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SCRANTON - An early deficit did not change the emphasis of the City attack in Wednesday night’s Dream Game.
The City, guided by Montrose coach Jack Keihl, took a patient approach to gaining control of the game, recovering from a County score after just 3:34 to post a 34-7 victory in the Scranton Lions Club-sponsored football all-star game.
All-state running backs Joe DeFebo of Wallenpaupack and Michael Perry of Dunmore each surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark on successive carries during the City’s first possession of the second half.
“They did a great job with that,” said Jeff Wasilchak, the County coach from Lakeland. “There was not much we could do.”
Keihl tried to be prepared in other areas, but an offensive line performance that included center Bryan Castrogiavanni of Montrose and tight end Chris Kimble of Susquehanna, made sure the City was able to emphasize the efforts of its top athletes.
“When you’re going through the two weeks of practice, you do everything you have to do,” Keihl said. “We worked on special teams and spent time on our defense and throwing the ball.
“But we knew when you have the best two running backs the area has seen for a long time, that you’re going to highlight them.”
That became clear after Ryan Kiehart passed seven yards to Lakeland teammate Tony Peregrin for a touchdown on the first County possession for a 7-0 lead with 8:26 left in the first quarter.
DeFebo and Perry, who alternated at tailback throughout all but one series, took turns on the next seven carries and on 10 of the next 11 City plays to set up a 37-yard field goal by Dunmore’s Shawn Dente.
“That was part of our game plan,” Perry said. “We switched and rotated off and on.
“Coach Keihl said we would win with our line and we did. We really shut them down on offense and our line controlled their defense.”
The tailback rotation allowed the City to hold the ball for more than 16 of the 24 minutes in the first half, including a 15:10-5:16 advantage after the County touchdown.
“We knew if we could get the offensive line to do what it needed, they would show what they can do,” said Keihl, who became confident that would happen after a physically challenging practice eight days before the game. “That good a running back doesn’t need 20 carries to establish himself. He needs one.”
Each player carried only twice in the second half after DeFebo ran for 54 yards in the first quarter and Perry ran for 62 in the second to help the City pile up 194 of his 306 rushing yards by halftime.
DeFebo, who is headed to Division II Kutztown University, went over 2,000 yards rushing in a season twice at Wallenpaupack. He finished with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Perry, who is headed to Division I Bryant College, ran for 6,661 career yards at Dunmore where he played in a state title game as a sophomore. He also started on defense and averaged 10 yards while carrying 11 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Dunmore’s Tim Brier recovered a fumble to set up a 2-yard run by DeFebo for a 10-7 City lead with 11:33 left in the half.
Perry’s 49-yard burst set up DeFebo’s 6-yard touchdown with 1:08 left in the half.
The lead grew to 20-7 on a 39-yard Dente field goal in the third quarter then the City scored touchdowns 1:50 apart early in the fourth quarter.
North Pocono’s Nick Batzel went over the top from a yard out.
West Scranton’s Austin Eltora then returned an interception 68 yards and Perry closed the scoring from the 5 on the next play.
Montrose’s Rob Volk started at quarterback and was running the team for all three first-half scores. He was 1-for-8 passing with an interception and a nine-yard completion to Delaware Valley’s Damara Roulhac.
Teammate Dalton Smith contributed in the secondary with three tackles an assist and a broken-up pass.
In addition to his blocking work with Kimble, Castrogiavanni assisted on one tackle.
The win allowed the City to even the series at 36-36-4. It was also the first head coaching win in the series by a Susquehanna County coach. Susquehanna’s Mike Hemak (1974) and Dick Bagnall (2009) were each on the losing side as City coaches.
The game drew a paid crowd of 8,127.
Jody Stanley of New Milford won two gold medals in track and field at the Keystone State Games, which ended July 25 in York.
Stanley won twice in the 45-49 age group. He took the long jump at 16-1 and won unopposed in the triple jump at 30-3 1/2.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Biffle Brings Ford To Victory Lane
POCONO, Penn - Greg Biffle, who hadn’t won a Cup race since 2008 took Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 to give Ford its first win of the season.
“It was the engine,” said Biffle, who finished nearly 4-seconds ahead of runner-up Tony Stewart. “The engine was so strong. The car wasn’t too good early on, but the team never gave up.
“It’s been tough getting this win.”
Greg Biffle winner of Sunday's Cup race at Pocono.
A wreck involving the No. 2 driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 19 of Elliott Sadler brought out a red flag with 35 laps remaining in the 200-lap race.
It apparently was triggered by Jimmie Johnson who was attempting to bump draft off the rear of Kurt Busch.
“He (Johnson) just drove straight into the rear of my car,” said Busch.
Both cars were completely totaled. The motor of Sadler’s No. 19 was knocked completely out and came to rest about one hundred feet from where his car stopped.
“It knocked the breath out of me,” said Sadler, after being released from the infield care center. “That’s the hardest hit I’ve ever experienced.”
NASCAR stopped the race for over 20 minutes for cleanup crews to remove the debris and dirt from the track.
All the cars pitted for fresh tires and fuel. Biffle’s team elected to put on only two fresh ones, while several others took four. Biffle returned to the track in the second spot.
There were 22-laps left when green flag racing resumed. Sam Hornish was the leader, followed by Biffle, Mark Martin, and Carl Edwards.
