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Susquehanna football coach Dick Bagnall will make his debut as head coach of the Dream Game when the Scranton Lions Club-sponsored all-star football game is played for the 75th time July 29 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Bagnall will coach the City team against the County in the game for graduating high school players.
The veteran coach served as assistant to Mike Hemak during a City loss in 1974, but has not been back. During much of the time in between his Dream Game coaching assignments, schools from outside Lackawanna County were not included in the game.
Bagnall was the winning coach in the Suburban Football Conference All-Star Game, which has since disbanded, during his only two all-star head coaching assignments in 1978 and 1993. He also has experience as an assistant coach in the Big 33 Football Classic.
The two-week preparation time with players from many different schools is likely to reduce the amount of option offense that Bagnall is able to employ in the game. Variations of the option, including the split-back veer, have been a big part of Bagnall’s 149 career wins, all as coach of the Sabers.
“We’ll probably use more ‘I’ than split backs,” Bagnall said. “With 10 practices, it’s hard to teach some kind of read, unless the kids you have at quarterback have some kind of experience with it in their high school career.”
Bagnall will have four quarterbacks to work with - Dunmore’s Miller Holmes, North Pocono’s Nick Raven, Scranton’s Brian Dunleavy and Scranton Prep’s Matt McGrath.
Honesdale’s John Marichak will coach the County team.
Three players from Susquehanna County have been selected to play for the City team. Lineman Tim Gall of Susquehanna will join Andy Burgh and Kyle Bonnice, a pair of wide receiver/defensive backs from Montrose.
“The kids that we’ve sent down there have done well,” Bagnall said. “Tim is a smart kid. He knows the plays, he knows what he has to do.
“He’s a solid football player. He’s not a college football player like some of the kids in the game are, but if he plays his game, he’ll be fine.”
Bagnall’s coaching staff will consist primarily of assistants from Susquehanna, but he has added others for the all-star game.
John Salinkas, Bob Goodrich, Mike Marino, Joe Kempa, Carl Zukus and Mark Willchock will assist with the game.
Former Susquehanna superintendent Bill Stracka, who was an assistant at Dunmore under coach Jack Henzes prior to becoming an administrator, will coach in the game.
Jerry Boyarsky, a former Lakeland and University of Pittsburgh lineman, will bring National Football League experience to the staff.
The limited number of Class A teams from District 2 means the local district gets just one team in the state softball tournament.
The number of qualifiers is consistent with Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association policies in other sports, but it has been clear the last two seasons that the district has featured two of the best small-school teams in Pennsylvania who were both worthy of a shot in the state tournament.
It is not a stretch to think that two of the state’s best five Class A teams were going at it in the District 2 final each of the past two seasons. That is particularly evident after viewing state tournament results.
Old Forge needed a run in the seventh inning to beat Blue Ridge, 1-0, in the 2008 final. This year, the teams went eight innings before Old Forge again stopped Blue Ridge, 3-2.
The Lady Devils then went out in the state tournament this year and won twice on perfect games by Jess Armillay before losing, 1-0, in the state final to Curwensville, which has claimed two of the last three state titles.
Armillay had retired 54 straight, including 31 by strikeout, before Curwensville struck for its only run in the fourth inning of the state final.
Lackawanna League teams in particular have been successful in the state tournament since the start of the new millennium.
The league has had seven state finalists and nine state semifinalists since 2000.
Blue Ridge leads the way with Class A titles in 2004 and 2006 along with a second-place finish in 2002.
Valley View on in Class AA in 2000 and Bishop O’Hara won in Class A the following year.
Lakeland was second in Class AA in 2006.
Abington Heights reached the Class AAA semifinal in 2007 and Old Forge got that far last year before losing. In all, the league has had five teams reach at least the semifinals in the last four years.
The Lackawanna League and District 2 had long been non-factors in the state baseball title races, but that has changed in the last four years, including the 3-2 victory by Abington Heights over Chartiers Valley in this season’s Class AAA final.
District 2 was just 1-3 in state finals from 1977 to 2005, but is 3-0 in the last four years.
Delaware Valley beat Manheim Township, 9-1, in the 2006 Class AAAA final. Berwick beat Somerset, 6-2, in the Class AAA final in 2008.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Kahne Is Sonoma Road Course Winner
SONOMA, Calif. - Kasey Kahne survived four double-file restarts against Tony Stewart, including a green/white/checkered one to win Sunday’s Toyota SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway.
The win was the tenth of his career, but the first on a road course. His previous best finish at Infineon was 23rd in 2007.
Kasey Kahne, Sunday's road course winner at Sonoma.
“I learned to drive on dirt, and to win on a road course is great,” said Kahne. “Stewart is as good as they get and I was able to get away from him four or five times. The caution kept coming out, but we were able to hold him off.”
The win was the first for Richard Petty’s new company, Richard Petty Racing. All three of their drivers (Kahne, AJ Allmendinger, and Elliott Sadler) finished in the top-10.
“I’m as happy as he (Kahne) is,” said Petty. “This is our first win and it’s just great.”
Tony Stewart’s second place finish allowed him to increase his points lead over Jeff Gordon, who finished ninth.
