Dunmore Quarterback Showing Leadership as Sophomore 

By Steve Svetovich

Some look at the bottle as half full and others look at it as half empty. 

Take Dunmore sophomore quarterback Thomas Bowen, for instance.

Son of Damon and Alicia Bowen, the Dunmore signal caller knew he had a lot to prove when he was named a starter as a freshman. 

He answered the call and passed for over 400 yards and three touchdowns in the COVID-19 abbreviated five-game season.

“I had to take on a leadership role as a freshman quarterback,” he said. “That is not an easy thing to do as a freshman. I had to earn the respect of all my teammates.”

This season the sophomore stalwart said he feels more confident taking on that leadership role. “As a freshman, learning coverages was a big thing for me. It looks a lot easier this year. And being a leader is much easier as a sophomore. I feel much more comfortable.”

Thomas talked about what it takes to be a successful high school quarterback. “It takes hard work, athleticism, leadership skills and the ability to be coachable,” he said.

He said Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale taught him a lot. “He tells us we cannot be successful without putting the hard work in. Nothing is handed to you. You need to put the work in with lifting weights and also in the off season.”

Thomas said he is very grateful to his parents. “They taught me about leadership through the way they raised me. They raised me the right way. They tell me to be a big person in the room.”

The hard-working quarterback is also both a small and power forward on the Dunmore basketball team. His best academic subject is math.

His hobbies include bike riding, video games, and lifting weights.

Thomas enjoys listening to music in his spare time and would like to see Kanye West in concert.

However, Dunmore lost its opening game, 20-2, to Western Wayne, Friday, Aug. 27. Thomas completed 8-of-23 passes for 47 yards.

“It was a tough game for us. I am not usually going to be throwing that many passes, but we were behind. We can bounce back from this and we will. We have a lot to build on. A lot of things did not go our way.

He talked about the team goals. “We want to win every game, but one game at a time and step-by-step.”

“We will take one game at a time. We want to win them all, but we can only look at our next opponent.”

Thomas said he is looking forward to a sophomore year where classrooms are filled at Dunmore. “It was hard as a freshman during COVID not having kids in class. The next three years are going to be exciting. It should be a great time in school and with sports at Dunmore. I want to be with my friends and enjoy the experience.”

Thomas said he is unsure about a future major, but his dream is to get accepted to Penn State for college. 

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.”

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.