the theme of this young football season for our Louisville Cardinals. Guys stepping up on the offense and defensive side of the ball when called on. You might feel like this Louisville team is struggling and in some aspects they are. But the young guys on this football team are flourishing.

With 129 yards rushing in the last game Malik Cunningham had one of the highest single-game rushing totals ever by a Louisville QB. In his first career start at linebacker, Robert Hicks led the Cardinals in tackles with 11 against WKU. He is the first Cardinal to do that since Dorian Ethridge last season. While freshman defensive end Jarrett Jackson had three tackles and the game-winning sack. He showed a lot of promise for a second straight week.

When these young Cardinals ran off the field last Saturday night they carried a lot of enthusiasm into the locker room. Even tho it was only a win over Western Kentucky they appeared to have some of that swagger back I had seen glimpses of on the field in Orlando. It’s going to take another big effort from these young guys on Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville.

The Cardinals open up their 5th season against a Virginia team that is currently 2-1 as well, with a loss to Indiana 20-16 sandwiched in between wins over Richmond 42-13 and Ohio 45-31. In that Ohio game, Virginia QB Bryce Perkins had a solid outing with 379 yards and three scores, while Jordan Ellis posted three more scores and 171 yards on the ground. Olamide Zaccheaus went off for 247 yards and two TDs to lead the Cavs in receiving.

The Virginia offense has another dimension to it this season with the ability of Perkins to make plays with his legs. But make no mistake about it this guy can also do some damage with his arm. Louisville 85th in total defense, 94th in rushing defense and 56th in passing defense will have a special challenge ahead of them in week four. They need to be aggressive enough to keep this offense in front of them but not be too aggressive overrunning their coverage. If Louisville can keep Perkins in check on the ground, and CBs Rodjay Burns and P.J. Mbanasor both very fast and talented can keep this defense from getting beat on the outside I really like our chances. Virginia is 13th nationally in converting third downs. The Louisville defense has to get off the field on Saturday.

The mobile QB has been the Virginia Defense Kryptonite. And with a steady dose of Cunningham and Dae Williams I think this Louisville team will find the end zone a few times. And I’d like to see our WR’s come to life this week as I think they could pose a real challenge for the Virginia secondary. Virginia Coach Bronco Mendenhall said after their game against Ohio last week: “Our secondary is not playing consistently, but Bryce [Hall] and Darrius Bratton are,” “Our safety play is inconsistent. Our corner play is actually consistent.” If Cunningham and Williams can establish the run and force the Virginia secondary up into tight coverage I really like our chances of beating them with the deep ball. Dez Fitzpatrick, Seth Dawkins, sand Jaylen Smith can sure talk a mean game. Now its time to play one.

I’m really hoping to see an inspired team performance on Saturday afternoon. With conference play getting started its gut check time for both the veterans and rookies on this Louisville football team. If they answer the call in the conference opener it could give them some great momentum moving forward. If not it could be a long season. Can’t wait for another exciting day of College football. L’s Up and go cards…

Out with the old, In with the new, and a little Déjà vu


Coach Petrino said after the game last night: “We didn’t play well at all. But the one thing that helped us at halftime is that we had some guys with good attitudes and they worked hard and found a way to win.”

You can be negative about the coaching and it’s ok to be upset that things appear to be in some disarray with Louisville Football. Just remember that there are young men busting their ass every day and who busted their ass last night to make sure the Cardinals didn’t lose this game against WKU.

I’m not happy things aren’t working out like we had all expected them to all offseason. I had very high hopes for this team and for this season. There are no more excuses and some of the things this team did last night are not what we have been used to. As fans, it’s time to put our big boy/girl pants on and support the players on this team who are trying their best under some obvious disarray.

If not for the guys in the locker room who gave it their all last night we’d be sitting here today with a loss to WKU. We’d be no better than Kentucky who got their tails whipped by the Hilltoppers a few seasons ago. And have a two-game losing streak to them. We’ll just leave that right there. I digress.

My point being. We got guys in that locker room busting their asses for this program, this team, and the fans. Guys like Jarrett Jackson who came in making big plays including the game-winning sack and Robert Hicks who led the team with 11 tackles last night. These young men were in high school last year folks. Our defense is banged up. These guys stepped up. That’s big for this team moving forward.

