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Weir recalled as one of Salamanca’s great linemen

Back when underclassmen typically had to wait their turn, there was no keeping John Weir on the bench.

Weir was a three-year varsity football starter for the Salamanca Warriors football program, from 1971-73. A captain for coach Joe Sanfilippo’s last team at Salamanca and a dominant lineman, Weir was a part of successful teams, winning league championships all three years.

Salamanca went undefeated in 1971, 8-0, then 6-2 in 1972 and 6-1-1 in 1973. The Warriors’ only losses in that span (7-6 to Southwestern and 6-0 to Kane in ‘72, 6-0 to East Aurora in ‘73) were all one-score games.

Following his high school career, Weir played in the first-ever Big 30 All-Star Game in the summer of 1974. He had scholarship offers from Michigan, Northwestern and Penn State.

Salamanca co-captain John Weir stands in the middle of this 1973 file photo. From left, assistant coaches Robert Nugent and George Whitcher, Weir, co-captain Mark Sartori and head coach Joe Sanfilippo pose for the preseason photo.

Weir died last week, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at age 64. His obituary is included in this week’s Salamanca Press (see page A3).

Salamanca native Brad Weitzel, two years younger than Weir, noted that “whenever we needed crucial yardage in a game we ran behind John Weir.”

Weitzel sent along the following passage from his book on Salamanca football history:

“This guy was always big. The first time I ever come across John was behind Jefferson School at Sabers football practice. I was just beginning my football career and there was this giant out on the field. It was John Weir as a 10 year old. He had to go over 200 pounds then. He was not allowed to play in a game because he was well over the weight limit but it did not stop him from killing the rest of us little kids who had to practice with him. He was the dreaded giant during those years.