St Elizabeths alumni football camp coaches for the annual football clinic at St Elizabeths. Photo by Pat Garyantes

State Champion alumni return for 3rd youth football clinic

Patrick GaryantesHeadlines, Sports

St Elizabeths alumni football camp coaches for the annual football clinic at St Elizabeths. Photo by Pat Garyantes

St Elizabeth alumni football camp coaches for the annual football clinic at St Elizabeth. Photo by Pat Garyantes


WILMINGTON- It was a star-studded afternoon at the St. E Center for St. Elizabeth High School’s 3rd annual youth football clinic.  Over 40 campers, current members of the high school coaching staff and players, and an impressive list of alumni players from three generations of Viking football as special coaches were in attendance for the event.  


Campers were handed out bags that included a tee shirt, water bottle, an autographed photo from alum Andre Patton, and a report card that campers could use for progress.  The report cards were used to gather campers’ heights, weights, and times for typical testing measurables.  


The tests included pushups, vertical jumps, broad jumps, and three 3-cone agility drills.  


After the testing portion of the day, campers were split into position groups of quarterbacks/wide receivers, lineman/tight ends, and running backs.  The guest coaches worked campers through some basic positional fundamentals.


Finally, despite the rain, campers made their way down to Canby park for some 7v7 work on the practice fields to conclude the day.  The alumni coaches were both team coaches and referees for the finale.


“Today marked the third year of our youth football clinics and each year you have to continue to make adjustments so that the kids have fun,” head varsity coach Mike Lemon explained.  “I do think they enjoyed themselves today throughout the entire clinic.  No coach should overlook the enjoyment of any sport, it’s such a crucial part.”


The alumni guest coaches included members from the 1994, 1996 & 2010 State Championship teams, as well as players from other successful areas of Viking football as laid out below.




Steve Azzanesi ’95:  1994 State Championship quarterback.  Wesley College quarterback 1996-2000.  Wesley Assistant football coach, 2000-2001, 2002-2017, 2018-2019.  Delaware State University Offensive Coordinator 2020-2021.  Current Alvernia Head Coach since 2022.


Rich Conway ’95:  1x All-State.  Member of 1994 State Championship team.  1994 Gatorade Football Player of the Year.




Joe Durney ’01:  All-Conference quarterback.  2x State runner-up.  Former Wesley quarterback.  St. Elizabeth 7th & 8th grade offensive coach 2006-2013.


Jeff Fletcher ’01:  All-State running back.  2x State runner-up.  La Salle running-back 2001-2004.  St. Elizabeth 7th & 8th grade offensive coach 2006-2013.




Dom Bright ’12:  All-Conference lineman.  2010 State Champion.


Jerome Padilla ’11:  All-Conference lineman.  2010 State Champion. 


Justin Mcvey ’12:  All-State lineman.  2010 State Champion.  2013 Stevenson University.


James Rendle ’13:  All-State TE, DL.  2010 State Champion.  Widener University defensive lineman 2013-2016.


Collin Russell ’11:  All-State TE, DE, Punter.  2010 State Champion.


Craig Napier ’11:  All-State Running back.  1500+ yards & 26 rushing touchdowns in 2010.  2010 State Champion.  Current football coaching staff member.


Eric Patton ’12:  All-State Running back & linebacker.  2x State DPOY.  Team leading 93 tackles in 2010.  2010 State Champion.  2012-2016 University of Delaware linebacker.  Current computer support analyst in the University of Washington athletic department.


Andre Patton ’13:  All-State wide receiver, kick returner, defensive back.  2013 DPOY.  2010 State Champion.  2013 #1 Recruit in Delaware according to Rivals, 24/7, and ESPN.  Rutgers wide receiver 2013-2016.  NFL wide receiver 2016-2021 (Chargers, Cardinals, Eagles).


Dante Tiberi ’15:  All-Conference lineman.  Current high school coaching staff member.




Vincent Garyantes ’20:  2020 team captain.  Offensive & defensive lineman 2016-2019.


Gavin McCarthy ’20:  All-conference lineman.

Mitchell Butler ’23: was there from the back to back district 1A champs an state championship runner up teams. 2 time All State at DL/OL


When asked about keeping the alumni involved in the program and its importance, head varsity football coach Mike Lemon (an assistant on the 2010 State Championship team) stated the following;


“I believe it’s important to keep a strong connection with our alumni.  Alumni and community is very important to all programs but I feel it’s especially important to us.” 

Lemon continued, “due to the tradition of St. Elizabeth football and the great players that have come through, we want to make sure that they always feel welcomed and still a part of St. Elizabeth Football.  Once a Viking Always a Viking!”


Former Viking great Eric Patton spoke about coming back to home town, “Coach Lemon has been trying to get me and my brother (Andre) back in town for a few years now and it finally worked out schedule wise.  I have to give it all to him, if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have been back here this weekend.  It was an amazing experience seeing all the young ones running around out here.”


Having the Patton brothers back on the campus was a welcomed sight for the St. E’s football community.  Andre lives out in California these days after his five-year NFL career blossomed in Los Angeles, while Eric is succeeding out in Washington state.  With both out West, coach Lemon knew how special this opportunity was to get the crew back together again, “This year things fell into place better than ever.  Eric being back in town allowed us to work together to bring as many former players back as possible.”


Coach Lemon didn’t just stop with including the 2010 era alumni, adding in the aforementioned players from the 90s and 2000s, “it was also great to get some of the older guys out here that I played against, including Steve Azzanesi who actually coached me at Wesley.” 


2010 was the third and most recent State Championship football team for St. Elizabeth and they were well represented at the clinic on Sunday.  “The 2010 team had no weaknesses and great senior leadership,” Coach Lemon proclaimed, “along with the great talent throughout the entire roster from freshman through the seniors.”


It was great getting to be around my former teammates on the day.  We shared a lot of great memories together, something Eric Patton agreed with.  “It was great seeing the guys get back together again,” Patton said, “we pondered about all of the good memories we had here, championships, funny moments, and the new adventures we are currently up to.”


Patton also had nothing but glowing praise for the leader of the Viking program, Mike Lemon.  “Lemon is an amazing coach.  We didn’t even have a weight training program before he started us my Sophomore year.  He’s the main reason we made that championship run in 2010.”  


Patton continued, “He had us dedicated and eager to get better every day and I honestly can’t thank him enough.  I love all of the work he has done at St. E’s.  Not too many guys stick around like he has and hopefully we can keep this tradition.” 


Andre Patton also spoke about having the opportunity to come back to his old stomping grounds for the first time in over a decade.  “It felt great to be back in town after not being home in almost two years,” Patton explained, “it’s been 11 years since I’ve been back in this gym and coming into this gym and seeing that 2010 championship banner, all those emotions just ran back, and it felt good.”


For the former Los Angeles Charger, it was a family moment as he was also able to bring his children and wife along, something that meant a lot to him.  “It’s the first time that my wife and kids were able to see where I graduated and see some of my accomplishments, which was amazing.”


Patton summed up how it felt for all of the alumni who were a part of the event which was the ability to give back to the community.  “To come back and be able to give back to the kids felt great.  It was an amazing day for my family and all of the kids and I’m happy that I could contribute and give back.”

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