OHSAA schedule change benefits Valley Christian football slate

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Valley Christian will also have a new stadium to call home in 2020

Valley Christian Eagles High School Football

Credit: Doug Wilson/Corbis Documentary/kledge/E+/Getty Images

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO (WKBN) – With the OHSAA 2020 football proposal that allowed all member schools to void scheduling contracts, most area schools quickly adjusted their slate to league-only games as part of the 6-game regular season.  One area school that benefitted from the voidable contract stipulation was the Valley Christian Eagles.

Valley Christian was accepted as a new member of the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference (EOAC) just last October, but they were not expected to participate in football until the 2021 season as they honored the two-year contracts that they had as a member of the Portage Trail Conference.  But now the Eagles will play East Palestine, Leetonia, Columbiana, United Local, Lisbon, and Southern Local before the playoffs.  They tentatively have Wellsville scheduled following the playoffs if both teams are eliminated from postseason play.

“We are extremely excited and thankful that the league is allowing us to participate this year, especially under the unique circumstances we are all dealing with,” Valley Christian Athletic Director Dolph Carroll stated.  “The AD’s we’re and are terrific.  We’ve been meeting all summer long and there was no hesitation when the thought arose regarding a possible change in the format and the six-game schedule to conference only.”

“Obviously we’re excited that they let us join this year,” Eagles head football coach Jomont Ware added.  “I’m super excited about us joining a local league, especially for a school of our size.  We don’t have a lot of kids, we’re a small school.  We’ll be playing schools that have the same number of players that are on our team.  That will be nice to see every Friday or Saturday night when we play.”

Before the change in schedule, the Eagles were set to face East Palestine in week two of the season at home, but now they will host the Bulldogs on week one as the first game as a league member.  They also were originally scheduled to travel to Lisbon in week eight in what would have been another test for the Eagles against a future league opponent.

“When we were accepted into the league that was the first thing we tried to do.  To see how many teams would like to play us.  To play some teams just to see how it was going to be, travel wise and all.  We played Lisbon many times, and I love going to Lisbon and play.  The fans are nice, the band, it’s very homey when we went there,” Ware said.

He went on, “It will be kind of neat to go visit the different stadiums this coming year.  Especially with the size of our team and the size of the other teams.”

Not only will the Eagles experience a new home league to play in, but they will also have a new stadium to call home as well.  After playing at Dave Pavlansky Field in Poland for many years, the Eagles will now call John Knapick Field in Campbell as their home stadium.

“There is a lot of tradition at Campbell, and it is really close to our school.  It’s a nice stadium with or without turf,” Ware said.  “It’s a great place and I’m excited about us playing there.  It’s big and for a small school like us, people can spread out.”

“It’s a great venue with a brand new turf.  It should be great for our own fans.  The proximity will make it a bit easier for our fans to attend,” Carroll remarked about playing a Campbell.

As far as the team the Eagles will put out on John Knapick Field this year, coach Ware is feeling pretty optimistic.

“We were very young last year.  I actually only had two seniors last year that played four years of football.  We had five seniors total, and two played a lot.  We started so many freshmen last year.  Every time you start a freshman you just have to hold on tight for the season.  And we held on as tight as we could,” Ware said with a chuckle.

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