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07 AHS girls Soccer,

Goochland Baseball take Big steps

scrÄąmmageplay the central virginia sports authority

Two days in June Western Albemarle completes its run to a second state title in three years. page 13

vol 7. issue 18 :: july 1, 2016


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07 AHS girlS Soccer,

goocHlAnd BASeBAll TAke Big STepS

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x’s and o’s

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07

Stage lit AHS girls soccer and GHS baseball arrive

13

Heavy it lies Western boys soccer wins state title again

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Game time Segregation-era athletes honored by VIAHA

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Not so random, or is it? Looking back at Albemarle boys soccer’s success

Two days in June vol 7 . issue 18 :: July 1, 2016

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New Digs Blue Ridge continues facility makeover

vol 7. issue 18 :: july 1, 2016

Western Albemarle completes its run to a second state title in three years. page 13

S ta f f Bart Isley, Creative Director Bob Isley, Infrastructure Director Ryan Yemen, Creative Editor O n th e Cov e r Western Albemarle’s Aidin Sinclair M i ss i o n Stat e m e nt Local sports are the lifeblood of every community in America, and we’re here to reach beyond the basics and give compelling accounts about Central Virginia athletes to our readers. Co ntac t U s [ e ] info@scrimmageplay.com [ p ] 434-249-2032

Community Partnership

Working hand in hand with Red Shoes Cville to support the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville. Choose the Red Shoes Cville special at www.papajohns.com


pregame

In uniform

William Monroe’s Sam Brunelle (center) stands before the National Anthem during Team USA’s U17 meeting with Brazil on June 27. Team USA made it to the tournament semifinals before falling to Australia. Brunelle, the only high school freshman on the squad, played in five games. She had nine points, four rebounds and a block in 21 minutes played. ✖ (Photo by USA basketball)

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First Quarter Fresh digs

Blue Ridge programs enjoying big renovations By Bart Isley

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Blue Ridge’s baseball field before construction. (Harry Buchanan)

{ Surf n’ Turf } CVa has seen a massive change in field upgrades. 2016 vs. 2008.

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Ka r a El der Ka r a El der

Tu rf i n ‘0 8

turf in ‘16

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lue Ridge’s athletic facilities took a big leap forward this fall when the Barons’ new turf field and track complex debuted, replacing the longstanding grass field with a split rail fence around it and an incredible set of mountain views.

Now the Barons have a first class, $2.1 million dollar facility and those same stellar views. “You become the athletic director and they’re immediately investing all this money,” said Blue Ridge athletic director Bryan Puckett, now entering his second year. “I get to come in right as this capital campaign was hitting full stride. A lot of work went into it from a lot of people above me, but this is just a blessing. It reinvigorates your programs really fast.” Now the Barons are preparing to take the next step, the final phase in this complete overhaul. This time the school’s lower fields in front of the school’s main gate are undergoing the change, with the instillation of two competition-quality grass fields, a driving range and a revamp of the school’s baseball field. It’s another big step in a strong capital campaign that was one of headmaster Trip Darrin’s top priorities when he was promoted into his current role. “When I first became head five years ago I talked to a lot of our alums and current coaches and teachers and I’d already been here five years anyway and I knew athletics play a big role in the school,” Darrin said. “It’s a source of pride for our students, a source of pride for our alums. That became my first priority.” When school’s invest in athletic facilities, be it public or private, a complete overhaul or minor improvements, there’s a psychological benefit to players, coaches and the school community at large. William Monroe High, the school that has undergone some of the most extensive improvement over the last 10 years, has seen those benefits in action and Blue Ridge saw that with the turf and track installations that were completely donor-funded

thanks in part to a matching grant program. The track meet Blue Ridge hosted in midApril was the first hosted at the school in 20 years and the entirely new track also opened the door for the Barons to host the VIC/BRC conference championship track meets. There are big benefits to hosting events like that as well as the summer camps that utilize Blue Ridge during the summer. The new advancements could help boost programs like Blue Ridge’s baseball team that is slowly starting its resurgence and a golf team that has included some top notch golfers like East Tennessee State’s Chris Hickman. The school’s new driving range will included a target green and some other key improvements that weren’t part of the original plan. “It’s been hard to manage the experienced players with the beginning players and this facility will definitely help that,” said Darrin, who serves as the school’s golf coach in addition to his headmaster duties. “We’ll kind of be able to have a JV program or a beginners program to really introduce the sport.” After the new project is complete -groundbreaking is set for August -- Blue Ridge will have completed an incredible two year rework. Then the question just becomes what’s next for the Barons. “So many new applicants come to us because they want college-prep academics but they also come to us because they have an interest,” Darrin said. “When a student comes on campus and they see these facilities for the first time, usually it’s a dealmaker.” ✖

go online »

