Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dave Zielinskie Interview


This week Dave Zielinskie offered up some thoughts up for week number five against Mifflinburg. Much has been said online and in the area about Zielinskie's silence to the press after last Friday's loss to Mount Carmel.

This week Zielinskie offered up his congratulations to Mount Carmel. "They have a really great quarterback and brought their A-game to the table last Friday."

This is a very intriguing match up for both squads. Mount Carmel now at 2-2 on the season needs to get to 6-4 at the very least to have a shot at the playoffs. Last year three teams made the playoffs with 6-4 records. The Red Tornadoes will be favored against North Schuylkill and Shikellamy. They need to find 2 wins in the other 4 games to have a shot at the District IV AA playoffs.
Bloomsburg, after shutting out Southern Columbia, have gone into overtime against Warrior Run and have given up 46 points since week 2. Even with a loss, Bloomsburg looks like a playoff contender in District IV A.
Warrior Run has been a surprise out of the gate at 3-1. Southern remembers two years ago what happened at Turbotville. Look for Southern in a close one if scores are any indication.
George Curry achieved his 400 win as head coach last Saturday night against the Williamsport Millionaires. Curry becomes the first Pennsylvania coach to achieve that honor. Hat's off to Coach Curry.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remembering Rich Lichtel

The Big Three from the 1967 team (L to R):
Bob Tucker, Rich Lichtel, Stan Kucharski.

Mechanicsburg High (PA) lost head football coach Rich Lichtel on September 21st to complications from prostate cancer. Lichtel passed away at 7:01 just after kickoff on Friday night.

Lichtel played at Shamokin High School (Greyhounds) just before the merger with Coal Township in the mid 1960's. He was an outstanding quarterback at Bloomburg State College (now University) and his favorite target was Bob Tucker. Tucker went on to a 10-year career with the Giants and Viking in the NFL.
Lichtel was a member of the Bernie Romanoskie Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Lichtel recently coached Notre Dame and now UCONN quarterback Zach Frazer.
Here is the link to sign the guestbook for the family.

Wrapping up the weekend

Photos above are Mount Carmel's #1 fan, Bill "Winks" Carta with family. A young fan with "Bucky" at Community Day at Bucknell. Assitant Mount Carmel coach Bob Chesney and Shamokin Assistant Mike Gurski talk about their days in the broadcast booth.

With all the great weather over the weekend, I was able to watch three football games. The battle for the Coal Bucket with Shamokin and Mount Carmel, Richmond at Bucknell, and Juniata at Line Mountain.

I got a chance to see Bucknell against Richmond this past Saturday and watch Southern Columbia grads Ryan Slater and Ian Fullmer in action. Slater made his presence known with back to back defensive plays at the end of the first period. The Bison couldn't match the talent of Richmond and lost 45-14. Tim Hightower set a school record for the Spiders with 295 yards on the ground.
A moment I haven't seen since the 70's was an inadvertent whistle by the officials. It felt like 10 minutes before they let the home side know why they blew the whistle. Could you say run and hide?
The Bison are back in action September 29th at home against Marist at 6pm.

Line Mountain ran their record to 4-0 on the season and quarterback Clark Morris guided an offense that rushed for over 300 yards in downing Juniata 32-14. The Eagles, barring any significant injuries, should be favored in their games the rest of the way with the exception of week 10 when they host Millersburg.
An interesting playoff scenario involves Bloomsburg, Southern Columbia, and Line Mountain in District IV Class A. Last season, Line Mountain put up 31 points against a good Southern defense in defeat in 2006.
Although the Phillies went down to Atlanta tonight, I never thought they would be in this postion. With injuries to Freddy Garcia, John Leiber, Ryan Madson for the season and Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton missing starts and losing closers Brett Myers and Tom Gordon for some time that was just the pitching problem for the Phils. Position players that spent some time injured were Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino. Playing his way back from the scrap heap was Pat Burrell.
Win or lose men, my hat's off to you.
In the recruiting process with Josh Marks of Southern Area, I really didn't know how bad Penn State's offensive line's situation was going into the season. They had two defensive converts starting and not a lot of proven depth. The Lions struggled the first three games to get the running game going. Usually it wasn't until the second half until they started to pile up the yardage.
Their offensive scheme kept Michigan in the game long enough to win it. Didn't they learn anything from Oregon? I'm not saying change to the spread overnight, but there might be a few things to work in. Speaking to schemes check, out the Dave Jones article about the JoePa's scheme over the years.
Unfortunately, this September loss will keep Penn State from shot at the national championship.

Sign of the Times with the Coal Bucket

Snapping a picture of a student section should be what high school football is all about. Unfortunately, the picture did reveal something that went unnoticed until I opened up my Sunday paper.

