SCRANTON – The Dream Game has been putting rivalries on hold for 79 years.
That tradition was evident immediately Wednesday night at Memorial Stadium.
There are few rivalries that approach the intensity of Riverside-Old Forge, but the first points scored came on a touchdown pass connection between the Vikings and the Blue Devils.
Old Forge’s Anthony Piccolini scored the game’s first points on a 26-yard touchdown reception from Riverside’s Nick Dranchak for the County, which ultimately fell to the City, 35-28, before a paid crowd of 6,897.
“It was brought up once or twice,” Piccolini said. “It was never anything serious. We joked about it; who was going to hook up between Old Forge and Riverside.”
Piccolini was one of five Old Forge players, who all had prominent roles in the Scranton Lions Club-sponsored all-star game for recent graduates of the Lackawanna Football Conference.
The County held the lead for almost 20 minutes in the first half after scoring on its first possession just 3:18 into the game. Dranchak lofted a pass into the left, near corner of the end zone where Piccolini went into the air against Delaware Valley’s Cory Savarese. The players both had their hands on the ball and kept wrestling for it after hitting the ground. Simultaneous possession goes to the offense, giving the County the touchdown.
“Dranchak looked one way and came back to me,” Piccolini said. “I just went up and got it.”
Piccolini was not done. The starting wide receiver led the County in receiving with three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Mike Vieira started in the secondary and broke up three City passes while also making four tackles and assisting on another.
Anthony DeSando started at guard as part of an offensive line that opened holes for 239 County rushing yards on 46 attempts. He was also part of the rotation of defensive linemen to begin the game and assisted on one tackle.
Tyler Clark started in the defensive line and made three tackles.
Brenden Wahl ran the County offense as quarterback for four possessions, two of which resulted in touchdowns. Wahl hit two of six passes for 23 yards and carried four times for 24 yards.
The teams combined for 38 first downs and 705 yards in the game, which tied for the highest-scoring in the event’s history.
“We did a good job offensively,” Piccolini said. “Our ground game was working early.”
No losing team has ever scored as many points as the County produced Wednesday.
Scranton Prep quarterback Griff DiBileo led the City to victory. During one stretch of the second and third quarters, he completed four straight passes with three going for touchdowns.
DiBileo finished 9-for-14 for 149 yards passing.