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Greetings from The Booth!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas (although that’s pretty wondeful, too), but the college bowl season is upon us. For participating teams, bowl season means an extra week of practice time to prepare for next season. For some players, it’s a chance to showcase their talents to NFL scouts on a national stage, although some sit out their school’s bowl game for fear of injury. For fans, it’s a chance to root for their favorite college teams one more time. Oh, and did we mention the free swag bags that most bowls offer to the players?
Many of our regional teams will be bowlin’ this Holiday season. My WVU Mountaineers are goling to the prestigous Duke’s Mayo Bowl to take on North Carolina. Mayo, Schmayo…I don’t care. It’s the first bowl game for the Mounties since 2021, so I can’t wait! It was also great that JMU got into a bowl game–the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force–so we can forget about that antiquated 2-year bowl ban that was imposed on the Dukes. Virginia Tech, who played better as the season went along, will also head to a bowl, the Military Bowl in Annapolis, where they will face Tulane. ODU will see bowl action, as will undefeated Liberty, who gets Oregon in the Fiesta–ouch!
Of course, the bowls that count are the two National Semifinals, as the CFP committee chose it’s top 4 teams this past weekend. As you might expect, there is some controversy, as several teams that were in the playoff, are now on the outside looking in. Alabama, which survived the Auburn game 2 weeks ago on a miracle touchdown, ended Georgia’s 29-game win streak in the SEC title game last weekend, and is now the 4-seed. Michigan, who bruised and battered it’s way to a 13-0 mark, vaulted into the number-1 spot and will now face The Tide in the Rose Bowl.
In the other National semi, 13-0 Washington will take on Texas in the Sugar Bowl, leaving former number-1 Georgia and undefeated Florida State on the outside looking in. Both have legitimate gripes. The Bulldogs fell all the way to number-6 after a narrow loss to Alabama. To me, it’s hard to make the argument that a 2-time defending National Champion who won 29 consecutive games is deserving of that kind of free fall. The “eye test” tells me that they are still one of the best four teams in the country.
As for Florida State, the committee cited an injury to the Seminoles’ quarterback as the reason for being left out. While that injury changes the dynamic of the FSU team, they were in the top-4 and took care of their business to finish 13-0. What more can a team do beyond winning all it’s games?
Clearly, the CFP committee valued “brand” over body of work, and they have the 4 teams they want in the College Football Playoff. In case you didn’t know, the CFP field will expand to 12 teams starting with the 2024 season. For Georgia and Florida State, that’s not soon enough…
Enjoy the bowl games, and until the next visit from The Booth…Happy Holidays!
It’s been a great year for me with regard to running. Because of my new, lighter frame, I’ve rediscovered the passion for running and have even run 2 half-marathons this year. Here’s a mini-album of pics from my races this year, including the Edward Jones 5k, Apple Blossom 10k, the Front Royal Kiwanis 5k, the Judges Give Back 5k, the Third Battle of Winchester Half-Marathon, and the Battlefield Half Marathon. See you in 2024 out on the roads!
Greetings from The Booth!
I was going to rant about the Washington Commanders (again) after another embarrasing loss Sunday against the woeful Giants. What can I say? It’s therapeutic. But I couldn’t do it. Instead, I chose to write about football in it’s purest form…
In high school football, the finality of a playoff loss is palpable. For many seniors, it’s the last time they will put on a uniform. There will be no college football or the NFL. When the clock hits zero, it will be the last organized football they will ever play. That reality hits even harder when the loss comes in heartbreaking fashion. There will be no tomorrow.
Heartbreak for the Strasburg Rams came in the form of an 8-7 loss this past Friday in the VHSL Region 2B Semifinals to undefeated Woodstock Central. The 12-0 Falcons have been a team on a mission since losing the State Championship game lst December and have been laser focused in their quest to return to Salem. A little over 2 weeks ago, Central took down Strasburg 28-7 in the season finale, in the process winning the Bull Run District title. And, it was Central that celebrated a regional championship on the Rams’ field last year, a memory that festered in the minds of the Strasburg players, coaches, and fans. For the Rams, Friday’s game was a chance to return the favor in Woodstock.
