Local lads and coaches lead the County to a hard-fought victory

More than 7,500 football fans packed the stands at John Henzes-Veterans Memorial Stadium Thursday evening to witness a first and a last.

The Scranton Lions Club Dream Game represents the first official game of the 2019 season in NEPA. It also signifies a “last hurrah” for players who've recently graduated from high school.

On this particular night, the big crowd was treated to an exciting experience with big plays in all aspects of the game by both teams.

In the end, though, the County delivered when it mattered most, jetting out to an early lead and then hanging on for a 14-7 win.

“I'm absolutely thrilled for the kids,” said County Coach Mike Jurkowski.

“They worked incredibly hard the last two weeks and it showed. They went out there tonight and laid it all on the line. I couldn't be happier for them.”

Local players basked in the spotlight in the 85th annual contest, walking away with the two major individual awards.

Honesdale's Ethan Dunn was named Offensive Player of the Game, while Kobe Sauter of Western Wayne earned Defensive Player of the Game honors.

With this win, the County closed the gap in the all-time series. The City still leads by a margin of 42-39 with four games having ended in ties.

Fast Start

The County wasted no time in taking control at the offensive end.

With Dunn under center, Coach Jurkowski's squad tallied two first quarter touchdowns and had the City back on its heels.

Ethan broke the scoring ice via a 1-yard scramble with 3:17 remaining in the period. The drive was highlighted by a 16-yard run courtesy of Western Wayne's Dylan Walck.

Valley View's Cam Ceccotti split the uprights with his PAT try, giving the County a 7-0 lead.

“Ethan was a little bit nervous before the game, but once he got out there everything fell into place,” Coach Jurkowski said. “He showed a lot of character and poise. Ethan just played a great game.”

The County struck again less than a minute later after forcing a turnover deep in City territory.

Dunn was the focal point of this score as well. The scrappy signal caller dropped back to pass, eluded a fierce City rush and fired a 31-yard strike to Valley View's Jaden Duplessis.

Ceccotti was true with his second placement and, with 2:38 left in the opening stanza the County had itself a 14-0 advantage.

Local Lads

Dunn finished his night with seven completions, good for 120 yards and one touchdown.

Western Wayne's Dylan Walck spelled Ethan under center and went 2-for-3 for 15 yards.

Justin LoBasso and Isaiah Sims of Honesdale each contributed key plays to the County's triumph.

LoBasso caught one pass for 11 yards and also stymied a City drive with a timely sack. Sims was a fierce presence on the D-Line all night, at one point pressuring City quarterback Donny Blaine into throwing an interception.

Honesdale's Cam Baker and Andy Carroll saw time on the field as well.

Meanwhile, Sauter emerged as a breakout star defensively. Kobe picked off a pair of passes, the second of which hammered home the final nail in the City's coffin.

Evan Coons and Austin Boguski of Western Wayne also earned high marks from their skipper.

“After coaching them for the past two weeks I understand now why Western Wayne's been so successful recently,” Coach Jurkowski said. “These are all quality kids. They're talented and athletic and they play very hard.”

Over & Out

The City scored its only touchdown of the game with time winding down in the first half.

Blaine faded back to pass and unleashed a rocket to Zakeem Vassell of West Scranton. The ball hit the Invaded star in stride and he sprinted 79 yards to paydirt.

Scranton Prep's Alec Buttner tacked on the PAT.

No one in the stands realized it at the time, but these would be the final points of the evening.

The County dominated things statistically, piling up more than 300 yards of offense while limiting the City to just 183. In addition, the County forced a total of four City turnovers.

Mason Kordish of Valley View led the County's ground game with 79 yards on 19 carries. Vassell was the game's top receiver, hauling in four passes for a total of 114 yards.

“This was a fantastic experience,” said Coach Jurkowski in conclusion. “I'd do this every year if they let me.

“I'm so happy for the kids. Winning the Dream Game is a big deal. It's something they'll remember for the rest of their lives and no one can take it away from them.”