Super Bowl LIII teams set for showdown on Sunday

By Nick Archacki, news editor

On Sunday January 20, one of the most important days of the NFL season occurred for the NFC and AFC divisions as the Los Angeles Rams faced the New Orleans Saints, and the New England Patriots faced the Kansas City Chiefs to determine which two teams would advance to Super Bowl LIII (53).

The first game of the day, a battle between the Saints and Rams, transpired at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints held a comfortable lead at the end of the first quarter 13-0 until the Rams came back in the second quarter to close the gap 13-10 at the end of the first half.

The Saints had firm control of the game at the closing of the fourth quarter until an inexplicable no-call was made by the referees as the pass interference and hitting a defenseless receiver contact play was considered, by many, as the worst no-call in playoff history and one of the worst no-calls in NFL history. The result of this no-call led to the Rams tying the Saints at the end of regulation, 23-23.

The Saints got the ball at the start of overtime and the Rams connected for an interception off Saints quarterback Drew Brees. The Rams brought the football within reach of the field goal and the Rams kicker sent L.A. to the Super Bowl with a 57-yard field goal conversion, winning 26-23.

Later that night, the Chiefs and the Patriots faced off in frigid temperatures at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Patriots took an early lead 14-0 at the end of halftime. But the Chiefs answered New England’s call by tying the game at the end of regulation, 31-31, with the Chiefs kicker making a 3-point conversion.

The Chiefs scored 31 points after halftime and the Pats maintained by scoring 17 points in their third and fourth quarters, respectively. This was the first time in NFL history where both NFC and AFC championship games resulted in a tie at the end of the fourth quarter.

The Patriots received the ball in overtime and the Chiefs didn’t get the ball again the rest of the game. The Patriots running-back scored the game-winning touchdown with a 2-yard run into the end zone, ending a thriller, 37-31.

Now the excitement builds for the big game this Sunday. The Patriots and Rams will duel at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. EST. The Patriots will be looking for their record-tying sixth Super Bowl victory (The Pittsburgh Steelers currently hold the record), and the Rams will be looking to capture their second Vince Lombardi trophy.

History is also on the line for this game. If Tom Brady wins, he will be the oldest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl at age 41. If Jared Goff wins, he will be the second youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl at age 24. If Goff starts, he will be the youngest quarterback to start the Super Bowl since Tom Brady in 2002.

The last time the Los Angeles Rams were in the Super Bowl was 2002. Their opponent? The New England Patriots. The Rams lost the game, 20-17. Coincidence? That question will be answered on Sunday.

Saegertown basketball coach credits players with 100 win milestone

By Braeden Kantz, managing editor

Coach Greg Molnar celebrated his 100th win on January 12.

Saegertown Basketball Coach Greg Molnar recently claimed his 100th varsity basketball win against the Tidioute Charter on Jan. 12. The 2018-19 season marks Coach Molnar’s eleventh season at Saegertown and his team is currently 8-7. With the win, Coach Molnar takes his place among three other varsity basketball coaches in Saegertown’s history to achieve 100 career wins.

Despite his recent achievement, Mr. Molnar has not enjoyed the spotlight. “It’s like this. I’m not the one who plays. I just pick five people to play, and they are the ones who win the games,” said Coach Molnar. “It’s nice to have people congratulating me but it’s just weird and it makes me uncomfortable.”

The Saegertown community, however, responded enthusiastically. After Saegertown’s win over Tidioute 48-43, Coach Molnar was surprised by players and fans who attended the match with a confetti cannon and a sign recognizing his accomplishment.

Mr. Molnar joins famed Saegertown basketball coaches Merle Darcangelo, Chuck Swick, and Dean Henderson as a part of the “100 win club.” Coach Molnar currently has 103 wins and has the chance to potentially challenge the current coaching win record of 109 wins held by Merle Darcangelo (109-42) and Dean Henderson (109-104).