For more Barons coverage head over to our website at: www.scrimmageplay.com


College Update

We’ve gone digital

St. Anne’s alumnus Sadie Bryant excelling at Gardner-Webb

But you can have it in print too!

By Bart Isley The fact that Gardner-Webb was in its second year of women’s lacrosse competition certainly helped increase the possibility that Sadie Bryant could make an impact as a freshman. But Bryant didn’t just contribute, she emerged as one of the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ top players in short order. Bryant came out of St. Anne’s-Belfield last year with one of the most diverse skill sets a college coach could ask for. Early in her career at Covenant, Bryant helped power the Eagles to a state championship as a lockdown defensive presence, earning all-state honors in the process. When she joined what was a quickly blossoming, loaded edition of STAB’s girls lacrosse team, Bryant transitioned to play attack where she was a strong contributor to a squad that made a run to the state semifinals during her senior campaign. During that year she scored 22 goals and notched 14 assists. At Gardner-Webb, she started all 17 games of the season in the midfield as a freshman and scored 19 goals for the Runnin’ Bulldogs while also dishing out six assists. That effort

made Bryant the squad’s fourth-leading scorer on the season, and she was also fourth for Gardner-Webb in ground balls and second in draw controls with 43 controls on the year. She also made 46.3 percent of her shots, also good fourth on the squad. Twice Bryant tallied hat tricks, including one huge performance against St. Francis in early March. That’s when Bryant’s third goal came with 3:05 to play. That score put Gardner-Webb up 12-11 and the Runnin’ Bulldogs held on to win, earning the program’s second ever victory while ending a five-game losing skid that started the season. The Bulldogs also picked up a late season win against Presbyterian where Bryant scored twice. She scored two or more goals in four of the Bulldogs’ last five games of the season. Gardner-Webb is poised to return 17 letterwinners next year as the program enters its third season. When Bryant left STAB, she was excited to get the chance to help build a program at Gardner-Webb. Now she’s a big part of that program’s present and future. ✖

How to get a physical copy of scrimmage play Step 1 :: Click here and head to the MagCloud version of the magazine. It’s going to look like this below:

BELOW » Once a defender, STAB alumnus Sadie Bryant had a succesful freshman year at Gardner-Webb with 36 points in 17 games. (Tim Cowie)

Step 2 :: Click the Buy Print button next to the magazine and follow instructions to order Step 3 :: Wait patiently by your mailbox Step 4 :: When it arrives, take it out and read or stash away to your heart’s delight!

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STAGE

Lit

Story by Bart Isley Photos by Ashley Thornton and Bart Isley 07 :: @scrimmageplay


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hicago Cubs fans have made “this is our year” into a cottage industry and they’re not the only first or the last. In every sport, at every level, there is often talk of “this is the year” or “this is the team” or “we’re finally there.” It’s that sense of hope, that relentless approach to each

season that makes sports what it is. Programs and teams that never quit, that keep knocking on the door until they finally kick it in. But that moment when the group that kicks in the door arrives more often than not doesn’t arrive when everyone thinks it’s the year. Sometimes it comes when all the right pieces are plate, but a lot of times, it comes the year before. Or a year later. For Goochland baseball, the Bulldogs’ breakthrough came when it was supposed to, with a loaded senior class led by Coleman Duty, Reid Chenault and Scott Carter. For Albemarle girls soccer, it, came the year after a class led by Jazzy Loredo and Carmen Thomas graduated. No matter when, it happened. Both programs kicked in the door and advanced to the state final four, the state title game for the Bulldogs. This was that year. That takes years of work, and in both cases, serious resilience and focus.

