Susquehanna's Gavin Baker receives the fourth annual Thomas E. Robinson Memorial Award from Tom J. Robinson following Friday's 36-6 victory at Montrose
Susquehanna players pose with the Bluestone Trophy that they maintained possession of with a 36-6 victory at Montrose, September 21
Sam Cosmello and Adam Roe have done more than their share to put the Bluestone Trophy in Susquehanna's possession and keep it there during their high school football careers.
Cosmello scored three touchdowns Friday night and Roe turned in another big all-around game as the Sabers defeated host Montrose, 36-6, in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division 4 game that also served as the seventh annual Battle for the Bluestone.
C.J. Stone joined the other senior veterans, putting up his second straight strong game as winning quarterback in the series.
The veterans had help from three sophomores, including two who are newcomers to the team.
Gavin Baker, a two-way end, earned the Thomas E. Robinson Memorial Award for outstanding play while showing respect for officials and opponents. He had a sack and two other tackles for losses among his six tackles and also caught a 34-yard pass for the team's second-longest offensive play.
Jahmarea "Peanut" Wansley, a Blue Ridge transfer student from Williamsburg near Altoona, had an interception in his second game with the team. Wansley lost a touchdown on a teammate's penalty on the return, but the interception stood. He also broke up another pass, made a tackle for a loss and was in on three other tackles along with kicking two extra points and putting five kickoffs inside the 15.
Garrett Decker was in on the most tackles for the Sabers against the Meteors for the second straight year. He was in on 14 as a freshman last year and a dozen more this year with seven tackles and five assists. One of the tackles was for a loss and he also had a pass rush.
Cosmello had his second straight three-touchdown game against Montrose, giving him seven touchdowns in the last 2 ½ games in the series.
"It's our last Bluestone game," senior halfback/linebacker Cosmello said after the team was awarded the trophy again in a postgame ceremony. "It's always good to be out here with the guys taking pictures after the game. It's always a good time."
Cosmello helped make sure the Sabers were celebrating. He carried 14 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns and also added a two-point conversion run.
"We were hoping to run the ball right down them," Cosmello said. "We thought we had the better guys up front."
Cosmello was also the game's most active defensive player in the first half when he had all but one of his seven tackles. Those included an assist and another tackle for a loss by Cosmello, who also rushed the passer into an incompletion.
"(Defensive) Coach (Curtis) Mills prepares us really well," Cosmello said. "He puts us in the right gaps at the right times and we just made the plays."
Roe received the 2017 Thomas E. Robinson Memorial Award when he was in on 13 tackles, made two of them for losses and one that forced a fumble before coming up with the game-clinching interception in a 32-18 victory.
Similar to last year, Roe was also a big part of the offense from his fullback position, carrying the ball and helping others gain yardage.
Roe ran nine times Friday night for 88 yards and was often a lead blocker for Cosmello.
Montrose only stopped Roe within five yards of the line of scrimmage once when he had the ball. He also caught the defense's eye with his commitment to carrying out fakes and running hard even when he did not receive the ball on option reads.
The best stop the Meteors made on Roe was when he did not have the ball on quarterback Stone's 65-yard touchdown run for a 23-0 lead with 3:44 left in the half.
"I love getting tackled," Roe said of the option play in which Stone had the chance of handing him the ball or keeping it himself. "That was a good read by C.J.
"Getting tackled and then looking up and seeing him running down the field with the ball is the best."
Stone hurt the Meteors through the air last year when he threw for 162 yards. This time around, he had 81 yards on five carries.
Billy Perry, another player with a strong two-way game, had 43 yards and a touchdown on three carries while being in on 11 tackles on defense.
The Sabers wound up dominating the statistics. They led the Meteors, 17-9 in first downs, 350-34 in rushing yards and 399-96 in total offense.
Baker, Cosmello, Perry and Roe all made multiple tackles for losses as the Sabers threw the Meteors back 13 times for 44 yards in losses.
This is the first time in the series for Baker, whose only previous football experience prior to this year was playing youth flag football. Baker's teammates prepared him for the importance of his first Bluestone game.
"They all said it was the most important game, no matter how good the other team was," Baker said.