The new stunt among the students in the Shamokin-Mount Carmel rivalry is to steal the opposing decorations off of each other's property, any property. As noted in the story linked above, there are consequences to this action. For a mother and her daughters, they all got to experience the insensitivity of people young and old at an early age. In the article, she asked for the sign back, only to have it ripped apart with the pieces and profanity tossed at her and her daughters.

This football rivalry that has gone on since 1893 is the best display what our area has to offer. I would guess over close to 5000 fans came out to watch to teams that had one win between them. In both communities, people decorate their homes as a source of community pride. In this case, only family friends for the woman were on the Shamokin team. From a personal standpoint this family could live anywhere, but choose to be part of the Shamokin-Coal Township community. What is really disturbing is that no one including adults, showed any leadership and just handed the sign over when asked by the woman.

As noted with the photo above, both schools are at blame here. Remember, trespassing on private property is crime prank or not. When caught there will be two processes at work. One will involve the school system, the other will involve the legal. Students don't seem very worried about school punishment, but fines, legal fees, and community service may change their attitude.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Coal Bucket Wrap Up

Pictures from the weekend include on the left Marcus Wasilewski getting ready for pregame. Mike Brennan gives some encouragment to Dave Tomtichen. Shamokin students above.

As I was down on the field before the game sitting and chatting with some old friends, something really caught my eye. I was watching Marcus Wasilewski warming up and throwing 15-yard lasers, but something else stood out. It was #21 Justin Pellowski catching the ball. His hands received the ball with such ease as if Wasilewski was handing him a football from an arm length away. This wasn't just one catch, but about 10 to 15 from 15 to 20 yards resembling a starting pitcher and catcher warming up.

When I got to the press box, I immediately went to my program and identified the player. About 2 hours later the rest of the Coal Region would find out. Justin Pellowski scored two touchdowns caught 5 passes and had 164 yard receiving. The Red Tornadoes kept the Coal Bucket for the 12 straight time by a 41-14 score.

Shamokin may have found a cure for their ailing rushing attack with Tyler Dirienzo who had a 172 yards on 20 carries. DiRienzo battled some health problems in the first few weeks of the season.

The Red Tornadoes can't rest with undefeated Bloomsburg coming to the Silver Bowl next week. Mount Carmel had their lowest rushing output of the season and the defense had a hard time stopping the run while the game was still in doubt.


Why has Mount Carmel been able to win 12 straight? Many offer up so many opinions and the last five games had so much bad luck for Shamokin to last a lifetime. Vince Lombardi once said luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Since Shamokin won it's last game in 1995, Mount Carmel has produced 22 All-Staters. In addition to the 22 All-Staters, Mark Ambrose went to Virginia, Scott Novack to Lehigh, Matt Van Doren to Lafayette and Sean Fracalossi to Northeastern.

Shamokin on the other hand has been spotty with All-State awards and Division I players. Jamie Wisloski, who was a stalwart in 1995, was a starting defensive back at Lafayette and Tony Varano played at Bucknell. Jon Nalewak played at Loch Haven, Richie Schiccatano at Lycoming, Matt Rhodes at Wilkes and Jared Pretrovich earned a baseball scholarship to George Mason. Dennis Kodack was an outstanding defensive end and punter at Susquehanna, but chose not to play football in high school. Nate Schiccatano only played two season's at Shamokin.

There have been other Shamokin players appear on rosters throughout the college world, but the players above were heavy contributors to the Indians in the last 12 years. All-State Awards are subjective and really depends how far a team may go in the post season. Division I players are different. There is a combination of size, speed and strength that attracts the scouts. Grades may put you over the top. Mount Carmel's number in this department approaches 20 players when making their first stop after graduation.

As another old saying goes, players win the games coaches can only lose them.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Listen to Shamokin vs. MCA

Listen to the "Battle for the Coal Bucket" between Shamokin and Mount Carmel on BILL 95.3.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Obama Girl from Hazelton, PA

One of the coal region's better exports, Amber Lee Ettinger. She is from Hazelton, Pennsylvania.

Tim Russert Speaks at Bucknell but Silent to Local Press

Long time host of NBC's "Meet the Press" and best selling author, Tim Russert was the first guest of "The Bucknell Forum: The Citizen & Politics in America," a national speakers series examining issues in the 2008 presidential election.

A scheduling conflict with cancer advocacy kept me away from the event. However, I was surprised that Russert did not take any questions from the local press before the event. In 2005, Chris Matthews of NBC's "Hardball" spoke to the same university and answered my questions regarding the upcoming "Leakgate, Plamegate" investigation.

Here is the Bucknell release and podcast of the event.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shamokin and Mount Carmel the Last 40 Years

Examining this rivalry over the last 40 years it is hard to imagine one school being so dominant. But going into Friday night's game with Shamokin, Mount Carmel is 31-9 in the last 40 games for a 78 percent winning percentage. Why so dominate?

