Football’s Hidden Gem: The Buffalo Bucs

Posted on March 22, 2010 by Chris Trapasso

Buffalo BucsMillions of young men play high school football. For some it ends up being the most glorious time of their existence as an athlete. Of those millions of teenagers who put on the pads and play for their school, a select few thousand are granted the opportunity to compete at the next level, college.

Precious few flourish as a collegian and get a chance to make a living playing football. As we’ve heard in the NCAA’s very own ad, the overwhelming majority of student-athletes, “go pro in something other than sports”.

This becomes a brutal time for those young men who feed off the rush of elite competition. When it comes to the football field, they’re days of playing competitively are usually over.

But for the Buffalo Buccaneers of the United States Flag and Touch League, the USFTL provides that elusive competition against opponents who span the nation.

And you thought flag and touch football didn’t extend beyond your buddies back yard.

Founded in 1998, the team began as the Lancaster Bucs, members of the Western New York Christian Football League. To gain better name recognition, they changed their name to the Buffalo Buccaneers and began traveling to tournaments in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Orlando.

Their ascension up the flag and touch football ranks culminated when the Bucs brought the 2005 C-Division national championship to Buffalo. Since then, the Bucs have displayed an unwavering consistency that’s helped them to remain one of the United States most respected clubs.

They’ve won the Western New York Flag Football championship three times and captured their second straight New York State title last November.

I guess there really is a winning football culture in Buffalo.

James Foster splits time as the team’s general manager and a player. He has much to be proud of when speaking about his Buccaneer squad.

“Winning our second straight New York State championship after coming in second in our local league WNYFFL (Western New York Flag Football League), was a big accomplishment for us as a team.” Foster said.

After years of controlling and ultimately winning the national title in the C division, the Buccaneers decided a move to the B division was a stride in the right direction.

While one would think playing in a new, more tenacious division would lead to a significant production drop-off, such slide in success has not been apparent with the resilient bunch from Buffalo. They’ve finished in the top five each year nationally since joining the B ranks, and currently are the second-ranked B team in the country.

“The competition is a little better but the main difference is the team speed and knowledge of the game.” said Foster.

What makes the Bucs and organized flag football as a whole unique is its showcase of every different type of football player out there.

“Our players come from almost everywhere,” Foster said.  “We have some guys who played college and some who just played high school. Our average age is about 32.”

The USFTL calls for a center to snap the ball, but alignment regulations end there. This makes for an array of offensive plays and the involvement of nearly the entire team on any given play.

Even in a brand of football that stresses collective team efforts more so perhaps the college and pros, the spectacular individuals still stand out just the same.

Foster, hesitant to single out one performer over the other because of their concept of team unity, points to coach Gary Long, defensive coach/player Dennis Browning,  and players Derrick Floyd and Marcus Herring as the team’s leaders.

In 2009, following an Offensive MVP performance in the NYS tourney, quarterback Kevin Mason was named as a first team All-American. Buffalo’s Chet Krocwski, Terrence Brown, and Rashid Howie were also first team selections.

The Bucs presently have a small following, but welcome any and all fans.  They’ll journey to Pittsburgh April 17 and 18 for a tournament and host their own June 12 and 13. They’re registered to compete in Detroit July 10 and 11 and cap off the summer months in Cleveland August 14 and 15.

The Buffalo Buccaneers prove that even if you don’t star under the Friday night lights, or are no longer running out of college tunnels, as long as you possess a dedicated love for the game of football, success at a national level is never out of the question.

(You can learn more about the team by going their official team website. Click here)

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2 Comments on Football’s Hidden Gem: The Buffalo Bucs

  1. BigBub2352

    Hey Chris
    I play in this league, u should really come out and cover a few games… i Play for the Giants we beat the Bucs in the Local League championship last year..very competitive league and also alot of athletes on all the teams.
    also its Chet Korczynski for his spelling. this is a forum u might want to check out…U can do a right up about all the teams
    thanks for bringing this attention to the league it is much appreciated

  2. Christian Williams

    BUCS BUCS BUCS!!! I’ll be back by August boys! Hold the fort down!

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