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Running Down Hill Charlottesville looks to build on a strong start to the season. PAGE 13

VOL 8. ISSUE 2 :: SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

# F or k U n i on S trong

Almuni Profiles: Russell Bodine Russell Bodine hails from Scottsville, Virginia and first made his name playing for former Fork Union high school coach Micky Sullivan. As a junior and senior, he was an All-State honoree and helped the Blue Devils to VISAA Division 1 final four showing in 2009. As a three star recruit, he signed with North Carolina to play in college in February of 2010. At Chapel Hill, Bodine moved from his position as a guard in high school to playing under center. As a sophomore he started at 12 games. The following year he was as reliable as before and earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention as a red-shirt junior. That prompted him to test the waters at the next level. He was rewarded for his decision after he put 42 repetitions in the bench press at the NFL combine, the best in his class. With their fourth round selection, the Cincinnati Bengals made Bodine the 111th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. At just 22 years old, Bodine enter the Bengals training camp as the team’s projected starter, a job he held on to with a strangle hold. The Bengals have been to the playoffs in both of Bodine’s first two seasons. He’s started all 16 regular season games for Cincinatti and also in the playoffs. He became the first Bengals rookie drafted outside of the first round to start all games since Eric Steinbach did so in 2003. Bodine was a road grader in high school, in college and is now the same for the Bengals and quickly becoming one of the most reliable and valued centers in the NFL. He got his start and FUMA and even though he’s at the top now he’s never stopped working hard.

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

07 WesteRn GiRls

CRoss CountRy FoRGes aHeaD

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VICTORY IN THE JAR Western cross country finds inspiration


WALKING THE TALK Charlottesville football eager to prove itself


GAME TIME Madison County football edges Warren County


BACK FOR ROUND TWO Former local athletes becoming coaches

Running Down Hill VOL 8 . ISSUE 2 :: SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

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THINKING AHEAD Fluvanna’s Grooms calls it a career

vol 8. issue 2 :: september 29, 2016

Charlottesville looks to build upon a strong start to the season. page 13

S TA F F Bart Isley, Creative Director Bob Isley, Infrastructure Director Ryan Yemen, Creative Editor O N T H E COV E R Charlottesville’s Sabias Folley M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T 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 N TAC T U S [ e ] [ p ] 434-249-2032

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Found something Western Albemarle’s Jack Weyher comes up with an interception during his team’s 29-14 home win over Monticello. Also a wide receiver, the Warriors sophomore had four catches for 100 yards in what was a breakout game for Western after back-to-back losses to Brookville and then Spotswood. The Warriors get another big test as they head to the road to face an unbeaten Powhatan team on September 30. ✖ (Photo by Ashley Thornton)

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The Trainer’s table IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

Football helmet safety Making the best decision for your head By Erin Brooks


The four helmets with the best safety ratings according to a 2016 study done by Virginia Tech.





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While no one piece can prevent an injury from occurring; protective equipment, like a helmet, when fitted properly will help to reduce an athlete’s risk of injury. Impact factors, health and family history, and muscle activation play a big role in the variation and severity of injury, especially concussions. When it comes to football helmets the number of brands and models seem to multiply every year. Each one claims to have the latest and greatest in terms of safety. To help parents, coaches, and athletic trainers differentiate Virginia Tech developed the STAR rating system. This system rates the safety of 26 different adult football helmet models. Helmets that better reduce the head’s linear acceleration in a drop test are given a higher STAR rating. Researchers developed the STAR ratings to rank helmets in order of reducing an athlete’s risk of concussion. Currently only adult football helmets are rated, there is a ten-year plan to study hockey, youth football, lacrosse, baseball, softball, and bicycle helmets. A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head, face, neck, or body that causes a sudden jarring of the head. A properly fitted helmet controls the rate at which the brain and head accelerate during impact to reduce an athletes risk of concussion. No one helmet can prevent a concussion from occurring but based on research some helmets better distribute forces and better control head acceleration,

therefore reduce an athletes risk of injury. When selecting a helmet for your athlete, no matter what the brand or model, it must be fitted properly to ensure the utmost safety. Size should be determined by the athlete’s head circumference. Once properly sized, internal bladders should be inflated so that the front of the helmet is approximately one inch above the athlete’s eyebrows. When a twisting force is applied to the facemask the helmet should not move and the skin on an athlete’s forehead should shift. A chin strap should also be snugly fitted and centered on the athlete’s chin. It is important to re-check fit and bladder inflation prior to each practice or competition to ensure safety. Concussions are a growing concern in today’s athletic society, Erin Brooks is a Certified Athletic Trainer employed by ACAC. She graduated from Longwood University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and a concentration in Athletic Training. She earned her Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University of Pennsylvania in 2011.

