Brandon Ball, right, will represent Springville in the Kensington Lions Football Classic July 30 at Depew High Schoool. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
Springville’s Brandon Ball will wear a “G” on his football helmet for the last time later this month.
And he’ll be doing it amongst some of the top players in WNY.
Ball, a recent graduate of Springville-GI, has been selected to play in the 39th Annual Kensington Lions Club/Ad Pro High School Football Classic on July 30 at Depew High School. The game marks the final high school football game for WNY seniors before heading off to college.
“It’s always exciting when you can go represent your school in something like this, “Ball said. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have a better season and I don’t have some former teammates out there with me... It’s going to be interesting to see how I measure up against everyone. It’s going to be a lot of fun playing with kids who have consistently dominated this area. I’m looking forward to that.”
This is the third-straight year that a Springville player has been selected to play in the game. Ball joins Troy Studd (‘12), Chris Phinney (‘13) and Tyler Studd (‘13) as South all stars over the last three years.
“It really shows the hard work of our young men and goes to show that we really do have quality football players coming out of Springville, “ Springville coach Rob Valenti said. “More importantly, it highlights and is a nice culmination of a high school football career for Brandon. Brandon has worked incredibly hard over the course of four years to put himself in this position.”
Phinney put on a show last year, earning Defensive MVP honors and making a game-high 14 tackles to lead the South to a 37-21 win.
“It was amazing just to watch Chris do that,” Ball said. “He wasn’t even suppose to start the game, but he found out a couple days before the game that he was starting and he performed like that. That’s all I can hope for.”
The South has 41 players currently on its roster and the North has a roster of 43. Of the 84 players selected, nine were named first team All-WNY and 10 were named second team All-WNY in the fall. Ball will be headed off to Hobart this fall, where he will also play football.
“The game has an incredible amount of talent and unbelievable football players, “ Valenti said. “The majority of the players on those rosters are going on to play football in college at all the various levels or they’re going to play other sports.
They say 5 to 10 percent of high school football players go on to play at the next level, that’s Division-I all the way to Division-III. It’s a very small percentage and Brandon is certainly one of those players. It’s a testament to how hard he’s worked.”
Ball is a two-time B-South first team all star and racked up the awards as a senior last fall. He was named All-Metro Group, Upstate New York Football Weekly third team and was named an All-Western New York honorable mention. He was also the recipient of Springville’s Pop Warner Trophy and a Trench Trophy nominee.
Ball was a two-year, two-way starter for Springville playing defensive end and guard. Ball had 33 tackles and nine sacks as a junior, before racking up 64 tackles and seven sacks as a senior. He’ll play defensive end in the all star game.
“From the get-go, he had the ability and was always sound with his technique,” Valenti said. “He knew his responsibilities and acted like a force to be reckoned with. He didn’t face too many situations where he was outmatched.”
Ball served as one Springville’s captains and led a majority of Springville’s offseason activities. His commitment to the weight room helped him go from a 160-pound freshman to a 240-pound senior. Ball broke school records in the squat (515 pounds) and power clean (245 pounds). His four core lift total of 1510 pounds (squat, power clean, bench press and deadlift) is second-best in school history.
“I think Brandon exuded a quiet confidence about himself that he was going to go in, punch the proverbial clock and put in his time,” Valenti said. “He let his actions speak louder than his words. He wasn’t a vocal, in-your-face type of a captain, but a leader by example.”
Ball begins practice on July 16. Tickets can be purchased in advance from any player that is participating or at the gate.