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Susquehanna and Montrose each had their moments, particularly on offense, Friday night but both teams lost their high school football openers in road games against two of the Lackawanna Football Conference's top small school teams.
The Sabers, a Division III team on a 34-game losing streak, stayed within nine points of likely Division II contender Carbondale until the closing seconds of the first half in what turned out to be a 34-12 loss.
The Meteors scored first and were within a touchdown until late in the third quarter in a 36-20 loss to three-time defending District 2 Class A champion Lackawanna Trail.
Susquehanna's passing attack and Montrose's running game provided some positive signs in the opener.
Anthony Dorunda hit eight of 13 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown to lead the Sabers. Cody Norris caught four of the passes for 123 yards. Nick Ott caught three for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Jared Fowler ran for 100 yards and a touchdown and also caught a pass for 25 yards to lead the Meteors.
Carbondale's Zach Lasavage ran for three first-half touchdowns and surpassed both his father, coach John Lasavage, and his older brother, Josh, to become the school's career rushing leader.
Lasavage left the game early in the second half with an injury.
Carbondale took advantage of a safety and scored immediately off the ensuing free kick to stretch a 7-0 lead to 15-0 early in the second quarter.
A 69-yard pass from Dorunda to Norris set up C.J. Felter's one-yard touchdown run to bring Susquehanna back within, 15-6.
The Chargers took control by scoring to end the half and on their first possession of the second half.
The Sabers answered with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Dorunda to Ott and headed into the fourth quarter down, 28-12.
At Lackawanna Trail, Taylor Smith's 14-yard run and Fowler's two-point conversion run with 6:39 left in the first quarter gave the Meteors an 8-0 lead.
The Lions answered with two short touchdown runs for a 14-8 lead, but Dennis Moore returned a kickoff for a touchdown to tie the game in the second quarter.
After Trail scored two more touchdowns, Fowler scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Susquehanna won its first three golf matches to jump to the top of the Lackawanna League North Division heading into its scheduled Tuesday home match against perennial power Montrose.
The Sabers won at Carbondale, 6-3, Thursday after starting the season with a 9-0 shutout of Mountain View and a 5-4 win over Elk Lake.
The combinations of Dusty Barton-Kirk Fallon and Craig Soden-Sean Lawson swept their singles and better-ball matches against Carbondale. Barton led the way by shooting a 5-over, 40 on the back nine at Panorama Golf Course to finish as the medalist for the second time.
Barton and Soden, a pair of starters last season as freshmen, have played in each match. Soden, who is 3-0, had the team's low score against Elk Lake. Barton is coming off a season in which he qualified for the District 2 individual championships.
Drew Crawford also qualified for the district tournament last season. Crawford and fellow junior Billy McHale, two more returning starters, have also played together in each match.
Sophomore Kirk Fallon, who is in his first season of golf, is also off to a 3-0 start in singles play.
Lawson, a junior, and Matt Parsons, a sophomore, have shared the other spot in the lineup.
In high school tennis, Montrose's Sarah Golis knocked off defending District 2 Class AAA champion Brittany Ostrowski of Abington Heights during a 3-2 loss in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Tennis League Northern Division opener.
Elk Lake won its tennis opener, 4-1, over Dunmore.
In professional baseball, the Binghamton Mets and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons each struggled to last-place finishes in their divisions. That did not, however, stop the teams' top individuals.
The Mets and Red Barons each had the Most Valuable Player in their league.
Binghamton catcher/first baseman Mike Jacobs, who is now the starting first baseman as the New York Mets try to land a National League playoff berth, was named Eastern League MVP.
Jacobs left Binghamton for New York with a 22-game hitting streak. In 117 games with the B-Mets, he hit .321 with 37 doubles, 25 homers and 93 RBIs.
Jacobs was just a 38th-round draft pick by the Mets in 1999.
Two possible future Red Barons, first baseman Randy Ruiz and outfielder Chris Roberson of the Reading Phillies, were second and third in the MVP voting. Roberson was also selected as the league's Rookie of the Year.
Victorino was named as the International League MVP Tuesday, then called up by the Philadelphia Phillies with the September roster expansion.
Victorino also had a 22-game hitting streak, which helped him raise his average from .243 on June 22 to .310. One of the league's top defensive center fielders, he led all of professional baseball with 16 triples.
Montrose graduates Dan Snee and Dave Van Nort should both play prominent roles as the Lycoming College football teams tries to recover from its first losing season in 30 years.
Snee, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior fullback, was tied for fifth on the team in scoring last season. He carried eight times for 27 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 17 yards and another score.