Erin Brooks


for more info » 4 ::



afety is a top priority of every parent, coach, athletic trainer, and athlete when participating in sport. Whether it be a chest protector, face mask or helmet, everything has a purpose.

Check out the full Virignia Tech helmet study by going to:

First Quarter Thinking ahead

Fluvanna’s Grooms trades cleats for clipboard By Ryan Yemen


Fluvanna County’s Mark Grooms has played varsity football since his freshman year. (Bob Kenward)

{ THE BIG WIN } Grooms’ numbers in the Flucos’ win over Spotsylvania


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ery few athletes get to hang up the cleats on their own terms. It should have been different for Fluvanna County’s Mark Grooms as he’s a collegiate level talent. Life on the gridiron has changed though.

When the top-playmaker the Flucos went down against Culpeper after a late hit, he knew something was off. Grooms knew the feeling and given the science we have now when it comes to concussions, his fourth in a four-year varsity career meant making a decision that no high school athlete should have to make. But he did. “Concussions are a big deal and I just didn’t want to risk my life any further, the more it happens the more your brain is going to rattle,” Grooms said. “Getting a fourth concussion, it was rough. I love football to death and it’s my passion.” All Grooms ever wanted to was help the Flucos turn things around. It’s not easy to play week-in and week-out as the featured athlete and take a licking on a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2006. With that said, Grooms isn’t looking for sympathy. He’s learned the important lessons. Yes, he’s no longer suiting up for games, but no, he’s not leaving the field. “I plan on staying with the team, working on the sidelines and trying to motivate all the guys to keep getting better,” Grooms said. “I’m sure this team can do great things if everybody puts their minds into it.” In the second week of the season, Grooms had his finest moment. He’d always treasured the idea of being the starting quarterback his senior year. Against Spotsylvania, he had 265 rushing yards and 65 passing yards to lead the way to a 26-13 win that marked the Flucos’

first win since 2014. Fluvanna never trailed in the contest as Grooms broke open the game with a 77-yard run. “To be the starting varsity quarterback and win a game, I just thank God the way it happened,” Grooms said. “That was the last game I finished. It was a big game thanks to my linemen, my team around me. That was a great moment for Fluvanna County.” Yet what makes Grooms’ high school career so inspirational is that while the Flucos might be missing their most gifted athlete on the field, he’s not giving up on his teammates. “I always stay positive, they can win without me,” Grooms said. “And I’m going to be there to motivate them every week until the season ends. They’re always going to be family to me.” He’ll be there on the sidelines and hopes to serve as an extension of the coaching staff, looking to identify trends he sees and pass it along to his fellow teammates. If anyone understands the lessons of playing the game right now, it’s Grooms. “Every week we grind hard and hope we come out with a win but even if we don’t, we learn a lesson,” Grooms said. “It’s about coming out every Friday and trying your hardest.” Some kids really get it. And while it’s depressing that Grooms can no longer take the field, it sounds like he’s tailor-made to inspire this team, and given his passion, other football teams down the road now that he’s got the coaching bug. ✖

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College Update

We’ve gone digital

Black Knight alumnus kicks off collegiate career quickly

But you can have it in print too!

