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Jack Keihl has plenty of experience with the Montrose football program, but not in his current position.
In Keihl's first season as head coach, his team will fit that same description.
The Meteors will probably put at least eight returning starters on each side of the ball, but many will be shuffled into new spots as the team tries to improve on last season's 1-8 record.
"Our biggest plus is eight returning starters," Keihl said. "Our biggest negative is that one, maybe two, will be at the same position."
Players will adjust into new roles within the line and the Meteors will often come out in different formations, creating further changes in backfield responsibilities.
As the Meteors prepared for the likelihood of Tom Lucenti's retirement, the offense went through a transition from double-tight, power-I formation to an approach that mixed the wing-T with Lucenti's favorite offense during the 2005 season.
Keihl said portions of both approaches will be kept, but the Meteors will come out in pro formations much more often.
"That was more or less a trial and error last season," Keihl said. "We'll have a blend of some old stuff and some of last year's.
"We'll be in some more pro offenses with a couple little pieces from the past."
Keihl played at Montrose then went on to spend four years on the football team at Lycoming College. He returned to Montrose, where he is a fifth-grade teacher, and has spent the last eight seasons as an assistant coach.
Andy Weller, who was an assistant with Keihl last season, remained on as one of the assistant coaches.
Both were part of the program when Montrose had more successful times on the football field.
"I think how to fix it is number one to get our numbers up," Keihl said. "We have 33 or 34 on this year's team so that's got to help.
"Hopefully, we've realigned divisions in a way that will put us with teams we can compete against. And, we're trying to pick that intensity back up. The last few years we haven't had the intensity that we've shown in the past."
Several veteran players will help in that effort.
Shaun Snee, Guy Roszel and Jared Olah are returning two-way starters in the line.
Taylor Smith returns at tailback and defensive back.
Fullback/linebacker Bud Roszel, tight end/linebacker Tom Blachek, quarterback/defensive back Nick LaBarbera and wide receiver/defensive back Jared Fowler all have experience somewhere on both sides of the ball.
D.J. Brown, who also could be a factor in the offensive line, is back at linebacker. Sean Daly has experience in the defensive line and is in the hunt for a starting spot offensively.
Offensive lineman/defensive ends Kyle Chapel and Corey Hillis are also in the hunt for significant playing time along with sophomore wide receiver/defensive back Kyle Bonnice and defensive backs Jamie Hoffman and James Kane.
Keihl takes that group into action as he performs a job he has been thinking about for years.
"When I was coming out of high school and college football, I always knew I wanted to coach high school football," Keihl said. "It's not as easy up here as in the Scranton area, where you can coach one school and teach in another nearby."
By waiting patiently within the Meteors program, Keihl gets the chance to replace Lucenti, his former coach and the man who led Montrose through its best years in football.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Craig Bowden used two eagles and five birdies Sunday to shoot 8-under-par, 63 and put himself in position to win the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic with a par on the first playoff hole.
Bowden and third-round leader Jess Daley each shot 16-under-par, 268 for the week at Glenmaura National Golf Club in Moosic.
The victory was Bowden's first on the Nationwide Tour since 2003. He collected a first prize of $81,000 in the $450,000 event.
Bryce Molder and Brad Adamonis finished one shot back.
Franklin Langham shot a closing 65 to finish fifth, three strokes behind.
The course played to 6,990 yards for the tournament.
Montrose opens its football season at home September 1 against Hanover Area.
All 10 games are scheduled for Friday nights.
The remainder of the schedule is: September 8 at Mid Valley, September 15 vs. North Pocono, September 22 at Dunmore, September 29 vs. Scranton Prep, October 6 at Old Forge, October 13 vs. Carbondale, October 20 vs. Lackawanna Trail, October 27 at Bishop O'Hara, and November 3 vs. Susquehanna.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
The Racing Reporter
KENSETH Wins At Michigan, Brooklyn, MI – Matt Kenseth combined a good pit stop, four fresh tires and some hard driving to win Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400 over Jeff Gordon at Michigan International Speedway.
Matt Kenseth celebrates his win at Michigan.
Kenseth, along with most of the field pitted under caution on lap 159 of the 200-lap race. When green flag racing resumed on lap 162, Kenseth was second behind Clint Bowyer.
It didn’t take Kenseth but five laps to get by Bowyer, who had only two fresh tires.
The race stayed under green for the remainder of the 33 laps. Kenseth’s biggest challenge came from Jeff Gordon, who moved into the second spot during lap 186.
But unlike the Chicago race, when Gordon bumped Kenseth to get by, this time Gordon was unable catch Kenseth’s No. 17 DeWalt Ford before the checkered flag.
“We were just a little tight and I tried to back out of the corners and not use up the tires,” said Kenseth. “I just went slow and tried to save what I could for the end, and had just enough.”
Kenseth now trails Jimmie Johnson by only 58 points, after Johnson’s 13th-place finish.
“What a great fight,” said Gordon. “We made some adjustments during that last pit stop. The caution caught us at the wrong time, but we still had a great team. Maybe in another three laps we could have caught him.”
Gordon has now moved from ninth to sixth in Chase points.
Tony Stewart started 33rd and finished third.
“I just did my job,” said Stewart. “We had a really tight car at the beginning and just kept working with it and making adjustments, and battled our way through.”
Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle, Reed Sorenson, Denny Hamlin, and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Chase For the Nextel Cup Current Contenders: 1. Johnson-3365, 2. Kenseth-3307, 3. Harvick-3048, 4. Martin-2970, 5. Stewart-2959, 6. J. Gordon-2931, 7. Kyle Busch-2922, 8. Hamlin-2920, 9. Burton-2916, 10. Earnhardt, Jr.-2881.
