Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

You never know what you might run into on Halloween night. I caught some friends of mine dressed up as Heather Locklear and 80's heartthrob, Rex Smith.

Selinsgrove vs. MCA

Two weeks ago, this game was a "must win" if you were a Mount Carmel Red Tornado. With a big win over Pottsville on Saturday, Mount Carmel punched a spot in the District IV playoffs. This week's game will only count toward seedings for the Red Tornadoes and a possible home game in the first round. While every new edition of Mount Carmel is compared to champions of yesteryear, this team continues to make strides every week. At 6-3 after nine weeks, throw the Chichester game away. The other losses to Lancaster Catholic and Southern Columbia now have a combined record of 16-2.

From what I have seen this season, Mount Carmel in some shape or form will give up 14 points to Seals. The Red Tornadoes have had problems at Selinsgrove not winning there since 1997 and have only beat Selinsgrove once since 1999. For some reason, the "35" defense of Selinsgrove has given Mount Carmel fits especially trying to establish a consistent ground game. Defensively, the Seals rely on Nate Gingrich, Matt Ritter, and Bryce Auker. In the game against Shamokin the Seals were bringing 4 or 5 on the rush with little success. Marc Persing nearly set a Shamokin school record for passing. Selinsgrove though have proved they could win in a shootout or when they were statistically dominated like against Montoursville.

On the defensive side, the Red Tornadoes have been vulnerable to the deep pass all season long. The Seals have a good fullback in Seth Lauver, but injuries have hurt the tailback spot. Quarterback Eric Deckard is emerging from a slump and Matt Ritter could catch anything up for grabs in Snyder County. Still, I believe the Seals will manage two scores.

So here is the outlook. Mount Carmel has enough on the defensive side of the ball to win. It will depend on how the Red Tornadoes handle the "35" defense of Selinsgrove once again. Mount Carmel can't get down early. The Seals defense usually play at their best when they are ahead best. The five linebackers cause the most havoc in this situation. Selinsgrove have four really good seniors in Auker, Deckard, Gingrich and Ritter. Will it be enough? I think the X and O's are the same along with the Jimmy's and Joe's. Look for the Seals to come out on top in a close one at home with the four seniors leading the way.

With one home game left on November 10th with Lehigh, Southern Columbia's Ryan Slater didn't have a bad game against the pass happy Holy Cross Crusaders. The senior had nine tackles, a sack and interception.
Who said the couch isn't good for anything. While flipping through some channels the other night on television, I tuned into the ninth inning of the Colorado-Expos game on April 9th, 1993 at Mile High Stadium on ESPN Classic. I remember a friend and contemporary in my youth baseball days played for the Expos in 1993. Frank Bolick of Mount Carmel came up with the Expos in 1993 with a wealth of other talented players like Mike Lansing, Sean Berry and Greg Colbrunn. Although I only watched the ninth inning, I pulled the box score from the Rockies first win as a franchise. I was interested in seeing if Bolick had played earlier in the game. Bolick was 1 for 4 at the plate, but had three errors in the field. A box score won't say if the errors led to any runs, but with an 11-4 win by the Rockies you can say Bolick may have a hand in the Colorado win that day.
All joking aside, Bolick went on to have 15 seasons in professional baseball and had his best professional years in Japan from 1999 to 2002. In 1998, Bolick resurrected his career by making the roster of the Anaheim Angels as a non-roster invitee to spring training that season.
A little side note to this game was that Pottsville's Chris Nabholtz was also in the stadium that day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Take the Poll

Who will win this week's game between Selinsgrove and Mount Carmel?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Week 9 Wrap

Some hard decisions were made this past weekend weather to play on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The result is four days of high school football. There will still be a few games contested tonight.

The Indians came out and had everyone shaking their heads why this team was 0-8? Shamokin went right down the field on their first possession and put up 8. Just as quickly the Indians reminded their fans why they are 0-8 giving up two touchdown in a little over a minute. Shamokin fell behind and the Eagles played a "38" defense with 8 backs in the secondary. Give the Eagles credit, they did a better job than Selinsgrove and Pottsville in the two weeks previous.
This game had playoff implications and Mount Carmel secured a spot in the 8-team AA District 4 field. In the end, Mount Carmel's weakness (defense) held up to Pottsville's strength (rushing attack).
With the Heartland Conference coming in 2008, several rivalries were ended in the last few weeks. Shamokin with Pottsville and Blue Mountain and Mount Carmel with Pottsville. This week brings the end of the Danville-Southern rivalry. Hopefully the division difference won't be enough to keep these schools apart for too long.
When you play outside, the elements can come into play. Shamokin chose to play on Friday. It was an interesting call. It was senior night. The band wasn't there and neither was the crowd. The band and football boosters rely on revenue from only 5 home games to support their operations. Also, Shamokin had over 450 passing the last two weeks. In the end, the Indians were left without a passing attack, no revenue for their band or football boosters and no one played and no one sang the national anthem. Thanks for the help.
As Shamokin enters the final week of the season winless, a meaningless stat may come into play. Since the advent of the "Mercy Rule", has there been a winless team make it through the season without having the "Mercy Rule" applied? I don't believe Shamokin will get beat by Shikellamy, let alone by the "Mercy Rule". I did run across this on the Southern Columbia website. In 1979, Southern went 0-11. They however would not have been "mercy ruled". The Tiger's defense only gave 18 points a game and no one scored over 30. Five games were decided by a touchdown or less.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dave Zielinskie interview for Blue Mountain

