The high school football season kicked off last weekend in Southwest Virginia.
This weekend it’s the region’s NCAA schools’ turn to open their seasons.
Virginia Tech opens Friday on national TV in a 6 p.m. Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with North Carolina at a sold-out Lane Stadium in Blacksburg.
Several eyes will be peeled on the game to watch former Union great James Mitchell.
Mitchell has received dozens of accolades in the preseason as one of the top tight ends in the country.
UVA Wise opens its season at home on Saturday against nonconference foe Virginia University of Lynchburg.
Emory & Henry also opens its season Saturday against North Carolina Wesleyan.
Both games are scheduled to begin at noon.
PREP GAMES POSTPONED
The count is up to three when it comes to prep football games being postponed this week.
Eastside at Lee High’s contest scheduled for Thursday has been postponed with no make-up date as of yet.
Richlands at Union, scheduled for Friday, has been rescheduled for Oct. 22.
Hurley at Thomas Walker will not be played Friday because of severe flooding in Hurley and the effect it has had on residents of the Hurley area. No make-up date has been scheduled yet.
BROOKLYN GOES BIG TIME
Brooklyn Rutherford, a 12-year-old from Coeburn, is a national champion.
Rutherford recently won the Little League national home run derby beating out roughly 6,400 participants from across the country.
The slugger, who finished third in the national competition last year, won the local competition by hitting 50 home runs. She then won the regional competition and advanced to the national competition in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where she took the national title.
BURTON HALL OF FAME BANQUET CANCELED
Because of concerns centered around COVID-related issues, the J.I. Burton Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee has announced the cancellation of its induction banquet.
Committee Chairman Steve Childers expressed the committee’s regret for the cancellation but said there are too many concerns at the time to hold the event.
The committee is planning to hold a gathering at the Norton Best Friend Festival in June for the induction of the classes of 2020 and 2021.
The class of 2022 will be inducted in the fall of 2022.
Deepest condolences for Abingdon football, the Abingdon community and all of Southwest Virginia on the loss of Falcon assistant football coach Rob Ratcliff.
Ratcliff died Monday after battling symptoms of COVID-19.
The line coach at Abingdon will be missed by many.
Here’s a look at the Southwest Virginia Top 7 as selected by a collection of folks connected to the sports scene in the area. The teams are selected from Region D teams. Union upends Graham as the top voter in football, while Gate City maintains the top spot in volleyball, despite a season-opening loss to a very good Science Hill team.
The polls are based on an 8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points system. Listed are first place votes in parentheses, the team’s record and total points.
Union (10) 1-0 18
Graham (4) 0-0 87
Wise Central (1) 1-0 72
Abingdon 1-0 71
Richlands 1-0 29
Ridgeview 1-0 23
Virginia High 1-0 21
Others receiving votes: Rural Retreat 8, J.I. Burton 6, Eastside 5, Holston 3, Patrick Henry 1.
Gate City (5) 0-1 65
Virginia High (2) 2-1 53
Wise Central (2) 3-0 51
Abingdon (2) 0-1 50
Patrick Henry (1) 1-0 28
John Battle 2-0 27
Ridgeview 3-0 13
Others receiving votes: Marion 12, Rye Cove 5, Union 5, Chilhowie 3, Eastside 3.