Friendship Bonds Three Talented Wallkill HS Student-Athletes to Commit to D3 Morrisville Football

Wallkill High School (N.Y.) has a solid reputation for producing fine student-athletes. So, when three of the high school’s football players decided to commit to the same college to study and play the sport, it was not a surprise to many people associated with the program and student-athletes.

Longtime friends and teammates Gabe Crespi, Mason Ondreyko and Sean Perrin announced a few months back that they all would be playing football at Division III SUNY Morrisville (N.Y.) in the fall.

Wallkill football trio: (L) Sean Perrin, (M) Gabe Crespi and (R) Mason Ondreyko.

Crespi, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound outside linebacker/wide receiver in high school, said he chose the Mustangs because of the coaching staff’s warm, homey nature, a chance to hit to gridiron as a freshman, and to play with his buddies, not to mention the raucous vibe at the game he attended.

“The coaches at Morrisville were welcoming and are giving me the best opportunity to play. They were the most active in recruiting me,” said Crespi, who plans on studying business administration. “It felt like home after I visited the school. The atmosphere (at the game) was crazy. There were tons of fans in the stands making noise. It was very loud. It was great.”

Additionally, he said, “it was like a dream getting to play with my friends. We’ve known each other for a long time.”

Crespi, a high ceiling player because he started with organized football late in the eighth grade, recorded 87 total tackles, 47 of which were solo, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries for the Panthers in 2021 and 2022.

Crespi’s mom, Lisa, said Morrisville football’s coaching staff displayed a warmheartedness toward the younger Crespi and the family that made her feel at ease with her son attending the college.

Gabe Crespi, senior outside linebacker for Wallkill High School headed to Morrisville football.

“We visited a lot of colleges. I was truly impressed with the coaches, and the care they showed us,” Lisa Crespi recalled. “I left there with such a good feeling. I know the coaches will look out for him like family.”

To see Gabe, whom his mom called a relentless, dediciated student-athlete, live out his aspirations, almost left her speechless.

“I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of him,” she beamed with joy. “But also, for his academics. His work ethic is unbelievable.”

As for Ondreyko, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound wide receiver/safety at Wallkill, he said his visit to Morrisville sealed the deal to attend the Central New York college.

But playing with two of his close friends, he noted, was a huge reason why he committed to the Mustangs football program.

“I went on a visit, and I committed three days later,” recollected Ondreyko, who said he will be manning the wide receiver position in college. “I really like the coaches. When I went on my visit, I felt the love from head coach (Ed Raby, Jr.).

“But they’re (Gabe and Sean) my best friends. I have a circle of five friends, and they’ve been since second grade,” he added. “Playing alongside Gabe and Sean, we’ll have the opportunity to lean on each other. I’m extremely excited for this opportunity. To play with friends is a dream come true.”

Ondreyko, who suited up for the basketball team, and plays lacrosse for Wallkill High School, feels his hard work, speed and catching ability, as well as the Mustangs losing a measure of depth at the receiver position, could lead to some playing time as a freshman.

“I think they lost a receiver or two,” Ondreyko said. “I am hoping to work my way into the (offensive) scheme. I’m planning to go hard in the weightroom. I work harder than a lot of other guys. I feel my speed separates me from other guys, and my hands. I can be a spark for the team.”

Mason’s dad, Doug, said he left the final choice on which college he would attend up to him. He just wanted to make sure that academics were at the forefront for his son.

Mason Ondreyko rounds corner in Wallkill High School football game.

“It was his decision. I gave him advice, but I told him that he should pick a school with his major,” Doug said. “He still needs to have his studies straight, just in case he gets hurt or doesn’t make the team.”

The older Ondreyko said he does not see his son’s smaller stature as an obstacle in regard to playing time, as the Mustangs will evaluate their players’ work ethic and ability at every turn, no matter the class.

Plus, he said Mason compensates for lack of size with pure, unbridled fire determination.

“They (Morrisville coaches) said, if there’s a freshman who outworks a senior, he’ll get the opportunity to play,” he recalled. “He has a little chip on his shoulder. He has always played harder than the next kid. He may be smaller, but he plays a foot taller than he is.”

When it came to Perrin, a 6-foot-3, 183-pound running back, he had a lot of the same reasons for attending Morrisville. But he said he wasn’t completely sure where his teammates’ interest was when he went on a gameday visit with Crespi.

Wallkill’s Sean Perrin runs free from defense.

“For me, personally, I was interested,” Perrin explained. “I’m not sure where Gabe’s head was at, but I wanted to go. Morrisville was very welcoming. They made us feel as they cared. They showed a lot of interest in all three of us. And the atmosphere was amazing. They (fans) had a lot of energy.”

Fortunately for them, everyone agreed upon Mustangs football.

Perrin said he is extremely excited to hit the gridiron with Morrisville and may see decent time at running back.

“They have opportunities at the running back position,” he said. “One transferred, and two graduated. I feel I will get a good opportunity to see the field.”

Of course, there is competition in the Mustangs’ backfield, but Perrin’s wonderful offensive abilities should bode well for him in college.

Perrin, who had offers and interest from Utica, Hartwick, Western Connecticut State, among others, enjoyed a terrific season at Wallkill, where he rushed for 652 yards on 123 carries with eight touchdowns, and pulled down receiving score as well.

Moreover, Perrin feels Morrisville is a program that is on the rise after finishing with a 7-4 overall record and went 3-3 in Empire 8 Conference action in 2022.

“I’m very confident in this program,” Perrin said. “I feel they can be competitive. Their defense flies around the field. Their ground-and-pound offense is good. They look to get the ground game going, then confuse it with a pass.”

Charlene Perrin, Sean’s mom, said that she takes great pleasure in the way her son has devoted himself to academic and athletic pursuits, leaving nothing to chance.

“He’s equally dedicated to both sides,” Charlene said. “I’m very proud of Sean. He has always displayed a strong character. When it comes to athletics, he’s very competitive. He doesn’t need anything extra from us.”

Charlene said that the strong friendship bond between the three helped keep them all in check, that neither of the student-athlete buds wanted to be the odd person out when it came to sports, or anything else, for that matter.

“By him having the friendship with Gabe and Mason,” she said with a chuckle, “neither of them wanted to be the one not able to do something because they’re not doing the right thing.”

That is camaraderie and friendship at its best, driving the trio to be the best versions of themselves. (Morrisville NY New York Varsity Style Green Text T-Shirt).

Note: If you click the above Amazon link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission to help support my continuing efforts to provide free content to my growing readership. Thank you for reading and supporting independent journalism, as well as the athletes and teams that so deserve it.

— Jerry Del Priore

Photos: courtesy of Wallkill High School football’s families.


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