Dunmore Coach Kevin McHale Feels Good About Team

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.

Photo courtesy Rich Banick Photography ©

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.”

Meet Miss Buck: Danielle Decker

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior Danielle Decker looks forward to taking on the role as Miss Buck this coming school year.

“I look forward to representing Dunmore High School as Miss Buck,” she said. 

“I will respect the honor of being Miss Buck by helping the kids in the community, my classmates, and being there for everyone in the school.”

Daughter of Joseph and Evelyn Decker, Danielle, 17, has a 3.2 academic average. Her best subject is math. She hopes to study nursing at Wilkes University in the fall of 2022.

“I was honestly shocked, honored, and excited all at the same time when I heard the news about being named Miss Buck,” said Danielle. “To me this is a huge honor to represent my class and Dunmore High School as Miss Buck. It is going to be great to be a role model for younger kids.”

Danielle keeps busy with a variety of clubs at Dunmore High School. She is a member of the marching band, art club, book club, chorus, drama club, health careers club, and yearbook staff. 

She has three older sisters are Mary, Jessica and Amy and a brother, Christopher.

The aspiring nurse talked about her goals as a Dunmore senior. “I want to live my senior life to the fullest and do as much as I can,” she said. “I p recruit more twirlers to get into the district band. I want to be kind to and enjoy my friends and family. And I want to represent and honor the title of Miss Buck and be a strong role model to the younger kids.

“I am so honored and cannot wait for this senior year. Dunmore High School is amazing, especially the teachers and students.”

The new Miss Buck talked about her future aspirations. “I want to become a registered nurse and help people with health problems like my dad who has a heart condition, diabetes, and an amputated foot. That is my future goal. I would love to be able to help someone like my dad.”

Danielle said she enjoys music and would like to see Avirl Levine, an alternative rock artist, in concert.

She said her parents taught her so much. “My parents told me you cannot judge a book by its cover. Always respect people. They told me to always respect people’s boundaries. Be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they are going through.”

Bucks’ Senior Lineman Remembers Grandfather when on Gridiron

By Steve Svetovich

When Dunmore senior lineman Danny Schmidt is on the football field, he knows someone is watching over him.

His late grandfather Michael Freund, who died at age 73 in 2018, will always have a special place in his heart.

Son of Beth and Joe Schmidt, Danny is a four-year member of the Dunmore football team.

He learned about Dunmore football at an early age from his late grandfather.

“My grandfather meant so much to me,” Danny said. “He taught me about football.

“My grandfather took me to every Dunmore football game since I was six-years-old. He was always with me at the games.

“He just did so much for me. He taught me about loyalty and to work hard all the time. He always told me that if you do something, do it right, Danny recalls. “And he always said to do unto others as you would want done unto you.”

The tough, hard-working lineman said his mom has also always been a positive force in his life.

“She tells me to keep working hard and keep your head down. Be kind to others.”

Danny, 17, has a 90 academic average. His best subject is history.

He enjoys listening to music in his spare time and would like to see classic rockers Motley Crue in concert.

The senior standout talked about what it takes to excel as a lineman in high school football.

“You need to be accountable to your teammates, work hard, and show up every day,” he said. “You need to be a good teammate. It is all about teamwork.”

Tough-minded and strong-willed, Danny said he knows Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale well and has learned a lot about football and life from him. “I have been working with coach McHale since I was 10-years-old,” he said. “He taught me to always be accountable and work hard. He taught me about dedication. Coach McHale taught me a lot over the years.”

The dedicated senior scholar-athlete said he is undecided about where he will attend college, but is leaning towards East Stroudsburg or Temple University. He is undecided on a college major and is hoping to play college football if the opportunity presents itself.

Danny said his future goal is a simple one. “I just want to be a success in life.”

The personable senior said his hobbies include fishing, working out, and hanging out with friends.

His goal this year is a big one. “Winning a football championship here at Dunmore is always the goal,” he said.

Danny loves Dunmore football and is looking forward to his senior year.

“Everybody is accountable here on our team,” he said. “There is nothing better than Dunmore football. It is like one big family.

“My senior year at Dunmore is going to be great. There are a lot of friends I am close to here at Dunmore. We will have a good run. Our football team will have a great run. Dunmore High School has been terrific to me, I love Dunmore.”

Danny can’t wait to get out on the gridiron for his senior year.

His late grandfather will be looking down and beaming with pride.