On the offensive end of the ball, things are really in disarray. Strange territory for Coach Petrino. But now he will pull out his book of tricks from the past two seasons and start game planning around a young and dynamic new starting QB. If you aren’t excited after watching Malik Cunningham the last two weekends there is no hope for you. There were moments on that field last night when I experienced Déjà vu. This young man is the real deal folks. Our season is not lost.

It was great seeing Dae Williams come back into his own last night. He’s a great athlete but an even better person. With 63 yards and 2 TDs he just took over in the 4th quarter and started running over guys. Back a few summers ago during practice and before he got hurt Dae Williams was such a presence and so dominating (just busting thru guys) that he had everyone’s attention. Haven’t seen media guys so giddy at a practice as that day. Dae Williams is for real folks. Our season is not lost.

We have a solid offensive line (they still have their moments), and two very athletic and physically superior athletes in our backfield. And I think our receivers finally come around with the leadership of Malik Cunningham. This gives Bobby something to work with. I’m optimistic he figures it out. We still get 8 wins and beat the Cayuts ass…

As a side note, I do feel really bad for Jawon Pass. I don’t know what’s going on with the young man and hope he figures things out. Card Nation has been super supportive to him and we need to continue that. I hope he keeps battling.

It was miserable at times but I managed to find some enjoyment in last night. I like watching young guys take advantage of an opportunity and the new stadium expansion is incredible. It adds a lot to the game day experience. Can’t wait for the Florida State game. Go Cards!

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First the Tide, Then a Tropical Storm first two weeks of Louisville Football have been a wash



First the Tide, Then a Tropical Storm the first two weeks of Louisville Football have been a wash.

We had such a build-up to the start of the Louisville Football season. So much build-up that the head coach was predicting a victory against college footballs best team. The players seemed confident and even started the game in Orlando with a little swagger in their step.

They were playing some good football. Puma looked poised, the Oline blocked, the running backs were running downhill, TE’s looked good, WR’s running crisp routes and even the defense made some good plays. Things seemed to be going as expected for about a quarter then the wheels started to fall off. So much so that the coaches were having gaffs.

After that game, I was able to put things into some perspective taking into account that they did play the first game of the season against the Tide. We did some things well, and it was a game to build on. Our young guys got hit in the jaw and didn’t respond well.

Heading into the Indiana State game I expected the monsoon rains and knew it would be a student body left, student body right kind of night. Not very entertaining but expected a solid win. I did not expect the breakdowns on offense, and I sure didn’t expect to see the Indiana State O-Line housing our D-Line at times. Knocking them off the ball.

I expected inconsistency with yet another new coaching change but come on… how are you controlling the line of scrimmage on downs against the likes of Alabama one week and losing that battle to an FCS school the next week. Doesn’t add up. Or does it all add up?

Did opening up the season against such a dominating opponent backfire? Did some of these young guys have that confidence tested too early? Did they completely put the last one behind them when heading into the game week with Indiana State? Did the torrential downpours affect the offense that much? To look that bad? Was the Louisville defensive front that beat up and did the weather affect their gameplay?

I’m willing to call it a wash.

That’s right… these last two weeks have been a blur. Louisville fans drove 13 hours to watch the season opener and then had to set thru a monsoon for the home opener. The expansion did not get the appreciation it deserved and we didn’t even get a Card March.

I don’t imagine that these first two weeks have been great for the players either. They did get knocked down to size pretty good in that first game. Confidence was shaken. Then they don’t get a Card March and have to sludge thru a monsoon all night against an FCS school in the home opener. Not much fun at all. They did enough to get the job done and did have some pep in their step to end a miserable night.

I’m excited about this weekend. I liked what I saw out of Malik Cunningham Saturday night. If you paid attention at the Spring Game you know his game is very Lamar’esque. Bobby will now have a few more options. And this could give Puma a little nudge. He has to be the leader of this team Tide or monsoon be damned… It’s good to know that there is someone ready to step up if he doesn’t. Don’t think we have a QB controversy yet. I like what Jeremy Smith brings to this team. He hasn’t missed a step.

