Friday, August 31, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Much like our national pastime, baseball, does to cure the winter blues in the spring, our national passion and specifically our statewide passion of high school football is here. Maybe it is erasing the memory of a bad season, a tragic event, or a new school year, it is time for the youth of our communities to step up and grow.

High school football brings us together like no other, from the anticipation of the season and the game to the preparation of the team, coach, bands and cheerleaders, we are all involved.

The sun is setting the lights are beginning to glow. It is the smell of fresh cut grass, the fries are almost ready, and the chill is in the air. Listen to the chin straps buckle, cleats hitting the pavement on the entrance to the stadium and one last pregame talk. It's time for high school football!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shamokin-Southern Columbia Preview for 95.3 FM

This Saturday, I will have the pleasure once again of calling my 3rd Shamokin-Southern game. Since 2005, alot has changed for Shamokin while Southern Columbia cashed in on two more PIAA titles. Here is a look at the match up and one the game may possibly go.


After a 19-16 overtime victory, coach Carm Defrencesco declared, "This is greatest win in school history." A statement that would haunt DeFrancesco his final two seasons as the Indians stumble home 6-19 over the rest of '05 and '06.

Dave Zielinskie returns after coaching his last game for Shamokin against Berwick in 1992. Has 15 years gone by that fast!!??? Zielinskie returns a little older and little wiser. He handles things 100% better outside and off the gridiron. Expect the Shamokin to attack and come to play for every game not just Southern and Mount Carmel.

For Southern Area, Jim Roth and steady may be synonymous. Roth who was 1-6 in state title games has now won 5 in row. Well, Jim didn't play in them but he was there to guide them. Remember the fans in 2001? Calling for a possible change? Steady and program are what is going to get done for the Tigers in 2007. Many starters are gone on both sides of the ball, but many backups had ample playing time to step in. This season should not be any different.


Both teams return seniors in Ted Heitzman for Southern and Marc Persing for Shamokin. Both made their debut in the 2005 game with Persing getting the better of Heitzman. In two ships passing in the night, much of the offensive pressure has shifted from Persing reading the defense to the running game, while Heitzman may be asked to do more in the early part of the season. Heitzman will draw all the scouts, but the Indians cannot win if Persing goes down.

Edge - even


Shamokin Area were able to move the ball quite freely last year between the 20's, but struggled in the redzone. Southern return's 6'4" 325 lb. Tyler Wilson to a unit that rushed for nearly 400 yards per game in 2006. Southern did struggle early in 2005, when there were this many new starters on the O-line.

Edge - Very slight to Shamokin


Gone is Henry Hynoski from the Tiger arsenal and also Dave Adams. Step in Steve Roth, Kyle Breech and Andrew Wimble. Without Hyno, I believe Roth and Wimble would have both had a 1000 yards. Now they get a chance to prove it. Look for the halfbacks to get most of the work this season. Shamokin looks to pound the ball with sophomore Brent Forbes. Last season the Indians were not able to run in many key situations.

Edge - Until they prove otherwise, big edge to Southern.


Shamokin with it's wide open game threw to anyone that was open. The standout of the group was Chris Eby when on the field. Look for others to make a contribution including Jarrid Savlov, Tyler Dirienzo, Nick Domanski and the tight end position occupied by the Krah twins. Southern counters with Colby Snyder and will be looking for others to make contributions.

Edge - Southern (The Heitzman-Snyder combo is dangerous.)

DEFENSE (Front Sevens)

Everyone in talking about the 2006 Tigers, talk Hyno and Josh Marks. Also gone from a great defense is Corey Sober and Nick Gallinot from the linbacking corps. Also, take out Hyno who played outstanding when he had to go in and Marks who went both offensive and defense.....well you get the picture. Shamokin returns Jordan Haddock and Brent Forbes to the front seven. Except for lapses against Mifflinburg and second half against Southern, this unit played solid. Tyler Griffiths will be missed.

Edge - slight to Shamokin


Zeke Conrad and Colby Snyder return to a solid unit. A big loss will be Tom Admire. Admire could probably close on most of the zip codes in the Southern district when the ball was in the air. Shamokin on the other hand needs to find their identity in the secondary. Gave up too many big plays in key situations last season. Eby, Tyler Schiccatano, Matt Marcheskie, Mike Zielinskie, Savlov, DiRienzo, and Domanski look to make contributions.

