June 26, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Ohio Golden Knights to make Medina home

MEDINA — The top-ranked amateur football team in the nation will be playing at Kenneth Dukes Stadium the next two weekends.

Beginning next season, that team will call Medina High School its home, and owner Jermaine Campbell couldn’t be prouder that his Ohio Golden Knights of the Premier Amateur Football League will play their games in Medina County.

The PAFL is a 20-team league made up of players 18 or older and is in its first year of existence. The Golden Knights have been around for three years and played in the Ohio Football League before moving to the PAFL, which is considered a stronger league.

“When you look at the city of Akron, there’s so much to be focused on between the University of Akron, the Akron Racers and the Akron RubberDucks,” Campbell said. “Medina County doesn’t have a college or any amateur football.

“When you look at it, there’s a market for what we want to do. During the summer there’s no main sports attraction. Medina High School has been nothing but class for us and they have a Class A facility. We want to be there. It’s somewhere we want to play.”

Medina is much more than a marketing mecca for Campbell, whose team played two preseason games at Kenneth Dukes Stadium this year. The city and county have always been a place the owner has thought of fondly.

“When you look at places to go, you want to go to a community that loves football. If they’re not big on football, there’s no reason to go there,” Campbell said. “Medina County is huge on football. They’re in support of football, and winning football at that. That’s what we bring. Hopefully we can get some great football support from Medina. Medina County is the best move for us.”

Fans wanting to see what the Golden Knights are all about can watch them for free in an Aug. 9 exhibition game with the Ohio Gladiators of the OFL. It’s a doubleheader with the Mount Vernon Militia and Mahoning Valley Tigers of the OFL squaring off in the matinee at 3:30 p.m.

The Aug. 16 game is a second-round PAFL playoff matchup pitting the Golden Knights (8-0) against the Erie Express (6-2) or Pittsburgh Rangers (6-2). The game starts at 6 p.m. and there will be a $5 admission charge for adults and $3 for children ages 7-12. Those under the age of 6 will be admitted free.

The Golden Knights are ranked No. 1 in the National Football Events News Coaches Poll and have won 27 games in a row.

Unmatched in the regular season in the PAFL Stars Conference Blue Division, the Golden Knights picked up a first-round bye and chose their future home of Medina to play their playoff game.

The Golden Knights, who are currently based out of Akron, have two players with NFL experience on their roster in running back Shawn Bayes (Oakland Raiders/Kent State) and wide receiver Ryan Travis (Seattle Seahawks/West Liberty).

The Knights also have the PAFL’s No.1 quarterback in Brandon Hanna (77-for-132, 1,401 yards, 15 touchdowns), the top touchdown scorer on the ground in Bayes (8) and the best receivers in the league in Ryan Travis (19 catches, 530 yards, 5 TDs), Glenn Campbell (23, 424, 3) and Cornelius Strickland (14, 329, 6).

“Fans coming to the game on Aug. 9 can see the coaches in their atmosphere and some of the players that don’t normally play,” Jermaine Campbell said. “When you come to the game on Aug. 16, you get the full show. You get the No. 1 quarterback in the league, the No. 1 running back and the top three wide receivers.”

As for the team’s future, Jermaine Campbell will look heavily into Medina County when tryouts take place in the offseason.

“When you look at Medina, Wadsworth, Buckeye and Brunswick, they have talent,” he said. “We want talent. We want to stay the No. 1 team in the nation. You don’t do that by taking lesser players. We want the best of the best. We want those players to play in front of the fans who followed them from peewee to high school.”

For more information about the team or the upcoming games, contact Jermaine Campbell at (330) 949-8266.

Contact Brad Bournival at sports@medina-gazette.com.