By Steve Svetovich
Dunmore graduated plenty of seniors from last year’s football team, but head football coach Kevin McHale feels very good about this year’s team.
McHale said between 35 to 40 kids are expected to be on this year’s roster.
Thomas Bowen will return as the Dunmore quarterback in his sophomore season after starting as a freshman.
McHale, a 1996 Dunmore graduate, played four years of football under retired legendary Dunmore coach Jack Henzes. He was an assistant coach under Henzes for several years before becoming the head Dunmore coach when the football icon retired.
McHale is a 2000 graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem where he received a bachelor of science degree in social sciences. He received his teaching certificate from Marywood University in 2002.
Married to the former Shelley Higgins, a Dunmore graduate, the couple has two children: Jack, 12, and Colin, 9.
McHale led Dunmore to the District 2 Class 2A championship last year when the Bucks finished 3-2 in the COVID-19 shortened football season. The Bucks lost to Bishop McDevitt in the first round of the state playoffs.
“We graduated a lot of seniors,” said coach McHale. “We are very excited about having Bowen back at quarterback. He did a great job as a freshman. It’s not easy to be a freshman starting quarterback. He worked extremely hard in the off season to better himself. He worked hard in the weight room, with conditioning and by studying a lot of film.
“He is now bigger, stronger, faster, smarter.”
Other key offensive players include senior linemen Austin Brislin, a three year starter; Jake Cicerini, a two way starter who is recovering from an ACL injury; Danny Schmidt, the center; Luciano Calderone, Joe Marzzacco and Blake Schultz who is injured now, sophomore wide receivers Dom DeSando, Danny Pigga and Lorenzo Mitchell and junior running backs Cal Talutto and Josh Malone.
The defense includes senior defensive backs Vinnie Bonavoglia, Liam Crowley, Cameron Reyes and Kieran Reyes, junior linebacker Patrick Pucilowski, senior linebacker Zeake Rosario and sophomore linebackers Nick Donvito and Jake Hickey.
The defensive line includes Brislin, junior Evan Makowski, junior Andrew Fazio, sophomore Braden Ruther and sophomore Nathan Ruther.
Junior Max Hunt is expected to be the kicker. Junior Nick Pearro and sophomores Rogan Dougherty and Sean Gallagher are in competition for the punting duties.
Cicerini, who is recovering from the ACL injury, is expected to make a big impact at right offensive tackle and left defensive tackle. McHale called him a kid with great character, very coachable and an outstanding teammate. Cicerini, 6-3, 260 pounds, has battled a series of injuries to his right knee throughout his middle and high school football career, but keeps battling back.
The assistant coaches under McHale are Mike Barrett, Michael Ehnot, Michael Perry, Damon Bowen, Michael Gardier and Colin Holmes. All of the assistant coaches with the exception of Bowen played football at Dunmore.
Michael McDonnell is the head freshman football coach.
“We are really excited about this coming season,” coach McHale said. “The kids have really prepared themselves for the season. We like where we are at now. Our goal is to win every game, win the district title and then go as far as we can.
“Our schedule is tough. There are no easy games. We are ready to reach our full potential as a football team.”