Saturday, November 22, 2008

1ST Year of Around The Valley is in the Books - 11/13/07 to 11/13/08

It took reading John Leonard's sight at today for me to go back and check the start date for our site. John is celebrating the end of Year #2 and the beginning of Year #3 (kudos to John- Love the new look he has as well!).
It has indeed been 1 year since we rolled our family project out and it has been a great deal of fun over the past 365 days!

Special Report: Photography

This is special reporter Sabrena Carter reporting from Lynchburg, VA. I'm happy to bring you the few images I could take last night before my hands went numb!

Finally Back Home from Lynchburg (Almost thawed out) : Brookville 40, R.E. Lee 14...Pics now/notes later

Mark Anderson (22) in motion

The Bees about to punch it in

Broadcast partner Chip Crabill

Quite a senior year...

I will miss watching Dae Quan Scott play for Lee

Leeman on the move

Leeman after receiving runner-up trophy

Check out the color of the field

U.S Army sponsored our Tailgate show for 2008

Leeman huddle with Coach Tibbs

The Sarge

News-Leader's Shaun Cox

Leeman preparing for the snap

Mr. Scott looking for some running room

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Night Lights : ESPN-1240 High School Game of the Week & Bill Meade's Pigskin Picks

Let's get started by taking a look at Week #13 of Pigskin Picks with the Page News & Courier...


High School Playoffs : (Regional Finals)

Buffalo Gap @ William Campbell
Jefferson Forrest @ Amherst
R.E. Lee @ Brookville
Clarke County @ Gretna
NCAA Football
Clemson @ Virginia
Duke @ Virginia Tech
Michigan State @ Penn State
Texas Tech @ Oklahoma
Washington @ Seattle
New York Jets @ Tennessee
New York Giants @ Arizona
Carolina @ Atlanta
Tail Gate show @ 6:30 P.M. /Kick Off - 7:30 P.M./ ESPN-1240
We will be heading down to Brookville (Lynchburg) here shortly for our radio broadcast of the R.E. Lee - Brookville contest and we will also be keeping an eye on the Buffalo Gap @ William Campbell contest. Both schools from Augusta County that are still playing this week are both on the road and both facing football teams with impressive resumes.
1.What will R.E Lee have to do to defeat Brookville ?
* Contain Logan Thomas - Thomas plays both sides of the ball for the Bees but does most of his damage from the Quarterback position.
2. Just how good is young Mr. Thomas ?
* Thomas is 6'6 and has already signed with Frank Beamer & Va. Tech. He was just named to play in the U.S Army All American Football Game in San Antonio, Texas on January 3,2009.
3. The Bees are UN-defeated at 11-0, have they been tested ?
* They opened with a 24-21 victory over Amherst County. ACHS is the 2-time defending State Champions and had a 26 game UN-beaten streak stopped that night. Note - ACHS is also playing tonight for their Region Championship.
4. How talented were the other teams Brookville faced this season ?
* A third team from the Seminole District is also still playing football tonight. Jefferson Forrest faces Amherst County. The Bees defeated JFHS 19-7 back in early October (10/4/08)
5. Where is Brookville located and how do I get there ?
* Brookville High School plays its home games at "The Hive" which is located on US-460 Business in the Timberlake section of Lynchburg...
Head Coach of Brookville - Jeff Woody (Brookville '96)
Go Leeman !
What about Buffalo Gap and the Bison ?
Region B Finals:
Buffalo Gap Bison (11-0) @ William Campbell Generals (10-1) (Naruna, Va.)
Kick Off : 7:00 P.M.
The winner of this game has advanced to capture the State Championship each of the last 3 seasons. WCHS in 2005, Riverheads in 2006 and Buffalo Gap in 2007. The winner of tonight's game should be favored to make it 4 in a row.
Both teams had impressive victories last week in the Semi-Finals. The Generals jumped out to a 64-0 lead over a solid Riverheads squad on the way to a 64-6 final. Gap took to the road and defeated Cumberland 46-12 in one of their most impressive performances of the season.
The fans leaving Swoope for the game need to take US-501 South out of Lynchburg, Va. to get to the contest. Remember that kick off is slated for 7:00 P.M. not 7:30 P.M. so if you are driving down remember to allow yourself the extra time...
Pickle's #'s heading in - 223 carries / 1,810 yards / 30 TD's
Go Bison !

