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HomeSports ( December 1, 2021 )

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Realignment In Works For Multiple Sports; Montrose Temporarily Withdraws From LFC

By Tom Robinson

The Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association is altering the divisional alignments for multiple sports for the next two-year cycle.

The bulk of the realignment falls into the category of the adjustments made to various Lackawanna League sports every two years, but the Lackawanna Football Conference is also undergoing change after Montrose's decision to step out of league play for 2022 and 2023.

Montrose coach Kerry Patton resigned following a winless season in which the Meteors forfeited twice for a lack of available players and were shut out in five of the seven games they played. Montrose was outscored, 304-22, in those seven games.

The school administration has decided to take a step back, leaving the conference for two years while playing a combined varsity/junior varsity schedule. The Meteors will continue playing Susquehanna, the only other high school football team in Susquehanna County, and a few opponents that are currently on similar competitive levels. The remainder of the schedule will consist of junior varsity games.

"We're looking at programs which we can compete with," Montrose athletic director Joe Gilhool said. "…Between the varsity and JV level, we hope to have five to eight games total."

Montrose will also look to compete on the junior high level with a team made up of seventh- and eighth-graders. Gilhool said the goal is to build from the "bottom up." The junior high team may play more games than the varsity/JV team.

The goal is to return to the LFC after the two-year cycle that covers the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years.

"We are planning, if the rebuild is successful, to look to get reinstated," Gilhool said.

The LFC will switch from four divisions to three for the next two years.

Carbondale and Riverside will be new divisional opponents of Susquehanna, which ends up in Division 3, along with former Division 4 rivals Old Forge, Lackawanna Trail and Holy Cross.

County schools are being impacted in other sports.

In girls' volleyball, Blue Ridge's Division 2 championship team will move to Division 1.

Blue Ridge trades place with Lackawanna Trail and will now play Abington Heights, Dunmore, North Pocono and Western Wayne twice each along with one match each against its former division rivals and Lackawanna Trail.

Elk Lake, Forest City, Montrose, Mountain View and Susquehanna join Lackawanna Trail in Division 2.

In boys' soccer, Forest City moves from Division 2 to Division 3, trading places with West Scranton.

Forest City did not compete in the league in 2020 because of COVID precautions, then went 0-12 in Division 2 this fall.

Mountain View is the last county team playing in Division 2 boys where it is will continue to compete with Dunmore, Gregory the Great, Holy Cross, Lakeland and Western Wayne, along with being joined by West Scranton.

Forest City will join Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Mid Valley, Montrose, Old Forge and Riverside in Division 3.

In girls' soccer, Scranton goes from Division 1 to Division 2 and Holy Cross goes from Division 2 to Division 3, altering the league schedules of county teams.

Teams in Divisions 2 and 3 play opponents in their own division twice, home and home, and take on opponents from the other division once each.

Montrose and Mountain View are in Division 2 with Dunmore, Lakeland, Western Wayne and Scranton.

Elk Lake and Forest City are in Division 3 with Carbondale, Mid Valley, West Scranton and Holy Cross.

In baseball and softball, the Lackawanna League will switch from four to three divisions. There will be eight teams in each division for home-and-home schedules of 14 games.

Carbondale will join the teams from the old Division 4 in the new Division 3. It will play with Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Forest City, Lackawanna Trail, Montrose, Mountain View and Susquehanna.

There will not be any changes in boys' and girls' cross country, girls' tennis and boys' and girls' swimming.

Change is likely in wrestling, but has not been settled yet.

Presidents of each sports league in the LIAA are working on schedules with the hope of getting approvals from both the organization's principals group and athletic directors group in January meetings.

Agreeing on divisional formats was the first step to set up those presidents to work on the specifics of the schedules.

WEEK IN REVIEW

The fall sports season came to an end in District 2 when three Lackawanna Football Conference teams were beaten in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state quarterfinals.

Valley View lost at home Friday night in Class 3A, 35-25, to Bishop Shanahan from Downingtown.

Old Forge fell in overtime, 20-14, to Canton in Class A at Danville Saturday afternoon.

Scranton Prep was beaten by Wyomissing, 35-14, in Class 4A Saturday afternoon at Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington.

Valley View was driving for the potential tying field goal or winning touchdown when Sean Bracken returned an interception 77 yards for the clinching Bishop Shanahan touchdown with 16.1 seconds left.

Connor Hilling rushed for 176 yards and a touchdown and had a 71-yard kickoff return to set up another score for the Cougars.

Old Forge led, 14-0, at halftime after James Sobol's second touchdown pass, but seven second-half and overtime possessions by the Blue Devils resulted in five turnovers and two blocked punts.

Canton scored touchdowns 1:30 apart midway through the fourth quarter, intercepted Old Forge to begin overtime, then scored in two plays.

Scranton Prep got just one series from 2,300-yard rusher London Montgomery because of injury and fell behind early when Wyomissing scored on its first two possessions.

COLLEGE CORNER

Lucy Adams was a first-team Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference women's soccer all-star selection for her play at Penn State-Scranton this fall.

Adams, a junior forward, scored four goals during Penn State-Scranton's 3-7 season.

PREDICTIONS RECAP

With the elimination of the last three Lackawanna Football Conference teams from the state playoffs, our high school football predictions come to an end.

The picks were 1-2 (33.3 percent) last week to complete the playoffs with a 21-4 record (84.0 percent) and the season as a whole with a 116-21 (84.7 percent).

TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com or followed on Twitter at @tomjrobinson.

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