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.