Our defense is beaten up. The best player Jonathan Greenard is out indefinitely after injuring his wrist against Bama, and Dorian Etheridge suffered an ankle sprain against Indiana State. A lot of tackles here.

I’m beginning to worry that issues go much deeper than a few injuries on this side of the ball. Charlie Strong built a defensive culture so strong that it lasted up to Grantham’s last season. He was able to use Strong’s mojo for a few seasons. I’m worried about the current culture. Too much turnover and not enough consistency has left a big hole. Coach VanGorder is getting paid handsomely and he has some athletes so I’m not giving up hope yet.

This could be a week for guys to gain some confidence and more experience. Like Jarrett Jackson. This dude wears #8 and his last name is Jackson. He was No. 56 on ESPN’s Top 300 defensive linemen list and one of the top high school defensive lineman in Florida a season ago. Jackson has 7 assisted tackles this season. Guys like Amonte Caban and Tabarius Peterson. They both were trending upward at the end of last season.

Michael Boykin and Derek Dorsey could use another game before heading into the conference grind. Boykin is still adjusting to the speed of things. He was dominating in Juco last year. Dorsey has a mean streak about him but needs to be in right spot. GG Robinson has to step up and lead with Greenard out. GG can be a beast and has 7 solo tackles in the first two weeks. This defense is wet behind the ears and not from the rain last week.

I know that a hurricane is barreling up the east coast. But weather should not be an issue this Saturday night when the Cardinals play WKU. It should be an awesome night for a football game. I expect the tailgating lots to be packed early, I expect a great Card March, I expect the place to be packed, and I expect the expansion to get the crowd it deserves. I hope Louisville plays better and shows some promise. We will know a lot more about this team after Saturday night. Even though these last two weeks have been a wash I still have hope the season won’t be.

Go Cards!

GAMEDAY


GAMEDAY!

Another game today where I don’t think we learn much about the Louisville Football team especially if we get the monsoon the weather folks suggest. It will be a great game for all of the Coaches to work on getting their calls in and Gametime reps. It’s a great opportunity for the Louisville defense to gel more and to get more game ready with Coach VanGorder.

I think we see a steady flow of Running Backs tonight for the Cardinals but hopefully will stay dry long enough to see Jawon get a chance to work on some game rhythm with his wide receivers. Special teams should get some in-game action tonight. Should be a lot of Kickoff coverage practice (much needed), and field goal/extra point work. Hope we don’t see any punt work. (sorry Mason)

This game will be good for the players and should juice them back up some after being demoralized by Alabama. Football is very physical but can also be mentally exhausting. The young guys were very overwhelmed last weekend. Today is another chance for them to learn and gain some much needed confidence.

It’s going to be awesome to see these guys run out of that tunnel for the very first time of that beautiful new expansion. Should be a feel-good night all around and Cardinal Football needs it. L’s Up!

Go Cards!

The Cardinals pay a Toll in opener with Bama



It wasn’t the ending that Louisville and Cardinal fans had hoped for but a lot of young guys got action last night and there were some things that this team can build on moving forward. They played possibly the best team in the country and maybe one of the best programs in the history of college football. In Florida, they are big on their toll roads. Not all but a lot of things that happened last night was the toll a team pays when playing the Tide. You find things you can build on from this one and move on. Coach Petrino said in the post-game: “it’s only failure if you don’t learn from it.”


I like Pass and think that he is going to be a good one. He looked poised in the first quarter especially considering it was his first start in College Football and especially since he was playing the best College Football team on a pretty big stage. His throws were efficient in those first few sequences and he made the right choice with the football. He made some crafty moves in the pocket and was able to advance the football getting some first downs. This guy is still a ball of clay and there is still some molding to do. Jawon said after the game “ I just tried not to give up.” This kid won’t give up. We can’t give up on him.


When I get back to my old Kentucky home I will have to gather all of those aggravating toll slips and pay the tolls from Florida. When our Cardinals get home they’ll have to pay a different toll. I don’t imagine practice will be much fun after the film work. I won’t mention any names or call anyone out specifically but not helping our QB off the ground after a sack, missing blocking assignments, missing route assignments and some general apathy happened last night. You gonna talk a big game you better be ready to play one. But. Get your guts ran out and do better in the next one.


