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Issue Home September 9, 2003 Site Home

Local Sports Scene
Brad Conklin is August's Athlete of the Month
Great American Racing Heroes: Buck Baker

Big Weekend For Montrose Football

Montrose football could not enjoy a much bigger weekend than the events of Friday and Saturday.

Friday night brought a 24-0 home-field win by the Meteors over arch-rival Susquehanna.

Chris Snee, who is plowing his way toward possibly becoming Susquehanna County's first National Football League player, returned to the state Saturday afternoon. With friends and family watching in person at Beaver Stadium and on national television, Snee led the way for Boston College to jump on Penn State early in a 27-14 victory.


Susquehanna made this year's meeting of the two rivals much more competitive than last year's 49-6 disaster. Ultimately, however, a balanced ground game, led by Tom Burgh, Jon Rounds and Justin Marbaker was too much for the Sabers.

"We put a lot of drives on them, ran some clock and made it a quick game," Montrose coach Tom Lucenti said.

The Meteors held the ball about twice as long as the Sabers to even their record at 2-0.

Susquehanna (0-2) lost its 15th straight.

The Sabers moved into Meteors territory on a long run by Tristan Tarbox on the game's second play.

A fumble quickly ended that threat and Montrose controlled the game the rest of the way.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Meteors took a 16-0 half-time lead.

Marbaker scored the first of his two touchdowns on a two-yard run. Brett Silverman ran for the first of three successful two-point conversions by the Meteors.

Burgh scored on a 12-yard run later in the half and caught a pass from Rounds for the conversion.

The score remained at 16-0 for more than 20 minutes.

Marbaker added the final touchdown on a four-yard run and Burgh ran for the two points.

Burgh finished with 99 yards on 16 carries, Rounds had 91 on eight carries and Marbaker had 62 on 18 carries as Montrose rushed for 282 yards.

Tarbox was Susquehanna's most productive player offensively with six carries for 83 yards and five catches for 62 yards.


Snee grew up dreaming about playing at Beaver Stadium.

Saturday, he showed any remaining doubters at Penn State that he would have fit in just fine in a Nittany Lions uniform.

With Boston College building much of its running game around the 6-foot-2, 305-pound junior guard, the Eagles rushed for 238 yards on 46 carries.

"Chris knew they were on the schedule and he kept talking about it and how ready he was for that game," Lucenti said.

Snee did not try to hide the fact that he had something to prove after Penn State showed interest in him but held off in offering a scholarship while waiting to see more.

"All-and-all, Boston College is the best place for him, but it is still unsettled in my mind why they didn't take him," Lucenti said. "They don't have anyone as good as him."

Derrick Knight led Boston College's potent ground game with 26 carries for 156 yards.

The Eagles jumped on Penn State for a 21-0 lead in the first 7:10.

"They kind of backed off," Lucenti said of Penn State. "Chris had others - Boston College, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech - coming in with offers.

"He didn't want to wait on Penn State any more."


Mary Potter scored two second-half goals Thursday to give Montrose a 2-1 field hockey victory at Berwick.

In soccer, Mountain View teams swept games from Blue Ridge last week. The boys won, 10-0, Tuesday and the girls won, 5-2, Friday.

In professional baseball, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons completed their fifth straight winning season. The Red Barons went 73-70 and finished fourth in the six-team International League North Division.

The Binghamton Mets finished 63-78. They wound up in fifth place in the six-team Eastern League Northern Division.


District 2 competition gets started early in golf where Lackawanna League boys will play their qualifier for the district tournament Sept. 16 at Scranton Municipal.

The qualifiers advance to the District 2 tournament, which is held Sept. 30.

The Lackawanna Football Conference moves into divisional play Friday night with 10 games involving all the teams in the league.

Montrose (1-1) is at Dunmore, one of two Division 2 teams with a 2-0 overall record.

Susquehanna (0-2) is at Riverside (1-1).

