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Schuylkill Plus Feature Article

by Steven Young, Schuylkill Plus! Sports

Mother Nature and PIAA In Control of Boys and Girls Diamond Schedules

High School baseball and softball seasons are about to round the curve and head for home and springtime hasn’t been what it should be weather wise.
PIAA could care less about the non-revenue diamond sports; and the rush to end is never fair to these athletes. And to think that there are a number of Division I prospects and professional potential in baseball right smack in the Schuylkill Plus coverage area is unbelievable.
The problem; the season starts way too early and finishes far too early, as well. Teams that don’t have lights suffer exposure from the fan base. Four thirty starts can’t draw enough collection revenue to pay for balls, let alone the men in blue.
If you take a page from the Iowa high school sports where baseball season doesn’t start until June 1, the moans and groans from the parental base would take center stage.
But baseball has slowly taken a strong foothold when you consider the players being scouted for rich talent are abundant. If the baseball season would be pushed back to a late April start and a mid-June regular season finish, could be a bonus for better weather.
But ah that is only wishful thinking.
Any event the team surging big time is North Schuylkill. Loaded with talent, young in a lot of areas, and major league scouts knocking at the Spartans’ door, says it all. And before the Spartans hit the road to tackle Whitehall they’ve rung up an impressive 11-0 record.
That fast start is the best in school history, dating back to the spring of 1967 the first year of the jointure. It would seem that this team is built for a long run over the next month of the season and deep into the PIAA playoffs.
That getaway has thrust North Schuylkill to the top spot in the poll, just nudging another powerhouse baseball program in Hazleton Area. The Cougars are schooled very well by former MLB player Russ Canzler, and their lone loss to Wyoming Valley West, 2-1.
Also figure in Mount Carmel with co-op Thomas Schultz from Lourdes on the side of the Red Tornadoes with a glowing 10-2 record and in the hunt for a divisional championship in the Heartland Conference with a 7-2 log.
On the softball side of the diamond, there’s a horde of potential top-of-the-heap teams starting with 14-0 Pine Grove, and 13-0 Williams Valley. Lest we forget North Schuylkill at 10-3. Or take your pick at 13-1 Nativity.
But smackdab in the middle of the No. 1 chase are the Lady Cougars of Hazleton, which sport perfection at 7-0. They own wins over Blue Mountain and Minersville of the Schuylkill Softball League.

Schuylkill Plus Baseball Top 10 May 2019 Poll

1 North Schuylkill (11-0) – Led by left-handed pitcher Reggie Crawford who is UConn recruit, could be a MLB draft choice come June
2. Hazleton Area (10-1) – This is a baseball-rich tradition under new skipper Russ Canzler. Cougars are a force in Class 6A
3. Blue Mountain (11-1) – Lone loss was a smack-down by North Schuylkill back in rebound mode to make a playoff run, as usual.
4 Schuylkill Haven (12-3) – Hurricanes are a program school that just keeps rolling out winning baseball under legendary manager Scott Buffington!
5. Mount Carmel (10-2 ) – Tornadoes are impressive with Thomas Schultz firing the pill. The Virginia-bound baseball star could also be drafted come June.
6. Marian (9-3) – Colts find a way to win late in games. Pitching injuries could wear away this team come mid-May.
7. Pottsville (8-6) – Tide always competes but team is struggling with youth and could play spoiler to someone in the division if they get the ship righted.
8. Panther Valley (9-5) – The Kentucky Derby this coming Saturday, if there is a horse in the Schuylkill Baseball League to watch, the Panthers are the one.
9. Williams Valley (10-4) – If the Vikings get hot they could very well make a late season charge at No. 4 Sch. Haven for a Division II title
10. Tri-Valley (11-4) – Up and down like a yo-yo, the Bulldogs get better as the season pushes forward. .