By Bart Isley Charlottesville’s Emmy Timberlake isn’t wasting any time making an impact at Denison University. Just two tournaments intro her career, she’s making some serious noise. Timberlake put together a solid high school career as a golfer. She earned AllJefferson District honors as a senior while helping lead the Black Knights to a Jefferson District title. She carded an 83 in the Jefferson District championships for Charlottesville and was part of a team that set school records for scoring. She also earned an All-JD nod as a junior as part of a squad that won the Conference 23 title and took third in a rainshortened Group 4A state championship field. That 2014 squad of Phillip Hoffman, Banks Northington, Thadd Probst, Zach Russell, A.J. Stouffer and Timberlake was loaded with talent and the 2015 group was also impressive, though the addition of Liberty Christian Academy to the conference field helped cut short a chance at a repeat trip to the state tournament. Timberlake was also the first female golfer from Charlottesville High to earn a state

tournament nod as an individual during that junior campaign. Now at Denison in Ohio, Timberlake is getting going again, this time turning in the Big Red’s best two-day score as an individual after putting together a 161 over the two day event, with a 79 on day one and an 82 on day two. Timberlake took fifth place individually in the Allegheny Invite, shooting par on 21 out of 36 holes. Denison took third place finish in a field of 13 schools at the Allegheny Invitational and finished just 27 strokes back of champion Gannon. Wittenberg took second. Timberlake also put together an 83 in on the second day of the Lynn Schweizer Invitational on Denison’s home course in Granville, Ohio. She finished in a tie for 34th in that event as an individual player. Timberlake is poised to do some big things at Denison, a school that benefited from another local product a few years back when Chapin Speidel was a big part of the school’s storied lacrosse program. Now Timberlake is getting her chance to make a mark in women’s golf. ✖

BELOW » Former Charlottesville golfer Emmy Timberlake has made a big splash as a freshman at Denison University. (Dennison Sports Information)

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:

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! ::




IN THE JAR 07 :: @scrimmageplay



JUST OVER TWO YEARS AGO, Western Albemarle’s Averi Witt saw her cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field seasons end in one fell swoop because of a knee injury. The then sophomore went through a lengthy rehabilitation process and was aided by the encouragement of her teammates. The Warriors got a jar, decorated it, and filled it with inspirational messages, some personal and some strictly motivational. It’s something that helped Witt stay focused on getting back to where she was after a long recovery period. Two years later, Witt and her teammates have a jar for another teammate. “When I had surgery two years ago, everyone came to visit and there was a jar and note from each person,” Witt said. “It meant a lot to me.” Last year Witt had a comeback year as she finished 13th at the VHSL championship to help the Warriors land a fourth place showing as a team, just five points shy of second place and fellow Jefferson District rival, Monticello. Leading the Warriors on that day was Zoe Clay, who finished fifth overall. ::




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And so going into the summer with Clay and Witt, Western Albemarle was excited about its prospects for the 2016 season considering the fact that four of their best young runners from last year were on the cross country circuit for the first time in 2015. This group wasn’t going to be as inexperienced, they were seasoned. They knew the rigors. It took one race for Central Virginia to learn just how good this group might be after a vigorous summer training program that caught fire amongst the runners. “We’ve always had a really strong two-mile (track and field) runners but in just the last year we saw all these young runners putting up times in the 12-minute range and it was just really impressive,” Western coach Katie Pugh said. “The best way to prepare from going to that to cross country is doing a lot of mileage during the summer.” So from the week school ended until the week it began, the bulk of this Western team was training on a variety of courses at 7 a.m. three times a week, piling up the miles at different intensities, doing all it could to prepare for a promising season. There’s an art to transitioning from track and field to cross country. It doesn’t just happen. “They were unofficial practices so they didn’t have to come but they did,” Pugh said. “That helps a lot because the biggest challenge is going from running for track to running on grass. It’s a very different surface, slower, and something you have to focus on the first three or four weeks of cross country season.” The Ragged Mountain Cup is the unofficial starting gun of cross country season locally held at either the end of August or beginning of September annually. It brings together nearly all of the Central Virginia schools, public and private into an exhibition two-mile relay race. So when one of the Warriors’ relay squads led by Clay and Witt broke the girls course record and then another relay team led by Jenna Hill and Grace Rainey placed fourth — suffice it to say, the Warriors were excited about what kind of season might rest ahead. But a lot happens between that race and the start of the postseason, which begins at the end of October. So when Clay — who was the individual champion at the RMC in the girls race this year, and finished eighth at the Fork Union Invitational two weeks later — was diagnosed with a stress fracture shortly thereafter, Witt knew exactly what to do. “When I heard that Zoe had a stress fracture I thought about that jar and knew immediately this was something I want to do for her,” Witt said. “She has the same support that I had. The team was for it, they wrote great notes and I’m glad that she appreciated it.” By catching the stress fracture early, Clay gave herself an opportunity to mount a comeback. She’s in the process of trying to get healthy while also keeping up the peak physical condition she and all the Warriors developed over the summer and continued into the fall. Since the indoor track season this past winter, that’s also involved a weight training program that includes kettlebells, resistance bands and a slew of core body workouts that promote developing and maintaining muscle groups all over, not just leg work. Barring any setbacks, the Warriors should have one of their top runners back in the fold just in time for the Conference 29 championship on October 26. “We’re so lucky that she and the doctors caught it early,” Pugh said. “She’ll be out for three weeks and back for the postseason races. That was a blow and she’s handled it so well.” In the meantime and with plenty of time to prepare, the Warriors







