NEPA Sports Nation

NATION NOSTALGIA: Chandler, Stofko led City in ’98 game

Before Willie Chandler headed to Misericordia University to become one of the greatest scorers in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III basketball history – and later launch a coaching career – he first had one more football game to play.

Chandler took care of the offense while Scranton Prep linebacker Dan Stofko turned in a tireless performance to lead the defense as the City defeated the County, 21-16, in the 1998 Dream Game at Lackawanna County Stadium.

“We knew they had short cornerbacks,” quarterback Ed Weidow, Chandler’s Scranton High School teammate who threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to the 6-foot-4 receiver in the second quarter, said in a post-game interview. “With Willie, we just had to put the ball out there for him.”

Chandler also caught a 39-yard touchdown from Dunmore’s Joe Ralicke off a reverse.

Weidow also threw another touchdown pass to another Scranton teammate, a 29-yarder from John McGowan.

As big as the passing game was, Stofko’s incredible defensive effort was just as vital on a night when the County ran 72 offensive plays to 38 by the City.

That meant a heavy workload for the City’s defensive leaders.

Stofko made 13 tackles, including at the 1-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter, and assisted on 9 more.

Chandler also intercepted a pass and returned 2 punts for 24 yards.

Current Riverside head coach Harry Armstrong, coming off a trip to the state championship game with the Vikings, threw touchdown passes to open and close the game’s scoring. He finished 13-for-19 for 118 yards.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The 87th annual Scranton Lions Club-sponsored Dream Game is scheduled for Wednesday night at Valley View’s John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium in Peckville at 7 p.m. NATION NOSTALGIA is taking 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.

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