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First day of practice: North Tonawanda

New North Tonawanda football coach Tony Truilizio knows he’s inheriting a program rich with tradition. While every coach brings his own style to the locker room, Truilizio wants to give the players a mix of what’s made the Lumberjacks successful in past with an added dose of what he brings to the team. 

From an on-field standpoint for the players, that’s meant they haven’t had to encounter too drastic of a change from the systems they were used to running.

Truilizio says much of the option offense and defensive packages at North Tonawanda are similar to what he ran while coaching at Riverside.

“We’re bringing a different variation to it is the best way to put it,” Truilizio said. “We’re going to expand on what they’ve done. In simplest terms, [NT] had a better option program than we did, we had a better defensive program.”

The Jacks’ quarterback this year will be Chris Woodard, a 6-foot-4 sophomore. He’s a returner to the varsity program who admits “it’s a little nerve-wracking” to be a varsity starter, but it's something the NT native has been preparing for his whole life.

“I remember going to games as a little kid and thinking, ‘Someday I’ll be out there.’ And I finally am,” Woodard said. “I was at the state championship game (in 2009, which NT won) and it was a really good experience and you want to repeat that and keep up the tradition.”

Woodard made special mention of senior middle linebacker Tyler Durham, who’s been in his face during voluntary workouts all spring.

“He’s been up there, he’s been getting interceptions, he’s been all over the field,” Woodard said.

North Tonawanda opens the season at home on Aug. 31 against Sweet Home.

---Nick Veronica

Twitter: @NickVeronica


Football | North Tonawanda
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |