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Depew football's season of change still yields semifinal berth

Junior Anthony Buono stepped in at the starting quarterback position for Depew, which finished as a Class B semifinalist, losing only to Alden twice this season. (Photo by Joe Valenti)

It was a season of change for the Depew High School football team. A new coach and a lot of new leaders stepped to the forefront for the Wildcats as they battled in Class B.

One thing that didn’t change was the success. Depew remained among the elite small school programs in Western New York.

Ultimately, the Wildcats couldn’t get past rival Alden. The Bulldogs beat Depew in the regular season to claim the Class B East championship and again in the Section VI semifinals en route to a third straight sectional crown.

But that can’t take away from another fine season for Depew.

“Our kids gave it everything they possibly could,” Depew coach Brian Wilson said. “It’s not the outcome we wanted, but they had a heck of a season. I’m proud of all of them.”

Over the last two seasons, Depew has lost four tightly-contested battled with Alden and gone 15-0 against everyone else. That includes back-to-back wins over Lancaster — pushing its winning streak to three in the big rivalry game.

Heading into the season, Depew was forced to replace the likes of lineman Jaden Cotton — who’s now at the University at Buffalo, and three-year starting quarterback Aaron Ertel.

But this year’s team also featured some strong senior leadership from a solid senior class, led by running back/defensive back Brian Rybak and linemen Robert Buono and Sam Roger.

“I’m proud of all our seniors,” Wilson said. “The leadership they gave us and the way they hung together, it was just a great thing.”

Underclassmen were also a major part of Depew’s success this season and that’s great news for 2013 and beyond.

Junior quarterback Anthony Buono stepped in for Ertel and had a fine season, sophomore running back Rodney Turner remains one of the area’s best, junior wide receiver linebacker Derrick Sekuterski and junior linemen Mike Lamb, Dylan Grant and Steve Kasprzak also had big seasons.

There’s more coming in the way of productive players. Depew’s junior varsity team finished 8-1, the lone loss coming to undefeated Sweet Home.

“We’ve got a lot of guys coming back and we’ve had a great JV season, too,” Wilson said. “We’re looking forward to the future, for sure.

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