PECKVILLE — The City dominated the later stages of the July 29 Dream Game and Scranton Prep players were a big reason why.
Kevin Sompel turned in a strong two-way performance throughout and Justin Belardi scored touchdowns on each side of the ball late to help the City break away for a 41-6 rout in the 81st annual Scranton Lions Club-sponsored all-star game for recent Lackawanna Football Conference graduates.
“I was coming into the game hoping to make a couple of big plays on the offensive side of the ball,” said Sompel, who took on one of the game’s most demanding workloads on a hot, humid night as the starting free safety who made frequent appearances as wide receiver. “Defense is definitely my favorite side of the ball and I was hoping to make some big plays there, too.”
Sompel made three tackles and assisted on another, but his biggest contributions came on offense. He was the game’s leading receiver with four catches for 98 yards, grabbing two passes each on the first scoring drives of each half.
“When the ball’s in the air, offensively or defensively, he sees it as his,” said Brian Fahey, the former Abington Heights assistant coach and current West Scranton head coach who guided the City team. “He’s got terrific ball skills. He runs good routes. He’s a kid who’s a real solid practice player.
“I was glad to see it translate to the game. He gave us a spark.”
Belardi did as well.
After Sompel helped set up the late third-quarter touchdown for a 20-6 lead, Belardi blew the game open with the next two scores.
Belardi caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Delaware Valley’s Brett Cohen on third-and-goal with 8:29 remaining.
Just 1:06 later, Belardi was back in the end zone after returning a County fumble 11 yards for a score.
“Our other D-linemen came around and kept them from getting the ball and I was able to scoop it up and get in for the touchdown,” Belardi said.
Three of Scranton Prep’s four players in the game started on defense – Dan Timlin was at cornerback and Mike Terrery was at outside linebacker – and Belardi came off the bench to be one of the game’s biggest impact players.
Belardi, who expects to play H-back (a wingback/tight end hybrid) at Carnegie Mellon University, was also the City’s second-leading receiver with three catches for 47 yards. His 35-yard reception in the second quarter put the City in County territory on the way to the go-ahead touchdown.
“Belardi made some big plays,” Fahey said.
He was able to have a bigger impact than expected.
“I thought I was going to play mainly at tight end,” said Belardi, who also had a tackle. “I didn’t think I would get that many snaps on defense.”
Terrery assisted three tackles and broke up a pass. Timlin made a tackle and also broke up a pass.
Players from Abington Heights and Lackawanna Trail were part of the County roster.
Lackawanna Trail’s Vic Mallory was part of the quarterback rotation and threw a pass for the only County touchdown. His 38-yarder to Western Wayne’s Kyle Haines tied the game, 6-6, with 7:18 left in the half.
The Lions helped keep the game tied for almost 15 minutes of the first half.
Cooper Rosiak’s dive to swat away a pass in the end zone delayed the first City score, temporarily keeping the game scoreless.
Rosiak and Jordan Hannon from Lackawanna Trail both started on defense. Rosiak made one tackle and assisted on another. Hannon, an end, had two tackles and an assist.
Mallory was 2-for-10 passing for 44 yards and the touchdown. His only carry went for no gain.
Matt Cole, a two-way lineman, and Ross Fauquier, a linebacker, also represented the Lions. Cole made a tackle and assisted on four others. Fauquier had a tackle for a loss.
Abington Heights had three players in the game.
John Czubek, who started at free safety, had two tackles and six assists.
Jake Henzes was among the starting rotation of wide receivers. He had a 39-yard reception and returned two kickoffs for 34 yards.
Sean Gilhooley came off the bench to play in the offensive line.
Fahey improved to 4-0 in Dream Games. He previously won as a player and twice as an assistant coach, including once while he was at Abington Heights.