THE CHECKERED FLAG: Local speedways battle Mother Nature
FOR WHAT EVER reason, the third weekend of September has traditionally been a challenging weekend weather-wise and it once again came true as regional speedways really battled Mother Nature. Friday was a warm, summer-like day with temps approaching 80-degrees, but Saturday dawned wet and turned colder later in the day, while Sunday was more October-like with temps in the 50s and overcast, windy conditions.
Saturday’s casualties included Sharon’s next to last regular point event, the World of Outlaw Sprint show at Lernerville, the finale of the “Little Guy Nationals” at Mercer, and the finale of the “Fall Classic” at McKean County Raceway. Sharon will host their final regular show this Saturday night, while Mercer and McKean ran their events in less than desirable conditions. No make-up date has been announced for the Lernerville WoO.
Mercer rolls over Kennedy
At Kennedy Catholic’s Butala Stadium on a warm Saturday afternoon, the Mercer Mustangs moved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Region 1-A play with a big 42-16 win over the Kennedy Catholic Golden Eagles.
“Our defense played well (Saturday),” said Mustangs’ head coach Pat McClearn. “On offense, we couldn’t do a few things I thought we could do, but I credit (Kennedy) Coach Donofrio having his kids ready. They gave us some trouble up front.”
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Long-time columnist finds it hard to say 'Goodbye'
BOYZ II MEN once carooned about how hard it is to say goodbye.
That's exactly how I've been feeling for much of the past week or so .... “How in the heck do I say goodbye to my readers in the Allied News’ coverage area?”
Even after all that time, I'm still not sure how my “goodbye” column to you, my faithful readers will go.
EXTRA INNINGS: Burn-ett needs to Cool-ett
ALMOST FROM Day One in a Pirates uniform, A.J. Burnett became a fan darling.
After a couple of decades of virtually no leadership, here came the big right hander, from the New York Yankees, no less. The fact that he was 14-3 on August 5, 2012 certainly helped. Because he and James McDonald were joined at the hip, Burnett seemed to get credit for guiding enigmatic James McDonald to a 10-3 record by mid-July.
Even though McDonald stumbled to a 2-5 record after that point and Burnett only went 2-7 in his last nine decisions, Burnett remained the tattooed golden boy who would lead the 2013 Pirates to the land of victory.
THE CHECKERED FLAG: Blaney is all-time All-Star Sprint winner
THE ALL-STAR Sprint Cars were at Fremont (Ohio) Speedway for a two-day program last weekend. Several local racers made the trip out including Adam Kekich (Hermitage), Jack Sodeman, Jr. (North Jackson, Ohio), Brandon and Brent Matus (Wampum), and Brandon Spithaler (Evans City).
While our local racers didn’t fare to well, a local resident sure did as Hartford, Ohio’s Dale Blaney became the Series’ all-time winner via his $10,000 victory on Saturday night. Blaney sixth win of the season broke the tie of 98 with him and the retired Kenny Jacobs for the most all-time on the Series. Blaney will look for milestone win #100 and his fourth Series championship in the October 12 finale at Eldora Speedway!
HIGH SCHOOL FALL SPORTS ROUNDUP
Slippery Rock and Lakeview teams will compete in the 23rd annual Big Red Cross Country Invitational today in West Middlesex.
The 34-team event will begin at 9 a.m. with girls’ and boys’ middle-school races, followed incrementally by varsity girls’ and boys’ races in two distinct PIAA enrollment classifications. Junior varsity girls’ and boys’ races will conclude the 1,185-competitor event.
Varsity races (by enrollment) will include:
STAIRWAY TO SEVEN: Steelers success rides on health of Big Ben
IN BEN, WE TRUST! These words have never had a more profound meaning than the 2013 season for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the entire Steelers Nation.
I tend to look at the Steelers this year and think the sky is the limit with the 10th year quarterback under center and fully upright, but can see what all the doom and gloom is about emanating from my fellow Black and Gold brethren.
So to make a long story short: If Roethlisberger plays all 16 games and is completely healthy the Steelers will finish somewhere in the 10-6 to 12-4 ballpark, but if he gets hurt, I can fully see the 7-9 and 6-10 predictions people are making.
THE CHECKERED FLAG: Shaffer rolls; 12-year-old Lane makes history
LAST FRIDAY I headed west to Attica Raceway Park for the final time this season. On tap was a first ever doubleheader featuring the Lucas Oil Late Models and the All Star Sprint Cars. Thirty-five Sprints and 32 Late Models were in the pit area along with a big crowd in the grandstands on a beautiful evening.
After an early race battle with Brian Birkhofer and Russell King, Jimmy Owens left the pack on lap six and put on another one of his classic beat downs. Only one caution slowed the event on lap 35 as the Newport, Tennessee driver was never challenged for the $10,000 victory- his seventh of the season and first ever at Attica in the first ever appearance by Lucas Oil. Birkhofer was second over Early Pearson, Jr., eighth starting John Blankenship, and Steve Francis. King of Bristolville, Ohio faded to sixth, while New Castle’s Garrett Krummert was 22nd in his first ever Lucas Oil start.
GCC football team has high hopes for 2013
LATROBE — There’s a clear hierarchy in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference entering the 2013 season and the Grove City College Wolverines are on the outside looking in.
The Wolverines were picked to finish fourth after a 5-3 PAC mark and 6-4 overall record with 159 overall points behind Washington and Jefferson, Thomas More and Waynesburg after voting among the conference’s head coaches, sports information directors and media members during the PAC Football Media Day Wednesday afternoon at Saint Vincent College’s Sis and Herman Dupre Science Pavilion in Latrobe.
STAIRWAY TO SEVEN: Some rookies could have impact for Steelers
THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS have been called old for at least a couple seasons now and from the looks of it, they may be getting a much needed infusion of youth.
Rookies have been making their marks after less than a week of practice in pads. Running back Le’Veon Bell appears to be a certain lock to start over Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. Bell has been mighty impressive during his first training camp as a pro and will likely make one of the veterans expendable.
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