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50 years of All-WNY selections

The first All-Western New York team looked a lot different than the 50th, which will be published Dec. 1.

The initial team published by the Courier-Express consisted of 11 players for the first 13 years it was picked. The early teams included two-way "ends," "tackles" and "backs" rather than the specified positions we're used to today.

In 1971, the All-WNY team grew to a 22-man squad split into offensive and defensive units. The Courier (which closed in 1982) and Buffalo News picked separate teams from 1975 to 1981. Punters and kickers made their debuts in 1978. It became a 24-man team from 1982 to 1993, and the roster has been capped at 25 since 1994.

Here are some more names, numbers and highlights through the years:

All-Western New York selections: 1,173.

From Section VI and other public schools: 874 (74.5 percent).

From Monsignor Martin schools (past and present): 224 (19.1 percent).

From Harvard Cup schools: 75 (6.4 percent).

Total Courier-Express picks: 393.

Total News picks: 780.

Courier-Express picks from 1958-74: 231 over 17 years.

Combined picks from Courier and News from 1975-81: 328 over seven years.

News picks from 1982-2006: 614 over 25 years.


Three-time first-teamers

There is a six-way tie for the most appearances on the All-WNY first team (3):

Shawn Bowman, Jamestown OL, '86-88

Ray Braxton, Lackawanna RB, '85-87

Wade Turner, Lackawanna RB, '96-98

Jeff Wolf, Williamsville East TE/UTL, '99-'01

Jehuu Caulcrick, Clymer RB, '99, '01-02

Kyle Shevlin, Iroquois K, '04-06


>Players from A to Z

Scott Ackerman (West Seneca East, '81) to Eric Zorich (North Tonawanda, '00)


>Most common last name

Smith (12 times among nine players): Randy (Lockport RB, '89, '90), Chris (St. Francis OL, '03, '04), Trait (Lockport DE, '81 CE, '81 BEN), Peter (Albion QB, '97), Steve (Kenmore East OL, '00), Sergio (McKinley LB, '06), Dave (Niagara Falls HB, '66), Clayton (Niagara-Wheatfield OL, '98), Kyle (St. Francis WR, '01).


>Longest last name

Phoutha Okhamvilaysack, Pioneer UTL, '95 (14 letters)


>Toughest name to spell

See above.


>All shapes and sizes

Shortest: 5-foot-2 -- Julio Fuentes, Olean UTL, '04.

Tallest: 6-foot-7 -- Charlie Comerford, Bishop Timon-St. Jude DL, '00; Josh Thomas, Orchard Park DL, '98; Doug Worthington, St. Francis DL, '04.

Heaviest: 334 pounds -- Eric Laurienzo, Lancaster OL, '94.

Lightest: 140 pounds -- P.J. Harris, Lockport DB, '04.


>Blasts from the past

Schools that have closed, merged or are no longer part of WNY leagues: Baker-Victory, Batavia, Corfu, DeSales, Dougherty, Duffy, Fallon, Gibbons, Kensington, LaSalle, Mindszenty, Neumann, Batavia Notre Dame, Ryan, Seneca, Trott, Wellsville.


>Still on the field

Current head coaches: Steve Griffin, Lancaster LB, '78 (Maryvale); Eric Jantzi, Springville LB, '86 (North Tonawanda); Kraig Kurzanski, Canisius C, '83 (Williamsville South); Joe Marvin, Williamsville South, OL '94 (Springville); Sam Restivo, Jamestown LB, '79 (Jamestown); Dean Santorio, Grand Island QB, '85 (Grand Island).

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