By Denise Dick
The football field at Rayen Stadium will be named Jack Antonucci Field in honor of the Rayen alumnus who played at the original stadium.
John and Marsha Antonucci donated $100,000 to name the field in honor of John’s father.
“Thank you for giving the kids of Youngstown city the opportunity to fulfill their dreams at Rayen Stadium,” John Antonucci said.
Jack Antonucci was on the same all-city football team as Bob Dove and Frank Sinkwich, said Ed Matey, city schools athletic director.
Both Dove and Sinkwich went on to become All-Americans, and Sinkwich won the Heisman Trophy in 1942 while at the University of Georgia.
Dove, who played football at the University of Notre Dame, graduated from the former South High School, and Sinkwich graduated from Chaney High School. Both men played professionally.
Matey also announced several other donations to the Rayen Stadium renovation project.
The Home Savings and Loan Charitable Trust donated $25,000; United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and an anonymous donor each contributed $20,000; and Mason Funeral Home and Rachel Hanni, a school-board member, each contributed $1,000.
That puts the campaign at about $1.98 million, and $3 million is the goal.
The project will restore the dilapidated Rayen Stadium to its former splendor and have it ready for the first game of the upcoming football season, Aug. 25, when East and Ursuline high schools will face off.
Matey said the project is on schedule.
The original stadium was built in 1924. But city high-school varsity football players haven’t played on a home field since 1993. Teams played most of their games away or paid to use the Youngstown State University field at Stambaugh Stadium.
Up until this past school year, middle-school, freshmen and junior-varsity teams played at Rayen, but those games moved to Chaney this year to preserve the Rayen field.
The plan for the new stadium includes synthetic turf, concession area, a press box and updated seating to accommodate 7,000 fans.
The stadium will be used for all varsity, junior-varsity, ninth-grade and middle-school games and will be available for community use, youth football and flag-football teams.
Pennants from all the city’s public high schools — North, South, Rayen, East, Wilson and Chaney — will fly at the top of the finished structure.