The Eagles Soar to Big Victory in Nations Capitol

For the second time in sixty days The Eagles landed in D.C and put on a show in the Verizon Center (sorry, it is still the MCI Center to me). Not to be confused with Donovan McNabb and the did we really just tie a NFL game Eagles from Philli, these Eagles played their guitars for 3+ plus hours to the delight of the crowd.
We (Chris & I ) had the pleasure of catching their show over at the John Paul Jones Arena @ UVA back on May 21ST and couldn't pass up the chance to hear Don Henley, Glen Frey, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmidt and a host of other musicians work their magic.
Entertaining from the time that Glen opened the show by calling it The Eagles Assisted Living Tour...
The opening set included 4 straight songs from their Long Road Out Of Eden CD plus old favorites Hotel California, Peaceful Easy Feeling, I Can't Tell You Why, Witchey Woman, Lyin Eyes, Boys of Summer (from Henley's solo days) and finally the title track from The Long Run.
After a short break the band once again opened with 4 cuts from their latest CD and then turned back the clock to play Take It To The Limit and then the title track from Long Road Out Of Eden.
The closing 8 songs leading up to the Encores had a heavy dose of Joe Walsh to them, including a great rendition of "Life has been Good". Keeping the pace upbeat the band added Heartache Tonight, Henley's Dirty Laundry as well as Life In The Fast Lane to One Of These Nights during the home stretch of the 3+ hour show.
It is hard for me to believe that after following the band so closely back in the 70's, I think these guys are playing harder and more crisp over three decades later. The energy that Joe Walsh (gotta be pushing late 60's) showed again last night was worth the price of admission.
More info on the band is available at and the site includes the concert dates from the tour (it kicked off with the show last night). Tuesday night they will be playing the Wachovia Center and wait for it- that night they will be the Philadelphia Eagles !

One note about the show- the price of the tickets were only about 1/2 of what they were back in May when the band played JPJ.

The concert proved to be a nice break from the World of Sports but we will be right back at in a few hours when we head to Lynchburg, Va. for the Brooksville Bees - R.E. Lee Leeman Regional Final Playoff Game...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday Morning : It's time for the Weekly (Shenandoah Valley Herald & The Free Press) wrap ups from Richmond

The Shenandoah Valley Herald (John Galle) is attatched the to web site for . The SVH on line stories can be found from that sight. You can find two more stories from the week end at . If there are anymore publications out there with coverage of the VB Final Four please let us know

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The answer to the question from Jim Sacco about our VB coverage (Sorry Jim, it won't be a short one)

