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The temporary lights created a special setting for the Susquehanna Sabers for Friday night's home football game.
The Sabers responded with a special performance.
Anthony Dorunda ran for three touchdowns, passed for another and intercepted two passes as the Sabers knocked off previously unbeaten Bishop O'Hara, 27-24.
"This was a huge win for us on our first night with lights," Susquehanna coach Dick Bagnall said.
Susquehanna waited until the midway point of the 36th season of varsity football before trying lights out for the first time.
How soon the second chance comes remains to be seen, but Bagnall was among the more than 1,000 people at the school who enjoyed themselves Friday night.
"This was nice. It was a great atmosphere," Bagnall said. "I've always liked night football.
"Look at the crowd we had here. It was great to come away with a win."
The Sabers broke away in the fourth quarter on a pair of Dorunda touchdown runs, then held off a comeback by the Bruins.
In the end, it was the ability to stop all four conversion attempts that decided the victory.
Just a month ago, the Sabers were stuck in the longest active losing streak in the state at 34 games.
Now, they have sandwiched two wins around a pair of strong efforts in losses to winning teams from a higher division.
"We've been playing real tough teams lately," two-way tackle Bob Reddon said after a night in which he was in on 14 tackles, rushed the passer into one incompletion and batted down another attempt. "We knew we could beat them. We got pumped up for our first game with our new lights."
Bagnall acknowledged that taking the lead twice against then-unbeaten Scranton Prep and being down just a point going into the fourth quarter against three-time defending District 2 Class AA champion Lakeland may have provided a boost.
"The kids have realized they can play with anybody," Bagnall said. "They're not afraid of anybody. I've convinced them they can win. They've won two games and played two good teams tough.
"If we got our butts kicked the last two games, maybe we don't have a chance in this one."
It did not take the Sabers long to establish they would have a shot against Bishop O'Hara, which came into the game as one of four Lackawanna Football Conference unbeatens along with Abington Heights, Delaware Valley and North Pocono.
While the other three unbeatens were averaging 56 points and racking up impressive wins, Dorunda's ability to run the option offense was ruining Bishop O'Hara's strong start.
On Susquehanna's second offensive play, Dorunda turned an option keeper into a 79-yard sprint down the left sideline, right in front of the Bruins' bench.
"He's the general in our offense," Bagnall said. "We run the option and the quarterback's an integral part of the option. When he executes, big things happen.
"If you take away the dive and the option, that leaves the quarterback. Teams probably try to stop all three, but not many can."
Armondo Vevenzio added the first of his three extra points, which ultimately provided the winning margin.
Although the teams were even in touchdowns three times, the Sabers led the rest of the way because of the kicks.
The Bruins came right back after the first score with a 58-yard drive. Mike Masko's 26-yard run set up his own two-yard touchdown run.
A bad snap led to an incomplete pass on the conversion attempt.
Bishop O'Hara threatened to take the lead three times in the second quarter.
Joshua Jenkins, Zach Pomeroy and Francis Lake combined to stop Sean Madden short of the goal line and the first-down marker on fourth-and-one from the 2.
Madden finished with 191 yards on 30 carries, but fell short of his fourth 200-yard day of the season.
"We knew we had to stop Madden," Reddon said.
After keeping Madden out of the end zone on three straight tries from the 5, the Sabers were pinned in their own end the rest of the half. That created the other two Bishop O'Hara chances.
A fumble at the 22 stopped one drive and field goal attempt from the 40 fell short late in the half.
Ernie Taylor's fumble recovery at the Susquehanna 15 got the Sabers out of trouble again to start the second half.
The Sabers had fumbled the second-half kickoff in a game that featured nine turnovers - five by Bishop O'Hara and four by Susquehanna.
Dustin Shaw took a hit, possibly before the ball arrived, but still made a juggling catch near the first-down marker on fourth down. Shaw then outran the defense to turn the play into a 29-yard touchdown and a 14-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"That was an amazing catch," Dorunda said.
The Bruins were back within two points when Josh Watters passed 29 yards to Dom Marino for a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Dorunda then broke two touchdown runs on a span of three offensive plays 1:47 apart to build the 27-12 lead. He went right for 46 yards and left for 37, turning hard upfield in a hurry after making his read on the same play called to opposite sides.
"That's how that play is supposed to be made," Dorunda said of his move through the interior of the Bruins defense.
Dorunda had 157 yards on the three touchdowns alone and finished the game with 173 yards on nine carries. He also hit four of 10 passes for 63 yards.
Taylor added to the offense by running for 78 yards on 13 carries.
Bishop O'Hara made things interesting by converting a pair of fourth downs and taking advantage of a pair of pass interference penalties in the final four minutes. One of the pass interference calls came on a fourth-down stop that had appeared to clinch the win with 1:18 left. But, for the second time in as many weeks, a key stop of a drive in the second half was wiped away by a penalty.
Madden threw a 38-yard halfback option pass to Alex Williams with 2:13 left and Watters hit Marino for a five-yard score with 55 seconds left.