I think the general message I’d have for Cardinals fans would be to look forward to the next one and the season ahead. Our Cardinals hung with the best in the country for almost a quarter of football. The O-line blocked, the defense played aggressive and smart, our Redshirt Sophomore QB looked good in the pocket and the offense was moving the ball down the field. A lot to build on here folks. And just think about how exciting the new stadium will be. If you are giving up on this young and talented Louisville group after an ass whipping by Bama you are cheering for the wrong sport. They are the standard. Get over it. See you all at the beautiful Cardinal Stadium next weekend.


On a side note, it was great seeing #8 in the building last night. That guy really bought in here. He was a Louisville football player but will always be a Cardinal at heart. Luv you #8!

We lost but I’m still going to Disney World. L’s Up!

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The Beak Football Media Day Wrap-Up


Media Day is a signal that our sports dry spell is almost over Cardinal Fans. Another exciting Louisville Football season is now only weeks away. It’s always great to hear from Coach Petrino, his staff, and the players during this time of the year. Especially since the end of last season left most of us with more questions than answers. Talking with these guys on Saturday morning I felt the anticipation and excitement from them to get to Orlando and open up the season. Everyone seems very optimistic but did not undersell the hard work they still had ahead of them to get ready.


Raise your hand if you thought that the Cardinal’s offense became too one-dimensional at the end of last season. I loved Lamar Jackson just as much as the next guy. And when he tucked and ran for an 80-yard score I was in awe of the talent and speed. But I feel like the offense as a whole kinda revolved around that. I wouldn’t ever say that the offense will be better without Lamar. That’s crazy talk. You don’t lose a weapon like that and get better. I do think the offense this season will be more dynamic. Meaning I think that the process of getting that production from the team as a whole will pay off. This team is full of new energy and positive attitudes. Guys are just waiting for their shot.


Coach Galloway’s track record of recruiting and producing NFL talent at the wide receiver position is well-known. He is still working with enough speed and talent this year that the Cardinals could quickly develop into one of the nation’s most versatile offenses. He talked very confidently on Saturday morning about his guys moving forward.


With the help of Coach Mike Summers, the 2006 Cardinals were ranked 2nd in the nation in total offense. Coach Summers has a great football mind and knows that it all starts with fundamentals. In listening to him yesterday It seems that he will use that philosophy to bring even more improvement to his group this season. I think he will have those guys ready to be more physical and playing harder. He enters this season with one of the best groups Louisville has had up front. With guys like Becton, McNeil, Bentley, Thomas, and Foy there should be some big holes to run thru. Coach Summers talked on Saturday morning about how he liked the progression his guys were making. Even with all of the exciting players on the depth chart, I’m most excited about the O Line. Games are won and lost in the trenches.


The Louisville Defense also has a lot of speed and talent. A lot of that talent is young and unproven and some guys in this unit will be working with their 3rd coach in four years. I talked with Coach VanGorder on Saturday morning about his transition into the locker room. He seems like a very old school no-nonsense kind of guy. He seems confident that the turnover at his spot can be negated by sticking to his and the teams’ core principles and if you ask some of his guys they seem to be buying in. As hopeful and optimistic as I am about the defense this remains the biggest question mark of the season for sure.


I expect that we will see Goldwire, Peterson, Robinson, and Boykin along the Defensive line this season but I’m most excited about Jon Greenard. He is a big-time pass rusher who has 9.5 career sacks and was one of the top pass rushers in the nation in 2017. With added bulk to allow him to play with his hand in the ground, I expect him to be more dangerous and versatile this season.


Another guy I’m excited to see at the linebacker spot is Dorian Etheridge. One of the top defensive players in West Virginia coming out of high school he said he was impressed with Louisville’s “Light Up the Ville Camp”. With this guy holding down that LB spot I hope he can help this young Louisville D stop opposing offenses from ”Lighting up the Ville”.


The Louisville Wide Receiver corps will be one of the best units in college football this season. Guys like Jaylen Smith, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Seth Dawkins are expected to lead the way. These are some very talented guys and they are also a very confident group. I don’t think you’ll see them be intimidated when the Cardinals play Bama in a few weeks. In fact, I think they are all looking forward to the challenge. I really like our wide receivers.


