WNY Athletics

Lancaster Standouts Finish Legendary Run at Lions All-Star High School Football Classic

It’ll be a gathering of the best of the best at the 43rd annual Kensington Lions Club All-Star High School Football Classic on Wednesday. And for some, it’ll be more of the same.

“It’ll be a lot like playing with my high school team,” Lancaster running back Andrew Hersey said, semi-seriously.

Hersey will be joined on the South team by fellow Legends Ben Damiani and Joe Andreessen in the all-star game, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Williamsville South High School. It’ll be the last high school football game for three guys that were mainstays on a Lancaster team that won back-to-back Section VI championships and reached the state championship game for the first time in program history.

“It’ll be cool to play this game with Joe and Benny,” Hersey said as he walked off the South practice field at West Seneca East High School with a group that included his fellow Lancaster grads. “I’ve been playing with them since I was about nine years old so to come out here and be able to play one last football game, in the summer when it’s beautiful out, it’s a blessing.”

Hersey ran for 1,186 yards and 20 touchdowns in his senior season as he took over as Lancaster’s No. 1 back.  Early on in all-star practice, he was a featured running back, meaning he got to face his pals Damiani and Andreessen, who seem primed to see plenty of action at linebacker, a position both excelled at over the last two seasons for the Legends.

“It’s definitely fun playing on defense one last time with Joey,” Damiani said, “and then Hersey’s doing great on offense – I get to pop him a bit in practice – but it’s definitely been fun.”

The three Lancaster stars shared some great memories before heading off to college – Andreessen to Bryant University, Damiani to Brockport State and Hersey to St Bonaventure.

“It’s a good experience,” said Hersey, who will play lacrosse for the Bonnies. “It’s cool to come out here and meet kids from other schools and come out to play one last football game before you go off to college. “It’ll be fun to play with a lot of kids that are at the highest skill level.”

The annual senior all-star game for decades has been a chance for the top seniors to enjoy one last hurrah before moving on to the next chapter. But make no mistake, there’s still plenty of pride at stake.

And for the Lancaster contingent that went 22-2 over the last two seasons, you can bet they’re not just going to show up for the fun of it.

“Honestly, I want to have fun but the main thing is, I want to win,” Damiani said.  

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