I miss you, Dad.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Week 5 in high school football is upon us. Shamokin is at Danville. Southern hosts Warrior Run and Mount Carmel hosts Central Columbia. What is the big surprise???? It is probably the first time in about 20 to 25 years at least one of the above, Shamokin, Southern or Mount Carmel aren't dominating.
The way is looks now, Shamokin should have a shot to be competitive in the rest of their games other than Selinsgrove who may be the team to beat in the East this season in AAA.
Both Mount Carmel and Southern have their problems. Southern's line is a little banged up coupled with the fact that the Tigers may be short on big play makers this season. As of now, no one really showed big play capability. This isn't a knock against the current crop of players. We only went through four games and there are plenty of weeks to play. I guess when you see Marks, Romanoskie, Rosini, and Hyno over the years throw in Latorre and couple of receivers you see what I mean.
The Red Tornadoes on the other have struggled offensively against better teams. The offensive line will have to improve going into the second half if Mount Carmel will have a shot at the playoffs.
Shamokin are a few plays away from being 2-2 and probably wish they could replay the Southern and Mount Carmel games. The Indians should get to 2-3 on the season then have a back-to-back with Selinsgrove and Montoursville. If the Indians get out of Selinsgrove intact, they can still win the rest but it won't be easy. I do like the offensive improvements from week 1 to 4, but defense has to stop giving up the big play.
Posted by Coal Region Voice at 5:50 PM
Sunday, September 27, 2009
On Saturday night, I had to chance to get to see my alma mater, Lourdes Regional, take on Freedom Village for homecoming. Lourdes won the game 28-0 in a driving rain. Former vice-principal, Leo A. Mulhall was honored for 31 years of service to the school with plaque that will be on display in the school lobby.
For lack of numbers, I was impressed with the Red Raiders enthusiasm. When they take the field, they play hard despite the numbers. John Vanaskie threw his first touchdown pass of his career after playing a soccer game earlier in the day.
I don't know if it has to do with penalties, but the officials take a long time to spot the ball and reset play.
Posted by Coal Region Voice at 6:23 PM
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Not to be overly analytical in Week#4 so here it goes:
Mount Carmel over Warrior Run
Just what the doctor ordered for a banged up Red Tornado squad...mostly at the QB position.
Southern over Loyalsock
Southern has a some more speed, but the longer Loyalsock could hang around the better chance the Lancer will have. Jim Roth gets his 300th win in a tight one.
Shikellamy over Shamokin
This could be Shik's first win over the Indians in a long time. Shamokin gained some confidence last week with four players touching the ball for great yardage. In Shamokin's two losses, they gave many short field scores to the opposition. If they create a long field for the Braves this one could be very close.
Shik could suffer a letdown on the short road trip. One thing I like about the Braves was their ability to keep Mount Carmel's offense and speed off the scoreboard. With Mount Carmel's running game in check and under 10 passes completed, how good is the Red Tornado offensive line? I like Shik in this one but the game will be close.
Posted by Coal Region Voice at 7:44 PM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Southern Columbia head coach Jim Roth goes for win number 300 on Friday at Loyalsock.
Being a busy week, I asked Roth 5 questions about the last 30 years as an assistant and head coach all at Southern Columbia and this is what Roth had to say.
Starting out with Andy Ulicny, did you every think you would be at this milestone?
No, it is impossible to envision something that far down the road and I have always put my focus and energy into the now or near future.
When do you think was the turning point of the program? Was it as an assistant or head coach?
As assistant – 4 years: 0-10, 5-6-1, 9-3, 12-1 (E.C. Title)
You have been around high school kids for nearly 30 years. Have the kids changed?
Yes, not as many come to you with strong character/work ethic.
What was the most satisfying win? Disappointing loss?
Satisfying - 02 state title, son on team and broke the string of runners-up.
Disappointing – 2000 and 2001 state title game losses. We had outstanding teams with great kids. Lost to very good Rochester teams.
Any advice for someone getting a head coaching job in 2009?
Maintain high standards for player discipline, work ethic, and behavior and don’t compromise. Be fair and consistent when dealing with players. Be their coach not their friend. Be more concerned about physical training (year-round) and character development than X’s and O’s.