G O O C H L A N D ’ S C O R D E L L M AT T O X

Cordell Mattox just does his job. Week in and week out, whatever Goochland’s football program asks of Mattox, he gets it done. For years he’s been a defensive force. He’s also been a deep ball threat at wideout in years where Goochland wanted to air it out more with quarterback Reid Chenault, helping make it possible for the Bulldogs to utilize Chenault. This year he’s making an impact on both sides of the ball with 12 solo stops on the season and a game-changing 97-yard pick six against Essex while also catching six balls for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Pair that with the fact that he checks in with a 3.5 GPA and has earned an offer from Army to play football at West Point and it’s clear how seriously Mattox takes getting the job done. “He brings a physical presence to our secondary, but also does a great job in coverage,” said Goochland coach Joe Fowler. “He exemplifies what it means to be a student athlete.

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are working on developing the depth that was clearly evident at Panorama Farms at the end of August into an elite team. The Warriors have a star senior in Witt, but are still very young after that. A pair of sophomores are having breakout seasons for Western in Hill and Alyssa Santoro-Adajian. Both finished in the top-20 at the FUMA Invite, a race that features some public giants like Cosby, Patriot and Albemarle, all of whom compete at the Group 5A level in November. Western, a Group 3A program, finished third just behind the former two and just ahead of the latter in that race, one of their first five kilometer races of the season. With Hill and SantoroAdajian proving to be solid third and fourth runners for the Warriors, getting an unexpected gift this year with the addition of Danish exchange-student Claudia Giortz-Jorgensen has Western teaming with talent, even in Clay’s temporary absence. Throw in McGahren and Faith Reid and you have seven runners who put together sub-23 minute 5K races. “We were thrilled with that meet because it was excruciatingly hot,” Pugh said. “The girls all ran good times and we told them not to worry about the time but just worry about competing with who they were around. They wound up running great and putting up the times, or for some of them, better than where we expected them to be. And the other thing that made us excited was that even in that heat there was no drama — nobody played up the heat.” About that. Pugh has coached some exceptionally good teams and exceptional runners led by Mattie Webb (2011), Katie Farina (2012), and Annie Taylor (2015) just to name a few. In this group she sees a team that has not just the talent up front, not just the depth to follow, but also the chemistry and support needed to compete for a state championship. “When Averi brought the jar around again, it was like that’s the kind of thing this team does for each other,” Pugh said. “It’s wonderful to watch. It’s the least drama I’ve ever dealt with, the nicest girls and then also, just the toughest group. You give them a workout that so many girls would cringe at, try and get out of halfway through it and that just does not happen with them. I’ve never seen that. Where that comes from? I think they’re all just seeing nobody around them wants to give up, so they don’t give up. They’re doing this for each other. They do it in a quiet way too.” The cross country season is a bit strange as out of the gates, there aren’t too many 5K races to run and teams are trying to prepare and remain healthy for the big three week postseason run. What’s separating this Western team from some of the others since Pugh took over is the talent they compete with at Jefferson District level. There are four different teams that have been on the podium at the state level, whether it’s Group 3A or Group 5A, in the last six years. That’s made the overall product in Central Virginia immensely better. There is no shell shock come the end of October through midNovember. “This district has just improved so much in the last five years that it’s kind of hard to fathom,” Pugh said. “When I started coaching 10 years ago it was pretty much guaranteed that Western would be the strongest and that is not the case at all any more and that’s a great thing. Albemarle’s results, they went out to Oatland and ran phenomenally. Monticello last year, they were second in the state. Fluvanna just a few years ago was absolutely stellar and they still have great runners. It’s just so competitive and has made things so much better.” A lot of that is off the course stuff. Obviously how a team


