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Former Susquehanna High School football player Chris Mills died Sept. 21 after collapsing during a semi-pro football game in Towanda.
Mills, 26, one of the key two-way players on the 1994 Sabers team that went to the Class A state semifinals, was playing for the Northern Tier Bruins in a North American Football League game against the New Jersey Terminators.
After coming to the sideline in the Bruins' final regular-season game, Mills collapsed. He received medical treatment there before being transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Players from both teams prayed at midfield and the game was halted with Northern Tier leading, 31-11.
The Bruins are proceeding in the NAFL playoffs.
While at Susquehanna, Mills played football and was a heavyweight wrestler.
Mills had become one of the top defensive tackles in the Empire Football League with the defunct Binghamton Jets then in the NAFL this season.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Elk Lake's Robert Squier finished first and teammate Ryan Place took third to lead the Warriors to a ninth-place finish in a 26-team field at the Lackawanna County Commissioners Cross Country Invitational at Scranton's McDade Park.
Jessica Squier, running despite an illness, finished a strong third in the girls' race.
The invitational performance Saturday capped a big week for the Elk Lake cross country team.
Robert and Jessica Squier each remained unbeaten through four Lackawanna League cluster meets, beating every runner from the 14 schools they have gone against.
The boys defeated Abington Heights, Montrose, Valley View, Blue Ridge and host North Pocono Thursday as Robert Squier and Place finished 1-2 for the fourth straight time.
Jaron Fissler, who was fifth in Thursday's six-team race, will likely miss a key meet with Honesdale Tuesday and could also be out of the lineup when Elk Lake faces Scranton, the league's other unbeaten. He is bothered by a hip flexor injury that caused him to miss Saturday's invitational.
Fissler's injury and Jessica Squier's illness left coach Will Squier uncertain about his team's health entering some big competitions.
"I left without her Saturday. She had a bad virus," coach Squier said. "I told her, 'sleep in and if you feel like you're up to it, come down.'
"She was struggling. She did well for not being 100 percent.
"It's one of those things where I wonder if I should have just said, 'don't run at all.'"
In addition to Honesdale, Tuesday's competition also includes Western Wayne, putting Jessica Squier in a showdown among with Meaghan Robbins in a race matching the region's top two female runners.
"That's a race she has really been focused on," said Will Squier, Jessica's father. "Meaghan has beaten Jessica more than Jessica has beaten Meaghan.
"Racing Meaghan is a huge challenge for her."
Robbins was seventh and Squier was 10th in the state Class AA championships last season when they ranked second and third in the field among underclassmen.
Thursday's six-way cross country meet was also a big one for the Montrose girls, who picked up five wins, including one over previously unbeaten Abington Heights, 27-30.
In golf, Forest City's Laura Heck made it through a rain-shortened qualifier at Scranton Municipal to advance to Tuesday's District 2 championship at Scranton Municipal.
The boys, who qualified a week earlier, also play for their district title and state tournament berths Tuesday.
In football, Montrose and Susquehanna were each limited to a fourth-quarter touchdown while losing Lackawanna Football Conference crossover games.
A Jon Rounds-to-Kyle Stoddard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter brought Montrose to within striking distance of Old Forge, but neither team scored again and the Blue Devils emerged with a 13-8 victory.
Susquehanna was handled, 46-7, by Wallenpaupack, the only LFC Division 1 team on its schedule.
At the halfway point in the regular season, Montrose is 1-4 and Susquehanna is 0-5.
The LFC has just two unbeatens overall and only four of its 20 teams have gone 2-0 in divisional games.
Scranton shares the Division 1 lead at 2-0 and is also 5-0 overall. Abington Heights is also 2-0 in the division.
Lakeland, the other 5-0 team, and Lackawanna Trail lead Divisions 2 and 3.
Some of the state's best Week Five action was in District 2.
Gerry McGroarty of Bishop Hoban set a state record with a 64-yard field during a 52-0 victory over Bishop Hafey.
Three of Friday night's nine LFC games went into overtime. Two of those games kept going and going.
