Football recruits bring strong Niagara flavour to Marauders

Five Niagara region football player recruits have committed to the McMaster Marauders for the 2010 campaign.

The preliminary commits include offensive lineman Joe Cook, wide receiver Jim Farhat, slot back Jon Quagliariello, linebacker Dylan Roesch-Crane, and running back Gary Spero. They’ll follow in the steps of earlier Niagara recruits including former All-Canadian’s, Andrew Jones (2004), Nate Finlay (2006), Andre Sadeghian (2006), and Chris Van Zeyl (2007). McMaster also has six current players from the Niagara region including 2007 Ontario University Athletics Rookie of the Year, Ryan Chmielewski.

Cook, 6′, 260-pounds, is a formidable figure on the offensive line. The graduate of Lakeshore Catholic High School in Port Colborne was a member of the 2008 Golden Horseshoe Bowl Champions. He started on the offensive and defensive lines and captained his school for three years. Cook was also an Ontario Varsity Football League all-star in 2007 with the Niagara Spears and played for Team Western Ontario in 2006.

Farhat, 6-3, 185 pounds, starred for Westlane Secondary School in Niagara Falls at wide receiver and was the team MVP. He captained the football squad for three years and was named one of the top 10 wide receivers by Weir’s Magazine. In addition to football, Farhat was a two-time basketball MVP at Westlane.

Slotback Quagliariello, 5-10, 180 pounds, was a teammate of Farhat’s at Westlane where he was school athlete of the year. Like Farhat, he wore a “C” for years. And, as a member of the Niagara Spears he led the team in receptions for two years.

Off the playing field he was vice president of Westlane’s student council. Quagliariello also excels at rugby and plays on the “A” side for the Niagara Wasps Rugby Club.

Roesch-Crane, a 6-2, 210-lbs linebacker, was a teammate of Cook at Lakeshore Catholic High School and a member of the 2008 Golden Horseshoe Bowl Champions. He led the team in interceptions and sacks while acting as a captain for three years. Roesch-Crane was also a member of Team Western Ontario in 2006. For five years he was on the Lakeshore Honour Roll. When he wasn’t playing football, Roesch-Crane displayed his athletic abilities at basketball and lacrosse.

Running back Spero played with Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in St. Catharines and was a two-time football MVP. The 6-2, 185-lbs speedster was also a two-time High School Athlete of the Year. He led the Niagara Spears in receiving yards and touchdowns and holds the junior OVFL record for receiving TDs in a game – five. Spero also shone on the basketball court and was twice named MVP at Churchill.

Much of the recruiting success in the Niagara region is due to the efforts of McMaster alumni, Ken Mason who played for the Marauders from 1961 to 1963 under then-head coach Bobby Dawson. Dawson captured two Ontario Intermediate Football Conference (OIFC) championships in 1962 and 1963. His son Chris also played for McMaster from 1991-95 under coaches, Steve Bruno (1991-93) and Al Bruno (1994-95). Chris was named to the McMaster Team of the 1990s in September 2000. Ken is a retired educator who works tirelessly to recruit student-athletes from across Niagara for McMaster University.

McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek lauded Mason’s efforts. “Over the past decade, Ken Mason has worked diligently to expose Niagara area student-athletes to the McMaster experience. He genuinely cares about finding the best possible academic, athletic and social fit for these young men. Our program and our campus have benefited tremendously from the quality people Ken has recruited to McMaster”.

In discussing the 2009 Niagara recruits, Ptaszek said, “We expect this group to have a significant impact on and off the field at McMaster. We cannot wait to work with these young men and watch them develop over the next four to five years.”

McMaster opens Spring training camp today (Tuesday, March 31). Players participating in the camp must be current students at McMaster. Recruits will participate in the Fall Camp, beginning in August.

The Spring camp practices will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday at the Ron Joyce Stadium. On Saturday (April 4), practices are set for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the stadium. The camp will conclude on Sunday morning, 10.30, with a scrimmage at Ron Joyce.