Alumni: NY Squad Set for Raabe Big 30 Classic
BRADFORD, Pa. — Senior football stars fresh off of graduation from across the southern tier and northern Pennsylvania will take the field at Bradford High School Saturday, marking the 40th time for the Don Raabe Big 30 Charities Classic.
New York head coach Chad Lyter, Allegany-Limestone’s head coach last year, leads the squad with the help of Paul Furlong, a Salamanca native and last year’s coach at Salamanca, and Allegany-Limestone assistants Glenn Anderson and Eric Hemphill.
In 2013, Lyter will step aside and Furlong will return to coach the Gators, while Anderson and Hemphill return to help.
The game gives Furlong a chance to coach three of his seniors from 2012 for one more game.
“It’s been fun,” Furlong said before practice at Veteran’s Park on Monday, July 29. “It’s actually kind of neat, because I get to coach the Allegany kids too, on the same team. I say I’ve got the best of both worlds right now, coaching all stars from both teams. It’s nice to work with the Salamanca kids again.”
Salamanca sends three players to the game this year, in quarterback/safety Tanner John, fullback/linebacker Cameron Caputi and offensive and defensive tackle Dakota John.
From their state championship team, Randolph sends defensive back Alex Miinte, tailback/cornerback Jordan Dowiasz, center/tackle Ryan Styles, receiver/defensive end Dylan Faust and offensive and defensive end Nathan Beaver.
From Ellicottville, interior lineman/linebacker Greg Knier, offensive and defensive tackle William Murphy and tight end/defensive end Storm Wilson will play in the game.
Cattaraugus-Little Valley sends quarterback/safety Sam Agnew and fullback/linebacker Matt Booth.
Furlong said his offense looks to be in good shape heading into the game.
“I think top-to-bottom, we’re pretty solid,” he said. “We’ve got some really good running backs on the offensive side, out defensive line is really big and strong, so that’s going to be a bonus for us.”
Looking at those strengths, Furlong expects to utilize a strong running attack early on in Bradford.
“I look and I try to evaluate what our strength is; I look and I start with our linemen,” he said. “We’re big and strong and that’s going to be how we start to approach the game Saturday, with a power run game. We do have the ability to throw the ball (but) we’re light on receivers.
“We really, truly only have three kids at the wideout position and actually moved a couple guys around to play tight end. We didn’t have any true tight ends, so I don’t think we could go four-wide and run a no-huddle offense with the personnel we’ve got, so we had to adapt there.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the squad has had to adjust to Raabe Classic rules.
“They’re starting to settle in,” Furlong said of the defense. “I think for the defense it can be a little tough. Some of them have never played a 4-3, which is a mandated defense, so for them to learn some new responsibilities in that situation, they’re starting to come together.”
(Contact sports editor Sam Wilson at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @samwils.)