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Susquehanna had more first downs, ran more plays for more yards and held the ball longer than visiting Riverside in Saturday's non-league game between Lackawanna Football Conference members.
Right from the start, however, the sloppiness of play made it into a game where none of those statistics would matter.
The most significant numbers in Riverside's 27-12 victory were the 26 penalties, 12 sacks and 10 turnovers that the teams combined for to keep either side from maintaining momentum.
The Vikings made the most of those turnovers and penalties while winning their second straight game.
Matt Talerico returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first quarter for a 14-0 lead. The Vikings took over the Susquehanna 10 following an interception midway through the fourth quarter and scored the game-breaking touchdown on the next play for a 27-6 lead.
Riverside's other two touchdowns came when drives were kept alive by fourth-down penalties, including 15 yards for illegal participation for a 12th man on the field on a punt.
The Sabers had to work for both of their scores.
Susquehanna took the second-half kickoff and went 73 yards in nine plays. Anthony Dorunda, who had a 26-yard run early in the drive, scored on an 11-yard run one play after he ran for a fourth-down conversion.
Cody Norris returned a kickoff 42 yards to set up a nine-play, 43-yard scoring drive that culminated in Dorunda's one-yard run with 2:52 remaining.
Dorunda carried five times for 32 yards in the drive and 21 times for 99 yards in the game.
Susquehanna was penalized 12 times for 98 yards while Riverside drew 14 flags for 113 yards. Two of the penalties nullified Riverside touchdowns.
Dorunda was 11-for-27 passing for 123 yards but was intercepted four times and lost a pair of fumbles.
The Sabers stayed in the game with a pass rush that hurried Justin Paroby into a 7-for-20 day with four interceptions.
Susquehanna had eight sacks for 42 yards in losses. Cody Kuiper had two of the sacks and assisted on another while Nick Ott and Craig Hubal each had two sacks.
Cameron Arthur had one sack and assisted on another while also making an interception. Dorunda and Cody Scepaniak had the other interceptions.
In a Friday night game, Montrose was also hurt by a sloppy effort as unbeaten Dunmore pulled away steadily in its 41-12 home-field win.
The Bucks scored their second touchdown in the opening minute of the second quarter, took a 21-0 lead at halftime and forced the game into the Mercy Rule when they scored for the fifth time on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Taylor Smith broke a 41-yard run and Jared Fowler returned a kickoff 79 yards for fourth-quarter scores for the Meteors (2-2).
A week after running for nearly 200 yards in a win over North Pocono, Smith managed 62 yards on 12 carries.
Fowler had 211 all-purpose yards. He caught three passes for 46 yards, returned five kickoffs for 166 yards (an average of 33.2) and lost a yard on his only carry.
The Meteors were held to negative yardage on their first four possessions, before driving from their 32 to the Dunmore 22 late in the half.
Montrose picked up three first downs in the drive, but was hurt by four penalties for 25 yards.
On the game, the Meteors were called for 13 penalties for 93 yards.
"Most of them weren't even aggressive penalties," Meteors coach Jack Keihl said.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Susquehanna's Dusty Barton was one of just six players to shoot in the 70s September 19 during the Lackawanna League's qualifier for the District 2 boys' golf tournament.
Barton shot 6-over-par, 78 at Elmhurst Country Club to finish in a three-way tie for third.
Matt Baker of Abington Heights was medalist with a 2-under-par, 70.
In girls' volleyball, Susquehanna remained unbeaten in league competition and advanced through two rounds to finish in the top half of the field at the 12-team Wyoming Valley West Tournament Saturday.
The Lady Sabers beat Dunmore in an exhibition and Forest City in a league match to improve to 6-0.
At the Wyoming Valley West Tournament, they split two games each with Pleasant Valley and Hazleton Area and won two games from the host Lady Spartans to finish 4-2 in pool play. Susquehanna lost a tiebreaker to Hazleton Area by one point to place second in the pool.
The Lady Sabers then defeated Blue Ridge in second-round competition before falling to Troy, 25-19, with a semifinal berth at stake.
