PUNXSUTAWNEY — Most graduating seniors played their final football game as a representative of the Chucks last November, but three of those now-graduated seniors have been chosen to represent Punxsutawney in the 27th-annual Lezzer Lumber Football Classic, which will take place at 7 p.m. Friday at Bald Eagle Area Alumni Field in Wingate.
Punxsutawney offensive/defensive lineman Devon Luzell, who will play college football for Mercyhurst College in the fall, will be joined by wide receiver/defensive back Zak Dickey in the Classic. Ben Blazavich, who played a variety of positions for the Chucks last year on both sides of the ball, was also selected, but is unable to play due to another commitment.
Luzell and Dickey will join several other players, many of whom they were matched up against as rivals this past year, to form the North team, which is seeking its third straight victory in the Classic.
"I was able to talk to both of the young men yesterday, and they're really excited about the chance to put the pads back on," Punxsy head football coach Alan Nichol said Wednesday. "I know they're both leaders, and among a bunch of other guys who are All-Stars, it makes me feel a lot of pride for what they're accomplishing for our town, in representing Punxsy."
Luzell, an all-conference selection on both sides of the ball, will play guard in the Classic. He may see some time on the defensive side, as well.
"Devon is very aggressive, and he loves the game," Nichol said. "He'll show a great deal of concentration, which is what you need to do in an All-Star game, because you have such a short time to prepare."
Nichol also pointed out that Luzell would be eager to suit up for any football action, saying that, "Devon would be ready to play on Christmas morning if you called him."
Dickey will be playing cornerback in the All-Star game, a position where he has displayed great skill for the Chucks. He had three interceptions for Punxsy last year.
Dickey, who had impressive numbers both offensively and defensively, also shined in special teams by returning kickoffs and punts. Dickey averaged 16 yards per punt return and 32.75 yards per kick return during the 2010-11 season.
"We're hoping that he gets a chance to return some punts, because he did a fantastic job for us there this season, as well," Nichol said about Dickey. "Zak's looking forward to the game, and he'll do very well because of his quickness."
With the former Chucks participating in the Lezzer Lumber Classic, the community receives a bit of a reminder that football season is not as far away as it may seem. In just a few short months, the Chucks will be starting two-a-days, and for fans, the season will be starting before they know it.
"The community has shown great support for these guys," Nichol said referring to Luzell, Dickey and Blazavich. "I appreciate the members of the community being so supportive."
The Classic will be Dickey's last opportunity to suit up, as he does not plan to play college football, making this game the final opportunity for fans to see him play. Luzell will be back in the midst of two-a-days himself soon, when the Mercyhurst Lakers begin their football camp this summer.