Edge - Big edge to Southern if Shamokin can't prove otherwise.


Southern returns Bryan Snyder who was 72-78 in PAT's. Shamokin has given the punting and kicking chores to Persing. Persing's next PAT will be his first. Fan's may cringe when leaving a valuable quarterback exposed.

Edge - Big edge to Southern.


All logic points to Southern in this one, but don't discount experience of the Indians. Shamokin has alot of players that have been through some hard times and are ready to step up. Southern is used to winning and have the athletes to make it back to Hershey in December.

1.) Shamokin trailed by one at the half in 2005 and 7 in 2006. Once again, look for this one to be close at the half.

2.) Southern had some problems on the offensive line in the transition to the 2005 season. They are in a similar position in 2007. With Shamokin on the attack, look for some breakdowns early.

3.) Mistakes. If Southern goes up by two touchdowns it could be off to the races. Could you believe the Tigers are actually faster this year!!!!!

4.) Everyone in Pennsylvania knows Hyno and Marks are gone, but also Sober, Gallinot and Admire who were just as important but overshadowed by the D-1 recruiting of Marks and Hyno.

5.) There is a reason why Southern has gone to finals every year since 1994 with the exception of 1997. IT'S CALLED PROGRAM!!!!!

Look for this one to be close again through the half and three periods. The winner will be the one with the less opening day mistakes. Look for Southern to come out on top in the fourth quarter.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bill Country Radio Schedule Bill 95.3 FM

Here is the broadcast schedule for BILL 95.3 for the 2007 season:

Friday, August 31 Lourdes Regional at Northwest BILL 95.3
Saturday, September 1 Shamokin at Southern Columbia BILL 95.3
Friday, September 7 Shamokin vs. Montoursville BILL 95.3 & 95.5
Friday, September 14 Shamokin vs. Jersey Shore BILL 95.3
Friday, September 21 Mt. Carmel at Shamokin BILL 95.3
Friday, September 28 Shamokin at Mifflinburg BILL 95.3
Friday, October 5 Shamokin at Cedar Cliff BILL 95.3
Friday, October 12 Shamokin at Pottsville BILL 95.3
Friday, October 19 Shamokin vs. Selinsgrove BILL 95.3
Friday, October 26 Shamokin vs. Blue Mountain BILL 95.3
Friday, November 2 Southern at Danville BILL 95.3

All games will also be available live on-line at

The Bill Country 95 FM Football games are available on TEAMLINE through the methods indicated below:

LISTEN to the LIVE AUDIO WEBCAST of these games for FREE via the internet.
Click Here to Listen

LISTEN to the LIVE play-by-play from any Telephone for $5 per game. To access this game via any telephone just dial 216-502-3200. Enter teamcode 7882 when prompted. If you can use your free night and weekend minutes on your cell phone plan or have an unlimited long distance calling plan at home or work your only cost will be $5, otherwise additional long distance charges could be incurred from your long distance provider.

The broadcast will be archived the following day and will be available for up to a year. The broadcast will be downloadable for up to year for a small fee.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Route for the Scheetz Tour

Here is the route for the 3rd Annual Scheetz Charity Ride.

Beginning at Family Practice/Sun Othopedic just yards away from the Intersection of Route 54 and 487.

The Tour will leave the parking lot and head weston Route 54 via police escort and immediately turn North on Route 487 and head toward Knoelbels Amusement Park.

2.2 miles - RIGHT on to Jepko's Road and wind though Knoelbels Golf Course and through a covered bridge.

3.4 miles - LEFT on to Bear Campground Road - this will ride behind Knoebels Campground with the smell of cotton candy still in the air.

4.4 miles - RIGHT on to Pine Swamp Road - small climbs

7.1 miles - RIGHT on to Middle Road only for .10 of a mile.

7.2 miles - LEFT on to Jefferson Road

8.3 miles - LEFT on to Fisherdale Road (Road Sign is hidden behind stop sign.

