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Jack Keihl slept much more comfortably after his second game as Montrose's head football coach than he did following the first.
"It was a little easier to get up in the morning," Keihl said after he posted his first career victory when the Meteors shut out host Mid Valley in the second half to hold on for a 16-8 victory Friday night.
Opening night had been tough to take because Montrose had a halftime lead before falling to defending District 2 Class AA champion Hanover Area, 21-14.
"It was such a tough loss for our kids to play so well and not come away with the win," Keihl said.
The Meteors made sure they did not repeat that problem.
Montrose took control of the game in the final two minutes of the half and took advantage of a strong night by Taylor Smith to post the victory.
Smith carried 18 times for 121 yards. He ran 23 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter then added the two-point conversion.
Following Montrose's only punt, Mid Valley forced an 8-8 tie.
"It seemed like they had the momentum there for a while," Keihl said.
The Meteors answered with a drive inside the Spartans 20.
Montrose then pinned Mid Valley there, forcing a punt. When the punt snap sailed into the end zone, Tom Blachek was there to trap the punter for a safety and what proved to be the winning points.
The Meteors then pushed in another score following the free kick.
Nick LaBarbera passed 11 yards to Kyle Bonnice on a fade pattern for the touchdown.
Neither team scored again.
Kyle Chuff, who broke a 41-yard run for Mid Valley's only touchdown, led the Spartans with 73 yards on 15 carries.
The Meteors controlled the ball for much of the second half, but penalties and a fumble prevented them from adding to their lead.
Montrose put three first downs together late in the game to run time off the clock.
"I felt like we controlled the game play-by-play," Keihl said, "but we lost two fumbles and had eight penalties.
"We had some plays that hurt us. We're trying to open up a little, but we don't have the kind of offense that can keep picking up second-and-15s."
Fortunately for the Meteors, they did show the kind of defense that could protect a one-touchdown lead for the entire second half.
With one win, the Meteors have already matched their season total from a year ago.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Susquehanna Sabers remained perfect under the lights at home.
In just the second home night game in school history, the Sabers roared out to a 37-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of a 43-6 non-league football win over Western Wayne.
Anthony Dorunda ran for three touchdowns and passed to Chad Norris for two to key the strong start.
It turned into a short night as the strong start by the Sabers meant that the entire second half was played under the Mercy Rule.
In professional football, Montrose graduate Chris Snee was in the starting lineup at right guard as he opened his third season with the New York Giants against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night.
Snee left the game with an apparent left ankle injury and did not play in the second. He has been a starter for all three seasons since being selected as a second-round draft pick out of Boston College.
In professional baseball, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons saw their final season as a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate end in disappointment.
Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins combined on a one-hitter Saturday to lead the Rochester Red Wings to a 2-0 victory over the Red Barons and a three games-to-one victory in the International League semifinal series.
The Red Barons had the league's best record in the regular season at 84-58.
In girls' soccer, Brittany Ely's hat trick led Montrose to a 3-0 victory over Western Wayne in the season opener.
Caitlin Ely made seven saves for the shutout.
In girls' tennis, Angie West won a second set tiebreaker at number-two singles to help Montrose to a 3-2 victory over Riverside.
Ashleigh Hinds rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 victory at first singles. Amanda Vaccaro-Emma Steed needed a tiebreaker in the first set to win at first doubles.
In field hockey, Montrose opened the season with a 2-0 victory over Hanover Area. Caitlyn Burnett and Christine Brown scored.
Brown scored again in a 2-1 overtime loss to Berwick.
Elk Lake opened its season by playing to a 2-2 tie with Tunkhannock. Emily Mitchell and Julianne Spadine scored in support of goalie Jessica Sekely, who had 17 saves.
In girls' cross country, Tara Chiarella finished second in a field of more than 160 runners at the Kirby Park Cross Country Invitational Saturday in Wilkes-Barre. Chiarella ran the 3.1-mile course in 19:52.
Laura Carden, a sophomore forward from Montrose, is a member of the field hockey team at Division II Mansfield University.
Carden appeared in nine games as a freshman, getting off one shot. She played in one game this season during Mansfield's 1-2 start.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Susquehanna will play its second and final home night football game of the season Friday against Bishop O'Hara.
Montrose is home the same night against North Pocono.
Our predictions last week were 8-3 (72.7 percent), putting our season record at 20-5 (80.0 percent).
This week's predictions with home team in CAPS: SUSQUEHANNA 34, Bishop O'Hara 27; North Pocono 27, MONTROSE 16; VALLEY VIEW 41, Mid Valley 7; HONESDALE 21, East Stroudsburg North 20; DELAWARE VALLEY 46, Pocono Mountain East 10; Carbondale 42, WESTERN WAYNE 6; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 27, Riverside 14; Scranton Prep 21, OLD FORGE 12; Scranton 20, EAST STROUDSBURG SOUTH 13; Lehighton 27, Wallenpaupack 7; ABINGTON HEIGHTS 14, Lakeland 3.
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 Has Championship Momentum, Loudon, NH – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Richard Childress Chevrolet is the hottest driver on the Nextel Cup circuit. He led 196 of the 300-lap Sylvania 300 for his fourth Cup win of the season.
