29 Nov 2022 Conway Noon Rotary hosts Youth Football League’s Super Bowl
By David Grimes
The Conway Noon Rotary Youth Football League’s 2022 season recently came to a close.
A large crowd braved the cold and rain at Curtis Walker Park on Nov. 14, to watch the program’s final Super Bowl games. The league is operated by the Conway Noon Rotary Club and a host of volunteers, with help from multiple sponsors.
The Rotarians are now in their third year of running the program, taking over from the Conway Noon Optimist Club in 2020. The Optimists had previously dedicated several decades to the effort. Countless Faulkner County youth have participated in the program since the 1970s, making memories and friends.
The league, which welcomes both boys and girls, currently splits into two divisions based upon age. The younger group is made up of second- and third-graders, while the older classification is fourth through sixth grades. In addition, more than 70 girls were involved throughout the year as cheerleaders.
Thirteen teams participated this year. They are named after NFL franchises, including the Packers, Jets, Buccaneers, Saints, Patriots, Steelers, Jaguars, Bears, Titans, Chargers and Broncos. All were sponsored by local businesses. Squads from Mayflower and Bigelow participated as well. The games are played on Peyton Hillis Field, named after the former Conway High School and NFL star who played in this youth program when he was in elementary school.
This year, the trophies presented to the winning teams were named in honor of two other local football legends, Elijah Pitts and Greg Lasker. Both men were Super Bowl champions while playing in the NFL.
Pitts was born in Mayflower in 1938 and graduated from Conway’s segregated Pine Street High School in 1956. After playing at Philander Smith College, the running back was drafted by Green Bay in 1960. Playing for legendary coach Vince Lombardi, Pitts and the Packers won the first two Super Bowls ever played. He passed away in 1998.
Lasker is a Conway native who graduated from Conway High School in 1982. He went on to be a four-year starter at safety for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Drafted in the second round by the New York Giants in 1986, they won Super Bowl XXI his rookie season.
The early matchup featured the top two teams in the younger age group, the Centennial Bank Bears and the O’Malley’s Irish Grill Packers. The Packers scored on the very first play of the game but ultimately fell to the undefeated Bears, 21-7, to claim the Elijah Pitts Super Bowl Trophy. Grant Gordy, Conway community president of First Community Bank, who was the awards sponsor along with Billy’s Trophies, made the presentation to the victorious Bears.
In the older age group, the DeBoard Electronics Steelers squared off against the Jason Owens Law Firm Saints. The B-teams from each squad got to play first. The Steelers took a 14-0 lead into halftime, and that ended up as the final score.
In the much-anticipated A-team matchup that followed, the boys battled to a scoreless tie at halftime as the field conditions continued to get wetter and sloppier. In the second half, the Steelers finally broke through with the game’s only score to win, 6-0. The win avenged their only regular season loss.
Lasker was on hand to present the Super Bowl Trophy that bears his name to the champion Steelers. Each player from the winning team also received a Super Bowl ring.
Registration for the 2023 season will begin in the summer. More information can be found at ConwayYouthFootball.com.