Fauquier principal Kraig Kelican succumbs to injuries from car accident

Kraig Kelican, principal of Fauquier High School and son of former James Wood High School football coach and athletic director Jerry Kelican, passed away Thursday.

He succumbed to injuries suffered in a car crash the morning of September 6th on I-66 in Fauquier County.

Kelican’s entire 34 year career was spent in Fauquier County as at teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Superintendent Major Warner issued a statement which included, “(Kraig) was a wonderful leader and champion of kids, and the Falcon community was better because of Kraig’s impact and leadership.”

The school has made support staff available for students and staff to guide them during their time of grief.

Superintendent Warner also asked the community to keep the Kelican Family and Falcon Nation in your thoughts and prayers.

To view the statement from Fauquier County Public Schools, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

The Duke’s Preview: James Wood vs Handley featuring Coach Todd Wilson

Tonight’s High School Football Game of the Week on The River 95.3, Fox Sports Radio 1450, theriver953.com and the TuneIn Radio App features the 61st matchup between James Wood (2-2) and Handley (1-3).

This is one of the most anticipated games in the area every year thanks to one of the oldest rivalries.

This year’s installation will feature two head coaches looking to make their first mark in the rivalry.

Handley’s head coach Dan Jones is in his first year with the program after coaching at Sherando last season.

Todd Wilson has served on the Colonel’s coaching staff as the offensive line coach for the last 4 years before taking over the head job.

Coach Jones will bring with him a Handley offense that has explosive potential from numerous spots on the field.

Running Back Manno Lusca enters the game as one of the area’s leading rushers with 380 yards, 9.2 yards per carry, and six touchdowns, but he is just one of many players who could go the distance at any time.

Hassan Akanbi possesses track athlete speed and has already taken one catch 99 yards to the house this season.

Breylon Miller looks the part of a future Division I athlete at 6’6″ 218 lbs. and has stats to back it up.

Miller is second in receiving yards in the area with 264 yards off 12 receptions with two touchdowns.

James Wood’s defense looks to be up to the task, already having faced some of the best offenses in the area.

The Colonel’s limited the an explosive Brentsville offense to just one second half touchdown and forced two turnovers in that half.

They also contained last year’s state runner-ups, Kettle Run, on the first three drives forcing two turnovers and a turnover on downs.

Two leaders on that opportunistic defense include defensive back Justin Gwinner, the area’s leader in interceptions with 4, and linebacker Zack Smith, the area’s leading tackler with 46.

They will need to keep the explosive Handley offense in front of them and force a few turnovers to come away with the victory.

Handley must focus on efficiency inside the red zone and execution on special teams.

Last week the Judges were stuffed on numerous opportunities in the red zone.

I look forward to another  great installation of this rivalry which gave us a classic game as recently as last season when Handley came back from trailing 16-0 early and a 10 point deficit with 3:47 remaining to come away with a 37-30 win in overtime to clinch a playoff birth.

This will be another close game but Handley’s playmakers should help the Judges prevail on the road, 27-20.

Press play below for my interview with James Wood Head Coach Todd Wilson.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

The Duke’s Preview: Skyline vs James Wood featuring Coach Gilbert interview

Tonight’s Friday Night High School Football Game of the Week features the Skyline Hawks (0-1) coming off a bye week and the James Wood Colonels (1-1) who fell to Brentsville 41-7 last week.

Even though they have only played one game, Skyline had a lot to look back on from their first game against Strasburg.

Skyline had a few chances to win but self-inflicted mistakes like unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and turnovers led to them coming up short.

Aidan Vaught already looked to be in midseason form back at his more natural running back position piling up 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Vaught had a great game against James Wood last year when he had 133 yards and a passing and rushing touchdown.

He willed Skyline to victory on their final scoring drive rushing for 61 yards.

James Wood already is off to a better start to this season than last.

James Wood had to wait until October for their first win in 2022, but this year they took down Warren County in Week 1.

The Colonels shut out Warren County in the second half and played a strong second half against an explosive Brentsville offense, limiting them to one score and forcing two turnovers.

One of the players tasked with tracking down Vaught when James Wood’s defense is on the field is Zach Smith.

The All Region selection from 2022 has already shown his impact leading James Wood with 16 tackles and and interception against Warren County.

My prediction for the game is that Skyline will be able to use the extra week of preparation coming off the bye and the frustrations of letting one slip away against Strasburg to come up with the win tonight in another close game, final score Skyline 21-James Wood 13.

Tune into the action at Fox Sports Radio 1450 WFTR, The River 95.3, and streaming on theriver953.com and the Tune In Radio App.

