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Dave Van Nort did not need long to make an impact in the 69th annual Dream Game.
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive tackle from Montrose, put a stop to the County's first series, leading to a City touchdown on the way to a 27-10 victory at Lackawanna County Stadium.
Just over a minute into the game, the County turned to Chris Donati on a third-and-four run off the right side.
Van Nort was there to stop the play after just one yard and the City responded by driving 69 yards in 14 plays on its first offensive series.
"It was an honor to be picked for this game," Van Nort said of the Dream Game, which features graduated high school players from Lackawanna Football Conference schools.
Van Nort wound up as the City's leading tackler. He was just part of a strong effort by the four Susquehanna County players who appeared in the game.
Montrose teammates Joe Cosmello and Dan Snee were each late additions to the roster. Chris Harcar was Susquehanna's only representative.
"It was nice to get a couple more of our guys on the team," said Van Nort, who made three tackles and assisted on a sack.
Cosmello was the game's second-leading rusher and had the longest run of the game. In four carries, he produced 50 yards. Cosmello also returned a kickoff for 19 yards.
Snee had three carries for 10 yards and was often a lead blocker from the fullback position as the City rushed for 203 yards on 43 carries.
Harcar was the first Susquehanna County player to appear in this year's game. He was in on the opening kickoff and played safety, joining Van Nort as a defensive starter.
Harcar had a tackle and two assists.
The City converted third downs on two passes and a draw in its opening scoring drive.
Delaware Valley's Marcus Adams ran one yard for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 4:15 left in the first quarter. Adams carried nine times for 35 yards and hit 11 of 20 passes for 114 yards and another touchdown.
The County immediately answered with its only touchdown drive to force a 7-7 tie with 2:40 left in the first quarter.
Ted Wallingford of Honesdale came off the bench in the drive to throw a 45-yard touchdown pass, run 14 yards to the 1, then score from there.
Lackawanna Trail's John Hickok gave the County a 10-7 lead on a 30-yard field goal with 8:27 left in the half.
The City rallied for the win with touchdowns on three straight second-half drives.
West Scranton's Angelo DeSarno ran for a game-high 52 yards on 11 carries. He scored two of the second-half touchdowns.
DeSarno ran seven yards for the go-ahead score with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
Cosmello sprinted up the middle on a 32-yard run early in the fourth quarter to help the City break the game open. Cosmello advanced the ball to the County 20 and the City scored five plays later on a nine-yard Adams pass to West Scranton's Kyle Gaidos.
Van Nort assisted on a fourth-down sack after the County had driven into City territory.
DeSarno then added the last score on a one-yard run in the final minute.
Scranton Lions Club officials sold 7,294 tickets to the game, although actual attendance appeared to be a couple thousand less.
Keystone State Games were late in processing results in some sports, particularly track and field.
When the track and field results were released last week, they showed more success by county athletes.
Jacob Merrill of Montrose won two golds and a bronze in the 19-29-year-old age group. Merrill, who competes at Lock Haven University, won the 400 hurdles and triple jump while finishing third in the high jump.
Amber Gaffey of Thompson was a big winner in the 13-14-year-old girls' division. Gaffey won the pole vault by clearing nine feet.
In professional baseball, Right-hander Bob Keppel threw the first nine-inning, regular-season, no-hitter in Binghamton Mets franchise history Aug. 2 in a 3-0 win over the Portland Sea Dogs at NYSEG Stadium.
Right fielder Frank Corr caught a sinking line drive by Tony Schrager to end the no-hitter.
Keppel walked three and struck out 12 while throwing the fourth no-hitter overall in franchise history. Two of the no-hitters were in seven-inning games and one was by Bill Pulsipher in the 1994 Eastern League Championship Series.
Monday marked the start of official practices for all fall sports in the PIAA.
Among those opening practice was the Susquehanna Sabers football team, which will include players from Blue Ridge for the first time this season. Blue Ridge students are part of the team as part of a cooperative sponsorship.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
ROBBY GORDON Wins At The Glen
Watkins Glen, NY Robby Gordon, driver of the Richard Childress No. 31 Cingular Chevrolet has now swept both of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup road courses. His second and last win came Sunday in the Sirius at The Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway.
"We might not have had the fastest car, but we still won the race," said Gordon.
His win came, thanks in part to quick thinking on behalf of his crew chief, Kevin Hamlin. Gordon was ordered into his pits immediately after Rusty Wallace slid off the course after losing his brakes in turn 10 on lap 51.
His team gave him four fresh tires and a full tank of fuel, which was enough for him to go the remaining 39-laps.
Gordon was able to take the lead during the last yellow, when the leaders pitted and hold it until the checkered flag was given.