Starting in 1966 all the mergers and combinations with schools were complete, but you have to look back on the 1961 game where the Red Tornadoes rallied to a 19-13 victory of Shamokin. Mike Terry, head coach of Mount Carmel at the time, suffered a fatal heart attack on the bus. This gave rise to Joe "Jazz" Diminick era. From 1966 until 1984, Diminick's team's only lost the '71 game that was played on Saturday due to the Thanksgiving Day eve blizzard. Sandwiched in between those years was the end of the Thanksgiving Day game in 1973 and the rise of Lourdes Regional as a rivalry for both squads.

The game was still held on the last weekend of the season from 1974 to 1981. With neither teams making the playoff's since 1975, the gate was beginning to suffer. The game was moved up to second week in '82, the third week in '83 and the 4th week in 1984 where it is still played today.

With Lourdes off of both schools schedule beginning in 1986 and Southern not being added to Mount Carmel until 1996 and Shamokin until 2005, the rivalry is back on par with that Thanksgiving Day atmosphere.

Some notable games from 1985 to 1995 include:

1985 - Shamokin is "sparked" by an equipment room fire and beats Mount Carmel 21-0 under Coach Jack Murdock. The win ends a 13-game winning streak for the Red Tornadoes.

1988 - Joe Faust comes off the bench as Shamokin's QB and Matt Stehman adds a late field goal to give the Indians there first victory at the Silver Bowl since 1964.

1993 - Both teams field new head coaches. Sam Schiccatano take over for the Indians and Dave "Whitey" Williams is at the helm of Mount Carmel. Freshman Brett Veach returns a kick for a touchdown, but it was all Shamokin, 42-8. It would be proof of great things to come for Mount Carmel.

1995 - With a 15-0 win, Shamokin caps off their best streak in the last 40 winning 7 games in a 9 year span.

In 2007, Mount Carmel is approaching that 1972 to 1984 streak. Two wins will tie it. The game will be moved back up to the second week with the new Heartland Conference coming into play. The game will also be at Shamokin.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mount Carmel and Shamokin Looking for Someone to Step Up

Hard to believe a few years ago that both teams would come into this game with just one victory between them. Well that time has come. Although both team played and lost to Southern Columbia, this is still the biggest game on the schedule for both and always will be. The game will mark the 101st time the teams have played. Will anyone be able to step up on Friday?

Mount Carmel has won the last 11 in row. Shamokin beaten Mount Carmel since 1995. The last two seasons Mount Carmel has used some unheralded players to pull out the victory. In 2005, Dave Pellowski ran for 98 yards and Dave Avellino caught 3 passes for 71 including one for 33 in a key drive. Last year, Jonas Pachuski keyed a second have come from behind victory with 6 catches for 165 yards and 4 touchdowns. No one ever had ever caught 4 TD passes in one game for the Red Tornadoes and that was the 1099th game in Mount Carmel history.

Shamokin nearly answered with Marc Persing going 9 for 9 in the first half enroute to a 17-24 day for 150 yards. Shamokin built a 12-7 lead at the half. Pachuski put on his cape to start the second half and once again the Indians were denied a rare road win at the Silver Bowl.

Nate Morgan's 54-yard reception from Mike Sosnoskie late in the fourth quarter set up the only touchdown of the game in a 10-2 Mount Carmel victory in 2003. This overshadowed a big defensive game by Matt Rhodes of Shamokin who had 22 tackles.

While Shamokin has waited more than a decade for someone to step and somehow lead the Indians to victory, Mount Carmel has had someone step up and probably play the best game of their scholastic careers against the Indians.

Although the rivalry for both schools with Southern Area grows by the year, the only question that will be asked of these players about their playing days will be not be of championships won, but did you beat Mount Carmel or did you beat Shamokin? Mount Carmel dominated the first 100 games. Is it Shamokin's turn this time?

Good luck to both teams.

Coal Region Interviews

The Coal Region Voice would like to thank Mike Brennan of Mount Carmel and Dave Zielinskie of Shamokin for their time this week for interviews. (Turn up the volume on your computer)


In our informal poll 60% of our users picked MCA over Shamokin. Going with the odds MCA has won 78% of the games since 1966.


My senior in high school found me a the midst of a coaching change. In 1983, Lourdes Regional was coming off a 1-10 season loosing the last 10 of 1982. We faced our arch rival Shamokin with a 5-1 record while the Indians were winless. Lourdes had only beaten Shamokin once and that was in 1974.

One of the things that our team had focused on was every play of the game. It doesn't sound like much, but if we focused on every single play good things would happen. It was as simple as A-B-C. With five wins we quickly had the A-ttitude of a winner. We would be a tough game for anyone's schedule. After five wins, we B-elieved in the new coach and system. To put it in simple terms, A+ B = C-onfidence. We were confident every time we went on the field. In the end we were a 22-8 winner over Shamokin that night. The Indians would finish at 0-11.

