After a one-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kensington Lions All-Star Football Classic is set to return later this month.
ADPRO Sports presents the 45th edition of the football game that features recently graduated high school seniors from throughout Western New York. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. July 28 at Williamsville South High School.
Players will be split geographically on North and South rosters. Paul Burgio of Clarence will coach the North, with longtime Cleveland Hill skipper Glen Graham taking the reins to coach the South all-stars.
Advance tickets can be purchased through participating players and coaches for $10, or on game day at the gate for $15. Children under-12 cost $5. As per tradition, proceeds from the game will go to various charities, including Kids Escaping Drugs.
Outdoor social distancing rules in place on game day will be the policy followed by the Lions.
“I think it’s a great thing for those kids to finally get to play in front of a crowd,” Burgio said. “I think that’s what they’re going to be excited about.”
Game Chairman Len Thornton said: “The kids had a rough season. They didn’t play football in the fall. Then they had Fall 2 and that short season was marred by postponements. We’re trying to bring back some normalcy to high school football in Western New York. Hopefully, this game and the fall sports season we’ll be back to normal.”
Teams will start practicing for the contest July 21. To ensure that the game goes off without a hitch, organizers have required coaches and players to be vaccinated.
“We don’t want to have to do all of this work and have it get shut down the night before the game,” Burgio said.
Among the players expected to participate include Dick Gallagher Buffalo News Player of the Year Keith Jackson of South Park, along with his teammate and Robert Morris University signee Marqwan Fluitt. Others invited to participate in the game include Aidan Dempsey of Orchard Park, Wisken Whited of Canisius and Mekhi Bridgers of Western New York Maritime/Health Sciences.