Each year, football fans around Western New York witness some of the best rivalries in the state. However, one of the very best comes in the form of a summer game that pits the best of the best from the Southern Tier of New York against the studs from the northern Pennsylvania area. This game sees thousands of fans each year; the festivities also include a parade and a tailgate party in the parking lot of Bradford (PA) High School. Unfortunately, that game has been put to a rest for 2020 due to the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Salamanca Football Head Coach Chad Bartoszek put it best in a recent email stating “The Big 30 Football All-Star game is a southern tier staple that has provided our senior athletes one last opportunity to put the pads on and represent their school and also their state. Throughout the process of meetings, pictures, practices, parade, and the big game, the players build lifelong relationships with players they may have never met before. All of this while raising money for charitable causes throughout the Big 30 area. This is truly a unique and exciting experience for our athletes, and it is unfortunate to see the 2020 game has been cancelled.”
Bartoszek is not the only one who feels this grave sense of disappointment in the cancellation of this battle. For the first time in recent memory, a slew of schools were set to have four or more players on the roster. Several of those schools came on the NY roster. One of those schools was Allegany-Limestone who took to their social media to express their thoughts and pride. A June 30 tweet from @ALGatorsFB stated “We are disheartened to announce that the Big 30 Charity football game has been cancelled for this August. We would like to thank seniors Logan Klice, Dan Stayer, Thomas Callen, Ben Giardini, and John Giardini for their dedication to our program over the last 4 years. We were looking forward to watching you all strap on the green helmets one last time, although that is not able to happen, know and remember that you have all left a lasting legacy on our program. Good luck in all future endeavors and as always, Go Gators.”
Although we understand that public health is more important than sports, it is creating challenges for administrators across the region. A-L Athletic Director Jon Luce wrote in an email “It’s unfortunate that the players and coaches who were looking forward to participating are no longer able to do so. These summer games were a good transition of the summer seasons ending and the fall seasons getting ready to be underway, but the sports programs in the last several months and the months still to come has never looked so different. The fields are ready, but the coaches and players are not able to use them. Our fingers are crossed that we can resume our programs soon.”