Holy Cross Cancels Football Season

Holy Cross football team 2018 cropped

By Steve Svetovich

A drop in participation as summer practice emerged forced Holy Cross High School officials to suspend its varsity football program for the 2019 season.

Dave Gatto was scheduled to coach the team for his third season. 

Ben Tolerico, school principal, announced the decision Tuesday, July 30. 

He informed District 2 chairman Frank Majikes and Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association president Ron Collins.

“Hopefully,” said coach Gatto, “we are teaching our kids more than just football. Problems will come up in your lifetime and you need to be prepared to deal with them. 

“We are not pouting and getting upset. We are addressing our problem and our kids are working hard to get more players out for the team. We will overcome this and hopefully be back on the field next year.”

There were 12 to 14 players, mostly underclassmen, who came out for the Crusaders team this season. Practice was to officially begin August 5 and a scrimmage was scheduled August 17 against Nanticoke. The season opener was scheduled Saturday, August 24, at home against Holy Redeemer.

At this time, Tolerico said, the school is eliminating the program. Tolerico coached the team from 2008 to 2010.

“In an effort to educate the whole child (mind, body and spirit), Holy Cross prides itself on having a rigorous academic program and robust extra curricular program for its students, ” Tolerico said in a statement.

“Each year we evaluate all the programs at Holy Cross to determine the best programs that will meet the needs and interests of our students. While we have one of the largest freshmen classes registered at Holy Cross, we currently have only 12 players signed up to play football, which is not enough to safely and competitively field a team.”

Tolerico added the football program will be re-evaluated for the 2020 season and beyond.

Teams scheduled to play Holy Cross this season will have their district playoff power rating calculated based on a nine-game schedule. There will be no forfeits.

Tolerico guided Holy Cross to its best season in 2010, which included an appearance in the  Eastern Conference Class 1A final. The Crusaders were 6-6 in 2010.

JVfootballLast season, Gatto, after a winless 2017 season, led the Crusaders to wins in its first two games over Holy Redeemer and Montrose. The team finished 2-8.

The Holy Cross football program began in 2007 when the team finished with a respectable 4-7 record. Holy Cross emerged in the 2007-2008 school year after the closings of Bishop Hannan and Bishop O’Hara. 

A total of 12 of the 22 players from last year’s team graduated.

Players who were slated to return this season were junior linebacker/fullback Brandon Ludovici, senior lineman Logan Bocker, junior lineman Robert Kane and senior wide receiver/defensive back/quarterback Andrew Weiner. 

Other key players were expected to be sophomore tailback Gavin Crems, a transfer from Dunmore, and 6-1, 190-pound defensive end Logan Tierney. 

Weiner was expected to be the quarterback. “He is very athletic, smart, with a strong arm,” said coach Gatto. “He would have been a strong leader.”

Ludovici and Crems were scheduled to be the running backs.

“Ludovici already had two good years with us. He is a tough player who works hard and loves football.

“Crems is a hard worker with great potential. He was probably the fastest kid on the team.”

Gatto and his staff also had great promise for freshman defensive end Tierney. “He is a big kid and was expected to make a huge impact.”

Coach Gatto’s assistant coaches were slated to be Vince Coviello, Chris Coviello, Joe Giorgio and T.J. McDonnell.

“We were looking forward to the challenges,” said coach Gatto, a University of Scranton business management graduate. “We will see what happens with the program next year.”

Gatto served seven years as an assistant coach at Dunmore under the legendary Jack Henzes who recently retired. He served five years as an assistant at Holy Cross before taking over the reign in 2017. 

Double “R” Twirlettes Dazzle During Football Season

Double R Twirlettes (2)

Members of the Double “R” Twirlettes who perform with their high school band fronts this football season include, seated from left: Nina Sampogne, Miss Comet, Abington Heights; Meghan Murray, Miss Trojan, North Pocono, and  Lindsey Kausmeyer, Miss Spartan, Mid Valley.