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“It’s definitely one of our strongest points, having so many leftHanders and Tanner, a hardthrowing righthander... And Frank (Mayosky) a righthander too. We have an even number of people with each arm and it’s really easy to keep them off balance.” — Duty

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It’s easy to lose track of the big picture during a season. When Tanner Bradshaw was working a no-hitter in the Conference 34 final, Goochland baseball didn’t lose focus, they stuck to the plan. Coach Wes Farkas brought in Nick Norman, a hard-throwing lefthander, to close out the game. Forget about no-hitters. Forget about personal achievements. The Bulldogs were set on making a run, starting with ending a two-year streak of losses in the Region 2A East quarterfinals. Making sure one of Group 2A’s deepest pitching staffs was fresh, ready and primed, that was what mattered. “He does a really good job with that,” said senior lefthander Coleman Duty of Farkas’ staff management. “Most of the time we stay on that schedule, and our season is pretty solid if we stay on that schedule.” Duty and power righty Bradshaw were just the tip of the iceberg for the Bulldogs, who boasted a particularly strong crop of lefthanders capable of keeping pretty much anyone Goochland faced off balance. That staff was seasoned too, throwing more than 100 combined innings going into the season, and with Farkas managing their workload nicely, he was able to get maximum effort from that group. “It’s definitely one our of strongest points, having so many leftanders and Tanner, a hardthrowing righthander,” Duty said. “And Frank (Mayosky) a righthander too. We have an even number of people with each arm and it’s really easy to keep them off balance.” The lineup wasn’t a slouch either. They were stocked with key standouts like Andrew Harcum who earned Group 2A All-State honors at second base as well as Scott Carter, a Longwood-bound outfielder. Bradshaw was one of the state’s best two-way threats too flashing some serious power at the plate in addition to his efforts on the mound. The Bulldogs’ march really got going in the Region 2A East quarterfinals as the Conference 34 champions tried to overcome the round that for two straight seasons had proven to be a stumbling block. Goochland knocked off Nandua 4-0 in that round, leaning heavily on Duty’s complete game shutout and a two-run homerun by Bradshaw that put the game out of reach. Then in the region semifinals, a state tournament qualifier and elimination game, Bradshaw took the mound and struck out four while allowing just three hits and striking out four. Harcum exploded in that contest, going 4-for-4 with three doubles in a dominant performance. Goochland fell to Maggie Walker in the region finals, setting up a meeting with Region 2A West champion and perennial powerhouse Virginia High in the state semifinals. With a state final four berth as a major accomplishment under their belts, there wasn’t much pressure on the Bulldogs, but they played like they had everything to lose. Goochland exploded for 11 runs, including nine in the sixth inning that blew the game wide open and led to the 11-4 victory. Duty, Norman and Frank Mayosky combined for the win on the mound while Harcum again blew up with a 2-for3 night. Mayosky also knocked in a pair of runs.


Academic Edge

s p o n s o r e d

b y

h a r g r av e

m i l i ta r y

a c a d e m y

Albemarle’s Sheila Ford

For four years, Sheila Ford has been a member of Albemarle’s varsity soccer team. Ford has been a fixture for the Patriots through four straight district championship-winning seasons. “She is an incredibly reliable individual, but one of the neatest traits about this young lady is that whatever she is doing she will give you every single thing she has,” said Albemarle girls soccer coach Amy Sherrill. “She truly understands being in the moment.” Ford’s managed to be in the moment for the Patriots’ girls soccer team while also putting together a 4.65 GPA in Albemarle’s Math, Engineering and Science Academy. She’s also balanced cross country and indoor track with being the president of the school’s National Honor Society. Those are huge accomplishments, but it’s Ford’s attention to detail that’s stood out to Sherrill. “Sheila has a willingness to do the small things right which is something I admire,” Sherrill said. “She sets a strong quiet example for those around her. Maybe that’s the key for the Clark University-bound senior -- be in the moment and do the small things right. It worked awfully well for her four years at Albemarle.

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The Academic athlete of the issue is selected by Scrimmage Play’s staff with the consultation of coaches and athletic directors. To nominate an athlete email info@scrimmageplay.com

1-800-432-2480 | www.hargrave.edu I m p r o v e d g r a d e s / 1 0 0 % C o l l e g e Acc e p t a n c e f i n d u s o n fa c e b o o k

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That win set up the rematch with Maggie Walker, where Goochland fell 3-1 in a narrow, hotly-contested state final. The Bulldogs’ bats finally slowed down in the season’s final game, preventing the perfect ending to Goochland’s season. But that can’t tarnish what Goochland did to get there. Ten years after the Bulldogs won a state title in 2006, a group of players who’d been turned away twice from making a run didn’t roll over and accept their fate. They came charging back and made their year the year.