Our record on last week's football predictions was 13-1 (92.9 percent) bringing our season record to 24-4 (85.7 percent).

This week's predictions with winners in CAPS: RIVERSIDE 28, Susquehanna 6; DUNMORE 21, Montrose 6; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 36, Mid Valley 10; WEST SCRANTON 16, Delaware Valley 0; ABINGTON HEIGHTS 50, North Pocono 0; OLD FORGE 43, Bishop O'Hara 0; CARBONDALE 14, Western Wayne 6; WALLENPAUPACK 40, Honesdale 38; LAKELAND 8, Scranton Prep 0; SCRANTON 20, Valley View 0.

TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached on-line at

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Late Caution Laps Help NEWMAN Get Richmond Win, Richmond

VA – Ryan Newman held on through three late-race cautions to win Saturday night’s Winston Cup Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Ryan Newman

Newman’s team had earlier said he might not have enough fuel in his No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge to run the final 77 laps in the 400–lap race.

But he got a break with 19 laps to go after Robby Gordon crashed and there was a seven-lap caution period. There was another caution period, this time for debris on the track.

When green flag racing resumed, there were only nine laps remaining. On the restart, Ricky Rudd bumped Kevin Harvick, causing him to slam into the outside wall on the front straightaway.

On the final single-file restart, Newman pulled away from Jeremy Mayfield, who was running second, and went on to his sixth win of the season.

Harvick did not like the bump Rudd had given him on the track, and after the race ended, he pulled his car next to Rudd’s and the two exchanged words.

The racing equivalent of a bench-clearing brawl started when Harvick, who was running second with seven laps to go, was spun out by Rudd. And when the checkered flag waved, 16th place finisher Harvick drove not to the garage area but to pit road, where third-place Rudd was unbuckling from his race car. The two exchanged words, and then crewman from the respective teams intervened, creating a mob-like stetting.

Clearly perturbed by the very public disturbance, NASCAR called both drivers, crew chiefs, owners and crew members to the Big Red Truck. Penalties for the incident are expected to be announced Monday.

There were several other bumping incidents, but most of the drivers seemed to take them as just racing experiences and shrugged them off.

One of the slickest moves occurred Friday night during the Busch Series race.

Johnny Sauter bumped Matt Kenseth out of the way in turn three on the final lap to win the Funai 250.

Earlier, the two drivers had each bumped the other. Sauter had tapped Kenseth, and then under yellow, Kenseth retaliated.

Sauter’s Richard Childress Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick, who finished second, discussed the move verbally after the race with Kenseth, who didn’t appreciate Sauter’s bump that cost him the race.

Almost all great finishes are going to involve some type of bump, push or shove on the last few laps, and NASCAR hardly ever enacts a penalty when two or more drivers are racing towards the checkered flag.

Are the rules different on the last lap, as opposed to the first? How do drivers feel NASCAR views it?

"I don’t think NASCAR looks at it like the rules change on the last lap, but I think drivers are a little more understanding of an attitude change on that last lap," said Ken Schrader, driver of the No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge. "Hey, you are out of chances at that point and anything you are going to make happen, you have to make happen then.

"If two guys are racing for the win, like at Darlington back in March, they will understand a little more beating and banging, a little more rubbing on that final lap. They will put up with a lot more on that last lap than they would, say 100 laps from the end. You are going for the win. It’s not ‘anything goes’ so much as it is ‘a lot more goes than usual.’"

Derrike Cope is driver of the No. 37 Friendly’s Chevrolet.

"The timing might vary a little bit depending on the track but, in my opinion, when it gets down to five (laps) to go, you do what you have to do to win the race. That does not including wrecking anyone but, other than that, it’s pretty much whatever it takes.

"You block, bump, nudge, gouge... these finishing positions are too hard to come by. If the guy in second place is that close to you anyway, and he can get a bumper to you, well, he might try to prove that he is as fast or faster. In those circumstances, you go maybe a little further than you would early in the race, but you expect the other guys to do the same thing."