As far as the Louisville running game is concerned I think it has been pretty much by committee during off-season work-outs but the guy who is standing out is Trey Smith. Smith is a hungry kid who has waited for his time to shine. I think he’s got 2018 in mind for that to happen.

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I’m tired of talking about football and I’m ready to start watching some. Only two more Saturdays without football Cardinal fans…

Cards Kick-off year number 5 at ACC Media Days


Wednesday marks the unofficial start of the college football season for us here in ACC country. It’s a lean time of the year for college sports but conference media days is a thirst quenching event for all avid fans. Coach Petrino will have WR Jaylen Smith and LB Jonathan Greenard with him at the 2018 ACC Football Kickoff, July 18-19, at The Westin Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina. Two great players that will certainly play a major role in the Cardinals success in year five of the conference.

Coach Petrino and the Cardinals are 21-11 heading into year five of ACC play. There will be a few more questions heading into this season than in seasons past. Who will step up and fill the roles left by guys like Reggie and Lamar? How will life without Lamar look? You don’t replace that. And who is ready to step up and bring the pop for Coach VanGorder on defense. I expect these to be a few of the many asked over the next three days.

Senior Wide Receiver Jaylen Smith will be one of eleven student-athletes at ACC media days who were chosen first-, second- or third-team All-ACC in 2017. He will also be one of 7 returning starters on the offensive side of the football for the Cardinals. He had 980 yards with 7 touchdowns and became a highlight reel catching some long passes from Lamar Jackson. He averaged over 16 yards a catch in 2017. Jaylen will highlight a very talented Louisville receiving corps. He is sure to be a big target for the Puma this season.

The Louisville defense lost seven players. A lot of tackles and a whole lot of heart graduated last year. One of five returning starters on defense and next man up is Jonathan Greenard. Greenard led the team with 15.5 tackles for loss and tied for team honors with 7.0 sacks in 2017. He finished 32nd nationally in tackles for loss and 47th in sacks… James Hearns was nasty at that linebacker spot. He will be missed. But Geenard could help fill some of that void.

Seven of the returning starters on the offensive side of the ball is on the offensive line. Big, athletic and quick on their feet this will be our best group up front in a long time. Coach Summers has those guys ready to win those battles in the trenches. That and a young hungry and talented group of defensive players has me optimistic about year five in the ACC. The first four years of this great conference has been a blast. I’ve been on many cool adventures and watched a helluva lot of good football. I’m looking forward to another season of that.

You can watch all the happenings at ACC media days on the ACC KICKOFF PAGE. The Coastal Side of the conference will be at the podium on Wednesday. The Atlantic side will get the spotlight on Thursday. Coach Petrino and the guys are up from 11:30 am till noon on Thursday.

Go Cards!

It’s Howling Time… Kentucky Derby 144


Derby Week is the one time during the sports cycle that I feel completely out of place. This is the week that the Universty of Louisville and those who cover it go to the horses. The UofL band will play my Old Kentucky Home at the Derby for the 82nd time today, New Mens Basketball Coach Chris Mack called ”Riders Up” at Oaks and you’ll catch a glance at Cardinal Stadium as the horses come down the stretch.

The who’s who of Louisville Sports folks have spent all week on the backside at Churchill Downs covering the 4 legged athletes. Usually, I’d have an urge to be right in the mix but not this week. I don’t know anything about horse racing. Nothing! But I do enjoy watching and betting on the yearly event. And every year that leads me on a hunt for any advice I can get before my wager.

About 7 or 8 years ago that hunt landed me on Justin TV. Anyone remember that streaming site? I stumbled upon a guy who calls himself the Howling Wolf. He had an interactive horse racing show on Justin TV. There was always a room full of folks watching him pick winners and letting out a big Howl after doing so. Trust me folks this guy picks winners.

I have hit several pick 4’s over the years and cashed more than a few tickets with the Howling Wolf. I recently found my old friend again on Facebook. Feeling like the only Louisville Blogger that isn’t somehow connected to this week I asked the Howling Wolf if he’d write something for the Big Race. He was nice enough to share his Derby Picks with us.

