Thursday, November 4, 2010

Battle for the Coal Bucket

For the first time in nearly 30 years, this annual battle returns to the final spot on the season schedule.  From 1934 to 1973, it was played on Thanksgiving Day as part of many Turkey Day games.  Shamokin's last win in the series came in a 14-0 win at Kemp Memorial Stadium.  Mount Carmel will be looking for 15 in a row come Friday night.  Both schools have gone are on their third head coach since that game including one that has shared time at both schools during the last 15 years.

Trust me. When Shamokin sent Carmen DeFrancesco into exile after the 2006 season, Defrancesco never thought he would be part of a Coal Bucket game as a coach again.  Only a football purgatory called Upper Dauphin came calling in 2007.

"Not getting the job last year when it was open was heartbreaking," said DeFrancesco.  "I was getting prepared to spend the rest of my time coach at Upper Dauphin and we had a nice thing going there."

History for Shamokin Area is not on their side.  Beside Mount Carmel winning from 1972 through 1984, the Red Tornadoes have won the last 14.  Since Shamokin High's merger with Coal Township, Shamokin Area have on in 1988, 1990 and 1992 at the Silver Bowl.

In recent years, Shamokin has been plagued by someone stepping up from the Red Tornadoes.  In 2004, Ryan Kogut's 98-yard quarterback sneak was the difference in a 13-11 game.  In 2005, Dave Pellowski came out of nowhere to rush for close to 100 yards and a touchdown out of the fullback slot.  Trailing, 12-7 at the half in 2006, Jonas Pachuski's 6 receptions for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns came out of nowhere.  His 4 TD receptions in a game are still a Red Tornado record. Justin Pellowski had 5 receptions for 162 yards and two TD's in a 41-14 win in 2007.

The last two years have been 47-7 and 33-6 blowouts in favor of Mount Carmel.

Shamokin has been a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde team in all of 2010.  They have played really well at home, but not on the road.  When they play bad, it's really bad.  Pass coverage has been dismal.  Over the years, no matter the record or one-sided, Shamokin Area has played MCA tough with the exception of the last two seasons. 

The Indians have to stop the running of Myerick Lamb before doing anything at all and to put pressure on Rob Varano who will be making his first start at quarterback for the injured Eddie Stewart. Varano has been a starting quarterback on most of the football teams he has been a player.  Friday, only the stage gets a little bigger.

With the game somewhat returning to it's roots on the schedule, will the outcome be any different?????

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