From the Sidelines
By Marty Gordon
High school schedule changes
We knew it was going to happen, high school football schedules for this spring are a-changing. Initially, Christiansburg and Blacksburg had Hidden Valley and Cave Spring on their schedule. Well that changed when Roanoke County schools decided it was too dangerous to play outside their county. In came Floyd, Giles and Franklin County as replacements on the schedule.
Then when they were faced with the fact that they would not play enough required games to make the region football playoffs, the Roanoke County schools changed their minds again. So back in are Cave Spring and Hidden Valley, along with Glenvar on the Radford schedule. Also, Monday night’s Radford game with Giles has been moved to April 9 as several of the Bobcat players are still playing basketball.
So here are the updated 2021 football schedules, subject, of course, to change:
Tuesday, Feb. 23, at Salem; Sunday, Feb. 28, Patrick Henry; Friday, March 5, at Cave Spring; Friday, March 12 at Pulaski; Friday, March 19, Hidden Valley; Friday, April 2, Christiansburg.
Friday, March 5, at James River; Friday, March 12, at Alleghany; Friday, March 19, Glenvar; Friday, March 26, Floyd; Friday, April 2, at Carroll County; Friday, April 9, Giles.
Christiansburg Blue Demons
Saturday, Feb. 27, Salem; Friday, March 5, Pulaski; Friday, March 12, at Hidden Valley; Friday, March 19, at Patrick Henry; Friday, March 26, Cave Spring; Friday, April 2, at Blacksburg.
Eastern Montgomery Mustangs
Monday, Feb. 22, Covington; Saturday, Feb. 27, Auburn; Saturday, March 6, at Bath County; Friday, March 13, Narrows; Saturday, March 20, at Bland; Friday, March 27, at Parry McCluer.
Saturday, Feb. 27, at Eastern Montgomery; Saturday, March 6, Ft. Chiswell; Saturday, March 13, Grayson County; Saturday, March 20, George Wythe; Saturday, March 27, Galax; Saturday, April 3, Bland.
Fans in Lane Stadium
The Virginia Tech Athletic Department is already fielding questions about a return of the fans to Lane Stadium in the fall. In a statement issued late last week, the department said, “Virginia Tech Athletics recognizes that our fans and stakeholders have many questions regarding what federal, state, and local guidelines will look like in terms of seating capacity at Lane Stadium for the 2021 football season, especially in light of the March 1 season ticket renewal deadline. While the situation remains fluid, the department did want to share what we currently know.
“Tech Athletics remains hopeful that Hokie Nation can return to Lane Stadium in 2021 while keeping the health and safety of our student-athletes and fans in mind. In the meantime, the athletics department staff is hard at work as sanitization enhancements in Lane Stadium are ongoing and include the installation of over 200 hand sanitizing stations, contactless concession options, preparation for socially distanced seating and lines and more.”
The university said that if Lane Stadium’s capacity continues to be limited, it will offer season ticket holders the same options were offered last fall: donate their ticket order purchase and/or per seat gift, credit their ticket purchase toward a prepaid account, or receive a refund on their ticket purchase and/or per-seat gift future football game tickets.
If fans are permitted to attend football games this fall, 2021 Hokie Club members and season ticket holders will have priority access to tickets compared to the general public. More information on those priority groupings will be announced once the athletics department has some clarity on expectations for the fall.
Pulaski Turtle Power
The new Appalachian League continues to be reshaped with teams selecting new mascots in preparation for the upcoming season.
The league will have 10 teams sponsored by USA Baseball and powered by Major League Baseball. The players in the league will be the top 320 college, non-draft-eligible college freshmen and sophomores.
The new mascot for Pulaski’s baseball franchise is Slider, the turtle. He will not replace the Motor Mile Park’s Calfee mascot, Calfee the cow. Instead they will join forces for “turtle power.”
The Bluefield Baseball Club of Bluefield, W.Va., has announced its new name, the Bluefield Ridge Runners. The 97-year history of baseball in Bluefield continues with the rebranding effort. More than 125 suggestions were submitted by fans and sponsors to rename the team for the future. That exhaustive list was pared down to five contenders, and the final decision was made after all legal hurdles had been cleared and artwork for the logo had been approved.
The new Ridge Runners name is reflective of the rich railroad history of the Bluefield area.
Bowen Field at Peters Park straddles the state line of Virginia and West Virginia as did the original namesake of the team.
The original Ridge Runner in 1964 circumnavigated a one-mile loop atop East River Mountain, half in Virginia and half in West Virginia. The little train now resides just outside the right field wall of Bowen Field. On warm summer days, spectators can see and hear excited passengers as the train makes its loop throughout Lottio Park.