The Junior Buckhorns kicked off their pre-season ACCJFL slate on Sunday with a match-up against the visiting North Pocono Junior Trojans on the shores of The Big Lake.
Perennial rivals, the two squads have frequently squared off against each other over the past few seasons, so both sides were anticipating good playing at each age level.
One Up, One Down
The Junior Bucks C-Team faced stiff competition against the North Pocono squad and fell 30-0.
In spite of the shut-out, C-Team coach Tim Gardsy noted Justin Stella and Matt Ingulli had good running games and made some excellent plays.
The B-Team fared much better, blanking the Junior Trojans 18-0.
Alex Gardsy made a 60-yard run into the end zone after a handoff and Eddie Torres scored twice, once making a 40-yard run after receiving a pass and another off a 30-yard run following a handoff.
Gardsy, who plays in the 2-Back slot, is a 5th grader at Wallenpaupack South.
He likes the running game and cites Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson as his favorite player. He's been playing with the Junior Bucks for seven years.
"Football is fun," he said elatedly, "I like the action and to get the ball. I like hitting too, but I don't like getting hit."
"Football is my life," said Torres emphatically.
Also in his seventh year with the program, the Wallenpaupack North 6th grader noted he started playing backyard games of catch when he was only two years old.
He wears #22 on his jersey, a homage to his favorite player, NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. Like Smith, Torres is a Running Back. He aspires to be fast and likes the rushing game.
Page 2 of 2 - B-Team skipper Frank Ingulli was pleased with his squad's performance.
"Matt Horak, our quarterback had a great game and our defense played well today," he said.
On the line he cited Tommy Dowd as having made big contributions; fullback JT Tirjan, who made huge blocks; and Gionni Wadud coming up large at defensive end.
If the Junior Buckhorns program were a US Navy ship, Ingulli would be a Plankowner.
Like a sailor serving on a ship he was assigned to at its commissioning, Ingulli still is involved in a program he helped get off the ground.
His own kids have long aged-out of the program, but he still stays involved.
"I love the game and love the kids," he stated, "This is where I want to be every Sunday."
The Junior Buckhorns have one more scheduled scrimmage next Sunday before they begin the regular season at home against Lakeland on August 11.
With seven games on the agenda, the Bucks hold home field advantage in five of those bouts.
The season goes quickly and wraps up on the road against Taylor on September 29.
Hopefully though the post-season will be good for the Junior Bucks.
Paupack hopes to be one of the teams involved in the 2013 ACCJFL Super Bowl on October 27, which will be held at Paupack on the high school stadium turf.