Athlete of the Month: Cristian Buckley

Athlete of the Month - Cristian BuckleyBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore junior tailback-defensive back Cristian Buckley always knew he had big shoes to fill, and he is more than seizing the opportunity.

Son of Connie Buckley, Cristian’s two older brothers, Michael Perry, 28, now working for Signa Insurance, and Daiqwon Buckley, 22, now a Dunmore police officer, were both All-State backs for Dunmore.

With one year of high school football left, Cristian has already earned All League Athlete of the Year for football the past two consecutive seasons. He was also an All League defensive back last season. 

A member of the Health Careers Club at Dunmore, he plans on running track for the first time this year. He has an impressive 3.7 academic average. His best subject is chemistry. 

Cristian, 17, scored three touchdowns, two on passes and one on a run, in Dunmore’s 42-7  District 2, Class 2A win over Mid Valley. 

He rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in Dunmore’s 28-13 District 2, Class 2A, PIAA first round loss to Bishop McDevitt. He also intercepted a pass. 

“We really stepped in up after a slow start this season,” Cristian said. “We can attribute the success we had to the seniors stepping up and then the younger players coming through. It came through hard work and practice.”

Humble and hard working in nature, the junior stalwart said he has learned a lot from Dunmore football coach Kevin McHale. “I have learned so much from coach McHale,” he said. “He teaches us not only about football, but about life lessons too. I can’t say enough about him.”

Cristian said former Dunmore football coach Jack Henzes is still around the locker room before and after games. “It is a great feeling that he is still there.”

Cristian talked about what it takes to be the third brother to excel at running back at Dunmore. 

JVfootball“There is a lot of pressure and expectations, but that helps me become a better football player. I have to work that much harder to live up to the expectations. It makes me better.”

Cristian said his mom serves as an example to him. “I have learned a lot from my mom. She is my inspiration. She teaches me if you want something, you can’t sit back. You have to work hard and go after it.”

Cristian talked about his future goals. “I want our football team to win a state title next year. And I know we can do it. And then I want to play football in college and graduate with a degree in Math or Science. I want to get a good job after college.”

The scholar-athlete enjoys listening to music in his spare time and would like to see Lil’ Wayne in concert.

Cristian, a multiple threat, rushed for over 700 yards and totalled over 400 yards receiving while also excelling at his defensive back position this past season. 

Cristian said he loves Dunmore High School and living in Dunmore.

“I love it in this town,” he said. “I love going to school here. Everybody knows each other. The kids, coaches and teachers are great. It’s the best place to be.” 

Two-Time Super Bowl Champion Chris Snee Honored by Sports Hall of Fame

chris sneeBy Steve Svetovich

Former New York Giants two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Snee, Montrose, was among 11 selected to the Northeastern Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Prior to the annual Induction Ceremony held October 27 at the University of Scranton DeNaples Center, he spoke to The Dunmorean.

“This is an honor and a privledge to be here,” he said. “First, I received honors from Boston College as part of its Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame just last week and now this. I am very humbled by it all.

“It is a very emotional time for me, but a very good time to be a part of it all. I grew up in Montrose playing football. It is a game I love. And then this happens. It is a great honor. It feels good.”

Snee, during the exclusive interview, was asked his thoughts on the early season New York Giants quarterback situation when 19-year veteran, former teammate and fellow two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning was benched after two games in favor of rookie Daniel Jones.

“It was a tough decision and a busy camp for the Giants early on,” the 2000 Montrose High School graduate said. “The new quarterback Daniel Jones has a lot of talent. He looks like a keeper. I noticed early on the decision was undecided as to who to start, but they eventually went with the younger guy. I did not get the decision to bench Eli for that one game two years ago though. I did not get that at all.

“Eli is a tireless worker. I cannot say enough about Eli as both a football player and a man. He does so much preparation behind the scenes that people do not know about or see. Playing with Eli Manning, was an absolute pleasure. I do not know one person in the NFL who has a bad word to say about him. That is the ultimate tribute to a player.

Chris Snee

New York Giants two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Snee meets with Dunmorean sports editor Steve Svetovich.

“He is not the kind of guy who cares about cameras being in front of him. It was always a grind with him. His endless work would go unnoticed. His leadership and a lot of the work he did was never noticed because it was not in front of a camera.”

Son of Ed and Diane Snee, Montrose, the four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection is married to the former Kate Coughlin, the daughter of former New York Giants head football coach Tom Coughlin who Snee won two Super Bowls with. Snee and his wife have four children. 

Snee left Boston College before his senior year and was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 2004 NFL draft. The right guard helped coach Coughlin, quarterback Manning and the Giants win two Super Bowls over coach Bill Belicheck, quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

“If it were not for coach Tom Coughlin,” he said, “I would not be where I am today. I would not have accomplished what I did. Coach Coughlin made my transition from Boston College into the NFL a lot smoother. He was a very disciplined coach. I really learned how to be a disciplined, tough player under him. And we won some big games.”