9.5 miles - RIGHT back on to Middle Road

11.4 miles - RIGHT on to Route 42 (Numidia) plenty of berm.

11.9 miles - RIGHT on to White Church Road - this is the halfway point.

14.0 miles - RIGHT on to Bear Gap Road

18.3 miles - RIGHT on to Berks Road

18.7 miles - LEFT on to Happy Valley Road

21.4 miles - LEFT back onto Jepko's Road. NOTE: There is a stop and you should see the covered bridge.

22.2 miles - LEFT on to 487. LOCAL TRAFFIC CONTROL will be in place.

24.3 miles - Intersection of 54 and 487 - stop, dismount and walk bike across 487 into Turkey Hill lot adjacent to Family Practice/Sun Orthopedic.

90% of the ride is NOT on heavily traveled roads. You may see deer or even bear. Stay alert and alway practice safe road cycling.

Captain Scheetz Scholarship Bike Ride 9/1/2007


The Captain Robert Scheetz charity bike ride will take place on Saturday, September 1st 2007. The ride which will be about 20 miles long will include refreshment. The donation is $20 and helmets will be required. Registration will be from 7:30 until 9:00 am. The ride will begin short after. Registration will be at Sun Orthopedic in Elysburg, PA at the intersection of Route 54 and Route 487.

The ride will be about 20+ miles and the final course is still being in the process of being set.

Captain Robert Scheetz was KIA on May 31st in Iraq from wounds received the previous day by an IED. Proceeds from the scholarship benefit students in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

For further information, email vuwildcat88 (at) gmail (dot) com. Brouchure and liability form will be sent out or emailed.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Shamokin Football Video vs. Williamsport


I traveled to Williamsport to catch the Shamokin Indians final scrimmage before the opener with Southern Columbia. There were a few things outside of football that did play a part for both teams. First, last night was one of the most hot and muggy nights. Overall I thought the Indians held up well. Second, the grass at Williamsport was 8 to 9 inches high. (NOTE: There were heavy rains there all week just by watching the LLWS). It made walking difficult.


The offense at times were able to run the ball and it looks like Brent Forbes will be the feature back. Receivers did open. Line played well, but had some breakdowns on pass blocking. Marc Persing starting at quarterback for his third year, didn't look too bad. The offense will not be as flashy as a team, but should improve week to week.

One negative is the lack of a true burner on offense. This is evident at wideout and in the backfield.


The defense played a base 50 with some blitz packagers thrown in. The Indians were able to get to the quarterback and tackles some running backs in the backfield. There was an improvement in man coverage in the secondary. Williamsport's first touchdown was a freshman mistake made by a player on his first defensive play. Run support by the secondary was really good especially on the outside.

One negative is a question. How much did the secondary improve? We will find out soon enough with the blitz packages being used.


After one touchdown, Marc Persing kicked the extra point. Persing did play soccer when he was younger. Don't expose your 3-year starting QB. Look younger, Persing will be gone after this year.


One thing that stood on a hot, muggy was the Shamokin bench. It didn't seem water was readily available. HELP WANTED: Managers!!!! It must have been a long bus ride for the Indians in a school bus. With major construction in the Williamsport area, the players had to be on the bus and hour and half or better. Could you say Junction Boys.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hynoski #2 on Pitt Depth Chart

According to the Post-Gazette, former Southern Columbia running back Henry Hynoski is number 2 at fullback on the Pitt Panthers depth chart:

NOTE -- Sophomore tailback Kevin Collier is out for the season with a broken right wrist. Collier got hurt Thursday in the final scrimmage of training camp. "What this does is puts [backup fullback] Shane Brooks back in the tailback position and I would think that the possibility of redshirting [freshman] Henry Hynoski is not going to happen because he'll move up a spot on the depth chart and become the No. 2 fullback," Wannstedt said.

Here is the link.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

No Down Year for Southern Columbia

Look at what Pennlive is saying......hard not to agree.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Mount Carmel Video

This is the fist play of the year for the Red Tornadoes.

