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Kensington Lions adding Flag to All-Star Classic



Fans attending the 47 th annual Kensington Lions All-Star Classic this Friday: be ready for double the

football.

For the first time in history, Girls Flag Football will have its very own All-Star Game right alongside the

Boys Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. SUNY Buffalo State’s Coyer Field.

It’s an idea the Lions Club has had in the back of its’ mind for a while. In fact, Class of 2022 graduated

seniors who played Flag Football were honored during halftime of last year’s game.

“There seems to be such demand for it in WNY,” Kensington Lions All-Star Classic Chairman Len

Thornton said. “The number of teams really shot up incredibly in the second year. I was talking to the

head coach of the South [Orchard Park’s Jeff Weiss], he said he had 45 girls try out for his team [Orchard

Park]. The girls really love it and they’re really good at it.”

“I absolutely love it,” Weiss said. “When I took the job at my school last year, I never could’ve imagined

that it could’ve grown as quickly as it has. It’s another step forward for Flag Football.”

Girls Flag Football continues to catapult itself into prominence after finishing its’ second year as a High

School Sport. Just before this past season, NYSPHSAA announced Girls Flag would be an official sport,

with a bona fide State Championship starting in 2024.

Hannah Farley helped to lead Clarence Girls Flag to become the first-ever NYSPHSAA Far West Regional

Champions back in June. Now, she can officially say she’s an All-Star.

“The reputation is so great,” Farley said. “You get to meet other players that have the same mindset as

you. It’s a really good opportunity and it’s a lot of fun.”

Farley is part of a loaded North roster that includes Clarence teammates Gabby Irwin and Amelia

Andruschat along with Williamsville North’s Molly Martin and Williamsville East’s Deanna Jacobi.

The North Girls All-Stars will be coached by Sweet Home’s Chris Monaco along with Cheryl Julicher

(Sweet Home), Chris Tideswell (North Tonawanda), Chris Kensy (Amherst), Mark Layer (Clarence) and

2024 North Head Coach Katie Harrington (North Tonawanda).

Weiss will be joined on the sideline by Matt Ferrara (Orchard Park), Rudy Fish (West Seneca) and Chris

Edwards (Pioneer).

Pioneer’s Brooke Eastman is expected to take most of the snaps at QB for the South. She will be joined

by fellow Panther Hannah Drennan, Tiffany Nguyen (Cheektowaga), Alyssa Salerno and Emily Pacheco

from Dunkirk and players from a number of other schools in the southern half of WNY.

Both rosters have 13-14 girls and just like the Boys, each player will be introduced over the stadium

loudspeaker before the game.


Fans should expect their second dosing of football at around 7 p.m. when the Boys take the field

afterward for their game.

This year St. Joe’s coach Mike Corona and staff are coaching the North squad along with 2024 coach Eric

Valley of Medina.

Rival QBs Aiden Pitts (Medina), Amari Jones (Albion) along with state champion Antonio Davis III

(Bennett) are expected to split snaps under center. Sweet Home tailback Jordan Theodore, who’s off to

St. Francis University in the fall, will be a key piece on both sides of the ball. Williamsville North’s Evan

Locke has impressed coach Corona on the line.

The South will be led by Health Sciences coach Ty Parker, who has a roster with a lot of talent in the

backfield.

Parker is tasked with finding snaps for three Connolly Cup finalists (Justus Hill, Maryvale – Ricardo Kidd,

St. Francis – Micah Harry, Lancaster) and Section VI’s third-leading rusher Camren Warburton

(Cheektowaga). Orchard Park’s Ben Gocella is likely to play QB most of the game.

“It’s a blessing (to play in the All-Star game),” Hill said. “My dad played in it many years ago so I would

say it’s like a tradition and I’m glad to carry it on.”

Both games will be streamed live on WNYAthletics.com, with coverage of the Girls Flag game beginning

at around 5:20 p.m.

“Not being able to play anymore games after your senior year,” Drennan said. “It’s great to be able to

play one more game before you have to call it quits.”



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