Bon ready to help lead the Elkers football team

Bob Parana - Staff Writer

One of the key reasons the Ridgway Elkers are so successful is the ability of incoming seniors to take over the leadership role for the team that has won four-straight District 9 championships. Alex Bon is among the several players that will be offering their guidance this season.
“It’s really surreal being a leader now. I remember coming up as a sophomore. I was really looking up to Evan (Furlong a 2019 graduate) and all the guys. I knew I had to take notes for my senior year. Last season it was a really neat experience to be behind such great football players and even better leaders (Robert Briggs, Paul Gresco, Connor Grazioli, Matt Dush, and Jake Wickett to name a few). I’m excited to show that I can be a leader the way they showed me how to be,” said Bon who caught a key touchdown pass in the team’s 2019 District 9 semi-final win over Karns City.
The Elkers said it was tough not knowing if there was going to be a season.
“It’s been a long summer. Every week it was something different. We didn’t know if we were going to play. When it got pushed back two weeks all our hearts sunk,” said Bon who was relieved when schools were given the green light. “Once the schedule got released we all got excited as a team. We’re excited to give our best shot and make a run for a fifth district title,” he added.
Bon talked about his junior season which saw him contribute more each week. “Over the course of the year I really built up confidence and the guys around me helped me do that. Being around those great athletes showed me how to work and how to accept the role of a leader. This year I’m looking forward to stepping up and playing a bigger role for the team not only as a leader but on the field,” he said.
Bon wants to join the last two graduating classes with three district medals something he knows is not an easy task. “There’s pressure but we’re all ready for it. It was the goal right after the Wilmington game last year (PIAA playoff loss). It’s what everybody is striving for. Everybody has the team-first mentality to reach that goal. It’s what we play for,” he said.
The Elker senior feels blessed to have such great coaches.
“I think we have the best coaching staff in the district. Every one of them is very unique. The amount of preparation they put in every week is unreal. The work they do is tremendous and it’s all for us,” he said.
Bon who also has been a part of the past two Ridgway Class AA basketball titles offers advice to the newcomers. “I tell the sophomores to soak it in. That’s what the sophomore year is all about - to learn, work hard, and try to get on the field any way you can even on special teams. That’s how I got my letter in my sophomore year. I went into the season not expecting anything but opportunities arise. I found my spot at long snapper. I feel as a sophomore you have to look for a spot and it will find its way if you keep on working,” he said.
2020 Ridgway Elkers football schedule: Sept. 18 – Kane, Sept. 25 – at Bradford, Oct. 2 – at St. Marys, Oct. 9 – Bradford, Oct. 16 – St. Marys, Oct. 23 – at Kane, Oct. 30 – at Otto-Eldred, Nov. 6 – Smethport.
Note – the final two games could be affected by District 9 playoff games.