Coach Molnar attributes his recent milestone at Saegertown to “the great athletes” that he has coached during his tenure, and is optimistic about his coaching future. “I’m just enjoying this as much as I can,” said Molnar. “I know that my time is very limited here. It’s going to come to an end, and I’m ready to move on to the next phase in my life.”

For more information on the history of Saegertown basketball, click here. The Saegertown varsity boys basketball team will make its next appearance tonight at 7 p.m. at Union City.

Saegertown bowlers back in championship contention as members of Cambridge team

By Nick Archacki and Will Phelan, news editor and social media editor

The Cambridge Springs bowling team, which includes bowlers from all three PENNCREST high schools, has dominated the season in the Ven-Craw (Venango and Crawford counties) high school bowling league as the Blue Devils primary team is among the top forces on the Ven-Craw leaderboard for the fourth straight year.

For the past three seasons, Cambridge has fought to secure a spot in the Ven-Craw championship but was denied by Saegertown in 2016 and Cranberry in both 2017 and 2018. With the addition of two Saegertown bowlers, senior Scott Proper and two-time Ven-Craw league champion, junior Nick Archacki, Cambridge is a top competitor in the league and has a great chance to advance to the championship this season.

The Cambridge Springs Blue team has owned the lumber since the start of the season.  The Blue team currently sits tied for second place, 0.5 points behind the Ven-Craw team leader, Conneaut Lake Blue. The Cambridge Black team holds sixth place. Both teams are currently eligible to make the Ven-Craw playoffs with one match left in the season, as the top eight teams earn a playoff spot.

Regarding the individual standings, Cambridge Springs’ Nick Archacki leads the fifty-eight bowlers of Ven-Craw with an average of 222.33 after 15 games. Following Archacki, his teammate, Maplewood’s Issac Heim, has an average of 206.63 while three bowlers from Conneaut Lake round out the top five with averages between 205 and 199.

The final match for Cambridge Springs and the Ven-Craw league for the regular season is this Sunday at Plaza Lanes in Meadville.

Lady Panthers fall short in playoffs

By Taylor Munce, sports editor

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The Lady Panthers prepare for the upcoming match as a team.

The Lady Panthers hit their way to a positive record, finishing the season 8-6, slightly improving on last year’s 7-7 record.The ladies had their final loss against Cochranton on Oct. 30 in the semi-finals of the D10 playoffs.

Despite their losses, the ladies had positive feelings about the season. Claudia Fetzer, senior libero, believes that teamwork and hard work carried the team to semi-finals. “It’s been my best volleyball season yet due to our teamwork,” Fetzner said.

Senior outside hitter Mikayla Balog agrees that this season has been the best of her high school volleyball career. Balog accomplished her personal goal of sixty 60 kills in an entire season.

Cami Reynolds, senior outside hitter, said: “During the season I think we had the skill, but there were times when it was a hit or miss,” she believes that the team had the “push” they needed from Coach Johnson.

The Panthers’ seniors: Mikayla Balog, Carlie Schlosser, Claudia Fetzner, and Cami Reynolds have become integral parts of the team and their losses will be felt by next years’ team. Junior Carmen Kantz and junior Kaylee Mulligan will lead the 2019 team as experienced players.

 

Mrs. Heather Patton to run New York City Marathon on Sunday

By Kassie Boyd and Braeden Kantz, editor-in-chief and managing editor

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Mrs. Heather Patton will run the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

In 2017, Saegertown teacher and alumni Mrs. Heather Patton became the first woman to complete the Great Lakes Marathon Series. She is set to make headlines once again at the New York City marathon on Sunday, Nov. 4.

This year’s applicant pool was record-breaking, with a staggering 105,184 runners applying to the free, non-guaranteed lottery drawing. Mrs. Patton is one of the 15,640 athletes accepted. A total of 50,000 athletes will compete in the NYC marathon. Those who were not drawn in the lottery represent local clubs or charities that were guaranteed entry.

Not only will Mrs. Patton be running in Sunday’s race, she will also represent the United States at the opening ceremony tomorrow in New York City’s Central Park, which will be live streamed on https://abc7ny.com/ at 5:25 p.m.

