The original team (Photo courtesy of Ed Randle)

Levittown Legends Featured In Documentary

A documentary celebrating the legacy of a touch football team and the Levittown legends who founded the club was screened at the Ridgewood Station Tavern on April 6. The film, The Story of the Fantastic Inn, the Greatest Touch Football Team in History, chronicles the rise of the team, founded in 1968 by a group of graduates from Division Avenue High School. The original team consisted of Division graduates ranging from the Class of 1959 to 1966. “It was a rule, not only did you have to be from Levittown to be on the team, you had to go to Division,” said Kenny White in the documentary, the team’s quarterback.”

The film begins by focusing on the team’s original members – White, Tony Paccione, Bobby Lombardi, Tommy Koehler, John Driscoll, Tommy “Red” Connolly, Johnny “Chez” Echezuria, Mike and Pat Hill, George Lennihan, Nick Paccione, Paulie Beswick, Al and Joe Williams, Billy Flynn, Bill Stanley, Jimmy Silvestri, Johnny Hegquist, Eddie Rotker, Tommy McGuire and Kevin and Steve Nichols.

According to the film, the team won the 8-man national championships in 1973 and 1974 and were runner-ups in 1972. In a span from 1968 to 1989 they won the Town of Hempstead championship 19 out of a possible 21 times. In 1974, the Fantastic Inn, won the national championship, the Town of Hempstead championship and the Glen Cove championship, with a record of 28-0-2 while allowing just 18 points. The documentary ends with the team’s overall record, an astonishing, 273 wins, 29 losses and two ties.

When the team reached the nationals, and played multiple games per day, the captains, White and Tony Paccione, realized they needed more players and at that point allowed non-Levittown players to join. Bill Cherry (Calhoun H.S.) and Bruce Cerrone (Hicksville H.S.) were among the standouts who played.

The original sponsor, The Fantastic Inn is now the Curiosity Shoppe, located on the Levittown-Hicksville border. It was the bar that Billy Joel and his band played in during the 1960s. But when Tony and Nick Paccione moved into the ownership of the night club Uncle Sam’s, the team had a new sponsor. And with a new sponsor, the team brought in a new generation of Levittown players.

Among them were: Mike Filliponi, Eddie Burzo, Robbie Sbarra, Larry O’Leary, Bobby Bonniello, Tommy Orlando, Tony Romano, Bobby Cassidy Jr., Willie Arroyo, Bob Henn, Scott Gushue, Ed Smithwick, Jimmy Rogers, Timmy Connelly, Bobby Hepworth Ken McLaughlin, Jon Anglim, Chris Cassidy and Rich Hosek – as well as players from the surrounding communities – East Meadow’s Mickey Menna and John Comer, Tony Paccione Jr. from Farmingdale and Hicksville’s Kevin Miller.

Some of the original members played right up until the end, including Tony Paccione Sr., Kenny White, Mike Hill, Driscoll and Echezuria, who played well into their 40s.

“It was a special thrill,” said John Driscoll in the film. “Me, personally, I never kept any of the trophies. The trophies didn’t matter to me. It was the memories. And here I am 75 years old and I just sit back and smile thinking about all the good times we had together.” The film was produced by Throwback Media and can be viewed on its YouTube channel at:

—Submitted by Ed Randle, Division Avenue, Class of 1970

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