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August 28, 2009

Given Corey Rice's performance in his three starts last season -- 22-of-33 for 304 yards and a touchdown -- it's no wonder Sherando coach Bill Hall named him the Warriors' starting quarterback for Sherando's game tonight at Park View.

The new season is here, and with it comes a number of questions. With several stars heading to college football and district realignments wreaking havoc in the Shenandoah Valley, the changes have clouded expectations.

WOODSTOCK -- Matt Sherfey saw first hand what playoff football was all about. As Central made it to the postseason for the second year in a row, he was there on the sidelines.

BERRYVILLE -- There's little room for error in the trenches of a football field, especially when a game hinges on the success or failure of a single play.

WINCHESTER -- Elijah Washington loves the weight room. He enjoys going in and challenging himself day after day, pushing himself to hit a new mark. It's that mentality that's helped him become the strongest player on Handley's team and molded him into one of the team's leaders.

WINCHESTER -- It was a busy summer for Trae Tinsman. The James Wood senior spent most of it traveling from one football camp to another, but that's the life of a recruit trying to gain more attention from college programs.

WOODSTOCK -- The play still stands out in Carl St. Amand's mind. It was third-and-four against St. John's, and the Massanutten Military Academy cornerback picked off a pass at the 40-yard line that swung the momentum in the Colonels' favor. MMA ended up winning that game due in large part to the interception.

WINCHESTER -- Doug Murrell learned how to play on the offensive line the hard way. As a sophomore he was forced into the starting lineup and had to go against players such as Sherando's Joey Christine, who was all-state on the defensive line that year.

FRONT ROYAL -- Trust, respect and the genuine care and concern all come to mind when one thinks of family. That's exactly how senior teammates Nathaniel Earp and Josh Temple described the link between the members of the 2009 Randolph-Macon Academy football team -- a family.

STEPHENS CITY -- It's hard to tell whether Sherando linebacker Baxter Newman is flexing or not. The deep crevices of his arms, which define first his shoulder, then his triceps and biceps before slithering down to his forearm, suggest that he probably is flexing.

By Jeremy Stafford -- jstafford@nvdaily.com FRONT ROYAL -- Cliff Woodard is bigger than he's ever been. He's stronger, faster, more explosive off the line of scrimmage, and from the first day of practice, every one of the Hawks has taken notice of their feature running...

QUICKSBURG -- The pressure was certainly there. As a freshman last season, John-Michael Pirtle was named starting quarterback when Dylan Dawson, the previous starter, was moved to tailback before the Generals' season opener.

STRASBURG -- A year ago, Michael Reynolds was little concerned with learning Strasburg coach Mark Roller's offense. Even though Reynolds was the backup quarterback, Bub McKelvey was slated as the starter. Instead, Reynolds was preoccupied with earning a starting role as a cornerback, and so he learned just enough of the offense to get by.

FRONT ROYAL -- The art of blocking, at first, came easy for Damien Caison. As a tight end at Warren County, Caison had only to set himself on the line of scrimmage, take one or two hard steps, and engage the bulky defensive end or linebacker in front of him.

August 5, 2009

WINCHESTER -- With the way the Winchester Royals have hit this season, they could be a threat no matter who they face in the Valley Baseball League playoffs.

August 4, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Central players walked onto the practice field Monday morning with a new level of enthusiasm.

July 29, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Steven Rivera was masterful again. The Winchester right-hander was doing everything right, baffling Front Royal's bats inning after inning, just like he did last week in a complete game shutout of the Valley Baseball League's top team.

July 28, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- The last time an American Legion baseball team from Front Royal celebrated a state championship was 1963.

July 27, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The wait for Chad Moore is almost over. The 2007 Handley grad has gone through his share of ups and downs, but he soon will be back on the court playing college basketball. Moore received a scholarship to play at Shepherd College next year, but he also is considering another option.

July 24, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Game after game, Jesse Henry itched to get back on the field. Though in uniform for the Front Royal Cardinals, Henry often watched from the top step of the dugout, having to rest a torn tendon in one of his wrists. Missing 15 of 16 games between June 16 and July 5 was a downer for Henry, largely because he was not getting to join in the fun with his summer teammates.

July 23, 2009

NEW MARKET -- Rebel Park, in the morning's waking hours, is one of the most serene sights New Market has to offer.

FRONT ROYAL -- The game before, Winchester manager John Lowery, Jr. had used a bevy of left-handers to handcuff Fauquier's batters.

July 13, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- The first few innings went like clockwork at Central High School. First, Woodstock pitcher Ian Marshall retired the side for the North, then New Market's Eric Alessio returned the favor pitching for the South.

July 11, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Find the barrel of the bat, hit the ball hard. The thought darts through Front Royal cleanup hitter Steve McQuail's head as he looms over home plate, watching as the pitcher twists into his windup.

July 9, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Cory Tilton was in a good spot to be successful. Hitting eighth in Woodstock's batting order, Tilton knew he was going to get pitches to hit from Front Royal starting pitcher Shane Galloway, who twice found himself in jams during Wednesday night's Valley Baseball League game.