“We’re so proud of them and their efforts. They grinded and they were tough... It was great for us to get this experience, to have this taste in our mouth.” — Sherrill

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By all accounts, last year’s edition of the Albemarle girls soccer team was the year. The 2015 version had an electric striker in Carmen Thomas, now at James Madison. They had Jazzy Loredo, now at Winthrop who did a little bit of everything for the Patriots in the midfield. They also had a rock on the back line in Raigan Tarkington until a knee injury in early May ended her season and keeper Grace Leytham, a longtime fixture in net. The Patriots were primed for a big run after a long history of coming up a goal or two short in elimination games in the postseason, usually in the region tournament, whether it was the Northwest tournament or the Region 5A North gauntlet, under former coach Jon Hall and current coach Amy Sherrill, the Patriots simply couldn’t get over the hump. But Tarkington got hurt and even with a battalion of seniors, Albemarle couldn’t power its way into the state tournament, falling in the region quarterfinals, two games short of a state bid. Which brought Albemarle to this season. Sure there were key parts like Sunny Gelnovatch, one of the area’s best, in the midfield plus Hannah Eiden at forward and junior Brooke Bauman in the squad’s creator role. But overall, there wasn’t as much flash on paper and there were a lot of younger players like freshman Megan Schantz being asked to take on big roles. There was also a new face in net in junior Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper. This wasn’t supposed to be the year. But then, quite suddenly after another strong campaign in the Jefferson District, it was exactly that. “We’re so proud of them and their efforts,” Sherrill said. “They grinded and they were tough.” Albemarle won the Conference 16 championship. fought through the region woes that had plagued them for years and burst into the state tournament with a region semifinal victory over Briar Woods. The Patriots lost to Tuscarora in the region final, falling to the Huskies for the third straight year after Tuscarora knocked them out in 2014 and 2015. But it didn’t matter, the Patriots were headed to the state tournament. Albemarle suffered some heartbreak at the hands of Mills Godwin, falling in multiple overtimes in the state semifinals. But like with Goochland, that loss doesn’t


overshadow what the Patriots accomplished. “It was great for us to get this experience, to have this taste in our mouth,” Sherrill said after the loss to Godwin. “We lose a lot with our seniors, but we’re moving forward and we’re not done yet.” All those young starters and the players asked to take on new or expanded roles met the challenge. Schantz was tremendous in the back, Bauman took a huge leap forward and became one of the area’s most dynamic creators, finishing with 13 assists on the year. Eiden was a force as well, with 13 goals and six assists. Tyler-Cooper posted 18 shutouts in net. Leticia Freitas scored 12 goals. Three sophomores, Madison Kersey, Gracie Williams and Katie Schnell wreaked havoc on most of the Patriots’ opposition. It was proof that sometimes, it doesn’t become “the year” until a group of tough-minded, determined players make it the year. It’s a hard path either way--to be Goochland baseball and meet expectations or to be Albemarle girls soccer and exceed them. But whenever it does happen, it’s a thrilling thing to watch. ✖

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HEAVY IT LIES Story by Ryan Yemen Photos by Ashley Thornton

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here was a very different rhythm to the playoffs than the regular season for the Western Albemarle boys soccer team. For two months, there was a routine, practices mixed in with games and then all of the sudden, those practices flew out the window. From Conference 29 play through the Region 3A West tournament, the Warriors found themselves trying to adjust things on the fly. Instead of getting to host their region semifinal, Western got the joy of traveling to Roanoke on a spotty grass field that spent most of the day getting drenched. Three days later, Western faced it’s playoff nemesis — Blacksburg. “When you get to the postseason, you’re playing so many games that you don’t get the chance to practice they way you would normally,” said Western coach Milo Oakland. “You’re trying to maintain, stay healthy and just get to the next game.” The adversity in that week of the region tournament was hardly Western’s first bout. April had its moments for the Warriors. A 2-2 tie with Monticello was followed by 1-0 win over Albemarle. That would be the Patriots lone loss of the season as they went on to win a Group 5A championship. But the Warriors’ triumph there was short lived as just a few days later, they tied with Fluvanna County. Then Western saw Albemarle again and it was not the same close game the two had in the first meeting with the Patriots winning 2-0 in a weather shortened affair.