Top ten finishing order of the Winston Cup Chevy Rock & Roll 400: 1. Ryan Newman, 2. Jeremy Mayfield, 3. Ricky Rudd, 4. Jeff Burton, 5. Rusty Wallace, 6. Bobby Labonte, 7. Matt Kenseth, 8. Terry Labonte, 9. Johnny Benson, 10. Jeff Gordon.

Top-10 points leaders after 26 of 36 races: 1. Kenseth-3864, 2. Earnhardt Jr.-3446, 3. Harvick-3423, 4. Johnson-3363, 5. J. Gordon-3271, 6. Newman-3255, 7. B. Labonte-3208, 8. Busch-3205, 9. T. Labonte-3082, 10. Waltrip-3079.

Top ten finishing order of the Busch Funai 250: 1. Johnny Sauter, 2. Kevin Harvick, 3. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 4. Brian Vickers, 5. David Green, 6. Matt Kenseth, 7. Ron Hornaday, 8. Tony Raines, 9. Dave Blaney, 10. Shane Hmiel.

Top-10 points leaders after 26 of 34 races: 1. D. Green-3583, 2. Vickers-3535, 3. Riggs-3518, 4. Hornaday-3509, 5. Keller-3472, 6. Hamilton Jr.-3286, 7. J. Sauter-3173, 8. Hmiel-3160, 9. Kahne-3089, 10. Wimmer-3079.

GAUGHAN Is Leading Truck Driver – The top-10 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers after 17 of 25 races: 1. Gaughan-2631, 2. Kvapil-2626, 3. Musgrave-2592, 4. Setzer-2520, 5. Crawford-2491, 6. Wood-2484, 7. Hamilton Sr.-2437, 8. Edwards-2275, 9. Cook-2215, 10. Leffler-2209.

KIMMEL Leads Arca Drivers – The top-10 ARCA RE/MAX series points leaders after Chicagoland: 1. Frank Kimmel 4910; 2. Jason Jarrett 4060; 3. Mark Gibson 3990; 4. Brent Sherman 3845; 5. Billy Venturini 3810; 6. Shelby Howard 3785; 7. Bill Eversole 3495; 8. Todd Bowsher 3480; 9. Christi Passmore 3420; 10. Ron Cox 3360.


The NASCAR Craftsman Trucks and Winston Cup series are at Loudon, NH. The Busch teams have an off weekend.

Saturday, September 13: Craftsman Trucks New Hampshire 200, race 18 of 25, 200 laps/211.6 miles, 1 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.

Sunday, September 14: Winston Cup Sylvania 300, race 27 of 36, 300 laps/317 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: TNT.

Racing Trivia Question: On June 13, 1954, NASCAR hosted a road race at Linden, New Jersey. What make foreign car won this event. Note: It was also the only victory ever by a foreign car in a NASCAR race.

Last Week’s Question: Who is the current driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford? Answer: Ricky Rudd.

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:

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Brad Conklin is August's Athlete of the Month

Brad Conklin travels from just outside New Milford to Binghamton each day to go to school and be part of one of New York State's elite mid-sized high school basketball programs at Seton Catholic.

Conklin goes to greater distances to further develop his basketball skills.

Playing with seven of his teammates on the Scranton-area Hoop City team that travels together for AAU tournaments, Conklin helped the Pocono team claim the bronze medal in the Scholastic Male Division of the Keystone State Games.

Conklin, a 6-foot-7 forward/center, averaged a team-high 16.8 points per game to help Pocono go 4-1 in the tournament. For his efforts, he is the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.

"It's one of the most important tournaments for me," said Conklin, who had at least 13 points in each game and had a team-high 23 in a 93-92 loss to Lehigh. "It's amazing how much fun it is.

"You get to practice with your teammates, work with a new coach (George Werthmuller from Wallenpaupack) and it's good for recruiting."

