Hellloooooo!

We are back and better than ever with the Thursday Blog Post. Quick story before we get started. Sundays and Mondays, as many of you know, are very busy days at the Fawcett Command Center (My kitchen table). I have Conor Foley yelling and screaming at me on Mondays, wanting to know where all of the copy is for GameFace. (Ok, I exaggerate. He really doesn’t ever panic and really never yells at me, but for the purposes of this story, it makes it more dramatic).

coffeSunday, I poured myself a strong cup of black coffee. Normally it calls for two scoops for four cups, but knowing I had a long day ahead of me I rocketed that ratio to 3 for 4. Meghan, who usually indulges in one cup with me, spit it out immediately! Look, I saw my calendar and on it, I had the Eastern Conference Fantasy Football Draft and a Lakeland Fall Ball Doubleheader in Taylor. I began typing away at lightning speed early, then I participated in the Draft via telephone. I haven’t been good at Fantasy Football in a long time, and doing high school football capsules had my mind on other things, so I picked Ben Roethlisberger with the first pick?! What could I have been thinking? Then, I committed the ultimate sin and picked Rob Gronkowski with the second pick. I never take New England Patriots. Clearly, I couldn’t focus.

Time drew short. I had to deliver gifts to the Montdale Country Club for a bridal shower, then race to Derenick Field. Meanwhile, I stayed dialed into the draft with Grace by my side in the passenger seat crossing off names as they are drafted. Multi-tasking at its finest! I felt like Henry Hill at the end of Good Fellas.

Being late for the doubleheader would put me in a predicament to say the least. I usually miss Meghan’s games on Wednesdays to do the GameFace features, so missing a Sunday doubleheader would not sit well now that she is a junior and starts (for the most part). We arrived and the draft continued. The lowlight of my draft came when I chose Marvin Jones Jr. of Detroit. Not because Marvin Jones Jr. isn’t a capable receiver, but because Golden Tate, Detroit’s No. 1 receiver remained undrafted? Somehow, I crossed Tate off in my haste to catch up while I had been driving. Needless to say, Yahoo! Sports gave me a C grade. BUT WE SHALL SEE!

After a quick bite of dinner, I got right back to typing in GameFace capsules. Day turned into night and when the clock struck midnight, I turned off the computer.

psterodactylMonday came, and at 6 a.m., I cranked the computer on, again. Oh, our IT guys are loving me, I am sure. By 11 a.m. I decided I needed a break. So, I hopped on the tractor and cut the grass. While ideas for stories were occupying my mind as I drove around like Denny Hamlin at the 2.5-mile triangular track at Pocono, I saw this shadow hover over me. It is usually just a bird, but it seemed much too dark. I looked up and this massive crow that more resembled a pterodactyl flew! And then another! And another! They were circling me as if I were prey at Jurassic Park! I got off the tractor, sprinted (well jogged) into the house to get my phone for a photo (and for safety), but they had flown away. Whew!

Two crazy days to get the high school football regular season started to say the least!

OK, onto today’s post.

MILESTONE

Walck1

Western Waynes Scott Walck.

Congratulations to Western Wayne quarterback Scott Walck. He threw for 216 yards against Carbondale Area on opening night and with it and the 151 yards I forgot from his freshman year, he surpassed the 4,000-yard mark for his career. Not too bad for a kid who played wide receiver for the first eight games of his first season.

He joins an elite group of players who have achieved the mark from Lackawanna Football Conference schools:

 

4,000-Yard Career Passers (LFC SCHOOLS)

  • Evan Kraky, Lakeland, 1998-2001 7,447
  • Bryan Schor, Delaware Valley, 2009-12 6,518
  • Devin Myers, Lackawanna Trail, 2000-03 5,497
  • Matt McGloin, West Scranton, 2005-07 5,485
  • Tyler Hughes, West Scranton, 2007-10 5,466
  • Miller Holmes, Dunmore, 2005-08 5,393
  • Nick Dranchak, Riverside, 2009-12 5,329
  • Al Karaffa, Scranton, 2000-03 5,025
  • Harry Armstrong, Riverside, 1995-97 4,253
  • Jay Velehoski, Riverside, ‘07-08 4,210
  • Gary DeRichie, Carbondale, 1984-86 4,201
  • Ryan Runco, Mid Valley, 1998-2000 4,084
  • Scott Walck, Western Wayne, 2012-15 4,048

