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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Redskins In RVA: Head Coach Jay Gruden Press Conference Quotes

Beginning his third season at the helm of the Washington Redskins, head coach Jay Gruden took to the podium for the first time at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in 2016 Wednesday afternoon. Here are notable quotes from the presser.

About the mood of the team heading into 2016:

"We made major improvements last year, and we continue to expect our team to make those improvements. We had a great OTA session, we just want to build off what we did during the OTA's."

On the loss of Junior Galette to another achilles injury this week:

"We're upset, obviously, more so for him as an individual. Just watching him work, how hard he had been training coming back from the previous injury and the attitude that he gave, and the excitement he was going to bring to this football team, only to see it cut short with another achilles, it's, ah, devastating is a good word. Injuries are part of the game, and we have to rebound."

On preparing Kirk Cousins for the season with a long-term contract not completed:

"He's got to get his body ready, his mind ready to play a tough NFL season. He's got a year out of film, He's got to study other people. He's a great football player, he made great strides last year. We're all excited about it. He's got to continue that progress. The contract will take care of itself. We won't have any conversation about his future contract, any of that stuff. All we're going to focus on is this year, him getting better and being the best quarterback he can possibly be."

On the running back situation after Mike Jones:

"We've got Chris Thompson coming back, he's looked good. Mack Brown we had last year on the practice squad, Robert Kelley (Tulane) is a rookie free agent we picked up, Keith Marshall (Georgia) we're excited about. So, we have some guys who we're ready to look at."


Camp officially opens to the public on Thursday, with walkthrough scheduled for 10:35am and full practice set for 3pm.

Monday, July 25, 2016

VHSL Realignment Journey Continues Next Week

The next step in the latest portion of an arduous process to realign the three hundred plus school members of the Virginia High School League (VHSL) will continue Thursday, August 4th when the Alignment Committee will meet in Charlottesville concerning appeals to the original proposal.

Many of the posted appeal requests, which can be seen here, will be voted on as a group rather than individually. One of them is from Atlee, looking to move from the 5A North Region to the new 5A Central Region. Atlee's request was originally heard, and approved for a recommendation back in January.

Patrick Henry was with Atlee in the appeal, but has since dropped out since new ADM figures, student population figures by school which helps determine which classification a school will belong to, were released in June.

Once the Alignment Committee concludes its work, the Executive Committee must review and approve at its September 21st meeting.

Here are all the proposed regions affecting Richmond-area schools. If approved, they will take effect for the 2017-18 school year, ending the current conference system and reinstating postseason tournaments at the district level that were last played for during the 2012-2013 season

6A "Region 2" (likely to be renamed): Clover Hill, Colonial Forge, Cosby, Thomas Dale, Franklin County, James River, Manchester, Riverbend

5A Central: Atlee, L.C. Bird, Deep Run, Douglas Freeman, Glen Allen, Mills Godwin, Henrico, Hermitage, Highland Springs, Lee-Davis, Matoaca, Meadowbrook, Prince George, J.R. Tucker, Varina

4A Central: Caroline, Chancellor, Courtland, Dinwiddie, Eastern View, Hanover, Patrick Henry, Huguenot, King George, Louisa, Midlothian, Monacan, Powhatan

3A Southeast: Colonial Heights, Lakeland, New Kent, I.C. Norcom, Park View-South Hill, Phoebus, Southampton, Tabb, Booker T. Washington, York

3A Northeast: Armstrong, Brentsville District, Culpeper, Hopewell, Thomas Jefferson, Manassas Park, John Marshall, James Monroe, William Monroe, Petersburg, Skyline, Spotsylvania, Warren County, George Wythe

2A South: Amelia, Arcadia, Bluestone, Bruton, Brunswick, Goochland, Greensville, King William, Nandua, Nottoway, Poquoson, Prince Edward, Randolph-Henry, Maggie Walker Governors School

2A Central: Appomattox, Buckingham, Chatham, Dan River, Floyd County, Fort Chiswell, Giles, Glenvar, Gretna, James River-Buchanan, Martinsville, Radford

1A East: Colonial Beach, Charles City, Chincoteague, Essex, Franklin, King & Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northhampton, Northumberland, Rappahannock, Surry, Sussex, Washington & Lee, West Point, Windsor

1A Mid East: Altavista, Appomattox Regional Govenor's School, William Campbell, Carver College & Career Academy, Central-Lunenburg, Cumberland, Galileo, Stonewall Jackson, Rappahannock County, Riverheads

Thursday, July 21, 2016

BASEBALL: Mechanicsville Wins Fourth American Legion Title In Five Years.....

A season-long rivalry between the two best teams in American Legion District 11 Baseball came to a conclusion Thursday night at Shepherd Stadium in Colonial Heights as Mechanicsville Post 175 used relentless offense to defeat South Richmond Post 137 16-6 in eight innings to win their fourth District tournament title in five seasons.

It's hard to believe that, back in 2012, Post 175 entered the District 11 Tournament having never won the title before.

CLICK HERE to read our roundup of the championship game and the Mechanicsville journey from the story posted overnight at our HanoverCountySports.net website.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

American Legion Central: Final Tournament Results

Congratulations to Mechanicsville Post 175 for winning their fourth American Legion District 11 Baseball Tournament title in five years Thursday night, defeating South Richmond Post 137 in eight innings.

