COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Hundreds of young football players and cheerleaders battled it out Saturday at Historic Crew Stadium for the Legacy Youth Academy Football League Championship.

Legacy Youth Sports Academy helps the city’s at-risk children forge a positive future.

Saturday’s games were filled with opportunities for the children, from being inside a giant stadium for the first time to showing off their skills on the field. The event showed these children that they can do anything they set their minds to.

All season long, the players in the Legacy Youth Football League work toward Saturday and the championship games at Historic Crew Stadium.

“This is a great opportunity,” said player Sir’ryn Jones. “It’s exciting to know that people are watching me and get to see me and my teammates on the field.”

The top two teams in each age group got the chance to play for the trophy at the stadium. To get here, these kids not only had to succeed on the football field, but also in the classroom. 

“Grade cards just came out and all of these kids are eligible, so they have to turn in grade cards,” said Dominic Jones, executive director of Legacy Youth Academy. “You don’t normally see that in youth leagues, but it’s what they will be accustomed to in high school. So we are really trying to get them in a pattern where grades matter.”

Legacy Youth Sports is all about helping these children grow into productive adults and giving them the opportunity to succeed.

“I think it is just access to opportunity,” Jones said. “I think some kids who walk through these tunnels today are going to grow up to believe they can be anything they want to be, right? It isn’t about seeing what you can’t believe. I think them having access to a place that they have drove up and down the freeway and seen for many years and haven’t been inside of it, it’s huge, right?”

Jones said Saturday’s event was all about believing and showing the children that if you work hard, dreams like playing in a big stadium can happen.

“We know that we are serving the next councilman or councilwoman, the next fireman, firewoman, they’re right here on this football field,” he said. “So I think it’s important for us to foster an environment where they can grow.”

The last few games for Saturday’s event had to be canceled due to a safety issue involving some of the spectators. Overall, however, organizers said the event was a great success.