Hard to believe where the last nearly 30 years have gone, but with a win on Friday, Jim Roth will become the 8th member of the 300-win club. Coming out of college and being part of former head coach Andy Ulicny's staff, Southern at the time was concerned with a win (singular).
The school was mired in a 17-game losing streak and would see it grow to 27 until it came to an end.
There have been all the league, conference, district and state championships. One glaring statistic that jumps out at me is the average....yes average of 11.5 wins a year. Even when the regular season consisted of 11 games this is still a major accomplishment.
Off camera, we talked about teams around the Heartland Conference, playoff scenarios and the health and improvement of his own squad. Roth's energy and enthusiasm never dies. After the interview, I couldn't help wonder if I was talking to a man in his first year of coaching or one on the doorstep of Pennsylvania high school football immortality.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
For the past two weeks, I had to wonder how Shamokin was going to score more than 14 points in a football game. This past week, the Indians looked like a wide open attack running out of the power-I.
The attack was as effective as it was diverse. Yes, say it was Central Columbia and yes the Indians should have won. But any win for Shamokin hasn't come this easy over the last few seasons. Four rushers for the Indians were around the 75 yard mark and Brent Forbes had 100 yards receiving. The defense did play two bad, most of Central's offense came on two big plays.
Can Shamokin continue against Shikellamy? Mount Carmel was able to hold Shik scoreless in the first half and around 50 yards of total offense. Shamokin even put a drive together against the Red Tornadoes. Everything came crashing down for the Red Tornadoes with 5 turnovers in the ball game.
On Saturday, I had a chance to talk to Daily-Item reporter Harold Raker about the Shik-Shamokin match up. We were trying to actually think back if it was the 1983 Shikellamy Braves that beat Shamokin. Shik had some good teams back then, beating Mount Carmel in 79, 80, 81 and 82.
Shamokin still has some brutal dates left after this weekend with Selinsgrove and Mountoursville back to back in week 6 and and 7. Hopefully, the game against Central will be the turning point.
Posted by Coal Region Voice at 6:34 PM
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Shamokin fell to 0-2 on the young season with losses coming to rivals, Southern Area and Mount Carmel. They say you make your most improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. Shamokin could be in for a long season. The game with Central is critical.
The big disappointment for the Indians against Mount Carmel was the special teams. Shamokin had a blocked punt and several bad snaps that led to bad punts. Also, on punt return, Shamokin gave up chunks in field position including a punt that rolled inside the 10 yard line.
What was also surprising were the illegal participation penalties. Somebody has to know who's in and who's out. Guess what, I'm not blaming the coaching.
There was also some signs of bright spots. For the second consecutive week, Shamokin's offense drove down for a score last in the first half. In two games, no one has drove down the field against the Indians "D" and hopefully they will continue to improve.
Last year Shamokin coughed up a 19-0 early lead and lost to Central. Central is coming off a win against Danville who only has a few seniors and didn't have Michael Owens-Wright.
Central likes to spread the field and take advantage of mismatches. I like Shamokin in this one for some reason, 13-7.
Friday, September 11, 2009
It has been a long time since Shamokin beat Mount Carmel on the gridiron. You have to go back to 1995 to find a 14-0 win by Shamokin at home. The 13 wins in a row means there has been a whole class at Shamokin that went from K through graduation never to beat the Red Tornadoes.
Will tonight change that?
Mount Carmel went up one of the best teams in the region on any level last week and their defense was in championship form. The Red Tornadoes were hit heavy by graduation and some returning players were sidelined with injuries.
After watching both last weekend. Shamokin's offense is built around an running game and by observations need to play well to score 21 points. On the other hand, you still don't know what Mount Carmel can do.
This game is going to be a battle of Mount Carmel's offensive line and can Shamokin stop the speed of the Red Tornadoes.
The other big thing in this contest is Shamokin only has won at the Silver Bowl 4 times since 1966. In 2007, Shamokin had the lead at the half. In that 2007, Shamokin's secondary gave up some big plays. Last week, the Indians allowed Southern to get close on a 3rd and 26 and get the first down on 4th down.
I see Mount Carmel's offense getting untracked adding a defensive touchdown and winning this one 28-7.