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“It was clear he wanted to be

up top and score goals. He knew what his role had become, what we wanted from him. That speaks to his maturity and growth.” — Oakland

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The Warriors won eight straight games from the end of the regular season through the Region 3A West semifinal. They outscored their opponents 46-4 with three of those goals coming at the hands of Rockbridge in a wild 4-3 win to earn a Group 3A bid. It was there where Western flirted with blowing the game open as Aidin Sinclair, Jake Paulson and Alex Moreno looked unstoppable, but at the same time, lapses put the team in a spot where the underdog looked poised to deliver the Warriors a massive upset. It didn’t happen, but the feeling after that wasn’t jubilation, but rather relief. And after a hard fought 1-0 loss to Blacksburg in the Region 3A West championship, Western was heading into the state tournament feeling not quite themselves. “You actually tend to get a little worse in terms of execution and we saw that in the playoffs,” Oakland said. “Then we got onto a field that we just weren’t comfortable with, you’re playing on a much smaller field and on long grass. That threw us off. You couple all of that together and get what we got. But when you get to the state tournament, you get a week to practice. That was just huge for us.” So with three full days to get back to business before heading to Lynchburg for the state semifinals, the Warriors used every minute of they could. Tuning things up on defense actually meant rediscovering how things worked on offense, getting the transition game going. “It was all about getting back to our offensive combinations and getting possession to where it was aggressive and being dynamic again,” Oakland said. “As coaches, we saw that in the region tournament and knew what was wrong. We just didn’t have the time to work on it. But the guys, in that first state game, we re-established who we wanted to be.” That first game pitted the Warriors against James Monroe. The Yellow Jackets had won eight straight games including a 3-2 win over Tabb in the Region 3A East championship. Moreover, the only team to beat Monroe all season was Chancellor. But in spite of what appeared to be a significant uphill climb out of the gate, Western Albemarle seemed unphased. And if Sinclair was on your roster, you’d be unphased too. Western’s tradition of quality strikers goes back a long, long ways. Before Sinclair came into his own, it was Forrest White, who led the Warriors to a Group 3A championship in 2014. And getting Sinclair to become this goal scoring engine that drives this Western offense did not happen overnight. “It’s a team mentality but every team needs that goal-scorer and that was Aidin’s role,” Oakland said. “Last year I didn’t get the sense that he felt this was his team, his responsibility to be the next Forrest White. But from the start of this year, it was clear he wanted to be up top and score goals. He knew what his role had become, what we wanted from him. That speaks to his maturity and growth.” Becoming that deadly striker meant a change in mentality, establishing a level of trust with Sinclair’s teammates on the wings. He was that guy on the wing and now Oakland wanted him to make a transition. “My first two years I was playing behind Forrest, I was assisting a lot of his goals and trying to be a creator,” Sinclair said. “Playing up top, this year the goal was finishing what my teammates created, not as much assisting and creating like I did before. It was about putting away what was being created behind me.” What Sinclair did to open the game against Monroe is going to be talked about for quite sometime. In the first 20 minutes, the senior


See a photograph you like? Defensive stand Warriors goalie has more than one trick | By Ryan Yemen

At Scrimmage Play we pride ourselves on offering the best possible graphics Two years ago the Western Albemarle boys to Shin, who doubles as a Junior National Judo soccer team get was fueled its underclassmen medalist, we can our byhands on, in both our but has developed into one of the with sophomores and freshman bearing the area’s most versatile goalkeepers. magazine as well as at our website at brunt of the work load. The netminder has shown he’s capable of Now two years later, forwards Aaron Myers making big saves, particularly in the team’s www.scrimmageplay.com and Alex Nolet, as well as senior defender two ties. In the first game of the season, Tom Rogers are all in their senior seasons and looking to earn a Region II bid, something that Orange County snatched away from them in the Jefferson District semifinals last season. After the first month of play, the Warriors seem to have the defensive side of the equation figured out and junior goalkeeper Kai Shin is a big part of that. Before Western went on its spring break, none of its four opponents were able to score more than once, a testament to the team’s play in the middle of the field, but also a nod