Baker contributed on both sides of the ball. In addition to his catch, he contributed perimeter blocking, including hustling down field to seal off the last threat to stop Stone on his 65-yard touchdown.
On defense, Baker was in on the pile that finished off a second-quarter safety, long with his sack and other tackles for losses.
"It's the same game plan we had all season," Baker said. "We scouted their offense pretty hard and made sure we shut their plays down.
"We knew they were going to try to beat us outside and that they had incorporated some reverses to try to catch us off balance."
Susquehanna scored on its first two possessions for a 14-0 lead with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
Strong defense and short Montrose punts allowed the Sabers to take over at midfield on the Meteors 20 on those drives.
Cosmello carried four times for 37 yards on the first drive, including a 3-yard touchdown run around right end. He went 6 yards on fourth-and-goal for the second touchdown, then ran for the two-pointer.
The Sabers lost a fumble at the Meteors 5 with 4:14 left in the half, but then scored twice in the next 30 seconds for a 23-0 lead.
Cosmello made the first hit, Decker joined in by wrapping up the ballcarrier, then Ryan Carmoldy helped finish off the tackle in the end zone for a safety.
Stone broke his touchdown run on the first play after the free kick.
Montrose took advantage of 50 yards in penalties against Susquehanna to move 55 yards for its only score before the half.
Michael Brennan, a junior who made the conversion from offensive lineman to fullback, ran 3 yards for the score, one play after gaining 4 on third-and-2.
Susquehanna again scored on the first two possessions of the half to stretch the 23-6 halftime advantage to the final margin.
The 10-play, 64-yard drive to open the second half included four straight runs of at least 11 yards.
Cosmello's 15-yarder on third-and-nine was followed by Roe runs of 14 and 11 yards, then a 12-yarder by Stone. Cosmello finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown.
Wansley's potential 69-yard interception return was wiped out by penalties, but the Sabers still covered 45 yards in three plays to score with 2:58 left in the third.
Cosmello ran 14 yards, then Perry went 21 and 10 yards on the next two plays to complete the scoring.
Chucky Rohan had all four pass receptions for Montrose, gaining 62 yards. He also had five tackles and recovered two fumbles, including one that he had forced.
Brennan ran 14 times for 40 yards on the night when the rest of his team had minus-6 net yards on the ground. He also had a team-high six tackles and two assists.
With Friday night's win, Susquehanna has a 31-16-1 lead in the all-time series with Montrose, including 29-14-1 in the modern era.
Football returned to Susquehanna on the varsity level in 1970 and followed at Montrose in 1973.
The Susquehanna County rivals have played in 44 of the 46 years since. With the exception of Blue Ridge's forays into the sport in the 1970s and '80s, they have been the only county schools competing during those years.
In its current form, the series takes in five of the six public schools in the county. Susquehanna and Blue Ridge co-sponsor the sport with students from both playing for the Sabers. Montrose also draws in students from Elk Lake and, for the first time this year, Mountain View.
According to research by the late Dr. Roger Saylor, a Penn State statistics and economics professor who created high school football ratings systems and studied high school football histories in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, both Susquehanna and Montrose had football in the early 1900s.
Saylor's records, which are preserved at Penn State, show Susquehanna having football from 1919-24 and 1930-36. Montrose had football from 1914-16 and 1919-31.
Susquehanna won the first meeting, 21-7, in 1919.
Montrose won both 1930 meetings, 7-6 and 19-0.
Susquehanna won, 19-0, in 1931 and the schools did not meet again until Montrose returned to football in 1976.
The series was interrupted again in 1986 and 1987 while Montrose left the Suburban Conference for the Northern Tier League after Susquehanna put together the longest streak in the series with eight straight wins.
Combined with three straight shutouts by 42 or more points to start the renewal of the series, Susquehanna had won 11 of 13 games prior to the break.
The only tie came, 20-20, in 1992.
Montrose' longest winning streak was four straight victories from 2001 to 2004 to start a stretch of seven wins in eight years, including six by at least 22 points.
Susquehanna has won nine of 10 since, including six out of seven since the Bluestone Trophy was created.