Turn up the volume

Hard to believe at this point of the season, Shamokin is actually worse than a year ago against Blue Mountain. However, going into week 9 this season, I have a better feeling about the Indians pulling out a win compared to last season when the coaching watch was on.

For the most part, Shamokin for an 0-7 team gave Selinsgrove all they could handle. Two short fields and a meaningless bomb made the final score what is was, oh well. Enjoy the week 9 interview with coach Zielinskie.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mount Carmel vs. Pottsville

Check out the above video of the preseason scrimmage of MCA and Blue Mountain. Blue Mountain ran the same thing against Shamokin last year in week 9 and does Mount Carmel still have the defensive weekness that they had in August?


With week number 9 approaching, Mount Carmel stands at 5-3 with a chance to clinch a playoff spot in District IV AA. I know due to past performance against Selinsgrove, most Mount Carmel fans feel that they have to beat Pottsville to secure the playoff birth. I got to witness Pottsville in week number 7 against Shamokin Area. Pottsville's big weakness comes in the passing department. They had tough time defending Shamokin's wide open "diamond formation" and offensively there is some drop off in their passing game from 2005 and 2006. The Tide has a tough time going deep. Breathe easy MCA fans (Chichester).

Pottsville strength comes in the form of it's running game. The young guys have filled in nicely on the line for the Tide. Hoke for Pottsville, runs with a similar style to former Southern Columbia star, Ricco Rosini. He has great leg strength and is hard to bring down from up high. Pottsville's strength will be running right at Mount Carmel's weakness at ends. The Red Tornadoes need to stop in this order: Hoke, King and Shaffer. Shaffer had some good runs against Shamokin and does a great job of hiding the ball. He also was the beneficiary of some sloppy tackling by the Indians.

This one will not be a blowout and the weather could neutralize Mount Carmel's passing game. Mount Carmel took Pottsville to the wire last year with a team that finished 4-6 and Pottsville going to the AAA state finals. Look for the Red Tornadoes to secure a playoff spot.


When is a record a record? According to published reports in Sunday's News-Item, Marc Persing was thought to have broken the single game passing record thought to be set by Jeff Hodrick in 1992 with 239 yards. Shamokin ran the run-and-shoot that year. Scott Griffiths , father of Nick Griffiths, indicated that he had a clipping from 1999 saying that Nick passed for 305 yards against State College. Read the story about the record here. Interestingly, Larry Johnson formerly of Penn State and currently of the Kansas City Chiefs played in the game. Nick Griffiths will probably be inducted into Susquehanna University's athletic Hall of Fame one day. When he graduated, he was number one in three-pointers for SU basketball.


Based off performances of what I have seen, I would have to Loyalsock and Montoursville as the teams to beat in the playoffs. Athens hosts Towanda this weekend. While Towanda is undefeated, Athens lost to Jersey Shore and Waverly, NY. Those two teams combined for 13 wins against 3 losses thus far. With Shamokin losing to Athens in 2004 and Mount Carmel to Towanda in 2005, maybe the Red Tornadoes long bus rides to Biglerville and Chichester will be an advantage. In 2004, Shamokin's bus got physically stuck at Kemp Memorial Stadium and threw the itinerary out of whack. With the Lancers and Warriors as the favorites, Mount Carmel, Athens and Towanda are probably the next three teams that could contend. Mifflinburg, Warrior Run, Wellsboro, Danville, and Troy will struggle if the qualify.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Penn State Alum and Bucknell Cyclist in the news.


