Tonawanda News —
Before the two teams meet on Friday night in the annual T-NT game, the Warriors and the Lumberjacks broke bread together at the annual Tonawanda-North Tonawanda Football Luncheon Tuesday afternoon.
The lunch was held at the Steven Sikora Post in North Tonawanda and was sponsored by the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs of the Tonawandas.
Canisius volleyball coach and 15-year NT resident Cathy Hummel spoke at the luncheon about the importance of academics and performance in the classroom. She grew up around the T-NT rivalry and appreciates its place and impact in the community.
She said that one of the first things she targets when recruiting a player is their ability to excel scholastically.
"There are very few of us that choose to stay in the field of athletics," Hummel said. "There's so many more opportunities out there ... (Sports) will get you where you need to go but it won't keep you there."
Canisius men's soccer coach Dermot McGrane also spoke at the event and talked about his professional soccer career, and the fleeting nature of professional sports even if a person is lucky enough to make it to the pros.
Both teams' head coach stood up and spoke about the tradition and the importance of the T-NT rivalry in the community.
"It's not like this everywhere," said Warriors coach Rob Gross about the relationship between the two schools and communities. "Most schools look at their schedule and randomly pick a game for homecoming ... The T-NT rivalry is important. Be proud of your individual program and the collective tradition of these programs."
Lumberjacks coach Tony Truilizio talked about his excitement and how honored he is to now be a part of the NT community and such a special rivalry.
"It's the most exciting time of my coaching career," he said. "The guys have taught me what they call Lumberjack pride and I think we're moving toward an absolutely wonderful direction."
Former Tonawanda Superintendent Jay Holler was the event's master of ceremony.Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000, ext. 4117.