By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
Offenses have taken over the Dream Game since 2000, but 2014 was one of the exceptions.
Defense and line play took the spotlight when the County defeated the City, 14-7, at Valley View’s John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium in Peckville in a game that was scoreless at halftime.
The County defense held the City to negative yardage rushing and the dominance up front carried over to offense where the team used a strong second-half running game to produce the victory in a game that is tied for the lowest-scoring since 2000.
The games from 2001 through 2019 – there was no game in 2020 because of the pandemic – otherwise have averaged 41.2 combined points.
There were none scored in the 2014 meeting of the Scranton Lions Club-sponsored game for graduated Lackawanna Football Conference players until nearly 28 minutes had been completed.
Quinn Karam from Abington Heights and Jake Manetti from Old Forge ran for County touchdowns and contributed to a rushing advantage of 260 yards to minus-8.
The dominant County defense forced the City back on the first possession of the second half, leading to a punt from the end zone.
After not running the ball in the first half, Karam carried on the County’s first four second-half plays – three off left tackle and a 27-yard run up the middle. His 3-yard touchdown with 8:30 left in the third quarter opened the scoring.
Shane Schuback and Jordon Sekol, two linebackers who helped lead Old Forge and County coach Mike Schuback, Shane’s father, to the 2013 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A state championship game, were the hard-hitting leaders of the County defense.
The City, however, managed to rally into a 7-7 tie with 9:39 left as the result of the passing game.
First, Scranton Prep’s Kevin Bannon intercepted a pass in the end zone when the County seemed poised to open a two-touchdown lead.
The Dunmore combination of Brandon Kujawski-to-Josh Zilla started a hook-and-lateral, getting the ball to Scranton Prep graduate Pat Marino for a 45-yard gain on the first play after the interception. Kujawski connected with Zilla again for a 26-yard touchdown with 9:39 left.
The County ground game decided the outcome.
A dozen consecutive running plays resulted in Manetti just getting across the goal line on a fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak from about a foot away with 3:14 left.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The 87th annual Dream Game is scheduled for July 21 at Valley View’s John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium in Peckville at 7 p.m. NATION NOSTALGIA will take a daily look at the game’s history between now and this year’s game, which is being presented by Northeast Rehab and Riverfront Sports.