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Susquehanna’s dominance was so thorough and its defense was so stingy Saturday afternoon that even a few miscues along the way could not create much of a threat.
With quarterback Dan Kempa running for 248 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, the Sabers were able to pull away for a 34-0 non-league football victory over visiting Holy Cross.
“We bent but we did not break,” Susquehanna coach Dick Bagnall said of a defense that threw Holy Cross for losses 12 times, totaling 43 yards.
Offensively, the Sabers broke down at times, but continued to dent the Crusaders defense.
Susquehanna fumbled six times, losing two, and was stopped at the 1 twice, but still had plenty of offense left over.
The Sabers rushed for 356 yards, including 158 in the third quarter when they stretched a 7-0 halftime lead to 28-0.
“They came out in a 4-3 that we really weren’t prepared for,” said Bagnall, who celebrated his 60th birthday with his 151st career win. “ … We were able to adjust at halftime and came out with a little different set.
“We scored on the second play and were able to keep moving the ball.”
Susquehanna opened a 7-0 lead on its first possession when Kempa kept on an option right and went 55 yards for the score. He added the first of four straight extra-point kicks for a 7-0 lead with 5:34 left in the quarter.
Holy Cross moved inside the Susquehanna 20 on its next three possessions but could not score.
A penalty wiped out a play that would have moved the Crusaders from the 19 to the 1 late in the first quarter and Mark Wilchock followed with a sack.
The Crusaders got as far as the 13 early in the second quarter, but Chris Kimble stuffed a play for no gain which, along with another penalty and two incompletions, stopped another threat.
When the Sabers fumbled the ball right back at the 18, they needed a Nick Marco third-down sack to help preserve the lead.
Susquehanna dominated the next 16 minutes to put the game away. During that stretch, the Sabers had a 12-1 lead in first downs and a 242-60 advantage in total offense while scoring three touchdowns and getting to the 1 twice.
First, the Sabers drove 84 yards to end the half, only to have Kempa ruled down short of the goal line on a close call on the final play of the half.
Kempa carried the first 12 plays of the second half, including runs of 15 then 40 for the quick score 35 seconds into the third quarter. He had three more gains of at least 11 yards and another touchdown while gaining 123 yards during that time.
“That’s what the defense they were in was giving us,” Bagnall said. “I don’t hesitate calling the same play if it’s working.”
Jarrett Coleman forced a fumble that Brad Weaver recovered to set up an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Kempa went the final 3 yards for a 21-0 lead with 6:40 left in the third.
Weaver recovered another fumble at the Holy Cross 9, but the Sabers gave the ball right back when Kempa was ruled to have fumbled from the 1 on a ball the Crusaders covered in the end zone.
The Sabers turned to running backs John Salinkas and Nick Felter to move the ball in for the next score. Felter, who finished with 69 yards on 12 carries, took a reverse 13 yards for a touchdown and 28-0 lead in the final minute of the quarter.
Susquehanna then used four sacks and two other tackles for losses during the fourth quarter to complete the shutout.
Coleman led the defense with four tackles, six assists, a half a sack, another tackle for a loss and a forced fumble. Marco had two tackles, four assists, a fumble recovery and a broken-up pass in addition to his sack. Weaver had two tackles to go along with his two fumble recoveries.
Steven Skursky, Sean MacDonald, William Dolph, Eric Onyon, Garrett Cuevas and Kimble made tackles for losses along with Wilchock, Coleman and Marco.
Holy Cross finished with 45 yards on 28 carries and just 128 yards total offense. The Crusaders also lost four of six fumbles.
The last score came when freshman quarterback Cole Mallery passed 20 yards to Cooper Quick on a fourth-down play with 2:31 remaining.
Susquehanna improved to 2-1. Holy Cross is 1-2. The teams meet again in Dunmore later in the season in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division 3 contest.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Brian Morris carried 19 times for 223 yards and three touchdowns Friday night to lead unbeaten Old Forge to a 42-8 victory over Montrose.
The teams were scoreless after a quarter but the Blue Devils opened a 14-0 halftime lead and broke the game open from there.
Dalton Smith’s 59-yard kickoff return helped Montrose answer the first score of the second half and close within, 21-8, with 7:52 left in the third.