SHE IS CROSS TRAINING SO HARD RIGHT NOW WE ALL KNOW THAT SHE IS GOING TO BE IN PEAK PHYSICAL FORM - WITT practices goes a long ways. The Warriors try and mix things up with their workouts in terms of intensity. A huge focus has been nutrition. This summer there was an emphasis on diet, not just eating healthy but mixing in a bunch of quality snacks and then smaller meals instead of just three big but healthy meals a day. That paired with the weight and flexibility program that carried over from the indoor track season is all different from last year. So with the Jefferson District championship coming in just a few weeks and then the Conference 29 championship not too far afterwards, the Warriors have a path that they are intent on sticking to. “The key for us going forward is we’ve kept up the mileage pretty

high, been going longer at practice than we did last year and so once we start scaling back the distances on our easy days starting next week, that the girls will have this extra energy to push through these next few weeks,” Pugh said. “In between the three days that they run, there are four other days that they need to be doing everything thing right. That means eating right, sleeping right. They’re doing those things.” From now until then, it’s training, maintaining and all about staying healthy or getting healthier. When a young team places fourth at the meet in The Plains and returns this much talent, it’s no shocker that expectations are high. This isn’t a ‘state title or bust’ kind of team as the field is always competitive at the Group 3A level. Also don’t forget that with so many young runners, and as outstanding as this team is already, it might even be better going forward. Nonetheless, the Warriors are excited about what lies ahead. Hopefully Clay is an integral part of that, but as this team waits for her to get back on course, the junior is already giving the jar back in way by inspiring her teammates with her rehab. “She is cross training so hard right now so we all know that she’s going to be in peak physical form,” Witt said. “She’s going to be a force.” Coming from someone who’s already a force on multiple planes, both as a runner and a leader on a squad that’s teeming with young talent, that means a great deal. When leadership, trust, talent and depth meet inspiration, well, good things happen. Just like those jars, at Western what comes around, goes around and right now what’s coming around is all good things. ✖ ::



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CHARLOTTESVILLE’S SADARIUS FOLLEY HEARS IT. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE THE SENIOR GOES, HE HEARS THE EXPECTATIONS. “Every time we walk in the store, the barber shop, everywhere, we see someone who is like ‘hey we saw you on the news, keep it up, you’ve got to keep winning’,” Folley said. “There’s a lot of pressure on us, you’ve just got to handle it.” But because of the work Folley and his teammates have put in, he isn’t worried about meeting those expectations. He’s not worried about letting anyone down. Not with the group of guys he’s got standing next to him. “We all grew up together and we all know what each other are capable of,” Folley said. “Every week we know it’s going to be somebody else stepping up. It’s just hard to stop.” Charlottesville is hell-bent on not letting another 3-1 start slip away like it did last year when it spiraled into a 3-7 record and no playoff berth. The Black Knights think this year is going to be different and the way they’ve bounced back from their week one loss against Dominion supports the fact that it might just be a much different run. The Black Knights are tough, they’re seasoned and they’ve got something to prove. ::


“If you stay posotive throughout the good plas and bad plays, you can come back from it.” - LOUDERBACK