Elk Lake's Jason Mowry shot a 5-over-par, 77 Thursday to finish third in Class 2A in the Lackawanna League qualifier for the District 2 boys' individual golf tournament.
Mowry was one of three county players among 21 players that qualified for the district event by shooting 93 or better.
Montrose advanced two players. Riley Brown tied for 13th with an 86 and Isaac Walker made it by shooting 88.
In girls' soccer, Montrose improved to 7-0 to remain on top of Lackawanna League Division 2 by routing Carbondale, 17-0, Sept. 17.
Of the seven wins, six have come by shutout and five have come by at least 10 goals. The Lady Meteors have only been scored on by second-place Mountain View (5-1) while outscoring opponents, 47-2.
Kenzie Jones led the Mansfield University women's cross country team Saturday by finishing 14th out of 220 runners at the Lock Haven University Invitational.
The Elk Lake graduate completed the 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) course in 22:25.9.
Jones opened her senior season with a win in the Huskie Invitational, a 4-kilometer race at Bloomsburg University.
Both Susquehanna and Montrose have non-league football road games matching teams with equal records Friday night.
Susquehanna plays Wilkes-Barre Meyers in a game between 3-2 teams.
Montrose and Carbondale are both 0-5.
Our high school football predictions last week (because of an error on my part, posted online only) were 9-2 (81.8 percent). That puts the season record at 45-13 (77.6).
This week's predictions, with home teams in CAPS: MEYERS 23, Susquehanna 17 … CARBONDALE 37, Montrose 18 … DUNMORE 23, Old Forge 13 … Lackawanna Trail 34, MID VALLEY 12 … DELAWARE VALLEY 32, Hazleton Area 20 … WILLIAMSPORT 46, Scranton 42 … Wallenpaupack 27, WYOMING VALLEY WEST 16 … HONESDALE 31, Abington Heights 3 … Valley View 26, BERWICK 16 … WEST SCRANTON 25, Pittston Area 13 … Lakeland 22, WESTERN WAYNE 18 … Riverside 38, HOLY CROSS 14 … SCRANTON PREP 29, North Pocono 10.
In high school golf, the District 2 individual championships will be decided Monday, Oct. 1 at Elmhurst Country Club.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com or followed on Twitter at @tomjrobinson.
RICHMOND, Vir.--Kyle Busch led the last 36 laps of Saturday's 400-lap Cup Series race for his seventh series victory of 2018. He gained the lead from Brad Keselowski on lap 364, then held off a hard charging Kevin Harvick.
The win automatically advances Busch to the second round of the playoffs.
"Yeah that was a little too close for my comfort. I thought we were a little bit better than that on the long runs," Busch said. "I know Harvick, that is kind of his specialty. We had a really, really good race car tonight.
"I just wanted to win this thing. It was a whole team effort. I put us a little bit behind yesterday in qualifying and the guys did a great job rallying to put it together. It was an awesome race track. Love coming here. Hey - I finally won a fall race at Richmond, what do you know?"
Harvick made his last pit stop under caution on lap 328 for four tires, fuel, chassis and air pressure adjustments and restarted second. He lost the position briefly to Keselowski, but regained it on lap 370, but was unable to chase down the leader in the closing laps.
"We were starting to track him (Kyle Busch) down there at the end," said Harvick. "I needed about 25 more laps. I gotta thank everybody on our team. They did a great job on a weekend when we needed to do a great job with all the unknowns going into next week. It was a good night for us here at Richmond, and we did a good job on pit road, just came up a little bit short."
Martin Truex Jr. dominated the first half of the race by winning the first two stages and leading 162 of the first 202 laps. His momentum stalled when his team was called for a pit road penalty due to an uncontrolled tire. The penalty relegated Truex from first to 21st in track position, and he was not able to regain the lead.
"What an awesome race car the guys brought here," Truex said. "It was really good all day. But it wasn't meant to be tonight. Heck of an effort by the guys and good recovery by the guys on pit road. The problem is when you get back there to pass those guys you have to use up your tires. We did really well for only having one caution thrown in there. We needed more cautions so we could pit for tires."
Chase Elliott led twice for 34 laps, but was not a threat to the leaders near the end of the race, and had to settle for fourth.
