By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
North Pocono’s Chris Kryeski will be counted on heavily in the line when the City takes on the County Wednesday night at 7 in the 87th annual Scranton Lions Club Dream Game at Valley View’s John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium in Peckville.
City coach Terry Gallagher from Scranton Prep and County coach Dave Piwowarczyk from Lakeland have each revealed their starting lineup for the game’s return after a one-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both coaches indicated that the nature of the game – an all-star contest for graduating seniors of Lackawanna Football Conference teams – will lead to a heavy rotation of players throughout the game with non-starters getting opportunities coming in off the bench and playing on special teams.
The starting lineups, however, point out some of the players who could be relied on a bit more.
Specifically, seven City players stand out.
North Pocono’s Kryeski is listed as a starter at left guard and at one of the defensive end positions.
Mason Maciejewski from Dunmore and Liam Smith from Wallenpaupack are the starters at center and right guard and will share one of the defensive tackle spots with the first unit.
Fullback Seamus Smith from Wallenpaupack and tight end Vito Gianello from Scranton Prep will start on offense and split one of the linebacker positions with the starting defense.
West Scranton’s Cayden Merrifield and Scranton Prep’s Paddy Grady will share the quarterback position and one of the cornerback spots with the first unit.
Ryan Dolphin from North Pocono joins the Scranton Prep combination of Ryan McAndrew and Max Mulligan in splitting the two wide receiver positions.
Lackawanna Trail’s Ray Melnikoff is at running back and Kyle Austin is at left tackle. Brian Lipscomb from West Scranton is at left tackle.
The other defensive starters are end Michael Burke and strong safety from Dunmore; tackle Matt Reyes and linebacker Mychal Slavinski from Scranton; linebacker Garrett Decker from Susquehanna; free safety Alex Gardsy from Wallenpaupack and cornerback Moet Wellington from West Scranton.
Dunmore’s Petyon Badryka will handle the kicking and punting.
Piwowarczyk is listing 23 different starters – 12 on offense, allowing for a variance in formations, and 11 on defense.
Mike DiGregorio from Old Forge and Mark Callanan from Delaware Valley, two of the three receivers listed on the starting offense, will also be key to the return game. DiGregorio will return punts and join Callanan as the deep men on kickoffs.
Four of Piwowarczyk’s Lakeland Chiefs are on the defense – end Robert Romanowski, tackle Cross Douglas, linebacker Chase Nolan and back Mike Pidgeon.
They will be joined by three Valley View Cougars – end Pat Murphy, linebacker T.J. Noto and linebacker Corey Coulthard.
Delaware Valley’s Thomas Actisdano, at tackle, and Preston Machado, in the secondary, are joined by defensive backs Julian Blanco from Abington Heights and Jeremiah from Mid Valley.
Record-setting passer Johnny Gilchrist from Riverside gets the call at quarterback and will have two high school teammates on the offense with receiver Michael Rickert and center Justin Tigue.
Western Wayne will have fullback Adam Silfies and running back Zane Janiszewski on the offense along with tackle Julian Walck.
The remainder of the starting County offense is tight end Donovin Loomis from Carbondale, tackle Collin Clauss-Walton from Lakeland and guards Geoff Johnson from Honesdale and Jayson Maceyko from Mid Valley.
Delaware Valley’s Aiden Oliver will handle the kicking and punting.