Legendary Mount Carmel football coach Joe "Jazz" Diminick was honored Sunday for his 80th birthday and former MCA Big 33 players were on hand on the 50th anniversary of the all-star game. Diminick was also inducted to the NHSACA Hall of Fame for 2007.

The testimonial comes 15 years after Mount Carmel and Diminick parted ways not under the best of circumstances. At the time, Diminick was on top of the Pennsylvania win list with 290. Dave "Whitey" Williams took over for "Jazz" and won three state titles in '94, '96, and '98 to go along with a runner-up finish in '99. "Whitey" shared the same story that he shared with me over a decade ago. He said he had called "Jazz" to get a recommendation for a coaching job. Diminick basically said to put in for the Mount Carmel job and the rest was history. At the time, Williams was the man out at Tamaqua due to a teacher's strike. Tamaqua's program has never recovered.

Around the area scrimmages

I attended the MCA-Blue Mountain Scrimmage on Saturday and liked what I seen from the Red Tornadoes offensively. Marcus Wasilewski looked good coming back from a season ending ankle injury. There is improvement in the line and attitude. Defensively, Mount Carmel will have to improve on outside contain, but overall did a good job against much bigger foe. Look for the line to improve on both sides of the ball under line coach Bob Chesney.

Shamokin on the other hand, was once again the victim of the big play. One of the things to sink Shamokin last years was giving up the big play especially in losses to Mifflinburg and Mount Carmel. The Indian's need to shore this up before the start of the season. Hopefully, I could see them live on Friday at Williamsport.

Southern Colombia doesn't seem to have lost a step. Check Scott Dudinskie's account here. What will make the Tigers so dangerous this season will be the way the ball is distributed. Ted Heitzman and Colby Snyder will be an awesome combination. With Heitzman's touch on the long ball and Snyder's hands, look for Snyder to approach the great receiving season Ardie Kissinger put up in 1994.

In what may be one of the early good news stories, Bill Scott of Selinsgrove is back on the field. Good luck with your continued recovery.

Hat's off to the Black Diamond Sports Network for their successful broadcast of high school football above the Arctic Circle.

Finally, in the very unscientific poll conducted by the Coal Region Voice, 130 fans voted and said Southern Columbia will beat Shamokin Area on September 1st. The vote count favored Southern by a 65% to 35% for Shamokin. In 2005, I think it would have been about 90 to 10 in favor of Southern. They are high school kids and that's why we play the game. Not to blow my horn, but I predicted a Shamokin win in 2005. (The Hillside Coaches can back this claim.) I thought at the time, the Indian back 7 was very good and Heitzman would have difficulty in his first varsity start. However, I didn't account for all the cramping that took a big bite out of Southern late in the game.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

MCA Football

First Offensive set for MCA.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Coach Z's Address at the Hillside Coaches Picnic

The second era of Shamokin Area head coach Dave Zielinskie will be begin in a few hours. Above is his partial address to the crowd at the Hillside Coaches preseason picnic. The Hillside Coaches are the Indians football boosters. They are an outstanding organization and most if not of their officers do not have sons on the team. A great group of volunteers.

In the video posted above that was different from last season. None of the captains were announced. Jerseys have not been given out yet. When Coach Z. took the program over in the mid-80's just a week or two before the season, he was looking for players. It is simple, if you want to play and give all you can there will be a spot for you somewhere in the lineup.

One question was asked to Coach Z. about the Indians operating their third offense in three years. "Nothing you see this year will resemble last year," said Zielinskie. "We are going to come right after people and run the football." If you take away the two good years by Richie Schiccatano and one solid year by Tim Krebs, the Indian's running game has lacked consistency since Sam Schiccatano was the head coach.

On a side note, the Black Diamond Network's broadcast of the game in Nome, Alaska has been moved to Saturday, August 18th at 4 pm EST according to Dr. Phil Manney who is scheduled with Tom Ryan to broadcast the game. Manney and Ryan depart Tuesday morning for the game.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Black Diamond Sports Network's Travel to Alaska

The Black Diamond Sports Network will be the first to broadcast a football game above the Artic Circle. Surviving the travel may be a problem:

  1. 8/14 - Depart Harrisburg, fly to Chicago, then to Anchorage.
  2. 8/15 - Board McKinley express for 12 hour train ride to Fairbanks.
  3. 8/16 - 4-hour paddleboat ride on Chena River, then a flight to Barrow.

