LYNN — After serving as the backbone for the Classical football team’s defense for last four seasons, Rams senior Chase Buono will continue his football career at University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“The process was definitely stressful,” Buono said of finding a college program. “At first not a lot of teams wanted me but then but then as it went on a lot of Division III schools like Framingham, Springfield, a lot of schools like those got in touch with me.
“Then the University of Saint Francis came into play and I just felt at home when I went there,” Buono added. “I visited last Friday and came home Sunday. After that visit I think I just felt at home there. I saw everything, everything was great there.”
Buono signed his letter of intent Wednesday afternoon at Classical High School in front of family and friends.
“At the beginning the process was stressful but I think now that I’ve signed and everything is official I’m ready for it,” Buono said.
A four-year starter, Buono has played a few different positions for Classical before finishing his career as a safety under head coach Brian Vaughan.
“During my time here I played a lot of positions,” Buono said. “Freshman year I played corner, sophomore year I played outside linebacker and junior and senior year I played strong and free safety.”
This past season Buono was named an Item All-Star and took home the Rams’ Lex Thornton Defensive Player of the Year Award, Abel Marquez Leadership Award and the Gerald LeBrasser Ironman Award.
“I don’t know about being an All-Star, but being under coach Vaughan changed me a lot,” Buono said. “I went from being very cocky to being very humbled from him. I’ve made mistakes in the past but Coach Vaughan has been a really big help to me here at Classical.”
Vaughan said he’s happy to see Buono’s hard work on the field pay off.
“I’m just excited for him because he’s such a hard worker,” Vaughan said. “Everything that has come his way he has earned just by grinding. He’s an outstanding football player. That’s evident, all you have to do is turn on the film and you see that right away.
“I think what sets him apart from other people is his work ethic,” Vaughan added. “With what he put on film and his work ethic, you show that to coaches and they are excited to see this kid. I’m happy for him to get to play at the place he wanted to go to. I’m just excited to see what his future is going to bring out there. I see him playing a lot of football out there.”
Saint Francis has been successful competing in the Mid-States Football Association of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Cougars went 10-3 in 2018 before their season ended on a 34-28 overtime loss to eventual NAIA champions Morningside College in the semifinal round.
“At first I didn’t really go to the school,” Buono said. “but then right when I met coach Joey Didier (Co-Defensive Coordinator and Co-Recruiting Coordinator) he was straight forward and real with me. To be honest with you he was the one that sold the deal for me.”
Buono hopes to continue the hard work that has got him to this point and fill in wherever he’s needed for the Cougars.
“I was offered as a defensive back but I might end up being turned into an outside linebacker there,” Buono said. “My goals are going to be the same as always going in there. I want to compete and try to get a winning spot right away.”