FINAL STANDINGS:

1) Mechanicsville Post 175:             10-2
1) South Richmond Post 137:          10-2
3) Lakeside Post 125F                       8-4
4) Lakeside Post 125                         7-5
5) West End Post 361                        4-8
6) Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs   2-10

DISTRICT 11 TOURNAMENT 

FIRST ROUND (Saturday at Douglas Freeman HS):
GAME 1: #4 Lakeside Post 125 6, #5 West End Post 361 0
GAME 2: #3 Lakeside Post 125F 9, #6 Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs 5 (game completed Sunday)

SECOND ROUND (Sunday, games at 7pm)
GAME 3: #1 Mechanicsville Post 175 11, #4 Lakeside Post 125 1 (8 innings)
GAME 4: #2 South Richmond Post 137 11, #3 Lakeside Post 125F 1 (7 innings)

THIRD ROUND (Elimination, Monday, games at 7pm)
GAME 5: #6 Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs 7, #3 Lakeside Post 125F 6
GAME 6: #5 West End Post 361 6, #4 Lakeside Post 125 0

WINNERS BRACKET FINAL (Tuesday)
GAME 7: #1 Mechanicsville Post 175 11, #2 South Richmond Post 137 9

ELIMINATION BRACKET (Postponed To Wednesday due to storms)
GAME 8: #6 Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs 5, #5 West End Post 361 2

ELIMINATION BRACKET (Thursday)
GAME 9: #2 South Richmond Post 137 5, #6 Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs 1

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND (Game 1 Thursday)
GAME 10: #1 Mechanicsville Post 175 16, #2 South Richmond Post 137 6 (8 innings)



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #1: Highland Springs Uses Hook and Lateral To Defeat Hermitage

Our top game of the 2015-16 high school sports season was, in our view, a clear-cut choice.

And, just like our #2 game released yesterday, the first portion bore no resemblance whatsoever to a classic confrontation. In fact, the first half of the 5A State Football Quarterfinal between Highland Springs and Hermitage on November 28th was a one-sided affair, as the Springers, in front of a huge holiday weekend crowd, built a 35-7 lead.

But the vast majority of the second half belonged to the Panthers, who scrapped and clawed their way back, tying the game at 35-35. But the Springers, opting not to play it conservatively when they got the football with less than two minutes to play, going on a drive for the ages that included some trickery, and a play from, not the star receivers, but from James Jackson, who made Highland Springs' version of "The Catch" with 9.2 seconds left for the winning score.

CLICK HERE to read our coverage of the game from November 28th.

You can also relive any of the Game of The Year on our YouTube Channel from our RVA Sports Network exclusive live coverage of the contest.

Highland Springs 42, Hermitage 35, the RVA Sports Network Game Of The Year for the 2015-16 season!




Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #1: Hanover Baseball Makes It Three Titles in Four Years

When it is considered a disappointing season when you make it to a state tournament and lose in the semifinals, you know you have built a powerhouse program.

That was exactly where Hanover Baseball was in June, 2015, not at all content to see rival Glen Allen claim the 4A State Championship. So what did the Hawks do? They regrouped, some players healed from everything from minor injuries to Tommy John surgery, and, come March, began another surge with the sole goal being hoisting the trophy in Lynchburg.

What did Hanover accomplish in 2016? They began 4-0, lost what would be for the only time at the Forest Acres Classic over spring break in South Carolina, finished unbeaten in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and finished the season on a 20-game winning streak.

The regular season featured matchups with top teams in South Carolina, Deep Run, and comeback wins over two rivals in Atlee and Lee-Davis. The Conference 20 Tournament was a coronation with two huge victories. The Hawks survived a gutsy attempt from a feisty Louisa Lions squad in the 4A East Region Tournament opener, then broke open a game late to eliminate Lafayette and clinch a return to Charlottesville.

Less than twelve hours after the Lafayette win at home, Hanover hit I-64 to Williamsburg, disposed of Jamestown 11-0, and returned to Richmond in time for the prom. The following week, a return to Liberty University, first with a semifinal win over Kettle Run, then what looked to be for five innings an easy title win over Liberty Christian Academy.

But the final two innings of the title tilt were nothing less than a wild classic, making the 4A State Championship the #2 Game of 2015-16, as Hanover saw a 7-1 lead disappear in the sixth inning, answered with six runs of their own for a 13-9 lead after the 74-minute sixth, then held on for a 13-12 win.

The senior class for Hanover (seen in the first picture below) never played a season without, at worst, making a trip to the state tournament. A fair comparison would be the New England Patriots run from 2001-2004 with three Super Bowl titles in four seasons.. They have left a legacy which will be long remembered, and difficult to duplicate.

Congratulations to the Hanover Hawks baseball team, our #1 Team of 2015-16!



Saturday, July 9, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #2: Hanover Survives, Wins 4A State Baseball Championship

After five innings in the 4A State Baseball Championship game, there was no hint, no indication to the assembled fans at Liberty University's baseball stadium, that they were about to actually witness a "classic".