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FAST STARTERS

Abington Heights Brandon Hardy Photo by Jason Farmer

Abington Heights Brandon Hardy
Photo by Jason Farmer

ABINGTON HEIGHTS COMETS

mvnewIt’s been well documented which teams start the season on the right foot. Abington Heights defeated Scranton Prep last week for its eighth straight win in Week 1. The Comets are alone now with the longest active streak among LFC schools after Old Forge lost to Hanover Area which halted its streak at seven straight opening day wins.

Here is Abington Heights’ streak:

YEAR

OPPONENTS

RESULT

2016

Scranton Prep

W, 21-14

2015

Pittston Area

W, 10-0

2014

Pittston Area

W, 31-14

2013

Pittston Area

W, 28-0

2012

Pittston Area

W, 28-0

2011

Hazleton Area

W, 28-14

2010

Hazleton Area

W, 51-7

2009

Hazleton Area

W, 33-18

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Lakelands Thomas Pidgeon.

Lakelands Thomas Pidgeon.

LAKELAND CHIEFS

lakeland

Lakeland defeated Valley View, 13-12, for its fifth straight season opening win. The Chiefs won in overtime after they (Eddie Cavalier and Michael Lowry) blocked a Valley View extra-point try. Interestingly, it’s the second time the Chiefs have won in overtime over their rivals. The last one came in Week 1 of the 2006 season, when Justin Virbitsky blocked an extra point, then Lakeland scored and Spencer Clauss-Walton booted the point after for a 14-13 win. Lakeland also improved to 16-2 on opening week since the 1999 season.

Here is Lakeland’s streak:

YEAR

OPPONENT

RESULT

2016

Valley View

W, 13-12, OT

2015

Northwest Area

W, 42-14

2014

Northwest Area

W, 14-7

2013

GAR

W, 27-19

2012

GAR

W, 34-7

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STREAKS STOPPED

Old Forge (7), Scranton Prep (5), West Scranton (5) and Wallenpaupack (4), all had their opening week winning streaks snapped.

  • Old Forge lost to Hanover Area, 10-7
  • Scranton Prep lost to Abington Heights, 21-14
  • West Scranton lost to Dunmore, 21-17
  • Wallenpaupack lost to Wyoming Area, 32-0

Interestingly, Old Forge and West Scranton each had the leads in their respective games into the second half.

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BOUNCING BACK

With the expanded playoff field in the new six-classification format, there really is no need to panic for teams that had high expecations and got off to 0-1 starts. But it will be important to bounce back, in particular in Class 4A, Class 3A and Class 2A where there are teams that will not qualify for the district playoffs.

Here are a few games that will pique your interest of you are a fan of those schools.

CLASS 4A

valley_viewValley View at Delaware Valleydelaware_valley

Friday, 7 p.m.

This game really takes on added significance because both teams started with losses last week. Valley View lost a heartbreaker to its most bitter rival, while Delaware Valley lost, 23-6, to Downingtown East, one of the top Class 6A teams in District 1. It is a game that is probably more important to Valley View, which is a Class 4A team, because Delaware Valley is an automatic qualifier in Class 6A for the playoffs. There are 11 teams in Class 4A and eight will make the playoffs. Six started the season 1-0. Remember, a lot of the Class 4A will work itself out as the teams begin playing head-to-head. Still, this could be a pivotal game for the Cougars.

– – –

CLASS 3A

scranton_prepScranton Prep at Coughlincoughlin (1)

Saturday, 7 p.m.

Scranton Prep did everything it could to beat Abington Heights, except score enough points. Boy, football can be tricky. The Cavaliers racked up 19 first downs and ran an eye-popping 71 plays, but lost. Coughlin started the season with a win over Dallas. Now, again, Scranton Prep doesn’t want to get too worried just yet, however, this is an important game for the Cavaliers. First, it’s a Saturday night game. And, much to their chagrin, Coughlin is more accustomed to that scenario. (Boy, Steve Bennett is going to be angry if this rain hits). Not only that, but Scranton Prep will play Lake-Lehman the following week. That makes three very challenging opponents to start the season.

