Friday, November 30, 2007

Panther Valley Site Change "Misunderstanding"

In today's Republican, Sam Matta explains the "misunderstanding" that took place with the site change from Panther Valley to Blue Mountain. It appears the matter was never approved by the school board at Panther Valley. Once again here is red tape at it's finest. It seems every year especially in football and basketball the tournaments are conducted like a first time venture. Districts know in the beginning of each season if they will host a playoff for any class level. School board permissions should be received September 30th at the latest to clear up any confusion. Basketball sites should be approved by January 30th. If you talk to the PIAA, they will say this is a district problem. The districts will say their hands are tied by the PIAA.

As a taxpayer of the Shamokin Area School District, I have been lucky to witness many state playoff games in football and basketball. If your counting here are some of the benefits of hosting a playoff game:

1.) You get to showcase your community. (Exception: fans reaction to Patriot reporter Nick Horvath in 1996.)

2.) Your boosters who run the concession stands benefit. Shamokin has two stands. One is run by the football boosters and the other by the band boosters.

3.) Local businesses stand to gain with the extra people visiting.

In the end look at the big picture. Over the years Southern Columbia and Mount Carmel have more playoff wins at Kemp Memorial than Shamokin Area. I will go on the record and say that no one does a better job hosting a playoff game than the community of the greater Shamokin Area.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Day of Thanks!

Today marks an important milestone for me. It has nothing to do with birthdays or other joyous events. November 29, 2007 marks five years since I first displayed signs of colon cancer. I like to mark my cancer anniversary on this date. I was one of those cases without any symptoms. I went from not a worry in the world in the world on Thanksgiving Day on the November 28th to colon resection surgery just eight days later on December 6th. Biopsy results were given to me Friday, December 21st......Merry Christmas!!! Finally, on December 31st, 2002 I was diagnosed of having Stage IIa colon cancer at age 36..........Happy New Year!!!! Pick my anniversary, I could use anyone of them.

Everything happened very fast. I went from your normal 36-year old with a wife and two sons aged 3 and 1 to cancer survivor. At the time of my staging, chemotherapy was presented to me as an option. My regimen would consist of 5FU and Leukavorin and physically I should be able to handle it. My doctor indicated that I was young and the chemo would give me a stronger chance at survival. My age was a definite factor in accepting the treatment. Twenty-four treatments later and I was finished with chemo in August of 2003.

I found out from the very beginning that each cancer case is unique onto the person and family it has afflicted. Like many of the survivors I have met and spoke to, we had some of the same feelings. More of the common ones were anxiety at the end of treatment, worrying over ever pain and the thought of recurrence.
Undergoing chemotherapy gave me a dry-eye condition that I have to this day. Through a strange twist, it led me to email the mother of a younger survivor who I read about in my local newspaper. I had asked if she knew of anyone with the severe dry-eye through chemo. I was the first to have this at my treatment center. One thing led to another and today we co-chair a colon cancer advocacy group in central PA. I also met some fine people at the Colonclub.
Our advocacy group stresses education on colon cancer to the general public. We also advocate for the Pennsylvania Legislature to pass SB146 or HB972. These bills would mandate insurance companies cover the cost of colon cancer screenings according to American Cancer Society guidelines.
Life has returned to about 98% of normal. I have the scars and we could all use some more energy. Maybe hitting 40 has something to do with it. One thing I try not to do is take everything for granted. The good times are even better and the bad times are not so bad at all. As the high school football season is coming to a close in a few weeks there will officially be four champions. Win or lose enjoy your trip there, your teammates, and your family and community support. These will probably be the things you remember most. They will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bloomsburg Panthers - Shamokin Eatery Guide

Before we talk about the Panthers, if you are attending the Loyalsock Lancer-Delone Catholic Game at Shamokin Area High School here are some restaurants and eateries worth taking a look at:

Mattucci's (actually in Mount Carmel) - 451 W. Fourth Street, 339-2310 or 339-9941. Great Italian American cuisine. Give yourself some time. Worth the wait and distance.