The Hanover Hawks seemed just moments, and officially, six defensive outs, from their third state crown in four years, leading Liberty Christian Academy 7-1. But the top of the sixth signaled the end of part one, and the start of a whirlwind 74 minutes that saw a huge lead vanish, but also saw the fortitude and grit of a team that hadn't lost in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a team that went from the brink of a title to the brink of watching a dream, in their grasp, slip away.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Bulldogs, against the cream of Hanover's pitching crop, chipped away and away at the Hawk lead, and, before the third out, Liberty Christian had taken a 9-7 lead. The momentum had swept to the other side. But though Hanover had enjoyed its fair share of comfortable victories during the season, they also had fought adversity, specifically in two comeback wins over Hanover County rivals Lee-Davis and Atlee.

They also wanted no part of seeing the script repeat itself regarding their lone loss of the season, where Hanover saw a mid-game lead wilt away in a 16-8 defeat at the Forest Acres Classic over spring break in South Carolina. The Hawks responded, striking for six runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth, ending the marathon inning back in front at 13-9.

The Hawks turned to senior Tyler Morgan, who had returned from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss the 2015 season, to finish the job. But there was one more fight in the Bulldogs, who scored three runs and had the tying run at third base with two outs. But Morgan reared back and fired strike three for the final out, and the Hanover Hawks could breathe a sigh of relief as they raced onto the field for the traditional dogpile to celebrate not a coronation, but a come-from-behind 13-12 win.

Congratulations to Hanover Hawks baseball, winners of the #2 Game of 2015-16!


Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #2: Highland Springs Football Finally Reaches The Mountain Top

In 2014, Highland Springs football felt they had the team capable of grabbing the Springers' first state championship since 1961.

With the home field advantage and the defending 5A champion L.C. Bird Skyhawks in their house, the opportunity was there. But the Springers saw it slip away in the final minute. Disappointment fueled the offseason, with the returning players ready to climb that mountain again.

The first step onto that mountain didn't go as planned, as Hermitage took an opening night victory. But that would be the only time Highland Springs experienced defeat in 2015. They rolled through the rest of the regular season, and, thanks to a monster schedule of highly rated Capital District teams like Lee-Davis, Hanover and Atlee, the Springers took the top seed in 5A South.

The postseason road began receiving the best shots from Meadowbrook and Lee-Davis, the latter putting a scare into the Springers. Then came Hermitage once again on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Highland Springs built a big lead, watched the Panthers tie it late, before, arguably, the biggest drive in Springer history won the game and a berth in the 5A State Semifinals.

CLICK HERE to read our article from the game.

The state tournament level belonged to the Springers, vanquishing Indian River before shutting down Stone Bridge at the University of Virginia to claim Highland Springs' first-ever "on-the-field" championship (the Springers were awarded the 1961 title after the season).

Many teams talk about being a family. For head coach Loren Johnson and his staff and players, it goes well beyond talk. The 2015 Springers were a family like no other, relying on each other on and off the field. Anyone who spent any significant time with this team could immediately feel it. And when the moment finally came, and the Springers came off the field at Scott Stadium and began to soak in their championship, you could see the enormity hit player after player.

RVA Sports Network salutes the 2015 5A State Football Champion Highland Springs Springers, our #2 Team of 2015-16.

CLICK HERE for photos from and our story on the 2015 5A Championship Game.




Friday, July 8, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #3: Douglas Freeman and Deep Run Boys Soccer Play Deep Into The Night.....

Coming into the 2016 Conference 11 Boys Soccer Tournament, it was a foregone conclusion that one really, really good team would not see their season continue in the 5A South Region playoffs.

And, as expected, the elimination game became the semifinal pitting the #2 and #3 seeds, in this case, perennial power Deep Run and upstart Douglas Freeman. What we didn't expect was that it took take a long, long, long time to see who would punch their ticket to regionals, and who would see their season end.

On May 25th at J.R. Tucker High School, the Rebels and Wildcats battled, and battled, with Douglas Freeman leading 2-1 in the second half before Deep Run's Spencer Weisner scored to force overtime. Then the fun really began.

Two overtimes came and went, opportunities came and went, and then there was sudden death. But the "sudden" part was delayed when two more overtime periods came and went, the score still knotted at two.

Fans proceeded to watch one of the craziest sets of penalty kicks they'll ever witness, as, after 22 combined shots hit the back of the net, and the teams went to a Round 12. Finally, the Rebels made a shot, and stopped one as well, to capture a 3-2 win, a trip to the Conference 11 final, and the 5A South Region bid. The Wildcats saw their season come to an end in perhaps a most disappointing way.

For sheer drama, and for the marathon aspect of the match, we salute both Douglas Freeman and Deep Run boys soccer with our #3 Game of 2015-16!

Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #3: Monacan Girls Basketball Builds Next Level of Dynasty

Out of grave disappointment can come exhilarating victory.

It was only two years ago when a dominant Monacan Chiefs girls basketball team saw their 2014 season come to a sudden, jarring halt much earlier in the playoffs than they ever anticipated. That team's leader, Micaela Parson, graduated and headed to the University of Richmond, while a youth movement went into high gear in Smoketree.