Schuylkill Plus Softball Top 10 May 2019 Poll

1A. Pine Grove (14-0) 1A. Williams Valley (13-0) – Take your pick between the Lady Cardinals or the Lady Vikings. The flavor might be a little different, but these two are the best of the bunch thus far and share the top spot together. They should meet come Schuylkill playoff time unless there’s a major collapse. And that’s about as likely to happen as snow in July!
1A. Williams Valley (13-0) – Championship season for the Vikings, their second since 2013. Seniors on the team amassed a terrific 93-10 record.
3. Hazleton (7-0) – Lady Cougars own wins over Minersville and Blue Mountain in of the Schuylkill League; that says it all!
4. North Schuylkill (10-3) – Graduation losses haven’t stifled. Lady Spartans have grit and determination, but their also in the same division as Pine Grove.
5. Blue Mountain (10-3) – Can the Eagles catch the Spartans for second place in D-I and earn a league postseason playoff spot? That remains to be seen.
6. Nativity (13-1) – Green Wave has only fallen once and that was to undefeated Williams Valley. This team will be a District 11 postseason force.
7. Tamaqua (8-6) – Pollsters are giving the Lady Raiders a generous spot here. Youthfulness needs to mature quickly.
8. Schuylkill Haven (8-6) – Lady ‘Canes bunched in with Williams Valley and Nativity in the same D-II with only two losses in league play.
9. Marian (6-6) – Fillies have skidded since upending Minersville, but should bounce back in time to hook horns with No. 10 rival Mahanoy Area
10. Mahanoy Area (5-5) – Lady Bears have a great bunch of athletes growing up in the nick of time to make a run at Marian.


Schuylkill Plus 2017 Football Wrap-up and Pre-season High Scool Hoops Preview

Southern’s Tigers Roar in Our Local Football Final Rankings
by Steven Young, Schuylkill Plus Sports

They’re a football machine.
They’re a team that wins with class and great coaching.
They’re a team that has produced a legacy, a tradition that can match any in the storied annuals of Coal Region football.
They’re a team that nearly lost its football program back in the 1980s.
They’re a team on its own level can play with any in the COUNTRY!
They’re the Southern Columbia Tigers.
Yes Southern has garnered a reputation because they’ve earned it since the mid-1990s and are potentially headed to another state championship under their great coach Jim Roth.
And the Tigers are the only team standing in the Schuylkill Plus Top 10 Poll and have run the table since the first taken. Southern pulled off another great victory burying Neumann-Goretti in the state quarterfinals 45-12, a Philadelphia City All-Star team. The win snapped the Saints’ 12-0 run, while the Tigers stay perfect, 14-0.
There were some surprises throughout the season, including Lehighton’s great run in going 12-1 before losing to Palisades in the District 11, Class 3A championship. It was a big year for Jim Thorpe, too, as the Olympians had a terrific season winning their first nine games before losing to Lehighton on the final regular season playing date. That final game turned out to be for the Schuylkill Football League Division I championship. What a great season in the SFL D-I race.
In Division II of the SFL, Schuylkill Haven clinched another banner after starting the season 0-4, and then ran off six straight wins, including a smacking of rival Blue Mountain (30-0) on the 10th playing date.
Now it’s time to bid adieu for the football rankings, and get ready for a long winter’s run of hoops.

Schuylkill Plus Top 10 Final 2017 Football Poll
1. Southern Columbia (14-0) – Stamped itself as the team to beat in the PIAA Class 2A title run, Tigers stomped all over vaunted Neumann-Goretti and are one win away from a trip to HersheyPark and the PIAA, Class 2A state finals.
2. Lehighton (12-1) – The Indians had a fantastic season winning the SFL D-I championship before losing in the District 11, Class 3A finals to Palisades.
3. Jim Thorpe (10-2) – Olympians stonewalled in a late season misstep, but had another super season, before losing in the D-11,3A semifinals to Lehighton second loss to the Indians.
4 Williams-Valley (13-1) – Vikings seemed destined to reach the Class 1A state finals, but injuries took its toll losing one of the premier runners in the state in Dylan Rabuck, who rushed for nearly 3,500 yards and 48 touchdowns, was felled by an ankle injury unable to finish the season. Super season for the Indians who lost for the second season to Steelton at this juncture.
5. North Schuylkill (8-3) – Spartans have all the components to make a run next season but need to find a way to get past nemesis Notre Dame, Green Pond. Lost for the third time to this program in as many tries. Team is loaded for next two seasons.
6. Berwick (10-3) – Bulldogs were back in the hunt for another District 2, Class 4A title, but came up short when they were stunned in double OT by Valley View 24-17 ending their season.
7. Mt. Carmel (8-5) – How about those Red Tornadoes. Big Red in the District 2, Class 2A title hunt before losing out in the championship finals to rival Southern Columbia. Great season and a good shot for the program which could be finding a way back to the top.
8. Tamaqua (6-5) – Tough luck team of the season. Blue Raiders were impressive to start 2017 running off five-straight wins but faltered late, before losing in the District 11, 3A tournament to SFL rival Jim Thorpe ending their season. On the watch list for 2018 as one of the teams to beat.
9. Schuylkill Haven (8-5) – Hurricanes righted the ship once they got back into SFL Division II play where they won another banner and picked up a second-straight D-11, Class 2A championship. Haven lost out in the PIAA tournament to Neumann-Goretti ending their season.
10. Tri-Valley (8-4 – Mickey Ulicny pulled off another superb season despite being low in the numbers department. Bulldogs wrangled away a win in the first round of the D-11, 1A playoffs upending Nativity, but lost out to Williams Valley in the championship game.

