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When Cole Mallery blocked a punt at the end of Lackawanna Trail’s first possession, he scooped up the ball and stumbled the last four yards necessary to turn the play into a touchdown.
When Mallery forced a fumble to halt another Trail drive later in the first quarter, he dove through the maze of bodies to recover the loose ball and set up Susquehanna’s second touchdown.
When Mallery swatted at a pass with his left arm on the first play of a second-quarter possession for the Lions, he never even bothered to knock it away first. This time, he caught the ball with the one extended hand and raced 39 yards to the Trail 7.
After leading the Sabers to a 26-point lead, the sophomore was there again when the Lions cut that advantage in half.
Mallery went around and then over defenders on two catches that produced 54 yards and Susquehanna’s last touchdown in a 32-19 Lackawanna Football Conference Division 1 victory.
“He’s an athlete,” Susquehanna coach Dick Bagnall said. “He’s gifted. He’s playing flanker, split end, running back. He’s even played some tight end.
“He can do anything we need.”
With a series of injuries causing constant lineup adjustments, Mallery stepped in at running back for the final drive. The Sabers finally secured the win when he ran 34 yards with his only carry on second-and-11 from the 2 to make it possible to just kneel down and kill the clock.
“That last run was obviously huge,” Bagnall said. “It got us out of a hole.”
It also completed a huge day for Mallery. He finished as the game’s leading receiver with five catches for 64 yards. In addition to all the big plays he made on defense, he also broke up two passes and assisted on two other tackles.
By the time Lackawanna Trail was done controlling much of the second half, Susquehanna had just a 254-228 advantage in total offense. Mallery and Dan Kempa made sure the Sabers had most of the game’s big plays.
Kempa threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and made the fourth-down tackle, a yard short of a first down, at the Sabers 3 with 2:29 left. Kempa went to the air to give the Sabers their only offense in the second half when he was 5-for-7 for 117 yards and two touchdowns to finish 9-for-18 for 136 yards.
"The difference in the game was the momentum shifts in the first half, giving them scores and giving up short fields," Trail coach Steve Jervis said.
The Sabers scored the game's first 26 points with the help of Mallery’s punt block and Brandon Saddlemire’s fumble recovery in the end zone.
Kempa, who ran 32 yards for a touchdown in the first half, threw a 32-yard pass to a wide-open Steve Skurski to make it 26-0 with 8:20 to go in the third quarter.
The Lions dominated from there while outscoring the Sabers, 19-6, the rest of the way.
Caleb Darling brought the Lions back within, 26-13, by the end of the third quarter with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Marvess Rosiak and a 13-yarder to Matt Aten.
Kempa got the Sabers out of trouble three times in the next drive. He hit Mallery for 38 yards on third-and-17, Austin Cowperthwait for 22 yards on third-and-13, then Mallery for 16 and a touchdown on second-and-11. That score made it 32-13 with 10:31 remaining.
The Lions were not done yet.
Chris Dixon ran 4 yards to complete a scoring drive that featured two third-down conversions.
Trail had 6:05 left to try to score again and chose to kick the ball deep and try to pin the Sabers.
The strategy gave the Lions a shot from midfield and a 39-yard, Dixon-to-Rosiak, halfback option pass moved them close. Darling's pass to Eric Laytos produced six yards on fourth-and-seven.
"We're fortunate to win," Susquehanna coach Dick Bagnall said after his Sabers improved to 7-1 overall. "Trail is a much-improved team. They played inspired football in the second half."
Although the Lions gave the Sabers trouble early, Susquehanna’s defense held Trail without a first down until the lead was 20-0 with 2:19 left in the half.
“Our defense has been our forte most of the year,” Bagnall said.
Jesse Pruitt, Austin Cowperthwait, Jarrett Coleman and Nick Marco joined Mallery in producing big games defensively.
Pruitt made 11 tackles, including one for a seven-yard loss, and assisted on eight others.
Cowperthwait intercepted one pass, broke up four others and made four tackles.
Coleman had four tackles and five assists. He had a sack for a seven-yard loss and another tackle for a one-yard loss.
Marco made four tackles, including one for a loss, and assisted on six others.
In another game, Holy Cross ran off five straight third-quarter touchdowns to break away from winless Montrose, 48-14.
The Meteors trailed just 14-8 at halftime.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Elk Lake completed the Lackawanna League season perfect in both boys’ and girls’ cross country for the second straight season.
The Warriors swept Scranton Prep and Holy Cross in a cluster meet to finish unbeaten.
