An Athletic Season that Almost Was Not

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

By Zach Albert
Dunmorean Intern

The Dunmore Bucks football team had a definitive start to their season with a win over Wallenpaupack Area on Friday, Oct. 2, but a collective effort on the administrative side made this possible. Working diligently with state health officials and following state guidelines throughout the pandemic, Superintendent John Marichak continually put the safety of his students, coaches, and staff at the top of his priority list.

Offseason workouts for Dunmore typically begin after the December holiday break, so January and February 2020 workouts went ahead as planned. As COVID-19 spread worldwide and a pandemic was declared in early March, shutdowns and changes in procedures did not deter the administration, coaching staff, and players from making needed adjustments.

“The guidelines provided by the CDC, federal, state, and local governments during the COVID-19 pandemic are part of ensuring our students, staff, and faculty remain safe. We also have implemented other recommendations through the diligent work of our school board, athletic directors, Mark Finan, Timothy Hopkins, Maureen Burke, and our maintenance staff,” Marichak points out

“All have been phenomenal in getting our academic and athletic seasons executed as we have thus far while keeping the safety of our students, faculty and staff at the forefront. Though challenges existed in all phases throughout this pandemic, the offseason workouts were able to occur, and we are excited for the regular season to start. Not having spectators will be tough for the students, but they know the community will be behind them.”

With a limited schedule, each game can arguably have “more impact” than a year with ten or more games. After the opener against Wallenpaupack, the Bucks are on the road for the first time against Mid Valley. 

The Bucks return home for the Oct. 16 matchup against Lackawanna Trail, followed by a trip to their old nemesis in Lakeland. Though there will not be a hostile crowd in this Oct. 23 matchup, the pressure of the penultimate game exists. Dunmore finishes the regular season at home against Riverside on Oct. 30, Halloween Eve.

 “Mark Finan, Tim Hopkins, and the school board worked hard with both the LIAA (Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association) and the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) on scheduling and we are thankful a season schedule was eventually decided and agreed on,” Marichak says.

Buckley Rushes for 313 Yards in Season Opener

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior back Cristian Buckley rushed for an astounding 313 yards on 29 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown run, in the Bucks 17-6 win over Wallenpaupack in the season opener, 17-6, Friday, October 2, at Palmyra Township.

Dunmore Bucks head football coach Kevin McHale used a ball control offense, led by Buckley, and a stingy defense to nail down a win.

Buckley, an All-Region selection, last season, when he rushed for 789 yards and 17 touchdowns, now has 2,398 rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns in his Dunmore career. He also has 704 yards receiving and 11 more touchdowns on catches.

The senior stalwart scored 23 total touchdowns last season.

Dunmore was 9-4 last season, beating Susquehanna, 48-20, and Mid Valley, 47-7, before losing to Bishop McDevitt, 47-7, in the District 2, Class 2A playoffs. 

Buckley’s first touchdown came just 19 seconds into the game on his 75-yard touchdown scamper. Senior All Regional kicker Peyton Badyrka booted the extra point and Dunmore had a 7-0 lead.

Buckley credited a strong Dunmore offensive line for opening up a nice hole for him to run through.

His next run from scrimmage was a 47-yard burst up the middle and then to the outside to the Buckhorn 45. However, Badyrka eventually failed on a field goal attempt wide.

Buckley had seven carries on Dunmore’s second touchdown drive highlighted by a 22-yard run by Kameryn Reyes on a reverse play. Dunmore freshman quarterback Thomas Bowen hit Michael Burke for a 13-yard touchdown with 1:11 left in the half. Badyrka’s PAT gave the Bucks a 14-0 advantage.

Wallenpaupack came back strong at the start of the second half with Shadrak Adyei breaking several tackles for a 74-yard touchdown romp with 10:21 left in the third quarter. The extra point kick attempt failed and Dunmore held to a 14-6 lead.

The Bucks came back as Buckley returned the Buckhorn kickoff 41 yards to midfield. Dunmore then put together a 10-play drive. On fourth-and-10 from the Wallenpaupack 34, Bowen connected with Buckley on a 14-yard pass for a first down. The drive was stifled, but not enough for standout kicker Badyrka to kick a 42-yard field goal to give Dunmore a 17-6 lead with 4:16 left in the third quarter.

The tough Dunmore defense forced another punt in the fourth quarter before Buckley ran  the ball seven more times, including a six-yard burst on fourth-and-four to run out the clock. 

Bowen completed 4-of-9 passes for 40 yards and one touchdown in the win for Dunmore. 

Karl Kincel, an all-star for the Bucks last season, rushed for 34 yards on 10 carries and caught two passes for 13 yards for Dunmore.

Bucktown Golf Leagues’ Top Golfers

The Bucktown Golf League recognized its all-season champions on Sept. 14 at Wemberly Hills Golf Course in Scott Township. John McKenna and Joe Kozuch finished the season in first. John Kohanski and Rob Aldrich came in second place. Shown from left to right are: John Kohanski and Rob Aldrich, second place winners, and  John McKenna and Joe Kozuch, first place winners.