Basketball Preview
We’re back in action.

The warmth of the gyms, the roar of the crowds and what a better way than to whisk away the winter blues then to take in a high school basketball game.
Yes, the 2017-2018 season is on the cusp of another tip-off and before you know it one of the most coveted venues in scholastic basketball will take center stage – Martz Hall.
This venue is without a doubt the dream of every high school hoopsters to get the exposure of playing a league playoff or a state tournament contest. This remarkable arena has been there since 1971-1972, and has gained a reputation not just in the Keystone state, but in some other parts of the country.
And come Valentine’s weekend, or thereabouts, the annual Schuylkill League championship series will come to pass with more than 4,000 fans and onlookers gazing down to those in the limelight.
There have been some highly heralded athletes to lay their Converse, Nike and Underarm gear on this stunning playing surface from Kobe Bryant, to Sam Bowie – both NBA stars at one time – and even the late boxing great Muhammad Ali was exposed to the arena during an exhibition bout during his training days in Deer Lake.
‘Nuff of the gibberish and history listen, it’s time to release our first Schuylkill Plus Boys and Girls Basketball Poll. The preseason SP Top 10 Poll relies mostly on the previous season and it is a stab in the dark.
However, the top two teams should be there come the January poll, and one thing is for certain, Minersville girl’s is the early odds-on-favorite to maybe go wire-to-wire with a horde of talent yet to surface and winning last season’s state championship has only built this program into potential dominating program.
The boys figure to have Pottsville right back in the winners circle but don’t discount Hazleton Area, either.
For now, let’s take a look at one is on tap to open the season. In addition take note, the records are those from a season ago.

Schuylkill Plus Boys Presason 2017-18 Top 10 Poll
1. Pottsville (20-8) – Tide is rolling with a great program and returns noted 6-7 center/swingman Ian Renninger back for his final year.
1. Hazleton Area (19-4) – Cougars are rich in hoops tradition, and get this spot based on that legacy.
3. Blue Mountain (19-6) – Eagles pulled off a stunner last winter upsetting Pottsvillel in league championship game.
4. Lourdes (20-8) – One only needs to say one name Chris Schultz. This spectacular athlete can carry a team a long way.
5. Mahanoy Area (13-10) – Mike Joseph is departed, so too is the 29 points per game he averaged gone as well. However the Golden Bears have a rock solid cast of leftovers back.
6. Mount Carmel (16-7) – Red Tornadoes found a way to make an impact last winter and will be a force in District 4 once again.
7. Jim Thorpe (14-12) – A senior dominated team last season, but the Olympians seem to have stockpiled some underclassmen that saw plenty of playing time a year ago.
8. Lehighton (16-7) – Indians ran hot-and-cold a season ago, but some returnees along with players from a winning football team will make the transition a good one.
9. Marian (21-5) – Colts gold medal winners in the District 11, Class 2A playoffs last season, will rally around the talents of super sophomore shooting guard Tyler Fritz.
6. Shenandoah Valley (20-5) – Blue Devils list a lot of talent and some heart, but just maybe have enough young talent to start fresh and make some noise again.