The final boys’ standings were: Elk Lake 22-0, Valley View 21-1, Scranton Prep 20-2, Holy Cross 19-3, Wallenpaupack 18-4, Lackawanna Trail 15-7, Honesdale 15-7, Abington Heights 15-7, Blue Ridge 14-8, Mid Valley 14-8, Dunmore 13-9, Montrose 11-11, Lakeland 11-11, North Pocono 9-13, Scranton 8-14, West Scranton 7-15, Delaware Valley 6-16, Mountain View 5-17, Riverside 4-18, Forest City 3-19, Western Wayne 2-20, Carbondale 1-21, Susquehanna 0-22.
The final girls’ standings: Elk Lake 20-0, Wallenpaupack 19-1, Honesdale 18-2, Abington Heights 17-3, North Pocono 16-4, Scranton Prep 15-5, Delaware Valley 14-6, Holy Cross 14-6, Valley View 12-8, Western Wayne 11-9, Montrose 9-11, Scranton 9-11, Dunmore 9-11, West Scranton 8-12, Lackawanna Trail 7-13, Mid Valley 6-14, Riverside 3-17, Lakeland 3-17, Blue Ridge 2-18, Susquehanna 0-20, Mountain View 0-20.
In girls’ tennis, the Montrose team of Courtney Hinds-Kayla Treibel won two matches and advanced to the semifinals of the District 2 Class AA doubles tournament before losing in the semifinals.
Hinds-Treibel beat Riverside’s Taryn Lucas-Katie Aniska, 6-0, 6-1, and Maria Fortese-Emily Hughes of Holy Cross, 6-2, 6-1, in Wednesday’s matches at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre.
The team was eliminated Thursday at Birchwood Racquet Club in Clarks Summit with a 6-1, 6-4 loss to the eventual champions, Caroline Meuser-Alyssa Joanlanne of Wyoming Seminary.
Division 3 of the Lackawanna League finally completed play. The final standings were: Riverside 8-3, Elk Lake 5-6, Dunmore 2-9, Holy Cross 2-9.
In girls’ soccer, Mountain View completed a championship season in Division 2 of the Lackawanna League.
Valley View (Division 1) and Lakeland (Division 3) won the other titles.
The Division 2 standings: Mountain View 9-1-1, Forest City 7-2-2, Elk Lake 5-6, Montrose 4-5-2.
In boys’ soccer, Abington Heights, Valley View and Lakeland won division titles. Valley View beat Holy Cross, 2-1, in overtime for the Division 2 title.
The Division 1 standings: Abington Heights 12-2, Delaware Valley 9-4-1, Scranton Prep 8-6, North Pocono 7-6-1, Honesdale 7-7, Mountain View 6-7-1, Wallenpaupack 5-8-1, Scranton 0-14.
The Division 2 standings: Valley View 8-3-1, Holy Cross 8-3-1, Western Wayne 8-4, Elk Lake 7-5, Montrose 5-5-2, St. Gregory’s 2-10, West Scranton 2-10.
The Division 3 standings: Lakeland 12-0-2, Forest City 11-3, Carbondale 9-4-1, Old Forge 8-6, Blue Ridge 5-7-2, Dunmore 3-10-1, Mid Valley 2-10-2, Riverside 0-12-2.
In field hockey, the Wyoming Valley Conference completed its season.
Wyoming Seminary, Holy Redeemer and Northwest won titles.
The final Division 3 standings: Northwest 13-0-1, Hanover Area 11-2-1, Pittston Area 9-5, Tunkhannock 7-7, Elk Lake 7-7, GAR 3-10-1, Berwick 3-10-1, Montrose 0-12-2.
In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won their first meeting of the season with the Binghamton Senators and kept the American Hockey League’s only perfect record intact through six games when they prevailed 2-1 in a shootout Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre.
The teams were tied after a five-minute overtime, five shootout attempts each and two more rounds of sudden-death shootout attempts.
Chris Conner then made his shot for the Penguins and John Curry stopped Jim O’Brien for the win.
The Penguins already seemed to have their fifth one-goal win of the season until Corey Locke scored with 10.6 seconds left to spoil Curry’s shutout.
Steve Wagner’s power-play goal 52 seconds into the third period broke the scoreless tie.
Curry made 37 saves in regulation and overtime while Barry Brust made 36 for the Senators.
Brackney Brotzman, a junior forward from Montrose, scored the game-winning goal with 50 seconds left to lift Keystone College over Moravian College, 2-1.
