Tonawanda News — Tonawanda pride
In the early days of the rivalry, T-NT games were played on Thanksgiving, but because of the obvious scheduling problems, that tradition ended after the 1942 game. Tonawanda was victorious, 7-0.
After a tough stretch over the next two decades for the Warriors, the 1962 season was one for the ages. Rick Cassata was the team’s quarterback and according to Holloway — the best signal caller in school history, Cassata said. He went on to play at Syracuse University and then in the Canadian Football League. He won a Grey Cup as a member of the Ottawa Roughriders.
“In the ‘62 game, both Tonawanda and NT were undefeated. It was snowing hard that day and by the time we got to Clint Small Stadium there was a foot of snow on the ground,” Holloway said. “Every five yards they shoveled the markers.
“We were offensive juggernauts that day,” Holloway said jokingly. “We couldn’t throw the ball and the ends couldn’t run through the snow. We got beat 13-7. It was an exciting game that came down to the wire and we almost won on a late touchdown, but a runner was ruled down at the one yard line on fourth down.”
After Cassata graduated, the Warriors struggled for years in the series. In fact, over the course of the next three decades, they only topped NT eight times out of 34 games.
It’s been 12 years since the Warriors beat NT in the annual tilt. The 2000 game was special for many reasons, but mostly because it was a comeback win. It all went down at Clinton Small Stadium.
“Randy White was quarterback and Ryan Smith was the outstanding running back,” Holloway said. “The game started off and we were down 21-0. Late in the first half White threw a pass to Smith and we got on the board just before the half. The second half, we shut them down. They didn’t score. We won that one 24-21.”