Scranton Lions Club once again hosts high school all-star event
The 2018 high school football season officially kicked-off on a steamy summer evening at Valley View.
More than 7,500 fans gathered at John Henzes/ Veterans Memorial Stadium Wednesday night in Blakely to witness the 84th Annual Dream Game.
The event is organized and run each year by the Scranton Lions Club, giving recently graduated gridiron stars one last chance to showcase their skills.
“It's an amazing night,” said Dr. Mark Watson, who coached the City squad in its yearly battle with the County. “It's a wonderful experience for the players and the coaches.”
This marked the second time Dr. Watson and his Wallenpaupack Area staff have been tapped to mentor the City squad. The first time was back in 2008 and both ended in victories.
On this particular night, the City scored in every quarter en route to a wild 49-20 triumph.
Paupack's Ty Holbert emerged as one of the game's bona fide stars. The Buckhorn wideout snagged four passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
“Ty had a phenomenal game!” Dr. Watson exclaimed. “He's a such success story. Ty really showed everyone what he can do here tonight and I'm very happy for him.”
With the win, the City extended its edge in the all-time series to 42-38. There have been four ties in what is now the longest-running high school football all-star game in the country.
The County actually struck first in Wednesday night's contest.
Old Forge running back Brendan Mozeleski broke the scoring ice with an 11-yard touchdown run less than four minutes in.
The City retaliated just moments later when Dr. Watson unleashed his secret weapon for the first time.
Scranton quarterback Robbie McAndrew faded back to pass and spotted Holbert running free in the County secondary. The cannon-armed signal caller fired a strike to his receiver, who did the rest.
Forty-nine yards later, Ty was celebrating in the County endzone. It was the first of two scintillating scores Holbert would notch in the night.
“Ty isn't the biggest kid in the world, but he's fast and very athletic,” said Dr. Watson. “Ty played baseball and football in high school. He's worked very hard to get where he is right now and I'm definitely proud of him.”
Holbert is headed to Moravian College where he will continue his academic and athletic careers.
Meanwhile, two other Paupack players turned in memorable efforts at this year's Dream Game.
Zach Maldacker handled the majority of the kicking duties for the City and was nothing short of stellar. Maldacker knocked through all seven of his placement attempts and also killed a punt inside the County's five yardline.
Aidan Maldacker also earned high marks from his mentor for big blocks at the fullback position.
“Aidan played his usual hard-nosed game,” said Dr. Watson. “He did a great job for us out there.”
By the Numbers
The score was tied 14-14 after one, but then the City began slowly pulling away.
Dr. Watson's squad took a 28-20 lead at intermission and pitched a 21-0 shutout after the break.
“I think we just wore them down in the second half,” he said. “We were a little bit more physical and made a few more big plays than they did. That was the ultimate difference.”
McAndrew was the breakout star of the night, accounting for five of his team's touchdowns.
The Scranton gunslinger threw for just under 200 yards and three scores. Two of those went to Holbert (49 and 36 yards) while Matt Gilmartin of Scranton Prep (four yards).
McAndrew also rushed for a pair of scores, one from a yard out and one from five yards away.
Andre Collette of West Scranton paced the City's ground game with 48 yards and two TDs on 11 carries.
In addition to Holbert, several other local players contributed key plays at the 2018 Dream Game.
Honesdale's Garyn Barnes saw significant action at running back for the County. Barnes powered his way to 18 yards on five carries.
Hornet teammate Beau Freiermuth also made his presence felt in the County backfield with one carry good for five yards.
Bailey Walck of Western Wayne came up with an electrifying play. The Wildcat wideout turned a short pass from quarerback Nick Reilly into a 27-yard gain.
“They're great kids,” Dr. Watson said. “I can definitely see each one of them doing great things at the next level.”