In recent years it has usually been good news when the Gryphons announce recruits from the Niagara Region. Gryphon alumnus and volunteer coach John Casasanta has done a great job of identifying players with talent, whether they have big football reputations or not. It doesn’t hurt that Dir. of Recruiting Bill Brown is a native of Niagara Falls and well connected in the Niagara football community. Provincial Recruiting Director Mark Antonelli also teaches in the Niagara region. Last month two more players from the Denis Morris Redmen and a member of the St Francis Phoenix commited to the Gryphons.
Aaron Dekker is a 6’1″ 230lb fullback & defensive lineman from DM (#39 in red). He was recently named the team’s MVP. Dekker has also played for the OVFL Niagara Spears. In 2010 he was a DL with the varsity Spears. This season they are using him at FB. The Gryphons also list him as a FB.
His DM Redmen linemate Brenden Johnson will be joining him in Guelph. Johnson, at 6’3″ 270lb, defensive tackle was the team’s defensive Player-of-Year. Though Johnson has played football throughout high school and was a team captain, until recently it wasn’t his prime focus. Johnson is an excellent lacrosse and hockey player. This athletic big man is currently playing Jr B lacrosse for the St. Catharines Thunderhawks. He was a member of Denis Morris’ OFSAA gold medal winning hockey team in 2010.
Across town at St Francis Brian Schenck was excelling in three sports – football, hockey and rowing. It’s rowing that has his full attention this week. Yesterday Schenck won a gold medal at the Canadian ‘Schoolboys’ Regatta. He was part of a bronze medal crew just two days earlier. These aren’t Schenck’s first medals at Canada’s top high school rowing event – he also won gold in 2009. As a hockey player Schenck was selected to the Niagara North high school Allstar team. A 5’10” 175lb defensive back, Schenck was a solid performer for the gridiron Phoenix. But even in a game where he had an interception, a sack and “several bone-jarring hits” his teammate and fellow Gryphon commit Alex Charette stole the headlines – Alex the Great sparks Phoenix.