Kevin Harvick celebrates his Sunday win at New Hampshire.
Harvick’s win moved him from third to the top in the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship. It is the first time in his career that he has led the Cup points.
Harvick started on the pole and was near the front throughout the race. There was a caution with nine laps to go that erased his two-second lead, but on the restart, he pulled away from the field to win by about ten car-lengths.
“It was a little bit tight in the beginning, but we made some really big adjustments,” said Harvick. “All in all I was worried about the 24 car all day.
“We’ve got the momentum. If we keep doing what we’re doing and winning races, we’re not going to get outscored in points. We know we’re going to have some bumps in the road, but we just have to score all we can when our car is really good.”
Tony Stewart, who is not in the Chase, passed Jeff Gordon for second with four laps remaining.
“This is the first time we’ve been on the outside of the Chase,” said Stewart. “I would have made this a two-race deal. I would have had the cars from 11th back run one race, and the Chase cars run another one.
“It is very nerve wracking to race those guys (Chase contenders) hard. You’re so timid around them. You make one little mistake around them and you will ruin their chance of making the championship.”
Jeff Gordon finished third.
“We were bad on restarts all day,” said Gordon. “Our car was set up for long runs. I’m happy. This is the way to start the Chase. We led some today and moved up, man, we’ll take a third like this anytime.”
Gordon’s third-place finish moved him up from ninth to fourth in points.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his team never got a handle on his car, and he was lucky to finish 13th.
“The car just would not work in the center of the corner,” said Dale Jr. “There at the end, it was a little worse. I want to win this (the championship) and today is really, really frustrating. We’re a better team than our finish showed today.”
The two big losers were Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. Both were victims of other drivers’ wrecks.
Johnson wound up 39th and dropped to ninth in points, while Busch is now 10th in points.
Top ten finishing order of Sylvania 300: 1. Kevin Harvick, 2. Tony Stewart, 3. Jeff Gordon, 4. Denny Hamlin, 5. Brian Vickers, 6. Elliott Sadler, 7. J.J. Yeley, 8. Dave Blaney, 9. Matt Kenseth.
Top-10 Chase contenders after one of 10 races: 1. Harvick-5230, 2. Hamlin-5195, 3. Kenseth-5189, 4. Gordon-5180, 5. Burton-5166, 7. Earnhardt-5149, 8. Kahne-5120, 9. Johnson-5091, 10. Busch-5084.
BENSON Gets Fourth Truck Victory – Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Bodine-2784, 2. Benson-2660, 3. Reutimann-2521, 4. Crawford-2469, 5. Starr-2450, 6. Musgrave-2450, 7. Hornaday-2371, 8. Sprague-2355, 9. Cook-2345, 10. Bliss-2316.
DALE JR. Was Very Busy This Past Week – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. dropped one spot in the Chase points, from sixth to seventh.
“That is what it is for, right?” Earnhardt Jr. said of the Chase. “To keep the fans interested. It is exciting as a driver to be a part of it. I know that sounds sort of cliché, but for me it is really exciting to be a part of it and I am glad (the) Chase is what it is.
“I don't want to be on the outside looking in too often. But being in the battle for a Chase spot has been a lot of fun for me.”
But the big question is, how do most Cup drivers find time to race?
While most big name Cup drivers are constantly moaning and groaning about demands made on their time, what they fail to say is most of their off time is spent on increasing the size of their bank account.
Dale Jr. arrived in Mobile, Alabama on Monday afternoon in his private jet and hosted a party of investors for his new $650-million Alabama Motorsports Park (www.alabamamotorsportspark.com). Bottles of $200 champagne flowed freely, as dignitaries and invited guests were treated to the best Omaha Prime Rib and fried shrimp.
Then on Tuesday, he held a press conference in downtown Mobile and announced plans to develop a D-shaped, 0.70-mile round track that will eventually seat 125,000 fans, plus three other tracks, an RV-park and other entertainment venues on 2,700 acres in south Alabama.
He failed to mention that his group plans to ask the State of Alabama and local governments to chip in around $300-million as “good faith,” and to insure that the project gets off the ground.
Earnhardt left Mobile Tuesday night and flew to New York City, where he was a guest on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Wednesday night. Thursday, he made the rounds of the New York early morning talk shows.
At least he got a break away from all the crowds this weekend past at New Hampshire.
Now you understand why Cup drivers are crying all the time.
The NASCAR Cup and Busch Series teams race at the one-mile Dover facility, while the Craftsman Trucks go west to Las Vegas.
Saturday, September 23, Busch Series Dover 200, race 29 of 35, 200 laps, 3 p.m. TV: TNT.
Craftsman Truck Series Smith Las Vegas 350k, race 19 of 25, 147 laps, 9 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Sunday, September 24, Nextel Cup Dover 400, race 28 of 36, 400 laps, 12:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: Which year did David Green win the Busch Series championship?
Last Week’s Question: How many Craftsman Truck teams does Bill Davis Racing operate? Answer: Bill Davis operates three Truck teams, driven by Mike Skinner, Bill Lester, and Johnny Benson.
If you have any NASCAR questions, e-mail them to: email@example.com.
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