Stadium facelift bringing pride back to Sto-Rox youth football

PITTSBURGH — Youth football in Sto-Rox is the lifeblood of this small community. Its high school has seen its fair share of talent. But its rundown grass field at Memorial Stadium was in desperate need of a facelift.

A group of alumni swarmed to raise more than $700,000. The Pittsburgh Steelers chipped in with $250,000 through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program and Local Initiatives Corp. The end result was a brand-new, top-of-the-line, synthetic playing surface.

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“The pride that is being felt by so many involved here,” Taris Vrcek, executive director of the McKees Rocks Community Development Corp., said. “Certainly the young people of this community. The joy that this is their home field now and they can enjoy it.”

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Resurfaced for the first time in more than four decades, this field makes for a natural venue for community events in the future, but for the time being, the Vikings have taken up residence.

“It’s more than just a field,” Vikings head coach LaRoi Johnson said. “It’s more than just some lines and some numbers on it. I think it represents hope to the community and where this community plans on going.”

Well, look no farther than the football team, where a field now on par with the best in the area has restored a great sense of pride and tradition.

“I probably ran in a thousand circles,” senior defensive lineman Myeir Woodard said. “I was very excited. Everybody’s attitudes changed this year. Last year our attitudes were good. This year we’re laser-focused.”

“Now that we got it going in the right direction, you know we have the support,” senior QB Eric Wilson said with a smile. “We have everything that we need, so now there’s no excuses to go and win the WPIAL championship and the state championship.”