A big reason Villa Angela-St. Joseph won 17 football games over the past two seasons, made consecutive playoff appearances and won the North Coast League White Division title last fall was the deep and talented Class of 2015.
While Marvelle Ross, Tre’Von Williams, Aaron Roquemore, Tremayne Harvell, Brandon Green, Kovas Kijauskas and the rest have since left Viking Village as VASJ graduates, they did leave their imprint on the program and set an example for the current roster to strive to achieve as a team.
“The bar is set high and it started four years ago with that 2015 senior class,” VASJ coach John Storey said. “Our enrollment has increased and a lot of that has to do with the great job our president Rich Osborne has done. We are now moving up to Division V. Our young guys watch and learn and are prepared because of the seniors that left behind a strong legacy last year.
“We’re going to be a very youthful team, and the biggest thing we lack is game experience. But we have talent.”
Aubrey Shabazz and Delanoe Rogers are a pair of talented sophomores battling for the starting quarterback position in the summer. They will be stepping into the spot vacated by Williams, a dual-threat QB who is now at Youngstown State.
Jacob Stauffer, Jacob Kozak, Aaron Lee and Kevin Mullin are all two-way standouts for VASJ. LaRon Jones is a speedy running back who has looked good in scrimmages behind a promising offensive line that will be counted on heavily to take pressure off some inexperienced skill players.
“Our running game has been very good the last few years, especially with a kid like Marvelle Ross getting 3,500 yards over the last three years. We hope to keep that going,” Storey said “We know we are going to need our line to step up and we expect them to do so.”
VASJ is coming off an 8-3 season that ended with a 35-28 loss in a Division VI quarterfinal at Sugarcreek Garaway. The Vikings won nine games the year before that and advanced to the postseason in 2013 after finishing 1-9 in 2012.
This year, VASJ has moved up to D-V and will once again attempt to defend its NCL White crown.
“Staying healthy is key for everybody. Our two-way players are going to be tough to replace if we lose them,” Storey said. “We want to be consistent and play fast and hard. That will ultimately lead to team success.”