Two Guys of Italy - Route 61 and 901 in the Anthra Plaza. Full menu and pizza for 5.99 for 16 inch large. Salad bar and chalk board special.

James Pizza - 524 E. Pine Street Shamokin, 648-9311. Take Route 61 through Shamokin if traveling North make left at the Shamokin Exxon (do the opposite if traveling south). Go to the fourth stop sign and make a left onto Pine Street. James' is right there. Opens at 5. Better for after the game. Pizza, wings, stromboli and tenderloins are the fare. They also sell the pizza at Hillside Coaches' stand at Kemp Memorial.

Wayside Inn - Route 61 between Shamokin and Paxinos, 648-9228. Full menu with steaks and wings being the specialty. Plenty of parking and seating and service is quick.

Harry's Grill 14 N. Market Street Shamokin, 648-9977. Great food at Coal Region prices. Full menu. Just turn at Dunkin' Donuts on Route 61 on to Route 125 (Market Street). You will hit two lights. After the second light, Harry's in on the right. Plenty of seating. This is only a mile from the stadium.

After watching the Bloomsburg Panthers last Friday, I have to say they have what it takes to win a state title. With Jordan Klinger returning to the line up, gave Bloomsburg a big lift over trail. There is one thing to be of concern is the run defense. Trail was able to muster a drive early in the game running right at the Panthers. Folks who were at the game the week before said Line Mountain was able to run on Bloomsburg until the fullback got hurt late in the first quarter.

With Southern Columbia now out of the tournament, I did take notice to the lack of depth on the single A level. In 2003 and 2005, Southern was able to win state titles with a back-up running back and quarterback. Ryan Slater played for an injured Henry Hynoski in 2003 and rushed for over 100 yards in Hershey. Kyle Connaghan took over the quarterback reins for Ted Heitzman who was ill in 2005 and the Tigers didn't miss a beat. Slater and Connaghan were no ordinary subs.

Looking at a smaller Bloomsburg roster, I believe an injury to Tom Coombe at quarterback or Jordan Klinger at running back could take it's toll for the Panthers. It will be interesting to see how Bloomsburg would stop Steel-High if that game does come about in Week 15.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bloomsburg High Video

Here is some video of last nights Bloom-Lackawanna Trail game.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Post-Southern Columbia Single A Bracket.

It was hard to imagine Week 12 without Southern Columbia. However, it is time to move on a big congratulations to Line Mountain and Bloomsburg. In my preview of the District IV championship, I indicated that the key matchup would be the Line Mountain fullback and controlling him. Sheibelhut got hurt and didn't play in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and the Eagle attack didn't have the same punch. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if he played all four quarters.

Bucknell had an interesting weekend in football and basketball over the weekend. The Bison defeated Fordham 38-24 to give the 18th ranked Rams their only Patriot League loss of the season. Southern Columbia's Ryan Slater made a key interception in the third quarter. His nine yard return set up a touchdown to extend the lead to 31-17.
On the basketball side, the Bison gave Villanova all they could handle despite being outrebounded 43-26 and out manned. Bucknell made a team record 15 three-pointers. Senior co-captain John Griffin led the way with a career-high 22 points and made six treys. Griffin has been huge especially with the injury bug biting the Bison this season with Darren Mastropaolo, Rob Thomas and Jason Vegotsky all missing significant time.
With the tournament title in Pepsi/Weis Tip-Off Tournament could the Crusaders make some noise in the Landmark Conference in head coach Frank Marcinek's 19th season?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chuck Souders hits a home run!!!!!!

In today's News-Item, sportswriter Chuck Souders writes Coaches can't make everyone happy. The article hits the nail on the head about being a head coach in this day and age especially football.

The News-Item sums up in today editorial the appreciation of Southern Columbia's football accomplishments.