A group of sophomores and freshmen who didn't know they weren't supposed to go all the way to the championship battled a senior-laden rival in Midlothian to grab the 2015 4A State Championship. This past March, the trail to a title felt more like a coronation.

The Chiefs lost just once the entire season, December 23rd to Highland Springs in the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament final, ironically held at the Siegel Center, where the Chiefs returned to claim their back-to-back titles.

And, for all the deserved attention to now the number one rising-senior recruit in America Megan Walker, it was Jaiden Morris who shined brightest on high school's biggest stage, scoring 33 first half points in the championship game against William Fleming as Monacan set a new record for most points scored in a girls basketball title game, winning 93-56.

Now with two titles in the trophy case at Monacan, the dynamic changes as we approach November and the 2016-17 season. Walker currently plans to announce her college choice before the season, eliminating one possible distraction. The Chiefs will certainly be favorites out of the gates for a third straight crown. Avoiding injury will certainly be a key, and, in our view, enjoying the ride rather than putting constant pressure on themselves will be, too.

For now, we savor the honor of watching a very special team: Monacan girls basketball, ranked #3 in our RVA Sports Network Top 10 Teams of 2015-16!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #4: The 3A State Boys Basketball Championship: Hopewell Falls In Heartbreaker

After losing to I.C. Norcom in the 3A East Region Championship 83-56, there was a small, vocal, and hopeful contingent of Hopewell Blue Devil fans who came to the Siegel Center on Saturday evening, March 12.

They, and the team, were hopeful of a turnaround. And though the final seconds did not go the way Blue Devil fans hoped, Hopewell presented a masterful performance which took Norcom's breath away, coming razor-thin close to the major upset, before a signature play to end a signature run by Travis Fields of the Greyhounds gave them the 3A title, 67-65 in overtime.

Fields ended with 30 points, much of them coming late in the fourth quarter and in overtime and being saddled for much of the second half with foul trouble. He helped erase a late four-point Blue Devil lead in regulation, then, in one of the most memorable plays of a week filled with them at Siegel Center, Fields nailed the last-second shot that gave the Greyhounds the title, snatching the championship hopes away from the Blue Devils.

But in a statement showing much class, pride, and wisdom, first-year Hopewell head coach Kurt Young presented the night in perfect perspective, giving the night, and season performance of his team proper accolades. Read his comments in Nick Vandeloecht's article from The Progress Index by clicking here.

Congratulations to Hopewell Blue Devils boys basketball, with a performance worthy of the #4 Game of 2015-16 from RVA Sports Network!


Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #4: Atlee Softball Goes Back-To-Back

There was an unmistakable sense of deja vu on 5A State Softball Championship weekend for the defending champion Atlee Raiders.

Play at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax? Check.
Face a county rival in the 5A State Semifinals? Check.
Face Hickory for the state championship? Check.

Checkmate came on a 4-6-3 double play that caromed off the glove of Peyton St. George straight to Jordan Durbin, who flipped to Casey Barrett sweeping across second base, taking the toss and firing it to Malorie Fodill at first to set off the celebration as, again, the Raiders shut out the Hawks, this time 5-0 for their second straight 5A State Championship.

Their road to Fairfax, however, was different in 2016 than 2015. They were the hunted, rather than the hunter. Atlee had an entire new coaching staff following the retirement of former head coach John Earley and longtime assistant, and 2002 state champion head coach Becky Levy.

They lost their first game on April 8th at home in a 2-0, nine-inning battle with rival Lee-Davis, then returned the favor, handing the Confederates their first loss three Fridays later with a comeback 3-2 win at Lee-Davis. Atlee returned atop our RVA Sports Network Top 10 Poll, and they never left.

They were handling postseason opponents well until Halifax came to town for the 5A North Region Championship, wanting revenge for a 1-0 loss in the Conference 16 finals. They got it, as the Raiders struggled mightily in a 6-0 loss. It was a wake-up call for the defending champions.

In the state semis, they used power and pitching to overwhelm red-hot Lee-Davis 7-1, then asserted themselves in the championship game Saturday morning against Hickory.

23-2 and two-time state champs make Atlee Softball our #4 Team of 2015-16!

Listen to the 5A State Championship game at the YouTube link below!





Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #5: 5A South Region Basketball Quarters: LC Bird Upends Henrico

Finally.

For three consecutive years, the Skyhawks of L.C. Bird found the juggernaut that is Henrico basketball standing in their way in the game that meant either a berth to the 5A State Boys Basketball Tournament or the end of the season.

In 2014, a missed shot at the buzzer gave Henrico a 58-57 win in the 5A South Region Semifinals at Hermitage High School. A year later, same round, same location, the Skyhawks and Warriors battled into double overtime before Henrico pulled away late for a 111-99 victory, last year's #1 game in our RVA Sports Network Top Ten poll.

For 2016, the scene shifted to the mood lighting of Prince George High School, and with L.C. Bird losing to Varina in the Conference 12 Championship, the round shifted back to the quarterfinals. In the previous two years, a win wouldn't have clinched a state bid, but with the return of the State Quarterfinal round, this game was, again, for states or bust.

