Jhamal Fluellen knows he has a lot of football left to play, but he also knows that very little of that will come with him on the offensive side of the ball.
That's what makes Wednesday's Kensington Lions All-Star Classic at Lancaster High School so meaningful to him. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Fluellen will become a defensive back at Syracuse, so he knows that this may be it for offense.
"I'm going to try to get as many touches as I can on the offensive side of things," said Fluellen, who racked up 3,591 career rushing yards at Lockport. "It's probably going to be my last time, so I've got to make the most of it."
Fluellen won't be heading to Syracuse until January as he tries to meet academic requirements, but hopes he can begin working out with the team during its spring drills in 2005.
"I think Syracuse will be a great fit for me," said Fluellen. "There is an opportunity for me to earn playing time as a defensive back.
"But the key for me was that Coach (Paul) Pasqualoni was a real down-to-earth guy. He assured me that they would take care of me no matter what goes on."
By taking care of him, Syracuse has assured Fluellen that it will stick with him even if he has to go to prep school or play two years at a junior college.
Fluellen's North team for the Classic is stocked with talent. In fact, two of his teammates -- Derek Kinder and Brett Kern -- are also heading to Division I-A football programs on scholarship.
Albion's Kinder, who is headed to Pittsburgh, may not play Wednesday due to a dislocated left thumb. It will be a game-time decision according to North coach Mike Finn (Lockport).
But Kern, who is headed to Toledo on a full ride, will have his powerful right foot on display. And even though the Classic's stage might seem large, it really does not compare to what the Grand Island graduate will see in a little over a month.
Toledo opens the season at Minnesota in the Metrodome -- a contest that will be nationally televised on ESPN2. Kern is expected to get the nod as the Rockets' punter.
"The coaching staff has told me to get prepared mentally and physically to start the first," said Kern. "It's certainly a jump from having 300 people at high school games to being on national television in front of who knows how many people."
But for Kern, it is pressure that he welcomes with open arms.
"I've kind of always just been thought of as the punter," said Kern, who averaged 39.1 yards per punt last season. "It's nice to be able to get my name out there and have people realize who I am. I think people take special teams for granted, but maybe now with a punter coming out of this area some people will take notice."
BOTH FINN AND SOUTH COACH STEVE GRIFFIN (MARYVALE) FACE THE CHALLENGE OF GETTING THEIR PLAYERS RELATIVELY EQUAL AMOUNTS OF TIME ON THE FIELD. EACH ROSTER IS FILLED WITH SEVEN OR EIGHT RUNNING BACKS, FOR EXAMPLE, MEANING SOME PLAYERS WILL HAVE TO SACRIFICE OFFENSIVE PLAYING TIME AND APPEAR SOLELY ON DEFENSE.
"The biggest difference is that these guys are always used to being the stars," said Finn. "But obviously in this case, some of them just become role players, helping out in different ways to better the team."
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Lancaster. The school is located at 1 Forton Drive, about one mile northeast of the Transit Road-Walden Ave. intersection.
Tickets can be purchased at Tops, the Buffalo Bills' ticket office or from any of the players or coaches involved in the game. Prices are $6 for adults and $2 for children 12-and-under.
Kensington Lions All-Star Classic
Wednesday, 7 p.m., Lancaster High School, Radio 1440 AM
1 Ron KeelsRB-CBO'Hara
2 Mike BlochoRB-FSGrand Island
4 Derek KinderWRAlbion
5 Darrius ConnerRB-DBBurgard
7 Sal GandolfoWR-CB Canisius
9 Scott MirantoSS-WRNo. Tona.
10 Brett KernPGrand Island
12 Kevin EickQBMedina
13 Nick DuchshererWR-DB Lew-Port
14 Alex SmithQBNia.-Wheat.
16 Justin MoscatiQB DBWmsv. East
21 Mike DavisWR-DB Wmsv. South
22 W. FernandezRB-DBSweet Home
23 Chichi IbegbuTB-DBWmsv. North
26 Tom CoveyFBLockport
28 B. DelleboviWRSweet Home
32 Jhamal FluellenRB-CBLockport
34 A. MorrealeRB-LBLew-Port
39 Alex PalumboDELew-Port
40 Ricky WinstonRB-LBBennett
54 David WinquistOL-DEWilson
56 Matt TarasekOL-LBHutch-Tech
60 John MasichOL-DLTonawanda
61 Russ NixonOL-DLNiag.-Cath.
62 Brian WetzlerOG-DT Wmsv. North
63 Alex HaneyOL-DLLockport
66 Nick GroffDERoy-Hart
67 Jared AllenOG-OTMedina
70 J. ChambersCLockport
71 Mike McGuireOL-DEWmsv. North
73 Bill EadieOL-DLKen. West
75 Jason BaehrC-DTAkron
77 Andrew DaneOL-DLNiagara Falls
78 Brandon RandleOL-DTBurgard
80 Jacob LewWRAmherst
82 V. SandonatoTE-LBNiagara Falls
89 Paul CaughellTENiagara Falls
90 Jeff PecoraroFBWmsv. South
2 Adam Hyde RB-LB W. Sen. East
3 Michael MooreQB-CBCleve. Hill
4 Dan Aquilio QBDepew
5 Peter Nguyen QB-S South Park
6 J. CunninghamWR-DBIroquois
7 Nick CasilloWR-LBSt. Mary's
8 M. O'ConnorTE-DESt. Mary's
9 P. RaimondoRB-DBSt. Francis
10 Steve StepnickQB-CBIroquois
11 Craig LieblerLBEden
19 Jeff RowleyRB-LBW. Sen. West
20 Tim HallRB-DBDepew
23 Matt BenninkDBClymer
25 Dustin BowserRBS'western
27 Cody WilliamsRB-CBOP
28 John JacksonWR-DBW. Sen. West
29 Andrew BaroneLBFrontier
32 Kurt RoutelleFBFrewsburg
33 Larry WilliamsNG-FBLafayette
35 Bob VesonaFBDepew
41 Jason CaselTE-DES'western
44 Mike EnochFB-DEFredonia
47 J. RammacherLBLake Shore
50 Gary CoughlinOL-DLTmn/S.J.
51 Garvie FreemanOL-DESP/CH
52 Matt RamseyCLake Shore
53 Kevin ThieOLSt. Francis
54 Nick HardingLBLackawanna
57 Ty HarperOL-LBFredonia
61 J. LivingstonOL-DLEden
64 Jake KellerOT-DTEden
70 Justin GrinerOL-DLJFK
72 Ryan AmosOL-DECleve. Hill
75 Mike StrycharzOLSt. Francis
78 Dave DixOL-DLHamburg
80 Mike MoranTE-DELancaster
84 Matt GrahamTE-LBOP
87 Jim SholleyWRJFK