Adam Kahler

Penn State grad gets posthumous Medal of Honor
By DEVLIN BARRETT Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first Medal of Honor awarded for combat in Afghanistan will be presented Monday to the family of a Navy SEAL from Long Island, N.Y, who gave his life to make a radio call for help for his team.
President Bush is to present the nation’s highest military honor for valor to the family of Lt. Michael Murphy, a Penn State graduate from Patchogue, N.Y.
Read rest of the article here.
From the Daily Item:
By Rob Scott The Daily Item

MILTON -- A 22-year-old man suffered a severe spinal injury when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle along Route 405 at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, authorities said.
Adam Kahler, of Millmont, was riding his bike south near Robbins Marine in West Chillisquaque Township, Northumberland County, along with 19-year-old Jeffrey Salvitti and 21-year-old Michael Chauner, both of West Chester, when he was struck by Betty Hackenberg, 82, of Winfield, while she was driving south in her Chrysler Cirrus, according to state police at Milton.
The collision forced Mr. Kahler's bike to strike Mr. Salvitti and Mr. Chauner, a report said.
A helicopter landed in a nearby parking lot and took Mr. Kahler to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. His condition was unavailable Sunday night.
Mr. Salvitti and Mr. Chauner suffered minor injuries and were not taken to a hospital. Ms. Hackenberg was uninjured.
State police were assisted at the scene by the Milton Fire Department.
Traffic had to be directed around the scene of the accident for several minutes while officers gathered information.
The accident is still under investigation, police said
Kahler was past president of Bucknell Cycling and was from nearby Millmont. As a person who cycle's 500 miles or more a summer, please be very conscious of the riders out on the road and have patience. Cycling is club sport at Bucknell and the team is very competitive. Kahler according to a Bucknell website was part of the class of 2007. Michael Chauner was also listed as a member of the Bucknell Cycling Club.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Selinsgrove wins, but........................

Marc Persing of Shamokin

Bryce Auker, a wide receiver in a fullback's body

Leave it up to any adult to ruin a kids game. Selinsgrove and Shamokin put on a good show for the better part of 3 quarters, but the Seals put the game away in the fourth quarter going up 35-17 and getting the ball back with about two minutes left. Instead of running a few plays and hopping on the bus and prepare for Montoursville next Friday, Selinsgrove went bombs away not only once, but twice completing the second pass from Eric Deckard to Bryce Auker for a 37 yard touchdown pass.

The play didn't sit to well with the Indian coaching staff. Read Shamokin Area head coach Dave Zielinskie's comments to the New-Item here. The end of the game put a sour note on an otherwise brilliant performance by Marc Persing of Shamokin who ran for 105 yards, threw for 264 completing 20 of 41 attempts and kicked a 26-yard field goal.


Coming this week and next will be analysis of the next two MCA games. I got a chance to see Pottsville and Selinsgrove on consecutive weeks and will analyze their strengths and weakness as the relate to Mount Carmel.

Friday, October 19, 2007

RNC chairman quits after 10 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mel Martinez, the public face of the Republican National Committee as its general chairman, announced Friday he was stepping down from his post after serving only 10 months.

read more | digg story

Friday Night Cancellations

Shamokin vs. Selinsgrove postponed until 10/20 @ 7pm

MCA vs. Shikellamy postponed.

Similar rape claim made at Moravian by Scott's accuser

The woman accusing Penn State running back Austin Scott of sexual assault leveled similar charges in 2003 against a Moravian College student, who was later acquitted of rape.In both cases, the woman said the attacks happened after she spent the night drinking. And in both cases, she said she woke up to find the men forcing themselves on her....

read more | digg story

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dave Zielinskie interview for Selinsgrove


This week Shamokin (0-7) takes on Selinsgrove at home. At Pottsville, the Indians came to life after being down 20-0. They cut the lead to 20-14 by the half. A bright spot for the Indians last Friday was the play of freshman defensive Jared Haddock. Haddock picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown.

Take notice of the Indian fan above trying to throw himself under the truck.

Media and the Citizen in Electing the POTUS

A panel of national political correspondents from some of the country's most influential print, broadcast, and online news sources discussed the role that media play in shaping the presidential election and the issues affecting the race before a packed Trout Auditorium at Bucknell University on Thursday night, Oct. 18.

In the panel discussion, "Media and the Citizen's View of the Presidential Campaign," the six journalists said that the Iraq war and national security will continue to be the key issues of the campaigns, which are being managed and reported differently because of the growing influence of the Internet.

The panel was David Chalian of ABC News, Nedra Pickler of The Associated Press, David Greene of National Public Radio, Roger Simon of The, Karen Tumulty of Time, and John Harwood of The Wall Street Journal. Bucknell Dean of Arts and Sciences Chris Zappe was the moderator. Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times was originally scheduled but did not attend the event.