In between, the Bruins recovered an on-side kick.
When Shaw won the race to cover the second on-side kick attempt, the Sabers just had to kneel on the ball twice to complete the win and improve to 2-3.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Montrose girls' soccer team reached the midway point in the season Friday with its perfect record intact.
Amber Lattner scored two goals and assisted on another in a 4-0 win over Carbondale.
The Lady Meteors outshot Carbondale, 51-2.
Lattner has made multiple goals in each game seem routine. She has 15 goals in seven league games and 18 goals in nine games overall.
Brittany Ely, who assisted on Lattner's first goal, leads the team with seven assists.
In boys' soccer, Forest City won a battle of North Division unbeatens from Lakeland, 5-3.
In cross country, the Montrose girls finished third out of 28 teams in their division - Unseeded Varsity Girls A-2 for midsized schools - at the prestigious McQuaid Invitational in Rochester, N.Y.
Tara Chiarella led the Lady Meteors by finishing second.
Earlier in the week, Chiarella had won another cluster race to help Montrose go 4-1. Blue Ridge won all five girls' races and also beat Montrose in the boys' races.
The Montrose boys finished 13th out of 30 teams at the McQuaid Invitational.
Susquehanna competed in a division with the smallest schools. The Sabers finished 25th out of 30 teams.
In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton swept the Binghamton Senators in a home-and-home exhibition series.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won, 7-1, Friday in Binghamton, then 4-1 Saturday in Wilkes-Barre.
Blue Ridge graduates Heather Bradley and Brooke Hinkley are prominent members of the University of Scranton women's volleyball team.
The University of Scranton got off to a 9-9 start.
Bradley, a senior co-captain, is a setter and defensive specialist. She has more than twice as many digs as any of her teammates and ranks second on the team in service aces.
Diane Dean, Bradley's mother, serves as an assistant coach for the Lady Royals.
Bradley was named to the all-tournament team at the Scranton Invitational September 16-17.
Hinkley, a sophomore middle blocker, leads the team in blocks and ranks third in kills.
Bradley and Hinkley each appeared in 58 out of 59 games through the first 18 matches.
The American Hockey League opens its season in Wilkes-Barre again Wednesday when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers play the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Binghamton does not open until Saturday when it plays at the defending Calder Cup champion Philadelphia Phantoms.
On Sunday morning, the Steamtown Marathon gets its traditional start at Forest City High School.
After a Civil War reenactment group fires a cannon to start the race, runners take off toward Scranton. A half-mile down Susquehanna Street, the race turns onto Dundaff Street and down a steep two-block hill.
Runners then turn onto Main Street and continue down Route 171 out of town and headed for Carbondale.
In high school football, Susquehanna and Montrose will each be on the road Friday night when the Lackawanna Football Conference has a complete schedule of divisional games for the first time this season.
The Sabers (2-3) are at Old Forge (3-2) in Division III while the Meteors (0-4) are at defending champion Lakeland (3-2) in Division II.
Last week's predictions were 6-3 (66.7 percent), leaving our season mark at 38-17 (69.1 percent).
This week's predictions, with winners in CAPS: OLD FORGE 22, Susquehanna 14; LAKELAND 30, Montrose 6; ABINGTON HEIGHTS 45, Valley View 15; DELAWARE VALLEY 48, West Scranton 30; NORTH POCONO 32, Honesdale 21; SCRANTON 13, Wallenpaupack 3; CARBONDALE 49, Western Wayne 0; SCRANTON PREP 35, Dunmore 10; MID VALLEY 41, Bishop O'Hara 19; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 54, Riverside 0.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
“OLD MAN” JARRETT Wins At Talladega
Talladega, AL – Dale Jarrett, who will turn 49 in November, outraced Tony Stewart to win Sunday’s UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“Dale Jarrett is back,” said car chief Todd Parrott. “He’s not done.”
Dale Jarrett is all smiles at Talladega
Throughout almost the entire 190-lap race, Jarrett raced near the middle of the pack, but when Ken Schrader spun out after losing a tire on his No. 49 Red Baron Dodge, bringing out a caution on lap 184, and a green/while/checkered finish, Jarrett’s No. 88 UPS Ford was running fourth.
On the restart, leader, Jamie McMurray lost the lead to Matt Kenseth after going high into Turn-3. Tony Stewart, who led the most laps slid down the track and moved ahead of Kenseth.
Then it was Jarrett’s turn. He took the outside line and by the time the field had reached Turn-1 of the final lap, Jarrett had passed Stewart and was about a car length in front when Kyle Petty spun out.
Petty’s spin brought out the final caution flag and froze the field, giving Jarrett his first victory since Rockingham in 2003.
“Nah, I wasn’t worried that I wasn’t running near the front,” said Jarrett. “I was taking it easy because we had a good race car. The way every body was wrecking each other, I just thought we would hang out and wait for it to come to us.”
According to Parrott, this was the first time a Ford had won at Talladega since 1998.
