Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saying Goodbye to 2007 and Hello to 2008!

These two images are defining 2007 and 2008 in their own different way. The above photo show's legendary Shamokin iconic business Nash's Bakery. The Nash family decided to close it's doors after many years around Thanksgiving Day. My first visit to the bakery was it's last day in business under the Nash family. The bakery may open with the same recipes, but under different management. Notice the "Closed Temporarily" sign in the window.
The bottom photo shows Senator Max Cleland stumping for Chris Carney in Sunbury in 2006. Carney is up for reelection in '08 and there is a presidential election that could be a witness to history. Cleland was one of the original victims of "swift boat" type campaign ads.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Iconic Images from 41st Shamokin K of C Tourney

Daily Item breaks the story here.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Klebon goes for win #500 tonight!

Photo courtesy of Matt Hopper
Shamokin Area head basketball coach Joe Klebon goes for his 500th win tonight in the first round of the Knights of Columbus Tournament in Shamokin against Southern Columbia. It will be a family affair tonight with Klebon's son Joe and nephew Colin on the Tiger roster. Colin Klebon will be out of the line up with a broken wrist.
Klebon's best teams to date were the 1997 and 1998 teams. The 1997 went undefeated through the regular season. Their only loss was to Valley View in the Eastern AAA quarter finals. In 1998, the Indians went down in the Eastern semi's to Steel-High. The Indians trailed by more than 20, took a lead with under 10 seconds left only to see Scott Ativo of Steel-High put in an air ball as time expired. Even with the loss, it may have been Shamokin's greatest game since their merger with Coal Township.
Great job to the fallowing players who made first team "A" All-State
Southern Area - Colby Snyder
Lourdes Regional - David Schweitzer
Line Mountain - Coty Rusinko
2nd Team
Line Mountain - Jon Fausey
Southern Area - Justin Knoebel
A couple of interesting observations about the selections. Justin Knoebel played hurt most of the year to make the team and wasn't 100 percent most of the season. Rusinko, a senior, spent his first three years at Lourdes Regional. His play against Southern Columbia probably paved his way for his selection. Hat's off to line coach Randy Kehler of Lourdes Regional.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas from the Coal Region Voice

I will be taking a few days off for the Christmas Holiday. I hope to return before the end of on the year.

I will wrap up the 2007 football season and give a wish list for 2008.

For all the readers and video viewers who enjoyed the Coal Region Voice Blog, Merry Christmas to all!!!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

All I Want for Christmas is Jim Roth!!!!

In a letter to the editor published in the Daily-Item on December 17th, the writer wants Shikellamy to return to the Braves pre-1984. Here is the letter:

Waiting patiently

Once a upon a time, great teams froms schools like Carlisle, Governor Mifflin, Hazleton, Berwick Pottsville and Mount Carmel would come into our area to play an SHS team with a bruising running game and slick quarterbacks who had the Wing-T offense down to a science. More often than not, the games were played before crowds that were packed 10 deep in the end zone. SHS was victorious or at least competitive against all of them. Believe it or not, the SHS was not Selinsgrove.
Suddenly in 1984, a curse descended upon the Shikellamy football program. For over two decades now, Friday nights during football season have become 48 minutes of anguish and dashed hopes for the players and fans alike. Every season begins with guarded optimism only to culminate on a November night with tears of frustration and longing for that breakout season, which never comes.
There are many talented and eager young men in the Shikellamy football program who do have the desire and dedication to win. Please, Jim Roth, return home to your alma mater and start these young men on that magic carpet ride that Southern Columbia has enjoyed for so many seasons. Shikellamy players and fans have been waiting patiently for a very long time.

Robert Sowers,

Joe Klebon

Look for Joe Klebon to get his 500th win as a basketball coach for an additional Christmas present during the annual Shamokin K of C tournament.

Villanova gets credit for Eagles' win

Philadelphia coach Andy Reid credited Michael Westbrook's stop at the goal line on Sunday as a credit to his "Villanova Education". My wife and Father Peter Donahue will like the reference.

Bush loves Breaker Boys

I know what your thinking but author Dave Fleming has received a hand-written note from the White House. Read the Republican's account below.

