YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two of Youngstown’s high schools played a football game on the hallowed ground of Rayen Stadium Friday night — a reincarnation, even if only for one night, of the once-great City Series Football League.
Chaney and East have been competing at this stadium since the 1920s. Pennants of six former city high schools hang at the entrance.
“Oh, it means a lot! Just having the two city teams back, the rivalry back, all the different schools we have feeding to both schools,” said Chaney Coach Chris Amill. “We’ve been in the schools this week. It’s exciting. I think it’s huge.”
East Coach Brian Marrow said he’s been looking forward to this game for a while.
“Yeah, absolutely. Ever since we split. We know this is a big rivalry game, so this is all for the marbles right here.”
As the two teams warmed up, few could remember the last Chaney-East game. It was 2010 and East won 22-20.
The next year, Chaney dropped sports, including football. This year, they brought football back to the varsity level.
“You know, it hasn’t been an easy go-around, splitting in half, but I think our guys have done a great job,” said Athletic Director Rick Shepas.
He said Friday’s game was just another step in making Youngstown City Schools better. While there are a lot of moving parts, Shepas said it’s fantastic to see the teams coming together.
The most dramatic of the pregame moments came during the coin toss when former Chaney Coach Ron Berdis and former East Coach Herm Jackson joined the teams at midfield as honorary captains.
“It’s been a great shot in the arm, not only for the community but, certainly, for the school,” Berdis said. “It’s really been a joy.”
Jackson can’t forget some classic Chaney-East games.
“Always fun playing,” he said. “Good talent, good athletes, good game.”
All that was left was for the teams to run out of the famous Rayen Stadium tunnel and onto the field to make history — and continue it.