A win by either team will go a long way in restoring some of the ABC's of winning high school football games.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Making Sense of Week #3 in the Coal Region

This coming week brings the annual battle for the Coal Bucket between Mount Carmel and Shamokin Area. The Red Tornadoes (1-2) and Indians (0-3) are looking for anything positive to jump start their season.

Mount Carmel was looking forward to a match up with Southern especially the way the Tiger's running game struggled in their first two games against Bloomsburg and Shamokin. The Red Tornadoes gave up 253 on the ground and two long drives to start the game.

Shamokin on the other hand came out flat against a very good defensive team in Jersey Shore. After taking Montoursville to the wire and dominating the line of scrimmage, the Indians nearly salvaged a poor performance taking a 15-12 lead with under two minutes to go. The lead only lasted until Jersey Shore's next offensive play as Derek Smith scrambled for a 72-yard TD run. The Bulldogs also tacked on another TD when Shamokin coughed up the ball on the ensuing possession.

Week four brings out more questions for both coaching staffs. Can Mount Carmel's defense stop anyone? Can Shamokin put up any points against anyone? When you looked at the Indians schedule, one would circle Jersey Shore as a win. No one could verify, but Shamokin could have been undefeated against Jersey Shore until Friday.

Looking at playoff chances for either team, a win by Mount Carmel will force Shamokin to win out. Looking down at the schedule, Shamokin might be favored over one team, Shikellamy. Mount Carmel on the other hand would only be favored against North Schuylkill and Shikellamy(Yes, I remember last year). In 2006, three teams made the District IV AA playoffs with a 6-4 record. District IV, it's not too early to get your standings and web updated.

- The home team is now 4-8 in the Southern-Mount Carmel rivalry.
- From Week 2, Lancaster Catholic becomes a rare team to win at the Silver Bowl on their first attempt. Some of the more recent ones have been Southern and South Williamsport in 1997 and Pius X in 2001. Send email if there are any I missed.
- Shamokin's turnover ratio is now -8. They did not force a turnover in the first thre games.
-There may have been an early shot fired in the Shamokin-Mount Carmel rivalry, but in soccer. Last Monday, the Indians blasted the Red Tornadoes 8-0. However, Shamokin used a player that was red-carded the previous game and the game was forfeited to MCA. A disqualification note is usually faxed to the PIAA the next day by the official. The PIAA notifies the school about the subsequent suspension. Although the method is archaic, the head coach should know.
-Two Southern grads Ryan Slater and Kyleigh Roth were named captains of their respective college squads.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Coal Township Purple Demons

Coal Township Purple Demon Memorial at the site of where they played from 1948 until 1964. The site is at the Coal Township highrise at Arch and Ash Street in Coal Township. The 63-6 over West Scranton in 1955 is still the largest margin of victory in EC history.

Coming This Week

Review of week number three from around central PA. Preview of the annual battle between Mount Carmel and Shamokin Area.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mount Carmel - Southern Rivalry, Eleven Games Young

Back in 1996, Mount Carmel and Southern squared off for the first time in the modern era. At the time each had a state championship in the bank with both winning in 1994 in Altoona. The talk in Tiger territory was that Southern would have beaten Mount Carmel's 1994 team. Mount Carmel fans on the other hand didn't have a respect for the Southern schedule.

As the game quickly unfolded in 1996 and what was to be a prelude to Southern losing six straight state title games was the speed factor and balance. Mount Carmel proved their dominance early winning six of the first eight games. With close wins of 19-12 in 2000 and 34-28 in OT in 2003, most of the Red Tornadoes victories were one-sided. Often one negative play by Southern would result in the floodgates opening up to big a lead and a tough defeat.

In talking to Jim Roth in 2004, he said this about the rivalry. "We have a chance to play one of the best AA programs in the state and they are only a few miles away." "Some people keep asking why do we play them (MCA) if we are going to lose." "It gives us a chance to raise our program to the next level." Raise the program they did.

Beginning in 2004, Southern has reeled off three straight in the series and completed their 5th straight PIAA title. Last year's 54-0 win was one of the worst for Mount Carmel in nearly 50 years. Past frustration for Southern turned into future dividends. The Tigers now know what it takes to be on top.

This year almost has the same curiosity as 1996. This year is not some much a clash of titans in their respective classification, but what weeknesses shown in the first two weeks of the season by both teams will be exploited.


- In 1997, Southern became one of the few teams to win in the Silver Bowl on their first trip.

- Mount Carmel has never won a state title without beating Southern in the series. The four titles Mount Carmel won after 1994 included a victory over Southern in the regular season.

- Southern won two state titles while coming up on the short end against the Red Tornadoes.

