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Thursday, September 12, 2013
I was saddened to learn of the death of former Virginia Tech football star Dickie Beard, the Hokies hall of famer known as the "Cumberland Flash."
The Cumberland Flash.
Whatever happened to football nicknames anyway?
When I was kid, the star players at my high school had good ones:
Jesse "Sonny" Wade, Carl "Big Nugget" Hairston, Ricky "Skunk" Scales. Anthony "Madman" Hairston. "Slingin' " Eddie Jones. Mike "the Toy Bulldog" Swartz.
When I went to college in Southwest Virginia and began reading about some of the athletes in that part of the state, the monikers were just as creative:
Edd "the Stonega Stallion" Clark. John "Raindrop" Rainey. Paul "the Black Ghost" Adams. Mickey "The Blue Deuce" Rogers.
So where are the nicknames of today?
Where are all the "Galloping Ghosts," the "Night Trains," the "Big Daddys" and the "Juices."
OK, I guess we all know where the "Juice" has been for the last decade or so.
Ken Hall set the national high school career rushing record as a Texas schoolboy in the 1950s and held it until last year when a kid named Derrick Henry broke the mark.
Ken Hall was known as the "Sugarland Express."
If Derrick Henry has a nickname, I don't know what it is.
So who's to blame?
Maybe all these old nicknames weren't really nicknames at all. Maybe they were just creations of a newspaper writer who took a few liberties in referring to a star running back or a hulking lineman.
Maybe interesting nicknames are out there and I'm just not paying enough attention.
Whatever, nicknames and the attention they create seem to be waning.
Maybe "Johnny Football" is smarter than everyone thinks.
LORD BOTETOURT 44, Glenvar 7. The Cavaliers rolled up 45 points by halftime last week against Rustburg.
NORTHSIDE 24, Hidden Valley 7. Northside looks for the back-to-back sweep at Dwight Bogle Stadium over Cave Spring and Hidden Valley.
SALEM 31, William Byrd 10. Byrd won six of 11 games against Salem from 1993-2003, but the Terriers haven't beaten the Spartans since then.
FRANKLIN COUNTY 33, Magna Vista 27. Franklin County still has work to do to make up its 38-0 loss to Salem in Week 1.
BLACKSBURG 27, Carroll County 13. Blacksburg was the only team in Timesland that had an open date in Week 2.
PATRICK HENRY 17, Pulaski County 14. PH plays the third of four straight season-opening games away from home.
LIBERTY 30, Brookville 21. Liberty's last win over the Bees came in 2009 after Logan Thomas had graduated from Brookville.
CHRISTIANSBURG 35, Bassett 14. Christiansburg edged Bassett 28-27 in the 2012 regular season, then won 64-28 over the Bengals in the playoffs.
GEORGE WYTHE 20, Marion 14. Wythe edged Marion by only three points last year en route to the Division 1 state title.
JEFFERSON FOREST 41, Appomattox County 14. After tonight, JF will have played teams from Groups 5A, 3A and 2A.
RUSTBURG 21, Alleghany 20. Can Rustburg win with speedy Randall Jones sitting out his second game because of a two-week suspension?
TURNER ASHBY 21, Rockbridge County 17. Rockbridge is desperate for a win against a team that lost by a point last week to E.C. Glass.
STAUNTON RIVER 26, William Campbell 13. Former Patrick Henry assistant Jay Phares brings the Generals to Moneta to face a very banged-up Staunton River team.
FLOYD COUNTY 60, Patrick County 6. Floyd County will take any victory it can find in hopes of rebounding from an 0-2 start.
CAVE SPRING 24, Martinsville 22. Martinsville's Brandon Carter owns sprint records on Cave Spring's track. The Knights will try to slow him down tonight.
GRAYSON COUNTY 44, Rural Retreat 18. Grayson County plays its third straight road game, but at least this one is in Virginia.
FORT CHISWELL 33, Radford 20. Radford will be minus star linebacker Eric Benitez for at least a month after he was injured last week.
GALAX 48, Eastern Montgomery 18. Galax running back Steven Peoples will return to the lineup after missing a week with a concussion.
EAST ROCKINGHAM 28, James River 26. James River QB Sherman Austin was 18 of 21 passing last week in a win over Glenvar.
PARRY McCLUER 30, Page County 12. Page ended one of the state's longest losing streaks last week at 31 games.
FISHBURNE MILITARY 34, Roanoke Catholic 27. Speaking of nicknames, the Fishburne "Caissons" have one of the better ones.
NORTH CROSS 34, Christchurch 17. North Cross and Christchurch will play on a neutral field in Charlottesville for the second straight year.
NARROWS 25, Montcalm, W.Va. 19. Narrows is looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since 2008.
BATH COUNTY 14, Buffalo Gap 7. Buffalo Gap is 0-2 and Bath won by 11 last year in Swoope.
EAST HARDY, W.VA. 23, Craig County 12. Craig lost big at home last year to East Hardy. It's tough to return from West Virginia with a win.
CHILHOWIE 28, Abingdon 21. Abingdon has surrendered 78 points in two losses, while Chilhowie is 2-0.
BLAND COUNTY 26, Northwood 21. Bland hosts a Hogoheegee District team for the second straight week.
Last week: 20-7 .741
Overall: 41-13 .759
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