Male Athlete of the Year: Warren’s Ford had standout junior season

Warren County's Cameron Ford picks up big yardage on this second quarter pass play while Skyline's Joey Newman pursues him on Nov. 6 in Front Royal. Ford led the Wildcats in three sports this season. Rich Cooley/Daily file

FRONT ROYAL – Cameron Ford prepared in the offseason to try to make his junior year his best one yet and it worked.

Ford put together a successful year for Warren County in football, basketball and baseball.

“I think I did all right,” Ford said of his year. “I still have things to improve on.”

Ford said that he’s even more motivated in this offseason to get ready for his senior year.

He started off his junior year with a solid football season. Ford had 39 receptions as a wide receiver for 551 yards and had four touchdowns. He also had one interception on defense.

Warren County's Cameron Ford sails in the lane with a running one hand shot over George Mason's Thomas Beddow during first quarter action on Dec. 9 in Front Royal. Ford was one of the top scorers in the area this past season. Rich Cooley/Daily file

“There’s still a lot of things I got to work on, like my routes. Get stronger and try to get bigger,” Ford said. “I just want to help the team the best I can, just give them the best chance at winning.”

Ford, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2015-16 Male Athlete of the Year, said his favorite memory of football season was coming from behind to knock off William Monroe, 14-13, on Oct. 9. The Wildcats drove down the field in the final minutes, including a couple passes from Robert Rutherford to Ford, which set-up the game-winning touchdown – a 50-yard pass from Rutherford to Brendan McMackin on homecoming night.

“Homecoming – you got to win. It felt good,” Ford said. “That was great, especially for the seniors. Their last homecoming to just came back and give them a win – it just felt great.”

Ford led the area public schools in boys basketball, averaging 19.1 points per game. He shot 48.1 percent (74 for 154) from the field and 78.6 percent (103 for 131) from the free-throw line.

The shooting guard had 31 points in a close loss to William Monroe, and said that he really loved working with Warren County point guard Clyde Ritchie.

Warren County's Cameron Ford drives to the basket as Skyline's Evan Lester defends during first quarter action on Nov. 7 at Skyline High School. Ford had a strong season in football, basketball and baseball. Rich Cooley/Daily file

“Clyde knew what he was doing, and when you have a point guard like that when you get the ball you just got to help him score,” Ford said.

Ford said there can be pressure when you’re the leading scorer of the team, but he tried to not let the pressure get to him.

“I think it’s a lot of responsibility, because when you’re the leading scorer the team kind of depends on you,” Ford said. “That’s a lot of pressure. You just want to make everyone happy, the seniors happy, the coach. We have a great coach. It’s a lot of responsibility, but I just don’t let the pressure get to me. I just try to do what I can.”

Ford continued his strong year during the spring season. He was a big part of Warren County’s successful baseball team.

The Wildcats went 15-5, finishing third in the Bull Run District, and earned the No. 3 seed in the Conference 28 tournament.

Warren County's shortstop Cameron Ford prepares to put a late tag on William Monroe's Anthony Pritchett as he successfully steals second base during first inning action on April 5. Ford played a big role in Warren County's success in football, basketball and baseball this season. Rich Cooley/Daily file

“We had a great coach – coach (Michael) Minch. We had a great team. Our team was just good all around,” Ford said. “Unfortunately, it ended not the way we expected, but that’s just the way baseball is.”

Ford said the highlight of his baseball season came at Clarke County on April 19.

With the Wildcats clinging to a 5-2 lead, Ford put the game out of reach with a grand slam. He said it was the first home run of his career.

“It just happened. It was very exciting,” Ford said. “It was so unexpected. I thought it was a fly ball, and it just kept carrying and it surprised me.”

Ford hit .322 (19 for 59) with one homer, three doubles and 19 RBI’s. He also scored 14 runs and stole nine bases. He said that he was most proud of his RBIs.

“I like getting RBIs. I don’t even care if I get out,” Ford said. “If there’s like no outs, someone on second or someone on third just get the ball out there – get a sacrifice. I just want runs. I want to help the team win and give them the best chance of winning that I can.”

Ford said that his dad has always been a great role model for him and helps him out, and he often goes to him for advice.

Ford said he loves all three sports that he plays pretty equally. He said this summer he’s not playing baseball, so that he can focus on his senior season of football.

With his senior season just around the corner, Ford said that he’s looking forward to his final year at Warren County.

“When I think about it’s like ‘wow,'” Ford said. “I remember playing freshman football just running around and then waiting on Friday nights to watch everybody else – all the big guys play. Now I look down and I have to realize that I’m the big guy. It all happened so fast. You just don’t expect it. It just runs up on you, but I’m very excited for my senior year.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com