- The home team is only 4-7 in the series.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Shamokin Preparing for Jersey Shore

Something has to give this Friday when Shamokin goes up against Jersey Shore. The bulldogs come scoring only three points while the Indian offense has only scored seven. Shamokin showed a great amount of ball control but couldn't only scored once. Last season the Indians put up their first win of the season, but had to wait until week 10 for their second.

If Shamokin could get a win against the Bulldogs, take back the Coal Bucket, and exact revenge on Mifflinburg, they could be 3-2 at the halfway point. 6-4 will earn someone a playoff spot. Mount Carmel has a tough triple with Southern, Shamokin and Bloomsburg. They also have games later in the season with Chichester, Pottsville and Selinsgrove. You will have a clear picture of Shamokin and Mount Carmel by the end of September.

This weeks interview with Coach Zielinskie ran into a few snags....her is some video here.

Web Poll
A very unscientific poll was take of who will win the Southern-Mount Carmel game. A press time the results are right down the middle. Good luck to both teams. It should be interesting.

PCN and the Montoursville-Shamokin Game

When the schedule came out for the PCNTV game-of-the-week. The Montoursville - Shamokin game was listed as an encore presentation for on September 8th. Shortly before the game, I was told by the crew broadcasting the game for television that the game would not be aired on PCN.

A call was placed to PCNTV to inquire about the change. PCNTV representative named "Debbie" said the deal fell through at the last minute. It also left PCN scrambling to find a replacement game. Most of the time, games are produced by a local cable company and given to PCN for distribution. Looking at the rest of the PCN schedule it does show Comcast of Pittsburgh will be airing games. The game was aired on Sunday in the Williamsport area. It is a shame for both squads the game didn't go statewide.

Shamokin Changes
There has been alot of online chatter about the Shamokin starting line up this week against Jersey Shore. In my weekly interview with Coach Dave Zielinskie about the x's and o's of the game, we briefly discussed the issue.
Every athlete at Shamokin Area is issued an "Athletic Code of Conduct". Everyone has to sign the code at the beginning of their respective sport season. Three players were in violation of the "Code" in the game against Montoursville. The penalty issued to the players was to sit out the first quarter of the game with Jersey Shore. One player chose the penalty, while two others chose not to be part of the team.
Zielinskie added, "I was hired to coach football at Shamokin and enforce the "Code of Conduct". "Everything is in black and white".
Sorting it all out
Well, I know what everyone is going to say. What about Coach Zielinskie and his ejection at the Southern JV game on Labor Day? Zielinskie was issued his penalty by the athletic director consistent with policy set forth by the school board and PIAA.
Coaching changes or rough on any program. There are a few growing pains. Some may be easy, some hard. In 1983, I went through the same thing ironically with Coach Zielinskie on the staff as an assistant. The quickest thing to do is forget about last year. It was easy to forget about a 1-10 year in 1982 and 10-game losing streak at Lourdes Regional. When we won our first two games by three touchdowns each and a big win at Schuylkill Haven, 1982 was a distant memory and we knew the new system was working.
"Coaching changes are rough" said Montoursville head coach Jim Bergen. "They really put a strain on any program."
I find it hard to believe student-athletes would give up all the hard work in the summer and the preseason just after two games. Remember the heat and humidity? In any college or high school program, reinstatement wasn't as easy as sitting out a quarter. It required a trip to the "doghouse" which could have included almost anything. The character of Mayo in the movie Officer and a Gentleman comes to mind.
George Curry, the long time coach of the Berwick Bulldogs, faced a similar situation in Week 10. It was just one of many issues the long time leader of the Berwick program decided to move on.
I'm not sure if the "Code" includes any provision for reinstatement after the penalty period has passed. Either way, all three players had the opportunity to make a choice.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's been 8 years since Southern and Mount Carmel did this!!!

Before we get Mount Carmel-Southern, here is Dave Zielinskie and Jim Bergen with some chat before their clash last Friday.

Zielinskie who won a District IV AAA title against Bergen in 1991, lost a tough 14-9 this past weekend.

In week 3, smoke under the teepee is beginning to flame. In the News-Item published 9/11, Zielinskie was already mentioned in Sound Off. All things being equal, the Indians probably had one of the toughest opening two games of any AA team in the district if not the region.

With his past record against Mount Carmel, Zielinskie is sure bet to be more popular than the current board that hired him.


This past week was a little historical for Southern Area and Mount Carmel. It was the first time they lost on the same day since 11/5/99. It came on week 10 of the season. Southern lost to Danville 31-27 while Mount Carmel got beat by Selinsgrove 21-14. Both rebounded to make the state finals five weeks later.

How will it go this week? Hard to gauge. If you are a Southern fan, will the running game get going? If you are from Mount Carmel, can you cover the pass? It's hard to believe you can question Southern's running game or Mount Carmel's defense in the same game story. This will be a telling game for both teams and how the rest of their season shapes up. A win for Southern will mean the running game may have returned. If the running game struggles, Snyder and Heitzman may have to hook up for over 200 yards or the defense needs to come up big.

