Loaded Sto-Rox chasing elusive title
Saturday, August 21, 2021 | 6:01 AM
There were a lot of new faces for Sto-Rox in 2020 as the team that lost to Clairton in the 2019 Class A title game braced for what might be a bumpy ride moving up to Class 2A in 2020.
However, it was the young Vikings who turned a season with many hurdles into a luxury cruise back to the district finals.
In looking back at his team’s 8-2 season, Sto-Rox coach LaRoi Johnson used only two words: “We learned.”
Those lessons should help a Sto-Rox team that is one of the favorites to reach a third straight district title game in an effort to win that elusive WPIAL championship.
The Vikings are loaded with eight starters back on offense and nine returning on defense.
While some schools search for one good signal caller, the school known as QB High has a pair of dandies back at that postition.
Junior Josh Jenkins threw for 1,427 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, then moved to wide receiver and was the Vikings’ fifth-leading receiver when now-senior Austin Jones was healthy. Jones threw for 795 yards and five touchdowns in six games played.
“Watching all those quarterbacks who came from Sto-Rox, those are some big shoes to fill,” Jenkins said. “I’m going to just keep grinding so I can eventually become a legend at Sto-Rox like one of those quarterbacks.”
Johnson plans to use both at quarterback again this season.
Junior Zay Davis led the team in rushing last year with an average of 6.8 yards per carry.
The Vikings leading receiver is back in junior Jaymont Green-Miller. He averaged 20.8 yards per catch and scored a team-high 12 touchdowns.
Two other contributors at wide receiver are also standout cornerbacks in juniors Dre Miller-Ross and Diego Ellis, who is also an elite punt returner.
Up front, Sto-Rox has a couple of four-year starters on the line in seniors Zyhaire Young and Mike Durrette while Amare Harper adds youth to the trenches after starting last year as a freshman.
Junior linebacker Taemar Hull is a three-year starter.
“He’s our leader on defense,” Johnson said.
Despite having to forfeit its season opener to Carlynton last year, Sto-Rox won its final four conference games to earn a share of the 2A Three Rivers Conference championship with Western Beaver.
The Vikings will be heavy favorites in the conference again in 2021, but Johnson is taking nothing for granted.
“Injuries can play a huge part in every season,” he said. “We aim to compete week in and week out.”
Jenkins and his teammates still fill the sting of the 43-30 loss to Beaver Falls in the title game a year ago and are driven for bigger and better things this fall.
“The way we went out last year hurt,” Jenkins said. “I just want to come back this year harder. I got a great team this year, and I feel we can do it. We can win states this year.”
Coach: LaRoi Johnson
2020 record: 8-2, 4-1 in Class 2A Three Rivers Conference
All-time record: 303-244-9
Date, Time, Opponent
8.27 Bishop Sycamore (Ohio)**, 5
9.3 at Jeannette, 7
9.10 McGuffey, 7
9.17 Avonworth, 7
9.24 at Shady Side Academy, 7
10.1 at South Side*, 7
10.8 Seton-LaSalle*, 7
10.16 at Western Beaver*, 12:30
10.22 at Brentwood*, 7
10.29 Carlynton*, 7
Passing: Josh Jenkins
75-122, 1,427 yards, 16 TDs
Rushing: Zay Davis
85-579, 9 TDs
Receiving: Jaymont Green-Miller
36-748, 12 TDs
• LaRoi Johnson begins his fourth season as head coach at Sto-Rox. He also serves as the school’s district athletic director.
• The good news: In the last 10 years, the Sto-Rox football team has played in five WPIAL football championship games. The bad news: The Vikings are 0-5 in those title games, having been outscored 198-76.
• Sto-Rox was declared WPIAL Class AA champions in 1966 and 21 years later beat Ellwood City in the 1987 AA finals. Since then, the Vikings have lost six straight title games, including the 2003 finals to Springdale.
• This is the 55th season of Sto-Rox football, including preceding schools in the district.
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