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Published: November 25, 2009 11:52 pm

HS FOOTBALL: GI's Dlugosz is CRUNCH Player of the Year

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

Brett Dlugosz can rest assured that each and every one of his 114 victims this past fall felt his wrath. After all he wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Grand Island senior linebacker embodied the word tough on his way to 2009 Niagara Gazette CRUNCH Player of the Year honors.

“He’s one of the best linebackers we have ever had and displayed a toughness that is unmatched,” veteran Vikings coach Dean Santorio said of his team captain.

Dlugosz added, “There’s just something about rough and tough play that I love. I enjoy playing physical.”

His mentality seemed to rub off on the rest of the Vikings as well. After losing its first three games, GI won six straight to advance to Ralph Wilson Stadium and the Class A championship game for the first time since 2005.

And although Dlugosz and Co. came up just short against defending state champion Sweet Home, it was a ride that won’t soon be forgotten.

“I had the time of my life,” Dlugosz said. “I couldn’t have asked for much more. To get to the Stadium after we were 0-3 and to beat two of those same teams in the playoffs — that was a lot of fun.”

Dlugosz also had a blast carrying the football this season after spending last year at offensive guard. The Vikings’ starting fullback ran for seven touchdowns and was the lead blocker for Connolly Cup finalist running back Andy LaLonde.

“I really enjoyed fullback,” Dlugosz said with a big smile. “It wasn’t that much different than guard in terms of blocking, although getting my hands on the ball did fulfill every lineman’s dream.”

Dlugosz, who is currently sifting through several Division III offers, is the third straight Viking to earn the award. Linebacker Christian Nestark won it in 2007 and wide receiver Alex Neutz was the 2008 recipient.

“It’s an honor to just be mentioned with those guys,” Dlugosz said. “I didn’t expect this at all. It’s all just been a crazy, yet wonderful experience.”