"We got down, 10-5, and ended up getting back into it," Susquehanna coach Phil Baldwin said. "We were tied at one point. The girls played quite well."
In girls' cross country, Tara Chiarella finished third to help lead Montrose to a fifth-place finish in the Lackawanna County Commissioners Cross Country Invitational at McDade Park in Scranton.
In professional baseball, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons announced a new affiliation as the Class AAA farm club of the New York Yankees.
Robert Squier finished third out of 48 runners Saturday for Army during a tri-meet at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Squier, a junior from Elk Lake, led the way for a group of Army runners that competed in the event while another Army team was at Penn State's Spiked Shoe Invitational.
Squier had finished seventh among Army runners during a 21-39, season-opening loss to Cornell. His best finish a year ago was 14th overall in a dual meet with Navy.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Susquehanna and Montrose each face winless teams in high school football games Friday night.
The Sabers (1-3) are at Mid Valley while the Meteors (2-2) are home against Scranton Prep.
Our football predictions for last week were 9-1, bringing our season record to 35-12 (74.5 percent).
This week's predictions, with home teams in CAPS: MONTROSE 30, Scranton Prep 14; Susquehanna 34, MID VALLEY 20; Abington Heights 14, VALLEY VIEW 10; Delaware Valley 40, HONESDALE 6; Scranton 31, NORTH POCONO 14; WEST SCRANTON 27, Wallenpaupack 24; Dunmore 20, LACKAWANNA TRAIL 7; LAKELAND 14, Carbondale 13; RIVERSIDE 27, Old Forge 13; Bishop O'Hara 50, WESTERN WAYNE 12.
In high school golf, the District 2 tournament is scheduled for Tuesday, October 3 at Fox Hill CC in West Pittston.
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
BURTON Ends Winless Streak At Dover, Dover, DE – Jeff Burton ended his 176-race winless streak by out dueling Matt Kenseth in Sunday’s Dover 400. The win moved him to the top of the Chase points, and it marks the first time since 1999 that he has led the points.
Jeff Burton and former teammate Mark Martin at Dover.
Burton had caught Kenseth with about 20 laps remaining in the 400-lap race, but it took another 12 laps of hard racing before he could make the pass for the lead.
“It’s been a long time,” said Burton, whose last win came in 2001 at Phoenix. “It was a heck of a race. It was a hard race, but it was fun racing Matt. After I got by him, I think he ran out of fuel.
“The team is the one that has resurrected my career. They are the ones that brought me back into it. It has been a long time since we won, and I just felt like if we kept putting ourselves in the position to win, we would.
“We didn’t lead until the end, but we were there when we needed to be. It was the pit stops and strategy that won the race.
“We’ve got eight races to go, and we can’t lose our focus.”
Kenseth led the most laps (212), but ran out of fuel with less than two laps to go and finished tenth.
“I didn’t know that fuel was a consideration, but it was,” said Kenseth. “We didn’t come in when we got a caution with about 80 to go, because they said we were good to go. It was pretty frustrating, because I thought we had the best car.”
Kasey Kahne’s chances of winning this year’s championship have been killed. During lap 13, Tony Stewart spun in turn four and slid up the track into Kahne’s No. 9 Dodge. Kahne lost 102 laps while his team made repairs.
Polesitter Jeff Gordon finished third and moved to second in the Chase.
Two other Chase contenders, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch lost engines. Harvick dropped to fifth in points, while Busch is still mired back in tenth.
Top-10 Chase contenders after two of ten races: 1. Burton-5351, 2. J. Gordon-5345, 3. Kenseth-5333, 4. Hamlin-5333, 5. Harvick-5297, 6. Martin-5276, 7. Earnhardt-5249, 8. Johnson-5215, 9. Kahne-5169, 10. Kyle Busch-5127.
Unofficial top ten finishing order of Dover 400: 1. Jeff Burton, 2. Carl Edwards, 3. Jeff Gordon, 4. Kurt Busch, 5. Greg Biffle, 6. Martin Truex, 7. Bobby Labonte, 8. Clint Bowyer, 9. Denny Hamlin, 10. Matt Kenseth.