Van Nort, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound junior defensive lineman, had eight tackles and three assists. One of his tackles was a sack.
Count on Susquehanna's football losing streak coming to an end this season with the school's first win since 2001.
If the Sabers are to avoid the mounting pressure of carrying the streak into the midway point of the season, Friday's game at arch-rival Montrose provides the best opportunity.
The Sabers follow up Friday's game with matchups against Division II favorite Scranton Prep and defending District 2 Class AA champion Lakeland.
Both teams are seeing progress offensively. The team that makes the most defensive strides this week is likely to take its first win of the season.
Predictions for this week's games, with the winners in CAPS: SUSQUEHANNA 24, Montrose 22; ABINGTON HEIGHTS 28, Wyoming Valley West 21; BISHOP HOBAN 14, Old Forge 13; CENTRAL MOUNTAIN 20, Lakeland 13; DELAWARE VALLEY 28, East Stroudsburg South 20; CARBONDALE 21, Honesdale 19; SCRANTON PREP 30, Lackawanna Trail 7; VALLEY VIEW 20, Mid Valley 14; SCRANTON 27, Pittston Area 20; NORTH POCONO 16, Riverside 14; WALLENPAUPACK 27, Western Wayne 12; WEST SCRANTON 19, Dunmore 12; BISHOP O'HARA 34, Bishop O'Reilly 14.
We went 8-5 (61.5 percent) on predictions during the first week.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Young KYLE BUSCH Wins At California
Fontana, CA – Kyle Busch became the youngest driver ever to win a NASCAR Nextel Cup race, taking the victory in Sunday night’s Sony HDTV 500 at California Speedway at the age of 20 years, four months and two days (besting the previous youngest winner by only four days).
The 20-year old younger brother of last year's NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion, Kurt Busch, drove away from a charging pack of cars in a two-lap shootout over the two-mile track near Los Angeles.
Driving a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Busch led 95 laps on the way to the victory in his 31st career start.
Busch was leading on lap 240 of the 250-lap race when debris brought out the 10th of 11 cautions in the race. With the race scheduled to end on lap 250, Busch faked as if he was going to pit on lap 241 and, when all the other leaders followed, he went ahead and pitted.
His crew put on only two tires and Busch was able to beat everyone else back onto the track and hold the lead to the end.
"My nerves were getting to me," Busch said. "When I made that last pit stop (under caution), everybody followed me in and I thought, 'Cool, we're going to be all right.' That stop is what got us the win."
While young Kyle celebrated his first win, a few others had reason to celebrate as well. Jamie McMurray, for example, moved into the top-10 of the point standings in the Chase for the title, grabbing 10th spot.
Rusty Wallace, running his last season, clinched a top-10 spot and Kurt Busch only needs to start the race at Richmond next Saturday night to clinch a spot. Jeremy Mayfield, who won the Richmond race a year ago to become one of the 10 contenders for the championship, needs only to start the Richmond race and finish 39th or better.
Jeff Gordon, who struggled throughout the race, appeared to finally get back into contention when he got into the top 10 late in the event. But a handling problem sent the three-time California winner reeling from 10th on a restart on lap 216 to a 21st-place finish.
"It's just one of those nights," he said. "It was pathetic. We'll go to Richmond and see what we can do. It doesn't matter right now (where we race). Everywhere we go, we either stink or we're good. Apparently what we've done in the past doesn't mean anything right now."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No 8 Budweiser team saw their race and their chance to compete in the Chase go up in a spectacular plume of smoke as the engine failed on lap 211. Dale Jr. finished 38th, and is now 18th in Nextel Cup points, mathematically eliminated from being among the top-10 drivers that will compete for the championship in the final 10 races of the season.
The top 10 drivers in the point standings heading into Richmond next weekend: 1. Stewart-3,570, 2. Biffle-3,361, 3. Johnson-3,312, 4. R. Wallace-3,257, 5. Martin-3,149, 6. Busch-3,114, 7. Mayfield-3,073, 8. Edwards-3,014, 9. Kenseth-2,939, 10. McMurray-2,929. The following six drivers still have a mathematical chance: 11. Newman-2928, 12. J. Gordon-2899, 13. Sadler-2877, 14. Jarrett-2812, 15. Harvick-2798, 16. Nemechek-2794.
HARVICK Needs To Grow Up – The almost 30 year-old Kevin Harvick needs to quit acting like a child and sulking when a little rain falls on his head.
After a wreck during the Bristol race, Harvick retired to his motor home while the crew worked feverishly to repair his No. 29.
