John came to Bennett as a sophomore, and immediately became a star in basketball. As the starting point guard John was named 1st team all-high in both his junior and senior years. In 1989 John also was named 1st team all-WNY in basketball, More important to John, the Tiger basketball squad went undefeated in “Yale Cup” action during the ’86/’87 season, capturing the cup with a won 13 lost 0 record. The Tigers defeated Newark HS in the far west regional, before losing their first game at the state championship at Glens Falls, NY, finishing with a 22 win 1 loss record, ranked 7th in NYS. John finished his three year career at Bennett with over 1,015 points.
John attended Samford U. (AL) on a basketball scholarship. John’s work with the 4/11 charity brings him back to Buffalo every summer to promote a Yale Cup alumni basketball exhibition.
William was a star athlete in two sports, football and track, earning All-High and AII-WNY in both sports. In football, William excelled at the unlikely combination of tailback on offense and defensive end. His quickness off the ball made him unstoppable in getting into the opponents’ backfield. William led the Harvard Cup co-champion 1985 squad to an undefeated season. William was selected to the Lions Club all-star football game following his senior season, and was chosen MVP of the game in 1987.
In track, William was an all-high sprinter. The Tigers went undefeated in all four years of William’s tenure, winning four “Scalp & Blade” trophies. The legendary Section VI champion Bennett 4×1 00 meter relay team that William ran on set an All-High and AII-WNY record of 42.35 seconds. That record still stands to this day as the fastest ever run in WNY.
William followed up his high school career by enrolling at Louisville University. There, William accomplished the rare feat of going out for football as a “walkon” and later getting a full athletic scholarship. As a CB, William was chosen conference “Defensive Player of the Year” in 1989. William was also cited as a preseason All-American CB prior to his senior season.
William still resides in Louisville, KY today, and now is Rev. William Blackford.
Steve had an active athletic career while at Bennett, competing in Cross Country in the Fall of the year, Swimming in the Winter and Baseball in the Spring. Steve’s best performance was in baseball. A four year varsity player, he was a starting outfielder in his junior and senior seasons.
Steve achieved All-High and All-WNY honors in baseball in 1987 He was also an All-High swimmer in 1986 and ;87. The championship teams Steve played for include Columbia Cup Cross Country champs in 1986, and Cornell Cup baseball co-champs in 1985. Steve was captain and team MVP of his swimming squads that finished in third place three years in a row in Syracuse Cup competition, and captain of the 1986 Cross Country squad that finished a respectable 5th place in Section VI, Class B competition.
The popular Steve Samson was also voted as Class President in his senior year. Steve still resides and works in the WNY area.
Shane was a three sport athlete at Bennett, majoring in football, basketball and track.The Tiger squads Shane played on won the Harvard Cup in the 1985 season, the Yale Cup in the ‘87 season, and the Scalp & Blade track championship each of his years on the track squad. Although an All-High high jumper in track, Shane’s first love in sports is basketball. Shane was a third team All-High selection after his senior season, and led the Tigers as an undersized 6’ 2” high school center. The Tigers went undefeated in Yale Cup play, non league games and the Section VI championship. The ‘87 Tigers became the first Section VI squad to go into the state championship at Glens Falls undefeated. The Tigers finished the ‘87 season as the #1 ranked large school in WNY, a real tribute to Shane, having to guard bigger centers every game.
Shane’s basketball skills continued to grow at Buffalo State College. His Buff State teams won the SUNYAC Conference each of his 4 years with the team, and Shane was named the All Conference center each year. Shane was inducted into the Buffalo State College Athletic Hall Of Fame.
Today Shane Johnson is a science teacher in the Arlington County Public Schools in the D.C. area. Shane and his wife Alicia have two children. Shane Jr., 19 (a football player at the University of Pittsburgh), and daughter Savannah, aged 15. Shane is the son of today’s inductee Sylvester Johnson.