The Post-Journal

Restivo, Conlan Will See Plenty Of Bowl Action

Two major college bowl games that will be played next week will have particular meaning to the Jamestown area because two local high school products are expected to see plenty of action.

Jamestown High School graduate Sam Restivo, son of Sam and Mary Ann Restivo of Jamestown, will snap for punts, extra points and split time at center for the Florida State Seminoles when they face North Carolina in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday. The game is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will be televised nationally on CBS.

Restivo shares duties at center with Tom McCormick, an honorable mention All-American and an All-South Independent first team selection.

According to the Florida State Peach Bowl Media Guide, "Sam another senior center - as good as McCormick, a couple of FSU coaches say."

The other local player who will participate in a bowl game is Shane Conlan, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Conlan of Frewsburg. Conlan, a 1982 graduate of Frewsburg Central School, will be starting at outside linebacker when the Penn State Nittany Lions play the Washington Huskies in the Aloha Bowl on Monday. The game will be televised live at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Both Restivo and Conlan played linebacker and running back during their high school careers and received numerous honors.

Restivo played for three years under Joe Sanflippo at JHS, and was named to the Division 1, All-Western New York and All-State teams as a senior. He was also a finalist for the Connolly Cup.

As a senior, Conlan was Western New York Player of the Year and was named to the All-Western New York team for Coach Tom Sharp at FCS. Conlan was also a Division 8 all-star selection.

The two local products talked about their bowl games and college careers in telephone interviews last week.

"It feels real good to be going to a bowl," Restivo said of his third bowl appearance.

The 6-0, 245 senior has also played in the Orange Bowl in 1981 when the Seminoles lost a narrow 18-17 decision to Oklahoma. In last year's Gator Bowl, however, the Seminoles defeated West Virginia 31-12.

"I'm excited. I can't wait," Conlan said of his trip to Hawaii. "I'll be starting in the Aloha Bowl. It's just so weird. There's snow on the ground (back East) and we're playing football. It will be fun."

Restivo said going to a bowl game is fun.

"The guys on our team look at a bowl as a reward and so do the coaches," Restivo said. "The coaches try to make it as fun as possible."

Restivo, who will be wearing No. 52, said the Seminole players liked playing in the Gator Bowl better than the Orange Bowl.

"The guys on the team enjoyed the Gator Bowl better than the Orange Bowl," he said. "The coaches made it more for the players, more relaxed, and a lot looser atmosphere."

Conlan, a 6-3, 208-pound red-shirt freshman, is making his second trip to a bowl game, but his first as an actual participant. He didn't play in last year's Sugar Bowl when Penn State defeated Georgia 27-23 for the national championship. Instead, he was a member of the "foreign team" when the Nittany Lions practiced for their game against Georgia.

Despite sitting out last year, Conlan is happy that he was red-shirted.

"I learned a lot," he said. "I went against the first team offense. You get better against the best."

Conlan was hampered by a calf injury early this season and alternated with Rogers Alexander at the outside linebacker spot where Conlan made 27 tackles, including 18 unassisted stops. He turned in two excellent performances at outside linebacker the final two games against Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. In the Notre Dame game, he had six tackles and in the Pitt game he had six tackles, a quarterback sack and two fumbles of the game.

He also had six tackles and one interception against Alabama.

When asked if he feels any pressure because he is playing a school known for producing outstanding linebackers, Conlan said: "I don't look into the past. It crosses my mind, but it doesn't put any more pressure on me."

Restivo also suffered an early-season injury when he stretched ligaments in his right knee in the opener that put him out of action for two games.

While he hasn't received the notoriety on the offensive line, Restivo said he is pleased at what he's accomplished.

"I think I made the right decision coming to Florida State," he said. "I've been pleased with what I've done. I came to play fullback and I saw that everybody who plays college football these days is a great athlete. The thing that is most important to me is I got an education. I'm happy I played and happy that I made my parents proud of me."

Restivo, a criminology major, expects to complete his degree requirements this summer.

Conlan is enrolled in the College of Education at Penn State.

While most college teams finish the season at the end of November or the first part of December, FSU and PSU must practice during the holidays.

The Seminoles started practicing Dec. 16, while the Nittany Lions have been practicing Since Nov. 27.

"We don't practice all that hard," Restivo said. "What we mainly do is brush up and learn our assignments." He added, however, that "the seniors on the team are really pushing the younger guys. It's our last game and probably the last game I'll play in."

But Restivo doesn't discount the possibility of playing professional football, possibly in the United States Football League.

"If I was asked to tryout for one of those teams, I don't thing I could say no,'" he said. "I would like a chance."

Conlan, who will be wearing No. 31 Monday, said Coach Joe Paterno is treating preparation for the Aloha Bowl like spring practice.

"He just doesn't want what happened this year to happen next year," Conlan said, referring to the Lions' 0-3 start this season. "He wants to get a jump."

Florida State compiled a 6-5 mark this season and does not have the record that some might consider good enough for a bowl appearance. Restivo is aware of the critics, but he said the Seminoles' difficult schedule had a bearing on their season.

"We were really lucky to be getting a bowl bid because of our record," he said. "I would say other teams have better records, but we've had a lot of tough breaks and we deserve to go to a bowl game."

He noted the FSU's "high-risk, high-scoring" offense and its proximity to Atlanta may have influenced the bowl selection.

Conlan said he and the rest of his teammates are anxious to play in Hawaii.

"Everybody is excited because it's a long season,"" he said. "This will make it all worthwhile."

If given the chance, what would Restivo tell Conlan about bowl games?

"I would tell anybody, 'Go out, practice hard with intentions of winning, but have fun. Make the most of it and be proud that you've made it that far.'"

Restivo and Conlan both have reason to be proud.

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