Shin endured wave after wave of Albemarle attack, but stood tall and showed no rust in the 1-1- tie. But while Shin’s on the field because he can make stops, his strong leg has also been of great use as he’s able to easily clear the zone but also spark fast breaks all by himself. The Warriors averaged a little over two goals per contest before the break, but if that average starts to increase, don’t be surprised if it’s because of Shin’s ability to contribute to the transition game. ✖

We want to make sure that our readers have the same opportunity to have these photos. If something catches your eye in either the magazine or on the web, you can order the photograph for yourself.

Whether it’s a 4x6 glossy print or a 13x11 mounted photo, we’ve got a full range of possibilities for you to choose from.

Western Albemarle’s Kai Shin hauls in a shot during his team’s 1-1 tie with Albemarle that kicked off the soccer season for both squads. (Frank Crocker)

Simply visit our smugmug website at

scrimmageplay.smugmug.com Covenant 1/2 page

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striker took four shots, nailed all of them and put his team up 4-0. “In those last couple of games he was just so clutch,” Oakland said “I’m still in awe of what he did. Those four goals on four shots in just 16 minutes, I don’t think I’ll ever see that again.” As for the man behind the surge, Sinclair points to the energy level before the game providing the spark. “We would get really hungry to win and if we saw a team that wasn’t where we were at the beginning of the game, we were ready to take advantage of them really quickly,” Sinclair said. “In the first 20 minutes, (Monroe) just wasn’t ready and we took advantage of it and I just happen to be lucky enough to put all four shots away.” But Western is a far deeper team than just Sinclair. Jake Paulson had a huge season creating a lot of Sinclair’s goals, and his work on corner kicks was integral. Daniel Forsman was a regular contributor and the Warriors got a breakout season from sophomore Alex Moreno to help things out on offense. Senior Colin Moore anchored the defense in front of senior standout goalie Jonathan Whyte. Jed Strickland, just a sophomore, started every game and was big difference maker defensively. “Everyone contributed and when we did the All-state voting, the other coaches noted about just how big and fast our whole team was,

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“The other coaches noted about just how big and fast our whole team was, just how deep it was.” — Oakland

just how deep it was,” Oakland said. So after the Sinclair show to open up the state tournament, Western’s depth took over with Forsman getting a goal to put things at 5-0. The Yellow Jackets picked up a goal on a penalty kick to make it 5-1 going into the break, and while they netted another goal on a penalty kick in the second half, it was made moot by a Jed Strickland goal to wrap the game up at 6-2. And as it just so happens, on the other side of the bracket,


Blacksburg took down Tabb to set up a rematch of the Region 3A West title game, a rematch of the 2014 Group 3A title game — Western versus Blacksburg in the last game of the year. “We hold ourselves to a really high standard and we felt like we could have won that first game with them,” Moore said. “I think we’re all glad we got to play them again.” Out of the gate against the Bruins, the Warriors had some chances, and with 20:20 left in the first half, senior Carrington Murphy buried a shot from Paulson to make it a 1-0 lead for Western. Continuing a weekend long theme, the Warriors were hit with a PK midway through the second half, and that allowed Blacksburg to get the equalizer. However, just a little more than 10 minutes later, Forsman scored off a corner kick from Paulson and Western was back out in front 2-1. “I wasn’t quite convinced at that point,” Sinclair said. “I was still worried they were going to get a goal and we were going to have to go to overtime. So I didn’t think we were going to win until I heard that final whistle.” Western did the job defensively though. That 2-1 score held until the last whistle and gave the Warriors their second state championship in three years. “You look back now and start to draw a lot of parallels,” Oakland said. “Two senior heavy teams, strong leadership. This team was complete and very even from the top player to the bottom. I think that speaks to how we won this thing again.” For the seniors, there’s a level of pride that kicks in as so many of them were on that 2014 team and now they have their signature win, their state title. “It means a ton to us,” Moore said. “It’s so awesome that we get to look back on our high school careers and see that we brought Western two championships. It’s amazing to think about.” There’s plenty of summer left to bask in the glory. A lot changed between the Monday when Western first faced Blacksburg and the Saturday when the Warriors left Lynchburg as state champions. This was always within reach for Western when they started the year. But in one week of practice and two games in two days, it was fully realized. ✖

