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Six Crusaders Are Ready For The World

By Dave Ricci

John Paul Bobak summed it up best for everyone on this special day.

“Thanks you guys for all of the great memories,” Bobak said.

And what memories they were.

Bobak was one of six Canisius High School student-athletes who signed their National Letter’s of Intent on Feb.1 during a ceremony that was held inside the Brady Conference Room at Canisius High School. Bobak, a captain on the Crusaders soccer team, will be headed to Franciscan University. Joining him at the signing table were soccer teammates Vincent Cancilla (Canisius) and Charles Stube (Oberlin College). Along with three members of the NYSCHSAA championship football team; Cole Burniston (UB), Sean Crotty (Occidental College) and kicker/punter Blake Haubeil who will be headed to Ohio State.

Reflecting on the academic, athletic and life lessons learned during their time in high school Burniston and Haubeil both spoke of how Canisius shaped their lives. “The academics here are top notch,” Burniston said. “I don’t think you’re gonna find a better school in the state for that.”

A big part of shaping them into quality young men was the Big Team, Little Me unselfish mindset that is the hallmark of the football program. Young men who play football for Canisius get a crash course in the meaning of the greater good of the team is what matters most. Burniston was a shining example of this as he selflessly changed positions from running back to tight end because that’s what’s was asked of him.

“When you’ve got a leader like Cole that’s so unselfish it really helps get the rest of your team to buy into our Big Team, Little Me attitude,” said head varsity football coach Rich Robbins. Burniston said he doesn’t deserve a pat on the back for changing his job description. It was simply the right thing to do for the team. He also believes that being able to adjust to a change in high school football can help prepare him mentally, emotionally and physically should his role change when he slips on the blue and white of the UB Bulls.

“Big Team, Little Me is what we kind of go by here,” Burniston said. “If you think you’re something bigger than the team then you’re not going to go anywhere. When coach came to me asking if I would be up for playing tight end I said of course. Whatever is going to make the team better. In the long run, with the way the season ended, I made the right choice.”

Haubeil, a four-year varsity player who helped Canisius win states in 2014, was ranked by numerous scouts and the top high school kickers in the country, agreed. He said that Canisius High School was about more than just winning on the athletic field. It’s about shaping you into the best possible person that you can become. “I can’t stress how much Canisius has prepared me. On and off the field it’s been tremendous,” said Haubeil. “Just from a work ethic standpoint, in school the first week you get hit with some papers you’re a little scared. You’re a little nervous, but you work through it. That’s college. That’s real life. It’s preparing me for real life scenarios. Coach Robbins, (special teams) coach (Bryce) Hopkins, putting me in pressure situations in games. Having to make big kicks, having to make big punts when we’re backed inside the 10. They definitely prepared me very well.”

Haubeil added that Canisius help make him into the man that he is today. A person who cares about others and who wants to give back. Haubeil also thanked teammates Jack Baldwin (snapper) and Alex Adimey (holder) for all their help on and off the field and how this the football team truly felt like a family where everyone cared about and was there for each other.

Bobak, Cancilla and Stube were all key components in the Crusaders winning a second straight Monsignor Martin Athletic Association playoff championship last fall.

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