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When Eric Sherry took over as Charlottesville’s head coach in 2011, if there was a day off of school but the Black Knights had practice, attendance was going to be sparse. “I’d maybe have five players here,” Sherry said. Five. Five isn’t enough to do much of anything. That’s no longer a problem. On a recent day where Charlottesville was out of school, the full complement of of Black Knights, minus a few on a field trip, were ready to work. Ready to get ready for Charlottesville’s next opponent. “That’s the mental part of just grasping that football is a lot of time invested,” Sherry said. “Show up, vest yourself, don’t be a jerk, understand what’s going on and get your education.” This is the kind of culture change that Sherry has talked about but hasn’t borne a ton of fruit in the way of wins just yet, with a 4-7 2012 campaign in his second year currently the best win total in his tenure. This is the kind of cultural change that takes time. It takes investment. It takes trust. It takes patience like the Black Knights showed with one of their most fearless, steady leaders, Lorenzo Louderback. Louderback has been around the Charlottesville program for six years. In seventh grade he rode the bus from Buford each day to be a manager after he was told he was ineligible to play junior varsity football at that age. In eighth grade, he was ready to join the junior varsity but he made a mistake that made it impossible for Sherry to allow him to play. “A mistake most people would send him to the end of the earth for,” Sherry said. “Instead of disbarring him, I told him he couldn’t play football, but what he could do is be with me every day and he worked to gain the trust of me and his teammates.” Since then, Louderback’s development has been amazing. He’s learned to handle his emotions on the field and help his teammates in ways that wouldn’t have been possible a couple of years ago. “Last year I saw if you get mad that’s not really helping anything,” Louderback said. “You’ll just stay mad. But if you stay positive throughout the good plays and bad plays, you can come back from it. You have to have maturity to win.” This edition of Charlottesville’s squad wouldn’t be the same without Louderback. “He’s a true leader now,” Sherry said. “He’s a hardnosed, tough kid who loves his teammates, loves his coaches.” He’s also emerged as one of the team’s most crucial players, playing on both sides of the ball as a fearsome, rover-type on defense who can stop the run and a hardcharging wing back on offense that’s really tough to bring down in space.


“I think my attitude has changed,” Louderback said. “I got quicker, as a lot of people can see and I just want every tackle.” He’s also put in the work in the weight room which has been a critical component for the Black Knights. Almost universally they point to the weight room’s remodel in the spring of 2015 as a big reason for their improvement. They’re stronger and better built to withstand the rigors of the season, but the hard work they put in has also helped bring the squad’s 25 or 30 core members together in a deeper way. They made a commitment to getting better in that room so they could have more success on the field, and it shows in players like Tre Durrett, another wing back in the triple option that complements hard-charging fullback and leading rusher Sabias Folley. Durrett isn’t nearly as big as Folley, but with work in the weight room he squats nearly 475 pounds, making him extremely tough to bring down in addition to being one of the team’s quickest players. “Lorenzo and Tre run hard,” Sherry said. “They run with purpose, they run with intensity.” None of that came easily for Durrett. He started as a freshman at cornerback before suffering a devastating foot injury. Since then he’s been a single-minded, football-first athlete. “He made a commitment to do nothing but train,” Sherry said. “This year I said, if you want to go play basketball or go run track, do that those are good things to experience in high school. He said “I want to play football, I want to get better.” All those backs can’t go anywhere without linemen. The Black Knights have had some good ones during the Sherry era, including Will White and Jeremiah Jordan who graduated in 2014. The current unit that was thrown into the fire last year has serious potential and they’re clearing the way for one of the best big backs in the area in Folley while also opening things up on the edge for Durrett, Louderback and Rakeem Davis. “They’re really talented, definitely the best backs I’ve ever played with,” said Charlottesville lineman Larry Henderson. “But everything starts up front, we have to actually make those blocks, open those gaps for them to get through.” J.D. Buckholz, Zavion Johnson and Henderson are among those linemen who can pave the way, and there’s clearly a trust level that’s been built where that group also knows what their job is and how critical it is that they do it. There’s a bond that’s been created between this group of players, formed in part by growing up together and then melding into one team at Charlottesville. “We’re a very diverse school,” Sherry said. “With football, it all kind of comes together as far as where

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“This year they’re the opposite, it’s like ‘who wants to take this over and make this happen?’” - SHERRY

pick six and scored twice more on offense. Then they dropped Fluvanna County with Louderback taking center stage with a big night. Each week, someone else is taking over and making it happen. The only question is, can they keep it going as they enter the heart of Jefferson District play? “We’ve got a lot of older people looking at us like, ‘when is Charlottesville going to step up’ and I think it’s going to be this year,” Sedarius Folley said. “It’s our time. We’re ready to rock.” The Black Knights have been here before. It’s up to that group that’s melded together from Prospect, from Friendship Court and from Rugby Road to make sure this year isn’t like last year. That it changes right here, right now. ✖