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Game Time VIAHA inducts first class of HOF By Ryan Yemen

Members of the first VIAHA Hall of Fame class were honored on June 21. (Ryan Yemen)

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It was a night that took two years to put together in terms of organization, but in the grand scheme of things, this was something that former students have clamored for over decades. The Virginia Interscholastic Association (VIA) and its predecessor, the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic League (VIAL), were the organizing bodies for the Commonwealth’s black schools during segregation. It’s an era in high school sports that stretched from 1914 until 1969 when integration began. With little media coverage, and a number of records being displaced over the years, so much of the glory that happened scholastically during the segregation era athletics has fallen to the wayside. Despite a lack of stats, the Virginia High School Hall of Fame, a joint operation between the Virginia High School League (founded in 1913, and which merged with the VIA in 1970) and the Virginia High School Coaches Association (founded in 1947), has been able to honor a number of former students, coaches and contributors, from this era, but not to the satisfaction of so many that played in the VIA/VIAL’s time. So something needed to be done. As such, in March of 2014 a group of former students, coaches and media members from that era met at Virginia State University to found the Virginia Interscholastic Association Heritage Association, a non-profit organization, to shine a light on this particular era of athletics. A little over two years later at the DoubleTree in Charlottesville, a banquet was held for the first 27 inductees to the VIAHA Hall of Fame. “The VIA was a powerful equalizer in a time of state-sanctioned inequality,” said VIAHA chairmain Jimmy Hollins. “Its impact upon thousands and thousands of young men and women presented them with a lifetime of hard earned accomplishments.”

Four former Central Virginia students and/or coaches were among the 27 inducted. They included NFL Hall of Famer Roosevelt Brown, coaches Robert Smith and Claerence Jones and band director Elmer Sampson. Brown attended Jefferson High and graduated in 1947. He went on to Morgan State and was a 9-time Pro Bowler and a key component of the New York Giants 1956 championship team. He was inducted posthumously. He died in 2004. Smith coached at Burley and in a 9-year run at the school, led the football team to a 73-11-2 record, including a perfect 9-0 season in 1956 where his team went unscored upon. Smith was also inducted posthumously. He died in 1997. Jones took over for Smith at Burley. He won three VIA Western District titles for the Bears. He became a staff member at the VHSL in 1970 and was critical in helping with the VIA/ VHSL merger that took place at that time. Sampson, who graduated from Jefferson High, went on to become the band director at Burley in 1955. He served at that post for 12 years. He later became the band director at Albemarle. Sampson was also inducted posthumously. He died in 1999. With a great deal of the first class of the VIAHA HOF being honored after their deaths, much of the focus during the ceremony was driving home the importance of remembering the names of these individuals who paved the way for the athletes that followed, both during integration and today. “While the memories of the VIA are fading, it’s impact needs to be preserved and the memories of the VIA revitalized for future generations of students and their families.” The VIAHA plans to make this an annual event, but its first class of its Hall of Fame is nothing short of impressive, and as Hollins has said many times before — long overdue. ✖


team Spotlight Mike Brown Football Camp For the third straight year, Monticello almunus and Carolina Panther wide receiver Mike Brown returned to Central Virginia to give back to the area’s youth. Joining Brown were Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts III and New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings. Great job, guys and keep up the good work! You’re an inspiration to these kids!