With the weather expected to be cold and blustery. The key match up for tonight's game will be the play of Line Mountain's Coty Rusinko and Aaron Sheibelhut, the Eagles' center and fullback respectively against the defensive line of Bloomsburg's Mike Schlauch and Marc Francola. The winner of the game will probably be whoever wins this match up. Interestingly, the Line Mountains seniors were members of different teams last year. Rusinko was at Lourdes Regional last year while Sheibelhut was a member of Williams Valley.
Who is Bob Baun? Baun scored the game winning goal in overtime for the Detroit Red Wings in game 6 of the finals against Toronto with a broken ankle. It is why we see hockey players continue in the playoffs often ignoring serious injury to this day. Baun's legend has become the standard.
Last week, Lourdes Regional's QB Brian Dunleavy was not hit and thought he suffered a cramp or calf pull. The staff heavily taped his leg and Dunleavy quarterbacked the rest of the way. He often looked like Robbie Boscoe of BYU in the 1984 NCAA championship for the Cougars in their Holiday Bowl win over Michigan. Lourdes lost 8-7 when a 21-yard field goal was blocked. Either way the season was over for Dunleavy. After the game, the injury was diagnosed as a broken leg. Hopefully, Dunleavy could make the comeback like Mount Carmel quarterback Marcus Wasilewski did last season and compete in basketball.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jim Roth blasted in Letter to the Editor

In today's (11/15) edition of the News-Item, Southern Coach Jim Roth is blasted by a reader for disrespecting the team in post game comments after the Line Mountain game. The reader's direct quote in his letter is:

I can’t believe coach Roth had the gall to disrespect the young players the way
he did. I shouldn’t even be addressing him as coach; he no longer deserves the
title, saying what he did in the paper: “This team just never had that next
gear;” “past teams that weren’t as good still found a way to step it up when it
counted.” What a way to kick your senior players when I’m sure they already feel
bad enough.

Here is the last half of Chuck Souder's article about the Southern streaks being over:

Southern coach Jim Roth echoed his quarterback’s assessment that the Tigers, while playing well, never quite reached the level of some previous teams.

“We feel we all did pretty well in recovering from some of the losses that we had from last year,” Roth said. “What we weren’t able to do, and I think all of the assistant coaches would agree, is we were never able to get this team to take that next step. Most of our teams in the past found another gear late in the year. This team, for whatever reason, didn’t come together like some of the others.”

Roth said even the teams which reached, and lost, six straight state championship games, were actually playing very well in their late season playoff runs.

“We had our full line together tonight, but it was the first time back for (Justin) Knoebel, (Mike) Joseph and some others,” Roth said. “I think if we had them back together for a couple of weeks, we might have found that (gear). But Line Mountain didn’t let us run consistently. With the scheme they were running, with seven guys up front, dropping four and double-teaming Colby Snyder, we should have been able to run, and they didn’t let us.”

Roth also credited some of the other teams on the Tigers’ schedule.

“This was one of those years when even the lesser teams on our schedule were really competitive,” Roth said. “I’m talking about teams like Lewisburg and Central. If you weren’t ready to play them this year, they would really come out and hit you. That meant we played our starters more than we have in the past. Whether that meant some were tired at the end, I don’t know.”

Read the full letter here. Here is Dan Burda's game story. Chuck Souder's full story is here. Read the Souder's article carefully. The starting quarterback is quoted as a team not playing to full potential. In the first part Roth quote by Souders, Roth takes blame along with his assistant coaches on not being able to get the team to the next step.