The Red Tornadoes have gotten two big games out of James Haynes. How do you fix a suspect secondary? You pressure the quarterback. That may leave some other things open. The main thing, there is no clear cut favorite or underdog in this one. The sure bet is the hitting will be hard.

Let's Take Time to Remember

Three FDNY Firefighters Raise the AmericanFlag in the World Trade Center Rubble.Photographed by Thomas E. Franklin on September 11, 2001.Photograph ©2001 The Record (Bergen County, N.J.).Photo Credit: Thomas E. Franklin, Staff Photographer
Do you remember where you were on the crisp, clear September Tuesday six years ago? I remember our nations airways being shut down for what seemed like days. I remember the confusion. Weeks later, I remember speaking to college friends that worked in the WTC that day. I remember the playing of the Southern Columbia - Mount Carmel game was originally in question. Do you remember?
A few months later, I went to my college website to look at alumni affected by 9/11. I looked at a name of a football player I remembered from watching his skill on the field. Jeff Dingle was a Villanova University running back with amazing skill. I remember reading the account of his date with fate. He was not at his regular office, but at a business breakfast at the Window of the World restaurant that Tuesday.
I am taking timeout to remember. Six years ago, Nick Gallinot was a seventh-grade student. Last season Gallinot was a rock on a Southern Columbia defense that smothered the competition. This fall Nick is defending the country in the uniform of the United States Marines. Today, let's take time to remember.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Shamokin - Montoursville Wrap Up

The above is showing some pregame video of Shamokin's QB/PK Marc Persing warming up before the Montoursville game. Persing his some great punts against Montoursville and one the led to a safety by Tyrick Murphy.

The Indians and Warriors both played great, but Montoursville capitlizing on big plays and making no mistakes won the game 14-9.

Southern Columbia who usually has 150 yards rushing on the ground by halftime, ended up under 60 on Friday against Bloomsburg in a 19-0 loss on the road. For the season, the Tigers are under 150 total on the ground and looking for answers.
- It was Bloom's first win against Southern since 1984.
- First time Southern was shut out since the 2001 final against Rochester.
- First regular season shutout since 1998 against Mount Carmel.
- First regular season shutout to a "A" team since 1987 against Tri-Valley.
NOTE: I stand corrected on a few things from the above post:
1.) It was the first shutout against Southern since 2002 with MCA winning 42-0, making the 1998 reference to the MCA game wrong.
2.) The shutout to Rochester was the last time the Tigers were shut out by an "A" team.
3.) The last regular season loss to an "A" team was 1993 to South Williamsport.
If history is any indication, Bloomsburg could be a really good team. The 2002 MCA team and the 2001 Rochester teams were AA and A state champions. The 1993 South Williamsport squad made it to the state finals, but were able to get around Southern Area and not see a playoff rematch in the format in 1993. In 1987 there were no state playoffs. Southern lost in the EC final to Mahanoy Area. The bottom line is that you have to be good to shut out a team like Southern. Could Bloom be destined for greatness? Only time will tell. Under the current playoff format, look for a rematch in week 11 or 12.
The Coalregionvoice regrets any error and always enjoys the feedback.
The above capsule just shows how dominant the Southern program has been and for how long. There is alot of interesting football to be played in September.
Southern has Mount Carmel next week. Mount Carmel has the toughest stretch with Southern, Shamokin and Bloomsburg. Shamokin will try to get their first win against Mount Carmel since 1995.
There seems to be some big chinks in the armour of area teams:
- Southern is struggling with it's bread and butter running game. Which means the line is struggling.
-Shamokin has a great defense but can't score. One TD in two games.
-Mount Carmel could score may have found a running game, but can't defend the pass.
We will get a good idea where teams are headed going into October.
  • Late in the Shamokin play again Montoursville, the Indians completed an option pass from Chris Eby to Marc Persing. The play was drawn up in the huddle by Persing. Is this an early audition for an offensive coordinator job? Someone else on the team had their own audition in the third quarter.
  • The Indian's are -4 in the turnover ratio department. They have not forced a turnover.
  • When was the last time have seen Southern, Shamokin, and Mount Carmel all lose on the same weekend?
Penn State may now be the team to beat in the Big 10. Their schedule is in their favor with Wisconsin and Michigan being at home. Speaking of Michigan will Lloyd Carr finish the season? This is the first time ever Michigan and Notre Dame are 0-2. After their next game someone will be 0-3, they go head to head in the Big House. Jimmy Clausen didn't look bad, but how bad is the supporting cast???
Bucknell had an interesting start time to their home opener. The Bison-Stony Brook game kicked off at 6 pm on Saturday. Were they trying to spare, 110,000 from driving to State College.
Notre Dame's offense has been outscored by it's defense this season 7-6. Jeannette's Terrelle Pryor visited PSU this weekend. The nation hail's him as a Vince Young clone. My advice? Go west young man, where they run spread.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Dave Zielinskie Interview for Montoursville

I would like to thank Dave Zielinskie for allowing the camera for his radio interview this week. Once again the big question for the Indians will be where will they find their "O".

