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Written by: Alex Fydryszewski on Thursday, March 18th, 2021
La Roi Johnson
Sto Rox HS
-Played Basketball and Football at Peabody HS(Pittsburgh)
-Played TE in college-2 years at California University of Pennsylvania and 2 years at Malone University
-Played 9 years of Professional Football-Arena\Indoor
-Graduated Class of 2017 Sports Management Malone University
What is the most rewarding part of being a high school football coach?
Most rewarding part is watching my kids grow from boys to men and watching them overcome their own doubts and fears to become better men.
What is the most challenging part about being a high school football coach?
Most challenging is the sacrifice your family will endure. Time is the thing you can never get back.
Your team has steadily improved under your watch, going from 6-4 to 11-1 and 8-1, quickly returning Sto-Rox to powerhouse level. What has been the most rewarding part of guiding the program’s return to a power position?
All of it feels awesome! I love having our town support our kids and watching our kids realize how special they are.
How do you feel the team responded to the jump from Class A to AA, returning to the larger class for the first time since 2015?
We responded very well to the new challenges of a conference(switch). We kept our poise in games while also maintaining our standard of play.
How do you feel your team responded to last year’s challenges of a limited pre-season program and week-to-week decision making on if games would be played?
The challenges we go through every day in live prepare us for any challenges we face in sports.
Your team showed its grit last year to be able to close several one score games, how does that translate week over week, momentum wise and what type of standard does that create year-over-year for returnees?
That grit translates in games going into the playoffs. You become battle tested. The standard is the (same) standard (of) Mike Tomlin—Score on every possession, get after it on defense and win in everything you do in life.
Speaking of returnees, you have one of the most gifted 2023 athletes in the state in Josh Jenkins. With nearly 1,500 yards passing at 20+ TDs in 2020 at the QB position, what type of step forward can he take in 2021, both on and off the field?
Josh is an outstanding athlete with multiple skillsets. We want Josh Jenkins to be Josh Jenkins and its been great so far. He is a 3.8 student, member of the student council and also on the youth advisory board of the McKees Rocks CD. The only thing Josh doesn’t do is babysit!
Outside of Jenkins, who are some of your key retrunees for 2021, what year are they and are they currently receiving any college recruitment?
We have multiple student-athletes receiving D1&D2 interest.
Zay Davis RB\Slot ‘23
Dre Miller Ross WR\DB ‘23
Deigo Ellis WR\DB ‘23
Terry Booth WR\DB ‘23
Jaison Johnson DB\WR ‘23
Amare Harper OL\DL ‘24
Mike Durrette DT ‘22
Zyhaire Young DT ‘22
Al Troop C ‘22
Are there any players you believe are poised for a breakout season in 2021 after getting initial experience in 2020?
David Taravella, OT. 6’6” 255lb. David is raw but size wise is D-1 yesterday. Former soccer player with outstanding feet. He will be a junior this season, sky is the limit!
Amare Harper OL\DL. 6’1” 260lb. Physically growing, strength improving. Started every game last year and toward the end of the season became anchor of the D-Line.
Taemar Hull LB. Physical, fast, violent, very good in coverage.
What do you believe are the biggest holes to fill as far as graduating seniors?
Replacing Dionate Givens will be the toughest challenge. He was our heart and soul. Unquestioned leader, he will be missed.
What will be the biggest challenge for your team as you prepare for 2021?
Maintaining the standard week to week. Staying grounded through the good times and bad.
What is the team goal for 2021?
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