LURAY - I have to start out by thanking everyone that has checked in and enjoyed our efforts this past 60 days during the Volleyball season! Jim Sacco had asked me a question the other day about why I invest my own time and own money in covering High School Volleyball?
Then Jim got tricky- he wanted a one sentence answer. My one sentence answer was at the end of the Day you could blame it all on Kaitlin Smoot and Katie Baker. He offered me another sentence to wrap that up but I couldn't even come close.
Sunday evening came around and my wife Linda and I were at a showl being presented in Charlottesville. UVA has an organization called First Year Players and twice a year they put on a musical. Our youngest of five, Rebecca played a role in the production (Assistant Technical Director) so we headed over to see the show. The show had a four day schedule beginning on Thursday and running through Sunday.
The production this time was Footloose and the seventh number in provided the answer but we have to go back a few steps first. My entire life has been about Sports, from playing them while younger through making adventures of them later in life. A different type of Sports Collector from most in that I didn't collect memorabilia but sets of adventures.
When it came to Baseball I made the loop and attended at least one game in every major league stadium. I had hoped to finish a book telling the story about how average Joe Fan could make the loop for less than $10,000. The sad part of the story was that the most recent MLB strike took the fun out of baseball for me.
I have to look back and laugh at the hockey version of the story and chuckle. There is a closet upstairs that has a NHL jersey from every team but there is a kicker to that. Each jersey was purchased in the home market of that team. Then one day the hockey players deceided they needed football player money and the sport shut down for over a calender year.
Basketball is a true passion and my favorite two trips here were to watch an ACC game in every arena and then one at both the Mens and Womens tournament. The second was to visit all 40+ schools in the state of Virginia that play basketball. The first was a great deal of fun and the second took me places I hadn't seen before.
The many adventures had been fun over the years but the more you followed sports the more you could see behind the curtain. The NFL with Mike Vick, Cinci's legal issues, steroids, Pac Man Jones and owners like Jerry Jones combined to make it hard to be excited about the direction of the league.
Baseball developed its own sets of issues with the hearings in D.C, the Home Run chase of Barry Bonds (whether you were for or against his cause), the strikes, Sammy Sosa and his corked bat and the on going saga with Pete Rose. I was just happy to have Greg Maddux to root for and will be lost if he retires this year.
Life for me is about finding the Good Story and praising people for their efforts. Two teams compete and there is a winner and a team that tried their best. I will be the first to admit that there aren't many residents in my corner of the world but that doesn't mean that I am going to move just to have company. I would find folks to believe in if it took me all...
Back to the song from the show - Bonnie Tyler singing "Holding Out for a Hero" sums it up for me. A life time full of following sports and I was in search of something or someone I could believe in. There must be a good sports story filled with good sports figures and I made it my mission to find it. This led me to the dynamic duo of Kaitlin Smoot and Katie Baker of Strasburg High School.
Smoot and Baker played Class A Volleyball for Strasburg High School until they graduated last summer. They teamed up to lead their school to a 28-0 record during their senior year and did so with as much Class as any two athletes I have seen. I don't have to worry about readers stopping and saying "But it is only Class A Volleyball" because if that is your mindset then it is pretty safe to say that you don't read much on this site.
I don't chase the dramatics or try and beat someone to the scoop here, just search out neat people with a neat story to tell. Yes, I was searching for a Hero and found a pair of them and then some. No chest thumping, no trash talking, the old saying of there is no "I" in team and then there is the ability to lead. Just two well spoken, very respectful student athletes that wore Purple & White twice a week for a few years and did so with pride.
You have to give a fair amount of the credit to the four parents of these two for and I have had the pleasure of spending a fair amount of time with Larry & Judith Smoot and Larry & Jane Baker. Neat people who have done a remarkable job raising their children at a time when that is not as easy as it once was.
Start with Kaitlin & Katie and then you have what I like to call the Umbrella effect. These two lead to Head Coach Suzanne Mathias and Athletic Director Matt Hiserman of Strasburg. The five fellow seniors on the team as well as the underclassmen that returned this season. Keeping with my theme of there not being winners and losers or villains in my world led me to the Kritter family from Rappahannock County.
Elena Kritter went toe to toe with Strasburg all through High School and this led me to getting to know another amazing VB family. Three daughters all playing competitive VB and Mr. Kritter helping coach as well. The Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation doesn't end there as Katie has moved on to play Division III VB at Bridgewater College.
Katie raves about her 1ST year Coach, Mr. Greg Spector and that is good enough for me. It wasn't always easy to find the time and energy to make the BC matches this year but never the less it was too much fun to pass up. Already looking forward to seeing Katie and her Lady Eagles play again next season.
The other connection that came with BC was a name on the roster- Candice Guy. Guy was listed as a sophomore from Fishersville, Virginia and attended Wilson Memorial High School. There were a couple other local names on the roster as well in Blair Wampler (James Wood) and Erika Dirnagl (Sherando). I had covered matches with Wampler during my time with the Northern Virginia Daily but Erika played for the Warriors one year before my time covering the sport here in the Valley. Wampler suffered an injury prior to the season and wasn't able to play this year but should be back for the 2009 season.
New team, new Coach, new school and same ole Katie Baker.It was fun to see her again on Saturday night trying to cheer her beloved Rams on in the State finals. The letter she wrote the team prior to the final four was inspiring but then again I wouldn't of expected anything less from an exceptional young lady.
Candice Guy being on the same team with Katie Baker led me to another group of special people that are connected to the Wilson Memorial VB team. Kala Guy is the little sister to Candice and the daughter to Mr. & Mrs. Guy. This family and Jim Sacco of The News Virginian simply took things to the next level.
You could make a case for Kala Guy being the best High School VB player in Class A in the State of Virginia. She just collected the Player of the Year Award for Region B and will be in line for more awards at the State level when they are announced. Yes, she is a talented VB player and my favorite part of her game- team leader! Once again there is no I in team with this young lady and a tip of the cap for that. I still say she would look nice wearing a BC Lady Eagles jersey next to her sissy next season.
That brings us to Mr. Jim Sacco of the News Virginian and the amount of energy he brought to the table this season with Region B Volleyball. I have only known Jim a short time but I do really believe that he subscribes to the same thought on Volleyball being just as important as any other High School sport. Both of us will be pulling for Dae Quan Scott (R.E. Lee) and Pickle Nuckols (Buffalo Gap) on Friday night when they both lace up the spikes in their Regional Finals contests.

