East’ second half comeback falls short as West wins 58th UNICO All-Star Classic
Failed two point conversion looms large in 28-27 final
By Frank Kastreva, WVCD2.com
WILKES-BARRE- On the eve of Turkey Day high school football took center stage at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium as the 58th annual UNICO Classic kicked off. East vs. West in the form of the area’s best seniors, showing off their talents in their final high school football game.
The West got off to a quick start in this one with Valley West’ Ali Muhammad receiving a pass from Lake-Lehman’s Nate Vokel and scampering down the visitors sideline 73 yards to paydirt. Pittston Area’s Paul Gatusso nailed the PAT with the score West 7 East 0.
The East would tie things up with Hanover Area’s Rich Colorusso finding Holy Redeemer’s Robert Gawlas on a 23 yard TD reception. GAR’s Godson Tandoh would nail the point after attempt and things were all tied up at seven with still 8:29 left in the first quarter.
Muhammad would give the West the lead once again, this time a 15 yard TD reception from Pittston Area’s Brock Hazlet. Gatusso, again nailed the PAT with the score West 14 East 7.
The West would reel off two more TD’s in the first half with scores by Pittston Area’s Sam Parente on a 10 yard TD pass from Vokel, his second of the night and Lake-Lehman’s Cody Lamoreaux on a TD reception from Hazlet, also his second of the night.
Gatusso would be right on target with both point after attempts and the West would take a 28-7 lead into the half.
The East would make a gallant effort with a second half comeback, scoring 20 unanswered but falling short by one point on what could off been a game winning two point conversion. Instead, the conversion would fail and the West would hold on to the 28-27 win in a squeaker at the Stadium.
“I said to the kids we are going for it and they all were ready to go for the win said East’ Head Coach, Len Butcynski.” These kind of games are all about the kids, we had to go for the win there and the kids wanted to.”
Scoring for the East in the second half were, GAR’s Ryan Womack on a 23 yard TD reception from Coughlin’s Matt McClosky, Coughlin’s Mike Mitchell on a 59 yard fumble returned and Redeemer’s Gawlas on a 23 yard TD reception from Hazleton Area’s Matt Drumheller.
The MVP award, voted on by area sports writers went to Valley West’ Ali Muhammad, who had the West’ first two scores in the game.
Seniors from the Berwick Football team did not play in the game due to their current state playoff run in which they will host Selinsgrove this Friday night at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
Until then, Happy Football!
Photos of this game can be viewed in our gallery.
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