Warriors, Patriots on winning side in UNICO Game

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch
Players raise their helmets at the start of the team practice for the UNICO football game at Spartan Stadium in Kingston. - Sean McKeag | Sunday Dispatch

WEST PITTSTON – Wyoming Area and Pittston Area players joined forces in a winning effort Friday night.

The Warriors and Patriots were both part of the Pioneers team that defeated the Miners, 28-14, in the 67th annual UNICO Game, a football all-star game for graduating seniors from Wyoming Valley Conference teams.

The Warriors had six players on the Pioneers roster while the Patriots had two.

Marc Anthony Minichello from Wyoming Area got involved immediately, returning the opening kickoff 26 yards.

Minichello was the game’s top receiver with two catches for 43 yards, including a 33-yard reception to set up the final score in the fourth quarter.

Wyoming Valley West quarterback Robbie Dwyer, who ran and passed for a combined 214 yards and two touchdowns, led Minichello on a swing pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. Minichello caught the ball in stride and took off down the left sideline to the 3.

Game Most Valuable Player Adrian Otero, a University of Maine recruit from Hazleton Area, scored on the next play.

The Pioneers were threatening again, ending the game at the Miners 2, without hurrying to try to score again.

Wyoming Area also had Justin Joseph, Damon Barhight, Shane Eslick, Robbie Trottini and P.J. Angeli on the Pioneers roster.

The Pioneers outrushed the Miners, 256-82.

Joseph was the team’s top rusher during the second half when he had all eight of his carries and ran for 43 yards. He also assisted a tackle on a kickoff.

Barhight made two tackles.

After the Pioneers scored on the game’s opening drive, Eslick made the tackle on the first offensive play for the Miners.

Kevin Krawczyk and Dorien Ryans represented Pittston Area.

Krawczyk had two tackles and broke up a pass.

Ryans made a tackle and assisted on two others.

The Warriors and Patriots were joined by players from Wyoming Valley West, Tunkhannock, Crestwood, Dallas, Hazleton Area and Holy Redeemer on the Pioneers team, which was coached by Dwayne Downing from Holy Redeemer.

Jeff Labatch from Meyers coached the Miners, who had players from his team as well as Lake-Lehman, Hanover Area, Berwick, GAR, Nanticoke, Coughlin, Northwest and Meyers.

The game moved to a spring date after being played on Thanksgiving week in recent seasons.

Players raise their helmets at the start of the team practice for the UNICO football game at Spartan Stadium in Kingston.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL053118Unico.jpgPlayers raise their helmets at the start of the team practice for the UNICO football game at Spartan Stadium in Kingston. Sean McKeag | Sunday Dispatch

By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

THE NUMBERS GAME

The Pioneers also led in first downs, 15-8, and total offense, 348-135. … Janssen Wilborn from Meyers scored both Miners touchdowns, but after he returned the second-half kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to cut the Pioneers lead to 21-14, the Pioneers had a time of possession advantage of 14:09-9:37. … Dwyer carried 13 times for 122 yards and hit six of nine passes for 92 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Wyoming Valley West teammate Jake Blaski. … Otero carried 11 times for 58 yards and scored the game’s first and last touchdowns on runs of 16 and 3 yards.

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

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