Chip Crabill and myself (and hopefully Jim) will be broadcasting on ESPN-1240 from Brookville when R.E Lee plays and I will be the first to admit I really hope that one if not both schools advance to the State Finals. Just not any more or any less than I pulled for Strasburg and Wilson Memorial to make it to VCU last week.
To complete the circle I have to tell you about Kaitlin Smoot and her Virginia Tech Club Volleyball team playing in a tournament at James Madison University this past Saturday. The story has to begin back on Friday morning when I had a 3 hour meeting with Dan Simpson of the Washington Post following our night of delivering newspapers. I was 12 hours into my work day when I jumped in the car and headed toward Richmond for the Strasburg vs. Wilson Semi-Final
After the completion of the match it was off to Cumberland High School for the Buffalo Gap playoff game. Standing in the rain and the fog for a few hours just added to the day/night. Good news was that Buffalo Gap won 46-12 and would live to play another game. The bad news was the clock reading 3:00 A.M. when I had finished all of my responsibilities for the night.
The JMU tourney was slated to begin at 8:30 A.M. and this was on the only time that Kaitlin would be playing in our area this year. Cumberland to Lynchburg (postings for the night) and then to Harrisonburg for the tournament. Four and 1/2 hours later, VT stood at 2-0 with two games remaining in pool play. But now it was 1:00 P.M. and play was scheduled to resume back in Richmond in just 4 more hours.
Time to head out and make my way back to the Siegel Center both feeling and looking a little rough (How rough - the guy working the table at VCU might of mistaken me for a homeless person instead of a reporter). Why would someone do that to themselves for a 48 hour stretch?
It wasn't for the Volleyball match at JMU, it was just a chance to hang out with one of my Heroes.
As the Great Paul Harvey would say - Now you know the rest of the Story...

Region B VB : Post Season Awards

The Post Season Awards for Region B have been issued...
Region B consists of 4 separate Districts. There are 25 High Schools in Region B with 150 starters and close to 300 Varsity players.

