Sabers begin new era

Susquehanna head coach John Salinkas, left, talks with Cole Mallery, who returns to the team after playing for a school in Binghamton, N.Y., last year. TIMES-SHAMROCK PHOTO/JOBY FAWCETT

BY KEVIN WOODRUFF

Susquehanna is beginning a new era, but calling upon an old friend to lead the way.

John Salinkas is taking over as head coach of the Sabers after the retirement of longtime coach and master of the veer-option offense, Dick Bagnall.

Cole Mallery, a multi-talented player, is back to ease the transition after a year at Seton Catholic Central inBinghamton.

“I’m excited to be back playing at Susquehanna. Playing with all my friends and stuff. We all just have to work hard and play together. We have some young people”

He is a big, strong athlete who was a key contributor to Susquehanna’s District 2 Class AA playoff charge in 2010.

At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Mallery can play running back, his normal position, or wide receiver, or even quarterback, where Salinkas feels he can pilot the veer-offense that Bagnall made famous.

“Having Cole back gives us a dynamic on offense that we sorely need,” Salinkas said. “We have lost a lot of seniors. We lost our entire backfield from last year. He really fills a lot of roles. He can play the quarterback position, he can play the back position, he can catch the ball.

“He gives us a lot of options.”

After a 5-5 season in 2011, Susquehanna returns after losing 15 starters to graduation and aside from Mallery have only four more returning varsity starters in senior Jagr Briar and juniors James Murnock, Lyle Lawson and CJ Monks.

“With only two seniors retuning with varsity experience, the Sabers are young and will be looking to be competitive week to week by running option football and playing tenacious defense,” Salinkas said. “We are hoping to improve enough week to week to be ready to challenge some of the upper tier teams in our division.”

Salinkas said that in the Sabers division he and his staff believe that Old Forge will be the team to beat whileCarbondaleand Lackawanna Trail will compete with the Blue Devils for the LFC Division III title.

The Susquehanna varsity football team is comprised of seniors Mallery, Briar, Brett Archambault, Jake Tyler, Zack Vaughn, Ryan Swanson and Coleman Hansen, juniors Murnock, Lawson, Monks, David Hallisey, Nick Lloyd, Ed Stone, Jon Haines, Lewis Esposito, Curtis Mills, Joshua Potter, Adam Collins, Anthony Benacquisto and Sal Pellicci, sophomores Austin Felter, Luke Brinton, Bill Archambault, Kyle Rivenburgh, Trey Hillard, Austin White, Ryan Rogers, Brett Hepler, Christian Miller, Craig Stanley, Clayton Hansen, Brady Towner, Stephen Jess and Cheyne Brulla and freshman Evan Aldrich.

Susquehanna begins its season on Saturday, Sept. 1, at home againstWestern Wayneat1 p.m.

Full schedule:

Sept. 1, home againstWestern Wayne,1 p.m.

Sept. 7, at Northwest,7 p.m.

Sept. 14, atNanticoke,7 p.m.

Sept. 22, home againstRiverside,1 p.m.

Sept. 28, atLakeland,7 p.m.

Oct. 6, home against Holy Cross,1 p.m.

Oct. 12, at Montrose,7 p.m.

Oct. 20, home against Trail,1 p.m.

Oct. 26, atCarbondale,7 p.m.

Nov. 3, home against Old Forge,1 p.m.

Times-Shamrock Writer Joby Fawcett contributed to this story.