All in the family as the Bunofsky brothers are leading the Lowellville Rockets


Rockets coach Velasquez played against father Ron Bunofsky in the Steel Valley

LOWELLVILLE, OHIO (WKBN) – The Lowellville Rockets are enjoying the power of three this season.  Not only did they start this year with a 3-0 record, despite a set back this past Friday, but they also have three players who know each other very well.  So well, in fact, they all live under the same roof.

Senior center Bryce, junior quarterback Cole, and freshman receiver Brady Bunofsky have been instrumental in the early success that the Rockets have enjoyed this season.  On more than one occasion the three brothers have worked together to produce touchdowns for the Rockets as Bryce has snapped the ball to Cole, who in turn tossed a pass to his younger brother Brady for the score.

“There are many plays the Bunofsky’s are the only ones to touch the ball,” Rockets head coach Doug Velasquez stated.  “They are a big part of this team early on.  They add to this team.”

“Just like in the front yard.  In the moment I don’t really feel anything, but after the game I’m like wow!  Three brothers out there just playing backyard football, just throwing the football around,” Cole said of the experience of them all touching the ball on several scoring plays this year.

“I never really felt anything like that before in playing football,” Brady said about being on the receiving end of a pass from his older brother in a game.  “I never played on the same team with them before, this is the first year that it has happened, so it feels good.”

Being brothers, they have the advantage of being able to communicate in their own way to make adjustments on the fly, “We actually have done that where I did a little signal, I’m not going to say what, but I did a signal to him (Brady) and he knew to run a certain route and we scored on that play.  So we definitely have some connections out there that we talk about,” Cole explained.  “Brady and I will go into our living room and watch film on the TV.  We talk about what we need to do then.”

“We’re close,” Cole added about the relationship between them.  “It’s just like our house, we’re obviously brothers, but on the team we’re all in a brotherhood.  But we take it to the next level and we really stick together.  We fight through adversity and everything that we need to do in order to win.”

“I’m the youngest, so there is still that brotherly competition, at practice and all.  If I do anything wrong, they will be on me about it,” Brady said with a smile.

“They are tough kids.  I grew up with three brothers, I was the youngest of four, so you grow up battling each other and wrestling each other, so they are just tough kids,” Velasquez described the three.  “They are competitors.  So it’s great to have them on the team.”

The three Bunofsky brothers are the sons of former Ursuline standout Ron Bunofsky and his wife Andrea.  Ron went on to play college football at West Virginia University from 1989-1993.  Ron played tight end at Ursuline and then played tackle in college for the Mountaineers.

“He has told us a bunch of times how proud he is of us,” Cole said.  “He has memories of when he played at Ursuline and likes to re-live those memories watching us play.”

Velasquez knew Ron long before his son’s ever started playing for him on the Rockets football team.  Both of them had squared off against each other a few times in their own high school playing days of the old Steel Valley Conference.

“We graduated the same year, and I played against him when I was at Boardman.  So we had a lot of battles in the Steel Valley,” Velasquez recalled.  “We talk about it.  We remember each other, he was a big tight end and I was a linebacker.  We actually talked about it with the kids too, with the three sons.  We said it’s kind of like having a part of the Steel Valley here in this conference.”

Led by the Bunofsky brother trio, the Rockets are set to have a successful season this year.  And there should be many more of those “backyard football” scoring plays in the Rockets offensive arsenal.

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