Abington Heights edged Scranton Prep, 26-23, and Delaware Valley downed Carbondale, 38-30, in a pair of triple overtime games.
Honesdale handed Lackawanna Trail its first defeat, 17-14, in a single overtime.
In professional hockey, J.F. Boutin's goal with 8:32 remaining Saturday night lifted the Syracuse Crunch to a 4-3 American Hockey League exhibition victory that spoiled the debut of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach Michel Therrien.
Tomas Surovy, Cam Paddock and T.J. Reynolds scored for the Penguins.
The Penguins outshot the Crunch, 15-2, in the third period. Reynolds tied the game 3:01 before Boutin's game-winner.
Therrien, the former Montreal Canadiens coach, is only the second coach in franchise history. Glenn Patrick coached the Penguins for the franchise's first four years.
Larissa Hall from Blue Ridge, finished 10th in the College Misericordia Team Challenge Saturday while running for Cedar Crest College of Allentown.
Hall was the team's Most Valuable Performer last fall as a freshman.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Montrose and Valley View remained undefeated in Lackawanna League golf setting up Thursday's match at Montrose Country Club for the division title.
A year ago, Valley View handed Montrose its only loss, but the Meteors avenged that defeat on their way to the District 2 team championship.
"Valley View has an excellent team," Montrose coach Mike Zuba said.
Montrose and Susquehanna each face tough challenges in home football games.
The Meteors (1-4) host Mid Valley (2-3) in a Division 2 game. After opening the season with three straight losses, Mid Valley has won two straight, handing Old Forge it's only defeat and beating Division 1 opponent North Pocono.
The Sabers (0-5) are home Saturday against Lakeland, which has outscored its opponents, 160-46.
Our record on last week's football predictions was 6-4, bringing our season record to 42-16 (72.4 percent).
This week's predictions, with the winners in CAPS: MONTROSE 24, Mid Valley 13; LAKELAND 54, Susquehanna 0; VALLEY VIEW 20, Abington Heights 6; HONESDALE 37, Delaware Valley 25; DUNMORE 31, Old Forge 21; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 26, Western Wayne 3; RIVERSIDE 27, Scranton Prep 15; WEST SCRANTON 25, North Pocono 0; SCRANTON 31, Wallenpaupack 12; CARBONDALE 28, Bishop O'Hara 21.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
A Whining Waltrip Gets Talladega Victory, Talladega, AL Michael Waltrip emerged victorious over his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a furious four-lap shoot-out in Sundays Winston Cup EA Sports 500.
Waltrip had taken the lead on lap 180 of the 188 lap race from Kurt Busch.
On lap 182 Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was running second at the time, attempted to block Polesitter Elliott Sadler.
Sadler swerved left to avoid Earnhardt Jr. and brushed the fender of Kurt Buschs No. 97. Sadlers No. 38 M&Ms Ford went airborne, and then rolled over five times before coming to rest on the infield apron on its wheels.
Sadler pulled himself from his torn up race car, but was airlifted to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
NASCAR displayed the red flag so the race would not end under yellow.
When green flag racing resumed, there were only four laps left at the 2.66-mile track.
The top-five leaders were: Waltrip, Earnhardt Jr., Ward Burton, Jeff Gordon, and last weeks winner, Ryan Newman.
Waltrip got a good jump on the start and pulled away. On the next lap, Gordon passed Burton for the third spot, and closed in on Earnhardt Jr.s red No 8, who began to block him.
As the cars took the white flag, signifying one lap, it was Waltrip, Earnhardt Jr., Gordon, Newman, and Tony Stewart.
Gordon made a move to the outside on the back straightaway, but in doing so, he lost ground, and both Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman were able to move under him.
Earnhardt Jr. did not press his teammate for the lead, and appeared to be content with blocking the other drivers. At the finish line, it was Waltrip by two car-lengths.
"What a day," said Waltrip. "I was worried about the restart, but I fought that off. Then I saw Gordon trying to go on the outside of Junior, and he fought him off. Then I wondered where I was going to park my No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet after I won the race.
