Please visit our kind sponsor
Coaches of two of Susquehanna County's most successful fall sports programs have stepped down.
Dick Bagnall and Darin Bain, who each led their programs to the county's only state semifinal berths in their respective sports, will not be back next season.
For Bagnall, it is his second retirement as Susquehanna football coach. Bain, who guided Mountain View to its best boys' soccer season ever in 2006, acknowledges that it could be the first of two times that he leaves coaching.
Both coaches cited family reasons as part of the reason for leaving.
"It wasn't something that was spur of the moment," said Bagnall, 57, who is already retired as a science teacher. "I told my assistants during the season that I was not coming back.
"I have other priorities now. I saw my grandson in Baltimore for the first time since July last weekend."
Bain found immediate success as a soccer coach, but he knew early this season that it was time to walk away.
"I didn't announce it to the kids until after the (regular) season," Bain said. "I have an 18-month old son. I want to take some time off until he gets bigger."
Bagnall went 144-103-3 in 24 seasons as head coach of the Sabers. He took the team to two straight state playoff berths, including the 1994 semifinals.
With the program going through serious struggles, Bagnall came out of retirement midway through the 2004 season. In 2005, he guided the team to the end of its 34-game losing streak with the first of four wins. The 2006 team struggled again, going just 1-9.
Bagnall was involved in the Susquehanna football program for a total of 36 years, counting time as a head coach, assistant coach or athletic director.
"I put my time in," he said. "Football has been good for me. I enjoyed it."
Bain was hired as Mountain View coach while serving as a long-term substitute at Blue Ridge, shortly before also landing a teaching position at his alma mater. In 13 seasons, he went 150-82-7, including a school-best 19-4-1 record this season when the Eagles won Division I of the Lackawanna League and their third straight District 2 Class A title.
It was under Bain's guidance that the Mountain View program moved up to play against the larger schools in the Lackawanna's top division.
"If we were ever going to do something on the state level and go any further, we had to play better competition," Bain said. "Every time the question came up about reconfiguring the league, I begged and begged to move up."
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins came into Saturday night leading the American Hockey League East Division while the Binghamton Senators were settled in last place.
Therefore, it was not much of a surprise when the Penguins opened a pair of four-goal leads early in the game.
The surprising part happened next.
The Senators rallied and wound up posting a 6-5 win in a shootout.
Danny Bois scored goals 2:08 apart in the second period to start the comeback.
The Senators then added power-play goals by Charlie Cook with two seconds left in the second and by Grant Potulny early in the third period to force a tie.
Following a scoreless five-minute, sudden-death overtime period, Binghamton won the shootout, 3-2.
Rob Schremp and Tyler Kennedy scored on the first two tries for the Penguins, but Kelly Guard stopped the next three.
Ryan Vesce, Josh Hennessy and Jeff Heerema scored on Binghamton's first three chances.
The Penguins scored on four of their first six shots to knock starting goalie Jeff Glass out of the game.
In high school football, games at Old Forge present a different type of challenge.
A group of Old Forge "adults" positions itself at the fence just a few yards away from the visiting team and spends the night heckling and taunting opposing players and coaches.
Old Forge fans paid the price for taunting one opponent Friday night when the state Class A playoffs opened against four-time state champion Southern Columbia in Dunmore.
University of Pittsburgh recruit Henry Hynoski, the son of a former National Football League player by the same name, was greeted by a giant banner reading "Henry Who?"
Hynoski proceeded to show Old Forge why he is one of the 10-most productive high school running backs in state history.
The Blue Devils managed to bring Hynoski down just six times while he was rushing for 214 yards. Three of Hynoski's nine carries resulted in touchdowns that sparked a 48-0 rout.
The game was played under the Mercy Rule from the first minute of the second half on.
Losses by Old Forge and West Scranton, which fell, 40-28, to Pottsville in a state Class AAA game, left Lakeland as the last team standing from District 2.
Lakeland took the District 2 Class AA championship from Wyoming Area, 26-21.
The Chiefs used a strong running game to win the district title.