“Kasey drove an awesome race today,” said Stewart. “He just didn’t make any mistakes and that’s what it takes to win a race like this. We were probably as good as he was, but I was never able to get in a position to make a pass.”
Marcos Ambrose, who had to start from the 41st position, came in third.
“We just never gave up,” said Ambrose. “When you’re up there in that rare air with those kinds of drivers you don’t want to slip up. We had a heap of fun, and I just hope this gives me some job security.”
The remaining top-10 drivers were: Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Juan Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, and Elliott Sadler.
Polesitter Brian Vickers was 16th.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. never had the car to run up front. He finished 26th.
Top-12 Chase contenders after 16 of 26: 1. Stewart-2364, 2. J. Gordon-2280, 3. Johnson-2207, 4. Kurt Busch-2084, 5. Edwards-2051, 6. Newman-2046, 7. Hamlin-2009, 8. Biffle-1992, 9. Kyle Busch-1962, 10. Kenseth-1957, 11. Martin-1926, 12. Montoya-1917.
EDWARDS GETS FIRST NATIONWIDE WIN OF SEASON
WEST ALLIS, Wis. - Carl Edwards made the trip from Infineon Raceway in California worthwhile on Saturday night, winning the Nationwide Series race at the Milwaukee Mile.
Edwards left Infineon earlier in the day, where he practiced his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, to race at Milwaukee. Having to start at the rear of the field, Edwards tiptoed through the field early in the race.
After Kyle Busch, led for numerous laps, Edwards chased him down and made the pass for the lead on lap 205 of the 250-lap race.
Despite two caution periods in the final 50 laps, Edwards easily pulled away to his first Nationwide victory of the season. He also repeated as the 2008 Milwaukee race winner.
“It seems like almost every week, we're getting faster and faster,” Edwards said. “It's really cool to get that first win. Hopefully, it kicks off the rest of the season like it did last year.”
Edwards' 2008 win at Milwaukee kicked off an impressive second-half run where he won seven of the final 19 races. Can he do it again this season?
“We could go win every race,” Edwards continued. “That's how we try to approach them. As good as last season ended, it didn't get good until a year ago tonight. All my guys are aware of that, I was aware of that. People were mentioning that to me as I was getting in the car: 'Hey, do you remember last year?' I thought, 'Boy, if we could do that again and get it going, there's no reason we can't have the same success.'”
Top-10 leaders after 15 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-2391, 2. Edwards-2264, 3. Keselowski-2173, 4. Leffler-2127, 5. Logano-1860, 6. Bliss-1745, 7. Gaughan-1744, 8. Allgaier-1740, 9. Keller-1716, 10. S. Wallace-1693.
HORNADAY TAKES MILWAUKEE TRUCK RACE
Ron Hornaday Jr. dominated the rescheduled Camping World Truck Series race to win on his 51st birthday, Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile.
Top-10 leaders after 10 of 25: 1. Hornaday-1518, 2. Crafton-1482, 3. Bodine-1430, 4. Skinner-1429, 5. Starr-1317, 6. Malsam-1303, 7. Scott-1293, 8. Cook-1291, 9. Crawford-1267, 10. Setzer-1261.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE ROAD COURSE SPECIALISTS
Have the days of the road course specialist in NASCAR come and gone?
During each of the two yearly NASCAR road course races, several teams enlist the services of so-called “road course racers.” But just how effective are these drivers? In recent years no “specialist” has won a NASCAR event. Each year, NASCAR regulars fare much better than the outside hired guns.
Jeff Gordon leads the list of NASCAR’s all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winners on road courses with nine victories – four at Watkins Glen International and five at Infineon Raceway.
Tony Stewart is tied with four other drivers - all oval track aces - at second with six triumphs. Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace also have five road- course triumphs.
In the 1960’s, Formula One driver Dan Gurney had five victories at the old Riverside (California) track, but the last Cup non-regular to win in the series was Mark Donohue, also at Riverside in 1973.
In recent years, many drivers with road-racing roots have turned their attention to full-time NASCAR racing with good results.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Speed raced in Formula One. Robby Gordon and AJ Allmendinger were winners in Champ Car, while Max Papis (No. 13 GEICO Toyota) was a Grand-Am Rolex Series champion.
Veteran road racers Boris Said, Ron Fellows, Max Papis, and Patrick Carpentier were among the hired guns that qualified for Sunday’s ToyotaSaveMart 350.
Carpentier’s 11th-place finish was the best at Infineon of the four drivers.
The Cup and Nationwide teams will be at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Speedway, while the Camping World Trucks travel to the .75-mile Memphis Motorsports Park.
Sat., June 27, Nationwide Series World RV Rental 200, race 16 of 35; Starting time: 2:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.
Sat., June 27, Camping World Series O’Reilly 200, race 11 of 25; Starting time: 5:30 p.m.; TV: Speed Channel.
Sun., June 28 Sprint Cup Lenox Industrial Tools 300, race 17 of 36; Starting time: 12:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: Who is the driver of the Sprint Cup No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet?
Last Week’s Question: Where is Joey Logano’s home town? Answer. He currently lives in North Carolina, but was born in Middletown, Connecticut
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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