Strasburg scored the first points of the game on a defensive “scoop and score,” and for the better part of the game, the 7-0 score held up, as the Rams’ stingy defense had all the answers for the vaunted Central running attack. As the game wore on into the final period, that 7-0 score felt more like 14-0. In reality, because Strasburg missed out on several chances to extend the lead and close the deal, Central was just one play away from tying the score.
Great teams aren’t great all the time–just when they have to be. With their undefeated season and dreams of a state title on the line, the Falcons marched 70 yards on their final drive, pulling to within 7-6 on Tyler Forbes’ short TD blast with 1:16 left. Coach Mike Yew then decided to roll the dice and go for 2. Knowing that Strasburg’s defensive ends would be crashing down on Forbes, Yew ordered a QB keeper around the right end, and Nick Barahona delivered, diving in for the game-winning conversion.
As elated as the Falcons and their fans were, the Strasburg players were equally deflated. The Rams left everything on the field, and it wasn’t quite good enough. They did not deserve to lose, but as the saying goes, someone has to. For those Central players who made it all the way to Salem last year, only to fall just short of a state championship, they know all too well the feeling of having the season end in disappointment.
For Central, it’s on to another regional championship game. For Strasburg, it’s on to a winter of “what might have been.”
Until the next visit from The Booth…have a Happy Thanksgiving!
And then there were 4! As the area teams dwindle and the cream rises to the top, the Dogs look back at the opening weekend of the VHSL playoffs, and break down the three remaining Regional semifinal games. Plus the weekly Power Five, the Player of the Week, and even a few predictions. Enjoy the pod, and remember, be true to your school!
Let the second season begin! It’s playoff time, and several of our area teams will be playing some extra football! The Dogs break down the regular season finales, and their playoff implications. Randy & Ryan also look at this Friday’s VHSL Regional quarterfinal games, plus our Player of the Week, and thw weekly Power Five!
For the 15th consecutive year, The River 95.3 and WFTR/Fox Sports 1450 will be hosting
‘Camping for Hunger,’ from Monday, November 13th through Saturday, November 18th to collection of food & monetary donations as well as raise awareness of hunger in the northern Shenandoah Valley.
Since 2008, donation totals for the Camping for Hunger Project have exceeded 190,000 pounds of food and supplies such as personal hygiene items and over $135,000 in cash and gift cards.
On average, the total amount of food and money collected each year provides approximately six months’ worth of food for C-Cap’s pantry program.
On-air personalities Lonnie Hill, Randy Woodward, Ryan Rutherford and Scott Bradley along with station owner, Andrew Shearer and other staff members will again take to sleeping on the bus, which will be parked at the Royal Plaza Shopping Center.
During the week-long camp-out event, The River 95.3 will broadcast live asking for community support and donations for Front Royal/Warren County C-Cap’s food pantry. In-person collections will take place during Camping Week at the bus and at area businesses and organizations.
A list of drop-off locations can be found by click here, along with an
online donation link, direct to C-CAP.
Royal Broadcasting President, Andrew Shearer commented, “For the 15th year, my staff and our neighbors will sacrifice a little of themselves, with either money, non-perishable food, or their time to help those in need. C-CAP has indicated they have seen a nearly 100% increase in requests for assistance in 2023.”
“Our partners for the past 14 years have included the Front Royal Police Department, Warren
County Fire & Rescue, Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Warren County Government,
Royal Plaza Shopping Center, Century Link, Dominion Ridge Academy, and C-CAP. These
organizations help us with the set-up and resources necessary to undertake such a large event. Numerous local companies host in-house food drives, which helps add to the totals and support. All donations stay in our local community,” according to Shearer.
The River 95.3 and WFTR/Fox Sports 1450 are committed to continuing to serve the community through direct-involvement events and activities. For more information, contact the station: 540- 635-4121; email: email@example.com or visit
For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.