In Dunmore’s season-opening 17-6 win over Wallenpaupack, senior running back Cristian Buckley carried 29 times for 313 yards and one touchdown.
On the first play of the game, Buckley scored on a 75-yard run. On his second carry, he broke off a 47-yard run. In the third quarter, after Wallenpaupack scored to close within 14-6, he returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards to shift the momentum back in Dunmore’s favor. Moments later, he had a key 14-yard catch on fourth-and-10 to keep alive the drive which ultimately resulted in a field goal. Finally, late in the fourth quarter, he carried seven times — including a 6-yard gain on fourth-and-4 — to help the Bucks run out the clock.
Here is more from Buckley’s Athlete of the Week interview:
Favorite teams: Michigan college football, Dallas Cowboys
Favorite food: Sushi
Athletes I admire: Deion Sanders. I like how he presents himself. He always thinks he was the best player out there.
Superstitions and rituals: Before every game, I go to Mrs. Cookie Moore’s house and we pray. Both my brothers did it before me, so I had to keep on the tradition.
Three people I’d like to have dinner with: My grandfather Michael Perry, LeBron James, The Notorious B.I.G.
Your first two carries of the season totaled 122 yards. How good did that feel? It felt really good. I definitely brought up the intensity of our team. I think it kind of helped us the whole game.
Talk about the 14-yard pass you caught on fourth-and-10 in the third quarter to keep a scoring drive going. I ran a 10-yard out on the play. I knew we needed a first down to keep the drive going. It was a big play.
With everything going on with the COVID pandemic, how worried were you that you might not have a senior season? It was always in the back of my head. But I just had to keep a positive mindset and keep working in case we did have a season. How did you prepare for the season on your own? I’d go out in the field a lot by myself or put a ladder on the ground in the backyard and do some drills.
What was it like playing without fans in the stands? It was definitely a different feeling. The fans bring the energy, which really helps a lot. Instead, you have to bring your own intensity. Especially with Dunmore. It’s a family. Everybody cheers for everybody.
Goals for the season: For myself, I hope to have 1,000 yards rushing this year. With five games, it’s going to be kind of tough but I think I can do it. Especially with my team blocking up front. For team goals, I was us to have a perfect season.
Post-graduation plans: Hopefully I can play football somewhere. I’m going to go on to study business.
During more than 30 years at The Times-Tribune, Scott has covered everything from high schools to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His current beats include motor sports, local colleges, high school cross country and high school baseball. He also is a copy editor and page designer. His articles have won awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Eastern Motorsports Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Keystone Press. He also has been honored by the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and the Minor League Football Alliance. In 2016, he was presented the Media Service Award by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. A Long Island, New York, native, Scott graduated from the University of Scranton in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He lives in Peckville with his wife, Andrea, and daughters, Bridget and Emily. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100, x5109; or @swalshTT on Twitter