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New Era Of Stargel Stadium Brings Mixed Emotions

Ambriehl Crutchfield
The stadium has a video scoreboard and 3,000 seat capacity.

Robert Medallion, 17, plays left and defensive tackle on Taft IT High School's varsity football team.

He's has been playing varsity at Taft for three years, but his connection to the old Stargel Stadium dates to his first little league game.

Friday night, Taft IT High School is kicking off its first football game in the new stadium. The old one was torn down to make way for FC Cincinnati's stadium in the West End. FCC gave Cincinnati Public Schools $10 million to build the new facility.

Medallion says he knew change in the West End was coming. "We just gotta make the best of it," he says, adding he has mixed emotions about playing in the new stadium.

"It's very emotional for me because I played my first football game ever at Stargel Stadium. You know, it's just home away from home," he says.

Credit Ambriehl Crutchfield / WVXU
Coach Cargile directing plays as the team practices.

Taft IT Head Coach Jeff Cargile acknowledges that CPS' Athletic Director tried to alleviate obstacles while the team waited for the stadium to be built, but some hardships persisted.

"The off season was rough because we had to bus back and forth to Walnut Hills and Woodward," he says.

But, he says, the adversity also created and strengthened bonds between team members.

Taft's first game in the new stadium is against Withrow High School. Cargile says the matchup is a rivalry that's been on hiatus.

"The last time we played them was 2011. So, it's been awhile, it's been a long time coming," Cargile says.

Beyond this game, Cargile says their eyes are set on being the first CPS team since the CAPE Crusaders to win a play-off game.

Antonio Williams envisions his final year playing for Taft and playing in the stadium as a new opportunity.

"That's why I hope to set some goals on it," he says. "I want to leave it for our middle schoolers and the juniors and on down. We just want to set something and hopefully bring back a state championship."