Schuylkill Plus Girls Pre-Season 2017 Poll
1. Minersville (31-0) – It was written here a year ago… a great team that will go down in history as one of the best from the SIAL. They are old school basketball similar to the league champions of the past. And that’s going to make this program stay on top.
2. Mount Carmel (27-2) - Lady Tornadoes are a program school in the Heartland Conference and are gearing up for another superb season. If Miners slip, Tornadoes could blow to the top of the poll.
3. Tamaqua (15-9) – This is the sleeper team in the entire lot. Three fab freshmen are now sophomores. The Lady Raiders had growing pains at times, now they could shine.
4. Mahanoy Area (22-6) – This could be the year for glory days back in the Lady Golden Bears sack of basketballs. They’re deep, well-schooled and are coming off another great season. Should 1 or 2 falter, Bears will claw to the top.
5. North Schuylkill (13-10) – This once proud program with more hoops banners other than Marian are expected to win Division I of the SIAL. Lady Spartans on a yo-yo string last winters, if they learned from their misgivings, they’ll battle for a D-I league crown.
6. Marian (17-8) – Fillies are going to be smack in the SIAL title chase and beyond, and one big reason they play defense, a staple for a Paul Brutto-coached team.

7. Pine Grove (20-7) – This dynamic program is back on course and could be a threat to unseat Minersville as league champions. Lady Cardinals are capable of reaching the SIAL finals.
8. Lourdes (21-7) – The Lady Raiders sometimes start slow, but it’s not where you started but where you end. Most times this well-coached team by Gish Klembara will be there when it counts the most.
9 Pottsville (19-6) – The Lady Tide are always in the mix and should be a potential threat in D-I of the SIAL.
10. Shenandoah Valley (14-10) – Lady Devs needed hard offseason work, if they found the right formula, they could sneak up and pull off a major upset or two.

Hark, Hark and hear ye, hear ye!
It is time to kick off another college football season and the debates will start to come to a loud din when Thanksgiving rolls around in late November. The college football purists want more games, and less bias when trying to pick the top four teams in the land.
If the subdivisions can figure out a way to have nearly a month long tournament, why can’t the Division I’s figure it out? Sometimes one thinks there is corruption and tight-fisted control by the elitist. It’s tough to give up control but it’s also unfair to let a computer and a panel figure who’s in and who’s not.
Can an 8-team field be worked out?
Of course!
Can a 16-team field take to the gridiron and make it work?
You bet!
For now, though the Pollsters are in control and it already has begun. The voters are in agreement for the top six spots; Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC, Clemson and Penn State.
But what about Wisconsin, Michigan, or even Florida, better yet Oklahoma, are those teams not qualified to be a potential playoff contender? Results should be on the field, not by a stroke of a pen, and so it shall be for another season.
It is good debatable material in the local Pubs or on Social Media. There are ways to make it happen, and that’s through the Super Conferences; i.e. Big 10, Southeast, Southwest, Big 12, ACC.
Unfortunately for now, it is a subject that will go around and around like a Ferris Wheel and only the ins will stay atop the polls.
So let us give you our top four teams that could finish the season in the BCS playoff picture.
Everyone has Alabama as numero uno before the coin flip. Sure the Crimson Tide is going to be in the run because they arguably get the cream of the crop come every February on National Signing Day, which is the holiest of days in the college football world for top recruits and the followers of the sport.
Ah, but Alabama could be displaced. If LSU lives up to its preseason expectations, and Florida gets an offense in gear, or even the Tide’s most despised rival Auburn, then ‘Bama could have their hands full in the fever-pitch SEC.
And let’s take a stab in the ACC, where the great Dabo Swinney makes football watching fun. The guy is the entire package, and who wouldn’t want to play for the Tigers under his rock-and-roll-like character. He’s more fun than the guy at ‘Bama and that’s what makes the Tigers a lethal force once more. Swinney has recruited the pants off of everyone and this program is in a reload.
Sure Florida State will wave a tomahawk chop, but the Clemson is darn good again. There may be a murmur from North Carolina or North Carolina State, but those are basketball schools wannabe football powerhouses. Not ever gonna happen – EVER!
Where or where does the Big 10 fit into the scheme? No one, and we mean no one, figured Penn State to win the title, not after an ugly start, a loss to bitter rival Pittsburgh and a lackluster performance against Minnesota.
Then after all that, the Nittany Lions roared loud and clear right to the title game. AND WON! Whoa Nellie!!! Can Penn State do it again? One thing, the faithful want another winner and may not settle for anything less. James Franklin got minted with more than $6 million dollars, and that’s 5-million, 60-thousand more than the great Joe Paterno made in his last season. That’s correct; Paterno made $940,000 before being canned.
Meanwhile Big Bucks Urban Meyer is rolling in more dough, and rightfully so. He wins National Championship every other year, whereas Franklin has yet to pick one off. Ohio State lost to the Lions last fall, and are chomping at the bit to take care of business when they clash in Columbus next month.
The other big shooter is Michigan. Jim Harbaugh has a glut of talent in Ana Arbor and like Ohio State once one more shot at the Buckeyes and gets them at home in November. Sure there’s Wisconsin getting a lot of love in some quarters, but watch out here comes Northwestern. This team could be the sleeper team in the conference.
Out West where games are played at 1 a.m. in the East, the drum roll says USC with highly touted quarterback Sam Darnell another one of those darling QBs that get more attention as the “next great” pro thrower, but flop more than a pancake at a fast food chain.
Don’t go out and bet the house on the Trojans. There’s trouble brewing in the USC camp and it will come from Stanford. The Cardinal is going to be loaded and will make another impressive run for the crown.
So where does the whacky Big 12 figure into all of this title talk? Nowhere! Why, because the defense is like a sieve and if you don’t play defense, even just a wee, tiny bit, you can’t win championships.
Now for the drum roll please…..
Big 10 Champion – Northwestern
Big 12 Champion – Stanford
SEC Champion – LSU
ACC Champion – Clemson
LSU wins round 1as does Stanford.
LSU wins the entire ball of wax!!!
Now don’t run to Sin City and wager our suggestion, instead debate it through the New Year and then get ready for another Super Bowl.