Conklin is already receiving inquiries from six eastern Division I basketball programs and Long Beach State from California as well as interest from many more Division II schools. Much of that interest comes from play outside of the high school season.

"Right after high school, we start up with the traveling," Conklin said.

Conklin does just fine in high school as well.

Playing for a Seton Catholic team that reached the state Class C Final Four the year before he arrived, Conklin took over starting roles for the second half of both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Seton Catholic won the 2002-03 Southern Tier Athletic Conference title, beating much larger rival Binghamton in the semifinals, and won Section 4 before losing in the regional final to fall one win short of another trip to Glens Falls.

Conklin, a junior, has two more shots at leading Seton Catholic back to the state Final Four.

Brad is the son of David and Susan Conklin, of R.R. #1 New Milford.

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Great American Racing Heroes: Buck Baker

This is the seventh in a series of what we consider to be the best NASCAR racers of all times. Our list of drivers probably won't line up with the 50-Greatest Drivers selected by NASCAR, but an article on a different driver will appear about every other week.

"Buck Baker was my hero," said Gene Tapia, former NASCAR modified racer. "I had read all about him in the magazines and newspapers, but the first time I went up against him was at Montgomery, Alabama in the spring of 1948.

"Of course, the half-mile track was dirt. He would just throw his Ford into one of the turns, and slide sideways all the way through it, throwing up a big rooster-tail of dirt on the fans sitting in the grandstands.

"Right then, I knew Buck Baker was the cream of the crop, and I patterned my style of driving after his."

It was while Elzie Wylie "Buck" Baker was employed as a bus driver in Charlotte, NC that he decided to become a race car driver.

Baker's natural driving talent allowed him to win 46 Grand National races and the 1956 and 1957 NASCAR GN driving championships.

Growing up on a farm near Chester, South Carolina, Baker had to outrun the police on his very first whiskey run in order to stay out of jail.

"If there was something going on that you dare not go to, like the roughest side of town or roughest joints, that's things I played," he told a reporter shortly before his death in 2002.

"I was brought up like an alley dog. I kind of felt like I was Buck Baker, a tough somebody. That may have been because I didn't have the care of a mother and father, maybe brothers and sisters.

"Maybe I just had a bad outlook on life. I lived like that for an awful long time, but I never went to jail in the 1930s."

Baker quit school after the ninth grade. His many activities included boxing, football, golf, working in a bakery and selling automobiles.

After a hitch in the Navy during World War II, he and his family (wife, Margaret and son, Buddy), moved to Charlotte where he found work as a Trailways bus driver.

Baker got his first notion about driving a race car at the age of 27, when he was older than most of the other drivers who were already running a circuit. He competed in his first race in 1946. In 1952, after beating out Lee Petty at Columbia, SC, he decided to become a NASCAR series regular-at the age of 34.

With his hard and often rough driving style, Baker would be booed coming in the gate, and booed going back out the gate. But he was always the one to beat.

"On the track he was one of the fiercest competitors you ever would race against," said Ned Jarrett, two-time NASCAR champion. "He drove every lap like it was the last one.

"I've heard a lot of stories about why fans booed him, but he was a driver that got the most out of his equipment, and I had great respect for him."

His son Buddy began racing in 1959, and the pair were a major force in NASCAR racing for the next 10-years.

"I remember going with my dad to the races when I was a boy," said Buddy Baker. "To get the car ready for the race, they would fix the front of the car for the race, take out the back seats, he'd race it, then we would drive it home."

Buck Baker was the only driver to compete in the '40s, '50s, '60s, and '70s.

After his last race in 1977, he'd racked up $325,570 in earnings and is 11th on NASCAR's all-time winner's list.

He started the Buck Baker driving School in 1979, which is now the Buck Baker Racing School.

"With the way we used to race, they wouldn't let you in the gate today," said Baker in 1992.

Baker grew up in the Great Depression and had a stormy life. The difference between him and many other people who grew up in that era, is he didn't just want to survive, he wanted to be somebody.

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