BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Susquehanna senior Dan Kempa is having a solid year as signal caller for the Saber varsity football team.
Kempa, 17, of Jackson, a senior at Blue Ridge, said he feels comfortable behind a solid Susquehanna offensive line, which has helped yield the team a 5-1 season record so far, with the most recent Homecoming win on Saturday against Holy Cross.
“I’ve got a good line of guys that offers me some protection,” Kempa said.
And Kempa needs good protection, because he isn’t the average quarterback, as he is a large part of the Susquehanna rushing game.
Kempa has 671 total yards rushing the ball this season on 63 attempts. It has yielded him a total of eight touchdowns with an average of 10.7 yards per carry.
He also leads Lackawanna Football Conference Division III in passing with 14 completions on 35 attempts with 398 total yards and nine touchdowns. Kempa has only been intercepted three times this season.
Kempa’s 56 total points scored this season leads Division III by a margin of 20. He is also on the cusp of reaching 3,000 career yards rushing at Susquehanna.
This success didn’t come out of the blue for Kempa either, he has been playing football since grade school, starting with the Blue Ridge Triplets youth program.
He took after his older brother Kevin Kempa, who was a receiver for the Sabers during his high school days, and also his grandfather Richard Kempa, who played in New Jersey.
“I have an old poster of my grandfather on my wall from when he played football,” Kempa said.
His father Joe, who played at Blue Ridge when they had a program, and his mother Charlene, have also been a big support system for Kempa.
Kempa said that despite his unique role as the Sabers’ main rusher, he is also enjoying a bigger concentration on the passing game this season.
“We’ve got solid people that can catch the ball,” Kempa said. “Our passing game is excellent this season.”
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy carrying the ball downfield himself. And as far as getting hit, he said it comes with the territory.
“Playing in different positions growing up, I got used to being hit,” Kempa said. “I mean I get worn down, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.”
As far as goals for the three-year starter for Susquehanna for this year, Kempa said he wants to hit his 1,000 yard season rushing mark, but more than anything wants to help the Sabers to a division title.
“I want us to win our division, and hopefully move on to playoffs,” Kempa said.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, he noted that every week will be tough, and that there isn’t one team the Sabers play that can be counted out.
“They’re all big games,” Kempa said. “There isn’t really one specific game I’m looking forward to.”
Being that Kempa is a senior, he is looking around at colleges, and said that he’s had a few scouts interested in him.
“I’d love to go on to college,” Kempa said. “And playing football there would be nice. But I definitely want to get a good education.”
For the time-being, Kempa will focus on finishing out his season with the Sabers, and looks to be a leader for the rest of his team.
“When I’m out there I want to be the general,” Kempa said. “I want the guys to trust me, and know that I will make the right calls.”