The Youngstown mayor is pleased football is returning to the stadium.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Volney Rogers Youth Football League will play its championship games Saturday at the former South High School football stadium -- the first time the league is returning there since a fatal shooting Aug. 19 during a peewee game.
Some parents of kids in the league didn't want to play at the field behind Eagle Heights Academy on Market Street after the shooting in the stands. The league played the remainder of its games in Youngstown at Ipe Field on Midlothian Boulevard.
But the league wanted to return to South High for the championship games because it's a larger field and to show it is safe, said Mayor Jay Williams.
"I am very pleased by the league's decision," he said. "It was a horrible and unspeakable act that had little to do with the location of the event. I'm glad they made the decision to return."
Williams will attend Saturday's games to do the official coin toss.
"The stadium has a long and proud history," he said. "One event shouldn't define what that sports complex means. The league wanted to send a message that as unfortunate and tragic that event was, the resolve of the community won't be deterred."
The league used South High this season because of a conflict with its original home field in the Mill Creek MetroParks, Williams said.
Four police officers will provide security at the games. There was no police security at the Aug. 19 game.
Larry D. Jones of Ravenwood Avenue in Youngstown, 31, was slain at that game in front of about 500 to 800 people.
Police say Jones was shot several times on the walkway in front of the stadium's grandstand. Jones jumped over the rail onto the field to get away from the shooter, who followed, stood over Jones and fired several more shots into him before fleeing. The shooting on the field occurred near a group of cheerleaders, some as young as 4.
A warrant was issued for Anthony Caulton of Youngstown, who had six known addresses, for the killing. Caulton was apprehended in the Seattle area Oct. 2 and was expected back in Youngstown to face criminal charges later this week.