Is it the same old song?
Are the top echelon teams in the National Football League, still the best?
Is here a team that can unseat the terrific run by the New England Patriots and its quarterback Tom Brady?
Probably not in most of those questions. If there is an “iffy” situation it still remains to be seen if Brady can perform at the high-octane level considering his age, now 40.
There are going to be some contenders trying to unseat the Pats, and the best way to understand the NFL and how teams make it through a brutal season, injuries. The team that stays health come playoff time are usually the ones that make it to the Super Bowl.
That being said, one has to question the mental attitude of the Atlanta Falcons. Why you ask? The way the Falcons lost to the Patriots last February has to play very hard on their mind-set. Some say the Falcons are a top club, true, but are they able to overcome that loss, and will it carry over to this season? This corner says absolutely YES!
That being said, just keep an eye on how “Hot-lanta” comes out of the chute to open the season. If there is lethargic, close games, or close losses, then you get the drift immediately.
The “so-called” experts are predicting yet another championship ring for New England. The dynasty and the remarkable way Brady engineers victories says a lot. But Bill Belichick is the best coach ever. He’s better than the late great Vince Lombardi who was the best until Belichick arrived. And to think, the Cleveland Browns, who blow more first-round choices than the Three Stooges, fired him once upon a time.
I n all reality, there are some teams that could make a run to the finals; and hope that the Patriots stumble before the grand finale’.
NFC East is the monster conference again, best in the NFL. Housed here are the Jersey Giants – yes they are NOT New York because the Jints play in Jersey so let’s get that straight. Then there’s the best kept secret in Washington, Dallas and Philadelphia. If any of those teams played in any other conference it would win out. The team that will win it, if it stays healthy, are the Redskins. Kirk Cousins has grown into a top-flight quarterback and has a running game and defense to give this team a shot at the Super Bowl.
The NFC North is also a loaded with a pair of very good teams. Of course, the Green Bay Packers are always a team that will standout, but Minnesota’s Vikings are going to push things to the limit. And to think Matthew Stafford is now the highest paid quarterback ($135M) is mind-boggling. Of course, when you consider what Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather made on one fight, it may not sound that ludicrous?
In NFC South the questions are still abound on Atlanta’s outlook, but Tampa Bay has improved more than most teams with the addition of DeSean Jackson, but it’s Atlanta’s division to blow just like the championship game. While Carolina has the crybaby, poor loser Cam Newton, still sulking over the loss two seasons ago.
Go West young man, go west, about the most interesting team here is Arizona and it remains to be seen if they can bounce back and rule Seattle.
Now for the AFC, some really good football is going to surface here in just about every division. The East has Miami keeps gaining strides, but it will be tough to overcome New England, while the shuffle is in Buffalo, don’t expect the Jets to make a move out of the cellar.
The North is going to be a barnburner to the end. Can Big Ben Roethlisberger still stay afloat for another season? The guy is incredible with his endurance, stamina and he wills his team to win. The Steelers will always be tough, because they play defense, so too does Baltimore and Cincinnati. Meanwhile, the Browns are still in a state of flux and with the recent departure of defensive back Joe Hayden who was cut, says the club is trying to rid itself of unwanted players.
Can any team in the AFC South really, really dominate? Probably not, since they are all on par; Houston, Tennessee, Jacksonville and Indianapolis. Take your pick.
So that leads us out West in the AFC. Some are calling it in favor of the Oakland Raiders, soon to be Las Vegas, but we lean to Andy Reid and Brett Veach. Sure it’s sentimental, but the Chiefs are very, very good.
Of course, as you know, Reid led the Eagles to greatness but couldn’t get the biggest prize. Then Kansas City hires a local product in Veach, a one-time Mount Carmel football all-stater as the clubs General Manager.
What more can you ask for, other than a Super Bowl ring?
Here’s how it plays out for the regular season.

