By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
PECKVILLE -- There was a lot of talk in recent weeks about whether Southern Columbia, despite its unbeaten mark, would be able to get past Old Forge in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
That is mere conjecture now, because Dunmore beat the Tigers to the punch, eliminating the Blue Devils 7-6 in last week's District 2 Class A title game.
Few saw that coming, knowing that, in week four, Old Forge rolled the Bucks 21-0.
Dunmore coach Jack Henzes Jr., will now lead his 11-1 Bucks to take on the 12-0 Tigers at 7 p.m. Friday, ironically, in Valley View High School's Jack Henzes Memorial Stadium in Peckville. The stadium was dedicated to the current Dunmore coach's late father, who had a great career at Valley View.
Both Roth and Henzes Jr., who have combined for 68 seasons and 710 wins, agree that the Dunmore team that won last week's rematch with the Blue Devils is much improved. In the first match-up, both junior fullback Daiqwon Buckley and senior tailback Austin Seamon missed the game with injuries.
The pair returned for the playoffs and these Bucks (11-1) playoff-worthy.
"I think most of the people here expected (our opponent) to be Old Forge because of the year they had and (because) they handled Dunmore in the first game," Roth said. "But we knew there were some issues, especially with injuries, with Dunmore in that first game. They certainly came out last week and turned the tide and played a much different game than the first time around."
Henzes said, "We have had a tremendous amount of injuries that we didn't have in the past. We dressed 26 or 27 in some games. I have to give our younger kids credit for staying in there and now we finally started to get healthy and the kids started doing the things we needed to do."