As totally expected, the teams battled back and forth, the Warriors out early, the Skyhawks climbing back late in the first quarter, making sure Henrico didn't get a prohibitive advantage. Down the stretch they came like two thoroughbreds destined for a photo finish at the Kentucky Derby, and, in the end, that's exactly what happened.

Mario Haskett launched a shot high into the air in the final seconds of regulation. It kissed the top of the backboard and found the twine. We had a dead heat after 32 minutes. Again, the Skyhawks and Warriors would go to overtime.

But it would only take one extra session this time, as Henrico went cold from the field, L.C. Bird hit key free throw after free throw, and the Skyhawks finally enjoyed the reality of slaying the dragon, defeating Henrico 81-73.

Congratulations to L.C. Bird basketball, winners of the #5 Game of The Year!


Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #5: Cosby Girls Basketball

Of their three consecutive trips to the Siegel Center for a shot at the 6A State Girls Basketball Championship, the 2015-16 Cosby Titans certainly took the road less traveled.

It was not a season where they would dominate opponent after opponent every time they stepped onto the court. Monacan swept their regular season series. Despite a gutsy effort in the final 90 seconds by Jocelyn Jones, the Titans fell in the T-DIT semifinals for the second straight year, this time to eventual winner Highland Springs.

And in the 6A South Region Tournament, a playoff loss forced Cosby on the road to punch their ticket back to VCU. But punch it they did, entering the Championship Game against what looked like an undersized Langley team. What Langley lacked in height, they made up for in intensity and grit, and the war was on.

Langley had the ball with 38 seconds left needing a trey to tie. Maybe it was nerves, likely it was the Titan defense, but they struggled to find that shot, or any shot. Then, joining Cosby girls basketball lore were moments that will be forever known as "The Steal" and "The Steal II".

"The Steal" was Jocelyn Jones swiping the ball, getting fouled with ten seconds left. Jones nailed the first free throw for a two-possession lead. Head Coach Rachel Mead cracked a brief smile. Jones made the second free throw, then, raced down the court and....

....as Langley tried for a desperation shot and a miracle, Jones brought Cosby "The Steal II" to run out the clock and bring the Titans their third straight 6A State Girls Basketball Championship, winning 42-37.

To listen to the 6A State Girls Basketball Championship, click the YouTube link below for our exclusive RVA Sports Network live broadcast from that magical night in March.




American Legion Baseball Central (Updated July 9)

SCORES:

Tuesday July 5th:
West End Post 361 29, Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs 5

Wednesday July 6th:
South Richmond Post 137 26, Colonial Heights Post 284P 2
Lakeside Post 125 12, Mechanicsville Post 175 8 (16 innings)

Thursday July 7th:
Powhatan Post 201 13, Lakeside Post 125 3 (7 innings)
Colonial Heights Post 284 Pirates at Mechanicsville Post 175, postponed
South Richmond Post 137 8, Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs 3 (Game 1; Game 2 ppd, rain)
West End Post 361 12, Lakeside Post 125F 9

Friday July 8th:
South Richmond Post 137 10, Colonial Heights Post 284 Bucs 0
Colonial Heights Post 284 Pirates at Powhatan Post 201, ppd.

CURRENT STANDINGS:

West End Post 361                          8-2
South Richmond Post 137               8-3
Mechanicsville Post 175                 7-3
Lakeside Post 125                           6-5
Lakeside Post 125F                         5-5
Powhatan Post 201                         4-6
Colonial Heights Post 284 B          1-7
Colonial Heights Post 284 P          0-8

SCHEDULE:

Saturday July 9th:
Colonial Heights Post 284B at Mechanicsville Post 175, 12pm, Hanover HS
Lakeside Post 125F at Powhatan Post 201, 7pm, Powhatan HS
Colonial Heights Post 284P at Colonial Heights Post 284B, 7pm, Shepherd Stadium
West End Post 361 at Mechanicsville Post 175, 7pm, Hanover HS

Sunday July 10th:
Lakeside Post 125F at Lakeside Post 125, 3pm, Douglas Freeman HS
West End Post 361 at South Richmond Post 137, 3pm, LC Bird HS

Monday July 11th:
Colonial Heights Post 284B at Lakeside Post 125, 7pm, Douglas Freeman HS
Mechanicsville Post 175 at Colonial Heights Post 284P, 7pm, Shepherd Stadium
South Richmond Post 137 at Powhatan Post 201, 7pm, Powhatan HS

Tuesday July 12th:
South Richmond Post 137 at Lakeside Post 125, 7pm, Douglas Freeman HS
Colonial Heights Post 284B at West End Post 361, 6pm, Hermitage HS
Colonial Heights Post 284P at West End Post 361, immediately following, Hermitage HS

Wednesday July 13th:
Colonial Heights Post 284B at Lakeside Post 125F, 6pm, Douglas Freeman HS
Colonial Heights Post 284P at Lakeside Post 125F, immediately following, Douglas Freeman HS





Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #6: Conference 11 Girls Volleyball Championship: Mills Godwin 3, Douglas Freeman 1 (11/5/15)

This was the kind of match that never looked like a Top 10 Games candidate for the first two sets. But, by the end of the night, it became a match where 100 people attended, but 1,000 people will swear to you they were there.