Rumor going around the greater Shamokin area is that Warrior players are suspended. Listen to 95.3 or to dispel the rumor.

Most football gurus say the biggest improvement in a team is from week 1 to week 2. We will see what happens with both Shamokin's and Southern Area's offensive lines. Also, Mount Carmel's secondary will be tested.

Good new for Southern Area. First and foremost, the player carted off in Monday's JV game is ok. Great job to the EMT's and Katie. On a varsity note, Joe Picarelli had been cleared to play after suffering an injury in the second quarter against Shamokin. Picarelli, who was unable to wrestle last season due to a football injury, will be able to contribute at his defensive end slot and also in the double-tight end set on offense.

Three games of interest in the local area today will be MCA-Lancaster Catholic, Southern-Bloomsburg, and Shamokin and Montoursville. MCA will get a good look at how good their team can be. The Southern-Bloom game could be one of two and a playoff preview. Bloom may have their best team since the 1980's. Shamokin will see how good their defense is and if they could compete for a D-4 AA playoff birth. Montoursville will see if they are serious D-4 AA title contenders.

Stakes are already high in week 2.

Presidential Debates and Colon Cancer in PA

With healthcare being a huge issue in the next election, the power of the Lance Armstrong Foundation was able to flex it's muscle for a debate on cancer. It also goes a long way to where most candidates may stand on the issue of general healthcare in America.

The LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum was held August 27 for Democratic presidential candidates and August 28th for Republicans, at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The event was moderated by Lance Armstrong and MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews.

Democratic presidential candidates Senator Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Governor Bill Richardson and Republican candidates Senator Sam Brownback and Governor Mike Huckabee all participated.

Lance Armstrong was a guest on Meet the Press and here are some of the things he is advocated from the beginning from the transcript:

- Restore funding to the NCI to 6 billion a year
- Cancer take 1500 lives, a 9/11 every other day.
- 10 million dollars a year for colon screening will save 50,000 lives annually.
- under the current administration funding for research projects has dropped from 5 out of 10 to 1 out of 10. People are leaving research.

Edwards, Clinton and Kucinich offered up comprehensive plans, while Huckabee had some great out of the box ideas. Brownback was probably the most disappointing offering a BRAC-like commission to look into the war on cancer.

This Legislative session in Pennsylvania offers up to colon cancer screening bills with SB146 and HB972. Both bills are sitting on Senator's Don White's desk waiting for the Banking and Insurance Committee votes to move to a full Senate vote. HB 972 has already passed the PA State House.

With many of Pennsylvania's Blues sponsoring sports, building medical schools, and children's hospitals to gain more customers, screening would not break the bank. The legislation will be tough to pass. PA had two houses pass smoking bills.....neither got sent to the governor.

At the top of the blog, is Erika Kratzer cover model of the 2008 Colondar. Erika, who grew up in Snyder County (PA), has been featured on the Colondar since it's debut in 2005 and is Stage 4 colon cancer survivor. She was diagnosed at age 22 and is currently a doctoral candidate in biology. You can read her inspirational story here. Currently, the Coal Region Voice and Erika's mother, Janet Bilger, head the Central Susquehanna Colon Cancer Task Force. For more information about the Colonclub, click on my link on the left under Colon Cancer Links.

This country and state need to move forward and decide to save lives for the public good. Consider the following. It now cost 3 billion dollars a week to keep troops in Iraq. The LAF is basically asking for two weeks of this funding.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dave Zielinskie discusses Monday's JV game @ SCA

In last Monday's junior varsity contest with Southern Columbia, Shamokin Area head coach Dave Zielinskie was whistled for two, 15-yard penalties and ejected from the game. For many area fans Zielinskie carries some baggage and a bad reputation from his earlier stint as Indians coach. One of the main plays from years ago was a game with Pottsville where a player tried to run with an onside kick and his leg was broke. The Tide ended the series with the Indians shortly thereafter. I got to meet and talk to the player in question year later. He and I shared college alma maters. He said is mistake was trying to advance the ball. Nothing was dirty about the play.


Coach Zielinskie told me he was standing near the 10-yard line early in the game when the official asked if he was a coach or coaching. Zielinskie said he wasn't coaching, but watching his son play. (NOTE: JV sideline rules are very relaxed. Southern had students sitting between the 30 and goal line which no one really cared. Zielinskie who didn't know the referee assumed the referee knew he was indeed the head coach.)