Kneeling, same order: Alexandra Taffera, North Pocono twirler; Madison Waltz, Dunmore twirler; Lindsay Griffiths, Wyoming Valley West drill team; Eliyana Kubelis, Scranton High majorette captain, and Sara Swavola, Scranton High twirler.

Standing: Sadie Solensky, Mid Valley twirler; Jordan Gioupis, North Pocono twirler; Madison Doyle, Mid Valley twirler; Natalie Nareski, Old Forge majorette; Morgan Tullio, Mid Valley, twirler; Autumn Major, North Pocono twirling team captain, and Jocelyn Bringhurst, Mid Valley twirler.

Kathleen Y. Mercatili is director of Double “R” Twirlettes.


Bucks Roll 49-0 Over Riverside

dhs football

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore junior quarterback Steve Borgia ran for two touchdowns and passed for another score as the Bucks rolled over Riverside, 49-0, Friday, September 21, at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Taylor.

Dunmore scored four touchdowns on its first five offensive plays in the Lackawanna Football Conference Division III contest.

Dunmore upped its record to 3-2 (3-0 in the division).

The Bucks rebounded from a loss to Lackawanna Trail, 21-15, Friday, September 14, at Lion’s Pride Stadium in Clinton Township.

bucksKevin McHale, Dunmore’s defensive coordinator, continues to run the team and serve as coach in the absence of legendary veteran Jack Henzes who is ill.

Taking the opening kickoff at its 42, Borgia completed a 6-yard pass to Thomas Lewis on first down. Rayshaun Dawkins then sprinted 52 yards for a Bucks touchdown. Peyton Badyrka kicked the extra point and Dunmore had a 7-0 lead just 51 seconds into the contest.

The Bucks then took over at their 49 after Riverside punted in fourth down. Borgia faked a handoff to Dawkins and kept the pigskin, rambling 51 yards for another Dunmore touchdown. Badyrka’s extra point kick gave Dunmore a 14-0 lead with 9:05 left in the first quarter.

Facing fourth-and-3 from their 22, Riverside coach Harry Armstrong and his Vikings surprisingly went for it. However, an incomplete pass turned the ball over to Dunmore on downs. On first down, Kyle Harrity burst up the middle for a 22-yard touchdown run. Badyrka’s extra point boot gave the Bucks a 21-0 lead with 6:35 left in the first quarter.

On the first play of Riverside’s next possession, the Vikings fumbled and Borgia pounced on the ball for Dunmore at the Riverside 48.

On first down, Borgia hit Cristian Buckley on a 48-yard touchdown strike. Another Badyrka extra point kick made it, 28-0, with 6:10 left in the first quarter.

The Vikings turned the ball over on downs at the Dunmore 39 on the first play of the second quarter.

scheduleDawkins then sprinted 28 yards on first down. Borgia then bolted 33 yards into the end zone for another Dunmore touchdown. The Badyrka extra point kick made it, 35-0, with 11:20 left in the second quarter.

Buckley busted loose from several would be tacklers for a 44-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 42-0 after Badyrka’s sixth extra point kick with still 6:02 left in the half.

Muhammad Moore’s 6-yard touchdown run on the opening plays of the final quarter turned out to be Dunmore’s final touchdown of the night. Emma Coar kicked the extra point to extend the lead to 49-0.

Borgia rushed for 84 yards on two carries and Dawkins for 84 yards on five carries to lead the Bucks running game. Buckley rushed for 52 yards on two carries.

Dawkins rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries in the loss to Lsckawanna Trail. Dawkins scored on runs of 70 and three yards.

Buckley rushed for 74 yards in 14 carries in the loss to Trail. Harrity rushed for 65 yards on eight carries.

UPDATE: The Dunmore Bucks trounced Old Forge 41-21 in their September 28 match-up. The Bucks will travel to Montrose on Friday, Oct. 5, with game time at 7 p.m.