By 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.
“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.”