The Buffalo Bandits are proud to start a new initiative, highlighting boys and girls high school lacrosse programs in Western New York over the next seven weeks.
To help grow the game in the greater Buffalo area, Bandits players will attend a team’s practice, and the featured school will also receive discounted ticket prices to attend an upcoming Bandits game. The program is presented by Intense Milk.
In the first week, Bandit forwards Chase Fraser, and Brad McCulley visited the East Aurora High School varsity boys lacrosse practice last Wednesday.
“Anytime our players have a chance to interact with professionals at the pinnacle of the sport, it just doesn’t get any better than that,” East Aurora head coach Scott More said. “These players are huge role models and can show our athletes the right way to play the game and how they hold themselves and their work ethic.”
More has been a staple in the East Aurora lacrosse program since its inaugural season as a player on junior varsity. Following a solid career with the Blue Devils, More played collegiately at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.
After graduating, More returned to become the JV head coach and was promoted to varsity in 2013. More took a two-year absence from coaching due to commitments as the head equipment manager for the Buffalo Bills but came back to East Aurora in 2017.
During his time with the Bills, More became friends with Bandits equipment manager Ted Cordingley. They talked shop about their profession and shared a passion for lacrosse.
Along with his duties at East Aurora, he is also the general manager at the local ice rink and has recently started the Beast youth box lacrosse program.
“Scott is one of the best guys I’ve met since I came to Buffalo,” McCulley said. “He’s insanely passionate about the game, and what he’s doing for these kids with all of the effort he puts into growing the game in the area.”
More has been at the forefront of the Blue Devils’ dominant stretch in Section 6 Class C, securing the program’s second sectional title in 2019, going all the way to the state semifinal round.
The team saw their opportunity to win back-to-back titles go by the wayside when the 2020 season was wiped out due to the pandemic. A majority of the players from 2019 were set to return. The East Aurora program ended up graduating four Division-I players along with multiple Division-II and junior college players who were unable to play their senior seasons.
In 2021, the Blue Devils lost to Lakeshore in the sectional title game, and so far this season, the team is “just trying to take it one game at a time with the ultimate goal of winning another title.”
Fraser and McCulley visited the night before a rematch with their rival Lakeshore and found the experience to be rewarding not just for the players, but also for themselves.
“When I was in their shoes, I was always excited when a professional took time out of their day to show us a few things,” McCulley said. “I remember finding it inspiring to be able to see where I needed to be at or what I needed to do to get to that point of success.”
One of the biggest pieces of advice both McCulley and Fraser stressed to the Blue Devils players is the importance of academics first.
“I told them about having to work hard in school because you’re not able to see the field if you don’t keep your grades up,” Fraser said.
“Brad and I were lucky enough to be able to play in college and make it to the pros, but none of it would have been possible if we didn’t stick to our studies and work hard in the classroom.”
East Aurora has a 3-2 record in the early stretch of their season and is 2-1 in league play.