Word spread throughout the garage area that Harvick had refused to return to the car. Harvick later denied the report, but team members were prepared to put Scott Riggs behind the wheel for the remainder of the race.
Harvick did return to his driving duties, but his actions were like those of a spoiled kid, not someone who earns millions of dollars a year.
This wasn’t the first time during his career that he has let his little boy emotions take control of his personality.
Harvick was Dale Earnhardt’s replacement at Richard Childress Racing after Earnhardt’s death at Daytona. His first Cup win came in the fourth race of the season at Atlanta.
He has four career wins, with his biggest one being the winner of the 2003 Brickyard 400.
"Richard (Childress) and I are working on a lot of things to go forward and there is not any other home that is going to come available for myself," Harvick said earlier in the season. "It'll be great. It'll catch y'all off guard."
Harvick is in his fifth Nextel Cup season with RCR, and has his own Craftsman Truck Series team with GM Goodwrench as sponsor. Such ties, Harvick said, will be all but impossible to sever.
"I have another year on my contract with RCR and another couple of years with Chevrolet," continued Harvick.
However, after a lackluster 25 races into the season, and failure to make the Chase, Harvick has changed his stance.
“I’m checking things out and really just seeing how it goes,” he continued. “We’ll race to the end of the year and see what happens.”
One thing that will be happening is that he won’t have GM Goodwrench as a sponsor in 2006. They have opted not to renew sponsorship on his Craftsman Truck.
I have always found Richard Childress to be a fair and above board person. But as a car owner, he wants a winner, not a whiner. It takes a lot to make him hit the panic button, but if Harvick keeps pouting and not winning, he may be on the way out.
Top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Truex-3874, 2. Bowyer-3732, 3. Edwards-3516, 4. Sorenson-3494, 5. Hamlin-3285, 6. K. Wallace-3278, 7. Stremme-3030, 8. Menard-3021, 9. D. Green-3017, 10. Keller-2969.
There was no Craftsman Truck Series racing this past weekend.
Thursday, September 8, Craftsman Trucks 200, 200 laps/200 miles, 8 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Friday, September 9, Busch Series Emerson Radio 250, 250 laps/250 miles, 7:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Saturday, September 10, Chevy Rock & Roll 400, 400 laps/400 miles, 7 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: When the points are readjusted after Richmond, for the final 10 races of the season, how many points will the leader receive?
Last Week’s Question: Which Cup team does Ryan “Rocket” Newman drive for? Answer. Newman drives the No. 12 Alltel Dodge for Penske Racing.
You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at www.race500.com. You may write him at P. O. Box 160711, Mobile, AL 36616.
Sunday evening, August 21, 2005, was a big night for the American Legion Juniors baseball team known as the “Generals.” They had a great season and were honored at the Susquehanna American Legion Post 86. It was a real nice affair. Players and parents alike were present. A delicious dinner was served by Chef Candy Kuiper, with luscious desserts to top it off.
Opening prayer was recited by Commander Bucci with John Gudaitis leading in the Pledge of Allegiance. Closing prayer was by Senior vice Commander Mark Webster of Elk Mt. (Lenox) VFW Post 8488.
Pictured (l-r) are: sitting – Cody Chrzan, 2005 Gold Glove Award; Josh Madas, 2005 Batting Champion; Anthony Landes, Commitment Award; Ryan Lee, Unsung Hero Award; standing – Mark Webster, Commander VFW Post 8488 (Lenox); John Gudaitis, District 15 Deputy Commander; Bob Polish, Region 5 Director and G.M./Mgr., of “Generals”; Joseph Bucci, Commander Susquehanna Legion Post 86; Tom Yedlosky, Commander Forest City Legion Post 524; Tom Hurley, Post 86 Board of Directors of Generals Baseball. Not pictured – Chad Lasher, 2005 Pitching ERA Champion, plus the Commitment Award and the Coaches 200 Silver Spike Award; Jack Weaver, 2005 Graduate Award.
Manager Polish, along with Coach Norton presented beautiful plaques, trophies and certificates to all the General players. Each player also received gold-colored shirts with the word “Generals.”
The Legion Generals, sponsored by Susquehanna Post 86, Forest City Post 524 and VFW Post 8488 of Mountain View, included players from Susquehanna: Tim Haynes, C. J. Felter, Ryan Lee, Danny Downton and Ernie Taylor.
Speakers included: Joe Bucci, Commander and Lou Parrillo, both of Post 86; John Gudaitis of Post 524; Billy Norton, assistant team coach; and Bob Polish, General Manager/Manager of the team. Mr. Polish gave a “rundown” on the team’s efforts throughout the year and proclaimed “that due to the team’s success this year they will be ‘at the top’ come next season.” (Team coach Julio Faramelli, was absent.)