– – –

CLASS 2A

MVnew1Mid Valley at Riversideriverside2

Friday, 7 p.m.

Both teams lost in Week 1. Mid Valley fell to Lackawanna Trail, a talented Class 1A program, while Riverside game North Pocono all it could handle despite the lopsided score. In Class 2A, where all the teams competing will play head-to-head, each game takes on added importance. Riverside expects to be a playoff team in a bracket where four of six teams qualify. Mid Valley thinks it can be a contender, as well. No team in the Class 2A wants to start out 0-2, because then things start to get tricky and every remaining game almost becomes must-win moving forward.

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HONOR ROLL

North Poconos Matt Craig

North Poconos Matt Craig
Photo by Jason Farmer

 

Matt Craig

 

Matt Craig, North Pocono, RB

Had 147 yards rushing and two touchdowns, returned a kickoff 55 yards, returned a punt 17 yards and had an interception at the 1-yard line in a win over Riverside.

 

 

 

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Brandon HardyBrandon Hardy, Abington Heights, WR-DB

Hauled in an 80-yard touchdown pass from George Tinsley and had two interceptions to lead the Comets to a win over Scranton Prep.

 

 

 

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MattPidgeonMatt Pidgeon, Lakeland, WR-DB

Had an 87-yard kickoff return, five catches for 43 yards and an interception to lead the Chiefs past Valley View in OT.

 

 

 

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NathanRolka1Nathan Rolka, Lackawanna Trail, QB

A sophomore, he threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns in the Lions win over Mid Valley.

 

 

 

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JacobWattsMugJacob Watts, Scranton, QB

Had 104 yards rushing with four touchdowns and 259 yards passing with two touchdowns in a tough season opening loss to Wyoming Valley West.

 

 

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Owen HivnerBen ValeOwen Hivner, Abington Heights, LB

Ben Vale, Abington Heights, LB

Hivner racked up 14 total tackles, including two for loss, while Vale had 13 tackles with three for loss in the Comets win over Scranton Prep.

 

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FerkoEric Ferko, Lakeland, LB

A senior, he had 15 tackles to lead the Chiefs in an overtime win over Valley View.

 

 

 

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Jason JablonowskiJason Jablonowski, Carbondale Area, RB-DB

Had 113 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a win over Western Wayne.

 

 

 

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colin1Colin Holmes, Dunmore, RB-DB

Had 102 yards rushing and two touchdowns and played outstanding defense in a win over West Scranton.

 

 

 

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Kyle DonovanKyle Donovan, Susquehanna, QB

Ran for 140 yards and added 63 yards passing on five completions in a win over Montrose for the Bluestone Trophy.

 

 

 

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CONGRATULATIONS

2016WSWest Scranton’s Matt Williams was honored as having the top play in the USA Today High School Sports Super 6 this week.

With his 25-yard diving touchdown reception against Dunmore “Matt Williams offers echoes of Superman with this dive into the end zone,” the website usatodayhss.com said.

Plays from Illinois, Texas, California and South Carolina were also listed.

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WHERE I WILL BE

This week, I will be attending and covering a pair of big games.

carbondaleold_forgeOn Friday, I am taking in the Carbondale Area at Old Forge game. It’s intriguing because the Chargers could be one of those sleeper teams, while Old Forge will be looking to even its record at 1-1.

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npnewmvnewThen, Saturday, I am traveling to Comets Stadium for No. 1 North Pocono at No. 3 Abington Heights. Looks like the weather may get tricky later in the day, but this could be one of the best games of the year.

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GAMEFACE WEEK 2

Gameface2Somehow, I completed everything for this week’s edition. Please don’t forget to pick up a copy. There is a great feature on Scranton two-way lineman Carlon Davis, a preview of the Game of the Week, Week 2 Capsules, Statistics, Standings, Results, a very extensive Notebook and you can find out which program is ranked No. 9 in the list of Top 10 programs of all time.

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That’s it for today.

I know it’s a lot to digest early in the season. Believe me, as I get worn out, I will put together much shorter posts.

As always. … ENJOY