WNY Athletics

Lancaster Wins 100th Anniversary Game Over Rival Depew

A hundred years ago, Lancaster and Depew high schools began playing football – and it’s believed the main reason was to play each other. They’ve done so just about every year since.

They got another chance on Friday night.

With an electric atmosphere, the Legends proved too powerful in the second half and rolled to a 42-3 win over the Wildcats at the Frank Constantino Sports Complex, in front of an overflow crowd on both sides.

“We have such great history with Depew, to beat them is just amazing,” said Lancaster wide receiver Nick Castellana, who had a third-quarter touchdown catch. “It was definitely special to be a part of the 100th anniversary game, it was so much fun.”

The Legends beat Depew for a fifth straight season. Lancaster leads the all-time Great American Rivalry series 53-33-6.

“Beating Depew is always a nice feeling,” said senior Gianluca Fulciniti, who is 3-0 against Depew in football. “It was a very different atmosphere. We were two hours early and we had the whole student section, all dressed in black, here to support us.”

It was also a nice bounce back for the Legends, who dropped a 21-20 heartbreaker to Orchard Park last Friday. It took until the second half on Friday, but the Legends were back to firing on all cylinders in the second half.

“We didn’t play bad against OP. We just turned the ball over too much,” quarterback Jason Mansell said. “We wanted to come out here and play some good football. Still didn’t play well in the first half but we came out firing in the third. We just had to get the ball out quicker and hand the ball off a little more – just let our athletes do what they do.”

Mansell threw three touchdown passes, two to Shawn Davis, and the Legends moved to 5-2 on the season. Fulciniti ran for a touchdown and threw another one to his brother, Dominic, and earned Player of the Game honors.

“A lot – a lot – of guys could have won this,” he said. “I just want to give credit to the line and my brother for making that great catch.”

Depew trailed just 7-3 when Lancaster muffed a punt and the Wildcats recovered at the Legends’ 34. And the Wildcats cashed in with Devin Connolly’s 29-yard field goal.

But Ethan Jurkowski answered by returning the kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead into double-digits to stay.  The Wildcats held their own to halftime, trailing 22-3 but the second half was all Lancaster.

“That kickoff return, if that didn’t happen, we were right in it,” Depew coach Mark DiRienzo said. “We were still in it even with that, but that hurt. In the second half … they’re tough. You take something away they hit you with something else. You can’t keep up with it.”

Lancaster will be the No. 3 seed for the upcoming Class AA playoffs, likely facing Niagara Falls on Friday at Foyle-Kling Field. Barring a major upset, the Legends will travel to Orchard Park for a rematch in the semifinals. Jamestown locked up the top seed with a 16-12 win over OP, dropping the Quakers to No. 2. Had Orchard Park won, Lancaster would have been the second-seed and had two home games before New Era Field.

“Three-seed, two-seed, whoever we play, we just have to win,” Mansell said. “That’s all we’re focused on.”

Elsewhere, Depew (4-3) was eliminated from Class B3 playoff contention on Friday. The Wildcats needed Lackawanna to beat Olean by at least 15 points. The Huskies won the game outright, 17-7.

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