"I didnt like the car all day. And I told them so. I guess you could say I was whining. In the back it was no good, but when we got to the front, it was all right. After it crossed the finish line it was a great car."
Waltrips teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second.
"He had a great car," said Earnhardt Jr. "Mikey (Waltrip) was my toughest competitor, because he knows all my tricks. It just didnt work out today, and we wound up second.
"Cars were bumping into everybody. Some could handle them and some couldnt. I think I had something to do with Sadler crashing."
Points leader Matt Kenseth had his first DNF of the season. His points lead is now 354 points over Kevin Harvick.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Michael Waltrip, 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 3. Tony Stewart, 4. Ryan Newman, 5. Jeff Gordon, 6. Kurt Busch, 7. Kevin Harvick, 8. Ricky Craven, 9. Rusty Wallace, 10. Mike Wallace.
Top-10 points leaders after 29 of 36 races: 1. Kenseth-4227, 2. Harvick-3873, 3. Earnhardt Jr.-3843, 4. Johnson-3751, 5. Newman-3738, 6. J. Gordon-3707, 7. B. Labonte-3528, 8. Busch-3527, 9. Stewart-3456, 10. T. Labonte-3396.
KERRY EARNHARDT Wins At Mobile Meanwhile down in Mobile, Alabama, Kerry Earnhardt won an exhibition race over several other Winston Cup drivers.
Earnhardt overcame a bad start in the second segment of the Driven To Rock race Thursday night at Mobile International Speedway to beat out Kenny Wallace by one car-length.
Michael Waltrip finished two more car lengths further back in third-place.
"On that second start I had some junk on my tires on the restart," said Earnhardt. "I thought I had a flat there for a while on the right rear.
"But after they throwed that caution the car started coming around. I got just enough momentum going into turn three to catch and then pass Kenny before we got to the finish."
Flagman Jimmy Spencer threw the yellow flag on lap three of the 10-lap second segment for what he said was debris on the front straightaway. But after careful inspection by MIS safety crews, no debris was found.
Kenny Wallace won the first 10-lap race, followed by Waltrip, and then Earnhardt. Spencer, who had been slated to race, had problems with the seat in the car he was assigned, so he went to his backup, which was a motorcycle.
The MIS race director promptly disqualified him.
After the disqualification, Spencer climbed into the flagmans tower and served as flagman for the race.
The field was inverted for the second race which meant Earnhardt was the leader. He lost the lead in turn two to Waltrip. Earnhardt then almost slipped off the back straightaway. Wallace began to gain on Waltrip, and soon, they were racing side-by-side around the track.
During lap three, Wallace got under Waltrip for the lead.
At the end of lap three was when Spencer showed the yellow flag. This bunched the cars up and Earnhardt, who had apparently been able to clean his tires by this time, was able to keep up with the other two drivers, and had just enough speed for the win.
"Its going to be a long ride back for those other two guys listening to young Earnhardt," said Spencer. "To me, he drove a smart race and just beat their pants off."
Neither Wallace nor Waltrip seemed to be too upset that they had lost the race.
"Heck, I had a lot of fun," said Wallace. "I thought it was a great race. To lose by just a few feet is like a win to me."
GAUGHAN Wins At Las Vegas Top-10 Craftsman Truck series points leaders after 20 of 25 races: 1. Gaughan-3151, 2. Kvapil-3084, 3. Musgrave-3051, 4. Setzer-3015, 5. Wood-2866, 6. Hamilton-2856, 7. Crawford-2815, 8. Edwards-2683, 9. Cook-2606, 10. Chaffin-2537.
The Busch series had an off week.
The Winston Cup and Busch teams are at Kansas City, while the Craftsman Trucks are at South Boston, VA.
Saturday, October 4, Busch Series Mr. GoodCents 300, race 28 of 34, 200 laps/300 miles, 2 p.m. TV: NBC.
Saturday, October 4, Craftsman Truck 250, race 21 of 25, 250 laps/100 miles, 4:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Sunday, October 5, Winston Cup Banquet 400, race 30 of 36, 267 laps/400 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: NBC.