It was expected to be a mere formality that the Mills Godwin Eagles, who already clinched their berth in the 5A South Region Tournament, would win the Conference 11 Tournament Championship against overmatched Douglas Freeman, and, when the Eagles won the first two sets 25-20, 25-15, everything seemed to be following script.

That is, until the Rebels deviated from it. Ellie Biese, Ashley Frederick and the rest of the Freeman squad rose to the occasion, making the third set one for the ages, staving off elimination, and finally putting away the Eagles in a 33-31 marathon that had the assembled holding their collective breath point after point after point.

Suddenly, every non-Godwin fan rallied behind the underdog Rebels, and, for a moment, it looked as if we would go to a fifth set tiebreaker. But the Eagles ended the upset threat, barely pulling out at 26-24 fourth set win to clinch the Conference 11 title.

Biese had 22 digs and two aces, Molly Herring 12 kills for Douglas Freeman, while Nora Saxman registered 59 assists, Ayanna Swan 32 kills, and Mackenzie Brewer 19 kills for the Eagles on a night where everyone was reminded, it truly is not over until it's over.

Mills Godwin and Douglas Freeman girls volleyball, the Conference 11 Championship, our #6 Game of 2015-16!





Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #6: Deep Run Girls Tennis

This is the story of Nina Sorkin and the five newcomers. Sorkin understood the disappointment of reaching the brink of a state team tournament berth in girls tennis, only to see her's school's rival, Mills Godwin, take it away, as they had done year after year after year.

But in 2016, Sorkin came armed with a group of five wide-eyed freshmen who had heard of the Eagle juggernaut, but wasn't fazed by it. When all was said and done in the 5A South Region Semifinals, Deep Run had defeated Mills Godwin 5-2, ending Godwin's reign and launching the Wildcats into the 5A State Tournament, which they won, defeating George Marshall in the semifinals before beating Thomas Jefferson S&T of Alexandria in the title match, both by 5-0 scores.

Congratulations to 20-0 Deep Run, our #6 Team of 2015-16! (Photo courtesy of Daily Press)


Monday, July 4, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #7: Atlee 38, Mountain View 35

Many Atlee Raider football fans thought the road to the state championship would be easier with a move out of the brutal 5A South Region into 5A North, where no L.C. Bird, Highland Springs, or Hermitage would stand in their way.

But in Atlee's first-ever game in the 5A North Region football playoffs last November, the fans were quickly shown that nothing ever comes easy.

After a disappointing regular season, the Raiders had to hit the road as a #10 seed, going to Stafford County to face #7 seeded Mountain View on a chilly Friday evening. And while we look back at that game now on this Fourth of July, there was just as many fireworks in the final three minutes of that November night as you'll see on America's Birthday.

Though the football season didn't advance as far as the Raiders hoped, they can take credit for winning two of our RVA Sports Network Top 10 Games of the year gone by.

Here's how RVA Sports Network wrapped up coverage of a classic high school football game as seen in the pages of the Herald Progress:

********

It would have been wholly appropriate for fans at Mountain View High School in Stafford Friday to receive video game controllers as a halftime gift, for they were about to be transported into Madden '16.

Down 14-7 at the break, and desperate to find some defense with their season on the line, the Atlee Raiders concentrated on their strength, as their offense went toe to toe with the homestanding Wildcats, setting the stage for a finish for the ages in a 38-35 upset victory in the first round of the 5A North Region playoffs.

The tenth-seeded Raiders (7-4) won their fourth straight game doing what they do best: airing out the football and using their talented receiving corps to light up the scoreboard. Quarterback Rasharrd Harris threw for 295 of his 418 yards in the second half, throwing four of his five touchdown passes during that time.

Atlee wasted no time, tying the game on the first offensive play of the third quarter, as Harris lasered a ball to his right nine yards to Cole Blackman, who turned, broke a tackle, and tore down the sideline for a 65-yard touchdown for a 14-14 tie. But Tre Coghill, who became a focal point for Mountain View's efforts, took the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to the Atlee 15.

Moments later, the Wildcats assumed the lead again on a two-yard run by Jamil Collison-Cofie for a 21-14 lead. The penalty flag, Atlee's actual worst enemy all night, cost Chris Green a 56-yard scamper to the one yard line as a chop block infraction negated the play.

Later, a Blackman punt return to the Mountain View went off the boards thanks to a hold. The Raiders would drive, but settle for a 23-yard Ethan Ratke field goal to cut the deficit to 21-17 with 3:33 left in the third.

"In practice, I play the referee, and what I've come to realize is I've got to call plays tighter," said Atlee head coach Roscoe Johnson, visibly surprised to see the statistic sheet that read 17 penalties for 254 yards. "We're in a new region, and we'll need to get used to how things are called."

As they opened the third with a score, the Raiders closed it with one as well, as Harris found a wide open J.J. Givens, whose Wildcat defender had fallen onto the turf, for a 70-yard touchdown to give Atlee its first lead at 24-21. The lead held, thanks in part to a defensive stand, stopping Mountain View short of a first and goal by one yard at the three with 6:02 remaining, until a frantic final three-minute stretch that left even veteran fans of high school football reeling from the action.