The only thing missing are the dogsleds. Good luck and have a safe trip.

Read rest of the story here.

Four Simple Lessons to Beat Fear & Greed

I have written in the past that the predictable cyclical nature of the stock market is almost comical. The headlines today have me rolling in stitches ...“SUBPRIME CREDIT WOES GO GLOBAL”“GLOBAL CREDIT CRUNCH IMMINENT” Hahahahahaha, sell some more newspapers/page views why don’t you!Click on the top for story.

read more | digg story

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Selinsgrove awaits report of cancer probe

Follow the link to read the whole story. I have followed the story since it broke in the spring. Talking to some residents that live nearby and my cancer coalition, there are just too many various types of cancer to tie it to onc source. Let's wait and see what the PA Department of Health finds.

As Susquehanna University prepares to welcome the largest incoming freshman class in its history, school alumni await results of a state Department of Health investigation into whether cancer is unusually prevalent in their ranks. Those who have battled cancer are especially interested.

read more digg story

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Coal Region Football just around the corner!!!!

The official start of high school football is only days away beginning with two-a-days starting Monday, August 13th. Before we see the "Friday Night Lights" there are the brutal August days to get through......everyone stay hydrated. We use the word "official" practice because that's what the PIAA says.

Here are some interesting early items and snapshots:

The MAC's coal region connections

Sheppie enters the Hall and tradgedy strikes one of his former players

Big season expected from former Southern Area Tiger, Ryan Slater at Bucknell
The Black Diamond Sports Network will be making history on August 17th, listen here.
And finally, Southern Columbia has there own football website with a nice home page. the home page links all the media outlets that cover the Tigers. Also, links to stories about former Tiger's are contained there.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Year of Absence by Jessica Redmond

In May of 2004, bad news came to southern Northumberland County in Pennsylvania for the second time that spring. Once of local soldiers, Captain Robert Scheetz was killed in action in Iraq on May 31st from wounds he received a previous day in an IED explosion. Captain Robert Scheetz grew up in Paxinos, PA and spent most of his adult life in the military eventually making Alabama his stateside home. I live near Bobby's family and every year I help them raise money in his memory for a scholarship fund.
As the third anniversary of his death drew, I did some research to see if anything was written about Bobby or his unit. Interestingly, I found a book titled, A Year of Absence, by Jessica Redmond. The book tells the story of six women's courage, hope and love while their husbands faced deployment in Iraq from Baumholder, Germany. Bobby's wife, Jennifer, used her real name in the book which sparked my interest to read it. The news of Bobby's death and trip home for the service is highlighted in the book.
I read the book while on vacation over the 4th of July. I did this for the most part on purpose. While we were back home enjoying the holiday, I read with the mindset our soldiers are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Somewhere the children and spouses of these soldiers are wondering and praying for their safe return.
Some parts of the book really hit home. With many deployments in the last 15 or so years, there really isn't a "handbook" how to handle or cope with it. In these days of cell phones, email, text and instant messaging, dealing with the loss of a communication was a tremendous burden to bear.
I was able to contact Ms. Redmond through her publisher and was able to conduct on online interview with her. Below are the questions that I asked and answers provided by Ms. Redmond:
A Year Of Absence Questions and Answers

Question – When did you decide to write the book? Before deployment, after or during?

Answer – I decided to write the book just after deployment. As I looked around the nearly deserted army base and saw other women struggling to cope with all the loss, fear, and stress that deployment brings, I was struck that their stories, and mine, were stories that were not being told. (That has changed since 2003, thank goodness, but at the time, little media focus went to those left behind by war.) It was important to me to give them a voice and, in doing so, I also found a way to get myself through what was a very difficult time in my own life.

Question – Were your subjects part of your inner circle of friends and acquaintances or did you have to dig?
Answer – Two of the women I knew prior to writing the book; one was a co-worker at the Education Center (I taught a basic academic skills class for soldiers) and the other was in my FRG. The other four women I met through the interview process. They responded to a query I put out, asking women to contact me to discuss their experiences with deployment.

