Athlete of the Month: Peyton Badyrka

By Steve Svetovich

There are those who stand apart and set the standard for others to reach.

Take Dunmore senior kicker Peyton Badyrka.

The senior stalwart is so good that he has sites on a potential college scholarship as a kicker at any division level, possibly division I. 

He made 44-of-45 extra point kicks and five field goals, including a game winner against Old Forge in the final seconds, last season.

Already this season, he nailed a 42-yard field goal and was two-for-two on extra point kicks in Dunmore’s opening night win, 17-6, over Wallenpaupack

Son of Johanna and Daniel Badyrka, Dunmore, Peyton was a star soccer player the past three years at Dunmore. He was All Regional as a center mid last season as a junior. 

However, Peyton said he is not playing soccer this year because he wants to concentrate on football in hopes of earning a scholarship on the division I or II level. 

Don’t count him out.

He has a total of eight career field goals and has missed only three extra point attempts in his Dunmore football career. 

The senior stalwart said he has learned a lot from Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale. “He teaches us to work hard and get stronger and more athletic. He teaches us to be a good person overall and to treat everyone with respect. Treat people right on and off the field.”

All Regional and All League as a junior kicker last season, Peyton said his personal goal as a senior is to be All State. “That would be the ultimate goal. And after that to kick in college.” 

When he is not working hard on his kicking skills, Peyton likes to relax and listen to rap, hip hop and other music. His favorite musical artist is Lil’ Uzi-Zeck, a rap and hip hop artist.

Peyton said his parents have always supported him in every possible way. “My parents always teach me to work very hard. They will support me either way. They also teach me to treat everyone the same way, with respect.”

Peyton is an honor student with a 90 academic average. His best subject is computer coding. He would like to study computer science or business in college. 

He talked about what it takes to excel as a kicker in high school football. 

“You need to keep the same intensity on every kick. You need a short memory and to look at every kick you attempt as a game winner.”

Peyton said he really is aiming to focus on football right now. “My goal is a division I or II college football scholarship. I want to kick in college  And I want to do well with my college studies, graduate and get a good job.”

The standout senior kicker said he has enjoyed his experiences at Dunmore High School. “I have made a lot of friends and learned a lot of life lessons at Dunmore. You get a lot of support from the teachers and coaches. The sports here are fun and a great experience. The whole time here is just a great experience.” 

Athlete of the Month: Mason Maciejewski

Athlete of the Month - Mason Maciejewski pic 2By Steve Svetovich

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dunmore Bucks do not open their football season until Oct. 3, but senior all-star lineman Mason Maciejewski is more than ready.

“His work ethic is always outstanding,” said Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale.

A Lackawanna League all-star as a junior from the center position on offense, Mason is also a stalwart as a defensive tackle for the Bucks.

Son of Scott and Stephanie Maciejewski, his sister Moriah, 24, was a three-year starter and three-time all-star on the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team. She was twice All Regional and once All-State. She is a graduate of  Newmann College where she received a bachelor of science degree. in accounting.

With sports in his blood, Mason chose football and is now entering his fourth season as a key member of the Dunmore Bucks football team.

He is undecided where he will attend college or what he will choose as his field of study, but is certain he wants to play football on the Division I or II level.

Mason is an honor student with a 3.2 academic average at Dunmore. His best subject is history.

He enjoys listening to music in his spare time and his favorite musical artist is Travis Scott.

Well-spoken and polite, Mason talked about what it takes to excel as a lineman in high school football. “You need to work very hard in the weight room,” he said. “Never slack. You also need to learn all of the techniques from the coaches. And work hard all the time.”

Mason said he cannot thank his parents enough for everything he learned from them. “I thank them a lot. I can’t even begin to say everything they have done for me. It is so much.”

He is quick to praise Dunmore coach McHale. “He taught me so much about techniques. He knows a lot about linemen and teaching the right techniques. He taught me a lot even when he was an assistant coach under Jack Henzes.”