Snee was two-time All-Regional, two-time All-State and three-time All-Conference as a defensive lineman at Montrose High School. He is the first NFL player to grow up in Susquehanna County. 

He was Regional Defensive Player of the Year in 1999. He recorded 47 quarterback sacks in his three years as a starter at Montrose. He recorded 101 tackles as a senior and led Montrose to district titles in 1997 and 1998.

At Boston College, he was a second team All America selection and All Big East Conference first-team selection in his final year.

Snee had hip surgery after playing in the 2013 Pro Bowl. He was placed on injured reserve in October 2013 and missed the rest of the season due to the injured hip. He retired from the NFL as a player in June 2014.

In May 2017, Snee was hired by Jacksonville Jaguars executive Vice President Tom Coughlin, his father-in law and former coach with the Giants, to be a scout and coaching assistant for the offensive line. 

“It keeps me very busy, ” he said. “There is a lot of travel.” 

Snee coaches Pee Wee football back home. 

“I loved growing up in this area,” he said. “I loved the small town atmosphere and all the friendships I made.”

Significantly down from his 305-pound playing weight, Snee helped Boston College win 25 games, including three bowl wins. It was there where he switched from the defensive to offensive line.

A three-time All Pro selection in the NFL, he said his mantra was “always work harder than the next guy.” Snee said he learned that work ethic from his parents while growing up in Susquehanna County.

“I learned about hard work from my parents. We are a family of few words. I watched them work and grind. 

“The best teams are motivated by the fear of letting each other down. I always played not only for my teammates, but for my family and friends back home.”

Badyrka Comes Back From Injury to Excel in Two Sports 

Coathlete BadrykaBy Steve Svetovich

The poised kicker lined up for a field goal attempt to win a game, just minutes after missing an attempt to tie it, and he drilled it through the uprights. 

Junior kicker Peyton Badyrka hit on a 21-yard field goal with 4.9 seconds left to win the game for the Dunmore Bucks, 13-12, handing No. 4 ranked Old Forge its first loss of the season Friday, September 27, at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

It was Badyrka’s second 21-yard field goal in the contest and came after Dunmore quarterback Steve Borgia led the Bucks on a 61-yard drive on 11 plays to set up the game winner.

“The winning kick felt pretty good,” he said. “My teammates were jumping up and down. It was just a great feeling.”

His missed attempt came with 9:31 left in the game when Old Forge’s Tyler Carey blocked the kick to preserve a 6-3 lead for the Blue Devils.

“You can’t worry about the previous kick or the next kick won’t be good,” Badyrka said. “You have to put it in the past and focus on the kick you are attempting in the moment.”

Badyrka has made four field goals in five tries this season for Dunmore. He has not missed an extra point kick in 25 tries. His longest field goal is 38 yards against Mid Valley. He made his only field goal attempt, for 32 yards in the state playoffs against West Catholic, last season.

Son of Daniel and Johanna Badyrka, Peyton is an honor student at Dunmore. His best subject is computers. He is a member of the French Club, Earth Club and Engineering Club. 

soccerPeyton also excels as a three-year member of the soccer team at Dunmore. He plays at the center midfield position. He was All League as a freshman member of the soccer team.

“I love soccer too. It is a great sport.”

Peyton suffered a torn ligament to his right knee and missed most of his sophomore soccer season. He worked hard to recuperate. “I had knee surgery and then it took three months of physical therapy and then another two months in the spring,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work and physical therapy. I wanted to get back on the field and I did for the state playoff football game against West Catholic where I was able to kick a field goal.”

Peyton said he wanted to be a kicker ever since he started watching Justin Yoon of Notre Dame. “My dad and I are huge Notre Dame fans. I started watching the kicker, Justin Yoon, and I wanted to be just like him.”

The scholar-athlete said he has learned a lot from his parents. “They tell me if you want to be good then keep working. Hard work will always pay off.”

Dunmore head football coach Kevin McHale has also been a big influence on the confident kicker. “He tells us to work hard every single day and be more willing than the other team to win.”

Peyton talked about what it takes to be a good kicker in high school. “You need to focus on the kick. You need to tune everything out. You need to forget about a previous miss and completely block it out. Just focus on making the kick.”

Peyton said he enjoys listening to rap music and would like to see Lil-Uzi-Vert in concert. 

The hard working kicker/soccer standout said he wants to study computer design/programming in college and play either soccer or football as a kicker.

Peyton said he and his teammates still get to see former Dunmore football coach Jack Henzes in the locker room after every game. “It is awesome seeing him, especially after a win. He looks great. He is doing much better.”

Peyton talked about his future goals. “I want to continue working hard here at Dunmore and go to a college in California to study computers and play a sport, either soccer or football, and keep getting better at it.”