Brotzman leads the Giants, who have clinched second place in the Colonial States Athletic Conference, with six goals and two assists. She has scored three game-winning goals for the Giants, who are 5-1 in the conference and 8-6 overall.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Both county football teams have LFC Division 3 games Friday night.
Susquehanna is at Mid Valley while Montrose is home against Lackawanna Trail.
The Sabers (3-0 and 7-1) need one more win to set up a regular-season finale against Old Forge for the division title. Mid Valley is 1-2 and 2-6.
Lackawanna Trail (2-6 overall) and Montrose are tied for last in the division at 0-3.
Last week’s high school football predictions were 9-1 (90.0 percent), improving our season record to 73-25 (74.5 percent). This week’s predictions, with home teams in CAPS: Susquehanna 34, MID VALLEY 10; Lackawanna Trail 33, MONTROSE 13; OLD FORGE 30, Holy Cross 6; WESTERN WAYNE 42, Honesdale 12; Dunmore 35, CARBONDALE 0; RIVERSIDE 31, Lakeland 15; DELAWARE VALLEY 31, Scranton Prep 13; SCRANTON 22, Wallenpaupack 19; VALLEY VIEW 30, West Scranton 27; ABINGTON HEIGHTS 35, North Pocono 6.
In cross country, the District 2 championships will be held at Elk Lake for the first time Wednesday.
The Class AA girls race at noon, followed by the Class AAA girls at 12:45, the Class AA boys at 1:30 and the Class AAA boys at 2:15.
In girls’ soccer, Mountain View is the second seed for the District 2 Class A tournament.
The Class A tournament was scheduled to start Tuesday. The winner of the Carbondale at Forest City game that night plays top-seeded Lakeland Thursday. The winner of Tuesday’s Elk Lake at Holy Cross game plays at Mountain View Thursday.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Hamlin Wins, Gains Chase Points
MARTINSVILLE, Vir. - Polesitter Denny Hamlin’s win in Sunday’s Tums 500 was the third consecutive victory for him at the Martinsville track. More importantly, it allowed him to gain valuable points towards this year’s Sprint Cup Championship. He now trails Jimmie Johnson by only six points.
Hamlin started from the pole but quickly dropped back into the field of cars. His team later discovered the problem was a bad tire. After taking on a fresh set of tires, he began to work his way back to the front.
Denny Hamlin wins at Martinsville.
“I don’t think I’ve ever closed that well,” said Hamlin. “We just kept working. We didn’t have a top-20 car until near the end.
“The pit crew got me from sixth to third on the last restart, and that was the key.
“I was hoping Jeff Burton and Kevin (Harvick) would use their stuff up. I was sitting there, just waiting. I saved my tires until the end and it was just a great run for us.”
Perhaps the biggest story and surprise of the day was the second-place finish by Mark Martin. He had spun out earlier, but at the end, he was closing on Hamlin.
“It was so much fun, but it was such a bad day,” said Martin. “I was running out of brakes at lap 30. I thought it was going to be the longest day of my life.
“We needed this. I ain’t mad we didn’t win, I’m glad we finished second.”
The runner-up finish was the best Martin has had this season.
Kevin Harvick finished third and gained 15 points on Johnson. Prior to the race, car owner Richard Childress had decided to switch teams between Harvick’s No. 29 car and the No. 33 driven by Clint Bowyer.
“As soon as I leave here, I’m going to go down and give Clint a big kiss, because those guys from his team were phenomenol,” said Harvick. “We kept ourselves right up near the front at the end of the race, and that’s what we’ve got to do.
“We kept the 48 behind us and the 11-car in sight. Those are the two teams everyone said made up a two-horse race. But I think we showed people there’s another horse to reckon with.”
Kyle Busch finished fourth.
“For awhile I thought me and the 29 and 11 was just going to ride together all day long,” said Johnson, who finished fifth. “They took off and got going, but it’s something we can’t be disappointed in.”
Joey Logano was sixth.
Seventh-place finisher, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the leader of the race from lap 365-378.
Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, and Brad Keselowski were the remaining top-10 finishers.
Jeff Gordon gave Kurt Busch a love tap near the middle stages of the race. One lap later, Busch put Gordon into the outside wall. Gordon wound up finishing 20th, two laps down.
Tony Stewart had a flat on his No. 14 with 10-laps remaining and finished 24th.
