BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Wednesday, 63 graduated senior football players selected from teams around Western New York will get the chance to strap on the pads for the final time as high school players in the 45th annual Kensington Lions All-Star Game.
“It means a lot. The past couple of years, I’ve worked my tail off, made sure I did the best I could, put in extra work in the offseason to have a great season during the year, and I guess it paid off,” Will South linebacker Aidan Ostrowski said.
“It’s an honor. First of all, the game is for a great cause, and it’s so much fun to coach with all of these coaches and these athletes,” Cleveland Hill head coach Glen Graham said. “They all represent their programs well, they’re some of the best kids in Western New York, and it’s an awful lot of fun to coach.”
“It feels great. All my hard work for four years has paid off my senior year,” Clarence linebacker Jason Sage said. “It’s a great one last chance to play.”
“It’s an honor. I’m very appreciative of it, because everybody doesn’t get to play in this. It’s my last game before I leave, so I’m definitely excited to strap back up before I leave,” South Park defensive end Marqwan Fluitt said.
The teams in the 2021 game will be the North versus the South. With players from 24 different teams on the North squad and 22 different teams on the South squad, these athletes have had the last week to practice and get used to lining up on the same side of the ball with players that they’ve gone against for their entire high school career.
“It’s different. You’re playing with All Stars out of every team, so it’s different and more competitive too,” South Park running back Keith Jackson said.
“It’s really fun because as we’re practicing, a player from Bennett will be like, ‘Oh, that’s what you guys did against us,’ or, ‘Oh, remember when we did this to you guys!’ Those kind of stories are what make this week special,” Clarence head coach Paul Burgio said. “We’re going with kids we played against, and now we’re together, it makes that gelling of the team even more special and share those stories and come together throughout the week.”
“It feels good, because we can congratulate each other and cheer each other on as a team and all come together,” Lockport running back Ricky Maye said.
As much of an honor it is to be an All-Star, a lot of these players say it’s just impactful to be able to play one final high school game.
“I’ve been playing this game since I was 7, 8 years old, and it’s meant the world to me,” West Seneca East quarterback Brady Frys said.
“It’s another way for us to show off our skills and our abilities, and we get to play more football, so it’s great,” Hutch Tech linebacker Ivory Parker said.
The 45th annual Lions All-Star football game will be on Wednesday at 7pm at Williamsville South.