Ask yourself the obvious, if Jim Roth and Southern Area coaches were constantly blaming the players for the Tiger's shortcomings would they have one of the highest participation rates in the state? Some of those teams in the past Roth refers to is the 1995 and 2001 teams that went into the final, 14-0. Also a tough luck team was in 1996, when the Tigers lost Ricco Rosini to a broken leg in week 14 and over 2000 yards of total offense. Farrell won that final, 14-12.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Former legislator charged with felony counts

A former Democratic state legislator was charged with hiring his sister and niece as legislative aides and paying them thousands of dollars for work they never performed.Attorney General Tom Corbett announced the charges Wednesday against Frank LaGrotta as part of a public corruption investigation.

read more | digg story

Friday, November 9, 2007

Lourdes Regional Video

Lourdes Regional went down tonight 8-7. Brian Dunleavy injured his calf early in the game and he played but hobbled for four quarters. South Williamsport popped one long run for a touchdown and added a two-point conversion off the swinging gate formation. Lourdes got deep in South territory twice in the second half. A fourth and short fade pass was too long and a drive stalled when Lourdes were whistled for holding. The call was strange due to it being called 15 yards behind the play. The run would have given Lourdes a first down inside the South 15. Down below is video of the Red Raiders only touchdown.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Jim Roth Discusses Line Mountain

Well before you get to Southern Line Mountain, a picture of Colby Snyder of Southern and Andrew Shoop last week in Danville.

Since a 16-0 loss to Rochester in the 2001 PIAA final, Southern Columbia has won 26 consecutive playoff games. That 2001 Tiger squad was 14-0 going into that state final. This week's district playoff with Line Mountain lost some luster when the Eagles lost to a very good Millersburg team 14-12 and now have to travel to Southern Area. While many believe this may be the Line Mountain's year, I believe two things will favor a Southern Columbia victory in the end.

Southern and Line Moutain have one common opponent in Lewisburg. It is a wash. The Twin Valley had six teams make the playoffs if you include 1-9 Upper Dauphin. One has to believe Southern's schedule with Shamokin, Mount Carmel, and Bloomsburg was more physical. Throw in Hughesville, Warrior Run, Lewisburg, and Danville and the Tigers had to battle week in and week out.

With Line Mountain scoring 31 points on Southern last year, logic is to expect the Eagles to duplicate that effort or come close. In observing both the Eagles and Tigers this year, an edge in speed would have to Southern.

Line Mount will do there best, but I believe the speed and strength of Southern's schedule will equate into a two touchdown difference in favor of the Tigers.


The Montoursville vs. Mount Carmel game is easy. The Red Tornadoes will go as far as far as their rush defense and rush offense will take them this Friday. Montoursville is usually very well coached and does not commit to many penalties. Lately, it is Montoursville with more proven playoff experience. Between the running game, rush and pass defense, Mount Carmel has too many questions. In a battle, look for the Warriors to score late to secure a two touchdown win.

Democratic Party Regains Northumberland County

It is hard to point out what was the main reason for the victory by the Democratic Party on Tuesday night in Northumberland County. When you look at the results, the difference was huge in the 107th as the election moved north to the 108th. Only 158 votes separated the top three candidates.

Both sides offered up their own versions of misinformation. Vinny Clausi who ran a separate campaign from fellow Democratic Party member Frank Sawicki had "fuzzy" math regarding a commissioner's pay raise. While Republican candidates Sam Deitrick and Kurt Masser had one believe they were running against former commissioners Allen Cwalina and Charles "Chap" Lewis. Cwalina and Lewis resigned before the end of their terms and left the county in huge debt.

Clausi campaigned tirelessly of "telling the truth" in regards to a bond refinance issue which he claimed the county used a million dollars to balance the budget in 2006. This was later confirmed by controller Chuck Erdman. Deitrick and Masser held a press conference to clear the issue, but as reported in the News-Item. The issue still remained cloudy. Will the rift with Erdman and his fellow Republicans continue?

It may have been a last minute flier sent out by Deitrick and Masser a few days before the election that had the Coal Township Commissioners up in arms. It had to do with the development of the Coal Township Industrial Park. In the flier, it was highlighted as project that Deitrick and Masser were involved.

When you look at some of the counties in NEPA like Lakawanna, Luzerne, and Schuylkill, the Republican Party really took a beating. In all, 11 counties in PA switched from Republican to the Democratic Party. Was this the issue in Northumberland?