CHASE Doesn’t Favor The “Other Drivers” – Brian France came up with the 10-race, Chase for the Championship in 2004 as a way of drawing increased drama and attention to the series as NASCAR goes head-to-head with the NFL and college football.
It was never designed to promote the individual drivers, but the series as a whole.
“We would like to see the 400-point issue come into play,” said France. “I think it would be interesting. We always thought that more than 10 teams might get in, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
So, what happens to the other 33 drivers during a race? What’s in it for them and their sponsors? The answer is very little in the way of television exposure.
“NASCAR is all about winning,” said Ken Schrader, who is 29th in points. “You’ll still get talked about if you win a race, but it’s obvious the 10 (Chase) drivers are going to get the most exposure.”
Has the Chase worked? To an extent, yes.
As the series winds down its third season under the new format, there is much more driver focus on the top-10 drivers, but overall media attention, and television ratings haven’t increased.
What has decreased is the amount of television time the “also rans” and “less than championship caliber” teams receive during a Sunday telecast.
During each race, TNT announcers have a segment, called, “Through the Field.” They begin with the driver that is leading the race, and tell about his team, wins, etc. If a driver isn’t in the Chase, all he gets is an honorable mention.
Ask yourself this question: If you were a Fortune 500 Company, spending up to $20-million per year to sponsor a team, would you prefer to have your name and logo seen on television for 36 or 26 weeks?
The bottom line is that during the last 10 weeks of the season, drivers that don’t make the Chase aren’t going to receive much air time or mention by the broadcast announcers, unless they wreck.
NASCAR is working on models and different formats to see how the size of the playoff field could increase. France says he likes the idea of a “wildcard” team or teams.
“Everything we’ll be looking at has been brought up by various people in the last couple years,” continued France. “There’s no magic number, like 10 or 12.
“Maybe we can do things that give teams more opportunities to have big moments on a bigger stage. But we’ll be thinking about the overall picture and making sure that teams earn it.”
Kyle Petty says, in its current format, the Chase “doesn’t necessarily imply consistency.”
But what is needed is a consistent way for all teams to be recognized.
Meanwhile, the biggest rumor at Dover this past week is that the NASCAR Busch Series will have a new title sponsor in 2008.
NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter confirmed that 2007 is the final year of the existing contract between Anheuser-Busch and NASCAR, while stressing that discussions about the future are ongoing.
HARVICK Continues To Lead Busch Series – Top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Harvick-4625, 2. Edwards-3926, 3. Hamlin-3844, 4. Bowyer-3800, 5. Yeley-3696, 6. Menard-3409, 7. Kyle Busch-3383, 8. Biffle-3332, 9. Sauter-3097, 10. Sorenson-3086.
SKINNER Gets Las Vegas Truck Win – Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series drivers: 1. Bodine-2911, 2. Benson-2820, 3. Reutimann-2671, 4. Musgrave-2625, 5. Crawford-2590, 6. Starr-2553, 7. Hornaday-2531, 8. Bliss-2486, 9. Sprague-2479, 10. Cook-2460.
The Cup and Busch teams are at the 1.5-mile Kansas oval, while the Craftsman Trucks have the weekend off.
Saturday, September 30, Busch Series Yellow Transportation 300, race 30 of 35, 200 laps, 3 p.m. TV: TNT.
Sunday, October 1, Nextel Cup Banquet 400, race 29 of 36, 267 laps, 1:30 p.m. TV: NBC.
Racing Trivia Question: What is Cup driver Ryan Newman’s home town?
Last Week’s Question: Which year did David Green win the Busch Series championship? Answer. It was 1994.
If you have any NASCAR questions, e-mail them to: email@example.com.
SELINSGROVE – Amanda Fallon, Thompson, is a member of the 2006 cheerleading squad at Susquehanna University. The Susquehanna cheerleaders, skilled in dancing, gymnastics and stunting, are under the direction of head coach and Susquehanna graduate Jennifer Botchie. The 16-member squad performs at all home and away football games, and all home men’s and women’s basketball games.
Amanda, a junior biology major, is a 2004 graduate of Susquehanna Community High School. She is the the daughter of Mark and Lorie Fallon.
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