July 3, 2009

Strasburg's Jaclyn Ayers, The Northern Virginia Daily's Girls Athlete of the Year, competes in volleyball, basketball and softball, and though she's too humble to do so willingly, she can name most of the awards she's collected over the last nine months: All-state first team in volleyball, Bull Run District Volleyball Player of the Year, Region B honorable mention in basketball, Region B second-team in softball, and several others.

It didn't take long for Central's J.J. Armentrout, The Northern Virginia Daily's Boys Athlete of the Year, to become an outstanding tight end: In his first season, he caught 21 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns; as a senior, he caught 22 passes for 420 yards and five touchdowns.

July 1, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- The Cardinals are finally beginning to come together as a team.

June 29, 2009

WINCHESTER -- J.J. Dorsey loves playing basketball. It was obvious in the graceful way he flew to the hoop, banked in fade-away jumpers, and then hustled back to play defense during drills at an open gym session at Daniel Morgan Middle School on Saturday.

June 26, 2009

To the dismay of Valley Baseball League players, coaches and management, the region has been drenched by rainstorms, postponing games across the area. There are those days when early downpours make postponements inevitable, and so players can enjoy a rare summer day away from the diamond. But only a few weeks into this young season, players are itching to get out onto the field, even if it's just for a practice.

FRONT ROYAL -- Following the Front Royal Cardinals' seven-run loss to Winchester on Wednesday, head coach Joe Scarano knew his team needed a little extra work. So he held an early practice session Thursday morning to try and work his team out of its funk.

June 8, 2009

RADFORD -- The scene following Stonewall Jackson's Group A State semifinal loss to George Mason was somber, but not devastating.

RADFORD -- As the Handley players rushed to the court to celebrate a 5-0 win over Spotswood in the Group AA state final, the tears quickly followed.

RADFORD -- Many of the key players on the Stonewall Jackson boys soccer team, such as juniors Patrick Bain, Colton Koontz and Hayden Miller, can at least find comfort in the fact that they have next season to look forward to.

June 5, 2009

WINCHESTER -- The chemistry between Elizabeth Gardiner, Mykenzie Garrett, Katie Gordon and Sarah Moomau is evident.

QUICKSBURG -- It's a long drive from Quicksburg to Cape Charles, site of Stonewall Jackson's boys soccer match in the Group A state quarterfinals against Northampton.

June 4, 2009

STRASBURG -- Donning a smile as wide as the ocean that separates his permanent and temporary homes, Yoshi Suzuki rattles off his favorite traditional American fare.

June 2, 2009

QUICKSBURG -- On the side of U.S. 11, just north of Quicksburg Road in Mt. Jackson, a wooden cross is fixed into the ground.

May 30, 2009

QUICKSBURG -- About halfway through the Region B championship soccer match at Stonewall Jackson, midfielder Patrick Bain began suffering from mild cramps in his calves.

May 29, 2009

Winning a state title in any sport is hard enough; so to repeat as state champions, even for a Clarke County track and field team that brings 22 male and female athletes to Saturday's Group A state meet at Radford University, is a rare feat in its own right.

May 28, 2009

STRASBURG -- The nature of playing small ball is to put pressure on the other team. A winning baseball club with a spotty defense most of the season, Strasburg's shortcomings in the field came to the surface again in Wednesday night's Region B quarterfinals game with Riverheads.

May 27, 2009

QUICKSBURG -- They called it Little Mexico, a sliver of an apartment complex in Mount Jackson, heavily populated by Hispanics from Guanajuato, Mexico.

WINCHESTER -- Elizabeth Gardiner and Katie Gordon have only been playing together for a few weeks, but it hasn't taken them long to hit their stride.

May 26, 2009

STEPHENS CITY --- The scouting report Broad Run had on Sherando's pitching staff did not include James Harrelson.

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- Shenandoah University defied the odds all season. A trip to the Division 3 World Series was an unlikely accomplishment. So were the chances of coming back from a five-run deficit to start the bottom of the fifth inning.

May 23, 2009

APPLETON, Wis. -- "Ouch." That was the first word uttered by Farmingdale State College coach Keith Osik about the dominance of Shenandoah University in the Hornets' 12-2 opening-round win in the Division 3 World Series on Friday.

May 22, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Don't blink or you could miss it. The handshake between Shenandoah outfielder Kevin Brashears and pitcher Matt Davis, a blur of one set of fingers slithering its way through the nooks and crannies of the other lasts only a moment, but it's a moment the two believe can provide the Hornets with a hint of magic for an entire inning.

Almost two years ago to the day, Jordan Zimmermann, now a rookie for the Washington Nationals, toed the rubber at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis., pitching for Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the Division 3 World Series.

QUICKSBURG -- Stonewall Jackson forward Juan Flores sat on the edge of the soccer field at Stonewall Jackson as the Shenandoah all-district teams were named.

May 21, 2009

STRASBURG -- Knowing that Clarke County was coming in playing its best baseball of the season, Strasburg wanted to put Wednesday night's Bull Run District semifinals matchup to bed early with a strong showing.