The Wildcats began the fury with a 42-yard drive in just 2:16, as quarterback Ahmad Tweedy hit Coghill over the middle in stride for an 18-yard touchdown and Mountain View surged ahead 28-24. Jebril Murray grabbed a short kickoff, giving Atlee the ball at their 45. 

It was time for Harris to Blackman again, this time crossing the middle of the field on a short pattern, doing the rest with his feet, finding the sideline, joined by Givens who threw a key block just before the goal line for a 55-yard touchdown pitch and catch. In 20 seconds, Atlee had seized a 31-28 lead.

The Wildcats weren't done. A three-play, 66-yard drive was highlighted by Tweedy throwing long to Coghill, who beat double coverage for a 47-yard score with just 51 seconds left. Mountain View led 35-31, and their fans seemed confident of victory. Atlee had three timeouts, and three reliable weapons ready for one more round.

The Raiders began at their 35, needing 65 yards in 45 seconds. On third down, a screen to Givens earned ten yards and a first down. Out of a timeout, Harris took a deep shot to Justin Hall, and in an ironic moment, it was Mountain View's sixth and final penalty of the night, pass interference, that put Atlee in Mountain View territory at the 40 with :21 remaining.

Harris looked to Givens again, the South Carolina commit using his athleticism to turn a short pass into a 26-yard gain to the 14. Timeout was called with eleven seconds left. The play was called, the stage was set.

"I knew what the play was, I knew he (Blackman) had a corner route," Johnson said of the play call. "I knew if Justin (Hall) crossed the face of the front side safety, I knew he'd slow him down a little bit, and Blackman faked one way and was wide open."

The problem was, when Harris released the ball to the right back corner of the end zone, there was too much air. Blackman jumped with his defender, grabbed the ball, leaving the only question whether a foot was in the end zone. 

The referee signaled touchdown. Raider Nation erupted, as Wildcat Nation descended into shock at just 6.6 seconds left. 

Mountain View had one play from their 20 yard line, but Mason Cooper sacked Tweedy to send the Raiders to a second round game Friday in Leesburg against unbeaten defending 5A North Region champion Tuscarora.

"Where we are in the Richmond area, there's good football. We respect Tuscarora, but we don't fear them, and that's what I tell our kids about anything," Johnson said.

Blackman had five receptions for 177 yards and three scores, Givens six for 211 and two. The teams combined for 1,050 total yards, 603 of them in the breathtaking second half.

*****

Relive the game thanks to KG Media and our radio call on WHAN by going to the video on YouTube below!


Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #7: Mills Godwin Girls Soccer

There's something extra special about seizing the first state championship in a team sport for your high school.

And, after watching their male counterparts celebrate on the field at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax in 2015, the Mills Godwin girls soccer team wanted that same feeling. But first, it would take survival in a series of defensive tests with rival Deep Run, then a state semifinal victory to give the Eagles the opportunity they'd worked for and dreamed about.

On a hot early afternoon in Fairfax, the Eagles fought back from a deficit, getting two Paige Franks penalty shot goals to take a lead on Tuscarora, who bounced back to force overtime. In extra time, Franks finished her hat trick for history, and Mills Godwin girls soccer could finally call themselves state champions.

Congratulations to Mills Godwin, our #7 team for the 2015-16 season! (Photo courtesy of Bob Lanum)


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #8: Deep Run 65, Henrico 60 (January 13, 2016)

The streak was over.

Up to this point in the high school boys basketball season, the wheel of fortune had created two of three possible matchups between some of the biggest teams in the RVA Sports Network Top 10: Henrico, Deep Run and St. Christopher's, with L.C. Bird quietly biding their time across the river knowing their turn would likely come in the playoffs.

First, St. Christopher's knocked off Deep Run for the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament Championship just before Christmas. Then, a week later, it was the showdown of future Spiders as the Saints' Nic Sherod and Henrico's De'Monte Buckingham squared off in the Henrico Holiday Hoops Tournament Championship heard live on RVA Sports Network, won by the homestanding Warriors.

Thus, the next two weeks were filled with buzz about Deep Run's impending trip to Henrico for a regular season matchup on January 13th. And, live on RVA Sports Network, Henrico jumped to an early eight-point lead after one quarter, and still led by seven after three.

But something happened in the fourth quarter that hadn't occurred in a long time. Henrico was dominated by their opponent. Part of their downfall was outside shooting that failed them, but credit must be given to the Wildcats, who came so close to knocking off both eventual 5A State Champion Henrico in the 2015 Conference 11 Championship, then L.C. Bird in the 2015 5A South Region Quarterfinals, for producing a shut-down final eight minutes that led them to a 65-60 road win, bringing Henrico's storied 33-game winning streak to a close.

It was the signature win Deep Run had craved, sending them to the top of our poll. Deep Run 65, Henrico 60, our 2015-16 #8 Game Of The Year.

(Deep Run guard Georgie Pacheco, shown here facing St. Christopher's, December 23, 2015)

Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #8: Randolph-Macon College Baseball



They are the only college representative on our list for the 2015-16 season, led by a group of seniors bound and determined to make as much history as possible before leaving Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park in Ashland for the last time.

