Lancer Legends Turkey Bowl

The fifth annual Lancer Legends game may be best remembered as the frozen Turkey Bowl. Game time temperatures on Thanksgiving morning at Gilmour Academy were in the low 20s, but that didn’t stop a committed group of former Lancer gridiron greats from revisiting their past glories at Weber Stadium. The All Star list was led by Legendary Coach Vern Weber, accompanied by Terry Weber ‘76, quarterback for some very good Lancer teams in the mid-70s. Coach Bob Spicer, the man who put together the great teams of the 2000s era, was on hand to provide opening remarks and lead the teams in prayer. There was strong representation from the classes of 2013 and 2014 on the field and their own legendary coach, Shawn Dodd, was there with assistants Joe Iveljic, Don Herbe ’96 and Cam Carmen ’11 to greet those alums along with many of the 2016-19 grads that he introduced to the school.

Tricia Maisano ’06 and Alison Nicely came out to greet the attendees and coordinate their registration. As the coaches and players began streaming in, Lynn Berzin offered hand warmers, coffee and hot chocolate from event sponsor Power Built Construction, courtesy of Parker Berzin ‘14. The bone-chilling temperatures made the hot beverages popular as the players separated into even and odd grad years for team and jersey assignments. The blue jerseys were worn this year by the even classes, while the grays were assigned to the guys with odd graduation years.

Before referee Joe Muscatello marched the ball out to midfield for the coin flip, PJ Volpe ’14 and Dominic Maisano Prince shoveled snow off of the line markers on the field.  After Steve Sommer ’18 won the flip for the even team, Pat Mohorcic ’14 took the ball for the blues to start the game. Pat’s dad, Tom Mohorcic, stood proudly on the sidelines as his son fired a bullet downfield to teammate Chuckie Gallo ’14. On the ensuing series, Class of 2017’s Spencer Cira’s pass to Chris Sommer ’15  was tipped by John Robida ‘18 into Chuckie Gallo’s waiting arms. Chuckie evaded Benoit Mapango ’13 and Jonny Abrams ’17 as he juked his way downfield for a quick pick-six. Nate Sudberry ’17 took over under center and countered quickly with a TD pass to Kevin Sonnhalter ‘13, with mom Annette Sudberry cheering her approval from the sidelines. A diving stop by Michael Cerer ‘19 kept Andrew Sieminski ’18 from the end zone and the gray team took over, looking to get back to even. Lucas Perram knotted the score on a nice catch in the end zone, thrown by Sudberry. Dad Greg Perram applauded enthusiastically. After a Mohorcic to Joe Cerer ‘14 TD, teammates from the Class of 2019’s record-setting team showed off a bit of what got this year’s Lancers all the headlines. Michael Halloran ‘19 took a pitch from Armand DiPuccio '19, who then lofted a TD pass into the outstretched arms of 6’6” Michael Cerer ‘19. 2014’s Paul Piazza soaring attempt to knock it away came up short, and the game remained tied at 21. The other DiPuccios, Dominic ’14 and Matt ‘18, paired up on a nifty pitch and run to retake the lead. Their parents, Dominic ’84 and Julie cheered them on with the family dog Charlie barking approval. The Gray squad continued its assault through the air, ringing up its next score on a flea-flicker from Nate Sudberry ‘17 to Dominic Prince. After that excitement, the Brothers Grk took over. First, Frankie Grk ‘14 hauled in a long pass from Nick Sommer ’12. Gray failed to score on its next possession, setting the stage for the class of 2018’s Mario Grk’s heroics. PJ Volpe ‘14 took the snap, looked left and fired right into the waiting arms of Parker Berzin ’14, who lumbered downfield headed for another Blue touchdown. Five yards from pay dirt, Kevin Sonnhalter knocked the ball free from Berzin’s frigid fingers. The frozen turf caused the ball to bounce high up into Mario Grk’s soft hands and he glided into the end zone on the game’s final play. The Grk’s personal cheerleader, Maria Gilfillan, along with parents Frank and Lisa cheered Blue’s victory.
While the players huddled around the portable heaters on the sidelines, they voted on their team’s Most Valuable Player. Each team chose a player who made the biggest impact on the game, awarding Chuckie Gallo’14 and Nate Sudberry ’17 the respective titles. This year, the MVPs were honored with a personalized copy of Coach Vern Weber’s autobiography, presented by the father of Gilmour football himself!  During the presentation, Coach Weber mused about Chuckie’s dad’s performance near the end of the 1980 football season.  A thrilling 90-yard kickoff return by Chuck Gallo ’81 as time expired gave his team a big win and Coach Weber carried him off the field.

The much-anticipated reunion of announcing team Vic Gideon and John Abrams was derailed by an uncooperative stadium broadcast system. It was unclear if antiquated audio components or arctic conditions led to the failure, but we look forward to next year’s Lancer Legends game to hear their witty commentary. While that proved to be a disappointment, the rekindled camaraderie occasioned by this popular event was one of the things attendees could be thankful for on this cold Thanksgiving morning. All involved had a great time and look forward to the 6th annual Lancer Legends Turkey Bowl in 2019!

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