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North Team Preparing for 43rd Annual Kensington Lions Club All-Star Game

Last Wednesday night more than 40 football players lined up at the new Williamsville South sports complex to begin practicing for the 43rd Annual Kensington Lions Club All-Star football game. They came from all over western New York, recent graduates, ready to close out their stellar high-school careers.

There are a number of intriguing storylines in this year’s game, perhaps one of the most interesting is Mike Torillo, coach of the North team, having the opportunity to work with his son, Joe who finished an unforgettable senior year at Sweet Home. Joe was the Panthers quarterback last fall and during the winter sports season was a key contributor on the school’s State champion hockey team.

“Before I took the Will East job I was an assistant at Sweet Home and got to coach him for a year but he’s a quarterback and I’m with the defense,” coach Torillo said.

Last season Torillo took over the head coaching position at Williamsville East where he had the same role with the ice hockey team.

“For how hard it was to play against him this is the culminating, good side of it and a big reason why I took this game,” coach Torillo added

Home Sweet Home

Pat Cauley is the Athletic Director in Hamburg and has been at the school for the past 27 years. He graduated from Sweet Home in 1984 with none other than Mike Torillo. In fact, the two have been lifelong friends for more than 45 years.

Traditionally, Hamburg lines up with the South team. Cauley and Torillo worked out an arrangement so that the two could work the sidelines together.

“That’s my man right there,” Cauley said of Torillo. “He’s like my brother. We’ve known each other our whole lives. Played multiple sports together and this is a dream come true. I’ve actually never coached against him. I’ve been the AD when he was playing against our kids, football or hockey what have you. It was at a hockey game when Mike said I might have a hard time getting some guys for the Lions Club game. I said man I love doing that one. The next day it was done, we can be teammates again and the quarterback (Joe Torillo) is my godson.”

It was evident just how much Cauley had been looking forward to Wednesday’s first practice. He was the first to arrive and the last to leave all the while coaching up his roster during drills. There is an energy that Cauley brings to the field that is a good mix of drill sergeant and game show host, the kids loved him.

Future Alfred Teammates Meet

One of the more dynamic players Hutch-Tech football has produced in recent years is Rodney Bailey. This past season he was named to the Buffalo News All-WNY First Team Defense for his stellar work that included 25 tackles for a loss and 13.5 sacks, which was second-best in Section VI.

“I’m really excited to be here, represent Hutch-Tech one more time,” Bailey said.

He will go on to study electrical engineering at Alfred in the fall as well as continuing his football career.

“I chose Alfred because I really liked the campus and the football program,” he said.

Joining Bailey at Alfred University is Lew-Port’s Cody Fouts. They had just met for the first time Wednesday night and until it was brought up after practice, neither realized they were both going to be Saxon teammates in the fall.

“That’s going to be good for us when we get to Alfred. Having some familiarity and teammates here will be really helpful,” Fouts said.

Fouts, who also wrestles, is a solid tackler was named an All-WNY Honorable Mention by the Buffalo News last fall for his defensive play at linebacker. The Lancers had a disappointing season but Fouts believes better days are ahead for his former team.

“We had a losing record last year but we were young and there are some really good players coming back. Just looking around here though this is unbelievable to be playing in this game,” Fouts said.

Sarow Playing with Heavy Heart

Prior to the 2017 football season, the Akron community was dealt a heavy blow with the tragic death of Johnny Fiebelkorn. An all-star wrestler and one of the captains on the football team. He was also one of Jacob Sarow’s best friends. The Connolly Cup finalist and All-WNY offensive second team still wears the No. 25 sticker decal on the back of his helmet to honor his late friend.

“He’s always there with you, as we say just go with it because there really isn’t anything else we can do,” Sarow said.

Last fall Sarow finished his second straight season rushing for over 1200 yards for the Tigers. He is currently uncommitted as far as where he will continue playing but said ECC is a possibility.

Zach Brown Band

Finally, the Newfane Panther defensive back and running back will have his chance to take the field. After suffering a devastating off-season injury that kept him on the sideline all season, Zach Brown will have a chance to play one more high-school football game.

“I’m pretty excited knowing I didn’t play this year due to an ACL tear,” Brown said. “Last July it happened and had surgery in August. So I am very excited to have been chosen to play in this game.”

The Panthers had a memorable season and reached the playoffs for the first time in 24 years.

“It was tough not being able to contribute on the field but I wanted to be there. I made sure I was at every practice and meeting and be a part of the team,” Brown said. “It was a lot of fun to watch.”

Brown is attending Alfred State to pursue a Criminal Justice degree and play football.

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