JHS Athletic HOF unveils 2019 class

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Remember Donald Jackson or Stephen Banspach? How about Erin Rocchio or Louise Amore?

They are among a dozen plus and former prolific Panthers who have earned election and will be inducted into the prestigious Johnston High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Sunday, Oct. 27 inside the Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium.

Those four former Panthers, who so proudly wore the Columbia Blue and White, are also shining examples of the many talented athletes that have made up Johnston High School’s storied sports success that dates back to 1963.

Johnston High School, people from Woonsocket to Westerly will concur, has always been known as the small suburban school that year-in and year-out has produced some of Rhode Island’s all-time best schoolboy and schoolgirl athletes.

“Like always, there is a lot of talent in the names featured in this year’s Class of 2019,” James “Jim” Hopkins, a former JHS teacher/coach who chairs the Athletic Hall of Fame committee, offered. “We are excited about each and every selection and looking forward to one of the largest induction ceremonies we’ve ever had.”

In keeping with tradition, the JHS Athletic Hall of Fame induction will again be a two-fold event.

“We’ll continue the tradition our late founder and friend Gary Mazzie started,” Hopkins said, his voice cracking with emotion as he remembered his long-time friend and former coaching colleague. “The induction will take lace in the school gymnasium then it’s off to Cranston Country Club for the dinner.”

The inductions will begin at 2 p.m. on Oct. 27 with the dinner scheduled to start at 4 p.m.. Tickets are $35 per person and are available on-line at jhshalloffame@gmail.com.

Thus, the Hall of Fame Class of 2019 has four women – Allegra DeLuca, Jessica Saccoccio, Erin Rocchio and Louise Amore – who all helped JHS earn the reputation of always having top-flight girls’ softball squads.

Hopkins also announced that eight men – Donald Jackson, Stephen Banspach, William Hawkins, Evan Hopson, Brendan Pappas, Joseph Scotti, Jason Simoneau and Adam Seaburg – who distinguished the Panthers in a number of sports will be honored for their many outstanding contribution in sports during their respective days at JHS.

Likewise, the star-studded 1995 Panthers baseball team which was bolstered by All-Staters and All-Division standouts and coached by Joe Acciardo and Assistant Coach Dino Campopiano, will be inducted into the Athletic Hall of fame as a team.

Here is a look at the class of 2019:

ALLEGRA DELUCA (’01): Allegra was a multi-talented player achieving All-League in soccer, basketball and soccer. She was a 2000 Class C first team selection in soccer and first team All-Division in basketball and softball. She helped the Panthers win the 1998 Division 2 championship. She was achieved All-League first team in basketball and softball and the Panthers win the 1998 Division 2 championship.

JESSICA ROCCHIIO (’05): Jessica was a star on the softball team and was a first team All-Division 3 player in her junior and senior years. She led the Panthers to back-to-back Division 3 North championships and also earned All-league honors in soccer for three years.

ERIN ROCHIO (’80): Erin was an outstanding softball player and made first team All-Western Division in 1979 and 1980. She was selected a second team All-Western player as sophomore.

LOUISE AMORE (’84): Louise was a two-time All-Western Division first team selection for the Panthers softball teams of 1983 and 1984.

DONALD JACKSON (’64): Donald was the first football Panther to be selected first team All-Division and achieved that honor in 1963 when he was voted All-Western Division First Team for his prowess as a linebacker.

STEPHEN BANSPACH (’71): Stephen was the first Panther to win multiple events in an outdoor Class C Championships, wining both the 1971 low hurdles and the long jump. He was also voted first team All-Class C.

WILLIAM HAWKINS (’00): Bill was another Panther in the long line of outstanding JHS baseball players and was selected a three-year All-First Team Division Class B Central as a third baseman. He was named MVP of the division in 1998 and 1999 and League MVP in 2000.

EVAN HOPSON (’13): Evan was a 2012 All-State selection as a punter and was also a three-year All-Class C First Team selection leading the Panthers to two Class C North Championship. He was All-State in 2012 and landed All-League baseball honors for three straight seasons.

BRENDAN PAPPAS (’13): Brendan was a second team All-State selection as a linebacker for the Panthers and also landed All-Division honors as a junior and senior as a linebacker.

JOSEPH SCOTTI (’02): Joseph was an All-League punter in both his junior and senior years. He also landed first team Division 2 North honors as well as a third team selection as a junior for the Panthers basketball team.

JASON SIMONEAU (’95): Jason earned a combined total of 12 letters as a member of the Panthers basketball, cross country and outdoor track teams. He was captain for all three squads in his senior year and was a Class C fist team selection in his junior and seniors years for the basketball team. He was All-League in basketball and All-League first team in his junior and seniors seasons.

ADAM SEABURG (’04): Adam was a three-time All-Division selection in football as a linebacker. He was selected first team All-Division in his junior and senior seasons and second team as a sophomore.

1995 BASEBALL TEAM: Coached by Joe Acciardo and Dino Campopiano, the Panthers staked claim to the Class B state baseball championship. Players Anthony DeCicco, Derek Dutchover earned All-Division and All-State honors while Eric Skovron, Mike Iafrate were All-Division. David Christie, Matt Gambardella and Joe Hicks were named All-Division and All-State. Joe Desmarais was All-Division while Dean Beliveau, Fabio Milano were All-Division and Bryan Cutlip was All-Division and Steve DeMeo and Matt Lepore bolstered the Panthers.

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