Roger Simon's comments about candidates from both sides believe the war was wrong, but differ on where do we go from here. A candidate who wins nomination is one that will generate or show a sign of strength.
Nedra Pickler of the AP said the blogs are either left or right, there doesn't seem to be one in the middle. John Harwood said the news delivery business model is changing while Karen Tumulty said the blogs don't motivate voters due to readers already establishing positions. Simon came in with there are no small moments anymore and speaking to the press is high risk. David Greene added how he seen "Obama lapel flag" grow from something small to something huge in a matter of days.
Simon talked about newspapers still make 11% profit on average, but still have to answer to shareholders that want to see 25%. Tumulty talked about the Boston Globe closing down their foreign new bureaus. David Chalian of ABC News said that he never had "Mickey Mouse" make an editorial decision for his department. The Disney Company owns ABC.
In a rapid fire yes/no response to four questions, the panel pretty much agreed that the Electoral College was still needed, the country was ready for a woman president, money was needed to run for president and the election cycle will continue to be this long.
When the audience and students had a chance to address the panel. Harwood said most of the media bias left of center or so perceived is that most of the journalist that come into the system with youth and high ideals. While Simon asked the students how many subscribed to newspapers. More students got their political news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. If student read any news most got it online. One student said he has a terrible view of politicians due to the way they are portrayed by the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Tumulty added that in an average students age group they don't have a vested interest. In the biggest turnout in any election was 18 year olds were given the right to vote and there was a draft in the same year. Pickler said the Obama campaign is spending much time and resources on the 18-24 age group. She said if he can't motivate the age group in this election no one can.
I had the opportunity to talk to Tumulty and Simon after the forum. I asked Simon if there is better scrutiny for Iran in 2007 versus Iraq in 2002. He concluded that if this administration would have a real "threat" or impeachment might be back on the table for a strike to take place against Iran. Gathering hard facts and interpreting them have not been this administration's strengths.
Tumulty was so sad to see news bureaus close around the world. Her company has closed it's Mexico City and Moscow bureaus and relies solely on stringers. This is where the people are feeling the effects of corporate media.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lourdes Regional Saga Finally Over

Dave Schweitzer between drills on Tuesday

How does a team with 24 players and a 6-1 record become so controversial and maligned? Once again as this football season winds down, Lourdes Regional finds itself at 6-1 and challenging for a post season birth. The double edge sword for Lourdes is the post season. If the Red Raiders qualify for district and opt out, they are ducking the competition. If they accept the district bid, their schedule doesn't measure up to any of the teams that qualified or got displaced.

This past Tuesday, I made my way up to Lourdes Regional and asked coach Mike Klembara about his teams post season plans. "It is easy," said Klembara. "The PIAA made the decision for us." "The way the class system is structured right now on the state level, there is no way we could compete." Klembara indicating about the PIAA possibly moving to six classes in the future. "As athletic director, I have to look at what is best for the kids not only in football, but all sports."

Head Coach Jim Roth of Southern Columbia(he has mentioned this to me long before the current situation) along with the PSFCA have long advocated a six class system for football. For the most part, it would move the super schools into a 6A class. The bottom schools population wise would move into the 1A class. The remaining four classes would be divided up among the remaining four classes. Part of the hang up is the local districts loosing control of a playoff format. With 25 to 30 teams in 6A and 1A the 12 district structure isn't really needed. The biggest disparity in Pennsylvania high school football are small quad A's trying to compete with the big boys and small single A's competing with the top of class A.

Looking at the Lourdes situation right now, they have not had a freshman in over 20 years. They cannot commit to a JV schedule due to numbers. On the bright side, the Red Raiders are getting contributions from the basketball team. The first eight players on the basketball team are playing football. Also, the football team competes with soccer and golf for able bodies.

Charlie Roth of the News-Item has a good take on the situation here. Harod Raker of the Daily Item has his take here. 24 student-athletes at Lourdes Regional don't need to apologize to anyone.

Austin Scott bound over for trial

Suspended Penn State tailback Austin Scott was bound over for court on two felony charges after a preliminary hearing today in State College. He is accused by a woman acquaintance of rape on Oct. 5 in his on-campus apartment.Penn State police charged the 22-year-old Friday with one count of rape, one count of sexual assault and two counts of aggravated indecent assault. The aggravated indecent assault charges were dropped today.

read more digg story

Smoke Under the Teepee

Last week, a board member from the Shamokin Area School District made a motion to open the football job in the middle of the season. In yesterday's editoral in the News-Item, the same board member was chastised for not asking the really question about the school district's computer security. Here is the link to the article.
On September 14th, former Shamokin Area head football coach Jack Murdock passed away in Charlotte, VT. He was two days shy of his 77th birthday. Murdock known for his drill intructer type behavior coached the Indians in the mid-1980's and was replaced by current head coach Dave Zielinskie when Murdock decided to return to the college ranks in Massachusetts. Always colorful and a favorite of his players, fans will remember a lockroom fire and the police protection at a game against Mount Carmel. To this day, Mount Carmel fans remember the Indians arriving at the Silver Bowl moments before game time and taking the field.
Here is link to Coach Murdock's obituary and guestbook.

Shamokin has a GEM

Blogger tells a great story of seeing Shamokin linebacker Jordan Haddock for the first time against Cedar Cliff.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 15, 2007

Maroons Week Comes to an End


This past weekend, I had the pleasure of interviewing ESPN the Magazine's columnist and author Dave Fleming about his book titled Breaker Boys: The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship. The interview can be heard by clinking the link and putting the cursor to about 1 hour and 50 minutes into the broadcast. We would like to thank Fleming and Pottsville AD John Carestia for helping to organize the interview on game night.

Dave Fleming plans on returning to the area before the end of the year to have more book signings due to the overwhelming response of Breaker Boys Maroons Week.

Here is the petition to sign for the Maroons so they can take their case to the NFL again.

It was interesting to watch the end of the Pottsville-Shamokin game on Friday. When Pottsville was whistled for delay of game with one second left, the Tide chose to stay in punt formation and scored on a 60-yard run by junior Josh Poda. Pottsville had the physical game in hand 39-28 at that point.
Pottsville's Kevin Keating indicated to one reporter that Poda's instructions were to take the snap, run out the clock and take a knee. The report never made it into print. There was some speculation going back to the 1992 game involving the same coaching staff from Shamokin. Due to not being there at the time and only knowing some specifics, I will not describe. However, the series came to halt for a few years and Shamokin opened up the head coaching job after the season.
Unfortunately, the long coal region rivalry ends this year with Shamokin entering the Heartland Conference next year.


With Shamokin down 20-0 and not going anywhere, the Indians came out with a five receiver set and no one in the backfield. Shamokin ran "diamond" quads to one side and were successful in the passing game. Pottsville took most of the second half trying to adjust to the formation.

Shamokins opponents are 29-13 on the season while the Indians are 6-20 since defeating Southern on opening night in 2005.


There is speculation on whether Lourdes will enter District playoffs with a 6-1 record after week number 7. Lourdes is in a Catch-22 situation with 24 boys on the team and with soccer and golf as competing fall sports. The good news is that Red Raiders have started with 24 and still have 24 and that is in grades 9 through 12. The last I heard there are only seven boys in the junior class.

When Lourdes goes anything below 9-1 or 10-0 no one says a thing. The Red Raiders are on a 9-1 pace and could possibly take out a team that finishes 8-2 in District IV "A". As of last Friday, Lourdes were a few points behind Line Mountain, Southern, Bloomsburg and Canton. Line Mountain is still undefeated and the rest have one loss. If Lourdes declares Districts, everyone is on the bandstand that the Red Raider's schedule is bad. If the Red Raiders opt for Eastern Conference.......well they are ducking the competition.

The real story is that 24 students started the season playing for Lourdes and 24 students are still playing and hoping to win their conference and a playoff game whether it is in Districts or Eastern Conference. Since the print media did not cover the Lourdes declaration to the District committee on Monday, I will try to interview head coach Mike Klembara this week.

Southern Columbia overcame a big hurdle this past weekend with a big win at home over undefeated Loyalsock. For all intent and purpose, this was a playoff game for the Tigers. The Tigers are in a dogfight with Line Mountain, Bloomsburg, and Canton for seeding. Line Mountain has a week 10 game left with Millersburg. Bloomsburg has three tough ones with Lewisburg, Loyalsock and Williams Valley. Canton plays Muncy and Troy which may be tough games for the Warriors. Southern should be favored against Clarion, Central and Danville. The Ironmen were a surprise early, but seem to be fading.
The Tigers look to be a strong candidate for the second seed and depending on what happens with Line Mountain a contender for the number one seed which should be the best field in District IV "A" ever. With tough games against Shamokin, Mount Carmel, Bloomsburg (though a loss) and Loyalsock, the 2007 version of the Tigers are battle tested going into the favorite time of the year, week 11.


Sat 08/30/2008 Away SOUTHERN COLUMBIA H. S. 7:00PM

Fri 09/05/2008 Home MOUNT CARMEL H.S. 7:00PM

Fri 09/12/2008 Away
Central Columbia 7:00PM

Fri 09/19/2008 Away SHIKELLAMY HIGH SCHOOL 7:00PM

Fri 09/26/2008 Home DANVILLE AREA H.S. 7:00PM

Fri 10/03/2008 Home SELINSGROVE H. S. 7:00PM

Fri 10/10/2008 Away MONTOURSVILLE H.S. 7:00PM

Fri 10/17/2008 Home Warrior Run 7:00PM

Fri 10/24/2008 Away Mifflinburg Area 7:00PM

Fri 10/31/2008 Home Loyalsock Twp 7:00PM

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Great Turnout for Maroons Week

Author Dave Fleming at his book signing on Thursday at the Pottsville Free Library. The Republican has some great coverage of Maroons Week. Fleming's book, Breaker Boys: The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship was sold out of local outlets all week long.

Fleming indicated that he will come to the area before the end of the year. If you want to order his book in time for the next signing, click on the link posted at the left.

Mr. Fleming will be a on-air guest on tonight's BILL 95 coverage of the Pottsville and Shamokin football game.

