JHS Athletics Hall of Fame 2017 induction class announced

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Few people, if any, would dispute that Tony Centore ranks among the all-time best high school football coaches in Rhode Island.

Moreover, when it comes to overcoming any obstacles life can throw at a person, William Pike is the epitome of a hard-nosed football player.

There are six other people – as well as the Centore-coached football Panthers – who have been elected to the prestigious Johnston High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

James “Jim” Hopkins, chairman of the JHS Athletic Hall of Fame, which was founded back in 2011 by his best friend and former teacher, coach and athletic director Gary V. Mazzie, today announced the group of individuals who will be honored on Sunday, Oct. 22 during the annual induction ceremony-dinner.

“We’re excited about the Class of 2017,” Hopkins, a one-time teacher-coach on Cherry Hill,” told the Sun Rise. “We’ve also changed our awards date to a Sunday.”

Thus, the actual Induction Ceremony will be held inside the Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium on Oct. 22 beginning at 3 p.m. followed by a dinner that’s scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. inside Cranston Country Club’s main dining room.

With excitement ringing in his voice, Hopkins also announced the Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony will include a new category – The Gary V. Mazzie Lifetime Achievement Award –named in honor and memory of the late Hall of Fame founder to recognize former Panther athletes who have dedicated themselves to the improvement of others.

The inaugural winners are Michael Crawley, Class of ’00, and Matthew DiIorio, Class of ’99.

“Their work on behalf of FARA (Friedrich’s Ataxia Research Alliance) has given hope to those with this rare muscular disorder,” said Hopkins. “The Race for Matt and Grace, along with many other fundraisers, has taken in over $100,000 for FARA.”

The JHS Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will include:

1991 CLASS B SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS: Coached by the legendary Tony Centore, the Columbia Blue and White was led by a talented group of players that combined for six All-State nominations featuring quarterback Brian Iafrate, the running of David Caito and Steven Gaunt, the kicking of David Danella and the defensive play of Damon Scarduzio and Billy Giardina. Thus, the Panthers blanked Coventry, 13-0, to win the Class B Super Bowl and finish the season undefeated.

PATRICK RYAN, CLASS OF 1970: Pat was an All-League football player in the early years of Panther football. He was described by a former teammate as “a hard-nosed player who overcame much adversity to become a success by helping others realize they can be successful through hard work and determination to overcome any obstacles life can throw at you.”

WILLIAM PIKE, CLASS OF 1990: Billy was a two-time First Team All-League selection in hockey and represented the Panthers in the annual All-Star game that featured the state’s best players. He was the MVP in the State Suburban Championship game in which he scored four goals and recorded an assist in a 6-3 win over Ponaganset. He led the division in scoring while powering the Panthers to two consecutive State Suburban Championships.

MICHAEL MORSILLI, CLAS OF 1993: One of a long line of outstanding Panther basketball players, Michael was captain of the 1992-93 Panthers, who he led to the Class C-1 Championship and an 18-1 record. He was a unanimous All-League selection that year following a junior season in which he was All-League. He also ran outdoor track and was fourth in the state in the 400 meter event.

BRITTANY VALENTINE, CLASS OF 2010: Brittany was a two-year captain of the Lady Panthers’ soccer team and earned All-Division two consecutive seasons as a goalie. She also received the RI Girls Soccer Association Sportsmanship Award during her sophomore season.

VICTORIA ST. ANGELO, CLASS OF 2O11: Victoria was a two-sport standout and landed All-Division honors in softball and soccer. She was captain of both squads and represented JHS in all-star games in both sports. She was a four-year starter in soccer and earned First Team All-Division honors. As captain of the Lady Panthers’ softball team, she won second team honors and played in the annual all-star game that season.

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