Good hump day to you all!

OK, it’s Day 3 of my tour and things are not good at Command Central (my kitchen table). This broken “G” key has put me in quite a bind. It’s officially more than just popped off ans I cannot find a “latch” for the spring. Therefore, like an old car hanging on for one last ride, it is going in for repairs. What does this mean? Good question. One I hope I can answer later today when a man much smarter than me moves this hard drive to another laptop so we don’t miss a beat covering the LFC.

Wednesday was one of my two trips north. And again, folks, there is construction on EVERY single route you try to take here in NEPA. I know it’s the end of summer and there is a lot of work to be done, but it is frustrating. And when I saw an 18-wheeler come to a screeching halt on Interstate 81 today, I made like Snagglepuss and exited stage right.

Again, Around the Camps drew big attention in The Times-Tribune. I implore you all to pick up a copy at your newsstands. The stories are more than just numbers, trust me.

 


 

 

DAY 3

 

Things got off to an early start. As I mentioned yesterday, Lackawanna Trail coach Steve Jervis loves to start just as the dew is lifting. It creates that Hounds of the Baskervilles atmosphere. So my alarm went off, and just as I got into my daily dose of Matlock, it was time to head out to Lions Pride Stadium. Have I mentioned I coached at Lackawanna Trail way back when?

So the trip to Lackawanna Trail went well. The sun was out and that makes for a much easier trip. Once I embarked on the journey to Susquehanna, well, I just kept my fingers crossed. And by some strange twist of fate, I avoided any major delays and pulled up on campus at exactly 11 a.m. For me to be on time for anything, but dinner, is a major accomplishment.

Got a chance, as I always do, to chat football with former Susquehanna coach Dick Bagnall. It’s always enlightening and it’s a nice journey back in time when the Sabers used to dominate in the Suburban Conference against some pretty good foes. Also, one of the really nice guys of last sports season, Jarred Mills was there. He helped out and looks like he can be a really good assistant coach some day.

 

Visit No. 1

At Lackawanna Trail there is a lot of excitement after the team won its first District 2 Class 1A title since 2007 and first in the Steve Jervis-era. The Lions may be one of the surprise teams of 2017. Last season, with a roster of only 23 players, Jervis guided the program to a district crown, a PIAA subregional win and earned the Times-Tribune Coach of the Year honor. The team returns a lot of experience and size up front, including that Shawn Jones kid who just happens to be the nephew of Halll of Famer Mike Munchak. Yes, the Lions lost some weapons, but a lot can be said about momentum. And they have it right now.

 

Visit No. 2

At Susquehanna, you always hear rumblings that the Sabers don’t have numbers. What they always have is toughness. As I approached practice, I could not believe the size of the kids on the lines. This team has the potential to be a real thorn in the sides of teams that may just underestimate them. They have some young players at the skill positions, but they will always play very tough defense. Kyle Cook has done a great job. He’s one of those no-nonsense guys who just gets high school football. You can see, he really enjoys coaching and his kids respond with effort.

 


 

HERE’S A RECAP OF THE TOUR

 

 

2017 Lackawanna Trail Lions

 

Lackawanna Trail won the District 2 Class 1A championship in 2016. It was a major accomplishment for a program that sometimes has been overshadowed. Fans sometimes forget, because Dunmore, Riverside and Old Forge have taken turns reaching the PIAA final in Class 1A since 2007 just how dominant the Lions were for almost a decade. From 1999 to 2007, Lackawanna Trail won seven championships, played in another final, and reached the PIAA semifinals twice. The Lions had a record of 86-28 in those seasons. That’s pretty good.

 

History of District 2 Class 1A 

School

Championships

Years

Lackawanna Trail

8

1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2016

Old Forge

6

1993, 2006, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015

Riverside

5

1996, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2010

Bishop O’Hara

1

1992

Lakeland

1

1994

Bishop Hafey

1

1995

Carbondale Area

1

2001

Northwest Area

1

2009

Dunmore

1

2012

 

 

PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE

 

Lackawanna Trail has several starters back on the offensive line.

 

Lackawanna Trail will have strength on the offensive and defensive lines. However, the Lions do have to replace a 1,000-yard running back in Thomas Huffsmith, who was also the team’s top defensive player. They also graduated their No. 2 and No. 3 rushers and their top 5 receivers.

Ah, but the Lions do have the trigger man back. Nathan Rolka will enter his third year as the starting quarterback and he looks impressive. And by the way, he’s got great bloodlines. His father, John, was an all-state lineman at Lakeland who I saw play every game growing up and he was a stud lineman.

 

 

 

Scrapbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

2017 SUSQUEHANNA SABERS

 

Susquehanna, despite fighting limited roster numbers, continues to battle among the small-school programs. The Sabers played in the District 2 Class 1A championship game in 2015. Last season, they won an extra playoff game against Old Forge when the Eastern Conference still held a playoff. Through the last few years, one thing is clear and that is the Sabers will play defense.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

 

BIG BOYS

 

OK fans of the LFC, get ready. Not only does Susquehanna have a lot of players who are excited about the season, it has some very good size, which is unusual for this small-school program that is involved in a co-sponsorship with Blue Ridge. They dwarfed me, that’s for sure.

 

These are some big boys.

 

 

BACK AND READY

 

One of those big boys returning is sophomore Tim Sweeney. I think by the time he is done with his high school career I can just call him sir. He is 6-1 and 290 and is just learning how to move in the trenches. He started three games last season as a freshman before falling ill. You can read about that in The Times-Tribune.

If the Sabers develop quickly at the back and receiver positions, this could be a tough and physical team.

 

 

 

Scrapbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

THURSDAY’S TRIP

 

Now the fun really begins. I have six of 20 teams visited with 14 to go. To complete mission, I have to pick up the pace. Therefore, my next trip will include three schools. Now, that will also require a bit more work, so Blog Posts may take me a while to complete.

I have Valley View, Holy Cross and Old Forge on the odometer.

 

See you then!