Remembering “Brother” Walker
So far, so good for the Shenandoah University football team as we enter the second half of the 2016 season. SU survived an early onslaught by Emory & Henry and escaped “the bottom of Virginia” last Saturday with a 36-33 win over the Wasps. It was a first-ever win for Coach Yoder over E&H, and kept the Hornets very much alive for an ODAC championship, with key games ahead.
This week the Hornets take a much shorter road trip to Bridgewater in hopes of clipping the Eagle’s wings. Both teams are 1-1 in the league, so this game is huge, as one team will stay relevant in the ODAC hunt, and the other will see it’s title hopes damaged somewhat.
SU saw the re-emergence of it’s running game last week, as Cedrick Delaney rushed for 137 yards, and Jalen Hudson chipped in 56. Both had great all-purpose days in the Hornet win. The Hornets hope the running attack is again potent this weekend as a young O-line gels.
Bridgewater, for it’s part, has been Jekyll and Hyde in ODAC play so far, scoring 45 against Hampden-Sydney, and 0 against Randolph Macon last week, so which Eagle team shows up is anyone’s guess. This series, which BC leads 15-3, has been competitive in recent years, with games decided by wacky plays, late turnovers, and controversial calls.
A look into the crystal ball shows SU winning another big road matchup 28-24…
Finally, I was saddened by the death this week of Fulton Walker, who was a baseball teammate of mine at Martinsburg HS, and went on to the NFL. If you are a Redskins fan, you remember Walker returning a kickoff for a TD for the Miami Dolphins against the ‘Skins in Super Bowl XVII in January of 1983. There was (and still may be) a huge picture in the MHS Field House of that return, showing Fulton in the foreground, and 11 Redskins chasing him from behind.
Fulton later went on to play briefly with the Raiders before his NFL career ended. Walker eventually returned to a Martinsburg that welcomed him back with open arms.
I remember him fondly as a great teammate, and someone who could have just as easily played professional baseball. I recall an MHS game where he hit a home run that still hasn’t landed yet. But most of all I remember his contagious smile and positive attitude. He always got a kick out of a nickname I gave him, “Dangerfield.” I’m not sure where that came from. Maybe because I felt he didn’t get enough respect (like Rodney Dangerfield), or just because the name sounded cool. Whatever the reason, he always laughed at the nickname.
I’ve heard from several people this week who have their own Fulton Walker stories. One gentleman, a listener of mine, recalled a recent conversation with Walker, saying how humbled Fulton was to be recognized and remembered.
Fulton volunteered his time to help and coach the youth of Martinsburg. He was a role model to many, and one of the great athletes to ever come out of my hometown. I am fortunate to say that our respective worlds intersected for a few years. Despite his fame, he never forgot where he came from, and Martinsburg will never forget him.
To all who knew Fulton, he was simply “Brother Walker”, and he will be missed…
That’s it from the Booth…until next week,