Biffle quickly got by Hornish and began to distance himself from the the rest of the field.
“The team did an awesome job getting us out of the pits on the last stop as the first car with four tires,” said Stewart. “No way we could catch Biffle. Maybe in another 15 or 20 laps. He was just too strong.”
Carl Edwards finished a strong second in another Ford.
“It’s been a long day,” said Edwards. “We picked up some points today, and hopefully we can make a good run for the Chase.”
Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Martin Truex, and Jimmie Johnson were the remaining top-10 finishers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 23rd.
Top-15 Chase drivers. Only 12 will be eligible for the 10-race Chase which begins in four more races. 1. Harvick-3080, 2. J. Gordon-2891, 3. Hamlin-2820, 4. Johnson-2803, 5. Burton-2757, 6. Kyle Busch-2724, 7. Kurt Busch-2722, 8. Stewart-2719, 9. Kenseth-2682, 10. Edwards-2666, 11. Biffle-2652, 12. Bowyer-2564, 13. Martin-2530, 14. Earnhardt-2435, 15. Newman-2426
KYLE BUSCH GETS NINTH NATIONWIDE WIN
Kyle Busch won his ninth Nationwide race of 2010, his sixth in his last seven starts and 39th of his career by dominating the U.S. Cellular 250 in front of a packed grandstand at Iowa Speedway.
The remaining top-10 finishers were: Kevin Harvick, Jason Leffler, Brad Keselowski, Trevor Bayne, Steven Wallace, Michael Annett, Justin Allgaier, Matt Dibenedetto, and Carl Edwards.
Top-10 points leaders after 21 of 35: 1. Keselowski-3349, 2. Edwards-3118, 3. Kyle Busch-2876, 4. Allgaier-2833, 5. Menard-2620, 6. Harvick-2609, 7. S. Wallace-2488, 8. Bayne-2365, 9. Gaughan-2347, 10. Leffler-2326
SADLER WINS POCONO TRUCK RACE
Top-10 Truck points leaders after 13 of 25: 1. Bodine-1993, 2. Almirola-1844, 3. Sauter-1800, 4. Peters-1791, 5. Crafton-1748, 6. Dillon-1730, 7. Hornaday-1725, 8. Skinner-1724, 9. Starr-1652, 10. White-1627
NASCAR CREDIBILITY IS SLIPPING
NASCAR racing has been experiencing shrinking television ratings, and more and more empty stadium seats.
While the economy has hurt many fans by taking money out of their pockets, CEO Brian France and the other NASCAR bosses appear to be dangerously out of touch with the fans.
Their words and action may be hurting the sport as much as the economy. They have repeatedly told drivers to “voice their opinions,” but it was learned last week, they had fined two drivers for making statements that “damaged” the NASCAR brand name.
Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin were the drivers.
“I was not happy about it,” Newman said. “I was frustrated about it, mostly because I didn’t understand what it was and why it was.
“There’s no point in repeating it because that’s what got me in trouble in the first place.”
The fine was for comments Newman made following a crash in the April race at Talladega. He said restrictor-plate races shouldn’t be points races, that “this was something different besides racing” and the events are more marketing tools than competitions.
“We all need to be positive about the sport in every aspect of it,” said Hamlin. “It’s something we make our living on, its something we enjoy. Let’s sit back and think about something before we say it and NASCAR reminded us of that.
“You can be opinionated and they want you to be opinionated, you just can’t question whether it’s a fixed sport or not.
“I told them over and over, ‘What if I don’t agree with something? What do you want me to say? Do you want me to lie and tell something that I don’t really truly believe in, because I’ve never been brought up to do that.
“They said, ‘No, but there’s different ways to do it.’ … if I am in the heat of the moment, I for sure will pull the reins back.
“They know how to make you pay one way or another.”
I received this e-mail from Peggy M. of Ellsworth, ME: “The drivers are what makes NASCAR tick. Jeff Gordon is my favorite. If something were to happen on the track and he couldn’t speak his mind, I’d be terribly disappointed. I get very emotional watching the races. If NASCAR tries to turn the drivers into their clones, my emotions will disappear, and so will fans like me.”
NASCAR is constantly telling drivers and everyone involved to work for the good of the sport. When the tight lid of secrecy winds up putting them, and not the drivers in a poor light, the time is quarter past midnight.
E-mail us your take on NASCAR’s recent actions towards Hamlin and Newman. If we use your comments, we’ll send you an 8X10 of your favorite driver.
Weekend Racing: The Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 12-turn road course at Watkins Glen, NY, while the Camping World Trucks are at the 1.5-mile Nashville Superspeedway.
Sat., Aug. 7, Nationwide Series Zippo 200, race 22 of 35; Starting time: 1:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2.
Sat., Aug 7, Camping World Series Tennessee 200, race 14 of 25; Starting time: 8:00 p.m. ET; TV: Speed.
Sun., Aug. 8, Sprint Cup Heluva Good Sour Cream Dip, race 22 0f 36; Starting time: 1 pm ET; TV: ESPN.
Racing Trivia Question: Where is Robby Gordon’s home state?
Last Week’s Question: Who was the 2005 Sprint Cup champion? Answer. It was Tony Stewart.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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