The hard working senior lineman said the Dunmore Bucks football team will once again be very good and compete at a high level despite a possible shortened season due to the pandemic. Athlete of the MOnth - Mason Maciejewski“The goal is a state championship,” he said. “That is always the goal here.”

Always striving, Mason has kept busy during the pandemic.

“I’ve been working out, running, going over plays, and talking football with my teammates,” he said. “Football practice has been going well and we can’t wait for our first game on Oct. 3.” 

Confident and self assured within himself, but not cocky, Mason talked about his future goals on a personal level. “I want to always work very hard and never slack. I want to be the best person I could be. And I want to always have goals. 

Mason summed up his experience at Dunmore in a few words that tell it all. “I love it. There is absolutely no better place.”

Doin’ Dunmore: Dunmore Football Players Step up for DePietro’s Pharmacy

Doin Dunmore DePietro's football

By Steve Svetovich 

When the going gets rough, the tough get going. Take the Dunmore football program, for instance.

Tom DePietro, with the Coronavirus emerging in Lackawanna County and with a shutdown in place, knew he could not let customers walk into his Dunmore pharmacy.

But there was still a job to do. He still needed to get his customers needed supplies and medicines during a national pandemic.

So he called Dunmore Bucks football coach Kevin McHale to see if any of his players could help.

Well, within 20 minutes, numerous current and former players texted him.

“I could not believe the immediate response,” the owner of DePietro’s Pharmacy said.

“I made a decision to not allow customers to enter the store for their and my co-workers safety. In a panic, I realized I would need help assisting customers curbside. My first thought was to text coach Kevin McHale.

“Within minutes I had over 20 kids reaching out and offering support. 

“It is truly humbling to see these kids provide care and compassion during a pandemic. They easily could have elected not to get involved. 

“I’m so proud of the kids, their parents, coaches, teachers and Dunmore. Over and over the Dunmore community finds a way to shine. We will all get this together in true Dunmore fashion. The Dunmore community always comes together.”

depietro'sDePietro said the group of current and former Dunmore football players wear protective gear, masks and gloves. “We have a safety huddle before every shift,” he said.

The current and former Dunmore football players who volunteer at DePietro’s Pharmacy include Billy DonVito, Pat DonVito, Keiran Reyes, Zach Cruser, Jerry Sanchez, George Mesko, Kamryn Reyes, Mike Giannetta, Ross Cordaro and Sean Pietruszkiewicz.

Billy DonVito played four years of football at Dunmore, graduating in 2019. He was a freshman end at Springfield College this past year. He was one of the first to volunteer his time.

“When someone who gives so much and reaches out for help,” he said, “it is our job and duty to get there. We rounded up the guys and are going to help till the Pandemic is over. We have three guys always there 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and three there 2 to 6 p.m.

“We wait outside in full gear. We wait for a customer to pull up and we run the order inside the store in a basket. We wear gloves, masks and take all precautions. We have no close interaction with the customers and wipe everything down constantly.

“When we heard there was a chance to help, the word spread quickly and a bunch of us volunteered.”

Coach McHale was not surprised by the turnout. “Community service has always been a big part of our football program,” he said. “Our kids do a great job with it.

“Tom DePietro and DePietro’s Pharmacy are some of our biggest supporters. When Tom was in need of assistance, some of our players were quick to lend a hand.”

The football players go through a daily pre-shift meeting of guidelines they must follow. The guidelines begin with washing and wearing gloves. The young men must stay six feet away from customers and stand to their side. Every so often, they must return to wash their hands again and change gloves.

The business continues to serve hundreds of customers a day during the state-wide shutdown. 

DePietro, a 2002 Dunmore graduate, credited coach McHale and former Dunmore coach Jack Henzes for molding the football players into fine young men.

Not even a national pandemic can pull this community apart.

“These kids’ parents, teachers and coaches raised them right. It’s a credit to these kids, their parents and the whole community.”