Patton will begin the 26.2 mile race at roughly 10 a.m. on Sunday. “I’m excited,” Mrs. Patton said. “The NYC Marathon has been on my bucket list forever. I finally got in and I’m ready for it.”

Phelan caps off golf career with trip to state finals

by Nick Archacki, news editor

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Phelan (left) took twenty-eighth place at the PIAA Boys AA State Individual Championships.

As the sun rose in York, Pa. on Oct. 22., Saegertown senior and local golf prodigy Will Phelan took to the course for the last time in his eventful high school career.

Phelan, an athletic and academically talented senior, trekked across the state for the fourth consecutive year as he participated in the PIAA Boys AA State Individual Championships on Oct. 22 and 23 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.  

On Monday, Phelan shot an 18-hole round of 89, putting him in thirty-third place out of thirty-five golfers for the tournament. “Heritage Hills is a tough course with little room for error,” Phelan said. “I enjoy playing it, even though the layout of the course doesn’t really suite the strengths of my game.” In response to his score of 89, Phelan brought in another 18-hole round of 84, bringing his overall total to 173 and finishing in twenty-eighth place, the exact position Phelan placed at last year in this event.

Phelan is the first golfer in the history of Saegertown High School to compete at the PIAA State Championships in all four years of high school, competing with the team in 2015 and 2016, and individually in 2017 and 2018.

Each of his trips has been a unique experience. “All four years that I competed there (Heritage Hills) were different, and having several people golfing with you for the team event is a totally different atmosphere and experience than just golfing for yourself,” Phelan said. “I love the experience of golfing individually, but I prefer to golf with the team and have them there with me.”

Phelan admits he did not finish his golfing career as strongly as he hoped, but he still thoroughly enjoyed his experiences with varsity golf. “I’ll miss the connection I had with the golf team, the practices that we had, and the good times we shared,” Phelan said.

The camaraderie between team members has left Phelan with several fond memories. He cited when junior Nick Archacki plowed into the reese hitch of a Nissan truck with a golf cart at the Western Regionals Team event in 2016 as a memory that he will forever cherish. He also noted that one of his greatest moments was when he shot an 83 at the Treasure Lake Silver Course at the Western Team Regionals event in 2015, helping the golf team move on to the state finals for their first time.

Throughout his golfing career, Phelan has stunned many with his skill, grit, and unmistakable power. Phelan has evolved from a curious and inexperienced freshman to a notable and respected golfer who has left his lasting impact on Saegertown. “I’d like to thank the team for their support and Coach Hanley for the encouragement,” Phelan said. “It’s been a great ride.” 

Phelan’s outstanding year continues into Western Regionals

by Nick Archacki, news editor

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Senior Will Phelan and Coach Brian Hanley (file photo)

Saegertown Senior Will Phelan has had a successful year on the links, winning the Region 3 Player of the Year, and advancing from the District 10 Individual Championships to the Western Regional Golf Championships to be held next Monday at Tom’s Run golf course in Blairsville.

Phelan qualified for regionals last Friday at The Country Club of Meadville with a fantastic two-day, 36-hole total of 150, shooting 73 and 77 to place second at districts. Phelan made a substantial improvement from last year’s performance at the event, where he shot scores of 82-82 to qualify for regionals, advancing from there to the state finals where he placed twenty-eighth.

“I’m more than satisfied with my performance because golf isn’t a sport in which I think highly of myself,” Phelan said. “I’m no Ryan Peters, and golf isn’t my main sport, but considering what has developed over the past four years in high school golf, I’m elated to have competed for SHS.” Keys to Phelan’s success are simple: “I don’t overthink it, and I try to be as consistent as possible.”

Phelan’s advance to the regional competition marks the fourth straight year that a Panther has advanced beyond the district level. He has turned heads and is becoming a local star with his golf skills. There is no doubt that the fierce Phelan will bring his all to the Tom’s Run course on Monday. 

Saegertown soccer primed for playoffs

by Sheena Byham, sports editor

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Saegertown boys huddle during a recent game.