Malkolm Blackshear scored a pair of touchdowns, including a 66-yard punt return, to key a 28-point third quarter for the Blue Devils.
In high school field hockey, Elk Lake won back-to-back games over Berwick and Montrose to improve to 2-2.
The Lady Warriors broke a 21-game Wyoming Valley Conference losing streak dating back to an October 5, 2007 victory over Berwick.
In professional baseball, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees fell short of a repeat of their International League title when they scored just four runs while being swept by the Durham Bulls in three games in the Governors’ Cup final.
The Yankees lost a pair of 4-1 games in Durham.
The clincher came Thursday night in Moosic with a 3-2 loss in 12 innings.
In professional hockey, the Stanley Cup was on display in Wilkes-Barre when the defending National Hockey League champions came to the home of their top farm team for an intrasquad exhibition game Thursday.
Defenseman Alex Goligoski had a hat trick to lead the Black to a 3-2 win over the Gold before a sellout crowd at the Wachovia Arena.
“It was always loud to play in here and it was always a fun place to play,” Goligoski said. “It was no different tonight.”
Sidney Crosby assisted on Goligoski’s first goal with a cross-ice pass on the power play.
The Keystone College women’s soccer team is struggling with four straight losses to open the season while being outscored, 22-0, and outshot, 174-6.
Seleta Oakley, a freshman midfielder from Mountain View, has started all four games and supplied the team with almost all of its limited offense. Oakley has five of the team’s six shots, putting three of them on goal.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Montrose (1-2) moves into Lackawanna Football Conference Division 2 play with a game at Western Wayne (2-1) Friday night.
Susquehanna (2-1) continues with non-league action when it plays at defending Wyoming Valley Conference Class AA champion Wilkes-Barre GAR (2-1) Saturday at 1 on the turf at Meyers High School.
Last week’s high school football predictions were 11-1 (91.7 percent), including a perfect score for the third straight week with a prediction of Scranton Prep’s 34-6 win over Lackawanna Trail. Our season record is 31-8 (79.5 percent).
This week's predictions, with home team in CAPS: WESTERN WAYNE 44, Montrose 17; WILKES-BARRE GAR 29, Susquehanna 16; Abington Heights 32, WEST SCRANTON 7; North Pocono 27, WALLENPAUPACK 20; Scranton 47, HONESDALE 15; HAZLETON AREA 35, Delaware Valley 12; Dunmore 37, LAKELAND 10; Valley View 28, RIVERSIDE 3; OLD FORGE 37, Hanover Area 23; MID VALLEY 37, Nanticoke 0; Meyers 27, CARBONDALE 25; LAKE-LEHMAN 32, Lackawanna Trail 0; SCRANTON PREP 22, Tunkhannock 8; Holy Redeemer 24, HOLY CROSS 9.
In high school golf, Lackawanna League individuals will attempt to qualify for spots in the District 2 golf tournament Wednesday, beginning at 8 a.m. at Elmhurst Country Club.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Martin Is A Winner At New Hampshire
By Gerald Hodges; The Racing Reporter
LOUDON, N.H. - Mark Martin is off to a good start in this year’s Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship, after winning Sunday’s Sylvania 300, the first of 10 Chase races.
There were three late cautions and restarts, and each time, Martin pulled away from the other cars. The last restart came with just three laps remaining in the 300-lap race, and pitted Martin against the polesitter, Juan Montoya, who finished third.
“Alan Gustafson (Martin’s crew chief) is the man,” said Martin. “He’s the one that won this race. This is a dream come true. Pinch me, I’m sure I’m sleeping.”
Mark Martin wins at New Hampshire.
It was Martin’s fifth win of the season, and he now has a 35-point lead in Chase points.
Denny Hamlin, last week’s winner at Richmond passed Montoya on the last lap to finish second.
“We had a good car and several times, we were as good as Mark, but he drove a great race,” said Hamlin.
Montoya appeared to be sore after not gaining the lead from Martin on the last restart.
“Uh, it was good, but Martin just screwed me on the restart. He stopped his car on the apex and I liked to have run into him. I have no idea. I could have pushed him out of the way.
“Next time I don’t know, maybe I won’t wreck him, but I will push him out of the way.”
Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Greg Biffle, and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Tony Stewart developed a loose wheel midway of the race, and had a lengthy pit stop while crewmembers replaced a wheel-stud. He wound up 14th.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was running fourth with 18 laps to go, when David Reutimann slipped and bumped Earnhardt’s No. 88.
“The 00 (Reutimann) got loose in the corner and came up into the side of my car, knocking me into the wall,” said Earnhardt. “We had a good car, but when you’re racing hard, that’s going to happen.”
Earnhardt finished 35th.
Jeff Gordon was not able to run with the leaders and finished 15th.
Carl Edwards did lead a few laps, but he had handling problems late in the race and finished 16th.
Kasey Kahne only completed 66 laps and dropped to 12th in the Chase.
Chase contenders after 1 of 10: 1. Martin-5230, 2. Johnson-5195, 3. Hamlin-5195, 4. Montoya-5175, 5. Kurt Busch-5165, 6. Stewart-5156, 7. Newman-5151, 8. Vickers-5140, 9. Biffle-5138, 10. J. Gordon-5128, 11. Edwards-5120, 12. Kahne-5069.
KYLE BUSCH WINS NEW HAMPSHIRE TRUCK RACE
Top-10 Truck leaders after 19 of 25; 1. Hornaday-3055, 2. Crafton-2838, 3. Skinner-2809, 4. Scott-2608, 5. Braun-2515, 6. Bodine-2480, 7. Sauter-2452, 8. Crawford-2441, 9. Starr-2434, 10. Compton-2423.
BRIAN VICKERS IS ALREADY A WINNER
Brian Vickers rallied from 17th and 193 points out of 12th, to make this year’s 12-driver Chase. During the last race before the chase, Vickers gained the 12th-position by just eight points over Kyle Busch.
Vickers only win came at Michigan International Speedway last month.
“Running like that, you’re just constantly pushing yourself - it can be exhausting at times,” Vickers said. “The guys at the shop [are] always just pushing, pushing [and] pushing, working long hours. We’ve just got to learn to pace ourselves and make sure that we can continue that for the next nine races.
“We’ve been preparing, we’ve been building cars. In a lot of ways, we’ve been preparing as much or more than they have because we already were in the Chase. We’ve been pushing hard and working long hours and building cars already, and we’re going to roll that right into the Chase.”
While the team is tired, Vickers said not only will momentum help the team but the desire to achieve will carry them through the Chase.
“That [competitive] fire is going to outweigh the fact that we’re exhausted,” Vickers said. “Of course everyone’s exhausted. We are, but everyone in this sport is. This is a very long season. We have one of the longest seasons of any sport, and it’s draining.
“But you’ve got to want it. You’ve got to want it bad, and I know we do.”
IS STEWART SWEET ON DANICA PATRICK
There has been lots of talk about Indy-star, Danica Patrick joining a NASCAR team. Two weeks ago, Roger Penske, who fields three Cup team’s said he could not fit her into his organization.
Last week Tony Stewart discussed the upcoming Chase for the Cup on the Dan Patrick Show, and also the possibility on whether he will ask Patrick to join his team next year.
Dan asked Stewart if he had plans to hire Danica Patrick as a driver for the 2010 season.
“I have not made her an offer,” Stewart said. “The one thing I have done is spend some time talking to her.”
Stewart said that the two of them have discussed the possibility of her joining his organization, but he thinks she should start in the Nationwide Series instead of Sprint Cup.
Since Stewart doesn’t have a Truck Series of Nationwide Series team, that might be a problem.
Hey Tony, go ahead and hire her. If it doesn’t work out, do what Ray Evernham did with his former driver, Erin Crocker. Marry her. You could do lots worse.
Weekend Racing: The Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams are at Dover for their second event of the year. The Camping World Trucks go west to Las Vegas.
Sat., Sept. 26, Nationwide Series Dover 200, race 28 of 35; Starting time: 3 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.
Sat., Sept. 26, Camping World Las Vegas 350, race 20 of 25; Starting time: 9 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed.
Sun, Sept. 27, Sprint Cup Dover 400, race 28 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. (EDT); TV: ABC.
Racing Trivia Question: Which driver has the most Nationwide Series wins?
Last Week’s Question: Who was the youngest NASCAR driver to win a Cup championship? Answer. Bill Rexford, the 1950 champion. He was 23 at the time.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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