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Local Sports Scene

Susquehanna's Gaffey Named Athlete Of The Month
Susky HS Season Passes Available

Reddon Plays Big Role In Dream Game Rout

Scranton – The Scranton Lions Club's Dream Game has been played between the City and the County for a national-record 72 years, but there was plenty of room for "Big Country" in Friday night's game.

Robert Reddon's status as the biggest player of the game, combined with Susquehanna's image in the eyes of his teammates from places like Scranton and Dunmore, earned the former Saber a new nickname early in City's preparation for the game.

"The kids all called him, 'Big Country'," City coach Al "Butch" Keller said of the name that was often heard being yelled from the City when the team was on defense. "When he first walked in here, the kids were all saying, 'Who's this?'"

Reddon, the only Susquehanna County player in the game, made an impact as the second-leading scorer in the City's 40-7 rout of the County.

The 33-point win in the game that was played before a paid crowd of 8,147 at Scranton Memorial Stadium matched the biggest win ever in the nation's longest-running high school football all-star game.

"I knew from the beginning that our team was pumped," Reddon said. "It was a good time.

"We all just clicked as a team."

The City had some trouble in the first half. The County scored on the game's first possession and only a fumble recovery inside the 5 in the final minute of the half allowed the City to hold a 12-7 lead going into the locker room.

At halftime, the County had statistical advantages of 11-5 in first downs, 102-36 in rushing yards and 157-125 in total offense.

Keller, however, thought his team was in a good position. He said most of the County offense was generated because of his team's failure to adjust to unbalanced lines.

Zach Lasavage, a Colgate recruit and the son of County coach John Lasavage from Carbondale, took advantage of the mismatches in the line to run for 75 yards on eight first-half carries. He was just 2-for-3 rushing in the second half as the City stretched its lead and went after the County passers.

"We just made so many mistakes in the first half," Keller said. "When they went unbalanced, we weren't moving."

As the lead grew, the game became even more of a treat for the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Reddon.

Reddon, who started and played most of the game at nose guard, spent the early part of the night battling against a tough County line trying to stop the running game. The second half turned into a chance to go after the quarterback.

"I love doing that," said Reddon, who plans to play football at SUNY Morrisville.

Reddon, who finished with four tackles and three assists, got in second-half hits on all three County quarterbacks. He rushed Ryan Rempe of Mid Valley into an incompletion; joined Wallenpaupack's Justin Kraft in throwing Jeremy Jayne of Abington Heights to the ground while forcing an interception; and unloaded on Colin Dwyer on a play in which the Lackawanna Trail quarterback still managed a completion.

A combination of seven North Pocono players and three touchdown passes in four attempts by Scranton's A.J. McKenna led the City to its fourth straight win. The victory brought the City back to even in the series for the first time since 1950 at 34-34-4.

Joe Richards, who quarterbacked North Pocono to an 8-3 finish last year after back-to-back one-win seasons, completed all four of his passes. Richards hit teammate Bill Heard for the City's first touchdown and also intercepted two passes.

"We were all real excited about this game," Richards said. "The whole offseason, every time we walked about this game it was about it being our last chance to play together."

Heard scored the City's first two touchdowns and was 3-for-84 receiving.

Other former Trojans contributed to the win.

Claude O'Connor, who was the team's most consistent runner with 54 yards on nine carries, went four yards for a touchdown less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Brian Fallet was third on the team in tackles. He had three tackles, four assists and a sack for a 17-yard loss.

Bob DeMeck made five tackles. Brian Capple had the fumble recovery at the end of the half. Keith Hollenback had two tackles, two assists and an interception.

Sean Madden, who played for Keller at Bishop O'Hara, carried 14 times for 72 yards, including a 22-yard run for the first touchdown of the second half.

Delaware Valley linebacker Andy Lonsky was the only City player to be in on more tackles than Reddon. He had seven tackles, including one for a three-yard loss on fourth down with the game still in doubt, and one assist.

The 33-point victory allowed the City to match two other games for the biggest margin of victory in the game's history. The County won, 48-15, in 1974 and, 41-8, in 1999.