When you look at the three candidates that won. Clausi is a hero to the underserved and underdog. Masser and his family are long known for the charitable efforts before he was in politics and will probably be long after he leaves the political ring. Sawicki is known for his intelligence to look for information when he isn't familiar with a situation. When you subscribe to the theory all politics are local, the three who won held serve with their own constituents.

The Impeachment Of Dick Cheney

This is a post by Bob Cesca from Southeast, PA.

It was yesterday, on the one year anniversary of the collapse of Karl Rove's thousand-year Reich, when the Democrats subjected themselves to both public embarrassment and public disgrace, and each within a few hours of the other.

read more digg story

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Are Two Justin Knoebels Better Than One?

Going into Friday's game with Danville, Justin Knoebel's playing status was a question mark. As the game with Danville progressed and Steve Roth was picking up some big yards on the ground there was the familiar #60 getting off the bottom the pile. Roth started to pick up huge chunks of yardage from the second quarter until the final whistle. Broadcasting the game, we noticed Roth picked up the yardage from the left side and we viewed #60 opening up huge holes on the left side. One thing we didn't do is look for two number 60's.

In my weekly interview with Southern head coach Jim Roth, I told him I thought Justin Knoebel had a great game on the left side opening up some big holes for the running game. Broadcasting my first Southern game since week one, I knew Knoebel was teamed with Tyler Wilson on the right side, but injuries change the line composition over a course of the season. I assumed Knoebel was moved to the left for a reason.

Roth let me know that wasn't Justin Knoebel at left guard. The player in question happened to be Joe Picarelli who normally wears #86 and play defensive end and the second tight end when the Tigers go to a "double tight" formation. "Joe is one of our better blockers and we wanted to work him into the interior," said Jim Roth. "Knoebel adds so much as a leader to our line, it was good to have him back in there." In asking how many games Picarelli was at guard, Roth said, "it was his first." The PIAA does have some jersey rules. "The PIAA requires that the interior linemen wear 50-79, but it doesn't matter what name is on the back."

In this case, two Justin Knoebels were better than one.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Southern Preps for the Playoffs.

Southern Columbia had a stiff test in week 10 as Danville put up an aerial show with nearly 300 yards in the air. The Ironmen fell short 47-34 and so did their playoff hopes. When you look at the scope of 10 weeks, the Tigers replaced many starters, had some injuries and still managed to post a 9-1 record. Southern managed to host a home game when Line Mountain fell from first to third with a 14-12 loss to Millersburg. Millersburg also claimed the Twin Valley Championship. Analysis on Line Mountain will come later in the week.

Mount Carmel fell to Selinsgrove at Harold Bolig Stadium for the fifth consecutive time, 34-19. With the number one seed going to Towanda, the Red Tornadoes could have had a game at home with an easier opponent but with get Montoursville in the first round and possibly Loyalsock in the second round. The Red Tornadoes will go as far their run defense takes it. In 1999, Mount Carmel won the district championship being the fourth seed out of four teams. Look for their long bustrips to Biglerville and Chichester to pay dividends now. Although Montoursville and Loyalsock aren't' that far, their will still be the diesel fumes in the air.
There was alot of hoopla when Dave Zielinskie assumed control over the Indians for his second stint as head coach. However, 15 years did pass since the Indians walked off Crispin Field in the playoffs in 1992 in Zielinkie's last season at the helm. With a loss to Southern in the opening week and a week four blowout to Mount Carmel, Shamokin was left without local support to play the rest of the season. To the team's credit, they played the likes of Mifflinburg, Cedar Cliff, Pottsville, Selinsgrove and Blue Mountain tough. They did not bow to the "mercy rule". Week 10 rewarded them with their first win of the season over Shikellamy. Eight out of ten teams on Shamokin's schedule made the postseason. Analysis on the 2007 season and what the Indians need for 2008 will be upcoming.
Electricity expensive? The lights were quick to go out at Danville last week against Southern. With most of the Southern team still on the field and about 100 friends and family the place went black leaving everyone to find a way out.
There was a great article on Mount Carmel's sports information director Phil Gergen in Monday's News-Item. Gergen and long time statician, Jose Gonzalo, have put in so much effort over the years compiling two history books and maintaining records and statistics. Gergen has also undertaken the huge task of putting Mount Carmel game film on DVD. The game film goes back to the the 1940's. Remember that not includes MCA, but any opponent they had since that time. Chris Doleman, a former Minnesota Viking standout, is in one the games when William Penn (York, PA) played Mount Carmel in 1980.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Poll Results and Colby Snyder

