WEST PITTSTON – Robbie Dwyer and Adrian Otero each turned into double threats for the Pioneers Friday night when the 67th annual UNICO Game moved back to a spring date.
Wyoming Valley West’s Dwyer accounted for 214 yards and two touchdowns while leading the offense when the Pioneers defeated the Miners 28-14 at Wyoming Area’s Sobeski Stadium.
Hazleton Area’s Otero, the University of Maine recruit as a linebacker, helped the Pioneers defensively, but also served as the team’s top running back. He ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns while earning the game’s George Curry Most Valuable Player Award.
“It was tough,” Otero said. “For some of these guys, it was (their) first chance playing football since the season was over. I had a chance playing in the East-West (Game) already.”
Otero enjoyed what may be his last shot to play offense and scored a 16-yard touchdown on the game’s opening series. He closed the scoring with a 3-yard run in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
Dwyer was preparing to call signals along with Wyoming Area’s P.J. Angeli, who was trying to return to the football field for the first time since missing all but the opening series of his senior season because of a serious knee injury.
By game time, Dwyer knew he would have to serve as the team’s only quarterback.
“We approached this with a lot of excitement,” Dwyer said. “We wanted to get the win.
“We wanted to spread the ball around and make it exciting for everyone.”
Dwyer found open running lanes more often than he was able to locate open receivers, but he was effective in both facets of the game. He carried 13 times for a game-high 122 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown to put the Pioneers ahead to stay with 4:42 left in the half.
Just 1:05 after running for a touchdown, Dwyer found Spartans teammate Jake Blaski with a 25-yard touchdown pass. On the first play after a Miners fumble, Dwyer led Blaski on a fly pattern down the left sideline and Blaski ran under the ball in the end zone.
Three players accounted for all of the scoring in the game.
Janssen Wilborn from Meyers ran 1 yard for a score to tie the game in the second quarter, then sprinted 89 yards untouched with the second half kickoff to cut into a 21-7 deficit.
Dwayne Downing from Holy Redeemer coached the Pioneers team, which consisted of players from Wyoming Valley West, Wyoming Area, Tunkhannock, Crestwood, Tunkhannock, Dallas, Pittston Area, Hazleton Area and Holy Redeemer.
The Miners were coached by Jeffrey Labatch from Meyers. The team was made up of players from Lake-Lehman, Hanover Area, Berwick, GAR, Nanticoke, Coughlin, Northwest and Meyers.
The UNICO Game, featuring graduating senior football players from the Wyoming Valley Conference, had been played on a date close to Thanksgiving in recent years.
67TH UNICO ALL-STAR CLASSIC
Pioneers 28, Miners 14
P – Adrian Otero 16 run (Billy Prebola kick), 6:52
M – Janssen Wilborn 1 run (Kenny Macko kick), 9:36
P – Robbie Dwyer 12 run (Nate Maransky kick), 4:42
P – Jake Blaski 25 pass from Dwyer (Jake Gurtis kick) 3:37
M – Wilborn 89 kickoff return (Cole Horan kick), 11:46
P – Otero 3 run (Prebola kick), 11:26
RUSHING — M, Jake Anderson 4-28, Eric Jeffries 4-24, Jacob Cole 6-13, Vincent Todd 6-11, Trey Borger 1-8, Janssen Wilborn 4-4, Dawson Hughes 1-3, Nate O’Donnell 2-minus 9. P, Dwyer 13-122, Adrian Otero 11-58, Justin Joseph 8-43, Logan Cwynski 3-23, Sean Mikovitch 4-10.
PASSING — M, O’Donnell 5-13-0-23, Wilborn 2-3-0-31. P, Dwyer 6-9-0-92.
RECEIVING — M, Borger 2-12, Wilborn 2-12, O’Donnell 1-21, Jimmie LeGrand 1-10, Anderson 1-minus 1. P, Marc Anthony Minichello 2-43, Jake Blaski 2-36, Otero 1-10, Connor Munley 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS — None.
MISSED FIELD GOALS – M, None. P, Jake Gurtis 30.
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