Randy Nichols and Anthony Besten each ran for more than 100 yards and a touchdown while Craig Chopko ran for two second-half touchdowns to lead the Chiefs. Besten, the quarterback, went 76 yards for the touchdown that proved to be the winner.
Tony Rezykowski and Matt Hornak are back as starters for the College Misericordia men's basketball team.
Rezykowski, a 6-foot-2 senior guard from Elk Lake, already has earned three letters. He was second on the team a year ago with a 13.2 points per game average.
Hornak, a 6-foot-5 senior forward from Montrose, has earned two letters. He was second on the team last season with 26 blocked shots.
Misericordia is off to a 1-2 start. After beating Penn State-Hazleton, 69-59, to open the season, the Cougars lost, 55-52, to Baptist Bible College in the Laurel Line Tournament championship game.
The University of Scranton spoiled Misericordia's home opener, 57-48.
Hornak scored five points to get Misericordia out to a 7-0 lead against Scranton.
Rezykowski leads the team with 12 assists and shares the lead with seven steals, but is off to a tough start shooting. He is averaging 6.0 points while going 7-for-28 from the floor, 2-for-11 on 3-pointers and 2-for-5 at the line.
Hornak leads the team in rebounds (8.3 per game), also has seven steals and is tied for second with 11.7 points per game. He is 14-for-29 from the floor, including a team-best 6-for-13 on 3-pointers.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Lakeland meets District 11 champion Wilson Area in the state quarterfinals Saturday at 1 at Bethlehem.
Last week's football predictions were 3-0, bringing our playoff record to 14-5 (73.7 percent) and our season record to 100-26 (79.4 percent).
This week's prediction is: Wilson Area 16, Lakeland 7.
In the American Hockey League, the Binghamton Senators host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the second straight Saturday night.
In high school sports, the winter season opens Friday with many basketball teams in action in non-league play.
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
Lots Of Teams And Drivers Say Farewell – While Jimmie Johnson will be touring New York City this week as the Nextel Cup champion, several other teams and drivers said goodbye after the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Mark Martin has left the No. 6 team.
Despite the accolades and big money he will receive for winning this year’s championship, Johnson appears rather humble.
“Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and a lot of the guys in the Chase taught me a lot this year,” said Johnson. “I have a ton of respect for all those guys. Tony Stewart was a big help to me at Phoenix and Homestead. And my teammates Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Casey Mears, and Brian Vickers were also a lot of help.
“One of the things I am most proud of is how this Lowe's team never gave up even when things were looking pretty bleak. I think we knew in our hearts we could do this. We just had some bad luck in the beginning. We knew this team was capable of winning a championship. We just needed some luck. Some guys had some back luck and that allowed us to get back into it too.”
Meanwhile, Casey Mears, Brian Vickers, Mark Martin, Travis Kvapil, and Dale Jarrett all have said farewell to their 2006 teams.
Vickers is leaving the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to drive for Michael Waltrip, and will be replaced by Casey Mears.
Martin is leaving the No. 6 car after spending 19 years with Jack Roush. He will drive a part-time Cup schedule with Ginn Racing, along with several Truck races for the Wood Bros., if they can line up a sponsor.
Jarrett, who won the 1999 Winston Cup championship with Robert Yates is moving over to Waltrip Racing and taking his sponsor, UPS with him.
Meanwhile Yates said that his two-car team will return intact in 2007 after he secured a sponsor for the No. 88 last week.
“I can tell you that we are good to go,” Yates said. “To sum it up, we have sponsorship for both cars; the Nos. 38 and 88. All the scenarios, we can push away now and concentrate and focus on winning races.”
Yates didn't give a timetable for finding a driver to fill the seat of the 88 car, only saying that he had several candidates.
The news nearly completes a tumultuous year for Yates, after losing Elliott Sadler to Evernham Motorsports. That left Jarrett to finish the season with Sadler's replacement, David Gilliland.
Gilliland will drive Yates’ No. 38 Ford in 2007, and Yates will also continue to field a full-time Busch car with Stephen Leicht as his driver.
