May 31—Former Scranton Prep football coach Tony Cantafio is the Scranton Lions Club Man of the Year.
Cantafio will be honored at halftime of the Dream Game on July 21 at John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“I was extremely touched,” Cantafio said. “Football has been such a big part of my life that when I got the call that they thought enough of my longevity and connection to high school football made me feel very proud.
“It is really a great honor.”
Cantafio played fullback and linebacker at Dunmore High School for head coach the late Jim Martinelli and played for the City all-stars in the 1965 Dream Game under coach CJ Robson.
He went on to play at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a degree in history. He completed his Master’s degree at Marywood University and earned advanced administrative credits at the University of Scranton.
Cantafio joined Jerry Preschutti’s staff at Mid Valley in the program’s first season in 1969 and went to Scranton Prep where he assisted coach Jim Scagliotti in 1974 to 1975. He stayed on the staff at Scranton Prep for head coach Stan Kucharski from 1976 to 1980 and for head coach Phil Angeli.
Cantafio became head coach at Scranton Prep in 1993 and had a record of 78-73, which included guiding the Cavaliers to a pair of Eastern Conference Class AA championships and a share of the Big 11 title with Dunmore in the first of his 14 seasons. He also spent several seasons as an assistant coach at North Pocono.
Cantafio served as head coach of the Scranton Prep wrestling team and was an assistant track coach.
He taught political science at Scranton Prep from 1981 to 2020, served many years as an officer of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association, is a school board director at North Pocono and in retirement is working as the sports alumni relations coordinator at Scranton Prep.
In October, Cantafio will be a part of the class of inductees into the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Cantafio and his wife, Mary, have two sons, James, who with his wife, Justine, have two children, Angelina and Giovanni, and Anthony. Both sons played for him at Scranton Prep.
“I look back and reflect on how important football has been to my life,” Cantafio said. “It got me my college education, it got me my first teaching job, it got me to Scranton Prep, the years have been very rewarding. Our teams at Scranton Prep were in the postseason 11 of the 14 years I was there. I would love to have a few more championships, but the truly best part are the relationships I built over the years.
“Those are the things that make it all worthwhile.”
East-West Small School
Several Lackawanna Football Conference players competed in the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East-West all-star games at Central Dauphin High School on Sunday.
The East all-stars posted a 17-10 win in the Small School game.
In the Small School game for players from Class 3A, Class 2A and Class 1A schools, Riverside quarterback Johnny Gilchrist threw a touchdown pass to Salisbury Township’s Chad Parton in the third quarter that gave the East a 17-7 lead.
Gilchrist finished 11 of 17 for 189 yards and the touchdown.
Lakeland defensive lineman Cross Douglas and cornerback Mike Pidgeon and Western Wayne linebacker Zane Janiszewski led a unit that held the West running game to minus-27 yards on 16 carries.
Lackawanna Trail’s Ray Melnikoff played fullback and on special teams.
Western Wayne coach Randy Wolff and Lakeland coach Dave Piwowarczyk were assistants for the East staff.
East-West Big School
The East all-stars dominated in a 38-13 win over the West all-stars in the Big School game that featured players from Class 4A, Class 5A and Class 6A.
Delaware Valley linebacker Jason Henderson played well and had a blocked field goal.
Wallenpaupack defensive lineman Liam Smith and Delaware Valley quarterback Aiden Oliver, who completed 4 of 7 passes for 74 yards, also played for the East.
Scranton coach Steve Shumbres was an assistant on the East staff.
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