Tonawanda News — Mike Miranto was born into the T-NT tradition. Before he ever put on a pair of shoulder pads or looked across the field at his Tonawanda opponents, his parents started to prepare him for what the T-NT rivalry is all about.
“I was born and raised in North Tonawanda. I can remember going to Vetter Stadium when it was behind Lowry Middle School — being there, all bundled up when I was 6 years old, watching guys like Treyvor Zayatz,” Miranto said. “Then later down the line he ended up being one of our coaches and he’s a guy I still enjoy seeing. I think that feeds into the whole mystique of the thing — just the way we’re brought up and how (the rivalry) is explained to us.”
Miranto, now associate head coach of the men’s basketball team at Daemen College, played in three T-NT games and was part of the last Lumberjacks squad to lose to Tonawanda back in 2000.
The streak has stretched to 13 years after a close 17-14 win by NT last season, but the tides are starting to turn. Miranto said that he and his teammates will gladly bear the cross of the last T-NT loss for the Jacks if they never lose again to Tonawanda.
“I was on the last team that lost to Tonawanda. That’s something that stings for me and the guys I played with on that team to this day,” he said. “But that’s a burden we’ll gladly carry if it means we never have to lose to them again.”
But something different is happening on Fletcher Street these days. The Tonawanda football program seems to have found new life and despite 13 straight losses, the school, players and the community are starting to believe the Warriors could win.