Posted by Coal Region Voice at 3:45 AM
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Coming off a 41-28 loss to Lancaster Catholic in the playoffs and giving 605 yards the Red Tornadoes started off the season getting mercy-ruled by Selinsgrove. The Red Tornadoes didn't have any success against the Seals 3-5 scheme.
Selinsgrove did not run one offensive play in their own zone in the first half against Mount Carmel. The 28-0 score at the half could have been worse.
At 0-1, Mount Carmel faces Shamokin at home.
Shamokin and Southern hooked up on Saturday and pulled out a 21-7 victory. After giving up TD runs of 75 and 25 yards to Jake Morton. The Indian defense settled down. The Indian running game looked somewhat better. They were better with DiRienzo in the game. Pass defense and wide receivers are suspect. No catches in the second half and two receptions for 15 yards the rest of the way. Once again, the Shamokin secondary coughed up a 3 and 26 which led to a score.
The Indians only managed 31 yards in the second half.
Southern on the other hand the running game looked strong early but lacked it's usual consistency. The motion penalties in the 4th quarter and 3 personal fouls were totally out of character.
Southern's receivers helped out Jake Townsend making serveral great catches. Maybe Townsend had the jitters. He wasn't too accurate in the pregame and it carried over into the game itself.
Can Shamokin's offense put up 21 against anyone?? Southern should settle in nicely as the season goes on. Some of Mount Carmel's biggest questions will be answered this Friday night.
Posted by Coal Region Voice at 7:55 AM
Friday, September 4, 2009
In conversation with coach Jim Roth the other day, we were trying to think of when Southern was really hit by graduation in one area so much. The answer we came up with was never.
On offense, the Tigers lost their whole backfield. On defense, they lost their back seven including all four linebackers. In years past, the Tigers had enough athletes to move a safety up, inside to outside and outside to inside. This year, Southern has no such option. It will be learn on the fly. Owens-Wright of Danville exploited this last week in a scrimmage. Now the question is can the Shamokin Indians.
The one thing about this game is consistency. Southern has it and Shamokin will trot out their third head coach in four seasons. Both teams could be good teams in October. Shamokin has to learn how to run the ball again and learn how to win again. Does it start in 2009?
I see this going Southern's way adding a late score for a 21-6 win.
I haven't seen either in 2009, but know the Seals have the firepower. The 2009 starters for MCA that were reserves due to huge senior class would have started at many schools. Under Mike Brennan, junior varsity players made great strides in the off season. Just ask Southern coach Jim Roth.
Knowing Bob Chesney(played for him in '83), he is not showing up to be fed to the lions. Coaches over the years fear this because he can will a team to win. Other than his only year at Shamokin. He has done well in other first-year stints at Lourdes (9-1 in 1983 who also beat the Seals) and North Schuylkill (10-2 in 1999 with a win over AA runner-up Mount Carmel) This one maybe closer than many expect.
Selinsgrove is phenomenal at home on turf. Like MCA last year, the Seals started prep for this game the week after they were eliminated in Hershey.
Posted by Coal Region Voice at 8:02 AM
2009 marks the 40th (hard to believe) anniversary of the Mount Carmel Area Red Tornadoes 1969 Eastern Conference Championship Team. The Big Red dismantled Valley View 47-6 in the championship game.
Gary Diminick set the gold standard for future running backs with 2099 yard in 12 games often only playing a half. Also on the team was junior Henry Hynoski and Carm Defrancesco.
Here is a great article from PA Football News.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Two top headlines dominated lower Northumberland County yesterday. First was the sale of the Mountain View Manor (county owned) to it's operation manager for 16.5 million and the townhall meething by Congressman Carney in Sunbury.
Carney on the Fence
Carney agrees that pre-existing conditions and portability should be key. He is not sure on the public option.
Surprisingly 70% of the audience were for some kind of healthcare reform.
The rumblings I heard from current Manor and county employees yesterday is what will happen to my healthcare. On the hotseat is Northumberland County Commissioner Vinni Clausi who promised that he would never sell the Manor when he met with employees when first elected.
The way the debate is going on healthcare will be something similar to car insurance if passed. It will be manadatory to purchase. This is why a public option is needed. If 48 million subcribers are delivered to the insurance industry where will the competition lie???