‘Breaker Boys’ author surprised by hand-written note from White House

President Bush called David Fleming’s book on the 1925 Pottsville Maroons “illuminating” in a surprise hand-written letter to the author dated Dec. 12 and delivered Tuesday.

“I just finished ‘Breaker Boys.’ You were correct. I did enjoy the book. You are a fine writer. And your history of the Maroons was illuminating,” Bush said in the letter sent to Fleming’s Davidson, N.C., home.

After opening it Tuesday morning, the author said he found the “rather thoughtful” letter in blue pen on White House letterhead.“The way this book has gone so far, nothing surprises me anymore,” said Fleming, a writer for ESPN: The Magazine who was greeted by long lines and signed thousands of copies of “Breaker Boys: The NFL’s Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship,” while promoting the book in Pottsville in October and earlier this month.

Fleming started an online petition Oct. 16 to encourage the NFL owners to return the 1925 championship to the legendary team. It’s received a total of 10,275 signatures as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.

He said the president’s comments will become “more ammunition for supporters. If people run across a skeptic, or somebody who just wants to say ‘it’s 82 years ago, let’s let it go,’ it’s pretty nice to say to the commissioner of the NFL ‘the president of the United States begs to differ.”

The president’s letter impressed Mayor John D.W. Reiley.

“How about that. It shows that the book’s getting around, from the streets of little olPottsville all the way up to the White House. And I think the president’s comments are pretty consistent with what other people are saying about the book. All the comments are favorable,” Reiley said.

Alex Conant, a White House spokesman, said Bush is a “voracious reader.”“He reads a lot of books. And typically the White House doesn’t do book and movie reviews, but I will check out to see if I can find out anything more about this letter,” Conant said.

No further comment was made by late Tuesday.

“Somebody from the White House had contacted ESPN looking for my address. So I felt something was going on, but I was expecting like a stamped photo, not expecting a hand-written note that he had actually read it and enjoyed it,” Fleming said.

Fleming said he isn’t sure how the president received a copy of the book, but believes it was sent by someone who attended a book signing in Pottsville.“I remember the first time I was in Pottsville, somebody in one of the long lines had me sign a copy for him. And they explained that either they worked in D.C. or knew somebody who worked in D.C., I don’t remember exactly who it was. But my guess is that’s how it got to him,” Fleming said.

Reiley said he does not know who sent the book to the president, though City Administrator Thomas A. Palamar thought it could be U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, a Pottsville native.

But when contacted in Harrisburg Tuesday, Jones said it wasn’t him.

The president ended his letter to Fleming stating: “I appreciate having an inscribed copy of the book. With best wishes, George Bush.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Christmas Wish from a Colon Cancer Patient

I read in today's entertainment section of the News-Item, more commonly known as Soundoff about a woman's Christmas Wish. The woman in her 60's suffers from colon cancer and here is her wish:

All I want ...

"This is about Christmas. My family all asked me what I want for Christmas. I am a 60-some-year-old woman diagnosed with colon cancer and liver cancer who is going through chemotherapy and going through radiation treatments. All I have is a neighbor who picks on me and my family constantly and makes false reports to the police. All I want for Christmas is for this man to leave us alone and that everybody would find out that Christmas is about Christ, loving one another and getting along, and families loving one another. This might be my last Christmas. Frog’s take: God bless you and your family, caller."

Click here for the whole link.

If you need to find true meaning the holiday season, read some of Kathy's Story.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Frisco wrong about the Wing-T

Rod Frisco of the Patriot-News in his preview for the AAAA knocks the wing-T offense calling it nauseating in referring to the offense of choice by Parkland's Jim Morgans. Hello!!!!!!! Morgans won a AAA title using the wing-T with Allentown Central Catholic.

See the results for Southern Columbia. On high school level, the wing-T has given some programs that are down to get something going. With a handful of running plays and without confusing formations teams could learn the blocking schemes against different fronts and be successful. It is called precision.

Was Frisco awake on the Fridays of championship weekend the last five years?

Powlus-mania vs. Pryor-mania

Back in 1992 heading into the PIAA finals' weekend was the hype of former Berwick and Notre Dame star Ron Powlus. In 1992, Powlus was the number one recruit in the nation. At the time, Powlus was speculated to go to Miami who at the time was coached by Dennis Erickson. Powlus surprised the football world in 1993 when he eventually picked the Irish. Kind of forgotten in all the mix were injuries, Beano's comments, and not much of a pro career.