Car owner Robert Yates has now won at least one race per year for the last 17 years.
Runner-up Tony Stewart had engine overheating problems midway during the race with his No. 20, but he regained the lead in Chase points.
“We had to kind of regroup until we got the temperature down, and then work our way up,” said Stewart.
Ryan Newman finished third.
“We had a good car,” said Newman. “You never knew what was going to happen. It was a good top-five for us, and that’s what we needed.”
Mark Martin’s championship hopes took a severe blow - as did his No. 6 Viagra Ford - when he was caught up in a multi-car crash on Lap 19.
Included in the wreck, which was caused when Jimmie Johnson nudged the rear bumper of polesitter, Elliott Sadler’s No. 38, were, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Skinner, Michael Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, and Joe Nemechek.
The remaining top-10 finishers were: 4. Carl Edwards, 5. Matt Kenseth, 6. Brian Vickers, 7. Sterling Marlin, 8. Kurt Busch, 9. Joe Nemechek, 10. Kasey Kahne.
Chase for The Nextel Cup Contenders: 1. Stewart-5519, 2. Newman-5515, 3. R. Wallace-5443, 4. Johnson-5437, 5. Biffle-5421, 6. Edwards-5419, 7. Kenseth-5408, 8. Mayfield-5407, 9. Martin-5381, 10. Busch-5339.
Even though Roush Racing has five drivers in this year’s Chase standings, it appears Greg Biffle is the only driver that still has a realistic chance of winning with just seven races left.
THE DARK SIDE OF NASCAR – Dale Jarrett and several other drivers and teams have taken NASCAR to task for what Jarrett called, “its subjective rules enforcement,” and blamed the media for not holding officials more accountable.
Jarrett was furious this past weekend at Talladega over the fact that Jimmie Johnson's car failed a post-race height inspection after last Sunday's win at Dover, yet NASCAR took no action against him.
The right rear quarter-panel of Johnson's car was found to be too high after his Dover victory but he was assessed no fine or points penalty.
"You talk about rules – if you're gonna have (height) requirements I didn't realize they had a 24-hour waiting period for these … things to settle down,” said Jarrett. “I'm fired up about this. I don't understand it."
When Johnson's No. 48 and Busch's No. 5 Chevrolets were first measured, their right-rear quarterpanels were above the 36.5-inch maximum allowed in the rulebook. But John Darby, NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series director, and Chad Knauss, Johnson's crew chief, both said the car "settled" within seconds to within the legal limit.
"We rolled up and the car was that much above the tolerance," Knauss said, holding his thumb and forefinger barely apart. "As soon as the guys quit pushing the car, it just went back down. ... I think there are a bunch of hens sitting somewhere making this story a lot bigger than what it is."
Did it take 10 seconds, as Knauss said? Or 30 seconds, as Darby said? Or 90 seconds, as one member of another team said he timed it while watching inspection?
"Our team engineer was there," Greg Biffle said. "He said when both cars rolled up ... and they put the height sticks on they were too high and they took pictures."
Should it matter? If the cars were too high during inspection, at all, is that not a violation?
Hendrick Motorsports apparently figured out how to build a shock absorber that worked more like a shock repeller. When a car hit a bump, instead of compressing, it acted as a jack and pushed the rear of the car upward. That's good at Dover, where you want the rear spoiler to catch air and add downforce to the car's rear end.
The Hendrick folks did that for Johnson's and Busch's car using parts that were all legal but were assembled in a way that NASCAR moved quickly to outlaw. A technical bulletin addressing the matter was distributed Saturday, setting limits on how much nitrogen pressure shocks could have and how large the areas containing that gas must be.
But the big question that remains is why didn’t NASCAR officials disqualify, fine, or penalize Johnson after his win?
“The fans are the only ones that can do anything about what is happening to our sport,” said Mark Martin. “The drivers can’t. The teams can’t. The fans are the only ones that can do anything about it.”
What do you think about NASCAR’s decision-making policies?
Give us your opinions. If we use your comments, we will send you a photo of your favorite driver.
The Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will be at Kansas City, while the Craftsman Trucks have the weekend off.
Saturday, October 8, Busch Series Kansas 300, race 30 of 35, 200 laps/300 miles, 2 p.m. TV: NBC.
Sunday, October 9, Banquet 400, race 30 of 36, 267 laps/400 miles, 1:30 p.m. TV: NBC.
Racing Trivia Question: How many racing flags are used in NASCAR racing?
Last Week’s Question: Which city and state is “Awesome” Bill Elliott from? Answer. “Awesome” Bill Elliott is from Dawsonville, Georgia.
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.
Currently, at the Jackson Baptist Church, air rifle leagues are forming. Starting at age 10 and up, groups will be formed according to age. As of now, they are planning on doing the majority of the shooting on Saturday afternoons. Rifles and ammunition will be provided by the church. They will begin with Instructional Classes for any beginners who want to learn to shoot. Anyone interested, please call the Church at 756-2265 for more information and to register.
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