Aric Almirola was fifth, while Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, and Clint Bowyer were the remaining top-10 finishers.
The 16 Chase contenders: 1. Truex-2141, 2. Kyle Busch-2125, 3. Harvick-2113, 4. Keselowski-2111, 5. Logano-2080, 6. Almirola-2079, 7. Larson-2073, 8. Kurt Busch-2071, 9. Elliott-2066, 10. A. Dillon-2066, 11. Bowman-2061, 12. Blaney-2060, 13. Bowyer-2056, 14. Johnson-2054, 15. Jones-2039, 16. Hamlin-2031.
Note: After next week's Charlotte race the number of contenders will be reduced to 12.
Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are the playoff favorites among sports bookies at 9-4 odds, with Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman (500-1) the real longshots, but again, crazy things can happen in the postseason: Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch: 9-4, Martin Truex: 9-2, Kyle Larson: 10-1, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott: 12-1, Clint Bowyer:15-1, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin: 20-1, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones: 25-1, Ryan Blaney: 30-1, Aric Almirola: 500-1, Jimmie Johnson: 60-1, Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman: 500-1.
Results of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race held Sept. 21 at Richmond: 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Ross Chatain, 3. Daniel Hemric, 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 5. Matt Tifft, 6. Elliott Sadler, 7. Tyler Reddick, 8. Brandon Jones, 9. Shane Lee, 10. Ryan Reed.
Top-12 Xfinity Chase leaders: 1. Bell-2090, 2. Hemric-2082, 3. Allgaier-2058, 4. Chastain-2053, 5. Sadler-20151, 6. Tifft-2047. 7. Reddick-2046, 8. B. Jones-2035, 9. Custer-2035, 10. R. Truex-2033, 11. Cindric-2028, 12. Reed-2027.
The points will be reset after two more races and the field reduced to eight drivers.
Ryan Newman announced that he would not be returning to the Richard Childress Racing team in 2019. He has competed for the organization since 2014.
"I want to take a moment to let everybody know that I will not return to Richard Childress Racing in 2019," Newman tweeted last week.
"I have very much enjoyed driving the No. 31 car and want to personally thank Richard Childress and everyone at RCR for the support over the past five seasons."
Newman will take over driving duties of the No. 6 Jack Roush Ford in 2019.
During his career, Newman has accumulated 18 victories, 51 poles, 112 top-fives and 246 top-10 finishes competing at NASCAR's highest level.
"I am excited about getting behind the wheel of the No. 6 car and working with Jack Roush and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing," said Newman.
With NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France on an indefinite leave following his recent arrest for aggravated driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance, the organization announced two significant personnel changes last week.
It has promoted chief operating officer Steve Phelps to the role of president effective Oct. 1. Current president Brent Dewar will step down at that time and begin transitioning to a senior consulting and advisory role.
"As a life-long fan of NASCAR, the opportunity to provide league-wide leadership is something I am looking forward to," Phelps said in a statement. "I am confident that the strong team of leaders here at NASCAR and across the industry will accelerate the necessary changes to grow the sport and engage our passionate fans."
Racing Joke: Brad, Joey, and Kurt had went to a party after Friday night's practice session in Chicago. After the party they returned to the hotel, which was 45 stories high.
Unfortunately for them, the elevator was not working. They made a plan for the first 15 stories, Brad will crack jokes.
The second 15 stories Joey will tell a happy story and lastly Kurt will tell a sad story. They then started up the steps.
After twenty minutes, it was Kurt's turn. He turned to the other two and said "OK guys, here's my sad story. I forgot and left the keys downstairs."
Weekend Racing: The Cup and Xfinity teams are at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Trucks do not race again until Oct. 13.
Sat., Sept. 29; Xfinity Series race 28 of 33; Starting time: 3 pm ET; TV: NBC.
Sun., Sept. 30; Cup Series race 29 of 36; Starting time: 2 pm ET; TV: NBC.
Racing Trivia Question: What is Ryan Newman's favorite charity?
Last Week's Question: Which driver did Alex Bowman replace at the beginning of the 2018 season? Answer. He replaced Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Gerald Hodges is a syndicated NASCAR photojournalist and author. You may contact him by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.