HONESDALE — It was an emotional evening for players, coaches and fans alike.
In a moving ceremony held before Friday night's Lackawanna Football Conference battle with Valley View, Honesdale dedicated its beautiful new scoreboard to a pair of former students.
Danny Branning and Tara Pontosky grew up playing sports at HHS and each left a lasting impression on classmates and teachers.
Branning was a member of the baseball and football teams, while Pontosky played basketball and was a varsity cheerleader. Both died tragically young as the result of car accidents: Danny in December of 2004 and Tara in August of 2002.
To honor their memories, the Branning and Pontosky families donated money they generated through various fundraisers to purchase the cutting-edge, computer operated scoreboard.
"To the Branning and Pontosky families, we extend our heartfelt thanks," Principal Diane Scarfalloto wrote in the dedication address.
"We are grateful for your involvement in annual benefits which have funded scholarships for years and now the purchase of a new scoreboard. We thank you for your continued interest in Honesdale High School athletics and for your kind and generous spirit of giving in the midst of tragic loss and sorrow."
Nearly 100 members of the Branning and Pontosky families were on hand for the dedication ceremony, led by parents Todd & Diane Branning and Dan & Linda Pontosky.
"I know Tara is looking down on us here today and she's just loving it," a tearful Linda said just moments after the official unveiling.
On the Field
With emotional dedication ceremonies concluded, the business of playing a football game fell to Honesdale and Valley View.
The Hornets came into this LFC crossover contest having lost their first two games. The Cougars, however, were riding high after victories over Paupack and Lakeland.
To their immense credit, the Red & Black raced out to an early lead against the defending Division One and District Two Class AAA champs. Quarterback Kevin Miller hit wingback Kyle Carney dead in stride, good for 51 yards and the game's first touchdown.
TJ Knash banged through the extra point and with 6:16 left in the opening stanza, Honesdale had itself a 7-0 advantage.
Sadly for a big, enthusiastic crowd, the Hornets simply couldn't sustain that momentum. Valley View clawed its way to a 21-15 halftime lead, then exploded for 28 points in the third period en route to a 49-21 triumph.
With this loss, Coach Jim Ludwig's squad fell to 0-3 on the season. Valley View is now 3-0 and once again riding high atop the LFC standings.
The Hornets are in the midst of a 3-game homestand. Next up is Friday's battle with Montrose, followed by an encounter with longtime rival Carbondale Area. Both of those contests are slated for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff at the HHS field.
Page 2 of 2 - By the Numbers
Honesdale's offense was hitting on all cylinders in Week Three.
The Red & Black piled up 400 yards against a vaunted Valley View defense, but simply couldn't seal the deal on several key drives. Miller and Carney provided a potent 1-2 punch.
Kevin completed seven passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. He also scrambled five times and scored another TD. Kyle paced the ground assault, zig-zagging his way to a game-high 162 yards on only 12 carries.
The highlight of Carney's evening came early in the third quarter when he raced 71 yards down the home sideline before being knocked out at the Valley View one. Two plays later, Miller dove in from a yard out.
Carney also found his way into the Cougar endzone, racing 37 yards to paydirt early in the second period.
The visitors from Archbald were led by Liam Callejas and Rob Castellani.
Valley View's senior quarterback, Callejas threw for just under 100 yards and one touchdown. Castellani, the Cougars' veteran tailback, rushed for 151 yards and a pair of TDs. Castellani also stunned Hornet fans by sprinting 81 yards to The House off a fake punt.
Score by Quarters...
HON (0-3) 7 8 6 0 - 21
VV (3-0) 7 14 28 0 - 49