What is it about the Kensington Lions All-Star High School Football Classic and comebacks?
For the second straight year, the South team's quarterback will be coming off a season-ending injury to play in the annual showcase of recently graduated Western New York football talent.
Kyle Shevlin's season ended in Iroquois' Section VI Class A title game last November at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Although his team went on to beat Sweet Home, 53-14, Shevlin was carried off the field on a stretcher after just the sixth play of the game. He suffered fractured tibia and fibula bones in his right leg.
When the Lions game kicks off Wednesday (7 p.m., North Tonawanda High School, WXRL 1300-AM) for the 32nd year, Shevlin will be one of three quarterbacks in uniform for the South all-stars.
Last year quarterback Garrett Kensey from Maryvale High School was in a similar position.
"The fact that Kyle had a devastating injury at the end of the year and is able to come back is a tribute to his toughness," said South head coach Jim Maurino of West Seneca East. "It's kind of interesting that the quarterback we had last year, Garrett, had a similar situation. It's neat that that situation happened two years in a row."
The game pits 80 of the best players from Western New York for one last time before they head off to their respective colleges. Any player who is selected for the All-Western New York team is an automatic selection for the All-Star Classic. The remaining roster slots are filled by area coaches.
The selection process is tough when there is a talented class of graduating seniors, which is common.
"It's a difficult process because if you have 25 great running backs, you're only going to select three because only three will play and the roster only has 40 spots," said Milt Dickerson, game chairman. "What happens from time to time is you'll have a player that's a legitimate player but there's somebody in front of them that's just a little bit better."
It's that depth of talent that makes the All-Star Classic such a good exhibition of the high school football talent coming out of this area.
"It's an honor to coach this team," said North coach Kraig Kurzanski of Williamsville South. "It's a way to give back to the game a little bit but really I enjoy working with young people and to coach the best of the best is an opportunity I wouldn't pass up."
Proceeds from the game will go to the Kids Escaping Drugs organization. Over the last six years, the Lions have donated $55,000 to Kids Escaping Drugs.