Well the poll results are in for Selinsgrove-Mount Carmel game. By a 61-57 count, Selinsgrove will be the winner. On other polls I conducted, if there was a 60/40 split. The game was won handily by the one picked in the poll. This poll is nearly down the middle, but you can't tell what demographic voted. If it holds true to earlier polls, this game should be close.

Colby Snyder
Almost silently last week, Colby Snyder became the all time reception leader at Southern with 70 catches passing the mark of 68 set by Matt Murdock (2000-02). Snyder's 1209 career receiving yards ranks him just behind Sean Connaghan(1998-2000) who had 1363 for a career. With 14 career receiving touchdowns, Snyder is tied with Andy Helwig (1993-95). Snyder who currently has 36 receptions this season needs 12 more to tie the single season mark of 48 held by Murdock.
Listen to tonight's Southern-Danville game on BILL 95.3. It will be streaming at

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Jim Roth Discusses the Upcoming Game with the Danville Ironmen

This week Southern plays at Danville for final time in a series that will take a break with the introduction of the Heartland Conference next season. The Tigers lead the series 21-20-1 dominating the last 20 or so years. Danville's last win came in 1999 with 31-27 thriller over Southern at the old F.Q. Hartman Stadium. For the Hartman namesake, thank goodness the Ironmen no long play there.


Danville comes in with passing attack led by Andrew Shoop and with a victory over Southern should qualify for the District IV AA playoffs. Southern with a win still need some help to host a playoff game. A Line Mountain loss could drop them to third. Bloomsburg could snare the top seed with a win and an Eagle loss. If Line Mountain, Bloomsburg and Southern all win. Southern will be at Bloom next week with a week 2 rematch and Line Mountain will host Canton. On any given weekend District IV probably has three out the top five teams in the East. Unfortunately, only one will continue into the state playoffs.

Wild Race in District 4 AA

The final weekend in the AA race in District 4 should be exciting. You have 6 teams battling for the final two spots. I believe these first six teams are in: Towanda, Montoursville, Loyalsock, Athens, Mount Carmel, and Mifflinburg. The Wildcats at number six 740 points is 160 points ahead of the next six teams in the mix. The last six teams separated by 40 points are: Troy, Danville, Wellsboro, Wyalusing and Warrior Run. Nothing is a given and at number six, Mifflinburg has a tough game with Jersey Shore.

Here is who the final six play this weekend:

Troy - Canton (Canton has used Troy's field)

Danville vs. Southern

Wellsboro @ North Penn

Wyalusing @ Towanda

Warrior Run @ Central Columbia

Hughesville vs. Muncy

Wellsboro and Warrior Run should be favored. Danville and Wyalusing are underdogs. Troy and Hughesville are probably toss ups. If Danville wins (and they have the offense) they should take the 7th spot by collecting the points for Southern. Wyalusing with a big upset can do the same. The rest will just have to be sorted on Saturday.

Mount Carmel Running It Up?

In today's News-Item's editorial page, a writer from Northumberland calls for the end of the Mount Carmel-Shikellamy series. He also goes on to say that ties should be severed in all sports. Here is the editorial.

It sounds like he is taking his case to the Shikellamy School Board. This would be the same school board (although the members have changed) that ruined the program in the early 80's. I just wonder if the writer opined about Selinsgrove winning 62-0.