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Montrose carried a lead into the second half before falling short of pulling off an upset in the debut of Jack Keihl as the school's new football coach.
The Meteors held the lead for more than half the game against defending District 2 Class AA champion Hanover Area before losing, 21-14, on their home field in the non-league opener.
Keihl, a former player and assistant coach at the school, is trying to improve on Montrose's 1-8 record last season.
The Meteors jumped out in front with 7:12 left in the first quarter when Kyle Bonnice intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. Taylor Smith, Montrose's leading rusher with more than 60 yards in the game, ran for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Hanover Area, which was playing in its first game under new coach Ron Hummer, cut the lead to a point in the second quarter.
Eric Popovich recovered from his early interception to find Rich Colorusso with a 21-yard touchdown pass.
The Meteors built the lead back to 14-7 at the half.
Bud Roszel's four-yard touchdown run with 2:16 left in the second quarter was the last time Montrose was able to score.
Hanover Area struck quickly to open the second half.
Popovich found Chris Kubaugh with a long touchdown pass then threw for the go-ahead two-point conversion less than a minute into the third quarter.
The Hawkeyes added a two-yard touchdown run by Kyle Casey later in the quarter to close the scoring.
In another game, Susquehanna also lost its opener against a Wyoming Valley Conference school.
The Sabers played at Wilkes-Barre GAR Saturday in wind and rain and suffered a 27-0 loss to the Grenadiers.
Susquehanna held GAR, which is expected to be a playoff contender in Class AA, to 14 points until the final eight minutes.
The Sabers, however, were unable to mount an offensive attack.
The closest Susquehanna came to scoring was while trailing, 14-0, late in the half. Quarterback Anthony Dorunda broke loose on a run, but was hit around the 5 and fumbled into the end zone where GAR recovered for a touchback.
Francis Lake recovered a fumble inside the GAR 30 to set up the scoring opportunity.
GAR quarterback Quinn Buckner threw eight yards to Breon Phillips for a first-quarter touchdown, ran 13 yards for a second-quarter touchdown and ran one yard for the first of two touchdowns in the third quarter.
A 16-yard run by Gabe Blades closed the scoring.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Jeremy Cummings became the first pitcher in the 18-year history of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons to throw a nine-inning, no-hitter when he produced the gem Sunday in Rochester.
Cummings (8-6) walked four and struck out nine during a 5-0 victory over the Rochester Red Wings.
The no-hitter capped a week in which the Red Barons clinched the North Division title and the best record in the International League.
In high school golf, Montrose defeated Forest City, 5-4, in a match between two of the likely contenders for the Lackawanna League North Division title.
In girls' tennis, Elk Lake defeated Montrose, 4-1, in a season opening matching the county's only two programs.
Mike Melvin, a sophomore from Forest City, is in the cross country lineup at Marywood University.
Melvin was Marywood's sixth-best runner Saturday when the Pacers opened the season by finishing sixth out of seven teams at their own invitational.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Susquehanna and Montrose will each be looking for their first football win Friday night when they play against teams that also lost their openers.
The Sabers host the second night football game in school history against Western Wayne, which is coming off two straight winless seasons.
Montrose is at Mid Valley.
Our football predictions for the first week of the high school season were 12-2 (85.7 percent), including five games that came within three points of the final margin.
This week's predictions, with the home team in CAPS: SUSQUEHANNA 38, Western Wayne 12; Montrose 22, MID VALLEY 14; Dunmore 14, CARBONDALE 13; HONESDALE 20, Lackawanna Trail 14; DELAWARE VALLEY 17, East Stroudsburg South 13; SCRANTON 27, Pittston Area 14; Valley View 26, SCRANTON PREP 17; Lakeland 14, NORTH POCONO 6; West Scranton 28, RIVERSIDE 14; Old Forge 23, BISHOP HOBAN 12; East Stroudsburg North 21, WALLENPAUPACK 20; ABINGTON HEIGHTS 17, Wyoming Valley West 14.
In professional baseball, the Red Barons open the International League semifinal playoffs Wednesday and Thursday in Rochester. They return home to Lackawanna County Stadium Friday and will play at home Saturday and Sunday, if necessary.
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
HARVICK Going For Richmond Trifecta, Richmond, VA – When Kevin Harvick buckles in at Richmond International Raceway for the Emerson Radio 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday, September 8, he will be looking to reach several milestones at the 0.75-mile track.
Harvick, who won Busch races there in 2006 and 2005, will be looking to accomplish two difficult feats.