The game benefits the Lackawanna County Branch of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind and its sight conservation programs.

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

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By Gerald Hodges

The Racing Reporter

JOHNSON Shows His Strength At Indy, Indianapolis, IN – By winning Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Jimmie Johnson showed the NASCAR world why his team has been one of the strongest throughout the 2006 season, and that he is the driver to beat in this year’s Chase For the Nextel Cup Championship.

Jimmie Johnson and car owner Rick Hendrick kiss the bricks at Indy

Photo courtesy of NASCAR

Johnson overcame an early-race tire problem and nagging memories of his struggles a year ago to win in his fifth try at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An early flat tire sent him back to 38th place – the same spot he'd finished here a year ago.

But he kept battling back, and on Lap 117, stormed past Matt Kenseth to take the lead. There were green flag pit stops, and Johnson dropped back to eighth on lap 145, but as soon as the last green flag was given on lap 150, he headed to the front.

“This win is special,” said Johnson. “It hasn’t sunk in that I’ve won at Daytona and Indianapolis, all in the same year. I never thought I’d win on this race track.”

Johnson now has four 2006 wins and is tied for the most wins with Kasey Kahne.

“The team did a great job on the car, but I just couldn’t figure out a way to get it done,” said second-place finisher, Matt Kenseth. “Jimmie was awesome today. We could run with some of the other cars, but the 48 car just came out of nowhere. He was real fast today.”

Richard Childress drivers Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer finished third and fourth.

“We just got a little bit behind on that last pit stop and just didn’t have enough time,” said Harvick.

Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-10.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was one of the few drivers that elected not to pit for fresh tires on the last pit stop with 15 laps remaining.

“Well, I’d love to have a better car so you wouldn’t have to make those kind of calls,” said Earnhardt, Jr. “We’ve got a lot of talent on our team, but we need to do better. We took a chance and made it work. We just got lucky.”

Tony Stewart moved up one spot in the points from tenth to ninth.

“I must have passed over 60 cars today,” he said. “I’m pretty happy with that. I had to go to the back after a lug wrench broke and to battle back to finish in the top-10 is pretty good.”

Jeff Burton, the third Richard Childress driver, sat on the pole and led the most laps, but lost the handling on his No. 31 Cingular Chevrolet late in the race and finished 12th.

On the final lap, Robby Gordon and Greg Biffle crashed on the backstretch as the caution came out. Kasey Kahne lost control and ran hard into the outer wall. Denny Hamlin had some damage, while Tony Raines stopped as well after running over debris.

Top-10 Chase leaders: 1. Johnson-3124, 2. Kenseth-3017, 3. Burton-2758, 4. Harvick-2733, 5. Kyle Busch-2733, 6. Martin-2712, 7. Hamlin-2638, 8. J. Gordon-2627, 9. Stewart-2615, 10. Earnhardt Jr.-2612.

THE MIRACLE OF CARING – Faith, hope and caring are three of life’s greatest forces.

Without them, life wouldn’t be worth a toot.

A few weeks ago, we reported that former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Harry Gant had taken time out to call a terminally ill cancer patient in an Indiana hospital

“My father-in-law is one of Harry’s biggest fans,” said Ron Isaac. “My father-in-law was not a wealthy person. He worked hard and honestly for everything he got. Sometimes his children might only have had two changes of clothes, but he did a heck of a job in raising them up right.

“The phone call was not only a blessing to him, but to us as well, to know that Harry Gant is still such a caring fella.’”

Had the story ended there, it would still have been worth telling.

But as Ted Armstrong, the noted radio announcer would say, “Now it’s time for the rest of the story.”

Last Friday I received the following e-mail from Isaac.

“This is to keep you updated on my father-in-law’s cancer condition. It's a little early to say, ‘racing is a cure for cancer,’ but after the Harry Gant phone call to my father-in-law his platelet count tripled.

“Before the phone call his platelet count was 24, and after the call they went to 81, tripling his previous numbers.

