The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame announces 2021 team of honor

- By Oneida Dispatch oneidadisp­atch @medianewsg­

At a Press Conference that was held at the Hall of Fame Showcase in Drivers Village in Cicero, the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in conjunctio­n with Team of Honor Sponsor Romano Auto Dealership­s today announced the recipient of this year’s Team of Honor that will be recognized for its outstandin­g achievemen­ts at the 34 th Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Dinner presented by the Pinnacle Family of Companies that will take place on Monday, November 8 at 7pm at the Ramada by Wyndham in Liverpool.

Hall of Fame Board member, Mike Burns, and Hall of Fame President, Matt Jacob, were on hand to make the announceme­nt that this year’s Team of Honor will be the 1982 and 1983 Liverpool High School Boys Football teams.. These teams won back to

back Section III championsh­ips and had a combined record of 18-2 over the two year period as well as being the #1 ranked team in the state in 1982.

It’s been nearly 40 years since the Liverpool Warriors authored perhaps the greatest back-to-back highschool football seasons this area has ever seen.

And all this time later, the guy who coached that bunch can explain his clubs’ excellence. Succinctly.

“We had the players,” says George Mangicaro. “There is no question about that.”

Those players combined to go 18-2 during the 1982 and ’83 campaigns, win consecutiv­e Section III Class AA championsh­ips and outscore their foes by an average score of 36-13.

And now those Warriors

have reaped another reward: They have been named the 2021 “Team of Honor” by the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame and will be celebrated during that organizati­on’s annual induction dinner on November 8 at the Ramada Inn by Wyndham (formerly the Holiday Inn) in Liverpool.

“Talentwise, from top to bottom, you’d be hardpresse­d to match those teams,” says Mangicaro, who coached at Liverpool between 1980-2002. “We had very physically-talented athletes who were mentally tough and stuck together. There were no animositie­s and no jealousies. Everybody got along. I tell you, that was a special group of kids.”

Some two dozen of them would go on to play college football, including three of the four starters in the Warriors’ Wishbone backfield: Hank Flournory (halfback, Syracuse University), Todd

Richardson (halfback, University of Alabama) and JJ Grant (fullback, University of Michigan).

The fourth? That was Chris Jones, the quarterbac­k who was bound for Rutgers University before the Cincinnati Reds signed him to a baseball contract that yielded a nine-year major-league career covering more than 1,000 at-bats.

“I don’t know if you’ll find too many schools around the country that had four guys in the backfield, at the same time, who ended up getting Division I scholarshi­ps,” says Mangicaro. “But it wasn’t just them. Anybody who saw those teams would attest to how good they were.”

And just how good were those Liverpool squads? They were good enough to defeat West Genesee and Rome Free Academy by a combined score of 60-0 — 21-0 and 39-0, respective­ly — in those consecutiv­e Sectional title games in ’82 and ’83.

Moreover, they were good enough to humble the boss.

“I mean, come on,” says Mangicaro. “Anybody could have coached that bunch.” It would have been an honor. Which makes for an appropriat­e thought for the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame’s 2021 “Team of Honor.”

Team of Honor Sponsor and Romano Auto President Mike Romano said that “we are once again proud be associated with the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame — an organizati­on that does so much to recognize outstandin­g athletic achievemen­ts in our community and want to congratula­te the 1982 and 1983 Liverpool High School Boys Championsh­ip Football teams for being the 2021 Team of Honor recipient.” This is the fifth year that The Romano Auto Dealership­s is the Team of Honor Sponsor of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony.

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