Warrior Run suspended head coach Scott Shaffer for Friday's game with Montoursville. Read Harold Raker's account here from the Daily-Item. I love the bands, but remember the football team feeds the band.
Southern's game tonight will provide a glimpse on how the Tiger will perform in the playoffs. They take on unbeaten Loyalsock tonight at home. One surprising things is to the Lancers 6-0 with heavy graduation losses. I got to see Montoursville early in the season and the Warriors returned their starting offensive line intact from last season. Look for a good battle in the trenches. With Southern being 14-0 all time against the Lancer, look for Southern to win a close one.
The Tigers are in a three-way tie for the last three positions in the District IV playoffs. Line Mountain sits at the top by themselves with Southern sharing the spots with Bloomsburg and Canton. Lourdes Regional sits in 5th position 20 points out of a playoff spot. Will a 9-1 Lourdes team opt for Eastern Conference? Will they have enough points to edge any team that finishes 8-2? Lourdes still has some tough games left with East Juniata and Columbia Mountour Vo-Tech. Either way look for Lourdes to go Eastern Conference. Coach Klembara in week 1 stated their goal this season was to win a game in the post season. The Eastern Conference gives Lourdes' their best chance.

Zielinskie Clarifies Incident

Dave Zielinskie clarified the incident that took place in the 10/11 issue of the News-Item. I had the opportunity to show Tuesday's article to a teacher in another district and is not involved in athletics. The teacher informed me that if the incident wasn't witnessed by staff or not caught on a camera all you have is a hearsay. This left Zielinskie to ask the players to step up and tell what happened. No one did.

Here is the verdict. If no one seen the incident and it wasn't recorded on film, for the most part it didn't exist. Unfortunately, you have the same situation going on in State College. A fight in the spring, one this past weekend, and Austin Scott suspended is leaving Joe Paterno's hand's tied until sorted out by law enforcement. Joe's press conference was quickly deflected to "let's talk about what's going on the field." If someone like Joe can't enforce discipline, who can?

Garnering headlines on Tuesday was the motion to open Zielinskie's job. You have to question the motivation here due the director being a lame duck and one of the principles in hiring Zielinskie in the first place. I guess an 0-6 start and another loss to Mount Carmel lowers your stock somehow. What will the fallout be for the motion? Was the board equipped to handle the coaching situation if the job was opened? What kind of message does that send to the players returning in 2008? Stay tuned.
Big lines and crowds awaited Dave Fleming author of the book Breaker Boys about the 1925 NFL champion Pottsville Maroons. The week will conclude after Friday's Shamokin-Pottsville football game.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dave Zielinskie interview for the game with Pottsville

Dave Zielinskie's interview for the upcoming with the Pottsville Crimson Tide. The meeting occurred after everyone had to run for cover due to a rainstorm Tuesday evening in Shamokin.

Shamokin concluding Maroon Week at Pottsville

Shamokin will be at Pottsville this Friday to conclude Maroon Week at Pottsville. Author Dave Fleming will be honored before the game for his book, Breaker Boys. Here is the list of the activities for the rest of the week.

Last night at the Shamokin Area School Board meeting, a motion was made to open the head coaching job. If the motion carried through, would Shamokin have been in a coaching quandary for the rest of the season. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

MCA-Chichester......What Happened????

Mount Carmel fans who attended Saturday afternoon's game in Boothwyn are wondering what happened. The others will have to wait until Wednesday night when the see the broadcast on television.

For those of you that weren't there, Mount Carmel rallied from a 28-14 in the final 10:12 of the game only to have Chris Smith complete the winning touchdown pass not once, but twice in the final 47 seconds for the victory. Mike Brennan haters please stop reading here. It is not Mike Brennan's fault and here's why. The problem is not only Mount Carmel's.

For the past three years, I have been covering Shamokin on radio. I have seen the opposition getting deep on third and even fourth and long against the Indians and come up with receptions almost weekly. I think two things to look at are the sign of the times and defensive schemes. Weekly I drive from one of the Shamokin Area to other and do not see kids playing a friendly game of touch football out in the streets, parks or fields. Back in the old sandlot days, you had a quarterback who would drop straight back and have a rusher counting "one Mississippi". The "rusher" would attempt to tag or tackle the QB on a five count or three on third fourth down. the remaining offensive players would go out for the pass while the remaining defensive players would try to cover them. Five seconds of coverage wow......who would of thought??? When these sandlotters joined a team these skills acquired in the sandlot were refined.

Most schemes in high school involve defensive backs playing press or bump and run coverage. In most cases, kids are getting beat off the line. This takes a long time to perfect and be good at it. You can still play man coverage on not have to press. Average quarterbacks look like John Elway. Jon and Brett Veach, Nick Sebes, Dave Evans, Drew Letcavage just to name a few were great in the secondary. They also played offense too. Brennan and his staff pleaded with their team not to let anyone BEHIND them. Teach, coach, preach all of the above were done. The kids have to say to themselves one day, this is our situation and I don't have to ask coach......I already know.

