District 2 Champion Dunmore Stomps Over Riverside

By Steve Svetovich

A potent running attack led by Cristian Buckley and Karl Kincel powered Dunmore to a 57-15 win over Riverside, Friday, October 30, at home.

The win gave the Bucks a final 3-2 regular season record under second year head football coach Kevin McHale. A district title and trip to the state playoffs was secured the following day. 

Lackawanna Trail’s 34-19 loss to Old Forge, Saturday, October 31, elevated Dunmore to District 2 Class 2A champion and a state playoff game for the Bucks. 

Buckley, quick, explosive and shifty, rambled for 208 yards on 18 carries, including a 66-yard touchdown burst with 29 seconds left in the first half to break a 15-15 tie. It was the talented senior’s third game over 200 yards rushing and moved his season total to over 1,000 yards on the ground in only five games. Buckley, hoping to play college football on the Division I level, has over 3,000 career rushing yards at Dunmore. 

Fullback Kincel added to the brutal running attack with 101 yards rushing, including two touchdowns. He scored a touchdown on a 68-yard sprint in the second quarter and added another tally on a four-yard burst in the third quarter. 

“Riverside is a good football team with an excellent quarterback,” said Dunmore head coach McHale. “We got off to a slow start, but gained some momentum in the second quarter. 

“From that point on we played well in all three phases, offense, defense, special teams. 

“We are very proud that our kids have been able to capture our seventh straight District 2 championship.” 

The Bucks totaled 338 yards on the ground behind a dominant offensive line.

Dunmore rallied from an early 15-0 deficit to score 57 unanswered points.

Riverside senior quarterback Johnny Gilchrist hit freshman Reese Gaughan with a 12-yard touchdown pass with 8:08 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick gave Riverside an early 7-0 lead over Dunmore.

A two-yard Gilchrist touchdown plunge followed by a two-point conversion on a pass play gave Riverside a 15-0 lead with 10:11 left in the second quarter.

Gilchrist completed 20-of-37 passes for 350 yards, 263 in the first half, for Riverside. 

Trailing 15-0, Dunmore scored its first touchdown with 9:08 left in the second quarter on a Thomas Bowen one-yard plunge. Peyton Badyrka booted the extra point. 

With the Vikings up 15-7, Riverside was about to force a Dunmore punt with just over four minutes left in the half. However, a roughing the punter penalty against the Vikings, gave Dunmore a break and a first down.

Kincel took advantage by breaking a tackle and scampering to the left sideline for a 68-yard touchdown run. Buckley then ran into the end zone for the two-point conversion and the game was tied, 15-15, with 4:05 left in the first half.

Senior standout Buckley bolted for his 66-yard go-ahead touchdown run with 29 seconds left in the first half. The two-point conversion run failed, but the Bucks had a 21-15 lead at the half.

A Bowen one-yard run followed by Buckley’s two-point conversion run gave Dunmore a 29-15 lead with 10:33 left in the third quarter.

Danny Pigga’s 14-yard bolt followed by Badyrka’s extra point kick gave the Bucks a 36-15 lead with 5:59 left in the third quarter.

Kincel’s four-yard burst followed by Badyrka’s PAT gave Dunmore a 43-15 lead with 2:12 left in the third quarter. 

A David Reilly 65-yard interception return followed by Badyrka’s extra point kick gave Dunmore a 50-15 lead with 11:45 left in the fourth quarter. 

Liam Crolly’s 22-yard gallop followed by the always reiiable Badyrka’s extra point kick gave the Bucks a 57-15 advantage with 2:46 left in the contest. 

The Bucks defense tightened up in the second half against Riverside stalwart signal caller Gilchrist. Bucks senior Dom Temperino, always clutch, sacked Gilchrist twice and Kincel added another forcing a desperation throw leading to Reilly’s 65-yard touchdown dash on his interception return.

Kincel, a tough two-way performer, showed no effects from a hand injury he suffered early in the season.

“Successful” Offseason Brings Excitement for Bucks, Coach McHale

Bucks Coach Kevin McHale is shown with his sons, Colin, 8, and Jack, 11, at the stadium in Dunmore.

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

By Zach Albert
Dunmorean Intern

In a borough that has strong pride in its football history, Dunmore has an energy around the beginning of each season that Dunmoreans never forget. As a winning culture has existed since the days of Coach Jack Henzes, Coach Kevin McHale uses Henzes’ “invaluable” knowledge and experiences to continue leading his team to success.

Despite 2020 having about two months without any COVID-19 guidelines, preparation for the season remained the cornerstone throughout. “From January on, attendance turnout has been great and has been maintained, even since the beginning of shutdowns and implementing online meetings and face shields,” McHale says.

Coach McHale emphasized a “day-by-day” mentality with his players and staff, while maximizing the reps available. “Usually we would have as many reps as possible, but with the health guidelines limiting the amount of them, we are doing the best we can with face shields and other protective measures.”

While physical preparation and conditioning are important to success in game situations, mental preparation is just as important. The intangibles of team chemistry and the unwillingness to give up are two that Coach McHale has noticed in his players this offseason. 

“Our senior class leadership has been exceptional. We have a great mix of talent and knowledge from over ten returning players and new players with skills in other sports, and we as coaches expect all to contribute,” he notes.

Challenges certainly existed for Coach McHale and his staff, aa there were times the football season was in jeopardy. As meetings were typically in closed spaces with the team, staggered schedule starts and online meetings were implemented to prevent losing these meetings altogether. 

“The student players have kept their heads up throughout the offseason despite the challenges and changes put upon them. A real threat of canceling the season a few months ago did not stop them.”

With the season now starting at home with Wallenpaupack, the Bucks will experience a shortened season, and Coach McHale is confident his team is as ready as they can be going in. 

UPDATE: The Dunmore Bucks opened their season on Friday, Oct. 2, with a 17-6 win over Wallenpaupack Area.

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.”