Mr. Polish, manager of the Legion Juniors for 14 years, couldn’t say enough about the players, coaches, and most of all the parents “who were a big help to the team.” Closing, Polish said, “This is my life, in my blood, and it always will be.”
Parrillo talked about the time he played Legion baseball and also coached a Legion team. (Quote) “You may not be the best player on the team, but it still takes nine men to field a team. And no matter what you do in life – have a strong belief in yourself, and you will succeed.”
Mr. Gudaitis spoke of his tenure with the Forest City Legion Post 524 and his involvement in the Legion baseball program.
Post 86 Commander Bucci said, “Since 1925 our post has been proud to sponsor sports with other Posts in the area.”
Guests and friends attending were: Legionnaires, Fred Glavic, Edmund Urbas, Joe Mayers, John Yedlosky, Thomas Yedlosky, John Kowalewski and John Gudaitis, all of Forest City Legion Post 524.
Erin Crocker, who last year became the first woman to win a World of Outlaws race and this season is part of the driver development program at Evernham Motorsports, will make her NASCAR Busch Series debut at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, September 9 in the Emerson Radio 250.
Crocker's career is on the rise, as she has racked up three top-five and four-top 10 finishes in just five ARCA races this year. She has also run a handful of USAC Silver Crown Series races for NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne this season, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch 100 at Richmond International Raceway in June.
The 24-year old has practiced at Richmond International Raceway, shaking down the car she will drive in the Emerson Radio 250 next weekend. "I think I'm about as ready as I'm going to be," she said. "I know it's going to be a big step up (from ARCA and Silver Crown cars) and there's going to be tough competition, but you have to start somewhere."
Crocker, who finished 29th in the Richmond Times-Dispatch 100, feels that the learning curve for her might be shorter in the NASCAR Busch Series.
"To be honest, I've never excelled in a Silver Crown Car at Richmond. Maybe it has something to do with the team or maybe me in the car. For some reason I seem to learn quicker in the stock car. We had a good test at Dover last week, too, and I'm really excited to come back to Richmond next week for the race."
Despite this being her first NASCAR race, Crocker is confident in her ability. "My goal right now is to qualify on time and not have to use the owner's points, to finish on the lead lap, and to learn," she said. "It's a big jump for me. I've only run five ARCA races and it's a huge difference between ARCA competition and the Busch series. So, I just have to take it one step at a time."
Crocker began her racing career in a Quarter Midget at the age of seven. Her career has included wins in numerous sprint car series, and in 2003, Crocker became the first woman in the 43-year history of World of Outlaws competition to qualify for the Knoxville Nationals. She was named the 2003 Nationals' Rookie of the Year.
Last year, she competed for a full season in the highly-competitive World of Outlaws Series, driving for Woodring Racing. Her feature-event win came at Tulare, Calif.
In addition to her racing background, Crocker has worked hard on her education. She earned a bachelor's degree in Industrial and Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY in 2003.
Will SADLER’S Luck Change In Time? Elliott Sadler has experienced a lot of bad luck on the track. At one time, he appeared a shoo-in to make the cut for this year’s Chase. But now with just the Richmond race before the top-10 is determined, it looks doubtful for the driver of the No. 38 M&M’s Ford.
“You know what, my emotions are really good,” he said. “I sat down and had a great meeting with my team yesterday. We're very happy the way we've been running. We have just decided, you know, we can't do anything about the luck, about the problems we've had three or four of the last races. I mean it just seems like anything bad that can happen to us can happen.
“But we're running good when that happens. It's in our court. The ball is in our court to make the Chase. We're going to a track that I've won at before and finished in the top-10 in the spring. The ball's in our court. All we have to do is go and try to win each race and not worry about the points, forget them, and just let them fall where they may. We're up here testing today in Richmond with my Busch car because we learned so much from it last time. We're making some headway. We're going to race hard and we're going to go from there.
“You know, we're running good enough to make the Chase. If we get those three situations back, we're well in the Chase right now with a little bit of a cushion. But we don't have that. At least we can look at each other and say we've been running good, we've been running in the top 10 every week. We're coming to a track that the 38 car usually runs good at. We're pretty optimistic. All we got to do is just go through the motions, get our cars comfortable, and we're going to let the points take care of their selves.”
After the 26th race of the season at Richmond, the top-10 drivers will begin their Chase For the Nextel Cup Championship.
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