KENTUCKY DERBY SELECTIONS:

TOP SELECTION :
#12 ENTICED 30/1- GOT BUMPED TWICE IN THE WOOD MEMORIAL BY VINO ROSSO. WILL BE STALKING THE PACE EARLY AND SHOULD START MOVING UP CLOSER TO THE PACE IN HALF WAY INTO THE RACE AND GIVE HIS BEST KICK DOWN THE STRETCH.
THE JOCKEY ALAVARADO STAYS ABOARD

2ND CHOICE :
#5 AUDIBLE- HAS FACE AND BEATEN SOME OF THE HORSES IN THE FIELD. GETTING CASTELLANO BACK ABOARD AND WITH HIM ABOARD HAS WON BY ALMOSE 16 LENGHTS ABOARD. LIKES TO STALK CLOSE TO PACE AND GETS TIRED LATE FROM THAT. ILL LIKE TO SEE HIM STALKING BUT NOT TOO CLOSE TO SEE HIM GIVE A BETTER LATE MOVE.

3RD CHOICE:

#16 MAGNUM MOON 6/1- IS 4 FOR 4 TRYING FOR THE 5 STRAIGHT TO STAY UNDEFEATED. WILL LIKE THE STRETCH OUT IN DISTANCE. SO GREAT WORKOUTS THE LAST ONE WAS 47.70 BREZING AT THE CHURCHILL DOWNS TRACK ON APRIL 29TH.

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!

There you go, folks! The Cardinals Beak finally gave you some Derby love. I really appreciate the Howling Wolf for his Derby Picks. If you are looking for a cheat sheet for the rest of the Derby Day slate please consider giving my friend a look. I hope you are Howling when the winners cross the finish line today. Good Luck!

Here’s the link to Howling Wolfs site:

HOWLING WOLF’S HORSE RACING PICKS

HAPPY DERBY DAY!

Coach Mack finally gets his man


It’s no surprise that we have had our problems recruiting, and securing transfers. And can’t you blame the kids? Louisville has not been in the best light as of late. But the ship is headed in the right direction. With the pickup of graduate transfer Christen Cunningham from Samford, it is a huge boost to our program.

Cunningham missed a majority of last season due to an illness but was cleared to play another season. The former Henry Clay star is returning home. The last time he was here he put up 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists on our Cards at The Yum last season.

Cunningham is a true guard and with the loss of Q this will pay out huge. He will be a huge experience boost on the court and at the guard position. He is an assist monster, so with some of the shooters that I think will step up this year including McMahon I think it will blend well.

Cunningham is a huge boost for our program for what he brings to the court, but also to the program as a whole as we are rebounding from a rough spot in recruiting.

Welcome to the Ville Christen!!!
L’s UP!

Maxwell Bird
#L1C4

Photos & Post Game Thoughts Spring Game 2018



Pass’ Pass

Pass played well overall. I feel currently he is our guy. He had some turnovers that bother me but are fixable. He struck me as his nerves had a little bit of him. Hopefully this will get worked out. With him being a non-contact target, we didn’t get to see much oh him running minus a few scrambles to the Line of scrimmage. He is physically larger which makes me much more comfortable at the quarterback position, especially for a mobile QB. And I won’t get tired of hearing Pass’ pass no matter how annoying it is over and over ha-ha

Malik…. Malik Cunningham was the biggest surprise for me of the spring game. Malik played excellent. He ran the ball great and was almost dead on his passes. My eyes will be on him 10x more!

Dez Fitzpatrick – What else can you say but SPECTACULAR. He had some great catches, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become a #1 target for Pass.

Kemari Averett…. HUGE. He stood out to me. It may have been his 6’6″ 265lbs stature… or the 5 catches for 37 yards… that doesn’t sound like much but after a season where a 6-yard pass seemed difficult at times this is huge for me.

I’m happy with defense. White team had a pick and a fumble recovery. Hopefully it carries over into takeaways into the season.

Was great to see so many former Cards players at the half time awards ceremony. Between Deion Branch signing his name and taking pictures along the sideline (took him 30 minutes to get 50 yards to leave) to Jaire Alexander coming into the stands forever to sign autographs and take pictures. A line formed in the stands on the home side and he happily seen all that he could…They showed the truth in #L1C4

And the new catch phrase….

PASS’ PASS…

Maxwell Bird
#L1C4

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