Many of the faithful are worried about the playoff chances, but three teams made the post season last season with 6-4 records. Mount Carmel will be favored in their next two games and have should have close games with Pottsville and Selinsgrove. Mount Carmel thought hasn't played well at Harold Bolig Field over the years and haven't won in Selinsgrove since 1997. The Red Tornadoes are 1-7 against the Seals since 1999.
Every Season since 1957, the Len Eshmont Award is given to the MVP of the San Francisco 49er's. I would like to thank the reader for sharing the article with me over the weekend on the 50th anniversary of the award. Here is the article.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Around Eastern PA in 350 miles!!!

On Friday, I traveled down to broadcast the Shamokin-Cedar Cliff game. Although the Indians led at the half, Cedar Cliff used a little more speed to pull away in the second half. The big story for the Indians was that Tyler Dirienzo was not able to make the trip due to the same illness that hampered him in the preseason. Shamokin will be at Pottsville on Friday night.
Mount Carmel traveled to Boothwyn to take on Chichester on Saturday. With a roller coaster of high and lows, the Red Tornadoes gave up a perfect chance to pull one out of the fire. Down 28-14 with 10:12 to go, Mount Carmel rallied with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to take a 29-28 lead with :47 seconds left in the game.
The Red Tornadoes not only gave up the winning score once but twice as West Virginia recruit, Chris Smith (pictured above) rallied the Eagles to their first victory.
If you are a Mount Carmel fan, it was tough to take. Just imagine the following historical sports moments and emotions. Notre Dame coming back against Boston College in 1993 down three touchdowns and lose on a last second field goal by the Eagles. Ampipe losing to Walnut Heights after they just taken the lead in All the Right Moves. The USSR beating the USA in the 1972 Olympics in basketball after several downcourt lobs. Boston College's Doug Flutie going downfield to Gerard Phelan to upset Miami in 1984. Take you pick, it was all of these and then some.
Analysis on this and the rest of the season coming later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dave Zielinskie and Mike Brennan Interviews


This week, I interviewed Mike Brennan and Dave Zielinskie for their games with Chichester and Cedar Cliff. There was alot "hum" (as one of their current coaches would say) in the Mount Carmel practice. It comes from two great back-to-back wins against Shamokin and Bloomsburg and renewed confidence in your defense. For a Tuesday practice, there was hint of intensity in the air and the Red Tornadoes are starting to believe in each other. With a big road game this weekend and being favored in weeks 7 and 8, there is renewed optimism for a playoff berth and a strong showing in the District. The Red Tornadoes will find out if their strong play continues when they take the field Saturday afternoon at Chichester.

Shamokin, on the other hand for being 0-5 at the halfway point, are still pretty upbeat and loose as they travel on the road this weekend to take on 1-4, Cedar Cliff. In a season of what could have been, the Indians have little hope in making the District playoffs. With the bounce of the ball, Shamokin could have had wins against Montoursville, Jersey Shore and Mifflinburg. The point Zielinskie emphasized this week was that Indians have not been "manhandled" by any opponent this season. Situation mistakes can be cleared up easier than being physically beaten in your games. Friday will start the second half of the year for Shamokin. A group of seniors looking to hold their heads up since beating Southern Columbia in their first game as sophomores in 2005.

Cory Dorman and Marc Persing

Cory Dorman is shown in the picture above warming up for the game with Shamokin while Marc Persing of Shamokin is shown below. Although the Indians were able to keep Dorman in check last Friday the Wildcat signal caller will need a big game this Friday against arch-rival Selinsgrove.

Even though Persing's numbers are down in the first half of the season mostly due to a change in philosophy, the Indian quarterback will need to continue his steady play if Shamokin hopes to improve in the second half of the season. Persing made have had his best career play against Mifflinburg completing a 36-yard touchdown pass to Tim Boussan breaking tackles on a fourth-and-nine.

Halfway Point of the Season

With Week #5 in the books, there are some surprises and some disappointments on the 2007 football season. Shamokin, Mount Carmel, Southern Columbia and Lourdes are four teams I get to see on a regular basis. I also got to see Line Mountain in action against Juniata.