Question – What were some of the characteristics of the women that seemed to have an easy time with deployment?
Answer – Independence, open lines of communication with their spouses/clear and mutually agreed upon expectations about that communication, and strong support networks (either family or other members of the community) were the three biggest indicators of successful coping.

Question – What type of spouses seemed to have the most problems? Characteristics?
Answer – The spouses who had the most problems during deployment tended to have unstable marriages that were threatened by the strain of deployment, self-isolated and avoided community involvement, and had unrealized expectations about the kind of relationship they would share with their spouse during and after deployment. Another indicator was the degree to which spouses viewed the deployment as a sentence, a purgatory to get through. Deployment is a tough balancing act – In order to maintain your sanity, it is essential not to put your own life on hold, but many spouses feel that if they do that, they will be betraying the spouse who is deployed, which only makes the already long days of deployment even longer.

Question – Did “Mission Accomplished” have a big effect on morale? Good or bad?
Answer – It really varied. Many spouses heard “Mission Accomplished” as a validation of what they already hoped to be true: that the hard part was over and their loved one would be home within the (then) standard army deployment of 6 months. For those spouses, hearing those words from the president made them proud of the soldiers’ accomplishments and it buoyed their spirits for a safe and speedy deployment. Other spouses took a more jaded view, fearing that the fall of Baghdad was only a small step in a bigger fight. Sadly, it was that view that history has proven right.

Question - What was the single biggest problems with separation that you witnessed? Infidelity? Alcohol? Financial? Single parenting???
Answer - I assume that you are asking what the biggest manifestation of the stress and grief of deployment was. Infidelity was certainly the most feared manifestation, if not the most prevalent (in my research, I found that incidences of infidelity were far less prevalent than generally perceived). Primarily for young, new couples separated for the first time, infidelity certainly was an issue, though I found it to be the exception rather than the rule. Perhaps even more insidious was the suspicion of infidelity. Army bases are small communities, and when the soldiers leave, they get even smaller. Many women I talked to felt that they could not so much as go out for coffee with a male friend without news of her supposed affair reaching her husband downrange, resulting in very real problems of jealousy and insecurity.
Those with children faced the most strain. Spouses on the homefront had to not only cope with their own feelings of fear and anxiety, but had to mask them in order to be strong for their children. As one woman put it, when your spouse deploys, you get all the hardship of single parenting without any of the freedom.

Question – How did deployment affect you???
Answer – It was hard. When my husband left for Iraq, we were still newlyweds. I woke up every morning and checked the CNN website, hoping desperately that he had survived the night and terrified that he had not. I, like others, went through a period of putting my life on hold and wishing there was some way I could simply make the year of deployment disappear – throwing away a year of my life seemed like an excellent trade off for putting an end to the constant fear and longing I was experiencing. In time, though, I decided that life is too precious to wish away, and that is when I began working on the book. The research, and the interactions with other women that resulted through it, were a real life line for me during what was and remains the most difficult experience of my life. That said, having come through the deployment with my husband safe and my marriage intact, I am glad to have had the experience. I am a stronger person and have a stronger marriage because of it, and I learned so much about war, those who fight it, and the true meaning of sacrifice – lessons I would not otherwise have learned.

Questions- Any recommendations to make for spouse who are deployed in the future?
Answer – In terms of advice, I think it is important to remember that everyone copes with the strain of deployment differently and that it is essential to give yourself permission to cope with it in your own (healthy) way. There are, however, a few universal guidelines to follow:
  • Find a support network. This could be family, others in the military community, even an online chatroom. Isolation is often a natural response to the strain of deployment, but for most people, it is also the enemy.
  • Maintain clear lines of communication with your spouse and discuss expectations about that communication before deployment. Long distance relationships are hard enough without Ides thrown into the mix; make sure you have a plan to cope with that.
  • Set goals. Goals will help the time pass more quickly and give you a sense of accomplishment during what feels like, to many families of deployed soldiers like "wasted time."
  • Limit exposure to the 24-hour news cycle; it will only feed fear and anxiety.

Visit here to learn more about fundraising for the Scheetz Scholarship Fund