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Augie Touris, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end/tight end from Canisius High School, has given a verbal commitment to attend Texas-El Paso next fall.

“It’s a big opportunity and a big part of it is Canisius,” Touris said. “Without Canisius, none of this would have been possible. I have a lot of respect for UTEP for believing in me and following me. They mean a lot to me just as Canisius has and I plan on returning the favor the next four years.”

Touris, a first-team All-Catholic selection, also received interest from Albany, Holy Cross and Duquesne.

“A few other people told me that it’s likely that there might be other offers,” Touris said. “The major part of why I committed is because this is the program that believed in me. This was the program that pulled the trigger and said, ‘We want him, we believe in him.’ That’s loyalty and I have to pay that back.”

It helped that UTEP’s coaching staff has roots in Western New York starting with coach Sean Kugler, the Lockport native who served as the Buffalo Bills’ offensive line coach from 2007-09

Patrick Higgins, the Miners’ offensive coordinator/quarterback coach, is a native of Pendleton and was the first coach to contact Touris last December. Touris was primarily recruited by Brian Natkin, UTEP’s tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator.

“I stayed in contact with them and updated them every week with my highlight film,” Touris said. “I visited with them Dec. 5 when they came to town and they offered me a week ago.”

Touris said he will officially visit UTEP the weekend of Jan. 17.

Lancaster/Iroquois survives

Lancaster/Iroquois and Frontier/Orchard Park were deadlocked until 1:30 remaining in the contest when Rene Doherty whistled in the game winner to lift Lancaster/Iroquois to a 3-2 triumph in girls hockey.

Jenelle Paitt and Megan Fonfara assisted on the winning goal in the WNY Federation matchup.

In ECIC IV boys basketball, Holland pushed its record to 4-0 as Clay Lewis poured in 27 points in a 55-41 victory over JFK. Lewis also drained four three-pointers and pulled down 10 rebounds, while J.R. Kline contributed six assists.

Elsewhere, Maritime scored a 53-34 win over Akron in the Jack Silvernail Memorial as Isaiah Padin scored 17 points while Joe Adeleke contributed 11 and Rodney Lee 10. … In girls basketball, Jontay Walton scored 30 points and finished with seven assists and eight steals in O’Hara’s 94-33 win over Sweet Home.