The district opted for coaching change in the off season and brought back former head coach Dave Zielinskie. So far the Indians are 0-5 on the season and 6-18 since upsetting Southern Columbia on opening day in 2005. The Indians could have won all 5 games and should have one three. Mistakes have accounted for three losses in close games while others resulted in blowouts on the scoreboard to Southern and Mount Carmel.
Coaching or not Shamokin has not had a 1000-yard rusher since Tim Krebs in 2004. If you can't run the ball in high school it is hard to win. It also shows there maybe a lack of speed under the tepee. Tyler Dirienzo has shown some promise, but you have to be consistent. The glaring stat for Shamokin this year is -10 turnover ratio which is resulting in short fields for the opponents. On a positive note, Shamokin has been stingy on defense and has not been "manhandled" as a team. Although the Indians may be favored in only one game (Shikellamy) in their next five, they could be competitive in all five and maybe pull off an upset.
Everyone was shocked by Southern's Week #2 loss to Bloomsburg. It was the first time Southern was shut out by a single A school in 20 years. Like 2005, Southern's offensive line was in transition, but look at the result in the end. With close to 400 yards on the ground last week against a solid Warrior Run team, the Tigers are gearing up for a postseason run. A good measuring stick will be how Southern performs against Loyalsock on 10/12 and Danville in Week 10. The Tigers hope Justin Knoebel is back on the field for both. Knoebel sat out against Warrior Run with a nagging ankle injury.
With close to 26 juniors on the roster, the Red Tornadoes continue to improve with back-to-back wins against Shamokin and Bloomsburg. Two losses to Lancaster Catholic and Southern leave Mount Carmel at 3-2, but there is renewed confidence in the defense. This has been missing since 2003. With games against Chichester (0-5), North Schuylkill (0-5), and Shikellamy (1-4) may have Mount Carmel in good position as the end the season with Pottsville at home and Selinsgrove.
The Eagles survived a tough game with Pine Grove as the Cardinal's number 1 quarterback returned to the line up. The Eagles give any opponent different looks offensively and Clark Morris more is like a general on the field.
I got to see Lourdes opening night against Northwest. I believe an injured Dave Schweitzer would have been the difference in a loss to the Rangers. With only single digit boys in the junior class, the 22 or so that make up the roster play with pride and spirit and to be 4-1 against anyone at this point of the season.
As stated by Coach Klembara earlier in the season, "our goal is to get into the playoffs and win a playoff game." Here is a little bit of history lesson for days gone by.
There have been some surprises at the halfway point in the season. Teamwise, with over 15 seniors in the lineup, Shamokin is winless. Also, North Schuylkill with Rick Geist in his second year, is also winless.
Some regional surprises include Loyalsock with a big win over Montoursville, looks to be a front runner in District IV AA. Keep an eye on 5-0 Athens and Towanda. They will face off against each other in Week 9. Bloomsburg, who may have surprised some people, returned nearly 20 starters on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye on Northern Lebanon out of District 3 who are 5-0 and have their best squad in years.
Southern, Bloomsburg and Line Mountain figure to be in the single A picture. Right now in District IV AA and A there is no clear cut favorite. The same goes for the final year of Division I and II of the Central Susquehanna Valley Conference.
Shamokin's booster group, the Hillside Coaches, is in the process of creating a wall of fame out at Kemp Memorial Stadium. Bernie Romanoskie Sr. was the first nominee. Here is the article and criteria.
On my way out to the Mifflinburg-Shamokin game on Friday, I talked about Coach Rich Lichtel with one of his contemporaries, Joe Gubernot. Gubernot played at Coal Township while Lichtel was a Greyhound at Shamokin. While involved in a coaching change his senior year in high school and movement in a new direction, Lichtel worked so hard on his game at Bloomsburg and didn't let his senior year at Shamokin High hold him back.
Chuck Souders had a great tribute to Lichtel in the News-Item's football preview last Friday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

10/2 - Eleven years for Lance Armstrong

Just on a slow Tuesday with baseball taking a break between a fantastic finish and the start of the postseason, it has been 11 years since cyclist Lance Armstrong has been diagnosed with cancer. Armstrong went on to win the Tour de France seven times in a row.
After retiring from the sport at the conclusion of the 2005, Armstrong has made cancer survivorship his number one priority through his foundation. Armstrong's foundation has raised over 181 million dollars toward survivorship and research since its inception.
This past August, Armstrong had the star power to draw the presidential candidates to debate how they would handle cancer as a national priority in the future if elected.
Read the story of Randy Pausch from Carnegie-Mellon University delivering his last lecture to 400 people taken from Lance's blog.
As a championship cyclist and the world's most recognizable cancer survivor, Armstrong's story continues to inspire all those people including myself when you hear the words, "You got cancer."

Monday, October 1, 2007

Yes We Did!!!!!!!!!

Why is this division championship so special? It is hard to describe. We have been there so many times in the past. Everything goes back to 1964, six up with 12 to play. Losing Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS up 2 with two out and nobody to the Dodgers. Losing game 4 in the 1993 World Series up 12-7 and 14-9 in that game.
I waited all September for it to happen. Snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. I kept waiting. When will this team fold. The Phil's spent two days in first place by themselves this season. One came after Friday's win and when it counted after Sunday's game.
Finding a way to win with 19 players spending time on the DL, goes a long way. Even with the shaky pitching performances thoughout the season, don't count the 2007 Phils out of anything during these playoffs.