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Photo: CHRISTOPHER DOLAN, License: N/A, Created: 2018:07:26 17:39:39

NOAH BRAID, ABINGTON HEIGHTS. CHRISTOPHER DOLAN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Just about every high school athlete has wished for one more game with his or her alma mater.

Recent Abington Heights graduates Noah Braid and Seth Drake will get that opportunity in the 85th Scranton Lions Club Dream Game on July 17 at 7 p.m. at John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Braid, who looked up to players who played in the game before him, always wanted the chance to participate in it. Now, he hopes underclassmen share his previous aspirations.

“Playing in (the Dream Game) was something I had hoped for,” he said. “Plus, representing Abington Heights, all my teammates and coach (Joe) Repshis one last time is going to be special.”

He also talked about how playing with and against players from other schools who he has made connections with for a final time will be a highlight.

Braid, a three-year varsity player for the Comets, saw year-to-year improvements across the board. After limited playing time as a sophomore in 2016 he earned his time on the field in the ensuing two seasons. He attributes that growth to a willingness to step into a bigger role left by a plethora of graduates.

“The team lost a lot of seniors after my sophomore year, and I served as a captain when I was a junior and senior,” Braid said. “Having to step up into a leadership role starting junior year really helped (my on-field performance).”

He starred on defense, recording a combined 155 total tackles, two sacks and three forced fumbles from the linebacker position during his junior and senior seasons. Braid’s role in the offense expanded in his senior season as he carried the ball 76 times for 328 yards and two touchdowns as the team’s fullback. Prior to 2018 he had just 14 carries for 36 yards. It was something he took pride in doing after the team lost its 2017 leading rusher Kaleb Sherman when he transferred to Scranton High School.

“(The bigger offensive role) was definitely a challenge, but it was a good opportunity, too,” Braid said. “It took a lot of conditioning but got me much more involved.”

Drake played on the varsity team for two years, on the defensive line.

Combined, Drake made 65 total tackles and had three sacks in two seasons.

Braid and Drake got to know each other well through their time on the football team.

“We’ve gotten to grow together on the football field,” Braid said. “(Drake) brings a lighthearted attitude, which I think is something you need (as a teammate).”