NFC East Champion- Giants
NFC North – Minnesota
NFC South – Tampa Bay
NFC West – Arizona
Wild Cards – Philadelphia
and Washington
NFC Winner – Minnesota

AFC East – New England
AFC North – Baltimore
AFC South – Houston
AFC West – Kansas City
Wild Cards – Oakland
and Cincinnati
AFC Winner – Chiefs

Super Bowl Winner – Chiefs.





The Schuylkill Plus
Football Poll 2016

Local Football Final Rankings
by Steven Young, Schuylkill Plus Sports

Southern’s Tigers Roar
in Our Local Football Final Rankings

The hardest thing in sports to accomplish is a repeat performance.
However for Southern Columbia it is the norm rather than a rarity. Once again the roaring Tigers are Schuylkill Plus Football Poll Kings for 2016!
It wasn’t an easy haul for the youthful Tigers, a team that filled with a majority of underclassmen and that means only one thing – threepeat, fourpeat, maybe even a fivepeat! Whew that is unheard of when you look at the enrollment for this small school powerhouse.
Southern added to its victory total when it side-stepped Schuylkill Football League Division II champions Schuylkill Haven in the quarterfinal round of the state Class AA playoffs, 25-5. The Tigers rang their 14th win of the season and stayed undefeated.
The win sends the Tigers up against Ligonier Valley from District 6. Ligonier rocked Dunmore 39-19, and many thought that the Bucks were the only team capable of handling Southern.
The loss by the Hurricanes ends a great season, one in which they captured the small school SFL title, capped off that with a District 11, Class 2A gold medal to finish at 12-2. That earned the team a No. 2 ranking in the poll leaping over Pottsville and Blue Mountain.
So here is the final 2016 Schuylkill Plus Poll.

Schuylkill Plus Top 10 2016 Final Football Poll
1. Southern Columbia (14-0) – These Tigers continue to roar… but get a huge test in the Class 2A state tournament against a tough Ligonier Valley. A win here and Southern gets to defend their championship.
2. Schuylkill Haven (12-2) – What a great season for the Hurricanes! They carried the Schuylkill Football League banner with pride before falling to Southern; coach Mike Farr’s team was pegged as a “team to beat” and they lived up to the lofty expectations!
3. Pottsville (9-2) – The Crimson Tide dropped one spot, but could easily be a No. 2 ranking. The SFL Division I champions were usurped by Saucon Valley in the first round of the D-11, 3A playoffs.
4. Blue Mountain (9-2) – These Eagles soared higher than expected this season and should have been a district contender, but lost out in the point-rating system. However Blue Mountain did capture a gold medal in the Eastern Conference playoff knocking off Northwestern Lehigh for the title.
5. Williams-Valley (12-2) – Vikings were one of the most exciting and underrated teams in the region. They made an unbelievable comeback to dethrone defending District 11, Class A champions Marian to win the crown, and they added a postseason victory to their totals beating Lackawanna Trail. This team is loaded for bear come ’17.
6 Berwick (7-5) – The post-George Curry Era produced a solid team for first-year coach Frank Sheptock. The Bulldogs were tough late in the season before falling to North Pocono.
7. North Schuylkill (7-5) – Spartans are a band of youthful players, with frosh and sophs up and down the lineup. Watch out next season for the team that reached the D-11, 3A playoffs before falling to Notre Dame, Green Pond.
8. Jim Thorpe (6-5) – Olympians made a statement most of the season before losing out to No. 7 North Schuylkill in the first round of the D-11, 3A playoffs.
9. Tri-Valley (8-3) - The Bulldogs made a season-long statement came oh so close to defeating No. 5 Williams Valley before losing in the final 45 seconds. Lost out to Marian in the District 11, Class 1A semifinals.
10. Tamaqua (5-6) – The Blue Raiders made their statement as well and could be a bonafide SFL , Division I contender next fall. Inconsistent at times, Tamaqua fell in the D-11, Class AAA tournament.

