YOUTH FOOTBALL Volney Rodgers ready for championships
The league is completing its 68th season.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Volney Rogers Football League will hold its three divisional championship games Sunday at Stambaugh Stadium starting at 6 p.m.
The youth league is concluding its 68th season.
Sunday's opener will be the 100-pound division showdown between the New Bethel Braves (6-1) and the True Vine Saints (4-3).
The second game, for the 115-pound division title, will pit the Eastside Titans (6-0-1) against the Northside Knights (5-1-1).
The finale, for the 135-pound division title, will match Rising Star Young Disciple (6-1) against the New Bethel Braves (5-2).
Heard stars: The New Bethel Braves are led by running back Braylon Heard, who has rushed for 528 yards in 20 carries and 15 TDs, with 828 all-purpose yards.
Heard is complemented by quarterback Troy Hill with 379 all-purpose yards.
The True Saints will counter with tailback Gerald Banks, who has rushed for 945 yards in 100 carries, and has 1,466 all-purpose yards.
Other True Saints' standouts are cornerbacks and brothers Leon and Montez Carlton, who account for 90 percent of the team's tackles; and also Jabre Toomer, KeOndre Johnson and Jaywan Crimley.
1-2 punch: The Eastside Titans' offense is led by fullback Maurice Johnson and quarterback Sheldon Brogdon. The two also play defense -- Johnson at safety and Brogdon at linebacker.
The Knights have wide receiver Joshua Purdie and running back Jamayle Roland set for the big offensive plays, as well as quarterback Brandon Burt.
Slocum is leader: In the top-weight class, tailback Derek Slocum keys the Rising Star Young disciple team.
Considered one of the top prospects in the league overall, Slocum has 843 yards rushing.
Reinforcing him are quarterback Farrin McDonald and standout split-backs Blair Rozenblad and Dominique Smith.
The New Bethel Braves are spearheaded by tailback Berry Liggens with 478 yards. The Braves also can call on running back Calvin Little John and fullback Braylon Richardson.
The Braves also sport a fast defense sparked by linebacker Gary Thornton, one of the premier defensive players in the league. He is supported by safety Jerrell Miles and linebacker Dion Williams.
Coaches: The coaches for the six teams are Marvin Oaks and Gerald Banks Sr., True Value Saints; Toby Walker and Mark Young, New Bethel Braves; Cliff Hudson, Eastside Titans; James Roland and Eric Roland, Northside Knights; Bershindle Foster, Rising Star; and Brian Marrow and Todd Glover, New Bethel Braves.
Rick Gladden serves as league president, while Ingrid Moore-Curry is administrative assistant.