VARDEN — The Shrine Bowl celebrated its 20th anniversary Friday night with a Lackawanna Football Conference battle between Western Wayne and Honesdale.
These two ancient gridiron rivals put on an exciting show for the nearly 1,000 fans who packed the stands at Sharkey Rosetti Memorial Stadium in Varden. The Wildcats and Hornets traded touchdowns through three action-packed periods before the home team finally pulled away in the fourth.
Coach Allen "Butch" Keller's squad put together three late TD drives to clinch a Lackawanna Football Conference Division Two triumph.
"This was a really good win for a bunch of reasons," Coach Keller said.
"Number one, it's our home field and we haven't played that well on the turf this season. Number two, Honesdale is our biggest rival and it's always nice to beat your biggest rival. Number three, it's the Shrine Game and we want that trophy to stay here for another year."
The trophy to which Coach Keller refers is the one that takes up residence at the winner's school until next year. And, that will certainly be the case following a convincing 47-19 win.
Awards & Accolades
One of the most popular aspects of the Wayne/Pike Shrine Bowl is the presentation of individual and team trophies.
Shriners and media members put their heads together just moments after the final whistle to name three award winners. One player from each side is voted his team's Most Valuable Player. In addition, one more player is honored as Lineman of the Game.
Award winners for Shrine Bowl XX were: Robbie Siclari (Western Wayne MVP), Kyle Carney (Honesdale MVP), Al Thorne (Lineman of the Game).
All three were popular picks with fans, coaches and players alike.
Siclari has evolved into one of the LFC's most explosive scoring threats.
A senior tailback who missed nearly all of his junior campaign with a torn ACL, Robbie shredded Honesdale's front seven on this night. He carried the ball 25 times for an eye-popping 235 yards and five touchdowns.
As a result, Siclari was presented with his team's MVP award by members of the Stephens Family. The trophy is handed out each year in memory of the late Noble Wayne W. Stephens.
"It's definitely a big honor," Siclari said with a smile. "I love my teammates and they made this possible for me. It seemed like there were huge holes every time I ran the ball. It's really awesome."
Thorne is one of those teammates. A senior center who's been a fixture on Western Wayne's offensive line for more than two seasons, Al spearheaded the charge up front.
Largely due to Thorne's line calls, execution and tenacity, Wildcat running backs amassed an eye-popping 430 yards on 41 carries ... that's more than 10 yards per carry, folks.
Page 2 of 2 - "There's nothing more important to a lineman that blowing guys off the ball and we did that pretty much all night," Thorne said. "If we give our backs just a little bit of a hole, they can go a long way. It's a lot of fun blocking for Robbie and Nikolai and all those guys."
Coach Keller was clearly pleased with Thorne's selection as Lineman of the Game.
"Al's just a great kid," he said. "He's been starting for a long time now and he always works his butt off. "Honesdale has a very good nose tackle and Al handled him all game long. I'm happy he got the trophy because he deserves it."
Ned Sader was on hand to present Thorne with his award in memory of Edward Freeman.
Meanwhile, across the line, Carney was the clear choice as Honesdale's game MVP.
Kyle drove Wildcat defenders crazy from opening kickoff to final whistle in Shrine Bowl XX. The Hornets junior scatback carried the ball 22 times for 180 yards. The highlights of his evening were touchdown runs of 4 and 29 yards.
Carney also caught one pass for 22 yards which helped set up another Honesdale score.
Current Wayne/Pike Shrine Club member Roger Dirlam presented Kyle with his hardware in memory of the late Noble Ronald L. Dirlam.
Over & Out
In addition to these individual awards, local Shriners also bestowed two team trophies on the victorious Wildcats.
Noble Robert Zabady and his wife Teresa presented the Team Championship Trophy for Shrine Bowl XX, in memory of Noble Toffy Zabady.
Steven & Karen Martin, along with many members of the family, gathered on the turf to hand out the Traveling Trophy. This award is presented in memory of Noble Russell Compton.