WINCHESTER -- It's a cold and breezy night in Salisbury, Md. The field lights at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium flicker off and on in the waning innings of Shenandoah's Division III regional championships quarterfinal game against York, and the threat of rain is ever-looming.

STEPHENS CITY -- Trevor and Trey Scott are typical brothers. They are competitive, there to back each other up whenever needed and, most importantly, always ready to pick on one another.

May 20, 2009

STEPHENS CITY -- Much of Zach Carney's time Tuesday night was spent with a scorebook in his hands. But once Sherando baseball coach Pepper Martin called on Carney to pinch-hit late in the Warriors' Northwestern District semifinals game against James Wood, the junior proved that he was just as skilled with a bat in his hands as a pencil.

WINCHESTER -- Everything happens for a reason. Or so says Shenandoah University left fielder Jasen Eberz. There's a reason Eberz had two strikeouts and committed two errors in the Division 3 South Regional championship game against Johns Hopkins on Saturday; and there's a reason why, as sophomore at Shenandoah, Eberz dove awkwardly into first base in a scrimmage and nearly tore his shoulder out of it's socket.

May 19, 2009

STRASBURG -- Strasburg softball coach Suzanne Mathias takes no opponent lightly. And she didn't change her stance for Monday's Bull Run District tournament quarterfinal opponent George Mason, even though the Mustangs have not won within the league for several seasons.

May 16, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- In the nine-team Northwestern District, the fourth and fifth seeds would normally be the most evenly matched for tournament play.

May 15, 2009

WOODSTOCK -- Central coach Donn Foltz has good reason to feel optimistic about his team's chances in the Northwestern District tournament, which begins today.

WINCHESTER -- Handley's Brittany Myers was a bit tired after winning her second distance race in as many days. Still, the freshman had enough left in her legs to give the Judges' 4x400 relay team a win in Thursday's final event of the Northwestern District Track and Field Championships.

May 14, 2009

WINCHESTER -- John Adams and Danny Nolan were stunned as they let seven match points slip away in the second set at No. 1 doubles.

May 13, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Shenandoah outfielder Scott Lambert and five others, also on the baseball team, huddled around a computer on Sunday night in the Winchester home they share.

STEPHENS CITY -- Nevermind that Brentsville and Millbrook have been the queens of Northwestern District softball circles the last few years.

STEPHENS CITY -- Finally back on the field, in a game that actually yielded a result this time, Tre Porter and the rest of Sherando's baseball team didn't waste the opportunity.

May 12, 2009

Sherando players and coaches rush to unravel the tarp and cover the field after rain started falling in the third inning of the Warriors' game against James Wood on Monday afternoon. The game was eventually postponed. Dennis Grundman/Daily

May 9, 2009

FORT VALLEY -- His body doesn't forgive him like it used to. After a sparring session on Tuesday, Scotty Hosaflook parked his 45-year-old body on a wooden bench, rested his elbows on his knees and looked up at his trainer, Scott Farmer.
Audio slideshow: Blessed to be back in the ring

QUICKSBURG -- The twitch muscles in Colin Christensen's legs are weak. That lack of strength, which Christensen cites as one of his "downfalls as a distance runner," prohibits the Strasburg junior from reaching that extra gear in the final leg of the 1600- and 3200-meter runs, and has kept him winless all season.

May 8, 2009

QUICKSBURG -- Phillip Hovatter hears his share of voices at track meets. "Hey, Hovatter, whachu gonna do today? How bad you gonna beat me," one competitor says.

May 4, 2009

WINCHESTER -- Two former Washington Redskins, Mark Moseley and Joe Jacoby, marched down the aisle of the Moose Lodge in Winchester and took their seats at center stage to applause to begin the Apple Blossom Festival Sports Breakfast on Saturday.

WINCHESTER -- On a gloomy Saturday morning, 1,038 runners took off in the 28th running of the Apple Blossom 10K in a slight drizzle. As the weather cleared, Alene Reta dashed across the finish line, winning the race with a course-shattering time of 29.03.

May 2, 2009

WINCHESTER -- ESPN played it over and over and over. The highlight of L.A. Galaxy midfielder David Beckham's first Major League Soccer goal.

WINCHESTER -- Ward Burton has seen his sport change -- and in his mind not for the better.

WINCHESTER -- Mark Moseley and Joe Jacoby have a theory. A simple theory concerning former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs' second chapter in D.C. from 2004 to 2008, and why it wasn't nearly as successful as his Hall of Fame-worthy stint, which spanned from 1981 to 1993 and garnered three Super Bowl championships.

April 30, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- Some golfers were decked out in rain gear from head to toe, while others toted an umbrella in one hand and their trusty club in the other as steady rain fell at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club on Wednesday.

April 29, 2009

QUICKSBURG -- By the conclusion of the Generals' season last year, Stonewall Jackson boys soccer coach Nate Hissong knew something had to change.

April 28, 2009

FRONT ROYAL -- For a team that has been in a recent slump, the last thing Handley needed to see was top pitcher Brian Tavenner have to leave Monday night's Northwestern District baseball game at Warren County early due to an injury.


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