they grew up, whether it was Prospect, whether it was Friendship Court or over here on Rugby Road. We have all those kids coming together learning how to be diverse and how to treat everyone as an individual and with the same respect. That makes them tougher because they respect people, they respect their teammates.” Moments like the team’s annual trip to Ferrum that includes a movie night and a talent show where Henderson said Shannon Paschall’s dancing ability stood out have helped bring the team closer. “That connection with them, you personally knowing that guy next to you, you can feel and thrive off of that energy,” Henderson said. “You feel that connection with them when you actually grew up with them.” That makes it easier for Henderson or Buckholz to do the largely thankless job of clearing the way for that fleet of running backs and protecting quarterback Sam Neale. They’ve all got a single goal in mind. There have always been tough players and great athletes in the Charlottesville football program even during the four 1-9 seasons they’ve struggled through since 2000. But translating that to the product on the field has occasionally proven difficult. When something like this season’s opening game loss to Dominion happened, there always seemed to be a “here we go again” mentality. “They’re waiting for the thing to fall,” Sherry said. “They don’t have the other advantages that other kids have and so they’re waiting for the other shoe to fall. This year they’re the opposite, it’s like ‘who wants to take this over and make this happen?’” Instead of rolling over, the Black Knights roared back, beating Harrisonburg soundly on the road with Sabias Folley scoring four touchdowns. They followed that with a clinic against William Monroe where Durrett had a ::


Game Time Madison County 26, Warren County 20, F/OT By Luke Nadkarni

Madison County’s Isiah Smith scored twice in the Mountaineers’ overtime win. (John Berry)

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Madison County’s defense stiffened when it really needed to and the Mountaineer offense woke up just in time to lead the Mountaineers to a 26-20 overtime victory over Warren County on Madison’s homecoming Friday night. The Mountaineers faced a fourth-and-7 trailing 17-14 from the Warren County 40, needing a conversion to extend the game. They got it in the form of a 12-yard completion from Chris Smith to Isiah Smith. “We’d been working on that play since August 1,” Madison head coach Stuart Dean said. Chris Smith then scrambled for another 13 yards to get Madison in the red zone, and three plays later, Isiah Smith gave Madison its first lead with 30 seconds to play on a one-yard dive. However, the Mountaineers fumbled the snap on the extra point, keeping the score 20-17. The Wildcats made them pay, taking the ensuing kickoff to midfield and taking just two plays to get down to the Madison eightyard line. There, Stuart Ashley nailed his second field goal of the game from 25 yards out to force overtime. Madison won the toss and elected to go on defense first, a decision that proved fruitful when Matthew Lewis intercepted an R.J. Keeney pass in the end zone. Then, after Isiah Smith gained two yards on Madison’s first play in overtime, Chris Smith ended it with an eight-yard rush, sending the Mountaineer bench into a frenzy. A Warren County offense that came in having not scored more than 16 points in a game this season nearly eclipsed that mark in the first half. The Wildcats struck first when Keeney linked up with Ben Vogt on a 37-yard catch-and-run on a slant route with 4:02 to go in the first quarter. Keeney got his second touchdown pass of the game when Brendan McMackin shrugged off several Madison tacklers on his way to an 11-yard

touchdown catch to double the Wildcat lead to 14-0 with 8:48 left before halftime. “That’s what happens when you have a bye week after a big win, you think you’ve got it made,” Dean said. “Warren County came out here and played hard from the get-go, and we had to get it back together. We did a great job responding in the second half.” Madison’s offense, meanwhile struggled to get in gear. The Mountaineers best offensive scoring opportunity in the first half came when Chris Smith, who finished 12 for 26 with 167 yards, hit Isaiah Breckenridge for a 38-yard gain to set up the Mountaineers on the Wildcat two-yard line. But two plays later, Smith threw his first interception of the game in the end zone. “We weren’t blocking well in the first half,” Smith said. “We had a talk about that at halftime and improved in the second half.” Instead it was the Madison defense that got them on the board on Warren’s second play after the interception when Isiah Smith came up with a pick of his own–his second of the game–at the 35 and took it all the way to cut the Warren County lead in half. The score remained that way going into the break. After halftime, the Mountaineers started like a house on fire, forcing three straight negative Warren County plays and forcing a punt. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Smith hit Breckenridge again and this time he made it all the way to the end zone to tie the game at 14-14. After the teams exchanged punts, Keeney led the Wildcats on an eight-play drive that culminated in a 30-yard field goal by Ashley. That set the stage for the Chris and Isiah Smith’s heroics. Madison will next travel to Riverside, a team it defeated with ease last season, but last year’s result isn’t even on Dean’s radar. “(My players) know they have to show up to practice on Monday ready to work,” Dean said. “They’ve already been told that.”✖