Flash foward 15 years and the number one recruit in the nation is a player from Pennsylvania playing the quarterback position. Terrelle Pryor is coming to Hershey not to hype himself, but avenge last year's loss to Wilson in the AA title game. Much has changed in 15 years since the Powlus days.(NOTE: People like me could start a blog and do so.) Powlus didn't have to deal with cell phone calls, email, text messaging, and everything else that goes with being number one in the national recruiting. Pryor's autograph is now listed on eBay. (I chose not to provide a link. An autograph is a sign you got close to someone. Keep it for you collection and cherish it.)

Pryor is also a top basketball recruit and has expressed his interest to play in college. Just to throw this out there. Could Pryor be thinking of trying to rescue the Nittany Lion cagers from the depths of the Big Ten while leading JoePa to a title? Right now the recruiting game is Pryor's oyster to enjoy and the process will end in early February. After Saturday, Pryor will be on the hardwoods trying to bring the Jayhawks a title.

Powlus still wears the "can't miss" tag of college recruiting very well. When Powlus left Notre Dame, he owned 20 passing records. After a short-lived pro career, Powlus came back to Berwick, married his high school sweetheart and is now the quarterback coach at Notre Dame. Ron Powlus became a man. Would life have turned out different if Randy Moss made it to South Bend? Moss who intended on wearing the Golden Dome, signed with Florida State on the advice of Lou Holtz. Moss didn't play a down for the Seminoles and found his way to Marshall.

For Pryor and his team, I would like to extend the best of luck this weekend in Hershey. This is the last football game that you will be with your friends and most of the people you grew up with. It is for fun of the game and the pride of Jennette. Remember one thing, among the cell calls, emails and test messages, you may want to take a closer look if one comes from Ron Powlus. It may be the one message in new media to take time to answer while hopefully not violating the bizarre NCAA recruiting rules.

AA - 12 PM
This is just like the old days.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Can Dunmore win against on Jennette?

With some homecooking, I was able to watch the AA playoff games between Loyalsock vs. Delone and Loyalsock vs. Dunmore. Loyalsock was able to dominate Delone by cutting off the outside. Delone had beaten undefeated Trinity the week before. Dunmore was able to take away the vertical passing game of Loyalsock and limited the running of Austin Knighton. Do the Bucks have enough of a line to slow down Terrelle Pryor? The lines in this game will dictate if the west is all hype like Shady Side Academy in 1998 or will this be the coronation on the statewide stage.

Roth on the Move?
Southern Area coach of 24 seasons Jim Roth may be on the move. Read an account here. Roth is 13 wins she of 300. Would he be able to there with Shikellamy. By the way, how would you interview Roth for a high school coaching job.
Jack Henzes
Jack Henzes longtime head coach of Dunmore High School will have the distinction come Saturday of the longest time between state final appearances. The last time the Bucks made it to a state final was in 1989 giving Henzes 18 years between appearances with the same school. 1989 was only the second year of state playoffs for the PIAA.
This mark could stand for a long time due to the short shelf life of a high school coach at one school.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

PIAA "A" and "AA" Previews


For the first time in 14 years Southern Columbia won't be in the Eastern Final. Who is the win against Steel-High and Bloomsburg? I got to see Bloomsburg once this season live against Lackawanna Trail and saw them on film against Mount Carmel. Bloomsburg is big and physical and they have some speed. Their schedule was tough and they are playoff tested on with this season alone. The key aspect of the game will be how the Panther defense contains Jeremiah Young. If Bloom gives up more than three runs over 70 yards this game will be all Steel-High.

For those of you holding the MCA game as a barometer for the Panthers, they played without four starters that night. That game also was nearly three months ago. One thing the Panthers don't have like Southern brought to the table every year is AAA depth. One or two key people going down with injury could spell trouble for Bloomsburg.

My Pick - Steel High - running game and speed.

