By Steve Svetovich
Dunmore senior tailback Cristian Buckley is making the most of a short season.
With the regular season shortened to five games due to COVID-19, the senior stalwart totaled over 1,000 rushing yards in just five regular season games en route to Dunmore capturing a seventh consecutive District 2 title.
Cristian, 18, rushed for 208 yards on 18 carries, including a 66-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds left in the first half that broke a 15-15 tie in Dunmore’s 57-15 route over Riverside Friday, October 30, at Dunmore.
With Lackawanna Trail’s loss the following day to Old Forge, Dunmore earned the District 2 Class 2A title and a trip to the state playoffs.
Cristian rushed for an astounding 313 yards in Dunmore’s first win over Wallenpaupack. He also rushed for 212 yards in the Bucks win over Mid Valley, giving the senior stalwart three games of over 200 yards rushing.
Son of Connie and Michael Buckley, Cristian said he is hopeful of playing Division I college football. He applied to Bryant University in Rhode Island where he hopes to be accepted, play football and study business management.
The star tailback said he has learned a lot from Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale. “He teaches us not only about football, but about life and life lessons,” said Cristian. “He teaches us how to overcome adversity and never give up.”
Cristian said his parents also teach him to never give up.
The quick, explosive back has six touchdowns, five rushing and one receiving, this season. He now has over 3,000 career rushing yards.
“It was great getting to 1,000 yards in a five game season,” he said. “It was my first year rushing for 1,000 yards. But I could not have accomplished this without my teammates. I have a great offensive line and our fullback, Karl Kincel, is an outstanding blocker.”
He talked about what it takes to excel as a tailback in high school football. “It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. You also need to be a leader on and off the field.”
Cristian said he has worked hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I concentrated more on my studies and worked a lot.” The senior scholar-athlete maintains an academic average in the mid 90s and works at Schautz Stadium, Dunmore.
He is Vice President of the Health Careers Club at Dunmore.
“I want to play football at the college level, hopefully Division I,” he said.
“My goal is to be successful in life.”
Cristian enjoys listening to music in his spare time and would like to see Lil’ Wayne in concert.
The senior football standout said he will play basketball for the first time in his high school career this year. He will also participate in track and field for the first time since eighth grade. “Why not?,” he said. “It is good to be active during these times. It gives me something to do and work hard to accomplish.”
Cristian is more than enjoying his time at Dunmore High School. “I would not trade it for anything else in the world,” he said. “No doubt. We always look at the bright side here.”