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County wins thriller of a Dream Game with large effort by Janiszewski, City’s furious come back falls wide right. (Gallery included)

Written by: on Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

 

Cayden Merrifield led a furious City comeback, but they fell just short

Lakeland head coach David Piwowarczyk is no stranger to last minute wins.  Last fall needing a win to make the playoffs, his Chiefs pulled off a miracle win against Wilkes-Barre. Last night in the Dream game his County team held on as the City team attempted a field goal with just seconds left for the win. Trailing by two with just 1:38 left in the game, the City team had the ball on their own 18 yard line. West Scranton’s Cayden Merrifield did what he was doing all night, he scrambled under pressure and found North Pocono’s Ryan Dolphin for a huge gain to the County 19 setting up the attempt for the win. The kick never crossed the goal post and County held on for a 31-29 win in the Annual Lions Club Dream Game. “Football’s fun when the game is close” he said jovially after telling his team what a pleasure it was to coach them. “It was an absolute honor to coach these kids. They came together so quickly. They’re like a family.”

In the all star games, it usually takes a while for the scoring to begin. That was the case last night.  It took until the 8:21 mark of the second quarter for the scoring to begin, but once it did the touchdowns came quickly.  Merrifield found Scranton Prep receiver Ryan McAndrew for a 35 yard score to put City up 7-0.

Western Wayne’s Zane Janiszewski returned the ensuing kick 72 yards to the City five, then finished the drive on a 5 yard run. The failed pat left it 7-6 City, but that lead didn’t last.  As the clock hit zero for the first half, Del Val defender Mark Callanan picked of a long pass and returned it to the house giving County a 12-7 lead.  Zane increased the County lead with a 4 yard run to make it 18-7 with 4 minutes left in the third.

Merrifield hit Dolphin for a 35 yard pass to the three, then finished off the drive with a three yard run and a 2 point pass play to Prep’s Max Mulligan. County increased their lead on the next series when Riverside’s Johnny Gilchrist found Callanan for a 26 yard td to put County up 25-15.  That’s when Merrifield did his thing. “Yeah, it was great to get out there one more time. Our coaches drew up a good game plan to use my feet to get touchdowns, and the receivers made catches.” Merrifield scrambled and found Prep’s Vito Gianelli who raced down the sidelines for an 85 yard score to bring City within 3.

 

Merrifield, who threw for 350 yards on the night, most of which came in the fourth quarter, then found Dolphin to give City a 29-25 lead with 7:16 left to play. Dolphin hauled in 10 of those throws for 200 yards.

 

The lead was short lived as Old Forge receiver Mike DiGregorio hauled in a 56 yard pass for the win.

Janiszewski ran for 146 yards on 23 carries scoring twice. “It’s always great to go out with a win, especially with a bunch of guys you never played with.”

Entire gallery HERE

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