Road course specialist, Scott Pruett, who drove a fourth Chip Ganassi car finished second. However, he was told to conserve fuel by his pits, and was never able to make a charge on the leader.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. led 10-laps midways during the race and came home third. Jimmie Johnson finished fourth, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.
Jeff Gordon, the polesitter had a rough day. First, he was bumped by Greg Biffle on the first lap and found himself at the rear of the field. Then he ran out of fuel while running fourth on the final turn. He was bumped by Kevin Harvick and finished 33rd.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Robby Gordon, 2. Scott Pruett, 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 4. Jimmie Johnson, 5. Kevin Harvick, 6. Ward Burton, 7. Dale Jarrett, 8. Matt Kenseth, 9. Ryan Newman, 10. Mark Martin.
KENSETH Continues To Lead Points The top-10 points leaders after 22 of 36 races: 1. Kenseth-3294, 2. Earnhardt Jr.-3036, 3. J. Gordon-2898, 4. Johnson-2816, 5. Harvick-2778, 6. Waltrip-2777, 7. B. Labonte-2768, 8. Busch-2696, 9. Newman-2636, 10. R. Gordon-2627.
Meat And Potatoes SPENCER Leave it to Jimmy Spencer to say what everyone else is thinking but won't dare divulge.
Eight teams hired road course specialists for this past Sunday's SIRIUS at the Glen Winston Cup race. Two of them Boris Said and Ron Fellows finished in the top seven at Infineon Raceway (6/22), while a handful of other drivers were competitive.
Still, when asked his opinion of road-course specialists who enter only two Cup events per year, Spencer is not at a loss for words:
"I'd invite those guys to pick up their bags and come to Bristol, and we'll see what kind of men they are."
God's answer to boredom has spoken again. And God's answer to boredom has been faring quite well himself in the No. 7 SIRIUS Dodge. In the past five races, Spencer has recorded three top 15s and one top 10 (an eighth-place finish at Indianapolis last week), and has made a considerable gain in the point standings. Spencer's average finish in the past five events is 16th, which ranks 12th among all NASCAR Winston Cup drivers.
"There are two ways of looking at it, and you really can't blame team owners for hiring road course specialists, because owner's points are so critical," continued Spencer. "At the same time, I like those team owners who stick by their drivers through the good and the bad. It could've been easy for (Ultra Motorsports owner) Jimmy Smith to say, 'You know what, Spencer doesn't like road courses too much, and we finished 36th at Sonoma, and it would be better to hire someone to drive this Watkins Glen race.' But he didn't do that, and I think it's because he knows it's very important for a driver to know he has the backing of his team. I know my team supports me, so I'm going to drive my butt off this weekend.
"Without a doubt they're good. I drove behind Boris Said and Ron Fellows a few weeks ago during practice at Infineon, and they are extremely good -- very smooth off the corners, very consistent and very fast. I wanted to learn something by watching where they accelerate and brake. Those guys are really good race car drivers. I know Boris well, and I think he's one of the coolest guys around. You talk about a guy who enjoys life and counts his blessings every day, Boris is the man.
"I would like to see them race on oval courses. And Boris is going to get that chance, because he won the pole at Infineon and has a spot in the Bud Shootout. When I think of road course drivers, I think of wine-and-cheese people.
"When I think of drivers who race at Bristol and Richmond and Daytona, I think of meat and potatoes. I've got a lot of respect for your Tony Stewarts and your Jeff Gordons and your Kevin Harvicks, because they can do it all. They can race the ovals, the road courses, the dirt tracks, the off-road courses, mud holes, gravel pits, whatever you want, and still kick everybody's butts. I like that."
Spencer finished 24th Sunday after being involved in a bumping incident midway through the race.
GAUGHAN Continues To Lead Truck Drivers The top-10 Craftsman Truck Series drivers after 15 of 25 races: 1. Gaughan-2315, 2. Kvapil-2308, 3. Musgrave-2294, 4. Setzer-2210, 5. Wood-2182, 6. Crawford-2176, 7. Hamilton-2163, 8. Leffler-2066, 9. Edwards-2057, 10. Cook-2018.
There was no Busch series racing this past weekend.
Both the NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup series are at Brooklyn, Michigan. The Craftsman Trucks have the weekend off.
Saturday, August 16, Busch Series Cabelas 250, race 23 of 34, 125 laps/250 miles, 1:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Sunday, August 17, Winston Cup Michigan 400, race 23 of 36, 200 laps/400 miles, 1:30 p.m.
Racing Trivia Question: How many Winston Cup teams does Richard Childress have?
Last Weeks Question: When is Ford planning on bringing out a new model Taurus? Answer: They plan to introduce the new Taurus for 2004.
Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter is a syndicated NASCAR columnist. If you have a racing question that you would like answered send it to The Racing Reporter, P.O. Box 160711, Mobile, AL, 36616, or e-mail it to: email@example.com.
A state girls' golf champion in summer competition can be measured by qualifying through regional events then performing well in a one-day tournament among those regional winners.
Another way to determine a state champion is through three days of medal play competition, a format not often used to test girls' golfers.
By either measure, Carla Vanden Hengel of Springville, is a state champion.
Vanden Hengel won the Keystone Public Golf Association state tournament in a one-day tournament at Toftrees at State College. She then added a Keystone State Games Scholastic Female title.
For those efforts, Vanden Hengel, who is preparing for her senior season at Elk Lake High School, is the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
"I really do look forward to the Keystone Games," said Vanden Hengel, who had the lowest score on each of the three days of competition at Wilkes-Barre Golf Club.
Vanden Hengel, who was second at the Keystone Games last summer, lowered her score each day, shooting 89, 86, then 82 for a 24-stroke victory.
"I got more comfortable with the course each day," she said.
The highlight of the tournament, however, came during the second round.
Vanden Hengel holed out from 90 yards on the par-4, 15th hole for the second eagle of her life, and the first in a competitive round.
Carla, who qualified for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championships last year as a junior, comes from a family of golfers. Her parents, Jan and Hennie, also medaled at the Keystone Games. Carla's first eagle came while playing at Center Hills Country Club in State College where her brother, Henk, was serving as assistant pro at the time.
The Blue Ridge Girls nine- and ten-year old softball All Stars were a mix of girls from both the minor and major league divisions. They were Courtney Collins (Leos), Larissa Decker (Aries), Sydney Decker (Pisces), Ashley Dorunda (Aries), Rebkah Harris (Hurricanes), Carissa Hawk (Leos), Kaitlyn Krug (Aries), Danika Lawson (Thunder), Shannon ONeill (Hurricanes), Courtney Ucci (Pisces), Nicole Whitney (Hurricanes), and Gabby Wolfe (Hurricanes). The girls were managed by Mel Wolfe and coached by Kelli Hawk and Tim ONeill. There was a lot of help from the sidelines with the unofficial coaches in the "Hen House" (fathers of the girls) and the scorekeeper Joe Collins.
It Was An "All Star" Season!
The ladies from Blue Ridge earned the number one seed, following the pool play portion of the All Star tournament with a record of 2 and 1. They entered the elimination bracket play defeating teams from Canton, Tunkhannock, and Northeast Bradford, clinching the District 15 Championship title on July 16, 2003. In a ceremony following the game, the Blue Ridge team was presented the Championship banner and pin from the District Administrator, Wayne Evans. They also received flowers from Ellen Luce (Aries coach), who with her family supported the team and worked the concession stand for home games, allowing the parents the opportunity to watch their girls. A huge thanks to Ellen and family!
A ritual of taking a handful of dirt from the pitchers mound of each winning game and keeping it in a bag with the games score was a suggestion from Manager Wolfe. He gave each of the girls a vial necklace and they mixed all of the dirt together and then each filled a necklace to keep and wear proudly.
Sectional play found the ladies from Blue Ridge preparing to travel. First was a Saturday, July 19 game in St. Clair, PA, located in Schuylkill County, where the All Stars defeated their opponents 13-2, thus earning them the home field advantage against Shippensburg on Sunday, July 20. The ladies from Blue Ridge, with the support of the hometown fans, defeated Shippensburg 5-1 and prepared to travel to Milton, PA.
Monday, July 21, the Blue Ridge team traveled the 2 1/2 hour trip to Milton, only to be thwarted by Mother Nature, when severe thunderstorms and mini tornadoes ripped through the area postponing the game and sending both teams home for the evening. Returning on Tuesday, the Blue Ridge All Stars gave fight to the Milton team but came up a little short, with a soggy 5-1 loss.
Wednesday evenings game found the girls back at home playing against St. Clair, where they came out the 12-2 victor and for the third time in four days, headed back to Milton.
Thursday evenings game proved to be what the All Star season promises with four lead changes throughout the six-inning game. Blue Ridge fell behind in the top of the first inning 2-0, but managed to battle back, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. The lead continued to see-saw back and forth until the top of the sixth inning, when the Milton teams top four batters came up to the plate. Tiring after a 12-game All Star season the ladies from Blue Ridge were not able to fend off a strong offensive effort by Milton and placed second in the Section 3 final, with a score of 15-8.
The Blue Ridge girls did a fantastic job, bringing home the tenth Championship banner in seven consecutive years for the Blue Ridge Little League. They had a great time playing and all became great friends. Their coaches, families, and supporters are very proud of their accomplishment and of the excellent sportsmanship the displayed, both in victory and defeat.
Thank you to all who supported the girls!
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