To hear my interview with the Skyline Hawks Head Coach Heath Gilbert, press play below.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

FCPS will cut the ribbon at two schools recently renovated

james wood girls' basketball coach

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) announced by email that they will cut ribbons at the reopening of James Wood High School and Indian Hollow Elementary School.

The two schools are reopening and cutting ribbons in celebration of the recent progression of renovations and completed construction.

Renovations at James Wood High School have been significant and will be celebrated on August 9 at 11 a.m.

Construction at James Wood will continue for approximately two more years.

Parents are going to find a new traffic pattern with an expanded student drop off area in the completed construction at James Wood.

Along with a new entrance to the school there are new administrative and guidance offices as well.

James Wood also houses 20 new or remodeled classrooms and 4 new science labs.

The renovations at Indian Hollow Elementary School are likely to be complete well ahead of schedule by several months.

The school now has an upgraded HVAC system, new windows and doors which will create a significant impact on Indian Hollow’s energy bills.

Indian Hollow Elementary School will hold its ribbon cutting on August 10 at 11 a.m.

James Wood High School is located at 161 Apple Pie Ridge Road Winchester.

Indian Hollow Elementary School is located at 1548 North Hayfield Road Winchester.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Brian Sullivan selected as SABF Grand Marshall

The 96th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival announced Brian Sullivan as the Grand Marshall.

Sullivan is a 1989 Graduate of James Wood High School and anchor of CNBC’s 7:00 pm show “Last Call.”

He originally moved to the area in ninth grade and graduated from James Wood before attending Virginia Tech.

He has spent over 25 years in financial journalism and television and has been nominated for Emmys and the prestigious Loeb Award.

Sullivan will attend numerous festival events on Friday and appear in both Firefighters’ and Grand Feature Parades.

Along with the announcement of the Grand Marshall  Apple Blossom Official announced the Store is now open for Official Festival clothing and souvenirs with hours found here.

Apple Blossom Ticket and events information is found here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

FCPS recognizes support staff

Frederick County Public Schools Interim Superintendent John Lamanna recognized five outstanding support staff employees with the school division’s yearly awards.

Ed Lambert was named Bus Driver of the Year for his service to students over the last 15 years at Greenwood Mill Elementary School and Millbrook High School.

Zach Stiles received the Gala Award as the Security Officer for James Wood High School.

The Macintosh Award was presented to Amy Peschken who is an instructional assistant at Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School.

The Rome Award for school nutrition services staff was given to Amber Hammons of James Wood Middle School.

The winner of the York Award, which is designated for specialists, is Brandy Bennett at Senseny Road School.

The recipients of each award received $500 and a plaque.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Maids selected for Apple Blossom

Four young women from the area have been selected to serve as the Maids in the Court of the Queen for the upcoming Apple Blossom Festival starting April 28th through May 1st.

The women selected were Elia Norton, Yeakley Pullen, Margaret Smith and Sarah Smith.

Norton is a graduate of Handley High School and is currently a sophomore at LFCC.

Pullen went to James Wood and now attends Alabama.

Margaret Smith is from Henrico, Va and attends John Tyler Community College.

Her sister Sarah is currently attending University of Virginia.

The women will take part in the Coronation Ceremony and ride on the Queens float in the parade.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here. 

VSI awarded 66 scholarships

The Virginia Sheriffs Institute awarded 66 scholarships this year with a total of $65,000.

The recipients chosen are pursuing degrees in criminal justice at a Virginia college.

Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholand will have the honor of distributing three of those scholarships to local students.

James Wood Senior Corrine Smith, Shenandoah University’s Elyssa McCafferty and Lord Fairfax Community College’s Sonya Puryear will all receive $1000 to put towards their education. 

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

FCPS announce graduation ceremonies

james wood girls' basketball coach

Frederick County Public Schools announced their high schools will host in person graduation ceremonies.

Millbrook High School’s graduation ceremony will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday,  June 16 at Millbrook Pioneer Stadium.

Sherando High School’s commencement will be held on Thursday, June 17 at Arrowhead  Stadium beginning at 7:00 p.m.

James Wood  High School’s graduation ceremony will be held on Friday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Kelican  Stadium.

The rain dates for each school will be the following day.  

Each ceremony will be held outdoors in order to allow for the greatest number of spectators in accordance with state guidelines.

Each graduating senior will receive 6 admission tickets that can be distributed to family and friends.

Only those with tickets will be allowed in however the ceremonies will be live streamed on the respective school’s Facebook page.

COVID-19 regulations are expected to be adhered to.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.