Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Battle for Coal Bucket

In a high school series that dates back to 1893 when Grover Cleveland was president, Shamokin and Mount Carmel will strap on the helmets one more time on Friday night. In recent years, this game has not  produced surprising results only some surprising scores.  This rivalry tilted in Mount Carmel's favor over the years and the Red Tornadoes look to win 18 in a row in 2013.

This year Shamokin Area looks to avoid their first winless season since 1983's squad went 0-11.  Back in 1983, Shamokin hired Jack Murdock to take over the Indian's fortunes who were 1-10 the previous year under the direction of Bob Chesney who's only win was over a 1-10 Lourdes Regional squad.  30 years later the Indians have come full circle.  They have a new coach on the verge of going 0-10 after the squad finished 1-9 the previous year under a different head coach. For the record, Shamokin's three-year mark was 5 wins against 28 losses.  After yet another coaching change a few years later, the Indians were in the state semifinals in 1991. 

As far as head football coaches at Shamokin, Sam Schiccatano was the only one to win in his first year.  The Indians defeated Mount Carmel at Kemp Memorial 42-8 in Dave "Whitey" Williams debut for Mount Carmel.  Late in that game, a young freshman returned a kick off for Mount Carmel for a touchdown.  That player named Brett Veach went on to a great college career at Delaware and now works for Andy Reid's undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.

Is Shamokin on the verge of winning again?  Their is some hope at the junior high level who posted an 8-1 record this season.  Although it is a better gauge than freshman football was years ago (Shamokin went 10 years without losing a freshman game), I will wait until the class of 2018 walks down the aisle.

Last week Mount Carmel honored their 1973 Eastern Conference Championship team.  They were the last one to play Shamokin Area on Thanksgiving Day 40 years ago this November.  The Red Tornadoes needed a late score to win that game 20-15.

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