Bull Run District (6) - Strasburg, Rappahannock County, George Mason, Manassas Park
Madison County, Clarke County

Shenandoah District (6)- Wilson Memorial, Luray, Page County, Stonewall Jackson,
Buffalo Gap & Riverheads

Dogwood District(7)- Altavista, Appomattox, Nelson County, Dan River, William Campbell,
Chatam, Gretna

James River District (6)-Randolph-Henry, Goochland, Buckingham, Central (Victoria), Cumberland, Amelia

Coach of the Year - Wilson Memorial's Kim Claytor

Player of the Year- Wilson Memorial's Kala Guy


1ST Team -

Kala Guy - Senior @ Wilson Memorial

Jenna Smoot - Junior @ Strasburg

Jacyln Ayers - Junior @ Strasburg

Katie Cubbage - Senior @ Luray

Shay Morazes - Senior @ Nelson County

Amanda Sandridge - Senior @ Altavista


2ND Team -

Bethany Doman - Senior @ Strasburg

Natalie Tupper - Junior @ Rappahanock County

Sarah Buckley - Senior @ Nelson County

Brittni Jones - Senior @ Randolph-Henry

Noel Bartley - Junior @ Wilson Memorial

Christine Coffield-Senior @ Wilson Memorial


Honorable Mention - (11)

Emily Carter - Senior @ Rappahannock

Tori Puryear - Junior @ Madison County

Paige Aaron - Senior @ Chatham

Shayna Keen- Junior @ Chatham

Carmisha Adams- Senior @ Randolph-Henry

Sonyelle Kenney - Senior @ Goochland

Stephanie Morris- Senior @ Cumberland

Katherine Sheffield -Senior @ Central

Sarah Wilson - Senior @ Goochland

Heather Stout - Junior @ Stonewall Jackson

Niki Zwanzig - Senior @ Page County

Congrats to all 23 players !

Monday, November 17, 2008

Northern Virginia Daily - Monday Morning News

The delay in reporting on Tim Tassa and Chuck McGill's coverage on Strasburg's big Final Four run is for no other reason than the NVD has no Sunday product. Tim had his camera with him on Saturday so there are some nice pics accompanying his story on the game Saturday night.
Check out all of Tim's work from the Siegel Center by clicking over to !

Bill Meade sent us some Art from his day with Jenny Logan @ BC

Thanks Bill ! Here is to a Great 4 years for Ms. Logan

LHS's Jenny Logan scores first 2 points of her College career Saturday @ Bridgewater College

The coaches around the Shenandoah District( Girls Basketball ) are thankful that they won't be trying to defend Luray High School standout Jenny Logan any longer. Logan graduated last summer and this past Saturday she played her 1ST regular season game of what should be a 4 year career at Bridgewater College.

4:06 remained in the second half when Logan scored her initial basket for the Lady Eagles. The two points should prove to be the first of many and her stat line for the game against Mary Washington University included 3 offensive rebounds, 3 defensive rebounds and 1 steal. The jumper cut the MWU lead to 64-55 as BC would eventually fall to the visitors from Fredricksburg by a final score of 76-61.

Page News & Courier's Bill Meade was in the gym for the game and will have a story in this weeks paper on Wednesday morning. The box score info comes courtesy of the ODAC web site.

Congrats to Jenny Logan !

Staunton News-Leader arrives hot of the presses...Also-Film @ 11:00 !

From time to time Chris Lassiter (News-Leader) will end up covering the same High School Football game as the one we are doing on the radio. When this happens it is always a pleasant visit and Chris will share his knowledge of the game with us on the air as well as pass on other scoring updates.

This time the venue we shared was court side @ VCU for the Wilson Memorial vs. Strasburg semi-final match Friday night. The News-Leader was doing a live stream video of the match that folks back home could watch on line. The Saturday copy of the N-L showed up in the mailbox here and their coverage pushed being two pages full.

Shaun T. Cox wrote the gamer and Chris wrote the column and five different photos from the lens of Pat Jarrett covered pages B1 & B2. As of know the video replay is still available (with Chris doing the commentary) at the newspapers website . A tip of the cap to Hubert F. Grimm III and his team for all of their coverage...