 

The Saegertown Panthers soccer team has started its season strong. Over the summer, the team struggled to find a head coach who was willing to take on the mantle. Alex Escalante, who was previously the assistant coach, stepped up and filled the position. One of his first initiatives was to increase team numbers with boys from Maplewood, Cambridge, and Saegertown.

The boys started the preseason with a 6-0 win over over CASH. Their record is currently 4-10 including a thrilling win over rival team, the Meadville Bulldogs. The boys have not let their losses define them, and they rallied to beat Eisenhower 6-1 on Sept. 24. “Our players are connecting off the field, but sometimes we have a little difficulty getting it together when the pressure rises,” said Logan Bill, one of the senior captains from Cambridge. “I feel that we have a chance in the playoffs if we take it seriously and focus. I hope that we can really get our passing and finishing down, so we can score easier and with more accuracy.”

The Panthers are progressing as the season continues. Coach Escalante said: “The team is good, but surely improving.” Escalante has put effort into substituting top scorer Iain Scott (who graduated last year) with senior Ainsley Kissel from Cambridge and Saegertown junior Andy Rockwell in the offense. “The season had a rough start because we had such little time to practice and get to know new players,” said Escalante. He has high hopes for the team and anticipates the boys will be playing more cohesively by playoffs.  

They Panthers will be in action again against Seneca tomorrow, Oct. 11, at French Creek Valley School at 4 p.m. 

Girls soccer team defends turf

by Morgan Radwick, design editor

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Lady Blue Devil seniors with coaches

The Cambridge Springs Lady Blue Devils soccer team has once again proven its grit with four wins this season. Coach Geoff Bristow, and assistant coach Alex Escalante are helping the ladies do their best on the field.

Senior captain Brenna Repko loves the sport. “It clears my mind, and has boosted my confidence throughout the years,” Repko said. Captains Brenna Repko and Lexie Burdick are helping the team work together while representing them as a whole.

The ladies of Saegertown and Cambridge Springs have worked very hard to get where they are now. Even though their athletic abilities are a key factor, teamwork is what really helps them succeed. “Teamwork is everything,” Burdick said, “One hundred percent.”

The Lady Blue Devils celebrated senior night on Oct. 4 with a victory against Maplewood 1-0. Honored seniors include; Sydney Morelli, Sheena Byham, Brenna Repko, Erin Fizer (from Cambridge) and Mylena Hernandez. This does not mark the end of their season, however. 

The ladies are set to play in the 2018 playoff competition that will begin in late October, and they will be in action tomorrow night against Iroquois at French Creek Valley School in Saegertown. The match starts at 4 p.m.

 

Cross Country team continues ‘Family Business’

by Chloe Luchansky, staff writer

This past week the Cross Country team traveled to compete in the Cochranton meet. Varsity boys went 0-2, and varsity girls went 2-0.

Overall, the senior high boys are 2-4 and the girls are 4-2 in the region. The junior high boys are 6-0, and the junior high girls are 0-3 in the region.

“Family Business” has once again been chosen as the team motto. From the beginning of camp the team has formed unbreakable bonds with each other. The team is a family.

“Running is about building character and discipline,” said Coach Bill Hetrick. With the countless hours of training put in, the team hopes for qualifiers in the state championship taking place in November.

Last year, the junior high boys were region champions and are on track to achieve the same goal again this season. At the only home meet this season, eighth grader Sam Hetrick, beat the junior high course record that was set in 2007 by Nate Talleda. “I was very excited and pleased with myself,” Sam Hetrick said. “Beating a record was one of my all time goals.”

Senior captain Gabe DeYoung works to keep the team pushing towards excellence. The members of the team help motivate each other during each practice and meet to achieve their personal goals.

This season the team hopes to have the varsity boys at .500 or better, and the varsity girls to have a top two or three finish in the region. The runners will be in action again on Tuesday, Oct. 9 in a tri-meet with Conneaut Area and Rocky Grove at CASH.