NEPA Sports Nation

NATION NOSTALGIA: Cruciani went out in style in 1987 game

By Tom Robinson,

Gary Cruciani had some offers to continue football in college, but when he chose Penn State for his education, he knew his playing days would end in the 1987 Dream Game.

Cruciani, who had quarterbacked Valley View to a Big 11 championship, went out in style.

With Cruciani throwing touchdown passes to three different receivers, the County defeated the City, 28-15, on a wild night in front of a paid crowd of 8,352 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

“That was an absolutely excellent way to go out,” Cruciani said after going 16-for-23 for 213 yards and throwing touchdown passes to three different receivers. “I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”

Cruciani was 10-for-14 for 151 yards as the County built a 21-12 lead in the first half. He passed 7 yards to Mid Valley’s Art Veno to complete a game-opening, 10-play, 61-yard drive.

Bill Ozark from Riverside pulled in a 30-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-15 for Cruciani’s fourth completion of the second-quarter drive to a 14-6 lead.

Valley View teammate E.J. Weston was on the receiving end of the last touchdown pass, a 12-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Dave Kimble from Abington Heights scored on a 1-yard run with 30 seconds left in the half for the 21-12 lead.

The two City touchdowns were also 1-yard runs – by Dunmore’s Damon Spady in the first quarter and Bishop O’Hara’s Matt Caputo in the second.

Weston, Valley View teammate Rob Sebastianelli and Scranton Tech’s John Marichak were the game’s defensive standouts.

On a night when he also kicked four extra points, covered three on-side kickoffs by the City and caught a touchdown pass, Weston had an interception, three tackles, four assists and a broken-up pass.

Sebastianelli made five tackles and assisted on two more.

Marichak led the City defense with five tackles and seven assists.

The night included multiple fights – on the field, in the end zone among fans as the game proceeded, then outside the locker rooms as the County team waited for the door to be unlocked to take cover following the game.

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