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Overtime

Not so random, or is it? AHS soccer’s success in even number years piles up

C

oincidences in sports, they’re everywhere. We live in a world of numbers. Random numbers interest fans and those around athletics. Coincidences in statistics are designed for those of us who cover all these games, and, well, degenerate gamblers. Thankfully, at Scrimmage Play, that latter part is satisfied by setting our lines in our “Weekly Briefing” segments on our web site. So 2012, 2014, 2016, all years that the Albemarle boys soccer team has played in a state championship game, two state titles sandwiched in between a runner up showing. Forget about looking to 2017, I’m looking at 2018. In all three of those runs by Albemarle, it’s been a strong senior class leading the way, which is to be expected. But in each of those runs, sophomores from those squads blossomed into outstanding players. Matt Natale was a sophomore goalkeeper in 2012 when Albemarle won the program’s first ever Group AAA championship. The next year he stepped out of the goal, played defense and then in 2014 he got back between the posts and was nothing short of huge for the Patriots as they earned a Group 5A title berth. Brendan Moyers, Griffin Coffey? They were sophomores on that 2014 squad’s Cinderella run. Two years later, they’re two of the best players in the state on a state title team. So what about the Class of 2018? Well as it happens, Andrew Weber played a huge role offensively this year. So did Logan White and Matt Balcells on defense. With an emerging talent at forward in Brandon Mahon, just a freshman, the Patriots have this core of really young talent ready to follow in the footsteps of the senior class they followed and respected so much en route to a championship. “I was just happy to be on the team this year,” Balcells said. “The seniors were great leaders, they directed us in practices, warm ups and just got us ready.” And I think what I enjoy most about state championship teams, and this is regardless of the sport, is trying to watch a program piece things back together. I think what we’re seeing from Albemarle is a cycle where the baton gets passed, the next group picks it up and learns as juniors and then gets stark-raving hungry as seniors to go out on top. And it’s in those uneven years, the 2011, 2013 and 2015 seasons where these groups have sharpened their teeth. Listen, the junior class that Albemarle has taking the reigns is truly impressive. Eliya Budugure is a dynamic player on offense and Michael Vaughn might be the best defender in the area. So 2017 is going to have a ton of weight to it. This run by Albemarle, it’s not over. Next year isn’t a rebuilding year in the traditional sense. There are some big names to replace, but a lot of the underclassmen are ready to step into some of the roles the seniors from this team commandeered. So while it’s convenient to look at 2018 because its lines up with ‘12, ‘14 and ‘16, that’s what separates all of us, media, fans, parents, whatever, from the players. It’s no secret that athletes have superstitions, some sports having more prominent believers than oth-

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“We lose five starters but there are a lot of guys coming back. We’re looking forward to it.” ers (I’m looking at you baseball, softball). But when it comes to numbers, they don’t care. Athletes live in the there and now. So while I’m geeked out about the idea of 2018 being a state title run, it’s actually kind of stupid. It’s coincidence, it’s convenient, it’s interesting, but it’s not important. What is? Well for the underclassmen, it’s simple — when is the next game, like the very next one. We all know the cliche, right? I mean even if it’s a scrimmage in early March, that’s the next target, not what any of us outside of the program have in mind. “Hopefully we’ll have a great season,” Balcells said. “We lose five starters but there are a lot of guys coming back. We’re looking forward to it.” And so are we, and sometimes just a little too far ahead for our own good. But that’s why they play the games. ✖

Ryan Yemen,

creative Editor

back talk »

How will Albemarle soccer bounce back in 2017? Let me know at: ryan@scrimmageplay.com


Success stories begin here.

Success Story: Fletcher Arritt Fletcher Arritt’s ties to Fork Union run deep. His ties to basketball stretch far. Upon his retirement in 2012, USA Today called him “the best coach you haven’t heard of.” Arritt might go about his business quietly, but his efforts have made an unbelievable impact and as such, he was inducted into the elusive Virginia High School Hall of Fame this February. Back in 1959, Arritt arrived at Fork Union from Fayetteville, Wv. As a post graduate basketball player, he was a captain while also participating in track and field. From there he went on to continue his basketball and track and field career at the University of Virginia. Just a few years later, he returned to FUMA, now as a teacher and coach. In 1966 he taught biology while also coaching basketball, track and football. In 1971 he took

over the postgraduate basketball team. Since then, more than 500 players have gone from his program to play in college and more than 200 of those played Division 1 basketball. Seven of those players made it to the NBA. In his time as the PG basketball coach, Arritt turned FUMA into one of the country’s most elite programs. In 42 years coaching, he won 888 games and lost just 280 times. Fletcher Arritt found his way to Fork Union just after high school and then found a back way to help FUMA, it’s students, and so many of his colleagues in a way that cannot be understated. Arritt’s journey is one of hard work and integrity. He is the example of the Fork Union way, and as such, it’s not a surprise he’s now in the Hall of Fame.

Fork Union Military Academy is the leading Christian military boarding school for boys in grades 6 - 12 and PG. www.forkunion.com — 1-800-GO-2-FUMA

Volume 7, Issue 18  
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