BLASDELL, N.Y. (WIVB) — Dedicated training propelled Trevor Barry to one of the most productive football seasons in Western New York history. Now the Iroquois junior has a glorious trophy to show for his hard work.
Barry was recognized Monday night as the 50th recipient of the Connolly Cup awarded to the area’s most outstanding performer. He is the first Iroquois player to win the award, and the fourth junior in 25 years.
“This definitely means a lot to me,” Barry said. “It’s something I’ve worked for ever since I heard what the Connolly Cup was when I started playing the sport in seventh grade.”
Barry carried the Chiefs to their second Section VI championship in history, and a No. 7 position in the state Class B rankings with an 11-1 final record.
“When the chips were on the table, we handed him the ball, and he produced,” Iroquois coach Rob Pitzonka said.
Setting a WNY record running for 43 rushing touchdowns, Barry also ran for five 2-point conversions and caught a 44th TD, giving him 274 total points, the second highest total in area history. His 2,317 yards rushing also rank among the all-time leaders, and he added 209 yards receiving for an average output of 210.5 yards and 22.8 points per game. On defense, Barry contributed 62 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries on defense,
“People see the award, people see the stats, but they don’t see the hard work that goes into it. He is a tireless worker,” said Pitzonka, who played for University at Buffalo with Aaron Leper, the 2000 Connolly Cup winner from Jamestown who holds the WNY record with 48 touchdowns in a season, while Barry broke his mark of 42 rushing TDs.
Pitzonka also played at UB with Naaman Roosevelt, the 2005 Connolly Cup winner for St. Joe’s who set receiving records in college before playing five NFL seasons with the Bills, Browns and Lions, and had six standout years in the CFL.
As the keynote speaker at this year’s banquet, Roosevelt encouraged finalists to “believe in your heart, that all of you can be in his same position.”
Barry, who is also a Division I prospect in lacrosse, forged his belief and passion for football in the home gym built by his father.
“He’s put me through a lot of workouts on an off the field,” Barry said. “I can’t thank him enough.”
Bob Barry, who played for Iroquois’ sectional finalist team in 1989 and coached his son in the EMW youth league was rendered “speechless” by his son’s Connolly Cup recognition. “He pushes himself every day,” the proud father said after collecting his thoughts, noting that with so many key players returning to the Chiefs, including freshman quarterback Justus Kleitz, and WNY’s receiving yardage leader in tight end Nate McGoldrick, “the sky is the limit for them.”
After rushing for over 1,300 yards and scoring 25 touchdowns for a sectional finalist team as a sophomore, Trevor Barry expected to have another big season. But the record-setting production surpassed his ambitions. With a chance to become the first repeat Connolly Cup winner in history, Barry enters another offseason determined to build on his success.
“A lot of the kids on the team are kids I’ve played with since I was very young,” Barry said. “I definitely think we can win another section title, and hopefully we can go farther next year. I surprised myself this season with the numbers I put up. It’s crazy to think about, but if I keep doing what I’m doing, it’s definitely possible to win this award again.”
Becoming the first Iroquois player to win the Connolly Cup is a proud achievement for the Chiefs, and the small Village of Elma where they reside.
“We are a small school, rural school, and a lot of people don’t know where we are,” Pitzonka said. “I went to Lancaster, which is right next to Iroquois, and I didn’t even know.
“Trevor doing what we did puts us on the map a little bit. When you are put on this list as a Connolly Cup winner, that’s a big deal in Western New York, and New York State.
“Look at the guys who have won this, they have gone on to do great things. I really do think that this is going to be one of those things that we look back on and say this catapulted us forward.”