For many months, Appomattox Raiders football player De’Von Graves was said to be headed to Raleigh, North Carolina to play collegiately for the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Snowfall in the Central Virginia region delayed the showdown between Appomattox and Robert E. Lee until Sunday, December 10, but both teams marched into battle at Salem Stadium ready to stake their claim as kings of the gridiron.
On Friday night, the Appomattox Raiders (12-1) won the VHSL Class 2 Region C Championship with a 26-14 win over Glenvar.
By Charles Conrad:
The Appomattox Raiders varsity football team had a good warmup for the upcoming playoffs by rolling through Altavista with a 59-7 win against the Colonels. (Read More)
By Charles Conrad:
According to the Twitter account of Appomattox Raiders senior football player Javon Scruggs, he has made a verbal commitment to play collegiate football at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
By James Cook:
The Liberty Flames compete in their final season at the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) level and make the jump to FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) in 2018. In 2017 the Flames expect to do more of the same, as they have become a regular fixture in the Big South Conference.
The Flames grabbed their first FCS playoff appearance in 2014 and have won or had a share of the Big South title eight times in the last decade competing there and are coming off a (6-5) record in 2016 that included a five game winning streak. Head Coach Turner Gill heads into his sixth season in Lynchburg with all five previous seasons were winning seasons. Gill a legendary Nebraska quarterback in the early 1980’s seems to be the perfect fit as Liberty heads into FBS territory.
The Flames have stepped up and played several much larger schools in the past such as Virginia Tech, West Virginia, North Carolina and SMU to name a few and Liberty has played well and showed some flashes of what is to come. The Flames have even defeated FBS schools Ball State and Appalachian State since 2010.
The schedule will get tougher for the Flames , but this is the move they have been waiting for at the school. The Flames open the 2017 season at Baylor on September 2nd and then will compete in their final season in the Big South Conference and FCS level.
Future opponents for Liberty will be some of the following starting in 2018 and moving forward: Army, Auburn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Ole Miss, and BYU to name a few.
They will also compete against several schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia moving forward: Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Old Dominion (Monarchs are their first opponent in 2018).
Stay tuned for more Liberty Flames football as we will be blogging and previewing the Flames all month long and blogging during the entire 2017 season.
(Editor’s Note: Anyone wishing to submit stories about local sports (High School, Middle School, Youth Leagues, Rec. Leagues) is encouraged to email us for details.)
By James Cook:
Bronco Mendenhall begins his second season as the head coach in Charlottesville and looks to rebound from a rough first season last year.
The Cavaliers finished 2016 with a 2-10 record and things can only be looking up for Virginia in 2017. The schedule; however, doesn’t do the Cavaliers any favors in the always tough Atlantic Coast Conference, plus a tough non-conference schedule that includes a trip to Boise State and improved UConn and Indiana.
Kurt Benkert returns at quarterback after being injured most of 2016 to lead the Cavs’ offense. The defense brings back the top two tacklers in the ACC in 2016 with linebacker Micah Kiser and safety Quin Blanding. Both are returning for their senior season to help steer the ship in the right direction. Juan Thornhill, who had three interceptions in 2016, also returns to help on defense as Virginia looks to clog up the middle this fall in their 3-4 defense.
The Cavaliers play seven home games this fall which will help, but they must win the games they are suppose to and go from there. William & Mary (FCS opponent) comes to town September 2nd and this game is not a guaranteed win for the Cavaliers, as another in-state FCS school won in Charlottesville in 2016 (Richmond).
Virginia will travel to Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Louisville in conference games, so the road will be tough, but it can be manageable if the Cavaliers play improved football in 2017. The Cavaliers look to end their nightmare against the rival Hokies from Blacksburg on November 24th as Virginia Tech heads to Charlottesville in the regular season ending for both schools. The Hokies have won thirteen straight over the Cavaliers.
The idea that Virginia can flirt with a 6-6 record is not out of the question , so there is hope for the Wahoos and their dedicated fanbase to possibly get into a bowl game if they pull off a couple surprises and get the breaks that they didn’t get in 2016. Virginia hasn’t been bowling since 2011.
10 Names to Watch in 2017
Doni Dowling WR
Malcom Cook LB
Micah Kiser LB
Jordan Ellis RB
Quin Blanding S
Andrew Brown DE
Tim Harris CB
Kurt Benkert QB
Colin McGovern RT
David Eldridge WR