Chase leaders with four to go: 1. Johnson-5998, 2. Hamlin-5992, 3. Harvick-5936, 4. Kyle Busch-5826, 5. J. Gordon-5795, 6. Edwards-5785, 7. Stewart-5762, 8. Burton-5752, 9. Kurt Busch-5721, 10. Kenseth-5705, 11. Biffle-5682, 12. Bowyer-5592
KESELOWSKI WINS LAST GATEWAY RACE
MADISON, Ill. - Brad Keselowski passed Mike Bliss with less than two laps remaining to win the Nationwide Series race at Gateway Speedway. It was the final NASCAR race at the 1.25-mile track.
Keselowski was 200 yards from victory in the July race at Gateway when he was knocked into the wall by Carl Edwards and finished 14th.
He had to start in the rear of the field Saturday, after arriving from Sprint Cup Series practice in Martinsville, Va., but still was able to lead 83 of the 200 laps en route to his second consecutive victory and sixth of the year.
Justin Allgaier, Jason Leffler, Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Josh Wise, Brad Coleman, Paul Menard, and Jeremy Clements were the remaining top-10 finishers.
Keselowski, the Nationwide Series standings leader, was unable to clinch the 2010 driver title, but could do so in two weeks at Texas. He is 485 points ahead of second-place Edwards and needs to leave Texas with a 391-point lead over second place in order to claim his first NASCAR title.
Top-10 points leaders after 32 of 35: 1. Keselowski-5144, 2. Edwards-4659, 3. Kyle Busch-4439, 4. Allgaier-4067, 5. Menard-4067, 6. Harvick-3902, 7. Bayne-3633, 8. Leffler-3593, 9. Logano-3557, 10. S. Wallace-3554
HORNADAY GETS FIRST EVER MARTINSVILLE WIN
Ron Hornaday Jr. powered around Kyle Busch on a green-white-checkered-flag restart to win his first Camping World Truck Series victory at Martinsville Speedway.
The win was the four-time truck series champion’s second of the year and the 47th of his career. Busch ran second, followed by series points leader Todd Bodine, Jason White and Aric Almirola. Mike Skinner, David Starr, Stacy Compton, Ricky Carmichael and Matt Crafton completed the top-10.
The race went six laps beyond its scheduled distance of 200 laps after a succession of cautions slowed the action three times in the last 20 laps. The 11th and final caution of the race, caused by Cody Cambensy’s spin on Lap 197, forced the race to overtime.
Four women - Johanna Long, Jennifer Jo Cobb and twins Amber and Angela Cope - started the race, the most ever in any of NASCAR’s top three touring series. Long, who came home 22nd, had the best finish of the four.
Mike Skinner, who is eighth in points, remains the only driver currently competing in the Camping World Truck Series, who won during 2009, that is still searching for a victory.
Skinner has captured at least one victory per season since 2005.
Top-10 points leaders after 21 of 25: 1. Bodine-3371, 2. Almirola-3089, 3. Sauter-3001, 4. Dillon-2923, 5. Crafton-2907, 6. Hornaday-2877, 7. Peters-2834, 8. Skinner-2699, 9. Starr-2650, 10. White-2535
Weekend Racing: The NASCAR season is winding down. The Cup and truck teams have four races each left, while the Nationwide teams only have three. The Cup and trucks are at the 2.66-mile Talladega Speedway this weekend. The Nationwide teams have an off weekend.
Sat., Oct. 30, Camping World Truck Series Mountain Dew 250, race 22 0f 25; Starting time: 3:30 p.m. ET; TV: Speed Channel.
Sun., Oct. 31, Sprint Cup AMP Energy 500, race 33 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN.
Racing Trivia Question: When was Talladega Superspeedway opened?
Last Week’s Question: Why did the U. S. Government ban automobile racing in July, 1942? Tires and gasoline were rationed during World War II, and in order to save supplies for the war effort, automobile racing was banned.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
Blue Ridge High School American History teacher Mitchell Less along with family members Randy, Nicole, and Jason Button traveled across Less’ home state of Iowa last July. This time the trip was like no other, because this time it was by bicycle. The four cyclists from the east joined 15,000 riders and support teams from around the world in the 38th annual RAGBRAI, The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.
Pictured (l-r) above: Mitch Less, Jason Button, Nicole Button and Randy Button.
The ride began in Sioux City where cyclists ceremoniously dipped their back bike tires in the Missouri River and then headed east. Their destination was the Mississippi River in Dubuque, into which they would triumphantly dip their front tires in celebration of the 482 miles traveled.
Supported by the Williams and Button families of cyclists in the east and cheered on by the Less family as their RAGBRAI support team in the Midwest, the four enjoyed every minute of meeting new people, strengthening their own bonds, and accomplishing a goal toward which they’d been working on as a family for a year!
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