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Rockets bring home flag football championship

| November 14, 2022

Under the direction of head coach Shawn Ciekanski, the Rockets finished the 2022 Flag Football season with a 9-0 record.

They won five games during the regular season against tough teams from Union, Stark, Belmont, and Wood counties. However, it was on Nov. 12 at the Special Olympics Ohio State Flag Football Tournament that the Rockets really shined. Through a true team effort, the Rockets were able to defeat Belmont County, Westerville White, and Union County in pool play to enter the medal round tied for the top seed.

They faced a tough Stark Storm team and came away with the victory and a gold medal.

This is the fifth season for Rockets flag football and their second time capturing a gold medal.  In seasons past, they have finished fourth, second, and third.

The Rockets were led offensively by Cory Amatangelo, Gary Calkins, Steve Hazelip, and Matthew Medley. Austin McGinnis played center for the Rockets and connected with the quarterbacks to start some incredible plays.

Defensively, Hazelip, Medley, Cayden Ciekanski, John Freeman, Rachael Russell successfully pulled several plays, while Aidan McClain mastered the art of rushing the opposing quarterbacks.  Miranda Milburn also contributed to the team’s victories.

Unable to play at the state game but part of the team throughout the season were Eric Farnsworth and Samantha Mastroine.
Assistant coaches for the season were Frittz McGinnis, Bill Fitz, and David Urdiales.
The Special Olympics Ohio Division Two Flag Football title comes just two months after the Rockets secured the Special Olympics Ohio Unified Softball title.
When asked what he thought of the event, Steve Hazelip shared, “I love my Rockets family.  We play hard and work hard.”  Rachael Russell added, “I’m proud of my teammates and proud to be a Rocket.”
The Rockets will now continue their winter sports schedule packed with basketball, swimming, and competitive cheerleading.
The first basketball games will be Dec. 10 at Ashtabula, while the first swim meet is scheduled for Jan. 15 in Canton.
Contact local coordinator Richelle Lefler with any questions at

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