Thomas Cecere, Grand Island, fields a punt during the 43rd annual Kensington Lions All-Star game, Thursday night. (All photos by David Yarger)
Thu, Jul 26th 2018 01:00 pm
Football game brings select WNY 2018 graduates back one last time
By David Yarger
On Thursday night, football players from the Class of 2018 received one last chance to don their school colors at the 43rd annual Kensington Lions All-Star game.
The popular summer all-star game brings in selected graduates from Section VI schools to represent their team one last time before they head to college. Teams are split up into North and South all-star teams.
Several locals from the Niagara region participated in the game for the North team, and although the game didn't go their way, as the South won, 36-0, the players enjoyed getting back between the lines.
Niagara-Wheatfield was represented by Bryan "Bus" Lucinski. Lucinski, a First Team All-Class AA lineman for the Falcons last fall, spent time at defensive tackle during the game.
Lucinski said he loved being back on the field representing the Falcons.
"It felt good," Lucinski said. "It was nice to get to represent Wheatfield. ... I liked hitting, it was nice to get the pads thumping again."
Lucinski added, teammates Justin Stickney and Josh Brown were definitely worthy of playing in the game as well, and he wished they could've been out there with him.
Niagara-Wheatfield football coach Russ Nixon also attended the game and said it was cool to see "Bus" representing proudly.
"We're just proud of him. To have one more opportunity to represent your school that you've played for, for the last four years; the community you've played for since you're five to six years old - I'm just proud that he's got this opportunity tonight to be out here. Proud of him and his hard work and we look forward to seeing him at ECC," Nixon said.
As Nixon said, Lucinski will continue his football career this fall at Erie Community College.
Niagara-Wheatfield's Bryan Lucinski in action Thursday night.
Representing Grand Island on the gridiron was the trio of Frank DePalma, Thomas Cecere and Zane Johnson.
DePalma saw action at defensive end; Cecere saw time as a running back, kick returner and punter; and Johnson spent time at wide receiver and hauled in several receptions, his best being for 18 yards.
DePalma and Cecere both agreed it was nice to have one last game representing GI.
DePalma said, "It's honestly amazing, I mean just the Viking on the helmet. I'm playing in college but I've always wanted to play in this game and I'm glad I got to do it, especially repping Grand Island."
For Cecere, the game was his last as a football player, as he will turn his sights to lacrosse at North Greenville University.
"It felt good to suit it up one last time and I'll miss the sport. I mean it's the sport I've been playing the longest - my entire life - but lacrosse is the best sport, I was the best at that and I knew I had to continue it," Cecere said.
DePalma will continue his football career at Alfred University. Johnson, meanwhile, will head to Buffalo State for football.
Zane Johnson of Grand Island runs after catching a pass.
GI football coach Dean Santorio said he was thrilled to watch the trio play in such a prestigious game.
"I think anytime you have a couple guys that get an opportunity to play in this game it's just nice for the kids, No. 1, but it's always nice for your program to have a couple kids who played really well for you for a couple years -- and all three of them were very deserving.
"Whatever happens in the game and how many touches they get or how many plays they get, it's all second. You hope they play well and get as much time as everyone and if not it's a great experience either way," Santorio said.
From left, Grand Island High School's Zane Johnson, Thomas Cecere and Frank DePalma.
Representing Matt Bradshaw's Lewiston-Porter team was Cody Fouts. Fouts saw time at linebacker and cornerback during the game. Fouts will continue his football career at Alfred State.
Lewiston-Porter's Cody Fouts, in blue, chases down the ball carrier.
Representing Don Bass' Niagara Falls Wolverines were David Morgan Jr., Syveon Ralands and his brother Syquan Ralands. Morgan Jr. saw time at running back and cornerback, while Syveon also saw time at the same spots, and Syquan played on the defensive side of the ball.
Representing Al Cavagnaro's Starpoint team was wide receiver Sam Mazzara and offensive and defensive tackle Kyle Schreader. The duo both will attend Buffalo State College.
Lastly, representing the North Tonawanda Lumberjacks was Dylan Normandin and Jordan Holmes. Normandin will attend St. John Fisher and Holmes currently is undecided.