The following drivers still have a mathematical possibility of making the Chase: 11. Kahne-2832, 12. Biffle-2692, 13. Edwards-2637, 14. Kurt Busch-2602, 15. Vickers-2484, 16. McMurray-2455, 17. Mears-2452, 18. Newman-2444, 19. Bowyer-2414.
MAYFIELD And EVERNHAM; A Nasty Mess – The Master said, “What is truth?”
We may never know what really happened between car owner Ray Evernham and disgruntled driver Jeremy Mayfield.
Mayfield is gone, but he didn’t leave quietly. In a court document filed on August 9, in an attempt to keep his job, Mayfield fired several hard shots at his previous employer.
“During the 2006 Nextel Cup season, Ray Evernham has not continued to actively participate in the management and day-to-day activities and operations of the team,” Mayfield stated in the complaint.
“Instead, for significant periods of time he had been, at best, an absentee manager and owner, largely because at some point in time Ray Evernham had entered into a close personal relationship with a female driver he engages to drive on NASCAR's ARCA, Truck and Busch Series.
“That relationship became a subject of considerable discussion and distraction in the Nextel Cup garage area during the 2006 season.”
Erin Crocker is the female driver referred to by Mayfield.
Crocker, who was racing in Michigan over the weekend refused to comment.
Evernham said that in the races Mayfield drove this season he “has materially and repeatedly breached the Driving Services Agreement and failed to use his best efforts to compete professionally in the Nextel Cup Series.”
Evernham said Mayfield deliberately wrecked the No. 19 during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
“I watched Mayfield wreck his car early in the race,” Evernham continued. “He slowed dramatically to let other cars past the No. 19 Dodge in Turn 1 and then brushed the wall at two places.
“This wreck was done in a manner to damage the No. 19 Dodge but not harm Mayfield. Based on my experience, I believed that Mayfield's conduct in wrecking the car was on purpose. Sam Johns, my competition director, agreed with my opinion.”
However, Mayfield denies that he hit the wall intentionally.
“The notion that a driver would intentionally wreck a car… is nonsensical,” he said. “No driver would intentionally place himself in jeopardy by hitting a wall.”
Mayfield finished 41st in the race at Indianapolis, dropping his team out of the top-35 in car owner points.
Mayfield’s attorney said Rick Russell, chief financial officer for Evernham Motorsports, told him on August 8, that Mayfield could either take the ‘easy way,’ or ‘hard way.’ The ‘easy’ way was for Mayfield to walk away and be paid for the month of August. The ‘hard’ way was immediate termination without any further compensation.
The reasons given for the abrupt decision was that Mayfield had refused to attend meetings with members of the struggling team.
“I've been to every meeting I've ever been asked to go to,” Mayfield said.
The following day, Mayfield filed the request for a temporary restraining order and an injunction to prevent Evernham from putting former Cup Series champion Bill Elliott in the car for last weekend's race at Watkins Glen in New York. A hearing was held Friday, the same day Evernham told reporters at the race track that Mayfield had been ‘terminated.’
On August 11, a judge ruled in Mayfield's favor. At that point, Evernham's representatives contacted him and an agreement was reached to allow Evernham to move forward with his plans while Mayfield received undisclosed compensation.
Elliott drove the No. 19 in the AMD at the Glen on Sunday, August 13, and finished 27th.
On Tuesday, Evernham announced that Elliott Sadler would drive the car for the remainder of the 2006 season and then in 2007.
Mayfield is expected to drive a Toyota for Bill Davis Racing next season. He has plans to test Toyotas at Kentucky Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway next week.
"They've tried to set it up to make it look like I was the bad guy,” continued Mayfield. “When Ray is done with you, he's done with you.”
Good luck, Jeremy and Ray. Now, get on with your racing.
DALE, JR. Wins Michigan Busch Race – Top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Harvick-3920, 2. Hamlin-3436, 3. Edwards-3434, 4. Bowyer-3335, 5. Yeley-3264, 6. Menard-2898, 7. Biffle-2869, 8. Kyle Busch-2829, 9. Sauter-2685, 10. K. Wallace-2684.
Everyone is racing at the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. That includes the Craftsman Trucks, Busch and Nextel Cup cars.
Wednesday, August 23, Craftsman Trucks O’Reilly 200, race 17 of 25, 200 laps, 9 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Friday, August 25, Busch Series Food City 250, race 26 of 35, 250 laps, 7:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Saturday, August 26, Nextel Cup Sharpie 500, race 24 of 36, 500 laps, 7 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: What year did Alan Kulwicki win the Winston Cup championship?
Last Week’s Question: Which is the shortest track in Nextel Cup racing? Answer. It is the .526-mile Martinsville Speedway.
Last Week’s Question: You may read additional racing stories at www.race500.com
Come out to the stadium on Sunday, August 27 at 1:30 p.m. to watch the B-Mets in the thick of the playoff hunt against the Erie Seawolves (Detroit Tigers).
Kids eat free; take advantage of the Sunday promotion by buying a full price kid’s ticket, which includes redeemable vouchers for a hot dog, soda, chips, box candy or cotton candy and small popcorn or small pretzel.
Kids also get the opportunity to run the bases after the game like the B-Mets.
All Susquehanna County residents over 14 will receive half-price tickets to Sunday’s game.
Your hometown businesses will be on hand displaying local goods and services.
To receive the discount, you must call ahead to reserve your group. Deadline to book is August 25.
For reservations or additional information, Contact Billy Grover at (607) 723-6387.
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