“With a 30 to 60 day diagnosis we bought him a Playstation and a couple of racing games, NASCAR and Grand Turismo. He plays them day and night, giving the rest of the family few breaks from the computer simulated engine sounds.

“There's a country song, the lyrics say, ‘When you're going through hell, keep on moving, don't let up, maybe the devil won't know you're there.’

“My father-in-law never lifted the pedal and the doctors tell him that his once hopeless condition is now in remission. We are so thankful to have pulled this miracle off, but not without a lot of help.

“So it's with great honor and privilege that we thank every prayer, every phone call, everyone that helped bring a racer back to his feet for one more race, and especially to Harry Gant for his phone call. We thank you with all there is to be thankful for.

“It's not what you do ON the track, but what you do OFF. All the prayers and well-wishers made this victory possible. We are humbled and privileged to be in the same sport with you.”…..Ron and Evie Isaac.

HARVICK Increases His Busch Lead – The top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Harvick-3627, 2. Edwards-3253, 3. Hamlin-3154, 4. Bowyer-3093, 5. Yeley-2991, 6. Menard-2701, 7. Biffle-2670, 8. Kyle Busch-2656, 9. Sauter-2521, 10. K. Wallace-2505.

CRAWFORD Gets Indy Truck Win – The top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Bodine-2307, 2. Benson-2125, 3. Crawford-2120, 4. Reutimann-2110, 5. Hornaday-2070, 6. Musgrave-2055, 7. Starr-2037, 8. Cook-2014, 9. Setzer-2005, 10. Bliss-1986.


The Nextel Cup and Busch cars race on the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen, NY road course, while the Craftsman Trucks are at Nashville Speedway.

Saturday, August 12, Busch Series Zippo 200, race 24 of 35, 82 laps/200 miles, 2 p.m. TV: NBC.

Craftsman Truck Series Toyota Tundra 200, race 16 of 25, 150 laps/200 miles. 6 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.

Sunday, August 13, Nextel Cup at the Glen, race 22 of 36, 1 p.m. 90 laps/220 miles, TV: NBC.

Racing Trivia Question: What is “Happy Hour” in NASCAR racing?

Last Week’s Question: Who won the first Brickyard 400? Answer. Jeff Gordon won the Inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994.

You may read additional racing stories at

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Susquehanna's Gaffey Named Athlete Of The Month

Amber Gaffey already has three state high school pole vault medals, including the 2005 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association gold medal.

Work toward adding to that medal total and inching closer to new personal milestones continued this summer for the Susquehanna High School athlete.

Gaffey cleared 11 feet again during July while winning an AAU Regional event in suburban Philadelphia and finishing second on a tie-breaker loss in the Young Women's Division at the USA Track and Field Regional in the Buffalo area. For her efforts, Gaffey has been named Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month for July.

Competing in the rain and against a strong field that included some of her workout partners at Vertical Assault in Easton, Gaffey finished tied for seventh in Class AA during May while trying to repeat her high school state title.

"I knew there was a chance that could happen," Gaffey said. "I was more disappointed about the height and the weather conditions.

"We were actually jumping in the rain at times."

Like many elite track athletes, Gaffey concentrates more on the height she clears in competition than on what place she finishes. She immediately got back near her peak levels after the loss at Shippensburg.

Gaffey suffered a sprained ankle and had to sit out AAU Junior Nationals and the Keystone Games before attempting to return to competition last weekend in a national event in Virginia. After clearing 9-6, she withdrew because of problems with her ankle.

"I'm done jumping for the summer," said Gaffey, who will get back to work in indoor track season in late October.

In the meantime, Gaffey will be busy with volleyball where she was a starter on last season's Susquehanna team that finished second in District 2.

Gaffey is the District 2 record holder in the pole vault and often wins multiple events for the Lady Sabers during dual meets.

Amber is the daughter of Robert and Dawn Gaffey of Thompson.

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Susky HS Season Passes Available

Season passes for Susquehanna Community High School are now being sold in the high school office, at the cost of $10.00 per student, and $20.00 per adult. Senior Citizen passes are also available at no cost.

Passes are for all regular season, home sporting events.


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