Game Commission Reminds Deer Hunters Of Rifle Restrictions
Regulatory changes regarding semiautomatic rifles and air rifles must follow procedure.

As the statewide firearms deer season approaches, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reminds deer hunters that rifles used during the season must be manually operated.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation that will enable the Pennsylvania Game Commission to regulate the use of semiautomatic rifles and air rifles for hunting, and the bill was signed into law this week.
But the Game Commission has not yet made any changes to the lists of lawful arms and ammunition for any hunting season.
For deer hunters in the upcoming firearms deer season, that means all centerfire rifles, handguns and shotguns to be used must be manually operated. The only exception is that semiautomatic shotguns may be used to hunt deer in five counties – Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery – that are defined as Special Regulations Areas.
Semiautomatic rifles generally are not permitted for any type of hunting in any part of the state at this time.
Things could change in the coming months.
At its upcoming meetings, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will be discussing the newly signed legislation and the possibility of adding semiautomatic rifles and air rifles to the lawful arms and ammunition list for various hunting seasons. But any changes must follow the schedule dictated by required procedure.
Under the law, proposed regulatory changes must be adopted preliminarily, then advertised and brought back to a subsequent meeting for a final vote.
With the board’s next quarterly meeting scheduled for January, no allowances for hunting with semiautomatic rifles or air rifles could be approved before April 2017.
The Game Commission will issue a news release announcing any changes at the time they are made.




Schuylkill Plus Top 10 2015 Final Football Poll

1. Southern Columbia (13-0) – Tigers are in on the prowl looking for their first Class AA title, to go along with six state Class A championships.
2. Lehighton (11-1) – Indians had the best season ever winning their first Anthracite Football League championship before bowing in the District 11, Class AAA finals to Saucon Valley.
3. Blue Mountain (9-2) – Bravo to the Eagles who were the surprise team in the Anthracite Football League. The two loses were to Lehighton. Could be the preseason pick next fall with a lot of players returning.
4 Berwick (9-3) – The Final Season for The King. Lost out in the District 4, Class AAA championship game.
5. Jim Thorpe (9-3) – All three losses came over the final three weeks of the season, but a superb year for the Olympians none the less
6. North Schuylkill (6-5) – Spartans had key injuries take a toll before losing in the opening round of the District 11, Class AA playoffs to eventual champions Notre Dame of Green Pond.
7 Marian (8-4) – The Galloping Colts came on strong to win the District 11, Class A championship before being stopped in Round 1 of the state playoffs.
8. Mahanoy Area (6-5) – Great run by the Bears this season, as they were led by quarterback Mason Ryan and running back Lenny Dusky
9. Tri-Valley (9-2) – Bulldogs suffered two losses, the last to No. 7 Marian in the Class A finals. Another terrific season for this small single A school.
10. Hazleton Area (5-5) – Mike Brennan’s Cougars will leap into the top 5 next fall, as the former coach at Mount Carmel and Blue Mountain has the program pointed upward after his second season.
8. Lehighton (8-3) – Indians maiden voyage into the AFL wasn’t bad, but dropped an opening round game to Bethlehem Catholic in the District 11, Class AAA playoffs.
9. Jim Thorpe (7-3) – Olympians always compete under Mark Rosenberger. And it was no different this season. Solid year for the Carbon County eleven.
10. Tri-Valley (7-5) – Bulldogs got it done again, Mickey Ulicny’s brand of football works down in the Hegins Valley. Don’t mess with success.