Flag football event gives youth a chance

The tournament gives youth an opportunity to advance athletic ambitions.
AUSTINTOWN -- It's the sports junkie's dream -- football year round.
When the League of Champions Sports Programs puts on its Let-It-Fly 4-on-4 flag football tournament today, the football circuit will be complete.
College football isn't playing right now and the Super Bowl is long over. The XFL is done for the year and the Arena League is in mid-season.
Now the Let-it-Fly competition will be held for youth ages 14-17 and 18 year olds still in high school. The event will be held at St. Anne's church and school grounds on the corner of Kirk and Raccoon Roads in Austintown.
Action will begin at 9 a.m. and should conclude at about 5 p.m.
Loftier goals: But, this tournament isn't just to continue the football year long cycle. It has loftier goals.
"We do it to provide youth with an opportunity for recognition who may not otherwise have it," said tournament director Jeff Magada.
"It's all about acceptance. Anybody is welcome no matter what problems they are having at home or at school. They're welcome."
Magada, and his brother Paul, have run the League of Champions for eight years and normally have the flag football tournament in the fall only. This year they are expanding.
"At the League of Champions they have an opportunity to succeed and to advance their athletic ambitions," Magada said.
29 teams: In the fall, there were 29 teams in action with at least five players on each. There were 18 school districts represented with 164 participants.
Teams this spring will be divided into players age 14-15 and 16-18. It is for players not participating in local scholastic football programs.
The first place team will earn a free entry into the 2001 Go Deep regional tournament in Pittsburgh.
Awards are also given for second and third place finishers in each division and an Eagle Award is presented to teams displaying superb effort and sportsmanship.
"This is a last chance to advance and one last opportunity for high school seniors to compete together," Magada said.
"It's highly organized and very competitive," Magada said. "There will be many awards and prizes given away regardless of the skill level. It's run by a not-for-profit organization."
Games: Teams will be given at least three games, all Saturday, although some teams may have to play five or six times to win their division.
Both individuals and teams are accepted by the League of Champions.
"The tournament is for recognition and acceptance and positive attitudes," Magada said.
For details call (330) 797-3995.

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