Flash forward to the 4th quarter. Zielinskie said a run was coming right at him and he was about 4 yards from the sideline. The side judge ran up the side on the flat away from the crown and tripped over Zielinskie. The official, not too happy, asked Dave to stay behind the line. Southern's field isn't marked except from the 30's. Zielinskie asked, "What line." The official again said to stay behind the line. Zielinskie responded, "Show me the line." The official responded by throwing a flag for unsportsmanlike. The official asked, "Who are you?" Zielinskie indicated that he was the head coach of Shamokin. The official threw a second flag for lying about coaching the first time and ejecting him. (NOTE: ZIELINSKIE HAD LITTLE INTERACTION ON THE FIELD THE WHOLE GAME.)

Zielinskie at that point sat on the bench then decided to sit in the stands and never said another word. The officials huddled and asked that he leave the stadium. At this point we laughed. Zielinskie made the big mistake of assuming the official knew who he was in the first place. Zielinskie is also not allowed at the next JV game for Shamokin.

Is this more of the Zielinskie reputation? A big misunderstanding? "Shooter" from Hoosiers? You be the judge.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Maybe a Reason to Vote for Vinny Clausi!!!

Vinny Clausi is a Shamokin area businessman running for Northumberland County Commissioner. At times, Mr. Clausi may seem a little over top and citizens may have hard time to find a reason to vote for him. If you can't think of one reason, here are three reasons working hard at his company picnic.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Shamokin-Southern Columbia - The Final Word

Southern Columbia shut out the Shamokin Area on Saturday night 27-0. Like always, there were some surprises and some mistakes, but the team that won deserved it. On Thursday, I posted a preview of how I thought the game would be played. I didn't look at it again until 24 hours after the conclusion of the games. You can look at the preview here.

Two things mentioned were pretty accurate. I gave a big edge to the Southern receivers and secondary. Look at the intangibles, not too bad of a prediction.

From a radio standpoint, our phone line didn't work. It delayed our pregame. We don't get any preseason so we have to be on our mark. I keep my stats while doing play-by-play. In the first week of the season, you do get a number or player wrong as you record. Looking at two newspapers, they were pretty accurate. One tough thing at Southern, they change the down and distance really fast on the scoreboard. I don't do a running play-by-play stat sheet.

Southern looks like the defense has made the smooth transition to 2007. Front seven played , especially the linebackers played better than expected. There is no status on Joe Picarelli who was injured before half on defense. Southern didn't go into double tight ends on offense too much after the injury. Ted Heitzman seemed very poised despite constant pressure and the Tigers were able to convert several third and longs and one fourth and long on the first drive of the game. The Heitzman to Colby Snyder combination could be as tough as Brad Osevala to Ardie Kissinger.
Shamokin defense was tough as advertised. Became one of the first teams in recent memory to hold Southern Columbia under 100 yards net rushing for a game. I can't remember the last time it was done. Was it 2001 in the state title game against Rochester? Was it the last time they played Selinsgrove at Selinsgrove on a soggy field? To Southern's credit, it has been a long time. The Indian's didn't really have any personnel problems. Both team had one illegal substitutions.
Both offensive lines had their problems. Shamokin was probably more disappointing due to the experience they had coming back on the line. The Indians couldn't find answers for a running game and pass protection wasn't. Give the Southern defense some credit for that. Southern was probably a little disappointed because they did perform better in two scrimmages. Roth will make adjustments. Will it mean less platooning????
The best way to describe Shamokin's offense was "fragmented". There wasn't sign that the Indians could mount any consistency. For Southern, fans need to be patient. You just got finished watching your best team in school history in 2006. Be patient, this team will be good in week 11. Both teams face tough tests in week 2 as the Indians tangle with Montoursville and Bloomsburg, probably with their best team in two decades, look to know off the Tigers.
Here are some things I noticed, read, listened, or surprised me over the weekend:
Matt Gilger for Lourdes Regional broke up one pass and intercepted another in a 14-0 Red Raider loss. He closed on plenty of ground to make both plays.
Tony Drain stepping it for 11 tackles for Southern adding some heat with Justin Knoebel.
North Schuylkill going down 33-0 to Shenandoah. With the Blue Devils graduating a few from their District Championship team and the Spartans in their second season with Rick Geist, I thought the score would be closer.
Valley West only winning by five in George Curry's second year at the helm.
Why is Crestwood always ranked high in the preseason??? (Super 16)
Silence at the Big House.
The Irish losing by more than 30 for the 6th time in team history at home. Offense was anemic and didn't score a touchdown. Lion fans smell blood.
Finally, as I was driving and listening to the Philadelphia Eagles pre-game on the radio their last sponsor was PennDOT. Could that be true???? Remember I-81 being shut down? Anyone hear the same thing??