“You first have to have what it takes to race and then we have some wonderful opportunities there, but that's not determined,” Yates said. “I can tell you that we're wide open and that's what we're going do next season. We're in business so we're happy.”
Yates won his only Cup championship with Jarrett in 1999.
PPI Motorsports, who ran the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet, will close up shop after the 2006 season. The pit crew has been hired by Michael Waltrip Racing and most of the team/crew at the shop has been laid off. Driver Travis Kvapil, will move to a Roush Racing Truck in 2007. Sponsor Tide is leaving after this season and word is that they will not be back in NASCAR as a sponsor.
A couple years ago, many fans were ready to write Richard Childress Racing off their list of winning Cup teams. Kevin Harvick, driver of the RCR No. 29, was even considering jumping ship.
But all that has changed.
Harvick decided to stay and finished fourth in this year’s Nextel Cup Chase. In addition, Harvick won his second Busch Series title in the No. 21 RCR Chevrolet.
Jeff Burton, driver of the RCR No. 31 Cingular Chevrolet led the Chase for two weeks, before experiencing engine problems that relegated him to seventh in the final Chase standings.
Clint Bowyer, the third RCR driver finished a respectable 17th in the points.
THE CHASE Needs More Action – The Chase for the Nextel Cup championship was designed three years ago by Brian France, to create added interest among fans as the season wound down. The first season turned out pretty good, but the past two endings have failed miserably, because there was no drama.
While everyone in the media center at Homestead-Miami knew that Jimmie Johnson was hoping to win his first championship, a lot of the attention on Saturday was focused on the football game between Ohio State and the Michigan Wolverines.
The game was so good that even a big screen in an all-NASCAR, media room was switched to it.
That’s not supposed to happen in a NASCAR facility.
Johnson came in with a 63-point lead, but his biggest challenge was avoiding a spring that fell off Kurt Busch's Dodge early in the race.
All during the race, drivers backed off and gave Johnson room to move. Teammate Jeff Gordon occasionally slipped up behind Johnson, to protect his backside.
But there was a feeling of anxiety before the race started.
In an ESPN interview, France ripped a USA Today story that attempted to measure Nextel Cup's season-long decline in television ratings and attendance. He also criticized the timing of the story, but what's the newspaper to do if there is a newsworthy story?
France has discounted the TV ratings, saying NBC has not promoted the series enough during 2006. NASCAR does not release attendance figures, but TV ratings do give a pretty accurate picture of fan reaction.
France has promised to take another look at the Chase Format during the off season, and maybe in 2007 NASCAR will figure out a way to add a little more excitement to the end the season.
WEEKEND TELEVISION SCHEDULE
Friday, December 1, the Nextel Cup Awards Ceremony will again take place at the Waldorf Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, which first hosted the ceremony in 1981. The activities will begin at 9 p.m. on TNT.
The following week, on December 8 and Dec. 10, the champions of the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be held in Orlando, Fla.
Racing Trivia Question: Where is Kasey Kahne’s hometown?
Last Week’s Question: Which series will Travis Kvapil race in next season? Answer. He will be driving a Roush Ford in the Craftsman Truck Series.
If you have any NASCAR questions, e-mail them to: email@example.com.
NOTE: The following was submitted by a local Cardinals Baseball Team fan which we thought was both humorous and worth passing on.
The 2006 World Series between the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals and the American League Champion Detroit Tigers is reminiscent of the 1934 Series, when the same two teams met, also with the opening two games in Detroit. But there is a probable difference.
At about the same time in 1934, a delegation of high-level officials from the Vatican was expected to arrive for some sort of conference.
The mayor’s office, ever mindful of the next election, ordered the police to provide an honor guard for the arriving Cardinals.
Since the mayor’s order was not more specific, guess which “arriving Cardinals” got the honor guard?
Leo Durocher and the rest of the St. Louis team may have thought they were being “busted.” Their reputation as the “Gas House Gang” being what it was, the possibility would not have been totally far-fetched.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe