Old Forge ruined Dunmore's otherwise perfect regular season.
The Bucks returned the favor Friday night with even bigger stakes on the line.
Dunmore's 7-6 victory in the District 2 Class A football championship game spoiled Old Forge's unbeaten record and prevented the Blue Devils from defending their title.
Daiqwon Buckley and Austin Seamon, Dunmore's two standout running backs who missed the first meeting with leg injuries, each played prominent roles in the rematch. Buckley broke tackles on a 56-yard run up the middle for a second-quarter touchdown.
Seamon fired through from the right side to block a third-quarter extra point, combining with a late fourth-down stop by Mike Boland to keep the Bucks ahead.
You get within one point, Old Forge coach Mike Schuback said. It's one of those things.
Do you rather lose 35-0 or 7-6?
Every point, every first down and, at times, every yard was at a premium in the defensive struggle.
Both teams played extremely well, said Dunmore's Jack Henzes, who ranks second in state history in coaching victories. It was a very physical game.
The Blue Devils limited the Bucks to a less than four yards per play. One of the biggest contributions of Buckley and Seamon was helping Dunmore eat the clock on offensive possessions and keeping the ball away from an Old Forge offense that led all of District 2 with more than 44 points per game.
Starting with its second possession, Dunmore had a 24:45 - 11:48 lead in time of possession.
Buckley carried 22 times for 153 yards, but lost a pair of third-quarter fumbles.
Seamon was held to 49 yards on 21 carries. He made five tackles, assisted on six others and broke up a pass in addition to preventing the tying point with his blocked kick.
The Bucks also managed a handful of the game's biggest plays.
I kind of told the kids Thursday night that I thought five or six big plays would decide the game, Schuback said. I thought special teams would have a big part of it.
Old Forge's usually stellar special teams were involved in two of Dunmore's most important plays.
The Blue Devils stopped the Bucks at the Dunmore 23 and were prepared to get the ball back around midfield after Joey Bruno broke up a third-and-11 pass.
Trying to go for a block, Old Forge instead roughed the kicker.
We made a bad decision on the punt block, but those are decisions you are going to make, Schuback said. There are chances you have to take to be successful.
Three plays later, Buckley was racing for the end zone with 5:10 left in the first half. He broke one tackle near the line of scrimmage and another to move into the clear in the secondary.
Old Forge crossed into Dunmore territory on all five first-half possessions, but was not inside the 30 until its touchdown drive.
Bruno recovered a fumble on the first play of the second half.
Brenden Wahl threw an 11-yard pass to Shane Schuback on first down, then the Blue Devils used five straight runs to complete the 38-yard scoring drive.
Brian Tomasetti, who ran for 88 yards on 25 carries, scored from the 3 with 9:34 left in the third quarter.
Seamon broke through from one end on the extra-point attempt while Mike Kolcharno made it through from the other side and may have been in position to make the block if his teammate missed.
Dunmore held the ball for the next 14 plays and more than seven minutes before a fourth-down sack by Bruno.
The Bucks had another 12-play, 6:34 drive in the fourth quarter before Tomasetti and Jake Manetti broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone.
Old Forge began at its 26 with 3:54 left.
Tomasetti converted short-yardage situations on a third down and a fourth down. He had not been stopped for a loss on 23 carries until the Bucks stuffed him for a loss of a yard on third-and-one and for no gain on fourth down from Dunmore 37 with 1:17 remaining.
Boland was part of the third-down stop and made the hit to stop, with a little help from Seamon, the final offensive play of Old Forge's season.
We knew we just had to play Dunmore football; come out and be physical, said Boland, a 6-foot, 265-pound lineman who had six tackles and three assists in addition to also kicking the decisive extra point.
Old Forge led 13-12 in first downs and each team converted two turnovers in a game that was nearly even statistically.
Dunmore had a 213-199 lead in total offense, including 190-93 rushing.
Wahl was 10-for-19 passing for 106 yards. Shane Schuback had four of the catches for 32 yards.
Jorden Sekol led the Old Forge defense with eight tackles, including one for a loss, and four assists.
Michael Vieira, Bruno, Tomasetti and Anthony Piccolini also had big games defensively. Vieira had nine tackles and an assist. Bruno had four tackles, including another for a loss to go along with his sack, fumble recovery and pass breakup. Tomasetti had three tackles, one for a loss, three pass break ups and a fumble recovery. Piccolini had four tackles, including one for a loss, and five assists.
Dunmore moves on to face District 4 champion Southern Columbia Friday night, likely at Valley View.
The Blue Devils have to settle for another Lackawanna Conference Division 3 title.