Dunmore returns to Kemp Memorial Stadium for the first time since 1975 where they lost the Class A (Big School) championship to Shamokin Area. Loyalsock has come out of nowhere in 2007 with two wins over Montoursville. Don't use the loss to Bloomsburg as a measuring stick in this one. The Lancers played Bloom on the road in a rainstorm. Bloom looked like they wanted to be there, Loyalsock didn't.
I seen Loyalsock twice this season. In the regular season finale against Lewisburg and last week against Delone. I am impressed with their ability to get guys open in the secondary and their lines' ability to get off the ball on both sides. Austin Knighton with yards after being hit is really impressive.
Dunmore has a big win against West Scranton in week 3. The Bucks also had the speed to keep up with Lansdale Catholic and wore them down in the end. This could be a very physical contest.
My pick - Dunmore in a tight one - knocking out District 11 in AA is huge and schedule may have been a shade better.
The last time a District II team made the state final was 1997 with Berwick in AAA. Dunmore won the 1989 A state championship scoring 57 points, still a PIAA record in the finals. A member of that team was former Notre Dame and Miami Dolphin standout center, Tim Ruddy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Shamokin Eatery Guide for Dunmore-Loyalsock

  • Massers - Route 61 and 487 in Paxinos - Seats many, 648-9695. Great Service.
  • Charlie Chucks - 2nd and Water in Shamokin. 644-6643. Good Service, but limited seating.
  • Nanias Gathering Place - 100 S Market St. Shamokin, PA 17872 (570) 644-2447. Plenty of seating and great food.
  • Palmers Diner - Next to Burger King. Route 61Shamokin, PA 17872 (570) 644-0605. Quick service and breakfast and lunch menu.
  • Snyder's Restaurant - breakfast only. 41 N 2nd StShamokin, PA 17872 (570) 648-3366. Great omlets.

  • 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.
  • Coney Island Lunch - Independence Street Shamokin (No Phone) Hamburgers and Hot Dogs with onions and "secret hot sauce". Quick service. Seats about 40.Mac's Hoagies - 648-0282 - 1500 items on the menu all over the wall. I highly recommend the Chicago Steak. Take out only. Oak and Arch Street in Coal Township on the way to Kemp.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Loyalsock vs. Delone Catholic Video

Here is some video of last night's Loyalsock-Delone Catholic game won by the Lancers 35-14. Delone after the big shutout against Trinity last week, were unable to get any consistency on offense. Plain and simple the Lancers did not allow the Squires to get outside. Loyalsock were also able to pressure Delone QB Noah Landi every time he dropped back to pass. Austin Knighton was a bull in the backfield for Loyalsock. Knighton rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns, but more important it was the yard he gained after initial contact.

In a quote by Lancer lineman Pat Green courtesy of the Sun-Gazette:
“We worked so hard in the summer for this,” said two-way starting Loyalsock lineman Pat Green. “We were running, sweating and bleeding all summer-long, trying to get where we are and it’s paying off now.”

Loyalsock will square off against Dunmore next Saturday afternoon at Kemp Memorial Stadium in Shamokin.

- In the last year for the league, the Central Susquehanna Valley Conference Division II has two teams going to week 15 in Loyalsock and Bloomsburg. Selinsgrove could represent Division I of the league with an upset of Thomas Jefferson.
-Who said you can't go home? Delone Catholic quarterback Noah Landi's parents were raised in the greater Shamokin-Coal Township Area.
-Playoff games a boom for the local businesses? Even though the Squires season ended after a 1-2 start, the took a piece or rather 320 pieces of Shamokin with them. Forty pizzas from James Pizza in Shamokin made the long bus ride back to McSherrystown a little easier to swallow.
-Next week Dunmore marks their first visit to Shamokin in 32 years. The constant for Dunmore is Jack Henzes who was on the sideline in 1975 for their 33-20 loss to Shamokin Area in the Eastern Conference Class A Championship game. Shamokin Area's only Big 33 players played in that game in senior center Tim Fanella and junior running back Phil Manney. Also some other notables were Shamokin Area head coach Dave Zielinskie and assistant coach Ed Zack. Current Shamokin lineman Eric Troxell's father, Dave, was also a force on the defense. The Indians were coached by former PSU standout and retired Williamsport coach Tim Montgomery.
For those Dunmore fans making the trip, the old home side in now the visitors side and the field has turf and plenty of parking.
-A strange sound from the Loyalsock-Delone game last night was no sound at all. Neither team had a marching band in at the game.
-Honoring America? Shamokin Area School District has seven days to prepare. Will someone please play or sing the National Anthem!