Sports Digest by Bill Byham

Sport announcer and writer Bill Byham

Sport announcer and writer Bill Byham

THIS WILL NOT BE CONNECTED SO STAY LOOSE – The current Middle Atlantic Football Conference standings as of this writing are: Lycoming 4-1 (6-2), Albright (4-1 (6-2), Delaware Valley 3-2 (5-3), Lebanon Valley 3-2 (5-3), Wilkes 3-2 (3-5), Widener 2-3 (4-4), FDU-Florham 1-4 (3-5) and Kings 0-5 (1-7).

Before the season the eight head coaches, as they have for many years, were asked to post their predictions in ranking the teams. Here is that lineup from top to bottom – 1. Widener, 2. Delaware Valley, 3 Albright, 4 Wilkes, 5 Lycoming, 6 Lebanon Valley, 7 Kings and 8. FDU-Florham.

Compare those two sets of standings and you can see that the MAC is in a “scramble city” mode thus far in the 2008 season. You should also know that the pre season rankings by the coaches can be traced, pretty much, by what the teams did in 2007. For example, Widener is the defending champion and just nudged out Delaware Valley. Lycoming was ranked fifth after finishing with a 3-7 overall record and a 3-4 MAC record.
Anyone remotely interested in Lycoming College football is aware that the program was a member of the NCAA D-3 elite for most of the 36 years Frank Girardi was head coach. After 29 consecutive winning seasons, the Warriors had losing years in three of the next four seasons as Girardi stepped down and to be replaced by former Warrior Mike Clark (1989-1993) who was here in that 12-1 1990 season when the Warriors first played in the national championship game.

At first it was not a smooth transition. Just about every Girardi assistant left the program including Steve Wiser who had been assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

Clark went about the task of finding a staff and was able to bring Wiser back to handle the defense. Veteran defensive coach Mike Weber , who played at Lycoming, returned. Drew DiGiacinto stayed as offensive line coach and special teams coach. Denny Hammond came back for a third time to coach the defensive line. Steve Radocaj came back for a second stint to work with the defensive line. Ken Tallman, who once wrestled for Lycoming, left Loyalsock Twp. to join the Clark staff as an offensive line coach. Carmen Bianco came down from Mansfield to coach the wide receivers and first year coach Bill Zwaan came in to work with the quarterbacks. These coaches have been joined by Ryan Dixon who co-captained the Warriors of last year with Ryan Yaple. Dixon, who is still taking degree courses, is working with the running backs while Yaple, an All American last year, is coaching the defensive backs.

Clark said, at his introductory press conference, ” As a former Lycoming player and coach, I am honored to be named Lycoming’s head football coach. I am excited to return to Lycoming football and its rich tradition, and I plan to continue the success established by Coach Frank Girardi and the staff.”

Later he said, ” We ( the coaches) feel we have a number of high talented players. We feel we are going to have a very good football team. We want to be a winning team that can play for the MAC championship.”
With two games to go (at Kings Saturday/ home with Lebanon Valley on the 15th) Clark and his staff have 1) continued the success of the Girardi program 2) have proven to be a very good football team, 3) have played winning football and 4) have a solid shot at the MAC championship.

ONE LINERS OF SPORTS – Part of what is happening in Warrior football was their best overall effort Saturday in besting FDU-Florham 48-28. Colin Dwyer passed for four touchdowns (14 of 30/ 226 yards), Ryan Wagaman caught three scoring passes, Josh Kleinfelter rushed for 178 yards (20 carries/ 178 yds/ a per carry average of 8.9 yards) that included a 64-yard TD run. Lycoming reached the Red Zone six time and scored six times, no turnovers in totaling a season high of 449 total yards and scored 21 3rd quarter points.
Congrats to Kleinfelter and linebacker Ben Rosa for being named MAC Players of The Week. Rosa sparked the defense with 10 total tackles which included 2 sacks (minus 24 yds) and 2.5 tackles for loss (minus 25 yards), a forced fumble and a pass break up.

Congrats to the Loyalsock Twp. Lady Lancer soccer team for their District 4 title. Their male counterparts did not match up but will still get a PIAA playoff berth.

More Congrats to the local football teams extending their seasons into playoffs. Montoursville (who will host a game Friday night) and Hughesville will be in the District 4 playoffs while Loyalsock Twp. will move into Eastern Conference play.

And maybe, just maybe, an answer will come out this week at the Loyalsock Twp. Board of School Directors meeting why veteran girl’s basketball coach could be replaced by his assistant Mike Loeh. Congrats to seven Penn College soccer players named All American by the USCAC. Hannah McCracken (Williamsport), Bridget Metzger (Montoursville) and Chelsey Holmes (Hughesville) are first team selections. Stephen Lis is a first team choice from the Wildcat men’s soccer team. Erin Oberlin, Steven Bull and Coleby Frye were named to the Honorable Mention list.

Gotta Congratulate the Phillies. Talk about a team with Lady Destiny riding on their shoulders taking the bit and winning it all in major league baseball.


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