They needed 27 wins to become the first graduating class of Yellow Jackets with 100 career baseball wins. They earned 35. They didn't experience a two-game losing streak this season until the very end. They won their first eleven games. Postseason awards were everywhere, especially for Matoaca grad Travis Lodge and Atlee grad James Walsh.

They knocked off their biggest rival, Hampden-Sydney, in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament Championship to clinch a return to the NCAA Tournament, where the Yellow Jackets had never won a game.

Until this year.

As the two seed in their regional near Pittsburgh, Randolph-Macon won their first three games in the Mideast, setting up a showdown with #1 seed LaRoche in the final round, a team they defeated 19-6 for their third tournament win. Although the Yellow Jackets had their chances, including having the winning run in scoring position twice, that two-game losing streak reared its head at the worst possible time, and it would be LaRoche taking the bid to Appleton and the Division III College World Series.

Although they fell short of the ultimate goal, it was still, far and away, the greatest baseball season in the storied history of Randolph-Macon College baseball, and the team well deserving of a spot in our year-end Top 10.

(Photos Courtesy of Nick Liberante and Old Dominion Athletic Conference)





Saturday, July 2, 2016

Top 10 Games of 2015-16: #9: Football: Atlee 44, Hanover 40

As heard live on the RVA Sports Network High School Football Game of the Week on WHAN Radio, it seemed like the homestanding Hanover Hawks would have their way with their current biggest rival, the Atlee Raiders, as Hanover went to halftime enjoying a 25-6 lead, the Raiders showing no signs of their usually potent offense.

That is, until the first play of the second half, when Rasharrd Harris flipped the football to J.J. Givens, and let the future North Carolina State wideout do the rest, going 67 yards to begin a 31-point third quarter explosion as the Raiders came back on the road to stun the Hawks 44-40.

Hanover didn't roll over despite Atlee's third quarter for the ages, as quarterback Marcus Bazala led a long drive early in the fourth quarter to retake the lead at 40-37, but the Raiders took the lead for good after recovering a surprise Hanover onside kick at midfield, scoring five plays later as A.J. Zollar ran to paydirt from three yards out for the winning score.

Both teams made their respective playoffs, with Atlee winning one, Hanover winning two games. But September 25, 2015 will forever be known as one of the crazier chapters in the 13-year rivalry between the closest geographical rivals in Hanover County. (Photo courtesy of Nick Liberante)


Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #9: Maggie Walker Baseball

One of the reasons the Virginia High School League went forward with total state reclassification in 2013, overturning a system that lasted over four decades, was to offer more equal opportunity for schools, especially smaller ones located in larger metropolitan areas, giving them a postseason system where they could battle against teams from schools of their own size.

Still, the Green Dragons of Maggie Walker Governor's School had to endure a tough regular season schedule in the Colonial District, filled with powerhouse programs from a defending state champion (Glen Allen) to perennial favorites like Douglas Freeman, Deep Run and Mills Godwin. In the end, the experience served Maggie Walker well, as the Dragons went on a postseason to remember, climaxing with a second playoff win over new 2A rival Goochland for the 2A State Championship on June 11th at Radford University.

RVA Sports Network salutes Maggie Walker Baseball, #9 in our Top 10 Teams for 2015-16!


Friday, July 1, 2016

Top 10 Games Of 2015-16: #10: Boys Basketball: Colonial Heights Stuns Lee-Davis

Tucked away in the middle of a busy week between Christmas and New Year's in high school basketball was the return of The Southerner Classic at Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville.

And in the first boys championship game on December 30th between the host Confederates and the Colonials of Colonial Heights, it looked like the home team would win thanks to a late three-pointer to make it 58-57.

But.....

CLICK HERE to see not only that shot, but the game-winning buzzer beater, literally, as our Taylor Luck caught it all on video as Colonial Heights won The Southerner Classic in a thriller, 60-58.


Top 10 Teams of 2015-16: #10: Monacan Boys Basketball

The party-crashing Chiefs begin our year-end countdown of the top teams of the 2015-16 high school sports season in the RVA.

While fans knew all about the Monacan girls team, their male counterparts flew very low under the radar during the regular season, entering the Conference 20 Tournament essentially in a three-team race for two spots in the 4A East Region Championship.

The Chiefs, after eliminating Hanover in the Conference 20 semifinals, went to Dinwiddie and claimed the title with a 61-59 win over the Generals. A first round 4A East Region win over Courtland clinched a berth in the 4A State Tournament, but then uncertainty crept in, as a pair of losses to finish regionals put the Chiefs as the #4 seed, having to battle the 4A West Region champions in the 4A State Quarterfinals.

The magic really began in earnest at James Madison University, as the Chiefs shocked Loudoun Valley 57-55, earning Monacan a trip to the Siegel Center in the 4A State Semifinal. The Chiefs were tied George Washington at 63, with the ball in the final seconds. It would be Wallace Washington as the hero, hitting the game-winning drive with a second to go to send Monacan to the state final, where they would knock off Lake Taylor for the championship.

Congratulations to Monacan Chiefs boys basketball, 4A State Champions and #10 on our year-end countdown!