March 29, 2012
It’s no surprise that Port Allegany senior Charlie Buchanan describes New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker as his favorite National Football League player. After all, the two have a few things in common.
Despite generously being listed as 5-foot-9, Welker has made four NFL All-Pro teams by venturing across the middle of the field, taking a hit and still catching the ball, the same role Buchanan filled for the Gators last fall.
“He’s a tough kid. He reminds me of those slot receivers the Patriots have. They just keep coming at you and coming at you,” head coach Mike Bodamer said following one midseason game. “You know, Chuck’s not the biggest, he’s not the strongest or fastest. He just knows how to play the game, and he makes the plays when we need to.”
In 2011, Buchanan made enough of those plays to earn selection to the Big 30 All-Star team and an automatic invitation to the 39th Don Raabe Big 30 Charities Classic, the annual all-star game between teams of graduated seniors representing Pennsylvania and New York. This year’s game is slated for Aug. 4 at Interstate Parkway Field in Bradford, and will be dedicated to the memory of Staff Sgt. Kenneth Van Giesen, a 1999 participant from Kane who was killed in action last July while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
A key cog in the high-powered offense which led Port Allegany (12-2) to its first Allegheny Mountain League title since 1988 and the first District 9 championship in school history, the 5-7, 150-pound Buchanan piled up 13 touchdown catches and 813 yards on 62 catches, numbers which ranked among the state leaders in all three categories.
His performance didn’t go unnoticed. In addition to AML and Big 30 All-Star selections, Buchanan also received honorable mention to both the WesternPAFootball.net Small-School All-Star Team and the Pennsylvania Football News Class A All-State Team.
An all-star in the classroom as well as on the field, the National Honor Society student plans to attend Duquesne University, majoring in pharmacy. He’s also a multi-sport athlete, a starting infielder on the baseball team since his freshman year who also moved into a starring role on the Gator basketball team this season. According to information provided to the Raabe Classic committee, the Buffalo Bills fan also “claims to be a Kan-Jam champion who ‘…just has fun all the time,’” and sees playing in the all-star game as both an honor and “one more chance to put on the pads.”
The Raabe press release also listed winning the District 9 title game as Buchanan’s greatest thrill, a sentiment the Gator captain put into words shortly after the 35-34 win over Clarion.
“Oh, man … I’ll remember it forever, that’s for sure,” he said. “When I get older and look back on it, it’s going to be probably the top memory of my high school life. It’s just a great feeling to know that I got to lead the first Port Allegany team to win D-9.”