Racing Trivia Question: Who is the crew chief on Jimmie Johnsons No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet?
Last Weeks Question: How many points does a driver earn for leading a Winston Cup or Busch series race? Answer: A driver receives five points for leading at least one lap. The driver that leads the most laps receives 10-points.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Five of the six winning teams from the American Cancer Society State Golf Championship held recently originated from our local Susquehanna/Wyoming Unit. The winners of the local qualifying tournament, held June 29 at the Montrose Club were eligible to compete at the State Championship, held in Lake Harmony at Split Rock Resort with the men competing August 18 and 19, and the women competing August 11 and 12. Approximately 140 golfers from throughout Pennsylvania that qualified in their local tournaments participated in these championships.
Winners of the State Golf Championship from Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties were:
Division I Men from Susquehanna County, three time and defending champions (l-r) are: Barry Wheaton, Keith Chesk, Jeff Dean, Brian Harmon.
Division I Women Ellen Frank, Deb Novack, Kathy Goeringer, Samantha Weaver.
Division 2 Women from Susquehanna County (l-r) were: Diane Dean, Graham Brunner, Kathy Smith, and Sue Dean.
Division 3 Men from Susquehanna County (l-r) were: Watson Dayton, Nathan Foster, Edward Tourje, and William Barnes.
Division 3 Women Beth Lunger, Merri Walter, Pat Noble, Sheri Smith.
Each of these first place teams have the opportunity to advance to the American Cancer Society National Golf Championships, October 17 and 18 at the PGA National Resort and Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. This three level, amateur tournament is the only one of its kind in the United States. Players pay entry fees and their own expenses at all levels. The money raised by these tournaments is used to continue the American Cancer Societys mission of research, public education, advocacy, and patient services. This past year over $650,000 was raised through this golf program in Pennsylvania.
Robert (Bob) Pollish, Jr., who for past several years has brought "back to life" American Legion Baseball in this area of Northeastern Pennsylvania, has been appointed to Region 5 as Director of American Legion Baseball.
With Legion baseball practically dormant, Mr. Pollish along with help from the Forest City and Susquehanna American Legions and the Lenox VFW, put together winning teams for several years. His representative in Susquehanna is Thomas Hurley, a trustee of Post 86.
Following is the news release pertaining to Mr. Pollishs appointment:
The American Legion, Department of Pennsylvania State Adjutant Mr. Kit D. Watson has formally announced that the Department State Commander Mr. Robert D. Shalala has appointed Mr. Robert W. Pollish, Jr., of Carbondale, PA to serve as the Region 5 Director on the State Activities Committee for the 2003-04 Legion year.
Mr. Pollish is currently serving as the Sectional Director, Region 5/Section 3 on the State Activities Committee for American Legion Baseball, which encompasses the Wyoming Valley, the District 11, and the District 15 American Legion Baseball Leagues and is also currently the President of the District 15 American Legion Baseball League.
Mr. Pollish is a former area football standout from Valley View High School who presently resides in Carbondale with his wife, Rosemarie and family and is an American Legion Member of the Albert H. Crane Post 221 of Carbondale, PA in the 11th District. Mr. Pollish is a former assistant coach for the Carbondale Sacred Heart Football Crusaders and a former manager of the Albert H. Crane Post 221 American Legion Baseball Program.
Mr. Pollish is currently the General Manager and Manager of the F.M.S. Generals American Legion Baseball Program, which is chartered with the Charles and Martin Skubic American Legion Post 524, Forest City. Mr. Pollishs past 26 years of coaching experience, 14 years of which have been managerial experience, of which the past 12 years having been spent with the F.M.S. Generals of the District 15 and his past two years as District 15 League President and State Sectional Director have laid a solid foundation for the elevation of Mr. Pollish to assume the duties of his new position.
Mr. Pollish is employed at the Department of Defense facility, at Tobyhanna Army Depot in the Directorate of Production Management, Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems as an Electronic Parts Distribution Specialist.
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