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Back for round two Former athletes return to Central Virginia, now as coaches


hink for a second about how long Orange County alumnus Jessie Lohr has been at Orange County. When he was the head coach of the baseball team, he led the Hornets to a state tournament showing back in 2009. Between then and now he’s always been involved in the football team, mostly as an offensive coordinator. But when he got the head coaching job on the gridiron in 2015, he helped Orange put together its first winning season since 2010. Talk to the people in that community and they’ll quickly point out what a difference having a local product makes as a coach. One of his assistants? Maybe the best athlete he ever coached at Orange, West Virginia graduate Bradley Starks. So when the 2016 season started, one of the things that stood out was just how many recent local products were in the coaching ranks. Staying in Orange, Lauren Seale was part of a very good Hornets field hockey team in 2009. She’s coaching the Hornets for the second time in three years. One of her counterparts, Brittany McElheny, who played at Monticello and graduated in 2011, spent a year at Albemarle as an assistant and now leads a Patriots squad that is having a breakout season. There’s a reverse version of McElheny in volleyball. Meg Carpenter was an integral part of a 2009 Albemarle volleyball team, the last Patriot squad to make the state tournament. She started out as a junior varsity coach at Monticello and is now installed as the team’s varsity coach which will soon put her on the same court coaching against the coach and school she played under when the Mustangs and Patriots get together. In football there are a pair of Virginia Tech graduates who have returned to their high school alma maters. At Fork Union, Mark Shuman, a first team All-VISAA Division 1 and All-Scrimmage Play offensive lineman is on new head coach Mark Hooper’s staff. Shuman played JV football under Hooper and is the son of John Shuman, coach of the celebrated FUMA postgraduate’s team. Now he’s getting rolling in the family business. One of his former teammates in Blacksburg, Maurice Taylor, has also returned to his roots. Taylor starred at Buckingham County as a running back, leading the Knights on offense in the first of two years of a 7-year playoff run. After his time at Tech, he’s back in Dillwyn and helping first-year coach Josh Wallace as an assistant. One his former teammates, Taylor Boyers has been installed in the Knights’ football program as an assistant, and while not on the staff this fall, he’s an assistant for boy’s basketball coach Russ Gowin. There are countless examples of former athletes coming home and so many of them result in immediate success. Recent examples outside of the fall include Corey Hunt returning to Monticello baseball and Jess Stafford for the William Monroe girls basketball team. This spring we’ll get a chance to see Brian Yeagle, who won a VISAA D1 championship with St. Anne’s-Belfield in baseball in 2011 take over the reigns for the Saints. While fresh blood from outside the area helps improve the general climate (think Ed Redmond and Jeff Lloyd in football most recently), there’s little question that based on the results over the last few years, so many athletes, teams, and programs have responded well to homegrown products. And whether it’s an alumnus or someone who

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“So many athletes, teams and programs have responded well to homegrown products.” grew up in the area coaching at one of their rival schools, the understanding of the area goes a long way. Central Virginia is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to athletics. It’s not the 757, it’s not Nova, it’s not Richmond, it’s not the Shenandoah Valley, all of which have clear dividing lines. But this area has developed into a much stronger presence across the board. Once pretty much a lacrosse stronghold of the state, Central Virginia is starting to blossom in all sports, in one county or another. So as that happens, it’s good to see former athletes coming back to give back, make their own names and help this community try and build a brighter future for the newest brand of athletes. Of course, in the process, they’re making all of us who saw them play in high school feel incredibly old. New blood. It matters. ✖

Ryan Yemen,


back talk »

Which other former local athletes have made their impact in coaching?

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Volume 8, Issue 2  
Volume 8, Issue 2