Wyoming Area to honor former football players, 1997 team

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch | October 6th, 2017 4:47 pm

The Wyoming Area Football Alumni will honor a half dozen former players and the 1997 championship team in conjunction with this season’s home football game against Pittston Area Oct. 27.

Joe Bednarski, Mike Karcutskie, Ben Kopka, Jeff Kostik, Ryan McDonnell and Dave Pacchioni will be inducted into the school’s Ring of Pride.

The Ring of Pride individuals and the 1997 championship team will be recognized during a luncheon at Marianacci’s Restaurant in Wyoming Oct. 27 and again at the game that night at Anthony “Jake” Sobeski Stadium.

Bednarski was a two-time, 1,000-yard rusher and conference all-star in football, who also lettered twice in track and field. He was a member of the 1986 District 2 gold-medal winning 1,600-meter relay team.

A 1986 graduate, Bednarski played college football for both Lycoming and Wilkes.

Karcutskie, a 1989 graduate, finished his career with 160 tackles, nine interceptions and three blocked punts.

Kopka was a four-year letterwinner in football who was a prominent member of the 1996 and 1997 championship teams. He also lettered for four years in baseball and three in basketball and represented Wyoming Area in the UNICO Football All-Star Game.

Kostik was the Wyoming Valley Conference Player of the Year in 1997 when he scored 26 touchdowns while rushing for more than 1,200 yards and catching passes for more than 300. He was also an all-conference player the year before and the leading point producer in track and field in his senior year.

McDonnell played on the 2003 District 2 championship team as a sophomore and was a first-team conference all-star the next two seasons. Also a three-year basketball player, he was a second-team Associated Press all-state selection as an all-purpose player.

The 2006 graduate served as team captain in the UNICO Game and played one year of college football as a defensive back at King’s.

Pacchione was an all-conference defensive selection for his play on the 2003 District 2 championship team. He lettered for three years in football, two in baseball and one in track and field.

After graduation, Pacchione became a four-year letterman and three-year starter at East Stroudsburg University. He was a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference all-star linebacker and played in the Division II national semifinals.


Wyoming Area is home for the final three weekends of the regular season, beginning with the Oct. 13 home game against Dallas before facing Williamsport and Pittston Area.

The Wyoming Area-Dallas game matches Wyoming Valley Conference Class 4A teams, who could be jockeying for position in the District 2 playoffs where eight of 11 teams qualify. The Warriors won both meetings last season, including in the district quarterfinals. Entering this weekend’s games, Dallas was second in the playoff points standings in Class 4A while Wyoming Area was eighth, making a playoff rematch a possibility again this season.


Scranton Prep survived the toughest test of its 15-game, regular-season unbeaten streak when it rallied past Valley View, 35-34, Sept. 30 in a game between the top two teams in Division 2 of the Lackawanna Football Conference.

Both teams scored five touchdowns. They combined to make nine of 10 extra points. The exception? The kick that Ivan Balavage, a senior from Avoca, blocked for Scranton Prep early in the game.


By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.