PECKVILLE — The City eventually passed the ball for 220 yards while winning the 81st annual Dream Game, 41-6, Wednesday night at John F. Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium.
First, however, it had to try to find ways to overcome the pressure created by a pair of Old Forge linemen.
Despite a significant size advantage up front, the City led just 13-6 before scoring four touchdowns in the final 13:34 to break the game open.
With Old Forge’s Corey Souryavong and Western Wayne’s Andrew Sledzinski leading the way and getting some help from Old Forge teammate A.J. Cantarella, the County defensive front held the City to fewer than two yards per carry for the first three quarters.
“We were able to pass the whole game,” said Susquehanna’s Austin White, one of two City quarterbacks, “but we had a lot of pressure from guys like Souryavong.
“He did great. He was pressuring the left side the whole game.”
White and Souryavong are familiar with each other. While White earned nepafootball.com Lackawanna Football Conference Division 3 Offensive Player of the Year honors, Souryavong won the Defensive Player of the Year award and helped the Blue Devils to the division title.
Old Forge then beat Susquehanna, 30-0, in the District 2 final.
Souryavong started at one defensive end spot and finished second on the County in tackles. He had four tackles and four assists along with rush ing the passer into an incompletion.
Cantarella started at split end but also spent time at defensive end in the first half when the County was more effective. He caught two passes for six yards and had the team’s only sack along with another tackle and an assist.
Their contributions were not surprising to County coach Donnie McDonough from Western Wayne, who praised them the night before the game when pointing out five of the team’s leaders throughout two weeks of practice.
“Cantarella’s very impressive,” McDonough said. “ … Corey Souryavong’s the real deal. He’s definitely a tough guy to run the ball against, and in the passing game he’s definitely getting in the quarterback’s area very quickly.”
Old Forge had a third starter in the game with Brandon Vahey at cornerback. Vahey made three tackles, assisted on another and broke up a pass.
Bobby Rinaldi was a reserve fullback and linebacker.
The Scranton Lions Club-sponsored game, featuring recent graduates from Lackawanna Football Conference teams, drew a crowd of 7,298 to Valley View’s home field.
Anthony “Dip” Donato, whose last high school head coaching assignment was at Pittston Area, was honored at halftime as the Scranton Lions Club Man of the Year.
Donato served as head coach at Abington Heights, North Pocono and Pittston Area, where he went 10-20 while leading the Patriots from 2008-2010. He also was an assistant coach at Dunmore, North Pocono and Scranton high schools as well as Wilkes University.