Kevin Harvick celebrates after his Watkins Glen victory.
By winning this year’s Emerson Radio 250, Harvick would become only the second driver to win three consecutive Busch Series races at the Richmond track. Harry Gant completed the trifecta after winning three in a row from 1991 to 1992. Also, Harvick would become the fifth driver to sweep both Busch Series races at RIR in one season.
Butch Lindley (1982), Gant (1991), Mark Martin (1993) and Jimmy Spencer (2001) swept in previous years. Additionally, Harvick would tie Gant for second in all-time NASCAR Busch Series wins (four) at the track, putting him only one behind Mark Martin.
“I usually run pretty well at Richmond in the Cup car and the Busch car, and obviously the No. 21 team has done a great job with the Busch car this year,” said Harvick. “Richmond is one of those tracks where you have to really be on top of your game every lap. Being able to win three in a row would be incredible.”
Harvick’s Busch record at RIR includes three wins, seven top-fives, eight top-10s and one pole in 11 starts. He hasn’t finished worse than 12th in the past five years.
The extra seat time on Friday night will most likely help Harvick for Saturday night’s Nextel Cup Chevy Rock & Roll 400 – the last race before The Chase. Another good run would solidify his position as one of the ten drivers eligible to win the Cup Series championship.
YATES Still Looking For A Good Driver – Robert Yates is still in the market for a Cup driver for his No. 88 Ford.
Dale Jarrett will leave the car at the end of this season and move to one of the Toyota teams of Michael Waltrip.
Yates has already brought in David Gilliland to replace Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38, who left two weeks ago to join Ray Evernham Racing.
Yates’ development driver, Stephen Leicht, is not expected to make the move full-time to the Nextel Cup Series next season and will instead drive a full season in the Busch Series.
Leicht, 19, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Jarrett, but the decision to keep Leicht in the Busch series is tied to sponsor CitiFinancial's desire to remain in the series another season and to give Leicht additional seat time.
ALMIROLA Looking To Move To Cup – Florida native Aric Almirola (No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet) has his eye on an eventual seat in the Nextel Cup Series.
Almirola, 22, believes his time in the Craftsman Truck Series will help him reach that goal – as it did for Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.
“The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is perfect for guys like me to come in and learn from many of the veteran drivers who have raced in the Busch Series and Cup Series already,” said Almirola. “I feel like I learn a lot from those guys and I’m able to apply what I learn to (all) the races I run right now.”
Almirola, part of Joe Gibbs Racing’s driver development program, hopes to better last year’s eighth-place finish – his best in the series – when he visits New Hampshire International Speedway on September 16.
He’s logged a pair of top-10s in the season’s first 17 races, ranks third in Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings and 18th in overall points.
The Tampa, FL competitor knew the going would be tough from top-to-bottom but concedes that’s just part of the learning process for someone who jumped from late models to one of NASCAR’s top touring series.
“The rookie class this year is really tough,” he continued. “The time I had in the Craftsman Trucks last year with the four starts I made was definitely a help. I don’t think it gives me a big advantage over the other rookie contenders because most of them have more experience in heavier stock cars already.”
Almirola expected progress to be slow, especially after chatting with several of the veteran drivers who have competed in the series for many years.
“They have all said that five years ago you could have a bad (handling) truck and still run top-10 and nowadays you can have the same truck and you’ll be lucky to run 20th,” he said. “As far as trucks vs. cars, I feel like the trucks are more difficult to get a handle on because they have a longer wheelbase and are naturally tight.
“Compared to a car, you have to run a truck really loose to make it turn.”
The Gibbs team has entered Almirola in five Busch Series races in 2006. He finished 11th at Dover International Raceway in June.
“The truck races have been a big help… especially the races that run on the same weekend as the Busch races,” he said. “The Busch Series is definitely the next step in my career. I get to race with the majority of the Nextel Cup guys in the Busch Series and eventually, one day, my goal is to go Cup racing.”
The Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams are at Richmond this weekend. This will be the last event, before the Chase For the Championship begins. The Craftsman Trucks have the weekend off.
Friday, September 8, Busch Series Emerson Radio 250, race 28 of 35, 250 laps, 7:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Saturday, September 9, Nextel Cup Chevy Rock & Roll 400, race 26 of 36, 400 laps, 7 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: What was Ray Evernham’s job before he became a team owner?
Last Week’s Question: Which Cup team is Ken Schrader driving for this year? Answer. He drives the No. 21 Wood Bros. Ford.
If you have any NASCAR questions, e-mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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